Yehu Moran

Yehu Moran
Hebrew University of Jerusalem | HUJI · Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

PhD

About

176
Publications
28,923
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1,936
Citations
Additional affiliations
April 2010 - January 2014
University of Vienna
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2005 - April 2010
Tel Aviv University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (176)
Article
Full-text available
Animal venoms are theorized to evolve under the significant influence of positive Darwinian selection in a chemical arms race scenario, where the evolution of venom resistance in prey and the invention of potent venom in the secreting animal exert reciprocal selection pressures. Venom research to date has mainly focused on evolutionarily younger li...
Article
Full-text available
Despite Cnidaria (sea anemones, corals, jellyfish and hydroids) being the oldest venomous animal lineage, structure-function relationships, phyletic distributions and the molecular evolutionary regimes of toxins encoded by these intriguing animals are poorly understood. Hence, we have comprehensively elucidated the phylogenetic and molecular evolut...
Article
Full-text available
In bilaterians, which comprise most of extant animals, microRNAs (miRNAs) regulate the majority of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) via base-pairing of a short sequence (the miRNA "seed") to the target, subsequently promoting translational inhibition and transcript instability. In plants, many miRNAs guide endonucleolytic cleavage of highly complementary tar...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decade, it became evident that posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression by microRNAs is a central biological process in both plants and animals. Yet, our knowledge about microRNA biogenesis and utilization in animals stems mostly from the study of Bilateria. In this study, we identified genes encoding the protein components of...
Article
Full-text available
Ion selectivity of metazoan voltage-gated Na(+) channels is critical for neuronal signaling and has long been attributed to a ring of four conserved amino acids that constitute the ion selectivity filter (SF) at the channel pore. Yet, in addition to channels with a preference for Ca(2+) ions, the expression and characterization of Na(+) channel hom...
Preprint
Ion channels of the DEG/ENaC family share a similar structure but serve strikingly diverse biological functions, such as Na ⁺ reabsorption, mechanosensing, proton-sensing, chemosensing and cell-cell communication via neuropeptides. This functional diversity raises the question of the ancient function of DEG/ENaCs. Using an extensive phylogenetic an...
Article
Full-text available
Venoms have evolved >100 times in all major animal groups, and their components, known as toxins, have been fine-tuned over millions of years into highly effective biochemical weapons. There are many outstanding questions on the evolution of toxin arsenals, such as how venom genes originate, how venom contributes to the fitness of venomous species,...
Article
Full-text available
While the biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs) in both animals and plants depends on the RNase III Dicer, its partner proteins are considered distinct for each kingdom. Nevertheless, recent discovery of homologs of Hyponastic Leaves1 (HYL1), a 'plant-specific' Dicer partner, in the metazoan phylum Cnidaria, challenges the view that miRNAs evolved conve...
Preprint
Nuclear positioning is important for the functionality of many cell types and is mediated by interactions of cytoskeletal elements and nucleoskeleton proteins. Nesprin proteins, part of the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton complex, have been shown to participate in nuclear positioning in multiple cell types. Outer hair cells (OHCs) in the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Draft genome sequences of non-bilaterian species have provided important insights into the evolution of the metazoan gene repertoire. However, there is little information about the evolution of gene clusters, genome architectures and karyotypes during animal evolution. Here we report chromosome-level genome assemblies of two related anthozoan cnida...
Article
Full-text available
Animals evolved a broad repertoire of innate immune sensors and downstream effector cascades for defense against RNA viruses. Yet, this system varies greatly among different bilaterian animals, masking its ancestral state. In this study we aimed to characterize the antiviral immune response of the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis and decipher the f...
Article
A recent study by Cosby et al. sheds light on the role of transposons in the adaptive evolution of their hosts. These genetic elements were thought to be largely deleterious. However, when coupled with alternative splicing, there appears to be an exponential increase in the diversity of proteins encoded, which display novel functions and are conser...
Article
Full-text available
Venom research is a highly multidisciplinary field that involves multiple subfields of biology, informatics, pharmacology, medicine, and other areas. These different research facets are often technologically challenging and pursued by different teams lacking connection with each other. This lack of coordination hampers the full development of venom...
Article
Full-text available
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are crucial post-transcriptional regulators that have been extensively studied in Bilateria, a group comprising the majority of extant animals, where more than 30 conserved miRNA families have been identified. By contrast, bilaterian miRNA targets are largely not conserved. Cnidaria is the sister group to Bilateria and thus provi...
Article
Full-text available
Venomous animals are a striking example of the convergent evolution of a complex trait. These animals have independently evolved an apparatus that synthesizes, stores, and secretes a mixture of toxic compounds to the target animal through the infliction of a wound. Among these distantly related animals, some can modulate and compartmentalize functi...
Article
Full-text available
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) base-pair to messenger RNA targets and guide Argonaute proteins to mediate their silencing. This target regulation is considered crucial for animal physiology and development. However, this notion is based exclusively on studies in bilaterians, which comprise almost all lab model animals. To fill this phylogenetic gap, we charact...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals developed a broad repertoire of innate immune sensors and downstream effector cascades for defense against RNA viruses. Yet, this system highly varies between different bilaterian animals, masking its ancestral state. In this study we aimed to characterize the antiviral immune response of the cnidarian Nematostella vectensis and decipher th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cnidaria (sea anemones, jellyfish, corals and hydra) form a close sister group to Bilateria. Within this clade, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis has emerged as a slow evolving model for investigating characteristics of the cnidarian-bilaterian common ancestor, which diverged near the Cambrian explosion. Here, using long read sequencing and hi...
Article
The sea anemone Nematostella vectensis (Anthozoa, Cnidaria) is a powerful model for characterizing the evolution of genes functioning in venom and nervous systems. Although venom has evolved independently numerous times in animals, the evolutionary origin of many toxins remains unknown. In this work, we pinpoint an ancestral gene giving rise to a n...
Article
Full-text available
Nematostella vectensis has emerged as one as the most established models of the phylum Cnidaria (sea anemones, corals, hydroids and jellyfish) for studying animal evolution. The availability of a reference genome and the relative ease of culturing and genetically manipulating this organism make it an attractive model for addressing questions regard...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In cnidarians, antagonistic interactions with predators and prey are mediated by their venom, whose synthesis may be metabolically expensive. The potentially high cost of venom production has been hypothesized to drive population-specific variation in venom expression due to differences in abiotic conditions. However, the effects of en...
Preprint
Full-text available
While the biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs) in both animals and plants depends on Dicer, a conserved RNAse III enzyme, its helping partner proteins are considered distinct for each kingdom. Nevertheless, recent discovery of homologs of Hyponastic Leaves1 (HYL1), a plant-specific Dicer partner, in the metazoan phylum Cnidaria challenges the view that...
Preprint
Full-text available
The sea anemone Nematostella vectensis (Anthozoa, Cnidaria) is a powerful model system for characterizing the evolution of genes functioning in venom and nervous systems. Despite being an example for evolutionary novelty, the evolutionary origin of most toxins remains unknown. Here we report the first bona fide case of protein recruitment from the...
Article
Full-text available
Terminal selectors are transcription factors that control the morphological, physiological, and molecular features that characterize distinct cell types. Here, we show that, in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, NvPOU4 is expressed in post-mitotic cells that give rise to a diverse set of neural cell types, including cnidocytes and NvElav1-expr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Nematostella vectensis is a sea anemone (Actiniaria, Cnidaria) inhabiting estuaries over a broad geographic range where environmental conditions such as temperatures and salinity vary widely. In cnidarians, antagonistic interactions with predators and prey are mediated by their venom, which may be metabolically expensive. In this study, we challeng...
Article
Full-text available
The role of viruses in forming a stable holobiont has been the subject of extensive research in recent years. However, many emerging model organisms still lack any data on the composition of the associated viral communities. Here, we re-analyzed seven publicly available transcriptome datasets of the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, the m...
Preprint
Full-text available
microRNAs (miRNAs), base-pair to messenger RNA targets and guide Argonaute proteins to mediate their silencing. This target regulation is considered crucial for animal physiology and development. However, this notion is based exclusively on studies in bilaterians, which comprise almost all lab model animals. To fill this glaring phylogenetic gap, w...
Preprint
Full-text available
The role of viruses in forming a stable holobiont has been a subject of extensive research in the recent years. However, many emerging model organisms still lack any data on the composition of the associated viral communities. Here, we re-analyzed seven publicly available transcriptome datasets of the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Terminal selectors are transcription factors that control the morphological, physiological and molecular features that characterize distinct cell types. Here we use expression analyses and a transgenic reporter line to show that NvPOU4 is expressed in post-mitotic cells that give rise to a diverse set of neural cell types in the sea anemone Nematos...
Article
Full-text available
Venom is a known source of novel antimicrobial natural products. The substantial, increasing number of these discoveries have unintentionally culminated in the misconception that venom and venom-producing glands are largely sterile environments. Culture-dependent and -independent studies on the microbial communities in venom microenvironments revea...
Article
Full-text available
The cnidarian Nematostella vectensis has become an established lab model, providing unique opportunities for venom evolution research. The Nematostella venom system is multimodal: involving both nematocytes and ectodermal gland cells, which produce a toxin mixture whose composition changes throughout the life cycle. Additionally, their modes of int...
Article
Full-text available
Short (“seed”) or extended base pairing between microRNAs (miRNAs) and their target RNAs enables post‐transcriptional silencing in many organisms. These interactions allow the computational prediction of potential targets. In model organisms, predicted targets are frequently validated experimentally; hence meaningful miRNA‐regulated processes are r...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Cnidocytes are specialized cells that define the phylum Cnidaria. They possess an "explosive" organelle called cnidocyst that is important for prey capture and anti-predator defense. An extraordinary morphological and functional complexity of the cnidocysts has inspired numerous studies to investigate their structure and development. H...
Article
Full-text available
Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) such as microRNAs (miRNAs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) regulate the levels of endogenous, viral and transposable element RNA in plants (excluding piRNAs) and animals. These pathways are explored mainly in bilaterian animals, such as vertebrates, arthropods and nematodes, where si...
Data
In Nematostella vectensis miRNA* are unmethylated. (A) A box plot presenting the Log-fold change of four individual spike-ins analyzed between samples treated with periodate and control samples. The two non-methylated spike-ins (Cel-lin-4 and has-miR-659) significantly changed after periodate treatment (~1000 fold change). (B) A list of highly abun...
Data
List of miRNAs and piRNAs analysed from Dicer1 and PIWI2 knockdown experiments. (XLSX)
Data
Small RNA libraries produced in this study. (XLSX)
Data
HEN1 translation blocking Morpholino reproduce similar results to HEN1 splice Morpholino on both Nematostella development and small RNA stability. (A) Animals injected with HEN1 translation blocking Morpholino have stopped developing prior to metamorphosis. (B) ~90% of HEN1 depleted animals did not reach primary polyp stage at 7 dpf, n = 3, signifi...
Data
HEN1 directly mediates miRNA and piRNA methylation in Nematostella. Box plot presented with log fold change analyzed from periodate vs untreated data of HEN1 and control morphants. (A) The miR-Guide fold change analyzed from HEN1 morphants and control MO animals after periodate treatment has significantly changed (P < .0001, Wilcoxon signed-rank te...
Data
List of miRNAs analyzed from different developmental stages of Nematostella (late planula, primary polyp, adult male and female), to assess the rate of miRNA methylation across the development. (XLSX)
Data
List of miRNAs and piRNAs analysed from control MO and HEN1 MO-injected animals. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
How dispersal strategies impact the distribution of species and subsequent speciation events is a fundamental question in evolutionary biology. Sedentary benthic marine organisms, such as corals or sea anemones usually rely on motile larval stages for dispersal and therefore have a relatively restricted distribution along coasts. Edwardsiella linea...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about venom in young developmental stages of animals. The appearance of toxins and stinging cells during early embryonic stages in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis suggests that venom is already expressed in eggs and larvae of this species. Here, we harness transcriptomic, biochemical and transgenic tools to study venom produc...
Presentation
Full-text available
SICB TALK ABSTRACT: The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is an estuarine species with broad distribution across the Atlantic coast of North America. Throughout their distribution N. vectensis are commonly found alongside a relatively homogeneous biological communities (potential predators and prey) and are subjected to variable abiotic...
Article
Full-text available
PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and associated proteins comprise a conserved pathway for silencing transposons in metazoan germlines. piRNA pathway components are also expressed in multipotent somatic stem cells in various organisms. piRNA functions have been extensively explored in bilaterian model systems, however, comprehensive studies in non-bil...
Preprint
Little is known about venom in young developmental stages of animals. The appearance of stinging cells in very early life stages of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis suggests that toxins and venom are synthesized already in eggs, embryos and larvae of this species. Here we harness transcriptomic and biochemical tools as well as transgenesis to...
Preprint
Full-text available
Specialized neurons called cnidocytes define the phylum Cnidaria. They possess an ‘explosive’ organelle called cnidocyst that is important for prey capture and antipredator defense. An extraordinary morphological and functional complexity of the cnidocysts has inspired numerous studies to investigate their structure and development. However, the tr...
Article
Full-text available
In bilaterian animals the 3′ ends of microRNAs (miRNAs) are frequently modified by tailing and trimming. These modifications affect miRNA-mediated gene regulation by modulating miRNA stability. Here we analyzed data from three non-bilaterian animals: two cnidarians (Nematostella vectensis and Hydra magnipapillata) and one poriferan (Amphimedon quee...