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  1. Crandall, Keith (Ed.)
    Abstract Innexins facilitate cell–cell communication by forming gap junctions or nonjunctional hemichannels, which play important roles in metabolic, chemical, ionic, and electrical coupling. The lack of knowledge regarding the evolution and role of these channels in ctenophores (comb jellies), the likely sister group to the rest of animals, represents a substantial gap in our understanding of the evolution of intercellular communication in animals. Here, we identify and phylogenetically characterize the complete set of innexins of four ctenophores: Mnemiopsis leidyi, Hormiphora californensis, Pleurobrachia bachei, and Beroe ovata. Our phylogenetic analyses suggest that ctenophore innexins diversified independently from those of other animals and were established early in the emergence of ctenophores. We identified a four-innexin genomic cluster, which was present in the last common ancestor of these four species and has been largely maintained in these lineages. Evidence from correlated spatial and temporal gene expression of the M. leidyi innexin cluster suggests that this cluster has been maintained due to constraints related to gene regulation. We describe the basic electrophysiological properties of putative ctenophore hemichannels from muscle cells using intracellular recording techniques, showing substantial overlap with the properties of bilaterian innexin channels. Together, our results suggest that the last common ancestor of animals had gap junctional channels also capable of forming functional innexin hemichannels, and that innexin genes have independently evolved in major lineages throughout Metazoa. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Published evidence suggests that inherent rhythmically active or “bursting” primary olfactory receptor neurons (bORNs) in crustaceans have the previously undescribed functional property of encoding olfactory information by having their rhythmicity entrained by the odor stimulus. In order to determine whether such bORN-based encoding is a fundamental feature of olfaction that extends beyond crustaceans, we patch-clamped bORN-like ORNs in mice, characterized their dynamic properties, and show they align with the dynamic properties of lobster bORNs. We then characterized bORN-like activity by imaging the olfactory epithelium of OMP-GCaMP6f mice. Next, we showed rhythmic activity is not dependent upon the endogenous OR by patching ORNs in OR/GFP mice. Lastly, we showed the properties of bORN-like ORNs characterized in mice generalize to rats. Our findings suggest encoding odor time should be viewed as a fundamental feature of olfaction with the potential to be used to navigate odor plumes in animals as diverse as crustaceans and mammals. 
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  3. null (Ed.)