Steroids play fundamental roles regulating mammalian reproduction and development. Although sex steroids and their receptors are well characterized in vertebrates and several arthropod invertebrates, little is known about the hormones and receptors regulating reproduction in other invertebrate species. Evolutionary insights into ancient endocrine pathways can be gained by elucidating the hormones and receptors functioning in invertebrate reproduction. Using a combination of genomic analyses, receptor imaging, ligand identification, target elucidation, and exploration of function through receptor knockdown, a team effort between our laboratories and E. Paige Stout, Julia Kubanek and Terry Snell from Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated that comparable progesterone chemoreception exists in the invertebrate monogonont rotifer Brachionus manjavacas, suggesting an ancient origin of the signal transduction systems commonly associated with the development and integration of sexual behavior in mammals (read it now).
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