Contractile vacuoles (CVs), enigmatic osmoregulatory organelles, share common characteristics, such as a requirement for RAB11 and high levels of V-ATPase. These commonalities suggest a conserved evolutionary origin for the CVs with implications for understanding of the last common ancestor of eukaryotes and eukaryotic diversification more broadly. A taxonomically broader sampling of CV-associated machinery is required to address this question further. We used a transcriptomics-based approach to identify CV-associated gene products in Dictyostelium discoideum. This approach was first validated by assessing a set of known CV-associated gene products, which were significantly upregulated following hypo-osmotic exposure. Moreover, endosomal and vacuolar gene products were enriched in the upregulated gene set. An upregulated SNARE protein (NPSNB) was predominantly plasma membrane localised and enriched in the vicinity of CVs, supporting the association with this organelle found in the transcriptomic analysis. We therefore confirm that transcriptomic approaches can identify known and novel players in CV function, in our case emphasizing the role of endosomal vesicle fusion machinery in the D. discoideum CV and facilitating future work to address questions regarding the deep evolution of eukaryotic organelles.
- Contractile vacuole