Origin of genomically-encoded communication in animals: deciphering the role of peptide signalling in the sea sponge Amphimedon queenslandica (2013–2016)
All animals use the same suite of cell-cell signalling systems to function. System dysfunction can drive diseases such as cancer. Although these facts exemplify the essential role of cell communication in multicellular life, there remain significant gaps in knowledge. For example, peptide signals act as hormones and neurotransmitters in humans, yet we know little about when and how they evolved. Here, we combine peptidomic and genomic analyses to uncover the role of peptides in a sea sponge. By placing these data in a comparative framework, we can resurrect the ancestral roles of peptide signalling in metazoans and thereby identify the major contributions of this signalling system in regulating animal multicellularity.