Insights into the evolution of shells and love darts of land snails revealed from their matrix proteins

Keisuke Shimizu, Kazuki Kimura, Yukinobu Isowa, Kenshiro Oshima, Makiko Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Kagi, Keiji Kito, Masahira Hattori, Satoshi Chiba, Kazuyoshi Endo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decade, many skeletal matrix proteins that are possibly related to calcification have been reported in various calcifying animals. Molluscs are among the most diverse calcifying animals and some gastropods have adapted to terrestrial ecological niches. Although many shell matrix proteins (SMPs) have already been reported in molluscs, most reports have focused on marine molluscs, and the SMPs of terrestrial snails remain unclear. In addition, some terrestrial stylommatophoran snails have evolved an additional unique calcified character, called a “love dart,” used for mating behavior. We identified 54 SMPs in the terrestrial snail Euhadra quaesita, and found that they contain specific domains that are widely conserved in molluscan SMPs. However, our results also suggest that some of them possibly have evolved independently by domain shuffling, domain recruitment, or gene co-option. We then identified four dart matrix proteins, and found that two of them are the same proteins as those identified as SMPs. Our results suggest that some dart matrix proteins possibly have evolved by independent gene co-option from SMPs during dart evolution events. These results provide a new perspective on the evolution of SMPs and “love darts” in land snails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-397
Number of pages18
JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1


  • Biomineralization
  • Co-option
  • Evolution
  • Gastropods


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