Functional evolution of the vitamin D and pregnane X receptors.
ABSTRACT: The vitamin D receptor (VDR) and pregnane X receptor (PXR) are nuclear hormone receptors of the NR1I subfamily that show contrasting patterns of cross-species variation. VDR and PXR are thought to have arisen from duplication of an ancestral gene, evident now as a single gene in the genome of the chordate invertebrate Ciona intestinalis (sea squirt). VDR genes have been detected in a wide range of vertebrates including jawless fish. To date, PXR genes have not been found in cartilaginous fish. In this study, the ligand selectivities of VDRs were compared in detail across a range of vertebrate species and compared with those of the Ciona VDR/PXR. In addition, several assays were used to search for evidence of PXR-mediated hepatic effects in three model non-mammalian species: sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis).Human, mouse, frog, zebrafish, and lamprey VDRs were found to have similar ligand selectivities for vitamin D derivatives. In contrast, using cultured primary hepatocytes, only zebrafish showed evidence of PXR-mediated induction of enzyme expression, with increases in testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation activity (a measure of cytochrome P450 3A activity in other species) and flurbiprofen 4-hydroxylation activity (measure of cytochrome P450 2C activity) following exposure to known PXR activators. A separate assay in vivo using zebrafish demonstrated increased hepatic transcription of another PXR target, multidrug resistance gene (ABCB5), following injection of the major zebrafish bile salt, 5alpha-cyprinol 27-sulfate. The PXR target function, testosterone hydroxylation, was detected in frog and sea lamprey primary hepatocytes, but was not inducible in these two species by a wide range of PXR activators in other animals. Analysis of the sea lamprey draft genome also did not show evidence of a PXR gene.Our results show tight conservation of ligand selectivity of VDRs across vertebrate species from Agnatha to mammals. Using a functional approach, we demonstrate classic PXR-mediated effects in zebrafish, but not in sea lamprey or African clawed frog liver cells. Using a genomic approach, we failed to find evidence of a PXR gene in lamprey, suggesting that VDR may be the original NR1I gene.
Project description:The pregnane X receptor (PXR) shows the highest degree of cross-species sequence diversity of any of the vertebrate nuclear hormone receptors. In this study, we determined the pharmacophores for activation of human, mouse, rat, rabbit, chicken, and zebrafish PXRs, using a common set of sixteen ligands. In addition, we compared in detail the selectivity of human and zebrafish PXRs for steroidal compounds and xenobiotics. The ligand activation properties of the Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis) PXR and that of a putative vitamin D receptor (VDR)/PXR cloned in this study from the chordate invertebrate sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis) were also investigated.Using a common set of ligands, human, mouse, and rat PXRs share structurally similar pharmacophores consisting of hydrophobic features and widely spaced excluded volumes indicative of large binding pockets. Zebrafish PXR has the most sterically constrained pharmacophore of the PXRs analyzed, suggesting a smaller ligand-binding pocket than the other PXRs. Chicken PXR possesses a symmetrical pharmacophore with four hydrophobes, a hydrogen bond acceptor, as well as excluded volumes. Comparison of human and zebrafish PXRs for a wide range of possible activators revealed that zebrafish PXR is activated by a subset of human PXR agonists. The Ciona VDR/PXR showed low sequence identity to vertebrate VDRs and PXRs in the ligand-binding domain and was preferentially activated by planar xenobiotics including 6-formylindolo-[3,2-b]carbazole. Lastly, the Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis) PXR was insensitive to vitamins and steroidal compounds and was activated only by benzoates.In contrast to other nuclear hormone receptors, PXRs show significant differences in ligand specificity across species. By pharmacophore analysis, certain PXRs share similar features such as human, mouse, and rat PXRs, suggesting overlap of function and perhaps common evolutionary forces. The Western clawed frog PXR, like that described for African clawed frog PXRs, has diverged considerably in ligand selectivity from fish, bird, and mammalian PXRs.
Project description:The farnesoid X receptor (FXR), pregnane X receptor (PXR), and vitamin D receptor (VDR) are three closely related nuclear hormone receptors in the NR1H and 1I subfamilies that share the property of being activated by bile salts. Bile salts vary significantly in structure across vertebrate species, suggesting that receptors binding these molecules may show adaptive evolutionary changes in response. We have previously shown that FXRs from the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) are activated by planar bile alcohols found in these two species. In this report, we characterize FXR, PXR, and VDR from the green-spotted pufferfish (Tetraodon nigriviridis), an actinopterygian fish that unlike the zebrafish has a bile salt profile similar to humans. We utilize homology modelling, docking, and pharmacophore studies to understand the structural features of the Tetraodon receptors.Tetraodon FXR has a ligand selectivity profile very similar to human FXR, with strong activation by the synthetic ligand GW4064 and by the primary bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid. Homology modelling and docking studies suggest a ligand-binding pocket architecture more similar to human and rat FXRs than to lamprey or zebrafish FXRs. Tetraodon PXR was activated by a variety of bile acids and steroids, although not by the larger synthetic ligands that activate human PXR such as rifampicin. Homology modelling predicts a larger ligand-binding cavity than zebrafish PXR. We also demonstrate that VDRs from the pufferfish and Japanese medaka were activated by small secondary bile acids such as lithocholic acid, whereas the African clawed frog VDR was not.Our studies provide further evidence of the relationship between both FXR, PXR, and VDR ligand selectivity and cross-species variation in bile salt profiles. Zebrafish and green-spotted pufferfish provide a clear contrast in having markedly different primary bile salt profiles (planar bile alcohols for zebrafish and sterically bent bile acids for the pufferfish) and receptor selectivity that matches these differences in endogenous ligands. Our observations to date present an integrated picture of the co-evolution of bile salt structure and changes in the binding pockets of three nuclear hormone receptors across the species studied.
Project description:The nuclear hormone receptor (NR) superfamily complement in humans is composed of 48 genes with diverse roles in metabolic homeostasis, development, and detoxification. In general, NRs are strongly conserved between vertebrate species, and few examples of molecular adaptation (positive selection) within this superfamily have been demonstrated. Previous studies utilizing two-species comparisons reveal strong purifying (negative) selection of most NR genes, with two possible exceptions being the ligand-binding domains (LBDs) of the pregnane X receptor (PXR, NR1I2) and the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR, NR1I3), two proteins involved in the regulation of toxic compound metabolism and elimination. The aim of this study was to apply detailed phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood methods to the entire complement of genes in the vertebrate NR superfamily. Analyses were carried out both across all vertebrates and limited to mammals and also separately for the two major domains of NRs, the DNA-binding domain (DBD) and LBD, in addition to the full-length sequences. Additional functional data is also reported for activation of PXR and the vitamin D receptor (VDR; NR1I1) to gain further insight into the evolution of the NR1I subfamily.The NR genes appear to be subject to strong purifying selection, particularly in the DBDs. Estimates of the ratio of the non-synonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitution rates (the omega ratio) revealed that only the PXR LBD had a sub-population of codons with an estimated omega ratio greater than 1. CAR was also unusual in showing high relative omega ratios in both the DBD and LBD, a finding that may relate to the recent appearance of the CAR gene (presumably by duplication of a pre-mammalian PXR gene) just prior to the evolution of mammals. Functional analyses of the NR1I subfamily show that human and zebrafish PXRs show similar activation by steroid hormones and early bile salts, properties not shared by sea lamprey, mouse, or human VDRs, or by Xenopus laevis PXRs.NR genes generally show strong sequence conservation and little evidence for positive selection. The main exceptions are PXR and CAR, genes that may have adapted to cross-species differences in toxic compound exposure.
Project description:The NR1I subfamily of nuclear hormone receptors includes the 1,25-(OH)(2)-vitamin D(3) receptor (VDR; NR1I1), pregnane X receptor (PXR; NR1I2), and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR; NR1I3). PXR and VDR are found in diverse vertebrates from fish to mammals while CAR is restricted to mammals. Current evidence suggests that the CAR gene arose from a duplication of an ancestral PXR gene, and that PXR and VDR arose from duplication of an ancestral gene, represented now by a single gene in the invertebrate Ciona intestinalis. Aside from the high-affinity effects of 1,25-(OH)(2)-vitamin D(3) on VDRs, the NR1I subfamily members are functionally united by the ability to bind potentially toxic endogenous compounds with low affinity and initiate changes in gene expression that lead to enhanced metabolism and elimination (e.g., induction of cytochrome P450 3A4 expression in humans). The detoxification role of VDR seems limited to sensing high concentrations of certain toxic bile salts, such as lithocholic acid, whereas PXR and CAR have the ability to recognize structurally diverse compounds. PXR and CAR show the highest degree of cross-species variation in the ligand-binding domain of the entire vertebrate nuclear hormone receptor superfamily, suggesting adaptation to species-specific ligands. This review examines the insights that phylogenetic and experimental studies provide into the function of VDR, PXR, and CAR, and how the functions of these receptors have expanded to evolutionary advantage in humans and other animals.
Project description:Thyroid hormones modulate not only multiple functions in vertebrates (energy metabolism, central nervous system function, seasonal changes in physiology, and behavior) but also in some non-vertebrates where they control critical post-embryonic developmental transitions such as metamorphosis. Despite their obvious biological importance, the thyroid hormone precursor protein, thyroglobulin (Tg), has been experimentally investigated only in mammals. This may bias our view of how thyroid hormones are produced in other organisms. In this study we searched genomic databases and found Tg orthologs in all vertebrates including the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). We cloned a full-size Tg coding sequence from western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis) and zebrafish (Danio rerio). Comparisons between the representative mammal, amphibian, teleost fish, and basal vertebrate indicate that all of the different domains of Tg, as well as Tg regional structure, are conserved throughout the vertebrates. Indeed, in Xenopus, zebrafish, and lamprey Tgs, key residues, including the hormonogenic tyrosines and the disulfide bond-forming cysteines critical for Tg function, are well conserved despite overall divergence of amino acid sequences. We uncovered upstream sequences that include start codons of zebrafish and Xenopus Tgs and experimentally proved that these are full-length secreted proteins, which are specifically recognized by antibodies against rat Tg. By contrast, we have not been able to find any orthologs of Tg among non-vertebrate species. Thus, Tg appears to be a novel protein elaborated as a single event at the base of vertebrates and virtually unchanged thereafter.
Project description:Neural crest cells (NCCs) are highly patterned embryonic cells that migrate along stereotyped routes to give rise to a diverse array of adult tissues and cell types. Modern NCCs are thought to have evolved from migratory neural precursors with limited developmental potential and patterning. How this occurred is poorly understood. Endothelin signaling regulates several aspects of NCC development, including their migration, differentiation, and patterning. In jawed vertebrates, Endothelin signaling involves multiple functionally distinct ligands (Edns) and receptors (Ednrs) expressed in various NCC subpopulations. To test the potential role of endothelin signaling diversification in the evolution of modern, highly patterned NCC, we analyzed the expression of the complete set of endothelin ligands and receptors in the jawless vertebrate, the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). To better understand ancestral features of gnathostome edn and ednr expression, we also analyzed all known Endothelin signaling components in the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). We found that the sea lamprey has a gnathsotome-like complement of edn and ednr duplicates, and these genes are expressed in patterns highly reminiscent of their gnathostome counterparts. Our results suggest that the duplication and specialization of vertebrate Endothelin signaling coincided with the appearance of highly patterned and multipotent NCCs in stem vertebrates.
Project description:Evolutionary origin and physiological significance of the tetrodotoxin (TTX) resistance of the vertebrate cardiac Na(+) current (I(Na)) is still unresolved. To this end, TTX sensitivity of the cardiac I(Na) was examined in cardiac myocytes of a cyclostome (lamprey), three teleost fishes (crucian carp, burbot and rainbow trout), a clawed frog, a snake (viper) and a bird (quail). In lamprey, teleost fishes, frog and bird the cardiac I(Na) was highly TTX-sensitive with EC(50)-values between 1.4 and 6.6 nmol·L(-1). In the snake heart, about 80% of the I(Na) was TTX-resistant with EC(50) value of 0.65 ?mol·L(-1), the rest being TTX-sensitive (EC(50) = 0.5 nmol·L(-1)). Although TTX-resistance of the cardiac I(Na) appears to be limited to mammals and reptiles, the presence of TTX-resistant isoform of Na(+) channel in the lamprey heart suggest an early evolutionary origin of the TTX-resistance, perhaps in the common ancestor of all vertebrates.
Project description:Phase-Resolved Doppler Optical Coherence Tomography (PR-DOCT) allows visualization and characterization of the location, direction, velocity, and profile of flow activity embedded in a static sample structure. The detectable Velocity Dynamic Range (VDR) of each particular PR-DOCT system is governed by a detectable Doppler phase shift, a flow angle, and an acquisition time interval used to determine the Doppler phase shift. In general, the lower boundary of the detectable Doppler phase shift is limited by the phase stability of the system, while the upper boundary is limited by the π phase ambiguity. For a given range of detectable Doppler phase shift, shortening the acquisition duration will increase not only the maximum detectable velocity but unfortunately also the minimum detectable velocity, which may lead to the invisibility of a slow flow. In this paper, we present an alternative acquisition scheme for PR-DOCT that extends the lower limit of the velocity dynamic range, while maintaining the maximum detectable velocity, hence increasing the overall VDR of PR-DOCT system. The essence of the approach is to implement a technique of multi-scale measurement to simultaneously acquire multiple VDRs in a single measurement. We demonstrate an example of implementation of the technique in a dual VDR DOCT, where two Doppler maps having different detectable VDRs were simultaneously detected, processed, and displayed in real time. One was a fixed VDR DOCT capable of measuring axial velocity of up to 10.9 mm/s without phase unwrapping. The other was a variable VDR DOCT capable of adjusting its detectable VDR to reveal slow flow information down to 11.3 μm/s. The technique is shown to effectively extend the overall detectable VDR of the PR-DOCT system. Examples of real time Doppler imaging of an African frog tadpole are demonstrated using the dual-VDR DOCT system.
Project description:Various synthetic chemicals are ligands for nuclear receptors (NRs) and can cause adverse effects in vertebrates mediated by NRs. While several model vertebrates, such as mouse, chicken, western clawed frog and zebrafish, are widely used in toxicity testing, few NRs have been well described for most of these classes. In this report, NRs in genomes of 12 vertebrates are characterized via bioinformatics approaches. Although numbers of NRs varied among species, with 40-42 genes in birds to 66-74 genes in teleost fishes, all NRs had clear homologs in human and could be categorized into seven subfamilies defined as NR0B-NR6A. Phylogenetic analysis revealed conservative evolutionary relationships for most NRs, which were consistent with traditional morphology-based systematics, except for some exceptions in Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Evolution of PXR and CAR exhibited unexpected multiple patterns and the existence of CAR possibly being traced back to ancient lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods (Sarcopterygii). Compared to the more conservative DBD of NRs, sequences of LBD were less conserved: Sequences of THRs, RARs and RXRs were ?90% similar to those of the human, ERs, AR, GR, ERRs and PPARs were more variable with similarities of 60%-100% and PXR, CAR, DAX1 and SHP were least conserved among species.
Project description:The recently sequenced Daphnia pulex genome revealed the NR1L nuclear receptor group consisting of three novel receptors. Phylogenetic studies show that this group is related to the NR1I group (CAR/PXR/VDR) and the NR1J group (HR96), and were subsequently named HR97a/b/g. Each of the HR97 paralogs from Daphnia magna, a commonly used crustacean in toxicity testing, was cloned, sequenced, and partially characterized. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the HR97 receptors are present in primitive arthropods such as the chelicerates but lost in insects. qPCR and immunohistochemistry demonstrate that each of the receptors is expressed near or at reproductive maturity, and that HR97g, the most ancient of the HR97 receptors, is primarily expressed in the gastrointestinal tract, mandibular region, and ovaries, consistent with a role in reproduction. Transactivation assays using an HR97a/b/g-GAL4 chimera indicate that unlike Daphnia HR96 that is promiscuous with respect to ligand recognition, the HR97 receptors do not respond to many of the ligands that activate CAR/PXR/HR96 nuclear receptors. Only three putative ligands of HR97 receptors were identified in this study: pyriproxyfen, methyl farnesoate, and arachidonic acid. Only arachidonic acid, which acts as an inverse agonist, alters HR97g activity at concentrations that would be considered within physiologically relevant ranges. Overall, this study demonstrates that, although closely related to the promiscuous receptors in the NR1I and NR1J groups, the HR97 receptors are mostly likely not multi-xenobiotic sensors, but rather may perform physiological functions, potentially in reproduction, unique to crustaceans and other non-insect arthropod groups.