Dataset Information


Tbx4/5 gene duplication and the origin of vertebrate paired appendages.

ABSTRACT: Paired fins/limbs are one of the most successful vertebrate innovations, since they are used for numerous fundamental activities, including locomotion, feeding, and breeding. Gene duplication events generate new genes with the potential to acquire novel functions, and two rounds of genome duplication took place during vertebrate evolution. The cephalochordate amphioxus diverged from other chordates before these events and is widely used to deduce the functions of ancestral genes, present in single copy in amphioxus, compared to the functions of their duplicated vertebrate orthologues. The T-box genes Tbx5 and Tbx4 encode two closely related transcription factors that are the earliest factors required to initiate forelimb and hind limb outgrowth, respectively. Since the genetic components proposed to be responsible for acquiring a trait during evolution are likely to be involved in the formation of that same trait in living organisms, we investigated whether the duplication of an ancestral, single Tbx4/5 gene to give rise to distinct Tbx4 and Tbx5 genes has been instrumental in the acquisition of limbs during vertebrate evolution. We analyzed whether the amphioxus Tbx4/5 gene is able to initiate limb outgrowth, and assayed the amphioxus locus for the presence of limb-forming regulatory regions. We show that AmphiTbx4/5 is able to initiate limb outgrowth and, in contrast, that the genomic locus lacks the regulatory modules required for expression that would result in limb formation. We propose that changes at the level of Tbx5 and Tbx4 expression, rather than the generation of novel protein function, have been necessary for the acquisition of paired appendages during vertebrate evolution.

SUBMITTER: Minguillon C 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2799857 | BioStudies | 2009-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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