Lineage-specific patterns of functional diversification in the alpha- and beta-globin gene families of tetrapod vertebrates.
ABSTRACT: The alpha- and beta-globin gene families of jawed vertebrates have diversified with respect to both gene function and the developmental timing of gene expression. Phylogenetic reconstructions of globin gene family evolution have provided suggestive evidence that the developmental regulation of hemoglobin synthesis has evolved independently in multiple vertebrate lineages. For example, the embryonic beta-like globin genes of birds and placental mammals are not 1:1 orthologs. Despite the similarity in developmental expression profiles, the genes are independently derived from lineage-specific duplications of a beta-globin pro-ortholog. This suggests the possibility that other vertebrate taxa may also possess distinct repertoires of globin genes that were produced by repeated rounds of lineage-specific gene duplication and divergence. Until recently, investigations into this possibility have been hindered by the dearth of genomic sequence data from nonmammalian vertebrates. Here, we report new insights into globin gene family evolution that were provided by a phylogenetic analysis of vertebrate globins combined with a comparative genomic analysis of three key sauropsid taxa: a squamate reptile (anole lizard, Anolis carolinensis), a passeriform bird (zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata), and a galliform bird (chicken, Gallus gallus). The main objectives of this study were 1) to characterize evolutionary changes in the size and membership composition of the alpha- and beta-globin gene families of tetrapod vertebrates and 2) to test whether functional diversification of the globin gene clusters occurred independently in different tetrapod lineages. Results of our comparative genomic analysis revealed several intriguing patterns of gene turnover in the globin gene clusters of different taxa. Lineage-specific differences in gene content were especially pronounced in the beta-globin gene family, as phylogenetic reconstructions revealed that amphibians, lepidosaurs (as represented by anole lizard), archosaurs (as represented by zebra finch and chicken), and mammals each possess a distinct independently derived repertoire of beta-like globin genes. In contrast to the ancient functional diversification of the alpha-globin gene cluster in the stem lineage of tetrapods, the physiological division of labor between early- and late-expressed genes in the beta-globin gene cluster appears to have evolved independently in several tetrapod lineages.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The detection of odorants is mediated by olfactory receptors (ORs). ORs are G-protein coupled receptors that form a remarkably large protein superfamily in vertebrate genomes. We used data that became available through recent sequencing efforts of reptilian and avian genomes to identify the complete OR gene repertoires in a lizard, the green anole (Anolis carolinensis), and in two birds, the chicken (Gallus gallus) and the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). RESULTS: We identified 156 green anole OR genes, including 42 pseudogenes. The OR gene repertoire of the two bird species was substantially larger with 479 and 553 OR gene homologs in the chicken and zebra finch, respectively (including 111 and 221 pseudogenes, respectively). We show that the green anole has a higher fraction of intact OR genes (approximately 72%) compared with the chicken (approximately 66%) and the zebra finch (approximately 38%). We identified a larger number and a substantially higher proportion of intact OR gene homologs in the chicken genome than previously reported (214 versus 82 genes and 66% versus 15%, respectively). Phylogenetic analysis showed that lizard and bird OR gene repertoires consist of group alpha, theta and gamma genes. Interestingly, the vast majority of the avian OR genes are confined to a large expansion of a single branch (the so called gamma-c clade). An analysis of the selective pressure on the paralogous genes of each gamma-c clade revealed that they have been subjected to adaptive evolution. This expansion appears to be bird-specific and not sauropsid-specific, as it is lacking from the lizard genome. The gamma-c expansions of the two birds do not intermix, i.e., they are lineage-specific. Almost all (group gamma-c) OR genes mapped to the unknown chromosome. The remaining OR genes mapped to six homologous chromosomes plus three to four additional chromosomes in the zebra finch and chicken. CONCLUSION: We identified a surprisingly large number of potentially functional avian OR genes. Our data supports recent evidence that avian olfactory ability may be better developed than previously thought. We hypothesize that the radiation of the group gamma-c OR genes in each bird lineage parallels the evolution of specific olfactory sensory functions.
Project description:Phylogenetic reconstructions of the beta-globin gene family in vertebrates have revealed that developmentally regulated systems of hemoglobin synthesis have been reinvented multiple times in independent lineages. For example, the functional differentiation of embryonic and adult beta-like globin genes occurred independently in birds and mammals. In both taxa, the embryonic beta-globin gene is exclusively expressed in primitive erythroid cells derived from the yolk sac. However, the "epsilon-globin" gene in birds is not orthologous to the epsilon-globin gene in mammals, because they are independently derived from lineage-specific duplications of a proto beta-globin gene. Here, we report evidence that the early and late expressed beta-like globin genes in monotremes and therian mammals (marsupials and placental mammals) are the products of independent duplications of a proto beta-globin gene in each of these two lineages. Results of our analysis of genomic sequence data from a large number of vertebrate taxa, including sequence from the recently completed platypus genome, reveal that the epsilon- and beta-globin genes of therian mammals arose via duplication of a proto beta-globin gene after the therian/monotreme split. Our analysis of genomic sequence from the platypus also revealed the presence of a duplicate pair of beta-like globin genes that originated via duplication of a proto beta-globin gene in the monotreme lineage. This discovery provides evidence that, in different lineages of mammals, descendent copies of the same proto beta-globin gene may have been independently neofunctionalized to perform physiological tasks associated with oxygen uptake and storage during embryonic development.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The vertebrate protocadherins are a subfamily of cell adhesion molecules that are predominantly expressed in the nervous system and are believed to play an important role in establishing the complex neural network during animal development. Genes encoding these molecules are organized into a cluster in the genome. Comparative analysis of the protocadherin subcluster organization and gene arrangements in different vertebrates has provided interesting insights into the history of vertebrate genome evolution. Among tetrapods, protocadherin clusters have been fully characterized only in mammals. In this study, we report the identification and comparative analysis of the protocadherin cluster in a reptile, the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We show that the anole protocadherin cluster spans over a megabase and encodes a total of 71 genes. The number of genes in the anole protocadherin cluster is significantly higher than that in the coelacanth (49 genes) and mammalian (54-59 genes) clusters. The anole protocadherin genes are organized into four subclusters: the delta, alpha, beta and gamma. This subcluster organization is identical to that of the coelacanth protocadherin cluster, but differs from the mammalian clusters which lack the delta subcluster. The gene number expansion in the anole protocadherin cluster is largely due to the extensive gene duplication in the gammab subgroup. Similar to coelacanth and elephant shark protocadherin genes, the anole protocadherin genes have experienced a low frequency of gene conversion. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our results suggest that similar to the protocadherin clusters in other vertebrates, the evolution of anole protocadherin cluster is driven mainly by lineage-specific gene duplications and degeneration. Our analysis also shows that loss of the protocadherin delta subcluster in the mammalian lineage occurred after the divergence of mammals and reptiles. We present a model for the evolutionary history of the protocadherin cluster in tetrapods.
Project description:The visual process in the vertebrate eye requires high amounts of metabolic energy and thus oxygen. Oxygen supply of the avian retina is a challenging task because birds have large eyes, thick retinae, and high metabolic rates but neither deep retinal nor superficial capillaries. Respiratory proteins such as myoglobin may enhance oxygen supply to certain tissues, and thus the mammalian retina harbors high amounts of neuroglobin. Globin E (GbE) was recently identified as an eye-specific globin of chicken (Gallus gallus). Orthologous GbE genes were found in zebra finch and turkey genomes but appear to be absent in non-avian vertebrate classes. Analyses of globin phylogeny and gene synteny showed an ancient origin of GbE but did not help to assign it to any specific globin type. We show that the photoreceptor cells of the chicken retina have a high level of GbE protein, which accumulates to ?10 ?M in the total eye. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR revealed an ?50,000-fold higher level of GbE mRNA in the eye than in the brain. Spectroscopic analysis and ligand binding kinetics of recombinant chicken GbE reveal a penta-coordinated globin with an oxygen affinity of P(50) = 5.8 torrs at 25 °C and 15 torrs at 41 °C. Together these data suggest that GbE helps to sustain oxygen supply to the avian retina.
Project description:Tandem amino acid repeats are characterised by the consecutive recurrence of a single amino acid. They exhibit high rates of length mutations in addition to point mutations and have been proposed to be involved in genetic plasticity. Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) diversify in both morphology and physiology. The underlying mechanism is yet to be understood. In a previous phylogenomic analysis of reptiles, the density of tandem repeats in an anole lizard diverged heavily from that of the other reptiles. To gain further insight into the tandem amino acid repeats in squamates, we analysed the repeat content in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) proteome and compared the amino acid repeats in a large orthologous protein data set from six vertebrates (the Western clawed frog, the green anole, the Chinese softshell turtle, the zebra finch, mouse and human).Our results revealed that the number of amino acid repeats in the green anole exceeded those found in the other five species studied. Species-only repeats were found in high proportion in the green anole but not in the other five species, suggesting that the green anole had gained many amino acid repeats in either the Anolis or the squamate lineage. Since the amino acid repeat containing genes in the green anole were highly enriched in genes related to transcription and development, an important family of developmental genes, i.e., the Hox family, was further studied in a wide collection of squamates. Abundant amino acid repeats were also observed, implying the general high tolerance of amino acid repeats in squamates. A particular enrichment of amino acid repeats was observed in the central class Hox genes that are known to be responsible for defining cervical to lumbar regions.Our study suggests that the abundant amino acid repeats in the green anole, and possibly in other squamates, may play a role in increasing the genetic variability, and contribute to the evolutionary diversity of this clade.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The lancelet amphioxus (Cephalochordata) is a close relative of vertebrates and thus may enhance our understanding of vertebrate gene and genome evolution. In this context, the globins are one of the best studied models for gene family evolution. Previous biochemical studies have demonstrated the presence of an intracellular globin in notochord tissue and myotome of amphioxus, but the corresponding gene has not yet been identified. Genomic resources of Branchiostoma floridae now facilitate the identification, experimental confirmation and molecular evolutionary analysis of its globin gene repertoire. RESULTS:We show that B. floridae harbors at least fifteen paralogous globin genes, all of which reveal evidence of gene expression. The protein sequences of twelve globins display the conserved characteristics of a functional globin fold. In phylogenetic analyses, the amphioxus globin BflGb4 forms a common clade with vertebrate neuroglobins, indicating the presence of this nerve globin in cephalochordates. Orthology is corroborated by conserved syntenic linkage of BflGb4 and flanking genes. The kinetics of ligand binding of recombinantly expressed BflGb4 reveals that this globin is hexacoordinated with a high oxygen association rate, thus strongly resembling vertebrate neuroglobin. In addition, possible amphioxus orthologs of the vertebrate globin X lineage and of the myoglobin/cytoglobin/hemoglobin lineage can be identified, including one gene as a candidate for being expressed in notochord tissue. Genomic analyses identify conserved synteny between amphioxus globin-containing regions and the vertebrate β-globin locus, possibly arguing against a late transpositional origin of the β-globin cluster in vertebrates. Some amphioxus globin gene structures exhibit minisatellite-like tandem duplications of intron-exon boundaries ("mirages"), which may serve to explain the creation of novel intron positions within the globin genes. CONCLUSIONS:The identification of putative orthologs of vertebrate globin variants in the B. floridae genome underlines the importance of cephalochordates for elucidating vertebrate genome evolution. The present study facilitates detailed functional studies of the amphioxus globins in order to trace conserved properties and specific adaptations of respiratory proteins at the base of chordate evolution.
Project description:Many noncoding regions of genomes appear to be essential to genome function. Conservation of large numbers of noncoding sequences has been reported repeatedly among mammals but not thus far among birds and reptiles. By searching genomes of chicken (Gallus gallus), zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), and green anole (Anolis carolinensis), we quantified the conservation among birds and reptiles and across amniotes of long, conserved noncoding sequences (LCNS), which we define as sequences ?500 bp in length and exhibiting ?95% similarity between species. We found 4,294 LCNS shared between chicken and zebra finch and 574 LCNS shared by the two birds and Anolis. The percent of genomes comprised by LCNS in the two birds (0.0024%) is notably higher than the percent in mammals (<0.0003% to <0.001%), differences that we show may be explained in part by differences in genome-wide substitution rates. We reconstruct a large number of LCNS for the amniote ancestor (ca. 8,630) and hypothesize differential loss and substantial turnover of these sites in descendent lineages. By contrast, we estimated a small role for recruitment of LCNS via acquisition of novel functions over time. Across amniotes, LCNS are significantly enriched with transcription factor binding sites for many developmental genes, and 2.9% of LCNS shared between the two birds show evidence of expression in brain expressed sequence tag databases. These results show that the rate of retention of LCNS from the amniote ancestor differs between mammals and Reptilia (including birds) and that this may reflect differing roles and constraints in gene regulation.
Project description:The majority of bird species co-express two functionally distinct hemoglobin (Hb) isoforms in definitive erythrocytes as follows: HbA (the major adult Hb isoform, with ?-chain subunits encoded by the ?(A)-globin gene) and HbD (the minor adult Hb isoform, with ?-chain subunits encoded by the ?(D)-globin gene). The ?(D)-globin gene originated via tandem duplication of an embryonic ?-like globin gene in the stem lineage of tetrapod vertebrates, which suggests the possibility that functional differentiation between the HbA and HbD isoforms may be attributable to a retained ancestral character state in HbD that harkens back to a primordial, embryonic function. To investigate this possibility, we conducted a combined analysis of protein biochemistry and sequence evolution to characterize the structural and functional basis of Hb isoform differentiation in birds. Functional experiments involving purified HbA and HbD isoforms from 11 different bird species revealed that HbD is characterized by a consistently higher O(2) affinity in the presence of allosteric effectors such as organic phosphates and Cl(-) ions. In the case of both HbA and HbD, analyses of oxygenation properties under the two-state Monod-Wyman-Changeux allosteric model revealed that the pH dependence of Hb-O(2) affinity stems primarily from changes in the O(2) association constant of deoxy (T-state)-Hb. Ancestral sequence reconstructions revealed that the amino acid substitutions that distinguish the adult-expressed Hb isoforms are not attributable to the retention of an ancestral (pre-duplication) character state in the ?(D)-globin gene that is shared with the embryonic ?-like globin gene.
Project description:Globins are small heme proteins that play an important role in oxygen supply, but may also have other functions. Globins offer a unique opportunity to study the functional evolution of genes and proteins. We have characterized the globin repertoire of two different turtle species: the Chinese softshell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) and the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii). In the genomes of both species, we have identified eight distinct globin types: hemoglobin (Hb), myoglobin, neuroglobin, cytoglobin, globin E, globin X, globin Y, and androglobin. Therefore, along with the coelacanth, turtles are so far the only known vertebrates with a full globin repertoire. This fact allows for the first time a comparative analysis of the expression of all eight globins in a single species. Phylogenetic analysis showed an early divergence of neuroglobin and globin X before the radiation of vertebrates. Among the other globins, cytoglobin diverged first, and there is a close relationship between myoglobin and globin E; the position of globin Y is not resolved. The globin E gene was selectively lost in the green anole, and the genes coding for globin X and globin Y were deleted in chicken. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction experiments revealed that myoglobin, neuroglobin, and globin E are highly expressed with tissue-specific patterns, which are in line with their roles in the oxidative metabolism of the striated muscles, the brain, and the retina, respectively. Histochemical analyses showed high levels of globin E in the pigment epithelium of the eye. Globin E probably has a myoglobin-like role in transporting O2 across the pigment epithelium to supply in the metabolically highly active retina.
Project description:Cytochrome P450 CYP2 family enzymes are important in a variety of physiological and toxicological processes. CYP2 genes are highly diverse and orthologous relationships remain clouded among CYP2s in different taxa. Sequence and expression analyses of CYP2 genes in diapsids including birds and reptiles may improve understanding of this CYP family. We sought CYP2 genes in a liver cDNA library of the common cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), and in the genomes of other diapsids, chicken (Gallus gallus), zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), and anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), for phylogenetic and/or syntenic analyses. Screening of the cDNA library yielded four CYP2 cDNA clones that were phylogenetically classified as CYP2C45, CYP2J25, CYP2AC1, and CYP2AF1. There are numerous newly identified diapsid CYP2 genes that include genes related to the human CYP2Cs, CYP2D6, CYP2G2P, CYP2J2, CYP2R1, CYP2U1, CYP2W1, CYP2AB1P, and CYP2AC1P. Syntenic relationships show that avian CYP2Hs are orthologous to CYP2C62P in humans, CYP2C23 in rats, and Cyp2c44 in mice, and suggest that avian CYP2Hs, along with human CYP2C62P and mouse Cyp2c44, could be renamed as CYP2C23, based upon the nomenclature rules. Analysis of sequence and synteny identifies cormorant and finch CYPs that are apparent orthologs of phenobarbital-inducible chicken CYP2C45. Transcripts of all four cormorant CYP2 genes were detected in the liver of birds from Lake Biwa, Japan. The transcript levels bore no significant relationship to levels of chlorinated organic pollutants in the liver, including polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites. In contrast, concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorononanoic acid were negatively correlated with levels of CYP2C45 and/or CYP2J25, suggesting down-regulation of expression by these environmental pollutants. This study expands our view of the phylogeny and evolution of CYP2s, and provides evolutionary insight into the chemical regulation of CYP2 gene expression in diapsids including birds.