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Genomics. 2006 Mar;87(3):366-81. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Comparative genomic and expression analysis of the conserved NTPDase gene family in Xenopus.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Warwick University, Coventry, CV47AL, UK.


The purines, ATP and adenosine, are important signaling molecules in the nervous system. ATP is sequentially degraded to adenosine by the ectonucleotidase proteins. The NTPDase (or CD39) family is a subfamily of these enzymes, which consists of nine members in mammals. In Xenopus embryos, we have shown that ATP, and its antagonist adenosine, regulate the rundown of swimming and we therefore proposed that ectonucleotidase proteins are key regulators of locomotor activity. Here, we report the cloning of all nine members of the NTPDase family in Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis. Our phylogenetic analysis shows that this family is highly conserved between the frog species and also during vertebrate evolution. In the adult frog, NTPDase genes are broadly expressed. During development, all NTPDase genes, except for NTPDase8, are expressed and display a distinct specific expression pattern, suggesting potentially different functions of these proteins during embryogenesis of X. laevis.

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