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J Biol Chem. 1998 Dec 18;273(51):34358-69.

Evolution, organization, and expression of alpha-tubulin genes in the antarctic fish Notothenia coriiceps. Adaptive expansion of a gene family by recent gene duplication, inversion, and divergence.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

To assess the organization and expression of tubulin genes in ectothermic vertebrates, we have chosen the Antarctic yellowbelly rockcod, Notothenia coriiceps, as a model system. The genome of N. coriiceps contains approximately 15 distinct DNA fragments complementary to alpha-tubulin cDNA probes, which suggests that the alpha-tubulins of this cold-adapted fish are encoded by a substantial multigene family. From an N. coriiceps testicular DNA library, we isolated a 13.8-kilobase pair genomic clone that contains a tightly linked cluster of three alpha-tubulin genes, designated NcGTbalphaa, NcGTbalphab, and NcGTbalphac. Two of these genes, NcGTbalphaa and NcGTbalphab, are linked in head-to-head (5' to 5') orientation with approximately 500 bp separating their start codons, whereas NcGTbalphaa and NcGTbalphac are linked tail-to-tail (3' to 3') with approximately 2.5 kilobase pairs between their stop codons. The exons, introns, and untranslated regions of the three alpha-tubulin genes are strikingly similar in sequence, and the intergenic region between the alphaa and alphab genes is significantly palindromic. Thus, this cluster probably evolved by duplication, inversion, and divergence of a common ancestral alpha-tubulin gene. Expression of the NcGTbalphac gene is cosmopolitan, with its mRNA most abundant in hematopoietic, neural, and testicular tissues, whereas NcGTbalphaa and NcGTbalphab transcripts accumulate primarily in brain. The differential expression of the three genes is consistent with distinct suites of putative promoter and enhancer elements. We propose that cold adaptation of the microtubule system of Antarctic fishes is based in part on expansion of the alpha- and beta-tubulin gene families to ensure efficient synthesis of tubulin polypeptides.

PMID:
9852102
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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