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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2006;112(3-4):296-306.

The amphibian globin gene repertoire as revealed by the Xenopus genome.

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Institute of Molecular Genetics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


The draft genome sequence of the Western clawed frog Xenopus (Silurana) tropicalis facilitates the identification, expression analysis and phylogenetic classification of the amphibian globin gene repertoire. Frog and mammalian neuroglobin display about 67% protein sequence identity, with the expected predominant expression in frog brain and eye. Frog and mammalian cytoglobins share about 69% of their amino acids, but the frog protein lacks the mammalian-type extension at the C-terminus. Like in mammals, X. tropicalis cytoglobin is expressed in many organs including neural tissue. Neuroglobin and cytoglobin genomic regions are syntenically conserved in all vertebrate classes. Frog and fish globin X show only 57% amino acid identity, but gene synteny analysis confirms orthology. The expression pattern of X. laevis globin X differs from that in fish, with a prominent expression in the eye and weak expression in most other examined tissues. Globin X is possibly present as two paralogous copies in X. tropicalis, with one copy showing transition stages of non-functionalization. The amphibian genome contains a previously unknown globin type (tentatively named 'globin Y') which is expressed in a broad range of tissues and is distantly related to the cytoglobin lineage. The globin Y gene is linked to a cluster of larval and adult hemoglobin alpha and beta genes which contains substantially more paralogous hemoglobin gene copies than previously published. Database and gene synteny analyses confirm the absence of a myoglobin gene in X. tropicalis.

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