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Genetica. 2010 Jul;138(7):805-12. doi: 10.1007/s10709-010-9462-z. Epub 2010 May 9.

Identification, chromosomal mapping and conserved synteny of porcine Argonaute family of genes.

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Department of Genetics and Center for Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, People's Republic of China.


The Argonaute proteins are recently identified and evolutionarily conserved family with two subfamilies Ago and Piwi, which play important roles in small RNA pathways. Most species have eight Argonaute members in their genomes, ranging from 1 to 27. Here we report identification of six Argonaute genes in pig, four members of the Ago subfamily (Ago1, Ago2, Ago3 and Ago4) and two members of the Piwi subfamily (Piwil1 and Piwil2), which were predicted to encode proteins of 857, 860, 860, 861, 861 and 985 amino acids, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the porcine Ago and Piwi genes were clustered into relevant branch of mammalian Argonaute members. The porcine Ago4- Ago1-Ago3 genes are linked together at the p12 of the chromosome 6, while Ago2 is located at the p15 of the chromosome 4. The porcine Piwil1 and Piwil2 are mapped together onto the chromosome 14, at the q14 and q11 respectively. Comparatively mapping of the Argonaute members on chromosomes showed that linkage group of the Ago4-Ago1-Ago3 and several neighborhood genes is evolutionarily conserved from chicken to mammals. The genes Piwil1 and Piwil2 are separated onto different chromosomes from fish to mammals, with exception to this tendency in both pig and stickleback, indicating an opposite tendency of recombination together or non-disjunction of these two genes during speciation. Further expression analysis showed an ubiquitous expression pattern of Ago members, oppositely a restricted expression pattern in gonads of the Piwi members, suggesting distinct potential roles of the porcine Argonaute genes.

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