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J Mol Med (Berl). 2012 May;90(5):495-508. doi: 10.1007/s00109-012-0894-z. Epub 2012 Apr 14.

Emergence and evolution of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.

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1
Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch, Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is not the sole, but perhaps the most important volume regulator in vertebrates. To gain insights into the function and evolution of its components, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of its main related genes. We found that important parts of the system began to appear with primitive chordates and tunicates and that all major components were present at the divergence of bony fish, with the exception of the Mas receptor. The Mas receptor first appears after the bony-fish/tetrapod divergence. This phase of evolutionary innovation happened about 400 million years ago. We found solid evidence that angiotensinogen made its appearance in cartilage fish. The presence of several RAAS genes in organisms that lack all the components shows that these genes have had other ancestral functions outside of their current role. Our analysis underscores the utility of sequence comparisons in the study of evolution. Such analyses may provide new hypotheses as to how and why in today's population an increased activity of the RAAS frequently leads to faulty salt and volume regulation, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases, opening up new and clinically important research areas for evolutionary medicine.

PMID:
22527880
PMCID:
PMC3354321
DOI:
10.1007/s00109-012-0894-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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