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Dev Biol. 1989 Sep;135(1):53-65.

Structure and tissue-specific developmental expression of a sea urchin arylsulfatase gene.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, New York 14627.


Arylsulfatases are a group of enzymes that remove sulfate moieties from a diverse set of substrates including glycoproteins, steroids, and cerebrosides. We have isolated recombinant cDNA clones corresponding to an arylsulfatase (SpARS) message that encodes an abundant protein of pluteus larvae of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Although vertebrate arylsulfatases have broad tissue distributions, in situ hybridization with a probe for SpARS shows that the sea urchin message accumulates in the embryo only in the single cell type of aboral ectoderm and its precursors. The message is first detectable by RNase protection assays around hatching blastula stage and accumulates through pluteus larva stage. The open reading frame of cDNA clones is 1701 nt long and encodes a deduced protein with a predicted molecular mass of 61 kDa. Analysis of corresponding genomic DNA clones reveals that the pre-mRNA contains six exons. Consistent with the fact that arylsulfatase enzyme activity is extracellular, this polypeptide has a hydrophobic leader sequence and three potential glycosylation sites. Furthermore, hybridization in situ shows that in blastulae arylsulfatase message is preferentially concentrated around nuclei at the basal sides of cells. The S. purpuratus sequence is very similar to that recently reported for the same enzyme from Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus and 30% of the amino acid residues are also identical to those of both human arylsulfatase C (steroid sulfatase) and arylsulfatase A. Sequence relationships among these four mRNAs suggest that, assuming equal rates of evolution, the duplication separating the human genes occurred at about the time of separation of the echinoderm and vertebrate lineages.

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