Rapid evolution of a primate sperm protein: relaxation of functional constraint or positive Darwinian selection? (1/548)

Protamines are arginine-rich proteins that replace histones and bind sperm DNA during spermatogenesis in vertebrates. Previous studies have shown that protamine exons evolve faster than does the protamine intron. It has been suggested that this is a result of a relaxation of functional constraint. However, a more likely explanation is that the evolutionary rate of exons has been accelerated by positive Darwinian selection, because introns are generally believed to evolve in a neutral fashion. Therefore, we examined the possibility that positive selection has been acting on the protamine genes of three groups of placental mammals: primates (hominoids and Old World monkeys), rodents (mice, rats, and guinea pigs), and pecoran ruminants (deer and bovids). We found that the nucleotide substitution rate at nonsynonymous sites is significantly higher than the rate at synonymous and intron sites for protamine P1 of hominoids and Old World monkeys. This result suggests that positive selection has been operating on protamine P1 of these species. In contrast, no clear-cut evidence of positive selection was found for protamine P1 of ruminants and rodents or protamine P2 of primates. The agent of positive selection on primate protamine P1 remains unknown, though sperm competition is a possibility. Further investigations on the function and intraspecific polymorphism of this protein are needed in order to identify the selection agent.  (+info)

Partial nuclear localization of a bovine phosphoprotein, BCNT, that includes a region derived from a LINE repetitive sequence in Ruminantia. (2/548)

BCNT, named after Bucentaur, is a protein that contains a 324-amino-acid region derived from part of a long interspersed DNA sequence element (LINE) in Ruminantia. However, the unique portion is completely missing in human and mouse BCNTs. Since no significant information on their function has been obtained by homology search, we at first examined cellular localization and biochemical characteristics of bovine BCNT to get a hint on its function. Subcellular fractionation and immunohistochemical analyses using a normal bovine epithelial cell line and bovine brain revealed that a significant amount of bovine BCNT is localized in the nuclei, while the major portion is present in the cytosol. Furthermore, it was shown that bovine BCNT is a phosphoprotein and that both bovine and human BCNTs are phosphorylated by casein kinase II in vitro. These results show that BCNTs consist of a unique family, probably a substrate of casein kinase II, which may contribute further to the understanding of gene evolution.  (+info)

Evolutionary affinities of the enigmatic saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) in the context of the molecular phylogeny of Bovidae. (3/548)

To elucidate the systematic status of the enigmatic saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a new bovid genus recently discovered in Vietnam, and to investigate phylogenetic relationships within the family Bovidae, four distinct DNA markers were sequenced. Complete mitochondrial cytochrome b (1143 bp) and 12S rRNA (956 bp) genes and non-coding regions from the nuclear genes for aromatase cytochrome P-450 (199 bp) and lactoferrin (338 bp) have been compared for 25 bovid species and three Cervidae and Antilocapridae outgroups. Independent and/or combined analyses of the four nucleotide matrices through maximum parsimony and maximum-likelihood methods indicated that Bovidae consists of two major lineages, i.e. Bovinac which contains the tribes Bovini, Boselaphini and Tragelaphini, and Antilopinae which encompasses all other bovids. Within Bovinae, the tribe Bovini is divided into buffalo Bovini (Bubalus and Syncerus) and cattle Bovini (Bos and Bison) and Tragelaphini are possibly related to Boselaphini. Pseudoryx is shown to be (i) robustly nested within Bovinae; (ii) strongly associated with Bovini; and (iii) tentatively sharing a sister-group relationship with cattle Bovini. Within Antilopinae, three robust clades are in evidence: (i) Hippotragus and Damaliscus are linked to Ovis; (ii) Aepyceros joins Neotragus; and (iii) Cephalophus clusters with Oreotragus.  (+info)

Genealogy of families of SINEs in cetaceans and artiodactyls: the presence of a huge superfamily of tRNA(Glu)-derived families of SINEs. (4/548)

Several novel (sub)families of SINEs were isolated from the genomes of cetaceans and artiodactyls, and their sequences were determined. From comparisons of diagnostic nucleotides among the short interspersed repetitive elements (SINEs) in these (sub)families, we were able to draw the following conclusions. (1) After the divergence of the suborder Tylopoda (camels), the CHRS family of SINEs was newly created from tRNA(Glu) in a common ancestor of the lineages of the Suina (pigs and peccaries), Ruminantia (cows and deer), and Cetacea (whales and dolphins). (2) After divergence of the Suina lineage, the CHR-1 SINE and the CHR-2 SINE were generated successively in a common ancestor of ruminants, hippopotamuses, and cetaceans. (3) In the Ruminantia lineage, the Bov-tA SINE was generated by recombination between the CHR-2 SINE and Bov-A. (4) In the Suina lineage, the CHRS-S SINE was generated from the CHRS SINE. (5) In this latter lineage, the PRE-1 family of SINEs was created by insertion of part of the gene for tRNA(Arg) into the 5' region of the CHRS-S family. The distribution of a particular family of SINEs among species of artiodactyls and cetaceans confirmed the most recent conclusion for paraphyly of the order Artiodactyla. The present study also revealed that a newly created tRNA(Glu)-derived family of SINEs was subjected both to recombination with different units and to duplication of an internal sequence within a SINE unit to generate, during evolution, a huge superfamily of tRNA(Glu)-related families of SINEs that are now found in the genomes of artiodactyls and cetaceans.  (+info)

Evolution of oligomeric proteins. The unusual case of a dimeric ribonuclease. (5/548)

The model system made up of a monomeric and a dimeric ribonuclease of the pancreatic-type superfamily has recently attracted the attention of investigators interested in the evolution of oligomeric proteins. In this system, bovine pancreatic ribonuclease (RNase A) is the monomeric prototype, and bovine seminal ribonuclease (BS-RNase) is the dimeric counterpart. However, this evolutionary case is unusual, as BS-RNase is the only dimeric member of the whole large superfamily comprising more than 100 identified members from amphibia, aves, reptilia and mammalia. Furthermore, although the seminal-type RNase gene can be traced back to the divergence of the ruminants, it is expressed only in a single species (Bos taurus). These unusual findings are discussed, as well as previous hypotheses on the evolution of seminal RNase. Furthermore, a new 'minimalist' hypothesis is proposed, in line with basic principles of structural biology and molecular evolution.  (+info)

An unusual form of purifying selection in a sperm protein. (6/548)

Protamines are small, highly basic DNA-binding proteins found in the sperm of animals. Interestingly, the proportion of arginine residues in one type of protamine, protamine P1, is about 50% in mammals. Upon closer examination, it was found that both the total number of amino acids and the positions of arginine residues have changed considerably during the course of mammalian evolution. This evolutionary pattern suggests that protamine P1 is under an unusual form of purifying selection, in which the high proportion of arginine residues is maintained but the positions may vary. In this case, we would expect that the rate of nonsynonymous substitution is not particularly low compared with that of synonymous substitution, despite purifying selection. We would also expect that the selection for a high arginine content results in a high frequency of the nucleotide G in the coding region of this gene, because all six arginine codons contain at least one G. These expectations were confirmed in our study of mammalian protamine genes. Analysis of nonmammalian vertebrate genes also showed essentially the same patterns of evolutionary changes, suggesting that this unusual form of purifying selection has been active since the origin of bony vertebrates. The protamine gene of an insect species shows similar patterns, although its purifying selection is less intense. These observations suggest that arginine-rich selection is a general feature of protamine evolution. The driving force for arginine-rich selection appears to be the DNA-binding function of protamine P1 and an interaction with a protein kinase in the fertilized egg.  (+info)

Identification and characterization of anaerobic gut fungi using molecular methodologies based on ribosomal ITS1 and 185 rRNA. (7/548)

The gut fungi are an unusual group of zoosporic fungi occupying a unique ecological niche, the anaerobic environment of the rumen. They exhibit two basic forms, with nuclear migration throughout the hyphal mass for polycentric species and with concentration of nuclear material in a zoosporangium for monocentric species. Differentiation between isolates of these fungi is difficult using conventional techniques. In this study, DNA-based methodologies were used to examine the relationships within and between two genera of monocentric gut fungi gathered from various geographical locations and host animals. The ribosomal ITS1 sequence from 16 mono- and 4 polycentric isolates was PCR-amplified and sequenced; the sequences obtained were aligned with published sequences and phylogenetic analyses were performed. These analyses clearly differentiate between the two genera and reflect the previously published physiological conclusions that Neocallimastix spp. constitute a more closely related genus than the relatively divergent genus Piromyces. The analyses place two type species N. frontalis and N. hurleyensis together but, contrary to a recent suggestion in the literature, place them apart from the other agreed species N. patriciarum. In situ hybridization and slot-blotting were investigated as potential methods for detection of and differentiation between monocentric gut fungi. DNA slot-blot analysis using ribosomal sequences is able to differentiate between gut fungal genera and thus has considerable potential for use in ecological studies of these organisms.  (+info)

Genome mapping in ruminants and map locations for genes influencing reproduction. (8/548)

Genetic maps provide a critical link between genes and phenotypes and are essential tools in the search for the genetic basis of variation in reproductive traits. Genes coding for hormones, growth factors, receptors, binding proteins, transcription factors and enzymes that influence the development and function of the reproductive axis have been assigned to genetic maps of ruminants and locations can be found in the respective genome databases. In addition, comparative information on gene structure and map location will help define the functions of essential genes. Gene locations from other species can be used because of extensive comparative links among mammalian gene maps. Large-scale projects to sequence genes and the ability to map these genes in parallel in radiation hybrid panels of different species will greatly improve the maps and our ability to translate between them. Cloning the genes responsible for genetic differences in fertility and fecundity in ruminants is likely to provide valuable clues to understanding ovarian function and germ cell development.  (+info)