Q/R RNA editing of the AMPA receptor subunit 2 (GRIA2) transcript evolves no later than the appearance of cartilaginous fishes.
The amino acid, either a glutamine (Q) or an arginine (R), at the Q/R site of the pore-lining segment (M2) of a vertebrate AMPA receptor subunit critically influences the properties of the receptor. The R codon of the mammalian AMPA receptor subunit 2 (GRIA2) transcript is not coded by the chromosomal sequence, but is created by posttranscriptional RNA editing activities. On the other hand, the R codons of some teleost GRIA2 homologs are coded by chromosomal sequences. To elucidate the evolution of the utilization of Q/R RNA editing in modifying vertebrate GRIA2 transcripts, the GRIA2 genes of five fish species and an amphibian were studied. The putative hagfish GRIA2 homolog (hfGRIA2) encodes an R codon, whereas shark and bullfrog GRIA2 genes specify a Q codon at the genomic Q/R site. All gnathostoma GRIA2 genes possess an intron splitting the coding regions of M2 and the third hydrophobic region (M3). The intronic components required for Q/R RNA editing are preserved in all the Q-coding vertebrate GRIA2 genes but are absent from the R-coding GRIA2 genes. Interestingly, the hfGRIA2 is intronless, suggesting that hfGRIA2 is unlikely evolved from a Q/R editing-competent gene. Results of this study suggest that modification of GRIA2 transcripts by Q/R editing is most likely acquired after the separation of the Agnatha and Gnathostome. (+info)
Experimental infection of several fish species with the causative agent of Kuchijirosho (snout ulcer disease) derived from the tiger puffer Takifugu rubripes.
Kuchijirosho (snout ulcer disease) is a fatal epidemic disease which affects the tiger puffer, Takifugu rubripes, a commercial fish species in Japan and Korea. To assess the possibility that non-tiger puffer fish can serve as reservoirs of infection, 5 fish species were challenged by infection with the extracts of Kuchijirosho-affected brains from cultured tiger puffer: grass puffer T. niphobles, fine-patterned puffer T. poecilonotus, panther puffer T. pardalis, red sea bream Pagrus major, and black rockfish Sebastes schlegeli. When slightly irritated, all these species, especially the puffer fish, exhibited typical signs of Kuchijirosho, i.e., erratic swimming, biting together and bellying out (swelling of belly), as generally observed in tiger puffers affected by Kuchijirosho. Although the mortalities of the 2 non-puffer species were lower, injection of the extracts prepared from the brains of both inoculated fish into tiger puffer resulted in death, indicating that the inoculated fish used in this experiment have the potential to be infected with the Kuchijirosho agent. Condensations of nuclei or chromatin in the large nerve cells, which is a major characteristic of Kuchijirosho, were histopathologically observed to some extent in the brains of all kinds of puffer fish species infected. These findings suggest that the virus can spread horizontally among wild and cultured puffers and even among fishes belonging to different orders. (+info)
The activation and maintenance of Pax2 expression at the mid-hindbrain boundary is controlled by separate enhancers.
Pax2 is the earliest known gene to be expressed throughout the mid-hindbrain region in late gastrula embryos of the mouse and is essential for the formation of an organizing center at the midbrain-hindbrain boundary (MHB), which controls midbrain and cerebellum development. We have used transgenic analysis to identify three MHB-specific enhancers in the upstream region of the mouse Pax2 gene. A 120 bp enhancer (at -3.7 kb) in cooperation with the endogenous promoter was sufficient to induce transgene expression in the anterior neural plate of late gastrula embryos, while it was already inactivated again at the MHB during somitogenesis. The activity of this early enhancer was severely reduced by mutation of three homeodomain-binding sites, two of which are part of a recognition sequence for POU homeodomain proteins. Oct3/4 (Pou5f1), the mouse ortholog of zebrafish Pou2, efficiently bound to this sequence, suggesting its involvement in the regulation of the early Pax2 enhancer. Starting at the four-somite stage, Pax2 is expressed at the MHB under the control of two enhancers located at -4.1 kb and -2.8 kb. The distal late enhancer contains a 102 bp sequence that is not only highly conserved between the mouse and pufferfish Pax2 genes, but also contributes to the enhancer activity of both genes in transgenic mice. The proximal 410 bp enhancer, which overlaps with a kidney-specific regulatory element, contains a functional Pax2/5/8-binding site and thus maintains Pax2 expression at the MHB under auto- and cross-regulatory control by Pax2/5/8 proteins. Importantly, the early and proximal late enhancers are not only sufficient but also necessary for expression at the MHB in the genomic context of the Pax2 locus, as their specific deletion interfered with correct temporal expression of a large Pax2 BAC transgene. Hence, separate enhancers under the control of distinct transcription factors activate and maintain Pax2 expression at the MHB. (+info)
Xena, a full-length basal retroelement from tetraodontid fish.
Mobile genetic elements are ubiquitous throughout the eukaryote superkingdom. We have sequenced a highly unusual full-length retroelement from the Fugu fish, Takifugu rubripes. This element, which we have named Xena, is similar in structure and sequence to the Penelope retroelement from Drosophila virilis and consists of a single long open reading frame containing a reverse transcriptase domain flanked by identical direct long terminal repeat (LTR) sequences. These LTRs show an organization similar to the terminal repeats already described in the Penelope retrotransposon of Drosophila but are structurally and functionally distinct from the LTRs carried by LTR-retrotransposons. In view of their distinctness, we refer to these repeats as PLTRs (Penelope-LTRs). Whereas the element contains a reverse transcriptase, no other domains or motifs commonly associated with retroelements are present. In the full-length Fugu element, the 5' direct PLTR is preceded by an inverted PLTR fragment. Additional elements, many showing various degrees of deletion, are described from the Fugu genome and from that of the freshwater pufferfish Tetraodon nigroviridis. Many of these additional elements are also preceded by inverted PLTR sequences. Xena-like elements are also described from the genomes of several other organisms. The Penelope-Xena lineage is apparently a basal group within the retrotransposons and therefore represents an evolutionarily important class of retroelement. (+info)
Energetics of median and paired fin swimming, body and caudal fin swimming, and gait transition in parrotfish (Scarus schlegeli) and triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus).
To determine the energetic costs of rigid-body, median or paired-fin (MPF) swimming versus undulatory, body-caudal fin (BCF) swimming, we measured oxygen consumption as a function of swimming speed in two MPF swimming specialists, Schlegel's parrotfish and Picasso triggerfish. The parrotfish swam exclusively with the pectoral fins at prolonged swimming speeds up to 3.2 total lengths per second (L s(-1); 30 min critical swimming speed, U(crit)). At higher speeds, gait transferred to a burst-and-coast BCF swimming mode that resulted in rapid fatigue. The triggerfish swam using undulations of the soft dorsal and anal fins up to 1.5 L s(-1), beyond which BCF undulations were recruited intermittently. BCF swimming was used continuously above 3.5 L s(-1), and was accompanied by synchronous undulations of the dorsal and anal fins. The triggerfish were capable of high, prolonged swimming speeds of up to 4.1 L s(-1) (30 min U(crit)). In both species, the rates of increase in oxygen consumption with swimming speed were higher during BCF swimming than during rigid-body MPF swimming. Our results indicate that, for these species, undulatory swimming is energetically more costly than rigid-body swimming, and therefore support the hypothesis that MPF swimming is more efficient. In addition, use of the BCF gait at higher swimming speed increased the cost of transport in both species beyond that predicted for MPF swimming at the same speeds. This suggests that, unlike for terrestrial locomotion, gait transition in fishes does not occur to reduce energetic costs, but to increase recruitable muscle mass and propulsive surfaces. The appropriate use of the power and exponential functions to model swimming energetics is also discussed. (+info)
Neurologic illness associated with eating Florida pufferfish, 2002.
Since January 1, 2002, human illness after eating pufferfish caught in waters near Titusville, Florida, has been reported (Figure 1). The illnesses were manifested by neurologic symptoms consistent with exposure to paralytic shellfish toxins. Laboratory analysis in early April confirmed the presence of saxitoxin in uneaten pufferfish. This report presents selected case examples and summarizes all cases reported to the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (TESS). (+info)
Transcriptional regulation of the stem cell leukemia gene (SCL)--comparative analysis of five vertebrate SCL loci.
The stem cell leukemia (SCL) gene encodes a bHLH transcription factor with a pivotal role in hematopoiesis and vasculogenesis and a pattern of expression that is highly conserved between mammals and zebrafish. Here we report the isolation and characterization of the zebrafish SCL locus together with the identification of three neighboring genes, IER5, MAP17, and MUPP1. This region spans 68 kb and comprises the longest zebrafish genomic sequence currently available for comparison with mammalian, chicken, and pufferfish sequences. Our data show conserved synteny between zebrafish and mammalian SCL and MAP17 loci, thus suggesting the likely genomic domain necessary for the conserved pattern of SCL expression. Long-range comparative sequence analysis/phylogenetic footprinting was used to identify noncoding conserved sequences representing candidate transcriptional regulatory elements. The SCL promoter/enhancer, exon 1, and the poly(A) region were highly conserved, but no homology to other known mouse SCL enhancers was detected in the zebrafish sequence. A combined homology/structure analysis of the poly(A) region predicted consistent structural features, suggesting a conserved functional role in mRNA regulation. Analysis of the SCL promoter/enhancer revealed five motifs, which were conserved from zebrafish to mammals, and each of which is essential for the appropriate pattern or level of SCL transcription. (+info)
Subfunctionalization of duplicate mitf genes associated with differential degeneration of alternative exons in fish.
The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) exists in at least four isoforms. These are generated in higher vertebrates using alternative 5' exons and promoters from a single gene. Two separate genes (mitf-m and mitf-b), however, are present in different teleost fish species including the poeciliid Xiphophorus, the pufferfishes Fugu rubripes and Tetraodon nigroviridis, and the zebrafish Danio rerio. Fish proteins MITF-m and MITF-b correspond at both the structural and the expression levels to one particular bird/mammalian MITF isoform. In the teleost lineage subfunctionalization of mitf genes after duplication at least 100 million years ago is associated with the degeneration of alternative exons and, probably, regulatory elements and promoters. For example, a remnant of the first exon specific for MITF-m is detected within the pufferfish gene encoding MITF-b. Retracing the evolutionary history of mitf genes in vertebrates uncovered the differential recruitment of new introns specific for either the teleost or the bird/mammalian lineage. (+info)