Evolution and developmental expression of nuclear receptor genes in the ascidian Herdmania.

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Abstract or Description

Nuclear receptors are a superfamily of metazoan transcription factors that have been shown to be involved in a wide range of developmental and physiological processes. A PCR-based survey of genomic DNA and developmental cDNAs from the ascidian Herdmania identifies eight members of this multigene family. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses reveal that these ascidian nuclear receptors are representative of five of the six previously defined nuclear receptor subfamilies and are apparent homologues of retinoic acid [NR1B], retinoid X [NR2B], peroxisome proliferator-activated [NR1C], estrogen related [NR3B], neuron-derived orphan (NOR) [NR4A3], nuclear orphan [NR4A], TR2 orphan [NR2C1] and COUP orphan [NR2F3] receptors. Phylogenetic analyses that include the ascidian genes produce topologically distinct trees that suggest a redefinition of some nuclear receptor subfamilies. These trees also suggest that extensive gene duplication occurred after the vertebrates split from invertebrate chordates. These ascidian nuclear receptor genes are expressed differentially during embryogenesis and metamorphosis.


Published In

The International journal of developmental biology, 46, 4, 687-692.