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      Characteristics of a Novel Tyrosinase Gene Involved in the Formation of Shell Color in Hard Clam Meretrix meretrix

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          Hard clam ( Meretrix meretrix) has a rich shell color variation among individuals from light yellow to bluish gray, brown red, and black, which may associating with melanin. Tyrosinase (Tyr) is a key rate-limiting enzyme for the biosynthesis of melanin, which affects the dark color of animal skin, hair, fur, scales and feathers. Here, we isolated and characterized the full-length cDNA sequence of M. meretrix tyrosinase gene ( MmTyr) which encodes a protein with 689 amino acids. Sequence characteristics and phylogenetic analysis showed that there are a variety of Tyr genes in mollusks, which can be divided into different categories. The abundance of MmTyr transcript was detected in six tissues including mantle, adductor muscle, digestive gland, foot, gill and siphon of adult M. meretrix with qRT-PCR. The results showed a higher expression specifically in the mantle, digestive gland and siphon, which was consistent with the phenotypic color difference. In the embryos and larvae at different developmental stages, high expression was found in the trochophore larvae and juvenile clams. Among three M. meretrix strains with different shell colors, the expression level of MmTyr and total melanin content in the mantle edge both showed significant differences, suggesting that MmTyr is involved in the formation of shell color. The results obtained in this study will improve our understanding of molluscan tyrosinase gene function and molecular mechanism of shell color pattern determination.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Ocean University of China
          Science Press and Springer (China )
          20 December 2019
          01 February 2020
          : 19
          : 1
          : 183-190
          1Zhejiang Key Laboratory of Aquatic Germplasm Resources, College of Biological & Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang Wanli University, Ningbo 315100, China
          2Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Marine Biotechnology, Jiangsu Ocean University, Lianyungang 222000, China
          Author notes
          *Corresponding author: DONG Yinghui, E-mail: dongyinghui118@
          Copyright © Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2020.

          The copyright to this article, including any graphic elements therein (e.g. illustrations, charts, moving images), is hereby assigned for good and valuable consideration to the editorial office of Journal of Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer effective if and when the article is accepted for publication and to the extent assignable if assignability is restricted for by applicable law or regulations (e.g. for U.S. government or crown employees).

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