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      Structure and expression of two nuclear receptor genes in marsupials: insights into the evolution of the antisense overlap between the α-thyroid hormone receptor and Rev-erbα

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          Abstract

          Background

          Alternative processing of α-thyroid hormone receptor (TRα, NR1A1) mRNAs gives rise to two functionally antagonistic nuclear receptors: TRα1, the α-type receptor, and TRα2, a non-hormone binding variant that is found only in mammals. TRα2 shares an unusual antisense coding overlap with mRNA for Rev-erbα (NR1D1), another nuclear receptor protein. In this study we examine the structure and expression of these genes in the gray short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, in comparison with that of eutherian mammals and three other marsupial species, Didelphis virginiana, Potorous tridactylus and Macropus eugenii, in order to understand the evolution and regulatory role of this antisense overlap.

          Results

          The sequence, expression and genomic organization of mRNAs encoding TRα1 and Rev-erbα are very similar in the opossum and eutherian mammals. However, the sequence corresponding to the TRα2 coding region appears truncated by almost 100 amino acids. While expression of TRα1 and Rev-erbα was readily detected in all tissues of M. domestica ages 0 days to 18 weeks, TRα2 mRNA was not detected in any tissue or stage examined. These results contrast with the widespread and abundant expression of TRα2 in rodents and other eutherian mammals. To examine requirements for alternative splicing of TRα mRNAs, a series of chimeric minigenes was constructed. Results show that the opossum TRα2-specific 5' splice site sequence is fully competent for splicing but the sequence homologous to the TRα2 3' splice site is not, even though the marsupial sequences are remarkably similar to core splice site elements in rat.

          Conclusions

          Our results strongly suggest that the variant nuclear receptor isoform, TRα2, is not expressed in marsupials and that the antisense overlap between TRα and Rev-erbα thus is unique to eutherian mammals. Further investigation of the TRα and Rev-erbα genes in marsupial and eutherian species promises to yield additional insight into the physiological function of TRα2 and the role of the associated antisense overlap with Rev-erbα in regulating expression of these genes.

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          Most cited references 65

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          The transcriptional landscape of the mammalian genome.

          This study describes comprehensive polling of transcription start and termination sites and analysis of previously unidentified full-length complementary DNAs derived from the mouse genome. We identify the 5' and 3' boundaries of 181,047 transcripts with extensive variation in transcripts arising from alternative promoter usage, splicing, and polyadenylation. There are 16,247 new mouse protein-coding transcripts, including 5154 encoding previously unidentified proteins. Genomic mapping of the transcriptome reveals transcriptional forests, with overlapping transcription on both strands, separated by deserts in which few transcripts are observed. The data provide a comprehensive platform for the comparative analysis of mammalian transcriptional regulation in differentiation and development.
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            RNA maps reveal new RNA classes and a possible function for pervasive transcription.

            Significant fractions of eukaryotic genomes give rise to RNA, much of which is unannotated and has reduced protein-coding potential. The genomic origins and the associations of human nuclear and cytosolic polyadenylated RNAs longer than 200 nucleotides (nt) and whole-cell RNAs less than 200 nt were investigated in this genome-wide study. Subcellular addresses for nucleotides present in detected RNAs were assigned, and their potential processing into short RNAs was investigated. Taken together, these observations suggest a novel role for some unannotated RNAs as primary transcripts for the production of short RNAs. Three potentially functional classes of RNAs have been identified, two of which are syntenically conserved and correlate with the expression state of protein-coding genes. These data support a highly interleaved organization of the human transcriptome.
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              The orphan nuclear receptor REV-ERBalpha controls circadian transcription within the positive limb of the mammalian circadian oscillator.

              Mammalian circadian rhythms are generated by a feedback loop in which BMAL1 and CLOCK, players of the positive limb, activate transcription of the cryptochrome and period genes, components of the negative limb. Bmal1 and Per transcription cycles display nearly opposite phases and are thus governed by different mechanisms. Here, we identify the orphan nuclear receptor REV-ERBalpha as the major regulator of cyclic Bmal1 transcription. Circadian Rev-erbalpha expression is controlled by components of the general feedback loop. Thus, REV-ERBalpha constitutes a molecular link through which components of the negative limb drive antiphasic expression of components of the positive limb. While REV-ERBalpha influences the period length and affects the phase-shifting properties of the clock, it is not required for circadian rhythm generation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Mol Biol
                BMC Molecular Biology
                BioMed Central
                1471-2199
                2010
                10 December 2010
                : 11
                : 97
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological Sciences, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA
                [2 ]Current address: Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA
                [3 ]Current address: Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
                [4 ]Department of Genetics and Southwest National Primate Research Center, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX, USA
                Article
                1471-2199-11-97
                10.1186/1471-2199-11-97
                3047299
                21143985
                Copyright ©2010 Rindfleisch et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (<url>http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0</url>), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Molecular biology

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