Comparative sequence analysis of the Gdf6 locus reveals a duplicon-mediated chromosomal rearrangement in rodents and rapidly diverging coding and regulatory sequences.

Mortlock DP, Portnoy ME, Chandler RL, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Green ED
Genomics. 2004 84 (5): 814-23

PMID: 15475260 · DOI:10.1016/j.ygeno.2004.07.009

Duplicated segments of genomic DNA can catalyze both gene evolution and chromosome evolution. Here we describe a rodent-specific duplication involving the Uqcrb gene, a cis-regulatory element for the Gdf6 gene, and a chromosomal rearrangement. Comparisons of Gdf6 sequences from several placental mammals and platypus revealed many strongly conserved regions flanking Gdf6 and the adjacent Uqcrb gene. However, in rat and mouse a synteny break resides approximately 70 kb upstream of Gdf6, such that Gdf6 and Uqcrb are on separate chromosomes. In rodents, Gdf6 and Uqcrb are both associated with homologous duplicons that may have catalyzed a rearrangement separating the two genes. However, the duplicon spanned both Uqcrb and a cis-regulatory element that controls Gdf6 transcription in limb skeletal joints. In mouse and rat, one duplicon now contains a degrading Uqcrb pseudogene but retains strongly conserved sequences within a Gdf6 enhancer. In contrast, the other duplicon has retained the intact Uqcrb gene and (in mouse) a copy of the Gdf6 enhancer that has acquired novel mutations. The duplicons have separately maintained distinct functions of the ancestral sequence, consistent with a "subfunction partitioning" evolutionary model. These findings also provide an example of a duplication that mobilized a tissue-specific enhancer from its cognate gene, and new evidence that duplications can be associated with chromosomal rearrangements. Furthermore, these data suggest that segmental duplications could lead to evolution of novel gene expression patterns via diversification of regulatory elements.

MeSH Terms (16)

Animals Base Sequence Bone Morphogenetic Proteins Carrier Proteins Gene Duplication Gene Rearrangement Growth Differentiation Factor 6 Humans Mice Models, Genetic Molecular Sequence Data Muridae Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid Sequence Alignment Sequence Analysis, DNA Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid

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