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BMC evolutionary biology

The evolutionary conservation of the A Disintegrin-like and Metalloproteinase domain with Thrombospondin-1 motif metzincins across vertebrate species and their expression in teleost zebrafish.


PMID 25879701

Abstract

The A Disintegrin-like and Metalloproteinase domain with Thrombospondin-1 motifs (ADAMTS) enzymes comprise 19 mammalian zinc-dependent metalloproteinases (metzincins) with homologues in a wide range of invertebrates. ADAMTS enzymes have a broad range of functions in development and diseases due to their extracellular matrix remodelling activity. Here, we report a detailed characterisation of their evolutionary conservation across vertebrates. Using bioinformatics complemented with de novo sequencing, gene sequences for ADAMTS enzymes were obtained from a variety of organisms. Detailed evolutionary analyses revealed a high level of conservation across vertebrates with evidence of ADAMTS gene expansion during two rounds of whole genome duplication (WGD) in vertebrates, while tandem duplication events and gene loss were also apparent. However, the additional round of teleost-specific WGD did not have a significant effect on ADAMTS gene family members suggesting their conserved roles have remained constant in teleost fish. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed dynamic expression of adamts genes throughout zebrafish embryonic development reflecting the key conserved roles they play in vertebrate embryogenesis. Notably, several adamts mRNAs were maternally expressed with a dramatic increase in mRNA levels coinciding with zygotic expression and organogenesis. Broad adamts mRNA expression was also demonstrated in several adult organs indicating potential roles in adult homeostasis. Our data highlight the evolution of the ADAMTS gene family through duplication processes across metazoans supplemented by a burst of amplification through vertebrate WGD events. It also strongly posits the zebrafish as a potential model species to further elucidate the function of ADAMTS enzymes during vertebrate development.