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Physicochemical evolution and molecular adaptation of the cetacean osmoregulation-related gene UT-A2 and implications for functional studies
Wang, J.; Yu, X.; Hu, B.; Zheng, J.; Xiao, W.; Hao, Y.; Liu, W.; Wang, D. (2015). Physicochemical evolution and molecular adaptation of the cetacean osmoregulation-related gene UT-A2 and implications for functional studies. NPG Scientific Reports 5(8795): 17 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep08795
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Wang, J.
  • Yu, X.
  • Hu, B.
  • Zheng, J.
  • Xiao, W.
  • Hao, Y.
  • Liu, W.
  • Wang, D.

Abstract
    Cetaceans have an enigmatic evolutionary history of re-invading aquatic habitats. One of their essential adaptabilities that has enabled this process is their homeostatic strategy adjustment. Here, we investigated the physicochemical evolution and molecular adaptation of the cetacean urea transporter UT-A2, which plays an important role in urine concentration and water homeostasis. First, we cloned UT-A2 from the freshwater Yangtze finless porpoise, after which bioinformatics analyses were conducted based on available datasets (including freshwater baiji and marine toothed and baleen whales) using MEGA, PAML, DataMonkey, TreeSAAP and Consurf. Our findings suggest that the UT-A2 protein shows folding similar to that of dvUT and UT-B, whereas some variations occurred in the functional So and Si regions of the selectivity filter. Additionally, several regions of the cetacean UT-A2 protein have experienced molecular adaptations. We suggest that positive-destabilizing selection could contribute to adaptations by influencing its biochemical and conformational character. The conservation of amino acid residues within the selectivity filter of the urea conduction pore is likely to be necessary for urea conduction, whereas the non-conserved amino acid replacements around the entrance and exit of the conduction pore could potentially affect the activity, which could be interesting target sites for future mutagenesis studies.

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