Proceedings of the SMBE Tri-National Young Investigators' Workshop 2005. Lineage-specific Expansions and Contractions of the Bitter Taste Receptor Gene Repertoire in Vertebrates

Mol Biol Evol. 2006 May;23(5):964-72. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msj106. Epub 2006 Feb 16.

Abstract

The sense of bitter taste plays a critical role in how organisms avoid generally bitter toxic and harmful substances. Previous studies revealed that there were 25 intact bitter taste receptor (T2R) genes in humans and 34 in mice. However, because the recent chicken genome project reported only three T2R genes, it appears that extensive gene expansions occurred in the lineage leading to mammals or extensive gene contractions occurred in the lineage leading to birds. Here, I examined the T2R gene repertoire in placental mammals (dogs, Canis familiaris; and cows, Bos taurus), marsupials (opossums, Monodelphis domestica), amphibians (frogs, Xenopus tropicalis), and fishes (zebrafishes, Danio rerio; and pufferfishes, Takifugu rubripes) to investigate the birth-and-death process of T2R genes throughout vertebrate evolution. I show that (1) the first extensive gene expansions occurred before the divergence of mammals from reptiles/birds but after the divergence of amniotes (reptiles/birds/mammals) from amphibians, (2) subsequent gene expansions continuously took place in the ancestral mammalian lineage and the lineage leading to amphibians, as evidenced by the presence of 15, 18, 26, and 49 intact T2R genes in the dog, cow, opossum, and frog genome, respectively, and (3) contractions of the gene repertoire happened in the lineage leading to chickens. Thus, continuous gene expansions have shaped the T2R repertoire in mammals, but the contractions subsequent to the first round of expansions have made the chicken T2R repertoire narrow. These dramatic changes in the repertoire size might reflect the daily intake of foods from an external environment as a driving force of evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Lineage
  • Chickens
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetics*
  • Genome
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Species Specificity
  • Taste Buds*
  • Taste*
  • Vertebrates / genetics*

Associated data

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