Identification and characterization of amphibian SLC26A5 using RNA-Seq

BMC Genomics. 2021 Jul 22;22(1):564. doi: 10.1186/s12864-021-07798-6.


Background: Prestin (SLC26A5) is responsible for acute sensitivity and frequency selectivity in the vertebrate auditory system. Limited knowledge of prestin is from experiments using site-directed mutagenesis or domain-swapping techniques after the amino acid residues were identified by comparing the sequence of prestin to those of its paralogs and orthologs. Frog prestin is the only representative in amphibian lineage and the studies of it were quite rare with only one species identified.

Results: Here we report a new coding sequence of SLC26A5 for a frog species, Rana catesbeiana (the American bullfrog). In our study, the SLC26A5 gene of Rana has been mapped, sequenced and cloned successively using RNA-Seq. We measured the nonlinear capacitance (NLC) of prestin both in the hair cells of Rana's inner ear and HEK293T cells transfected with this new coding gene. HEK293T cells expressing Rana prestin showed electrophysiological features similar to that of hair cells from its inner ear. Comparative studies of zebrafish, chick, Rana and an ancient frog species showed that chick and zebrafish prestin lacked NLC. Ancient frog's prestin was functionally different from Rana.

Conclusions: We mapped and sequenced the SLC26A5 of the Rana catesbeiana from its inner ear cDNA using RNA-Seq. The Rana SLC26A5 cDNA was 2292 bp long, encoding a polypeptide of 763 amino acid residues, with 40% identity to mammals. This new coding gene could encode a functionally active protein conferring NLC to both frog HCs and the mammalian cell line. While comparing to its orthologs, the amphibian prestin has been evolutionarily changing its function and becomes more advanced than avian and teleost prestin.

Keywords: 3D protein structure; Amphibian hearing organ; Non-linear capacitance (NLC); Prestin; RNA-Seq; SLC26A5.

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / genetics
  • Animals
  • Anion Transport Proteins* / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA-Seq
  • Zebrafish* / genetics


  • Anion Transport Proteins