The evolutionary relationship between the duplicated copies of the zebrafish fabp11 gene and the tetrapod FABP4, FABP5, FABP8 and FABP9 genes

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Abstract

We describe the structure of a fatty acid-binding protein 11 (fabp11b) gene and its tissue-specific expression in zebrafish. The 3.4 kb zebrafish fabp11b is the paralog of the previously described zebrafish fabp11a, with a deduced amino acid sequence for Fabp11B exhibiting 65% identity with that of Fabp11A. Whole mount in situ hybridization of a riboprobe to embryos and larvae showed that zebrafish fabp11b transcripts were restricted solely to the retina and were first detected at 24 h postfertilization. In situ hybridization revealed fabp11b transcripts along the spinal cord in adult zebrafish. However, the highly sensitive RT-PCR assay detected fabp11b transcripts in the brain, heart, ovary and eye in adult tissues. By contrast, fabp11a transcripts had been previously detected in the liver, brain, heart, testis, muscle, ovary and skin of adult zebrafish. Using the LN54 radiation hybrid panel, we assigned zebrafish fabp11b to linkage group 16. Phylogenetic analysis and conserved gene synteny with tetrapod genes indicated that the emergence of two copies of fabp11 in the zebrafish genome may have resulted from a fish-specific whole genome duplication event. Furthermore, we propose that the FABP4–FABP5–FABP8–FABP9 (PERF15) gene cluster on a single chromosome in the tetrapod genome and the fabp11 genes in the zebrafish genome originated from a common ancestral gene, which, following their divergence, gave rise to the fabp11 genes of zebrafish, and the progenitor of the FABP4, FABP5, FABP8 and FABP9 genes in tetrapods after the separation of the fish and tetrapod lineages.

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