Author(s): Spicer AP, McDonald JA
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Abstract The three mammalian hyaluronan synthase (HAS) genes and the related Xenopus laevis gene, DG42, belong to a larger evolutionarily conserved vertebrate HAS gene family. We have characterized additional vertebrate HAS genes from chicken (chas2 and chas3) and Xenopus (xhas2, xhas3, and a unique Xenopus HAS-related sequence, xHAS-rs). Genomic structure analyses demonstrated that all vertebrate HAS genes share at least one exon-intron boundary, suggesting that they evolved from a common ancestral gene. Furthermore, the Has2 and Has3 genes are identical in structure, suggesting that they arose by a gene duplication event early in vertebrate evolution. Significantly, similarities in the genomic structures of the mouse Has1 and Xenopus DG42 genes strongly suggest that they are orthologues. Northern analyses revealed a similar temporal expression pattern of HAS genes in developing mouse and Xenopus embryos. Expression of mouse Has2, Has3, and Xenopus Has1 (DG42) led to hyaluronan biosynthesis in transfected mammalian cells. However, only mouse Has2 and Has3 expressing cells formed significant hyaluronan-dependent pericellular coats in culture, implying both functional similarities and differences among vertebrate HAS enzymes. We propose that vertebrate hyaluronan biosynthesis is regulated by a comparatively ancient gene family that has arisen by sequential gene duplication and divergence.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology