Author(s): Dufour C, Casane D, Denton D, Wickings J, Corvol P,
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Abstract The renin angiotensin system (RAS) is involved in blood pressure control and water/sodium metabolism. The genes encoding the proteins of this system are candidate genes for essential hypertension. The RAS involves four main molecules: angiotensinogen, renin, angiotensin I-converting enzyme, and the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (encoded by the genes AGT, REN, DCP1, and AGTR1, respectively). We performed a molecular screening over 17,037 bp of the coding and 5' and 3' untranslated regions of these genes, from three to six common chimpanzees. We identified 44 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in chimpanzee samples, including 18 coding-region SNPs, 5 of which led to an amino acid replacement. We observed common and different features at various sites (synonymous, nonsynonymous, and noncoding) within and between the four chimpanzee genes: (1) the nucleotide diversity at noncoding sites was similar; (2) the nucleotide diversity at nonsynonymous sites was low, probably reflecting purifying selection, except for the AGT gene; (3) the nucleotide diversity at synonymous sites, which was dependent on the G+C content at the third position of the codon, was high, except for the AGTR1 gene. Comparison of the chimpanzee SNPs with those previously reported for humans identified 119 sites with fixed differences (including 62 coding sites, 17 of which resulted in amino acid differences between the species). Analysis of polymorphism within species and divergence between species shed light on the evolutionary constraints on these genes. In particular, comparison of the pattern of mutation at polymorphic and fixed sites between humans and chimpanzees suggested that the high G+C content of the DCP1 gene was maintained by positive selection at its silent sites. Finally, we propose 68 ancestral alleles for the human RAS genes and discuss the implications for their use in future hypertension-susceptibility association studies. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
This article was published in Genomics
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences