Dehydration-induced tps gene transcripts from an anhydrobiotic nematode contain novel spliced leaders and encode atypical GT-20 family proteins
Goyal, K. and Browne, J.A. and Burnell, A.M. and Tunnacliffe, A. (2005) Dehydration-induced tps gene transcripts from an anhydrobiotic nematode contain novel spliced leaders and encode atypical GT-20 family proteins. Biochimie, 87 . pp. 565-574.
Accumulation of the non-reducing disaccharide trehalose is associated with desiccation tolerance during anhydrobiosis in a number of invertebrates, but there is little information on trehalose biosynthetic genes in these organisms.We have identified two trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (tps) genes in the anhydrobiotic nematode Aphelenchus avenae and determined full length cDNA sequences for both; for comparison, full length tps cDNAs from the model nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, have also been obtained. The A. avenae genes encode very similar proteins containing the catalytic domain characteristic of the GT-20 family of glycosyltransferases and are most similar to tps-2 of C. elegans; no evidence was found for a gene in A. avenae corresponding to Ce-tps-1. Analysis of A. avenae tps cDNAs revealed several features of interest, including alternative trans-splicing of spliced leader sequences in Aav-tps-1, and four different, novel SL1-related transspliced leaders, which were different to the canonical SL1 sequence found in all other nematodes studied. The latter observation suggests that A. avenae does not comply with the strict evolutionary conservation of SL1 sequences observed in other species. Unusual features were also noted in predicted nematode TPS proteins, which distinguish them from homologues in other higher eukaryotes (plants and insects) and in micro-organisms. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed their membership of the GT-20 glycosyltransferase family, but indicated an accelerated rate of molecular evolution. Furthermore, nematode TPS proteins possess N- and C-terminal domains, which are unrelated to those of other eukaryotes: nematode C-terminal domains, for example, do not contain trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase-like sequences, as seen in plant and insect homologues. During onset of anhydrobiosis, both tps genes in A. avenae are upregulated, but exposure to cold or increased osmolarity also results in gene induction, although to a lesser extent. Trehalose seems likely therefore to play a role in a number of stress responses in nematodes.
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