Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part D

Graduate Program of Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 205 Fort Johnson Rd, Charleston, SC 29412, USA.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D Genomics and Proteomics (Impact Factor: 2.06). 09/2009; 4(3):154-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbd.2009.01.004
Source: PubMed


As an initial step in defining the transcriptome of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and developing functional genomic tools to study right whale health at the molecular physiological level, a cDNA library has been constructed from a skin biopsy. 2496 randomly selected clones (expressed sequence tags, ESTs) have been sequenced, and genes identified as important in the response to stress and immune challenges have been cloned by targeted RT-PCR from skin cDNA. The analysis of the EST collection (archived at and GenBank) showed a 34.79% redundancy, yielding 1578 unigenes and 27 potential microsatellite markers. 96 genes were cloned by targeted PCR; moreover, 52 of these genes are stress and immune function related. A Gene Ontology analysis of the unigene collection indicates that the skin is a rich source of expressed genes with diverse functions, suggesting an important role in multiple physiological processes including those related to immunity and stress response.

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Available from: Annalaura Mancia, Mar 02, 2015
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    • "For HSP70 primers, we used the cDNA sequence reported for a north Atlantic Right whale [GenBank: ES556841.1] [35] (see Additional file 1). Sequences were aligned using the free Multiple Alignment software ClustalW ( Primer pairs were designed within conserved regions (see Additional file 1), ideally spanning two exons to avoid DNA amplification. "
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    ABSTRACT: Despite international success in reducing ozone-depleting emissions, ultraviolet radiation (UV) is not expected to decrease for several decades. Thus, it is pressing to implement tools that allow investigating the capacity of wildlife to respond to excessive UV, particularly species like cetaceans that lack anatomical or physiological protection. One approach is to examine epidermal expression of key genes involved in genotoxic stress response pathways. However, quantitation of mRNA transcripts requires previous standardization, with accurate selection of control and target genes. The latter is particularly important when working with environmental stressors such as UV that can activate numerous genes. Using 20 epidermal biopsies from blue, fin and sperm whale, we found that the genes encoding the ribosomal proteins L4 and S18 (RPL4 and RPS18) were the most suitable to use as controls, followed by the genes encoding phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1) and succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit A (SDHA). A careful analysis of the transcription pathways known to be activated by UV-exposure in humans and mice led us to select as target genes those encoding for i) heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) an indicator of general cell stress, ii) tumour suppressor protein P53 (P53), a transcription factor activated by UV and other cell stressors, and iii) KIN17 (KIN), a cell cycle protein known to be up-regulated following UV exposure. These genes were successfully amplified in the three species and quantitation of their mRNA transcripts was standardised using RPL4 and RPS18. Using a larger sample set of 60 whale skin biopsies, we found that the target gene with highest expression was HSP70 and that its levels of transcription were correlated with those of KIN and P53. Expression of HSP70 and P53 were both related to microscopic sunburn lesions recorded in the whales' skin. This article presents groundwork data essential for future qPCR-based studies on the capacity of wildlife to resolve or limit UV-induced damage. The proposed target genes are HSP70, P53 and KIN, known to be involved in genotoxic stress pathways, and whose expression patterns can be accurately assessed by using two stable control genes, RPL4 and RPS18.
    BMC Research Notes 07/2013; 6(1):264. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-6-264
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    • "Unfortunately, many marine mammal populations are also severely depleted due to a combination of historical exploitation [14] and contemporary threats including bycatch and other fisheries interactions [15] and climate change [16]. These factors may explain why only two marine mammal EST libraries, in both cases developed from either skin or blood, have been published to date [17,18]. Nevertheless, marine mammals are strong candidates for generating transcriptomes from tissues collected post mortem, since colonially breeding pinnipeds tend to suffer from high mortality rates and occasional mass mortality events [19,20], while many cetacean species are routinely stranded ashore en masse[21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Transcriptomes are powerful resources, providing a window on the expressed portion of the genome that can be generated rapidly and at low cost for virtually any organism. However, because many genes have tissue-specific expression patterns, developing a complete transcriptome usually requires a 'discovery pool' of individuals to be sacrificed in order to harvest mRNA from as many different types of tissue as possible. This hinders transcriptome development in large, charismatic and endangered species, many of which stand the most to gain from such approaches. To circumvent this problem in a model pinniped species, we 454 sequenced cDNA from testis, heart, spleen, intestine, kidney and lung tissues obtained from nine adult male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) that died of natural causes at Bird Island, South Georgia. Results After applying stringent quality control criteria based on length and annotation, we obtained 12,397 contigs which, in combination with 454 data previously obtained from skin, gave a total of 23,096 unique contigs. Homology was found to 77.0% of dog (Canis lupus familiaris) transcripts, suggesting that the combined assembly represents a substantial proportion of this species' transcriptome. Moreover, only 0.5% of transcripts revealed sequence similarity to bacteria, implying minimal contamination, and the percentage of transcripts involved in cell death was low at 2.6%. Transcripts with immune-related annotations were almost five-fold enriched relative to skin and represented 13.2% of all spleen-specific contigs. By reference to the dog, we also identified transcripts revealing homology to five class I, ten class II and three class III genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex and derived the putative genomic distribution of 17,121 contigs, 2,119 in silico mined microsatellites and 9,382 single nucleotide polymorphisms. Conclusions Our findings suggest that transcriptome development based on samples collected post mortem may greatly facilitate genomic studies, not only of marine mammals but also more generally of species that are of conservation concern.
    BMC Genomics 01/2013; 14(1):52. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-14-52 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    • "have utilized multiple types of tissue (e.g. Ierardi et al. 2009; Schwarz et al. 2009; Wang et al. 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Next-generation sequencing provides a powerful new approach for developing functional genomic tools for nonmodel species, helping to narrow the gap between studies of model organisms and those of natural populations. Consequently, massively parallel 454 sequencing was used to characterize a normalized cDNA library derived from skin biopsy samples of twelve Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) individuals. Over 412 Mb of sequence data were generated, comprising 1.4 million reads of average length 286 bp. De novo assembly using Newbler 2.3 yielded 156 contigs plus 22 869 isotigs, which in turn clustered into 18,576 isogroups. Almost half of the assembled transcript sequences showed significant similarity to the nr database, revealing a functionally diverse array of genes. Moreover, 97.9% of these mapped to the dog (Canis lupis familiaris) genome, with a strong positive relationship between the number of sequences locating to a given chromosome and the length of that chromosome in the dog indicating a broad genomic distribution. Average depth of coverage was also almost 20-fold, sufficient to detect several thousand putative microsatellite loci and single nucleotide polymorphisms. This study constitutes an important step towards developing genomic resources with which to address consequential questions in pinniped ecology and evolution. It also supports an earlier but smaller study showing that skin tissue can be a rich source of expressed genes, with important implications for studying the genomics not only of marine mammals, but also more generally of species that cannot be destructively sampled.
    Molecular Ecology Resources 03/2011; 11(4):703-10. DOI:10.1111/j.1755-0998.2011.02999.x · 3.71 Impact Factor
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