Molecular cloning of urea transporters from the kidneys of baleen and toothed whales.
ABSTRACT Urea transport in the kidney is important for the production of concentrated urine. This process is mediated by urea transporters (UTs) encoded by two genes, UT-A (Slc14a2) and UT-B (Slc14a1). Our previous study demonstrated that cetaceans produce highly concentrated urine than terrestrial mammals, and that baleen whales showed higher concentrations of urinary urea than sperm whales. Therefore, we hypothesized that cetaceans have unique actions of UTs to maintain fluid homeostasis in marine habitat. Kidney samples of common minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), sei (B. borealis), Bryde's (B. brydei) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were obtained to determine the nucleotide sequences of mRNAs encoding UT. The sequences of 2.5-kb cDNAs encode 397-amino acid proteins, which are 90-94% identical to the mammalian UT-A2s. Two putative glycosylation sites are conserved between the whales and the terrestrial mammals, whereas consensus sites for protein kinases are not completely conserved; only a single protein kinase A consensus site was identified in the whale UT-A2s. Two protein kinase C consensus sites are present in the baleen whale UT-A2s, however, a single protein kinase C consensus site was identified in the sperm whale UT-A2. These different phosphorylation sites of whale UT-A2s may result in the high concentrations of urinary urea in whales, by reflecting their urea permeability.
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ABSTRACT: Osmoregulation was a primary challenge for cetaceans during the evolutionary transition from a terrestrial to a mainly hyperosmotic environment. Several physiological mechanisms have been suggested to maintain the water and salt balance in cetaceans, but their genetic and evolutionary bases remain poorly explored. The current study investigated the genes involved in osmoregulation in cetaceans and compared them with their counterparts in terrestrial mammals to test whether adaptive evolution occurred during secondary aquatic adaptation. The present study analyzed the molecular evolution of 11 osmoregulation-related genes in 11 cetacean species, which represented all of the major cetacean clades. The results demonstrated positive selection acting on angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensinogen (AGT), SLC14A2, and aquaporin 2 (AQP2). This evidence for the positive selection of AQP2 and SLC14A2 suggests that the adaptive evolution of these genes has helped to enhance the capacity for water and urea transport, thereby leading to the concentration of urine, which is an efficient mechanism for maintaining the water balance. By contrast, a series of positively selected amino acid residues identified in the ACE and AGT (two key members of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, RAAS) proteins of cetaceans suggests that RAAS might have been adapted to maintain the water and salt balance in response to a hyperosmotic environment. Radical amino acid changes in positively selected sites were distributed among most internal and terminal branches of the cetacean phylogeny, which suggests the pervasively adaptive evolution of osmoregulation since the origin of cetaceans and their subsequent diversification. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the molecular evolution of osmoregulation-related genes in cetaceans in response to selection pressure from a generally hyperosmotic environment. Four genes, i.e., AQP2, SLC14A2, ACE, and AGT were subject to positive selection in cetaceans, which suggests that cetaceans may have adapted to maintain their water and salt balance. This also suggests that cetaceans may have evolved an effective and complex mechanism for osmoregulation.BMC Evolutionary Biology 09/2013; 13(1):189. · 3.41 Impact Factor
Article: SC/J09/JR15. Hakamada, T., Matsuoka, K. and Miyashita, T. Distribution and the number of western North Pacific common minke, Bryde's, sei and sperm whales distributed in JARPN II Offshore component survey area. 18pp. SC/J09/JR16. Tamura, T., Konishi, K., Isoda, T., Okamoto, R. and Bando, T. Prey consumption and feeding habits of common minke, sei and Bryde's whales in the western North Pacific. 36pp
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ABSTRACT: Cetaceans represent an evolutionary lineage marked by drastic morphological and physiological changes during their adaptation to an exclusively marine existence. In addition, several cetacean species exhibit geographical ranges that encompass different marine environments, with genetic breaks being sometimes consistent with environmental breaks. As such, genes that underwent adaptation during the land-sea transition can also be potential candidates for adaptation to different oceanic environments. In this study, we analysed 3 milk protein genes (β-casein, κ-casein, and α-lactalbumin) and 2 immunity related genes (MHC DQβ1 and γ-fibrinogen) for selection based on available phylogenetic datasets of both mammals and cetaceans, and used the results from this analysis to assess adaptation to different environments on a population level in the European common dolphin (Delphinus delphis). We found that evidence for positive selection could be detected in all genes in the phylogenetic analyses, with β-casein showing a further increase in selective pressure in the cetacean lineage. At the population level, both the immune system locus DQβ1 and β-casein genes showed patterns of variation consistent with divergent selection, and in each case the same populations showed differentiation. One of these populations was also differentiated at neutral markers, while the other was not. We discuss possible inference, and the potential for the further development of these ideas using genomic technologies.Evolutionary Biology 09/2012; 40(3). · 3.27 Impact Factor