Mechanistic insights into the evolution of the differential expression of tandemly arrayed cone opsin genes in zebrafish

HANDLE Open Access
  • Tsujimura, Taro
    Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Biology (WPI‐ASHBi), Kyoto University

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The genome of many organisms contains several loci consisting of duplicated genes that are arrayed in tandem. The daughter genes produced by duplication typically exhibit differential expression patterns with each other or otherwise experience pseudogenization. Remarkably, opsin genes in fish are preserved after many duplications in different lineages. This fact indicates that fish opsin genes are characterized by a regulatory mechanism that could intrinsically facilitate the differentiation of the expression patterns. However, little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the differential expression patterns or how they were established during evolution. The loci of green (RH2)- and red (LWS)-sensitive cone opsin genes in zebrafish have been used as model systems to study the differential regulation of tandemly arrayed opsin genes. Over a decade of studies have uncovered several mechanistic features that might have assisted the differentiation and preservation of duplicated genes. Furthermore, recent progress in the understanding of the transcriptional process in general has added essential insights. In this article, the current understanding of the transcriptional regulation of differentially expressed tandemly arrayed cone opsin genes in zebrafish is summarized and a possible evolutionary scenario that could achieve this differentiation is discussed.



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