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Nat Commun March 13, 2012; 3 848.
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Evolution of a tissue-specific silencer underlies divergence in the expression of pax2 and pax8 paralogues.

Ochi H , Tamai T , Nagano H , Kawaguchi A , Sudou N , Ogino H .

Recent studies underscore a role for the differential degeneration of enhancers in the evolutionary diversification of paralogue expression. However, no one has reported evidence for the involvement of innovative cis-regulatory changes. Here we show that silencer innovation diversified expression of the vertebrate paralogues, pax2 and pax8. pax2 shows multi-tissue expression, as does the ancestral amphioxus orthologue, pax2/5/8, whereas pax8 expression localizes to a subset of pax2-expressing tissues. We reveal that both pax2 and pax8 retain ancestral enhancers capable of directing pax2-like, multi-tissue expression. However, a silencer within the pax8 proximal promoter suppresses pleiotropic enhancer activity outside the pax8-expressing tissues. In contrast, the combination of the pax2 proximal promoter with either the pax8 or pax2 enhancer recapitulates pax2-like expression, as in the amphioxus pax2/5/8 promoter. We propose that silencer innovation, rather than enhancer degeneration, was crucial for the divergent expression of paralogues with pleiotropic enhancers inherited from their common progenitor.

PubMed ID: 22617288
Article link: Nat Commun

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: pax2 pax8

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References [+] :
Ballas, The many faces of REST oversee epigenetic programming of neuronal genes. 2005, Pubmed