Duan, W and Richardson, SJ and Babon, JJ and Heyes, RJ and Southwell, BR and Harms, PJ and Wettenhall, REH and Dziegielewska, KM and Selwood, L and Bradley, AJ and Brack, C and Schreiber, G, Evolution of transthyretin in marsupials, European Journal of Biochemistry, 227, (1-2) pp. 396-406. ISSN 0014-2956 (1995) [Refereed Article]
The evolution of the expression and the structure of the gene for transthyretin, a thyroxine-binding plasma protein formerly called prealbumin, was studied in three marsupial species: the South American polyprotodont Monodelphis domestica, the Australian polyprotodont Sminthopsis macroura and the Australian diprotodont Petaurus breviceps. The transthyretin gene was found to be expressed in the choroid plexus of all three species. In liver it was expressed in P. breviceps and in M. domestica, but not in S. macroura. This, together with previous studies [Richardson, S.J., Bradley, A J., Duan, W., Wettenhall, R.E.H., Harms, P.J., Babon, J.J., Southwell, B.R., Nicol, S., Donnellan, S.C. and Schreiber, G. (1994) Am. J. Physiol. 266, R1359-R1370], suggests the independent evolution of transthyretin synthesis in the liver of the American Polyprotodonta and the Australian Diprotodonta. The results obtained from cloning and sequencing of the cDNA for transthyretin from the three species suggested that, in the evolution of the structure of transthyretin in vertebrates, marsupial transthyretin structures are intermediate between bird/reptile and eutherian transthyretin structures. In marsupials, as in birds and reptiles, a hydrophobic tripeptide beginning with valine and ending with histidine was found in transthyretin at a position which has been identified in eutherians as theborder between exon 1 and intron 1. In humans, rats and mice, the nine nucleotides, coding for this tripeptide in marsupials/reptiles/birds, are found at the 5' end of intron 1. They are no longer present in mature transthyretin mRNA. This results in a change in character of the N-termini of the subunits of transthyretin from hydrophobic to hydrophilic. This change might affect the accessibility of the thyroxine-binding site in the central channel of transthyretin, since, at least in humans, the N-termini of the subunits of transthyretin are located in the vicinity of the channel entrance [Hamilton, J.A., Steinrauf, L.K., Braden, B.C., Liepnieks, J., Benson, M.D., Holmgren, G., Sandgren, O. and Steen, L. (1993) J. Biol. Chem. 268, 2416-2424].