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Evolutionary conservation of transferrin genomic organization and expression characterization in seven freshwater turtles

Liu, Xiao-Li, Wang, Ya-Kun, Ouyang, Shu, Zhu, Yan-Yu, Li, Wei, Hong, Xiao-you, Xu, Hong-Yan, Zhu, Xin-Ping
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2018 v.506 no.4 pp. 874-882
Chrysemys picta, Cyclemys, DNA, Danio rerio, Heosemys grandis, Mauremys mutica, Mauremys sinensis, Trachemys scripta, adults, amino acids, blood serum, chickens, exons, glycoproteins, humans, immune response, introns, iron, liver, phylogeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, transferrin, turtles
Serum transferrin (tf), encoding an iron-binding glycoprotein, has been revealed to play important roles in iron transportation and immune response, and it also has been demonstrated to be valuable for phylogenetic analysis in vertebrates. However, the evolutionary conservation, expression profiles and positive selection of transferrin genes among freshwater turtle species remain largely unclear. Here, the genomic DNA and coding sequences of transferrin genes were cloned and characterized in seven freshwater turtles including Mauremys mutica, Mauremys sinensis, Cyclemys dentate, Mauremyssi reevesi, Heosemys grandis, Trachemys scripta and Chrysemys picta. The isolated coding sequences of turtles' tf genes were 2118 bp or 2121 bp, encoding 706 or 707 amino acids. The predicted Tf proteins of turtles share high identities with M. mutica Tf, up to 91%–98% and the M. mutica Tf has the highest identity (91%) in amino acid with the Chelomia mydas Tf, the moderate with other reptiles' Tfs (65%–59%), chicken (58%), and Human Tf (∼55%), and the lowest with zebrafish Tf (41%). Additionally, tf genes were consistently composed of 17 exons and 16 introns with the same splicing sites in introns in all the turtles examined. Moreover, 12 positive selected sites were detected in these turtles’ Tf and mainly distributed on the surface of transferrin protein. Importantly, it was found that transferrin genes in all turtles examined were predominantly expressed in adult liver via real-time quantitative PCR. The molecular characterizations and expression profiles of transferrin would shed new insights into understanding the conversations and divergences of transferrin genes in turtles, even in vertebrates.