Molecular evolution of a novel marsupial S100 protein (S100A19) which is expressed at specific stages of mammary gland and gut development

Joly Hui Leng Kwek, Alicia Wynne, Christophe Marc Lefevre, Mary Familari, Kevin R Nicholas, Julie A Sharp

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9 Citations (Scopus)


S100 proteins are calcium-binding proteins involved in controlling diverse intracellular and extracellular processes such as cell growth, differentiation, and antimicrobial function. We recently identified a S100-like cDNA from the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) stomach. Phylogentic analysis shows wallaby S100A19 forms a new clade with other marsupial and monotreme S100A19, while this group shows similarity to eutherian S100A7 and S100A15 genes. This is also supported by amino acid and domain comparisons. We show S100A19 is developmentally-regulated in the tammar wallaby gut by demonstrating the gene is expressed in the forestomach of young animals at a time when the diet consists of only milk, but is absent in older animals when the diet is supplemented with herbage. During this transition the forestomach phenotype changes from a gastric stomach into a fermentation sac and intestinal flora changes with diet. We also show that S100A19 is expressed in the mammary gland of the tammar wallaby only during specific stages of lactation; the gene is up-regulated during pregnancy and involution and not expressed during the milk production phase of lactation. Comparison of the tammar wallaby S100A19 protein sequence with S100 protein sequences from eutherian, monotreme and other marsupial species suggest the marsupial S100A19 has two functional EF hand domains, and an extended His tail. An evolutionary analysis of S100 family proteins was carried out to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the S100 family member functions. We propose that S100A19 gene/protein is the ancestor of the eutherian S100A7 gene/protein, which has subsequently modified its original function in eutherians. This modified function may have arisen due to differentiation of evolutionary pressures placed on gut and mammary gland developmental during mammal evolution. The highly regulated differential expression patterns of S100A19 in the tammar wallaby suggests that S100A19 may play a role in gut development, which differs between metatherians and eutherians, and/or include a potential antibacterial role in order to establish the correct flora and protect against spiral bacteria in the immature forestomach. In the mammary gland it may protect the tissue from infection at times of vulnerability during the lactation cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4 - 16
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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