In primates, the unigenic growth hormone (GH) locus of prosimians expressed primarily in the anterior pituitary, evolved by gene duplications, independently in New World Monkeys (NWM) and Old World Monkeys (OWMs)/apes, to give complex clusters of genes expressed in the pituitary and placenta. In human and chimpanzee, the GH locus comprises five genes, GH-N being expressed as pituitary GH, whereas GH-V (placental GH) and CSHs (chorionic somatomammotropins) are expressed (in human and probably chimpanzee) in the placenta; the CSHs comprise CSH-A, CSH-B and the aberrant CSH-L (possibly a pseudogene) in human, and CSH-A1, CSH-A2 and CSH-B in chimpanzee. Here, the GH locus in two additional great apes, gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and orangutan (Pongo abelii), is shown to contain six and four GH-like genes, respectively. The gorilla locus possesses six potentially expressed genes, gGH-N, gGH-V and four gCSHs, whereas the orangutan locus has just three functional genes, oGH-N, oGH-V and oCSH-B, plus a pseudogene, oCSH-L. Analysis of regulatory sequences, including promoter, enhancer and P-elements, shows significant variation; in particular the proximal Pit-1 element of GH-V genes differs markedly from that of other genes in the cluster. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the initial gene duplication led to distinct GH-like and CSH-like genes and that a second duplication provided separate GH-N and GH-V. However, evolution of the CSH-like genes remains unclear. Rapid adaptive evolution gave rise to the distinct CSHs, after the first duplication, and to GH-V after the second duplication. Analysis of transcriptomic databases derived from gorilla tissues establishes that the gGH-N, gGH-V and several gCSH genes are expressed, but the significance of the many CSH genes in gorilla remains unclear.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 4, 2016
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