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Open Access Research article

Sponge non-metastatic Group I Nme gene/protein - structure and function is conserved from sponges to humans

Drago Perina1, Maja Herak Bosnar2, Ružica Bago2, Andreja Mikoč1, Matija Harcet1, Martina Deželjin2 and Helena Ćetković1*

Author affiliations

1 Division of Molecular Biology, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Bijenička cesta 54, 10002 Zagreb, Croatia

2 Division of Molecular Medicine, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Bijenička cesta 54, 10002 Zagreb, Croatia

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Citation and License

BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:87  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-87

Published: 1 April 2011

Abstract

Background

Nucleoside diphosphate kinases NDPK are evolutionarily conserved enzymes present in Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya, with human Nme1 the most studied representative of the family and the first identified metastasis suppressor. Sponges (Porifera) are simple metazoans without tissues, closest to the common ancestor of all animals. They changed little during evolution and probably provide the best insight into the metazoan ancestor's genomic features. Recent studies show that sponges have a wide repertoire of genes many of which are involved in diseases in more complex metazoans. The original function of those genes and the way it has evolved in the animal lineage is largely unknown. Here we report new results on the metastasis suppressor gene/protein homolog from the marine sponge Suberites domuncula, NmeGp1Sd. The purpose of this study was to investigate the properties of the sponge Group I Nme gene and protein, and compare it to its human homolog in order to elucidate the evolution of the structure and function of Nme.

Results

We found that sponge genes coding for Group I Nme protein are intron-rich. Furthermore, we discovered that the sponge NmeGp1Sd protein has a similar level of kinase activity as its human homolog Nme1, does not cleave negatively supercoiled DNA and shows nonspecific DNA-binding activity. The sponge NmeGp1Sd forms a hexamer, like human Nme1, and all other eukaryotic Nme proteins. NmeGp1Sd interacts with human Nme1 in human cells and exhibits the same subcellular localization. Stable clones expressing sponge NmeGp1Sd inhibited the migratory potential of CAL 27 cells, as already reported for human Nme1, which suggests that Nme's function in migratory processes was engaged long before the composition of true tissues.

Conclusions

This study suggests that the ancestor of all animals possessed a NmeGp1 protein with properties and functions similar to evolutionarily recent versions of the protein, even before the appearance of true tissues and the origin of tumors and metastasis.