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Open Access Research article

The nuclear receptor gene family in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, contains a novel subfamily group

Susanne Vogeler12, Tamara S Galloway1, Brett P Lyons2 and Tim P Bean2*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QD, UK

2 Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Cefas Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, Weymouth DT4 8UB, UK

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:369  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-369

Published: 15 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Nuclear receptors are a superfamily of transcription factors important in key biological, developmental and reproductive processes. Several of these receptors are ligand- activated and through their ability to bind endogenous and exogenous ligands, are potentially vulnerable to xenobiotics. Molluscs are key ecological species in defining aquatic and terrestrial habitats and are sensitive to xenobiotic compounds in the environment. However, the understanding of nuclear receptor presence, function and xenobiotic disruption in the phylum Mollusca is limited.

Results

Here, forty-three nuclear receptor sequences were mined from the genome of the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas. They include members of NR0-NR5 subfamilies, notably lacking any NR6 members. Phylogenetic analyses of the oyster nuclear receptors have been conducted showing the presence of a large novel subfamily group not previously reported, which is named NR1P. Homologues to all previous identified nuclear receptors in other mollusc species have also been determined including the putative heterodimer partner retinoid X receptor, estrogen receptor and estrogen related receptor.

Conclusion

C. gigas contains a highly diverse set of nuclear receptors including a novel NR1 group, which provides important information on presence and evolution of this transcription factor superfamily in invertebrates. The Pacific oyster possesses two members of NR3, the sex steroid hormone receptor analogues, of which there are 9 in humans. This provides increasing evidence that steroid ligand specific expansion of this family is deuterostome specific. This new knowledge on divergence and emergence of nuclear receptors in C. gigas provides essential information for studying regulation of molluscan gene expression and the potential effects of xenobiotics.

Keywords:
Mollusc; Hormone receptor; Bivalve; Xenobiotics; Transcription factor