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Open Access Research article

Isolation, characterization and comparison of Atlantic and Chinook salmon growth hormone 1 and 2

Kristian R von Schalburg1, Ryosuke Yazawa1, Johan de Boer1, Krzysztof P Lubieniecki2, Benjamin Goh3, Christopher A Straub1, Marianne R Beetz-Sargent1, Adrienne Robb1, William S Davidson2, Robert H Devlin3 and Ben F Koop1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 3N5,Canada

2 Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada,

3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7V 1N6, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:522  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-522

Published: 3 November 2008

Abstract

Background

Growth hormone (GH) is an important regulator of skeletal growth, as well as other adapted processes in salmonids. The GH gene (gh) in salmonids is represented by duplicated, non-allelic isoforms designated as gh1 and gh2. We have isolated and characterized gh-containing bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) of both Atlantic and Chinook salmon (Salmo salar and Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in order to further elucidate our understanding of the conservation and regulation of these loci.

Results

BACs containing gh1 and gh2 from both Atlantic and Chinook salmon were assembled, annotated, and compared to each other in their coding, intronic, regulatory, and flanking regions. These BACs also contain the genes for skeletal muscle sodium channel oriented in the same direction. The sequences of the genes for interferon alpha-1, myosin alkali light chain and microtubule associated protein Tau were also identified, and found in opposite orientations relative to gh1 and gh2. Viability of each of these genes was examined by PCR. We show that transposon insertions have occurred differently in the promoters of gh, within and between each species. Other differences within the promoters and intronic and 3'-flanking regions of the four gh genes provide evidence that they have distinct regulatory modes and possibly act to function differently and/or during different times of salmonid development.

Conclusion

A core proximal promoter for transcription of both gh1 and gh2 is conserved between the two species of salmon. Nevertheless, transposon integration and regulatory element differences do exist between the promoters of gh1 and gh2. Additionally, organization of transposon families into the BACs containing gh1 and for the BACs containing gh2, are very similar within orthologous regions, but much less clear conservation is apparent in comparisons between the gh1- and gh2-containing paralogous BACs for the two fish species. This is consistent with the hypothesis that a burst of transposition activity occurred during the speciation events which led to Atlantic and Pacific salmon. The Chinook and other Oncorhynchus GH1s are strikingly different in comparison to the other GHs and this change is not apparent in the surrounding non-coding sequences.