Science & Technology
; Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Ciliate metallothioneins (MTs) possess many unique features compared to the "classic" MTs in other organisms, but they have only been studied in a small number of species. In this study, we investigated cDNAs encoding subfamily 7a metallothioneins (CdMTs) in three Tetrahymena species (T. hegewischi, T. malaccensis, and T. mobilis). Four CdMT genes (ThegMT1, ThegMT2, TmalMT1, and TmobMT1) were cloned and characterized. They share high sequence similarity to previously identified subfamily 7a MT members. Tetrahymena CdMTs exhibit a remarkably regular intragenic repeat homology. The CdMT sequences were divided into two main types of modules, which had been previously described, and which we name "A" and "B". ThegMT2 was identified as the first MT isoform solely composed of module "B". A phylogenetic analysis of individual modules of every characterized Tetrahymena CdMT rigorously documents the conclusion that modules are important units of CdMT evolution, which have undergone frequent and rapid gain/loss and shuffling. The transcriptional activity of the four newly identified genes was measured under different heavy metal exposure (Cd, Cu, Zn, Pb) using real-time quantitative PCR. The results showed that these genes were differentially induced after short (1 h) or long (24 h) metal exposure. The evolutionary diversity of Tetrahymena CdMTs is further discussed with regard to their induction by metal ions.
1.Chinese Acad Sci, Key Lab Aquat Biodivers & Conservat, Inst Hydrobiol, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China 2.Chinese Acad Sci, Grad Sch, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China 3.Northwest Normal Sch, Coll Life Sci, Lanzhou 730070, Peoples R China 4.Uppsala Univ, Program Systemat Biol, Evolutionary Biol Ctr, S-75236 Uppsala, Sweden