|DAX1 regulatory networks unveil conserved and potentially new functions.
|Martins, RST, Power, DM, Fuentes, J, Deloffre, LAM, Canario, AVM
|Year of Publication
|2013 Nov 1
|Animals, Bass, Binding Sites, Computer Simulation, Conserved Sequence, DAX-1 Orphan Nuclear Receptor, Fish Proteins, Gene Regulatory Networks, Osmoregulation, Phylogeny, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Steroids, Transcription, Genetic
DAX1 is an orphan nuclear receptor with actions in mammalian sex determination, regulation of steroidogenesis, embryonic development and neural differentiation. Conserved patterns of DAX1 gene expression from mammals to fish have been taken to suggest conserved function. In the present study, the European sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, DAX1 promoter was isolated and its conserved features compared to other fish and mammalian DAX1 promoters in order to derive common regulators and functional gene networks. Fish and mammalian DAX1 promoters share common sets of transcription factor frameworks which were also present in the promoter region of another 127 genes. Pathway analysis clustered these into candidate gene networks associated with the fish and mammalian DAX1. The networks identified are concordant with described functions for DAX1 in embryogenesis, regulation of transcription, endocrine development and steroid production. Novel candidate gene network partners were also identified, which implicate DAX1 in ion homeostasis and transport, lipid transport and skeletal development. Experimental evidence is provided supporting roles for DAX1 in steroid signalling and osmoregulation in fish. These results highlight the usefulness of the in silico comparative approach to analyse gene regulation for hypothesis generation. Conserved promoter architecture can be used also to predict potentially new gene functions. The approach reported can be applied to genes from model and non-model species.