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Conservation and Phylogeny of a Novel Family of Non-Hox Genes of the Antp Class in Demospongiae (Porifera)

  • Evelyn Richelle-MaurerEmail author
  • Nicole Boury-Esnault
  • Valeria B. Itskovich
  • Michaël Manuel
  • Shirley A. Pomponi
  • Gisèle Van de Vyver
  • Carole Borchiellini
Article

Abstract

A survey across the most basal animal phylum, the Porifera, for the presence of homeobox-containing genes led to the isolation of 24 partial or complete homeobox sequences from 21 sponge species distributed in 15 families and 6 orders of Demospongiae. All the new sequences shared a high identity/similarity with EmH-3 (Ephydatia muelleri), a non-Hox gene from the Antp class. The Demox sequences, EmH-3, and related homeodomains formed a well-supported clade with no true affinity with any known bilaterian family, including the Tlx/Hox11 family, suggesting that the EmH-3 family of genes, comprising 31 members, represents a novel family of non-Hox genes, called the Demox family, widespread among Demospongiae. The presence of the Tlx/Hox11 specific signature in the Demox family and common regulatory elements suggested that the Demox and Tlx/Hox11 families are closely related. In the phylogenetic analyses, freshwater Haplosclerida appeared as monophyletic, and Haplosclerida and Halichondrida as polyphyletic, with a clade comprising Agelas species and Axinella corrugata. As for their expression, high levels of Demox transcripts were found in adult tissues. Our data add to the number of published poriferan homeobox sequences and provide independent confirmation of the current Demospongiae phylogenies.

Keywords

Sponges Demospongiae Homeobox genes Expression Phylogeny 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Amy Wright for her invitation to work in her laboratory and participate in the Bahamas Research cruise sponsored by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI), Division of Biomedical Marine Research; John K. Reed and the crew of the R/V Seward Johnson for their assistance in the collection of sponges; and Jane Thompson, Jose Lopez, and Laurent Gatto for their valuable advice and helpful discussions. This research was supported by an FNRS grant (Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Belgium; No. 1.5.082.03).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyn Richelle-Maurer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole Boury-Esnault
    • 2
  • Valeria B. Itskovich
    • 3
  • Michaël Manuel
    • 4
  • Shirley A. Pomponi
    • 5
  • Gisèle Van de Vyver
    • 1
  • Carole Borchiellini
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physiologie moléculaire de la CelluleUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Centre d’Océanologie de MarseilleUniversité de la MéditerranéeFrance
  3. 3.Limnological Institute of the Siberian Branch of RASIrkutskRussia
  4. 4.Evolution et Developpement, UMR CNRS UPMC IRD ENS MNHN 7138 “Systématique, Adaptation, Evolution,”Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6)ParisFrance
  5. 5.Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc.Fort, PierceUSA

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