Identification of differentially expressed genes in the developing antler of red deer Cervus elaphus
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Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying bone development is a fundamental and fascinating problem in developmental biology, with significant medical implications. Here, we have identified the expression patterns for 36 genes that were characteristic or dominant in the consecutive cell differentiation zones (mesenchyme, precartilage, cartilage) of the tip section of the developing velvet antler of red deer Cervus elaphus. Two major functional groups of these genes clearly outlined: six genes linked to high metabolic demand and other five to tumor biology. Our study demonstrates the advantages of the antler as a source of mesenchymal markers, for distinguishing precartilage and cartilage by different gene expression patterns and for identifying genes involved in the robust bone development, a striking feature of the growing antler. Putative roles for “antler” genes that encode α-tropomyosine (tpm1), transgelin (tagln), annexin 2 (anxa2), phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein (pebp) and apolipoprotein D (apoD) in intense but still controlled tissue proliferation are discussed.
KeywordsRed deer Antler development Robust bone development AFLP-based differential display Tumor associated genes
The authors are indebted to Dr. János Nagy for providing access to deer fetus and developing antler samples, to Professor Péter Lakatos for access to quantitative real-time qRT-PCR, to Professor Péter Péczely for kind help in histology, to Magdolna Tóth Péli, Csilla Sánta Török and Kornélia Szóráth Gál for excellent technical assistance. They are also thankful to the constant interest of Dr. Tibor Vellai, Professors Sankar Adhya, Péter Lakatos and László Sugár, to the critical reading of the manuscript for Kriszta Takács Vellai. This work was supported by grants OTKA T032205 to L.O. and T032255 to P.P., T034729 and T60659 to F.D., T049608 to I.K., T43272 to Zs.B. from the Hungarian Scientific Research Foundation; by grants OM 0028/2001, OM 0278/2001 to L.O. and P.P., OM 0320/2004 to L.O., OM 255/2002 to F.D. from the National Research and Development Program NKFP; and by grants MTA/TKI/AKT-F 2003–2006 to L.O. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and from the Ministry of Health, Social and Family Affairs (454/2003) to L.O and Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development (76-a/2000, 31/a/2001) to L.O., by grant FKFP 0021/2002 from the Ministry of Education to the Ph.D. school for Biology of Eötvös Loránd University.
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