The ancient gene C12orf29 : an exploration of its role in the chordate body plan

Friis, Thor-Einar (2013) The ancient gene C12orf29 : an exploration of its role in the chordate body plan. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The sheep (Ovis aries) is commonly used as a large animal model in skeletal research. Although the sheep genome has been sequenced there are still only a limited number of annotated mRNA sequences in public databases. A complementary DNA (cDNA) library was constructed to provide a generic resource for further exploration of genes that are actively expressed in bone cells in sheep. It was anticipated that the cDNA library would provide molecular tools for further research into the process of fracture repair and bone homeostasis, and add to the existing body of knowledge. One of the hallmarks of cDNA libraries has been the identification of novel genes and in this library the full open reading frame of the gene C12orf29 was cloned and characterised. This gene codes for a protein of unknown function with a molecular weight of 37 kDa. A literature search showed that no previous studies had been conducted into the biological role of C12orf29, except for some bioinformatics studies that suggested a possible link with cancer. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that C12orf29 had an ancient pedigree with a homologous gene found in some bacterial taxa. This implied that the gene was present in the last common eukaryotic ancestor, thought to have existed more than 2 billion years ago. This notion was further supported by the fact that the gene is found in taxa belonging to the two major eukaryotic branches, bikonts and unikonts. In the bikont supergroup a C12orf29-like gene was found in the single celled protist Naegleria gruberi, whereas in the unikont supergroup, encompassing the metazoa, the gene is universal to all chordate and, therefore, vertebrate species. It appears to have been lost to the majority of cnidaria and protostomes taxa; however, C12orf29-like genes have been found in the cnidarian freshwater hydra and the protostome Pacific oyster. The experimental data indicate that C12orf29 has a structural role in skeletal development and tissue homeostasis, whereas in silico analysis of the human C12orf29 promoter region suggests that its expression is potentially under the control of the NOTCH, WNT and TGF- developmental pathways, as well SOX9 and BAPX1; pathways that are all heavily involved in skeletogenesis. Taken together, this investigation provides strong evidence that C12orf29 has a very important role in the chordate body plan, in early skeletal development, cartilage homeostasis, and also a possible link with spina bifida in humans.

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ID Code: 61288
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Hutmacher, Dietmar, Stephenson, Sally-Anne, Xiao, Yin, & Crawford, Ross
Keywords: Complementary DNA library, Skeletal development, Evolutionary biology, Developmental biology, Cartilage, Chordate body plan, Phylogeny
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2013 07:34
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015 02:56

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