The present article reports on the characterization of the urochordate metallothionein (MT) gene, CiMT-1, from the solitary ascidian Ciona intestinalis. The predicted protein is shorter than other known deuterostome MTs, having only 39 amino acids. The gene has the same tripartite structure as vertebrate MTs, with some features resembling those of echinoderm MTs. The promoter region shows the canonical cis-acting elements recognized by transcription factors that respond to metal, ROS, and cytokines. Unusual sequences, described in fish and echinoderms, are also present. In situ hybridization suggests that only a population of hemocytes involved in immune responses, i.e. granular amebocytes, express CiMT-1 mRNA. These observations support the idea that urochordates perform detoxification through hemocytes, and that MTs may play important roles in inflammatory humoral responses in tunicates. The reported data offer new clues for better understanding the evolution of these multivalent proteins from non-vertebrate to vertebrate chordates and reinforce their functions in detoxification and immunity.

CiMT-1, an unusual chordate metallothionein gene in Ciona intestinalis genome: structure and expression studies.

FRANCHI, NICOLA;BOLDRIN, FRANCESCO;BALLARIN, LORIANO;
2011

Abstract

The present article reports on the characterization of the urochordate metallothionein (MT) gene, CiMT-1, from the solitary ascidian Ciona intestinalis. The predicted protein is shorter than other known deuterostome MTs, having only 39 amino acids. The gene has the same tripartite structure as vertebrate MTs, with some features resembling those of echinoderm MTs. The promoter region shows the canonical cis-acting elements recognized by transcription factors that respond to metal, ROS, and cytokines. Unusual sequences, described in fish and echinoderms, are also present. In situ hybridization suggests that only a population of hemocytes involved in immune responses, i.e. granular amebocytes, express CiMT-1 mRNA. These observations support the idea that urochordates perform detoxification through hemocytes, and that MTs may play important roles in inflammatory humoral responses in tunicates. The reported data offer new clues for better understanding the evolution of these multivalent proteins from non-vertebrate to vertebrate chordates and reinforce their functions in detoxification and immunity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/128805
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