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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-16086

Lindert, U; Leuzinger, L; Steiner, K; Georgiev, O; Schaffner, W (2008). Characterization of metal-responsive transcription factor (MTF-1) from the giant rodent capybara reveals features in common with human as well as with small rodents (mouse, rat). Short communication. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 5(8):1485-1494.

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From mammals to insects, metal-responsive transcription factor 1 (MTF-1) is essential for the activation of metallothionein genes upon heavy metal load. We have previously found that human MTF-1 induces a stronger metal-response than mouse MTF-1. The latter differs from the human one in a number of amino acid positions and is also shorter by 78 aa at its C-terminus. We reasoned that the weaker metal inducibility might be associated with a lesser demand for tight metal homeostasis in a low-weight, short-lived animal, and thus set out to determine the sequence of MTF-1 from the largest living rodent, the Brazilian capybara that can reach 65 kg and also has a considerably longer life span than smaller rodents. An expression clone for capybara MTF-1 was then tested for its activity in both mouse and human cells. Our analysis revealed three unexpected features: (i) Capybara MTF-1 in terms of amino acid sequence is much more closely related to human than to mouse MTF-1, suggesting an accelerated evolution of MTF-1 in the evolutionary branch leading to small rodents; (ii) capybara MTF-1 is even 32aa shorter at its C-terminus than mouse MTF-1 and (iii) in an activity test it is not more active than mouse MTF-1. The latter two findings might indicate that capybara has evolved in an environment with low heavy metal load.


8 citations in Web of Science®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Date:August 2008
Deposited On:02 Mar 2009 15:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:05
Publisher:Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No. 3100A0-113993), Kanton Zurich
Publisher DOI:10.1002/cbdv.200890137
PubMed ID:18729110

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