Tissue-specific promoter usage and diverse splicing variants of found in neurons, an ancestral Hu/ELAV-like RNA-binding protein gene of insects, in the direct-developing insect Gryllus bimaculatus

Authors

  • T. Watanabe,

    1. Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
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  • H. Aonuma

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
    • Correspondence: Hitoshi Aonuma, Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, Nishi 7 Chome, Kita 12 Jo, Kitaku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0812, Japan. Tel./Fax: +81 11 706 3832; e-mail: aon@es.hokudai.ac.jp

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Abstract

Hu/ELAV-like RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of RNA metabolism including splicing, transport, translational control and turnover. The Hu/ELAV-like RBP genes are predominantly expressed in neurons, and are therefore used as common neuronal markers in many animals. Although the expression patterns and functions of the Hu/ELAV-like RBP genes have been extensively studied in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster, little is known in basal direct-developing insects. In the present study, we performed an identification and expression analysis of the found in neurons (fne) gene, an ancestral insect Hu/ELAV-like RBP gene, in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Contrary to expectation that the Gryllus fne transcript would be predominantly expressed in the nervous system, expression analysis revealed that the Gryllus fne gene is expressed broadly. In addition, we discovered that alternative promoter usage directs tissue-specific and embryonic stage-dependent regulation of fne expression, and that alternative splicing contributes to the generation of diverse sets of fne transcripts. Our data provide novel insights into the evolutionary diversification of the Hu/ELAV-like RBP gene family in insects.

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