Lagman D, Franzén IE, Eggert J, Larhammar D, Abalo XM
BMC Evol. Biol. 16 (1) 124 [2016-06-13; online 2016-06-13]
Phosphodiesterase 6 (PDE6) is a protein complex that hydrolyses cGMP and acts as the effector of the vertebrate phototransduction cascade. The PDE6 holoenzyme consists of catalytic and inhibitory subunits belonging to two unrelated gene families. Rods and cones express distinct genes from both families: PDE6A and PDE6B code for the catalytic and PDE6G the inhibitory subunits in rods while PDE6C codes for the catalytic and PDE6H the inhibitory subunits in cones. We performed phylogenetic and comparative synteny analyses for both gene families in genomes from a broad range of animals. Furthermore, gene expression was investigated in zebrafish. We found that both gene families expanded from one to three members in the two rounds of genome doubling (2R) that occurred at the base of vertebrate evolution. The PDE6 inhibitory subunit gene family appears to be unique to vertebrates and expanded further after the teleost-specific genome doubling (3R). We also describe a new family member that originated in 2R and has been lost in amniotes, which we have named pde6i. Zebrafish has retained two additional copies of the PDE6 inhibitory subunit genes after 3R that are highly conserved, have high amino acid sequence identity, are coexpressed in the same photoreceptor type as their amniote orthologs and, interestingly, show strikingly different daily oscillation in gene expression levels. Together, these data suggest specialisation related to the adaptation to different light intensities during the day-night cycle, most likely maintaining the regulatory function of the PDE inhibitory subunits in the phototransduction cascade.