Peptides encoded by short ORFs control development and define a new eukaryotic gene family

Galindo, Maximo Ibo, Pueyo, Jose Ignacio, Fouix, Sylvaine, Bishop, Sarah Anne and Couso, Juan Pablo (2007) Peptides encoded by short ORFs control development and define a new eukaryotic gene family. PLoS Biology, 5 (5). pp. 1052-1062. ISSN 1544-9173

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Despite recent advances in developmental biology and in genomics, key questions remain regarding the organisation of cells into embryos. One possibility is that novel types of genes might await discovery and could provide some of the answers. Genome annotation depends strongly on comparison with previously known gene sequences, and so genes having previously uncharacterised structure and function can be missed. Here we present the characterisation of tarsal-less, a new such type of gene. Tarsal-less has two unusual features: first, it contains more than one coding unit, a structure more similar to some bacterial genes. Second, it codes for small peptides rather than proteins, and in fact these peptides represent the smallest gene products known to date. Functional analysis of this gene in the fruitfly Drosophila shows that it has important functions throughout development, including tissue morphogenesis and pattern formation. We identify genes similar to tarsal-less in other species, and thus define a tarsal-less-related gene family. We expect that a combination of bioinformatic and functional methods, such as the ones we use in this study, will identify and characterize more genes of this type. Potentially, thousands of such new genes may exist.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: All authors members of my group. I managed the project, helped to design and execute experiments, wrote the paper. We prove the translation of a non-cannonical gene encoding only short ORFs, suggesting that many similar genes await discovery. Cited twice by the faculty of 1000. Reviewed in Nature Review Genetics.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biochemistry
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Depositing User: Maximo Ibo Galindo-Orozco
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:10
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 18:05

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