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Open AccessArticle

An Evolutionary Perspective of Dopachrome Tautomerase Enzymes in Metazoans

Department of Biology, University of Padova, Padova, 35121, Italy
Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)—Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Wadden Sea Station Sylt, List auf Sylt25992, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(7), 495;
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
Melanin plays a pivotal role in the cellular processes of several metazoans. The final step of the enzymically-regulated melanin biogenesis is the conversion of dopachrome into dihydroxyindoles, a reaction catalyzed by a class of enzymes called dopachrome tautomerases. We traced dopachrome tautomerase (DCT) and dopachrome converting enzyme (DCE) genes throughout metazoans and we could show that only one class is present in most of the phyla. While DCTs are typically found in deuterostomes, DCEs are present in several protostome phyla, including arthropods and mollusks. The respective DCEs belong to the yellow gene family, previously reported to be taxonomically restricted to insects, bacteria and fungi. Mining genomic and transcriptomic data of metazoans, we updated the distribution of DCE/yellow genes, demonstrating their presence and active expression in most of the lophotrochozoan phyla as well as in copepods (Crustacea). We have traced one intronless DCE/yellow gene through most of the analyzed lophotrochozoan genomes and we could show that it was subjected to genomic diversification in some species, while it is conserved in other species. DCE/yellow was expressed in most phyla, although it showed tissue specific expression patterns. In the parasitic copepod Mytilicola intestinalis DCE/yellow even belonged to the 100 most expressed genes. Both tissue specificity and high expression suggests that diverse functions of this gene family also evolved in other phyla apart from insects. View Full-Text
Keywords: DCT; DCE; yellow; dopachrome tautomerase; MRJP; oyster; melanin; Mytilicola DCT; DCE; yellow; dopachrome tautomerase; MRJP; oyster; melanin; Mytilicola
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Rosani, U.; Domeneghetti, S.; Maso, L.; Wegner, K.M.; Venier, P. An Evolutionary Perspective of Dopachrome Tautomerase Enzymes in Metazoans. Genes 2019, 10, 495.

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