Young Researchers Conference on Evolutionary Genomics
National Center for Sciences Building, Tokyo, Japan
August 01, 2011
Poster presentation

Identification and characterization of protochordate promoters
Mayu Fushimi1 and Kohji Okamura2
1Dept. Biol., Fac. Sci., Ochanomizu Univ., Japan, 2Ctr. Inf. Biol., Ochanomizu Univ., Japan
DNA methylation is an ancient process conducted by conserved methyltransferase families. However, its biological functions are highly diverged and still elusive in some groups of organisms such as protochordates. While plants and fungi use DNA methylation to defend against transposable elements, mammals employ it for the sake of stage-, tissue-, or cell type-specific regulation of gene expression. It is most likely that the gene regulation by DNA methylation is also seen in all kinds of vertebrate animals, but not in other animals. How did the earliest vertebrates exploit DNA methylation for their unique gene regulation? To address this issue, we scrutinized RNA-seq data of a protochordate, Ciona intestinalis, not only to identify but also to characterize its promoter sequences. By comparing them to those of vertebrates', we can surmise what had happened in the promoters of the primordial vertebrates.