Cis-regulatory remodeling of the SCL locus during vertebrate evolution

Berthold Göttgens, Rita Ferreira, Maria José Sanchez, Shoko Ishibashi, Juan Li, Dominik Spensberger, Pascal Lefevre, Katrin Ottersbach, Michael Chapman, Sarah Kinston, Kathy Knezevic, Maarten Hoogenkamp, George A. Follows, Constanze Bonifer, Enrique Amaya, Anthony R. Green

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Development progresses through a sequence of cellular identities which are determined by the activities of networks of transcription factor genes. Alterations in cis-regulatory elements of these genes play a major role in evolutionary change, but little is known about the mechanisms responsible for maintaining conserved patterns of gene expression. We have studied the evolution of cis-regulatory mechanisms controlling the SCL gene, which encodes a key transcriptional regulator of blood, vasculature, and brain development and exhibits conserved function and pattern of expression throughout vertebrate evolution. SCL cis-regulatory elements are conserved between frog and chicken but accrued alterations at an accelerated rate between 310 and 200 million years ago, with subsequent fixation of a new cis-regulatory pattern at the beginning of the mammalian radiation. As aconsequence, orthologous elements shared by mammals and lower vertebrates exhibit functional differences and binding site turnover between widely separated cis-regulatory modules. However, the net effect of these alterations is constancy of overall regulatory inputs and of expression pattern. Our data demonstrate remarkable cis-regulatory remodelling across the SCL locus and indicate that stable patterns of expression can mask extensive regulatory change. These insights illuminate our understanding of vertebrate evolution. © 2010, American Society for Microbiology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5741-5751
    Number of pages10
    JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
    Issue number24
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2010


    Dive into the research topics of 'Cis-regulatory remodeling of the SCL locus during vertebrate evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this