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Evolution of NCoR-1 and NCoR-2 corepressor alternative mRNA splicing in placental mammals



The NCoR-1 and NCoR-2 corepressors are products of an early gene duplication near the beginning of vertebrate evolution and play both overlapping and divergent roles in development and physiology. Alternative-splicing of NCoR-1 and NCoR-2 further customizes their functions. To better understand the evolutionary basis of this phenomenon we extended our prior study of NCoR-1 and NCoR-2 alternative-splicing to an expanded series of species.


Alternative-splicing of NCoR-2 was observed in all vertebrates examined whereas alternative-splicing of NCoR-1 was largely limited to placental mammals. Notably the most prominent of the NCoR-1 alternative-splicing events specific to the placental lineage, in exon 37 that plays a key role in murine metabolism, mimics in many features an analogous alternative-splicing event that appeared in NCoR-2 much earlier at the beginning of the vertebrate radiation. Detection of additional alternative-splicing events, at exons 28 in NCoR-1 or NCoR-2, was limited to the Rodentia or Primates examined, indicating both corepressor paralogs continued to acquire additional splice variations more recently and independently of one another. Our results suggest that the NCoR-1/NCoR-2 paralogs have been subject to a mix of shared and distinct selective pressures, resulting in the pattern of divergent and convergent alternative-splicing observed in extant species.

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