Macqueen, D.J., and Johnston, I.A. (2008) An Update on MyoD Evolution in Teleosts and a Proposed Consensus Nomenclature to Accommodate the Tetraploidization of Different Vertebrate Genomes. PLoS One. 3(2):e1567.
BACKGROUND: MyoD is a muscle specific transcription factor that is essential for vertebrate myogenesis. In several teleost species, including representatives of the Salmonidae and Acanthopterygii, but not zebrafish, two or more MyoD paralogues are conserved that are thought to have arisen from distinct, possibly lineage-specific duplication events. Additionally, two MyoD paralogues have been characterised in the allotetraploid frog, Xenopus laevis. This has lead to a confusing nomenclature since MyoD paralogues have been named outside of an appropriate phylogenetic framework. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we initially show that directly depicting the evolutionary relationships of teleost MyoD orthologues and paralogues is hindered by the asymmetric evolutionary rate of Acanthopterygian MyoD2 relative to other MyoD proteins. Thus our aim was to confidently position the event from which teleost paralogues arose in different lineages by a comparative investigation of genes neighbouring myod across the vertebrates. To this end, we show that genes on the single myod-containing chromosome of mammals and birds are retained in both zebrafish and Acanthopterygian teleosts in a striking pattern of double conserved synteny. Further, phylogenetic reconstruction of these neighbouring genes using Bayesian and maximum likelihood methods supported a common origin for teleost paralogues following the split of the Actinopterygii and Sarcopterygii. CONCLUSION: Our results strongly suggest that myod was duplicated during the basal teleost whole genome duplication event, but was subsequently lost in the Ostariophysi (zebrafish) and Protacanthopterygii lineages. We propose a sensible consensus nomenclature for vertebrate myod genes that accommodates polyploidization events in teleost and tetrapod lineages and is justified from a phylogenetic perspective.