Qu, B., Landsbury, A., Schönthaler, H.B., Dahm, R., Liu, Y., Clark, J.I., Prescott, A.R., Quinlan, R.A. (2012) Evolution of the vertebrate beaded filament protein, Bfsp2; comparing the in vitro assembly properties of a "tailed" zebrafish Bfsp2 to its "tailless" human orthologue. Experimental Eye Research. 94(1):192-202.
In bony fishes, Bfsp2 orthologues are predicted to possess a C-terminal tail domain, which is absent from avian, amphibian and mammalian Bfsp2 sequences. These sequences, are however, not conserved between fish species and therefore questions whether they have a functional role. For other intermediate filament proteins, the C-terminal tail domain is important for both filament assembly and regulating interactions between filaments. We confirm that zebrafish has a single Bfsp2 gene by radiation mapping. Two transcripts (bfsp2α and bfsp2β) are produced by alternative splicing of the last exon. Using a polyclonal antibody specific to a tridecameric peptide in the C-terminal tail domain common to both zebrafish Bfsp2 splice variants, we have confirmed its expression in zebrafish lens fibre cells. We have also determined the in vitro assembly properties of zebrafish Bfsp2α and conclude that the C-terminal sequences are required to regulate not only the diameter and uniformity of the in vitro assembly filaments, but also their filament–filament associations in vitro. Therefore we conclude zebrafish Bfsp2α is a functional orthologue conforming more closely to the conventional domain structure of intermediate filament proteins. Data mining of the genome databases suggest that the loss of this tail domain could occur in several stages leading eventually to completely tailless orthologues, such as human BFSP2.