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Differential enzyme targeting as an evolutionary adaptation to herbivory in carnivora

Birdsey, G. M., Lewin, J., Cunningham, A. A., Bruford, Michael William and Danpure, C. J. 2004. Differential enzyme targeting as an evolutionary adaptation to herbivory in carnivora. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (4) , pp. 632-646. 10.1093/molbev/msh054

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Not all members of the order Carnivora are carnivorous. Some are omnivorous, and a few, such as the giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, are almost exclusively herbivorous. Although a number of adaptations to increased plant-eating are recognized within Carnivora, few have been studied at the molecular level. One molecular adaptation to diet that is spread widely across Mammalia is the differential intracellular targeting of the intermediary metabolic enzyme alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT), which tends to be mitochondrial in carnivores, peroxisomal in herbivores, and both mitochondrial and peroxisomal in omnivores. In the present study, we have analyzed the targeting of AGT in Carnivora in relation to species' natural diets. We show not only that there has been an adaptive shift in AGT targeting from the mitochondrion toward the peroxisome as diets have shifted from being mainly carnivorous to ones that are more omnivorous and herbivorous but also that in one lineage, namely that of the giant panda, there is evidence for positive selection pressure at the molecular level on the AGT mitochondrial targeting sequence to decrease its efficiency, thereby allowing more AGT to be targeted to the peroxisomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0737-4038
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:42

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