Cloning and expression of deoxyribonuclease II from chicken


Acid endonucleases of the deoxyribonuclease II (DNase II, EC family have been implicated in the degradation of DNA from apoptotic cell corpses formed in the process of normal mammalian development. Although a predicted DNase II has been detected in the chicken through expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis, to date no homolog of these important enzymes has been identified in vivo in any avian species. Here we report the cloning and expression of DNase II from the chicken, Gallus gallus. When expressed, the 363 amino acid glycoprotein is observed to be approximately 45 kDa in size and to exhibit DNA hydrolytic activity at pH 5 consistent with DNase II in other species. Furthermore, chicken DNase II sequence is compared with an identified partial sequence from the zebra finch, Taeniopygia guttata, as well as the previously identified homologs found in the fowlpox and canarypox viruses and the previously cloned mammalian DNases II. Through analysis of its amino acid sequence, comparative gene structure, and conserved synteny, chicken DNase II appears to represent a member of the DNase IIβ subfamily and the apparent lack of a DNase IIα homolog in the chicken has important evolutionary implications for the study of this gene family.

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