The de novo emergence of new genes has been well documented through genomic analyses. However, a functional analysis, especially of very young protein-coding genes, is still largely lacking. Here, we identify a set of house mouse-specific protein-coding genes and assess their translation by ribosome profiling and mass spectrometry data. We functionally analyze one of them, Gm13030, which is specifically expressed in females in the oviduct. The interruption of the reading frame affects the transcriptional network in the oviducts at a specific stage of the estrous cycle. This includes the upregulation of Dcpp genes, which are known to stimulate the growth of preimplantation embryos. As a consequence, knockout females have their second litters after shorter times and have a higher infanticide rate. Given that Gm13030 shows no signs of positive selection, our findings support the hypothesis that a de novo evolved gene can directly adopt a function without much sequence adaptation.
- Chen Xie
- Diethard Tautz
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: The behavioral studies were approved by the supervising authority (Ministerium für Energiewende, Landwirtschaftliche Räume und Umwelt, Kiel) under the registration numbers V244-71173/2015, V244-4415/2017 and V244-47238/17. Animals were kept according to FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Association) guidelines, with the permit from the Veterinäramt Kreis Plön: 1401-144/PLÖ-004697. The respective animal welfare officer at the University of Kiel was informed about the sacrifice of the animals for this study.
- George H Perry, Pennsylvania State University, United States
- Received: December 13, 2018
- Accepted: August 21, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: August 22, 2019 (version 1)
© 2019, Xie et al.
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