Gene network analyses support subfunctionalization hypothesis for duplicated hsp70 genes in the Antarctic clam

Abigail Ramsøe, Melody S. Clark, Victoria A. Sleight* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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A computationally predicted gene regulatory network (GRN), generated from mantle-specific gene expression profiles in the Antarctic clam Laternula elliptica, was interrogated to test the regulation and interaction of duplicated inducible hsp70 paralogues. hsp70A and hsp70B were identified in the GRN with each paralogue falling into unique submodules that were linked together by a single shared second neighbour. Annotations associated with the clusters in each submodule suggested that hsp70A primarily shares regulatory relationships with genes encoding ribosomal proteins, where it may have a role in protecting the ribosome under stress. hsp70B, on the other hand, interacted with a suite of genes involved in signalling pathways, including four transcription factors, cellular response to stress and the cytoskeleton. Given the contrasting submodules and associated annotations of the two hsp70 paralogues, the GRN analysis suggests that each gene is carrying out additional separate functions, as well as being involved in the traditional chaperone heat stress response, and therefore supports the hypothesis that subfunctionalization has occurred after gene duplication. The GRN was specifically produced from experiments investigating biomineralization; however, this study shows the utility of such data for investigating multiple questions concerning gene duplications, interactions and putative functions in a non-model species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111–1116
Number of pages6
JournalCell Stress & Chaperones
Issue number6
Early online date20 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MSC was supported by core funding to the British Antarctic Survey by NERC-UKRI. VAS was supported by a Junior Research Fellowship from Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. AR was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) [grant number AH/N005015/1] through the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH).


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Gene duplication
  • Heat stress
  • Hypoxia
  • Ribosome
  • Signalling


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