Cloning of a proenkephalin cDNA from the pelobatid anuran amphibian, Spea multiplicatus, provides additional evidence that Leu-enkephalin, although present in the brain of anuran amphibians, is not encoded by the proenkephalin gene. The S. multiplicatus proenkephalin cDNA is 1375 nucleotides in length, and the open reading frame contains the sequences of seven opioid sequences. There are five copies of the Met-enkephalin sequence, as well as an octapeptide opioid sequence (YGGFMRNY) and a heptapeptide opioid sequence (YGGFMRF). In the proenkephalin sequence of S. multiplicatus the penultimate opioid is a Met-enkephalin sequence rather than the Leu- enkephalin present in mammalian sequences. The same order of opioid sequences also is observed for the proenkephalin sequence of the pipid anuran amphibian, Xenopus laevis. Hence, from a phylogenetic standpoint the organization of tetrapod proenkephalin has been remarkably conserved. What remains to be resolved is whether the Leu-enkephalin sequence found in mammalian proenkephalin is an ancestral trait or a derived trait for the tetrapods. Unlike the proenkephalin precursor of X. laevis, all of the opioid sequences in the S. multiplicatus proenkephalin cDNA are flanked by paired- basic amino acid proteolytic cleavage sites. In this regard the proenkephalin sequence for S. multiplicatus is more similar to mammalian proenkephalins than the proenkephalin sequence of X. laevis. However, a comparison of the proenkephalin sequences in human, X. laevis, and S. multiplicatus revealed several conserved features in the evolution of the tetrapod proenkephalin gene. By contrast, a comparison of tetrapod proenkephalin sequences with the partial sequence of a sturgeon proenkephalin cDNA indicates that the position occupied by the penultimate opioid sequence in vertebrate proenkephalins may be a highly variable locus in this gene. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience