Alternative splicing of the BSC1 gene generates tissue-specific isoforms in the German cockroach.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are integral transmembrane proteins responsible for the rapidly-rising phase of action potentials in most excitable cells. In mammals, the functional diversity and wide distribution of sodium channel proteins in various tissues and cell types are achieved mainly by selective expression of many distinct sodium channel genes. In the model insect, Drosophila melanogaster, however, only one confirmed sodium channel gene, para, and one putative sodium channel gene, DSC1, are known. We cloned and sequenced a DSC1 ortholog, BSC1, from the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. We found that the BSC1 transcript was present in a wide range of tissues, including nerve cord, muscle, gut, fat body and ovary, whereas the para transcript was detected only in nerve cord and muscle. Moreover, different tissues contained distinct alternatively spliced variants of BSC1, and two muscle-specific spliced variants are predicted to encode truncated proteins with only the first two of the four homologous domains. Therefore, alternative splicing and expression of distinct splicing variants in functionally different tissues may be a major mechanism by which insects increase BSC1 channel diversity in neuronal and non-neuronal tissues.
Liu, Z; Chung, I; Dong, K
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