Isolation of DNA sequences with homology to a degenerate FaRP oligonucleotide from the crayfish Procambarus clarkii
Peaire, Amy E.
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The neuropeptide Th1RFamide with the sequence Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-amide was originally isolated in the clam Macrocallista nimbosa (price and Greenberg, 1977). Since its discovery, a large family ofFl\1RFamide-related peptides termed FaRPs have been found to be present in all major animal phyla with functions ranging from modulation of neuronal activity to alteration of muscular contractions. However, little is known about the genetics encoding these peptides, especially in invertebrates. As FaRP-encoding genes have yet to be investigated in the invertebrate Malacostracean subphylum, the isolation and characterization ofFaRP-encoding DNA and mRNA was pursued in this project. The immediate aims of this thesis were: (1) to amplify mRNA sequences of Procambarus clarkii using a degenerate oligonucleotide primer deduced from the common amino acid sequence ofisolated Procambarus FaRPS, (2) to determine if these amplification products encode FaRP gene sequences, and (3) to create a selective cDNA library of sequences recognized by the degenerate oligonucleotide primer. The polymerase chain reaction - rapid amplification of cDNA ends (PCR-RACE) is a procedure in which a single gene-specific primer is used in conjunction with a generalized 3' or 5' primer to amplify copies ofthe region between a single point in the transcript and the 3' or 5' end of cDNA of interest (Frohman et aI., 1988). PCRRACE reactions were optimized with respect to primers used, buffer composition, cycle number, nature ofgenetic substrate to be amplified, annealing, extension and denaturation temperatures and times, and use of reamplification procedures. Amplification products were cloned into plasmid vectors and recombinant products were isolated, as were the recombinant plaques formed in the selective cDNA library. Labeled amplification products were hybridized to recombinant bacteriophage to determine ligated amplification product presence. When sequenced, the five isolated PCR-RACE amplification products were determined not to possess FaRP-encoding sequences. The 200bp, 450bp, and 1500bp sequences showed homology to the Caenorhabditis elegans cosmid K09A11, which encodes for cytochrome P450; transfer-RNA; transposase; and tRNA-Tyr, while the 500bp and 750bp sequences showed homology with the complete genome of the Vaccinia virus. Under the employed amplification conditions the degenerate oligonucleotide primer was observed to bind to and to amplify sequences with either 9 or 10bp of 17bp identity. The selective cDNA library was obselVed to be of extremely low titre. When library titre was increased, white. plaques were isolated. Amplification analysis of eight isolated Agt11 sequences from these plaques indicated an absence of an insertion sequence. The degenerate 17 base oligonucleotide primer synthesized from the common amino acid sequence ofisolated Procambarus FaRPs was thus determined to be non-specific in its binding under the conditions required for its use, and to be insufficient for the isolation and identification ofFaRP-encoding sequences. A more specific primer oflonger sequence, lower degeneracy, and higher melting temperature (TJ is recommended for further investigation into the FaRP-encoding genes of Procambarlls clarkii.