Adaptive evolution in the glucose transporter 4 gene Slc2a4 in Old World fruit bats (family: Pteropodidae).
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Frugivorous and nectarivorous bats are able to ingest large quantities of sugar in a short time span while avoiding the potentially adverse side-effects of elevated blood glucose. The glucose transporter 4 protein (GLUT4) encoded by the Slc2a4 gene plays a critical role in transmembrane skeletal muscle glucose uptake and thus glucose homeostasis. To test whether the Slc2a4 gene has undergone adaptive evolution in bats with carbohydrate-rich diets in relation to their insect-eating sister taxa, we sequenced the coding region of the Slc2a4 gene in a number of bat species, including four Old World fruit bats (Pteropodidae) and three New World fruit bats (Phyllostomidae). Our molecular evolutionary analyses revealed evidence that Slc2a4 has undergone a change in selection pressure in Old World fruit bats with 11 amino acid substitutions detected on the ancestral branch, whereas, no positive selection was detected in the New World fruit bats. We noted that in the former group, amino acid replacements were biased towards either Serine or Isoleucine, and, of the 11 changes, six were specific to Old World fruit bats (A133S, A164S, V377F, V386I, V441I and G459S). Our study presents preliminary evidence that the Slc2a4 gene has undergone adaptive changes in Old World fruit bats in relation to their ability to meet the demands of a high sugar diet.
AuthorsShen, B; Han, X; Zhang, J; Rossiter, SJ; Zhang, S
- Organismal Biology