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The differential expression of ribosomal 18S RNA paralog genes from the chaetognath Spadella cephaloptera


Chaetognaths constitute a small marine phylum of approximately 120 species. Two classes of both 18S and 28S rRNA gene sequences have been evidenced in this phylum, even though significant intraindividual variation in the sequences of rRNA genes is unusual in animal genomes. These observations led to the hypothesis that this unusual genetic characteristic could play one or more physiological role(s). Using in situ hybridization on the frontal sections of the chaetognath Spadella cephaloptera, we found that the 18S Class I genes are expressed in the whole body, with a strong expression throughout the gut epithelium, whereas the expression of the 18S Class II genes is restricted to the oocytes. Our results could suggest that the paralog products of the 18S Class I genes are probably the “housekeeping” 18S rRNAs, whereas those of class II would only be essential in specific tissues. These results provide support for the idea that each type of 18S paralog is important for specific cellular functions and is under the control of selective factors.



ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid


messenger ribonucleic acid




optimal cutting temperature


phosphate buffered saline


rough endoplasmic reticulum


ribosomal ribonucleic acid


reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction


sodium chloride sodium citrate


transfer ribonucleic acid


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Correspondence to Roxane-Marie Barthélémy.

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Barthélémy, R., Grino, M., Pontarotti, P. et al. The differential expression of ribosomal 18S RNA paralog genes from the chaetognath Spadella cephaloptera . Cell Mol Biol Lett 12, 573–583 (2007).

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Key words

  • 18S
  • Chaetognath
  • Spadella cephaloptera
  • In situ hybridization
  • Duplication
  • Expression pattern
  • rRNA paralogs