The mammalian genome contains over 30 genes whose expression is dependent upon their parent-of-origin. Of these imprinted genes the majority are involved in regulating the rate of fetal growth. In this report we show that in the deer mouse Peromyscus the placental lactogen-1-variant (pPl1-v) gene is paternally expressed throughout fetal development, whereas the linked and closely related pPl1 gene is expressed in a biallelic manner. Neither the more distantly related pPl2A gene, nor the Mus Pl1 gene displays any preferential expression of the paternal allele, suggesting that the acquisition of imprinting of pPl1-v is a relatively recent event in evolution. Although pPl1 expression is temporally mis-regulated in the dysplastic placentae of hybrids between two Peromyscus species, its over-expression cannot account for the aberrant phenotypes of these placentae. We argue that the species-specific imprinting of pPl1-v, encoding a growth factor that regulates nutrient transfer from mothers to their offspring, is consistent with the parent-offspring conflict model that has been proposed to explain the evolution of genomic imprinting.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Genomic imprinting
- Growth control
- Placental lactogen