Trefoil factors are essential healing initiators participating in mucosal reconstitution and tissue morphogenesis, especially on the surfaces of the gastrointestinal tract. This family has been cloned and characterized predominantly from mammals and amphibians. Avian species ingest stone and grit to help digest food, which may expose their gut to severe physical conditions. To further the understanding of the function of the TFF gene family across species, we undertook this research to clone, sequence, and characterize the spatio-temporal expression patterns of chicken TFF2 (ChTFF2) cDNA. Bioinformatics analysis of the promoter region and deduced amino acid sequence demonstrated that ChTFF2 contained unique characteristics; specifically the chicken promoter has multiple start sites and the protein contains a series of Lys-Lys-Val repeats. Unlike mammals, where TFF2 is detected primarily in the stomach, and occasionally in the proximal duodenum, chicken TFF2 transcripts are found throughout the gastrointestinal tract, with major expression sites in the glandular and muscular stomach as well as evident expression in the colon, small intestine, cecal tonsil and crop. Temporal analysis of intestinalChTFF2 transcripts by quantitative RT-PCR showed high levels in embryos and a trend of constant expression during embryonic and post-hatch development, with a reduction occurring around hatch. Phylogenetic analysis highlighted the conservation of TFF proteins and functional divergence of trefoil domains, which suggest a transitional role in the bird during evolution.


This is the publisher pdf of Jiang Z, Lossie AC, Applegate TJ (2011) Evolution of Trefoil Factor(s): Genetic and Spatio-Temporal Expression of Trefoil Factor 2 in the Chicken (Gallus Gallus Domesticus). PLoS ONE 6(7): e22691 and is available at: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022691.

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