The round-spotted pufferfish Tetraodon fluviatilis has a genome size of 380 Mb which is slightly smaller than that of another pufferfish, Fugu rubripes rubripes (Fugu). Due to their compact genome and small introns, both pufferfishes have been proposed as model organisms for genome studies. In this study, we have used genomic DNA as template to perform PCR to screen for protein kinase (pk) genes. Forty-one T. fluviatilis pk genes encoding 7 receptor tyrosine kinases, 14 nonreceptor tyrosine kinases, 16 serine/threonine kinases, 1 dual kinase and 3 novel kinases have been identified. The success of this approach depends on the size and location of the introns. Most of the identified pk gene fragments contain introns, ranging from 71 to 300 bp, with an average of 120 bp. It is noteworthy that the intron/exon boundaries of certain genes which belong to the same family are identical. We also analyzed by specific RT-PCR primers the expression profile of those 3 novel genes as well as some selected pk genes in a variety of tissues. We found that erbB3, pku α, mrk, CaMKI, CaMKIIγ, and two novel kinase genes (133 and 3-26) are expressed in all tissues examined. However, the novel clone 146 is strongly expressed in the brain and weakly in the intestine, kidney and heart.
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