Evolutionary analysis of paired box gene family and biological function exploration of Lr.Pax7 in lamprey (Lethenteron reissneri)

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The Pax(paired box) gene family comprises highly conserved transcription factors that play a crucial regulatory role in embryonic development, tissue morphogenesis, and cell differentiation. The gene family comprises of nine members, namely Pax1 to Pax9 , each exhibiting distinct functionalities and expression patterns. Among the members of the Pax family, Pax7 is particularly involved in key regulatory functions related to skeletal muscle development and satellite cell biology in vertebrates. However, the precise role of Pax7 and its downstream targets in jawless vertebrates such as lamprey remains relatively understudied. Therefore, investigating the expression and function of lamprey’s Pax genes holds significant value as a model organism for understanding developmental processes, evolution, and interactions with other vertebrates. In this study, we identified Pax7 in Lethentero reissneri and multiple bioinformatics analyses suggested that it may represent the ancestral gene of the Pax7 shared among higher vertebrates. To further elucidate the function and regulatory mechanism of Pax7 , we performed transcriptome sequencing analysis after silencing Lr.Pax7 expression which revealed alterations in metabolic processes along with associated genes( Plcy,Jagged2,Hes,Myod,Frizzled2 ,etc) involved in various immune pathways( Notch, Wnt, IL-17, TNF , etc), myogenesis process, adipocyte formation process consistent with those observed in higher vertebrates. Comparative studies between lamprey and high vertebrates could provide valuable insight into understanding the functional role of Pax7 and its downstream targets across diverse biological process as well as disease states.

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