BackgroundAntarctic fish have adapted to the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean. Representative adaptations to this harsh environment include a constitutive heat shock response and the evolution of an antifreeze protein in the blood. Despite their adaptations to the cold, genome-wide studies have not yet been performed on these fish due to the lack of a sequenced genome. Notothenia coriiceps, the Antarctic bullhead notothen, is an endemic teleost fish with a circumpolar distribution and makes a good model to understand the genomic adaptations to constant sub-zero temperatures.ResultsWe provide the draft genome sequence and annotation for N. coriiceps. Comparative genome-wide analysis with other fish genomes shows that mitochondrial proteins and hemoglobin evolved rapidly. Transcriptome analysis of thermal stress responses find alternative response mechanisms for evolution strategies in a cold environment. Loss of the phosphorylation-dependent sumoylation motif in heat shock factor 1 suggests that the heat shock response evolved into a simple and rapid phosphorylation-independent regulatory mechanism. Rapidly evolved hemoglobin and the induction of a heat shock response in the blood may support the efficient supply of oxygen to cold-adapted mitochondria.ConclusionsOur data and analysis suggest that evolutionary strategies in efficient aerobic cellular respiration are controlled by hemoglobin and mitochondrial proteins, which may be important for the adaptation of Antarctic fish to their environment. The use of genome data from the Antarctic endemic fish provides an invaluable resource providing evidence of evolutionary adaptation and can be applied to other studies of Antarctic fish.
Journal: Genome biology