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Exon-intron structure and evolution of the lipocalin gene family

AuthorsSánchez, Diego; Ganfornina, M. D. ; Gutiérrez, Gabriel; Marín, Antonio
Issue Date2003
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationMolecular Biology and Evolution 20(5): 775-783 (2003)
AbstractThe Lipocalins are an ancient protein family whose expression is currently confirmed in bacteria, protoctists, plants, arthropods, and chordates. The evolution of this protein family has been assessed previously using amino acid sequence phylogenies. In this report we use an independent set of characters derived from the gene structure (exon-intron arrangement) to infer a new lipocalin phylogeny. We also present the novel gene structure of three insect lipocalins. The position and phase of introns are well preserved among lipocalin clades when mapped onto a protein sequence alignment, suggesting the homologous nature of these introns. Because of this homology, we use the intron position and phase of 23 lipocalin genes to reconstruct a phylogeny by maximum parsimony and distance methods. These phylogenies are very similar to the phylogenies derived from protein sequence. This result is confirmed by congruence analysis, and a consensus tree shows the commonalities between the two source trees. Interestingly, the intron arrangement phylogeny shows that metazoan lipocalins have more introns than other eukaryotic lipocalins, and that intron gains have occurred in the C-termini of chordate lipocalins. We also analyze the relationship of intron arrangement and protein tertiary structure, as well as the relationship of lipocalins with members of the proposed structural superfamily of calycins. Our congruence analysis validates the gene structure data as a source of phylogenetic information and helps to further refine our hypothesis on the evolutionary history of lipocalins.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/molbev/msg079
issn: 0737-4038
e-issn: 1537-1719
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