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EMBO J. 1990 Apr; 9(4): 1283–1288.
PMCID: PMC551806

Repetitive sequence involvement in the duplication and divergence of mouse lysozyme genes.


Mouse M and P lysozymes are the products of separate genes, are specifically expressed in separate tissues, and are adapted to different functions. The lysozyme genes have assumed these markedly different characteristics following their generation by gene duplication 30-50 million years ago. The discovery of the lysozyme P gene only 5 kb upstream from the M gene in tandem repeat has enabled an investigation of the molecular basis of their duplication and subsequent divergence. The duplication is shown to have involved recombination between two B2 repeat sequences flanking the original gene. The resulting downstream copy has retained the myeloid specificity of expression along with just 1.7 kb of upstream sequences, while the upstream copy is inactive in macrophages and has become expressed instead in the small intestine. Although multiple gene conversion events have served to maintain a generally high homology between the genes, certain regions have been found to be specific for either one of the gene pair: two repetitive sequences peculiar to the P region may serve to protect the coding regions from gene conversion, while sequences unique to the M gene may be more directly involved in differential regulation.

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Selected References

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