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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Jan 21;1727(1):65-74. Epub 2005 Jan 7.

Fish possess multiple copies of fgfrl1, the gene for a novel FGF receptor.

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  • 1ITI Research Institute, University of Bern, Murtenstrasse 35, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland. beat.trueb@iti.unibe.ch


FGFRL1 is a novel FGF receptor that lacks the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. While mammals, including man and mouse, possess a single copy of the FGFRL1 gene, fish have at least two copies, fgfrl1a and fgfrl1b. In zebrafish, both genes are located on chromosome 14, separated by about 10 cM. The two genes show a similar expression pattern in several zebrafish tissues, although the expression of fgfrl1b appears to be weaker than that of fgfrl1a. A clear difference is observed in the ovary of Fugu rubripes, which expresses fgfrl1a but not fgfrl1b. It is therefore possible that subfunctionalization has played a role in maintaining the two fgfrl1 genes during the evolution of fish. In human beings, the FGFRL1 gene is located on chromosome 4, adjacent to the SPON2, CTBP1 and MEAEA genes. These genes are also found adjacent to the fgfrl1a gene of Fugu, suggesting that FGFRL1, SPON2, CTBP1 and MEAEA were preserved as a coherent block during the evolution of Fugu and man.

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