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J Mol Evol. 2007 Jan;64(1):61-70. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Evolution of the metazoan protein phosphatase 2C superfamily.

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  • 1Department of Cell Research and Immunology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


Members of the protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) superfamily are Mg(2+)/Mn(2+)-dependent serine/threonine phosphatases, which are essential for regulation of cell cycle and stress signaling pathways in cells. In this study, a comprehensive genomic analysis of all available metazoan PP2C sequences was conducted. The phylogeny of PP2C was reconstructed, revealing the existence of 15 vertebrate families which arose following a series of gene duplication events. Relative dating of these duplications showed that they occurred in two active periods: before the divergence of bilaterians and before vertebrate diversification. PP2C families which duplicated during the first period take part in different signaling pathways, whereas PP2C families which diverged in the second period display tissue expression differences yet participate in similar signaling pathways. These differences were found to involve variation of expression in tissues which show higher complexity in vertebrates, such as skeletal muscle and the nervous system. Further analysis was performed with the aim of identifying the functional domains of PP2C. The conservation pattern across the entire PP2C superfamily revealed an extensive domain of more than 50 amino acids which is highly conserved throughout all PP2C members. Several insertion or deletion events were found which may have led to the specialization of each PP2C family.

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