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J Genet Genomics. 2008 Jan;35(1):17-24. doi: 10.1016/S1673-8527(08)60003-X.

Bioinformatic identification of genes encoding C1q-domain-containing proteins in zebrafish.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China.


C1q is the first subcomponent of classical pathway in the complement system and a major link between innate and acquired immunities. The globular (gC1q) domain similar with C1q was also found in many non-complement C1q-domain-containing (C1qDC) proteins which have similar crystal structure to that of the multifunctional tumor necrosis factor (TNF) ligand family, and also have diverse functions. In this study, we identified a total of 52 independent gene sequences encoding C1q-domain-containing proteins through comprehensive searches of zebrafish genome, cDNA and EST databases. In comparison to 31 orthologous genes in human and different numbers in other species, a significant selective pressure was suggested during vertebrate evolution. Domain organization of C1q-domain-containing (C1qDC) proteins mainly includes a leading signal peptide, a collagen-like region of variable length, and a C-terminal C1q domain. There are 11 highly conserved residues within the C1q domain, among which 2 are invariant within the zebrafish gene set. A more extensive database searches also revealed homologous C1qDC proteins in other vertebrates, invertebrates and even bacterium, but no homologous sequences for encoding C1qDC proteins were found in many species that have a more recent evolutionary history with zebrafish. Therefore, further studies on C1q-domain-containing genes among different species will help us understand evolutionary mechanism of innate and acquired immunities.

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