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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1999 Mar;11(2):308-19.

Phylogenetic analysis of vertebrate and invertebrate Delta/Serrate/LAG-2 (DSL) proteins.

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Department of Biology, John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio, 44118, USA.


Delta/Serrate/LAG-2 (DSL) proteins are putative transmembrane signaling molecules that regulate cell differentiation in metazoans. DSL proteins are characterized by the presence of a motif unique to these proteins, the DSL motif, and a variable number of tandemly repeated copies of an epidermal growth factor-like (EGF) motif. We have completed a phylogenetic analysis of 15 DSL proteins from eight species. Our findings reveal that at least one gene duplication occurred prior to the divergence of the Drosophila melanogaster and vertebrate lineages, with subsequent duplications in vertebrates. The three known Caenorhabditis elegans proteins likely arose by two independent duplications in the nematode lineage. Analysis of EGF repeats suggests that EGF 2 has been conserved among DSL proteins in vertebrates and D. melanogaster. The sequences of two EGF repeats have been perfectly conserved in vertebrate orthologs: EGF 2 in Delta and EGF 15 in Jagged/Serrate. Finally, the linear order of EGF repeats has been conserved in the vertebrate Jagged/Serrate orthologs and vertebrate Delta orthologs.

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