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J Mol Evol. 1999 Jun;48(6):654-62.

Multiple protein tyrosine phosphatases in sponges and explosive gene duplication in the early evolution of animals before the parazoan-eumetazoan split.

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Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) regulate various physiological events in animal cells. They comprise a diverse family which are classified into two categories, receptor type and nonreceptor type. From the domain organization and phylogenetic tree, we have classified known PTPs into 17 subtypes (9 receptor-type and 8 nonreceptor-type PTPs) which are characterized by different organization of functional domain and independent cluster in tree. The receptor type PTPs are thought to be implicated in cell-cell adhesion by association of cell adhesion molecules. Since sponges are the most primitive multicellular animals and are thought to be lacking cell cohesiveness and coordination typical of eumetazoans, cloning and sequencing of PTP cDNAs of Ephydatia fluviatilis (freshwater sponge) have been conducted by RT-PCR to determine whether or not sponges have PTP genes in their genomes. We have isolated nine PTPs, of which five are possibly receptor type. A phylogenetic tree including the sponge PTPs revealed that most of the gene duplications that gave rise to the 17 subtypes had been completed in the very early evolution of animals before the parazoan-eumetazoan split, the earliest branching among extant animal phyla. The family tree also revealed the rapid evolutionary rate of PTP subtypes in the early stage of animal evolution.

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