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Mol Biol Evol. 2000 May;17(5):738-50.

Expansion and molecular evolution of the interferon-induced 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase gene family.

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Department of Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-1501, USA.


The mammalian 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetases (2'-5'OASs) are enzymes that are crucial in the interferon-induced antiviral response. They catalyze the polymerization of ATP into 2'-5'-linked oligoadenylates which activate a constitutively expressed latent endonuclease, RNaseL, to block viral replication at the level of mRNA degradation. A molecular evolutionary analysis of available OAS sequences suggests that the vertebrate genes are members of a multigene family with its roots in the early history of tetrapods. The modern mammalian 2'-5'OAS genes underwent successive gene duplication events resulting in three size classes of enzymes, containing one, two, or three homologous domains. Expansion of the OAS gene family occurred by whole-gene duplications to increase gene content and by domain couplings to produce the multidomain genes. Evolutionary analyses show that the 2'-5'OAS genes in rodents underwent gene duplications as recently as 11 MYA and predict the existence of additional undiscovered OAS genes in mammals.

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