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Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Nov;17(11):1739-52.

The structure and organization of lamprin genes: multiple-copy genes with alternative splicing and convergent evolution with insect structural proteins.

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Division of Cardiovascular Research, Hospital for Sick Children and Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Lamprin is a unique structural protein which forms the extracellular matrix of several cartilaginous structures found in the lamprey. Lamprin is noncollagenous in nature but shows sequence similarities to elastins and to insect structural proteins. Here, we characterize the structure and organization of lamprin genes, demonstrating the presence of multiple similar but not identical copies of the lamprin gene in the genome of the lamprey. In at least one species of lamprey, Lampetra richardsoni, the multiple gene copies are arranged in tandem in the genome in a head-to-tail orientation. Lamprin genes from Petromyzon marinus contain either seven or eight exons, with exon 4 being alternatively spliced in all genes, resulting in a total of six different lamprin transcripts. All exon junctions are of class 1,1. An unusual feature of the lamprin gene structure is the distribution of the 3' untranslated region sequence among multiple exons. A TATA box and cap sequence have been identified in upstream sequences in close proximity to the transcription start site, but no CAAT box could be identified. Sequence and gene structure comparisons between lamprins, elastins, and insect structural proteins suggest that the regions of sequence similarity are the result of a process of convergent evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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