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J Mol Evol. 2002 Feb;54(2):235-45.

Evolution of duplicated reggie genes in zebrafish and goldfish.

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Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.


Invertebrates, tetrapod vertebrates, and fish might be expected to differ in their number of gene copies, possibly due the occurrence of genome duplication events during animal evolution. Reggie (flotillin) genes code for membrane-associated proteins involved in growth signaling in developing and regenerating axons. Until now, there appeared to be only two reggie genes in fruitflies, mammals, and fish. The aim of this research was to search for additional copies of reggie genes in fishes, since a genome duplication might have increased the gene copy number in this group. We report the presence of up to four distinct reggie genes (two reggie-1 and two reggie-2 genes) in the genomes of zebrafish and goldfish. Phylogenetic analyses show that the zebrafish and goldfish sequence pairs are orthologous, and that the additional copies could have arisen through a genome duplication in a common ancestor of bony fish. The presence of novel reggie mRNAs in fish embryos indicates that the newly discovered gene copies are transcribed and possibly expressed in the developing and regenerating nervous system. The intron/exon boundaries of the new fish genes characterized here correspond with those of human genes, both in location and phase. An evolutionary scenario for the evolution of reggie intron-exon structure, where loss of introns appears to be a distinctive trait in invertebrate reggie genes, is presented.

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