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Gene. 2006 Apr 26;371(2):224-33. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Evolution of ATP synthase subunit c and cytochrome c gene families in selected Metazoan classes.

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Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Sezione di Bari, CNR, Bari, Italy.


To investigate the integrated evolution of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes in the eukaryotic cell, we have focused our attention on OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation) gene families which encode proteins involved in the main mitochondrial function. The present study reports the phylogenetic analysis of two OXPHOS gene families: ATP synthase subunit c (or lipid binding protein, LBP) and Cytochrome c (Cytc). Both gene families possess a higher expansion trend than the typically low duplication rate of OXPHOS genes in Metazoa, but follow a completely different evolutionary history, especially in mammals. LBP is represented by three well conserved isoforms in all mammals (P1, P2, P3): only P3 possesses a clearly conserved isoform in all Vertebrates, P1 and P2 were already present before the bird-mammal divergence and there are preliminary evidence from the in silico analysis that P1, the most evolutionary divergent isoform, is poorly expressed and not regulated by NRF1. In contrast, Cytc family presents at least two duplicated genes in all the analysed Vertebrates, is subject to a high expansion trend, especially of processed pseudogenes in mammals, and some events of gain and loss of function can be supposed.

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