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J Mol Evol. 2006 Apr;62(4):446-59. Epub 2006 Mar 17.

Identification of several cytoplasmic HSP70 genes from the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and their long-term evolution in Mollusca and Metazoa.

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Department of Genetics, Development, and Molecular Biology, School of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh), Thessaloniki, GR-54124, Greece.


The HSP70 protein family consists one of the most conserved and important systems for cellular homeostasis under both stress and physiological conditions. The genes of this family are poorly studied in Mollusca, which is the second largest metazoan phylum. To study these genes in Mollusca, we have isolated and identified five HSP70 genes from Mytilus galloprovincialis (Mediterranean mussel) and investigated their short-term evolution within Mollusca and their long-term evolution within Metazoa. Both sequence and phylogenetic analyses suggested that the isolated genes belong to the cytoplasmic (CYT) group of the HSP70 genes. Two of these genes probably represent cognates, whereas the remaining probably represent heat-inducible genes. Phylogenetic analysis including several molluscan CYT HSP70s reveals that the cognate genes in two species have very similar sequences and form intraspecies phylogenetic clades, differently from most metazoan cognate genes studied thus far, implying either recent gene duplications or concerted evolution. The M. galloprovincialis heat-inducible genes show intraspecies phylogenetic clustering, which in combination with the higher amino acid than nucleotide identity suggests that both gene conversion and purifying selection should be responsible for their sequence homogenization. Phylogenetic analysis including several metazoan HSP70s suggests that at least two types of CYT genes were present in the common ancestor of vertebrates and invertebrates, the first giving birth to the heat-inducible genes of invertebrates, whereas the other to both the heat-inducible genes of vertebrates and the cognate genes of all metazoans. These analyses also suggest that inducible and cognate genes seem to undergo divergent evolution.

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