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Methods Cell Biol. 2009;92:1-9. doi: 10.1016/S0091-679X(08)92001-X. Epub 2009 Nov 21.

Bioinformatic approaches to dynein heavy chain classification.

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Kyoto University, Japan.


Multiple dynein heavy chain (DHC) genes are found in the genomes of organisms with motile cilia and flagella. Phylogenetic analyses classify these into several groups, each of which may be associated with a specific function. The Chlamydomonas genome contains 16 DHC genes, of which 15 genes have been correlated with particular DHC proteins. The functional properties of Chlamydomonas DHCs have been extensively studied by biochemical and genetic methods. Therefore, the phylogenetic classification of Chlamydomonas DHC genes can serve as the standard for DHC gene classification in other organisms. Here, I classify Chlamydomonas DHC genes by phylogenetic analysis and then show how to use this information to classify dyneins from other species that lack biochemical and genetic characterization. As an example, I classify the 16 human DHC genes into functional groups using the Chlamydomonas genes as references. Many of the human DHC genes have a closely related counterpart in Chlamydomonas, suggesting that the human genes will have functional properties similar to what has been described in Chlamydomonas.

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