Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Biol Evol. 2013;5(12):2344-58. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evt182.

Genomic, RNAseq, and molecular modeling evidence suggests that the major allergen domain in insects evolved from a homodimeric origin.

Author information

Integrative Bioinformatics, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC.


The major allergen domain (MA) is widely distributed in insects. The crystal structure of a single Bla g 1 MA revealed a novel protein fold in which the fundamental structure was a duplex of two subsequences (monomers), which had diverged over time. This suggested that the evolutionary origin of the MA structure may have been a homodimer of this smaller subsequence. Using publicly available genomic data, the distribution of the basic unit of this class of proteins was determined to better understand its evolutionary history. The duplication and divergence is examined at three distinct levels of resolution: 1) within the orders Diptera and Hymenoptera, 2) within one genus Drosophila, and 3) within one species Aedes aegypti. Within the family Culicidae, we have found two separate occurrences of monomers as independent genes. The organization of the gene family in A. aegypti shows a common evolutionary origin for its monomer and several closely related MAs. Molecular modeling of the A. aegypti monomer with the unique Bla g 1 fold confirms the distant evolutionary relationship and supports the feasibility of homodimer formation from a single monomer. RNAseq data for A. aegypti confirms that the monomer is expressed in the mosquito similar to other A. aegypti MAs after a blood meal. Together, these data support the contention that the detected monomer shares similar functional characteristics to related MAs in other insects. An extensive search for this domain outside of Insecta confirms that the MAs are restricted to insects.


ANG12; Bla g 1; RNAseq; SDMA; allergen; gene expression; gene family; genome; molecular modeling; ortholog; synteny; tandem duplication

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center