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Scientifica (Cairo). 2015;2015:984706. doi: 10.1155/2015/984706. Epub 2015 Oct 19.

Adaptive Evolution Coupled with Retrotransposon Exaptation Allowed for the Generation of a Human-Protein-Specific Coding Gene That Promotes Cancer Cell Proliferation and Metastasis in Both Haematological Malignancies and Solid Tumours: The Extraordinary Case of MYEOV Gene.

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Department of Haematology, School of Medicine, Democritus University of Thrace, 68100 Alexandroupolis, Greece.


The incidence of cancer in human is high as compared to chimpanzee. However previous analysis has documented that numerous human cancer-related genes are highly conserved in chimpanzee. Till date whether human genome includes species-specific cancer-related genes that could potentially contribute to a higher cancer susceptibility remains obscure. This study focuses on MYEOV, an oncogene encoding for two protein isoforms, reported as causally involved in promoting cancer cell proliferation and metastasis in both haematological malignancies and solid tumours. First we document, via stringent in silico analysis, that MYEOV arose de novo in Catarrhini. We show that MYEOV short-isoform start codon was evolutionarily acquired after Catarrhini/Platyrrhini divergence. Throughout the course of Catarrhini evolution MYEOV acquired a gradually elongated translatable open reading frame (ORF), a gradually shortened translation-regulatory upstream ORF, and alternatively spliced mRNA variants. A point mutation introduced in human allowed for the acquisition of MYEOV long-isoform start codon. Second, we demonstrate the precious impact of exonized transposable elements on the creation of MYEOV gene structure. Third, we highlight that the initial part of MYEOV long-isoform coding DNA sequence was under positive selection pressure during Catarrhini evolution. MYEOV represents a Primate Orphan Gene that acquired, via ORF expansion, a human-protein-specific coding potential.

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