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J Mol Evol. 1994 Oct;39(4):369-77.

Phylogenetic relationship of ubiquitin repeats in the polyubiquitin gene from the marine sponge Geodia cydonium.

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Abteilung Angewandte Molekularbiologie, Universität, Mainz, Germany.


Ubiquitin is a 76-residue protein which is highly conserved among eukaryotes. Sponge (Porifera) ubiquitin, isolated from Geodia cydonium, is encoded by a gene (termed GCUBI) with six repeats, GCUBI-1 to GCUBI-6. All repeat units encode the same protein (with one exception: GCUBI-4 encodes ubiquitin with a change of Leu to Val at position 71). On the nt level the sequences of the six repeats differ considerably. All changes (except in GCUBI-4) are silent substitutions, which do not affect the protein structure. However, there is one major difference between the repeats: Codons from both codon families (TCN and AGPy) are simultaneously used for the serine at position 65. Using this characteristic the repeats were divided into two groups: Group I: GCUBI-1,3 (TCT codon) and GCUBI-5 (TCC); Group II: GCUBI-2,4,6 (AGC codon). Mutational analysis suggests that the sponge polyubiquitin gene evolved from an ancestral monoubiquitin gene by gene duplication and successive tandem duplications. The ancestral monoubiquitin gene most probably coded for threonine (ACC) at position 65. The first event, duplication of the monoubiquitin gene, happened some 110 million years ago. Since sponges from the genus Geodia are known from the Cretaceous (145 million) to recent time, it is very likely that all events in the evolution of polyubiquitin gene occurred in the same genus. Alignment data of the "consensus" ubiquitin nt sequences of different animals (man to protozoa) reflect very well the established phylogenetic relationships of the chosen organisms and show that the sponge ubiquitin gene branched off first from the multicellular organisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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