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EXS. 1996;75:323-45.

Adaptive evolution of lysozyme: changes in amino acid sequence, regulation of expression and gene number.

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Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720-3202, USA.


Adaptive evolution of lysozyme has involved remodelling of amino acid sequences and changes in patterns of gene expression and in gene number. Following an outline of the phenomena likely to be indicative of adaptive evolution and how one can assess them, this chapter focuses on four cases in which lysozyme c has been recruited as a digestive enzyme in the stomachs of creatures needing to retrieve nutrients from microorganisms in fermented food. For each case-ruminant artiodactyls, leaf-eating monkeys, a leaf-eating bird, and fruit flies-the factors likely to be of primary importance in lysozyme's adaptation are examined. Additional examples of apparent adaptation for digestion or antimicrobial defense in animals as diverse as mice, moths, and molluscs are summarized. This chapter considers also the case of three internally clustered residues which among galliform bird lysozymes c occur either as Thr 40, Ile 55, and Ser 91 (TIS) or as Ser 40, Val 55, and Thr 91 (SVT). Reconstruction and testing of six possible intermediate proteins and development of the concept of a neutral corridor of protein traits are described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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