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Mol Cell Biochem. 1996 Jun 7;159(1):15-23.

Interspecies relationships among ADP-ribosylation factors (ARFs): evidence of evolutionary pressure to maintain individual identities.

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  • 1National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


ADP-ribosylation factors (ARFs) are approximately 20-kDa guanine nucleotide-binding proteins that are allosteric activators of the NAD:arginine ADP-ribosyltransferase activity of cholera toxin and appear to play a role in intracellular vesicular trafficking. Although the physiological roles of these proteins have not been defined, it has been presumed that each has a specific intracellular function. To obtain genetic evidence that each ARF is under evolutionary pressure to maintain its structure, and presumably function, rat ARF cDNA clones were isolated and their nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences were compared to those of other mammalian ARFs. Deduced amino acid sequences for rat ARFs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 were identical to those of the known cognate human and bovine ARFs; rat ARF4 was 96% identical to human ARF4. Nucleotide sequences of both the untranslated as well as the coding regions were highly conserved. These results indicate that the ARF proteins are, as a family, extraordinarily well conserved across mammalian species. The unusually high degree of conservation of the untranslated regions is consistent with these regions having important regulatory roles and that individual ARFs contain structurally unique elements required for specific functions.

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