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Oncogene. 1997 Dec 11;15(24):2965-74.

Rel/NF-kappa B transcription factors and I kappa B inhibitors: evolution from a unique common ancestor.

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Laboratoire de r├ęgulation des processus invasifs, de l'angiogen├Ęse et de l'apoptose, EP560, IFR3 Institut de Biologie de Lille, France.


From the sequences of Rel/NF-kappa B and I kappa B proteins, we constructed an alignment of their Rel Homology Domain (RHD) and ankyrin repeat domain. Using this alignment, we performed tree reconstruction with both distance matrix and parsimony analysis and estimated the branching robustness using bootstrap resampling methods. We defined four subfamilies of Rel/NF-kappa B transcription factors: (i) cRel, RelA, RelB, Dorsal and Dif; (ii) NF-kappa B1 and NF-kappa B2; (iii) Relish and (iv) NF-AT factors, the most divergent members. Subfamilies I and II are clustered together whereas Relish diverged earlier than other Rel/NF-kappa B proteins. Three subfamilies of I kappa B inhibitors were also defined: (i) NF-kappa B1 and NF-kappa B2; (ii) close to subfamily I, the short I kappa B proteins I kappa B alpha, I kappa B beta and Bcl-3; (iii) Relish that diverged earlier than other I kappa B inhibitors. Our definition of groups and subfamilies fits to structural and functional features of the Rel/NF-kappa B and I kappa B proteins. We also showed that ankyrin repeats of NF-kappa B1, NF-kappa B2 and Relish are short I kappa B-specific ankyrin motifs. These proteins defining a link between Rel/NF-kappa B and I kappa B families, we propose that all these factors evolved from a common ancestral RHD-ankyrin structure within a unique superfamily, explaining the specificities of interaction between the different Rel/NF-kappa B dimers and the various I kappa B inhibitors.

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