Molecular evolution of the synapsin gene family

Hung Teh Kao, Barbara Porton, Sabine Hilfiker, Giovanni Stefani, Vincent A. Pieribone, Rob DeSalle, Paul Greengard

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Synapsins, a family of synaptic vesicle proteins, play a crucial role in the regulation of neurotransmission and synaptogenesis. They have been identified in a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species, including human, rat (Rattus norvegicus), cow (Bos taurus), longfin squid (Loligo pealei), and fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Here, synapsins were cloned from three additional species: frog (Xenopus laevis), lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis), and nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans). Synapsin protein sequences from all these species were then used to explore the molecular phylogeny of these important neuronal phosphoproteins. The ancestral condition of a single synapsin gene probably gave rise to the vertebrate synapsin gene family comprised of at least three synapsin genes (I, II, and III) in higher vertebrates. Synapsins possess multiple domains, which have evolved at different rates throughout evolution. In invertebrate synapsins, the most conserved domains are C and E. During the evolution of vertebrates, at least two gene duplication events are hypothesized to have given rise to the synapsin gene family. This was accompanied by the emergence of an additional conserved domain, termed A.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-377
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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