Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 102–108

Structure of the human hemopexin gene and evidence for intron-mediated evolution


  • F. Altruda
    • Cattedra di Biologia Generale
  • V. Poli
    • Cattedra di Biologia Generale
  • G. Restagno
    • Cattedra di Biologia Generale
  • L. Silengo
    • Cattedra di Biologia Generale

DOI: 10.1007/BF02138368

Cite this article as:
Altruda, F., Poli, V., Restagno, G. et al. J Mol Evol (1988) 27: 102. doi:10.1007/BF02138368


The human hemopexin gene was isolated and its structure determined. The gene spans approximately 12 kb and is interrupted by nine introns. When the intron/exon pattern was examined with respect to the polypeptide segments they encode, a direct correspondence between exons and the 10 repeating units in the protein was observed. The introns are not randomly placed; they fall in the middle of the region of amino acid sequence homology in strikingly similar locations in 6 of the 10 units and in a symmetrical position in the two halves of the coding sequence. These features strongly support the hypothesis that the gene evolved through intron-mediated duplications of a primordial sequence to a five-exon cluster. A more recent gene duplication led to the present-day gene organization.

Key words

HemopexinEvolutionGene structureRecombinationSequence homology

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988