, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 17-21

Accelerated molecular evolution of insect orthologues ofERG28/C14orf1: A link with ecdysteroid metabolism?

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We have analysed the evolution ofERG28/C14orf1, a gene coding for a protein involved in sterol biosynthesis. While primary sequence of the protein is well conserved in all organisms able to synthesize sterolsde novo, strong divergence is noticed in insects, which are cholesterol auxotrophs. In spite of this virtual acceleration, our analysis suggests that the insect orthologues are evolving today at rates similar to those of the remaining members of the family. A plausible way to explain this acceleration and subsequent stabilization is that Erg28 plays a role in at least two different pathways. Discontinuation of the cholesterogenesis pathway in insects allowed the protein to evolve as much as the function in the other pathway was not compromised.