Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 68-81

First online:

Molecular Evolution of Hemojuvelin and the Repulsive Guidance Molecule Family

  • Laura Marie CamusAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Chatham University
  • , Lisa A. LambertAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Chatham University Email author 

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Repulsive guidance molecules (RGMs) are found in vertebrates and chordates and are involved in embryonic development and iron homeostasis. Members of this family are GPI-linked membrane proteins that contain an N-terminal signal peptide, a C-terminal propeptide, and a conserved RGD motif. Vertebrates are known to possess three paralogues; RGMA and RGMB (sometimes called Dragon) are expressed in the nervous system and are thought to play various roles in neural development. Hemojuvelin (HJV; also called repulsive guidance molecule c, RGMC) is the third member of this family, and mutations in this gene result in a form of juvenile hemochromatosis (type 2A). Phylogenetic analyses of 55 different RGM family sequences from 21 different species support the existence of a novel gene, found only in fish, which we have labeled RGMD. The pattern of conserved residues in each family identifies new candidates for important functional roles, including ligand binding.


Hemojuvelin Repulsive guidance molecule Bone morphogenetic protein Hemochromatosis Iron homeostasis RGD motif Cell signaling