Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 54–64

RBR Ubiquitin Ligases: Diversification and Streamlining in Animal Lineages


DOI: 10.1007/s00239-009-9252-3

Cite this article as:
Marín, I. J Mol Evol (2009) 69: 54. doi:10.1007/s00239-009-9252-3


The patterns of emergence and disappearance in animal species of genes encoding RBR ubiquitin ligases are described. RBR genes can be classified into subfamilies (Parkin, Ariadne, Dorfin, ARA54, etc.) according to sequence and structural data. Here, I show that most animal-specific RBR subfamilies emerged early in animal evolution, and that ancient animals, before the cnidarian/bilaterian split, had a set of RBR genes, which was as complex as the one currently found in mammals. However, some lineages (nematodes, dipteran insects) have recently suffered multiple losses, leading to a highly simplified set of RBR genes. Genes of a particular RBR subfamily, characterized by containing a helicase domain and so far found only in plants, are present also in some animal species. The meaning of these patterns of diversification and streamlining are discussed at the light of functional data. Extreme evolutionary conservation may be related to gene products having housekeeping functions.


UbiquitinationGene lossGene expressionPlacozoaCnidaria

Supplementary material

239_2009_9252_MOESM1_ESM.txt (288 kb)
Supplementary material 1This contains the alignment of RBR sequences (indicating species and accession numbers) in FASTA format (TXT 288 kb)
Supplementary material 2This contains the NJ phylogenetic tree with bootstrap values that corresponds to Fig. 1 in the paper. It can be visualized with MEGA 4 (MTS 1201 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Biomedicina de ValenciaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IBV-CSIC)ValenciaSpain