Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 263–269

Evolution of disintegrin cysteine-rich and mammalian matrix-degrading metalloproteinases: Gene duplication and divergence of a common ancestor rather than convergent evolution

  • Ana M. Moura-da-Silva
  • R. David G. Theakston
  • Julian M. Cramptonl


The evolution of the Metalloproteinase Disintegrin Cysteine-rich (MDC) gene family and that of the mammalian Matrix-degrading Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are compared. The alignment of snake venom and mammalian MDC and MMP precursor sequences generated a phylogenetic tree that grouped these proteins mainly according to their function. Based on this observation, a common ancestry is suggested for mammalian and snake venom MDCs; it is also possible that gene duplication of the already-assembled domain structure, followed by divergence of the copies, may have significantly contributed to the evolution of the functionally diverse MDC proteins. The data also suggest that the structural resemblance of the zinc-binding motif of venom MDCs and MMPs may best be explained by common ancestry and conservation of the proteolytic motifs during the divergence of the proteins rather than through convergent evolution.

Key words

Metalloproteinase Disintegrin Evolution Venom Phylogeny Gene duplication 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana M. Moura-da-Silva
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. David G. Theakston
    • 2
  • Julian M. Cramptonl
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson Unit of Molecular GeneticsLiverpool School of Tropical MedicineLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Venom Research UnitLiverpool School of Tropical MedicineLiverpoolUK
  3. 3.Laboratorio de ImunopatologiaInstituto ButantanSāo PauloBrazil

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