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Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 48, Issue 5, pp 517–527 | Cite as

Diversification Pattern of the HMG and SOX Family Members During Evolution

  • Stéphan  Soullier
  • Philippe  Jay
  • Francis  Poulat
  • Jean-Marc  Vanacker
  • Philippe  Berta
  • Vincent  Laudet

Abstract.

From a database containing the published HMG protein sequences, we constructed an alignment of the HMG box functional domain based on sequence identity. Due to the large number of sequences (more than 250) and the short size of this domain, several data sets were used. This analysis reveals that the HMG box superfamily can be separated into two clearly defined subfamilies: (i) the SOX/MATA/TCF family, which clusters proteins able to bind to specific DNA sequences; and (ii) the HMG/UBF family, which clusters members which bind non specifically to DNA. The appearance and diversification of these subfamilies largely predate the split between the yeast and the metazoan lineages. Particular emphasis was placed on the analysis of the SOX subfamily. For the first time our analysis clearly identified the SOX subfamily as structured in six groups of genes named SOX5/6, SRY, SOX2/3, SOX14, SOX4/22, and SOX9/18. The validity of these gene clusters is confirmed by their functional characteristics and their sequences outside the HMG box. In sharp contrast, there are only a few robust branching patterns inside the UBF/HMG family, probably because of the much more ancient diversification of this family than the diversification of the SOX family. The only consistent groups that can be detected by our analysis are HMG box 1, vertebrate HMG box 2, insect SSRP, and plant HMG. The various UBF boxes cannot be clustered together and their diversification appears to be extremely ancient, probably before the appearance of metazoans.

Key words: HMG box — SOX proteins — Sry — Molecular phylogeny 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphan  Soullier
    • 1
  • Philippe  Jay
    • 1
  • Francis  Poulat
    • 1
  • Jean-Marc  Vanacker
    • 2
  • Philippe  Berta
    • 1
  • Vincent  Laudet
    • 2
  1. 1.ERS155 du CNRS, Centre de Recherche en Biochimie Macromoléculaire, CNRS, BP5051, Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, FranceFR
  2. 2.UMR 319 du CNRS, Oncologie Moléculaire, Institut de Biologie de Lille, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1 rue Calmette, 59019 Lille Cedex, FranceFR

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