Superfamily of α-galactosidase MEL genes of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto species complex
In order to study the molecular evolution of the yeasts grouped in the Saccharomyces sensu stricto species complex by analysis of the MEL gene family, we have cloned and sequenced two new species-specific MEL genes from Saccharomyces yeasts: S. paradoxus (MELp) and a Japanese Saccharomyces sp. (MELj). The clones were identified by sequence homology to the S. cerevisiae MEL1 gene. Both clones revealed an ORF of 1413 bp coding for a protein of 471 amino acids. The deduced molecular weights of the α-galactosidase enzymes were 52 767 for MELp and 52 378 for MELj. The nucleotide sequences of the MELp (EMBL accession no. X95505) and the MELj (EMBL accession no. X95506) genes showed 74.7% identity. The degree of identity of MELp to the MEL1 gene was 76.8% and to the S. pastorianus MELx gene, 75.7%. The MELj coding sequence was 75.1% identical to the MEL1 gene and 80.7% to the MELx gene. The data suggest that MEL1, MELj, MELp, and MELx genes are species-specific MEL genes. The strains studied each have only one MEL locus. The MELp gene is located on the S. paradoxus equivalent of S. cerevisiae chromosome X; the MELj gene was on the chromosome that comigrates with the S. cerevisiae chromosome VII/XV doublet and hybridizes to the S. cerevisiae chromosome XV marker HIS3.
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