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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Structure and organization of the CyIII actin gene subfamily of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

We describe here the organization of the CyIII subfamily of cytoskeletal actin genes in the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. The functional genes CyIIIa and CyIIIb are linked at a 6 X 10(3)-base distance. Gene CyIIIc appears to be a pseudogene that lacks 5' exons and displays unselected mutational changes. Gene CyIIIa codes for a protein that differs at only nine out of 376 residues from that coded by another cytoskeletal actin gene, CyI. However, five of these nine changes occur within an 11-amino acid region that could represent a functional specialization of the CyIIIa actin protein. The CyIIIa gene possesses three introns, located, respectively, 25 nucleotides upstream from the translation start site, between the codons for amino acids 121 and 122, and within the codon for amino acid 204. These intron positions have also been observed in other cytoskeletal sea urchin actin genes. Comparison of both intron and 3'-terminal sequences shows that the CyIIIa and CyIIIb genes are closely related, while no homology in these untranslated sequences is observed between the CyIII genes and the other cytoskeletal actin genes of the S. purpuratus genome. The CyIII genes probably arose by duplication events at least 40 X 10(6) years ago, prior to radiation of the genus Strongylocentrotus. Consideration of the biological role of the embryo and larval aboral ectoderm cells to which CyIIIa and CyIIIb transcripts are confined suggests that these actins might contribute to cytoskeletal elements that endow the larval body wall with its rigid structure.[1]


  1. Structure and organization of the CyIII actin gene subfamily of the sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Akhurst, R.J., Calzone, F.J., Lee, J.J., Britten, R.J., Davidson, E.H. J. Mol. Biol. (1987) [Pubmed]
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