Astakines in arthropods–phylogeny and gene structure

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Astakine1 was isolated as a hematopoietic cytokine in the freshwater crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus. In this study we detect and compare 79 sequences in GenBank, which we consider to be possible astakine orthologs, among which eleven are crustacean, sixteen are chelicerate and 52 are from insect species. Available arthropod genomes are searched for astakines, and in conclusion all astakine sequences in the current study have a similar exon containing CCXX(X), thus potentially indicating that they are homologous genes with the structure of this exon highly conserved. Two motifs, RYS and YP(N), are also conserved among the arthropod astakines. A phylogenetic analysis reveals that astakine1 and astakine2 from P. leniusculus and Procambarus clarkii are distantly related, and may have been derived from a gene duplication occurring early in crustacean evolution. Moreover, a structural comparison using the Mamba intestinal toxin (MIT1) from Dendroaspis polylepis as template indicates that the overall folds are similar in all crustacean astakines investigated.HighlightsMore than 75 astakines are found within the arthropods.Similar exon structure indicates a common origin.Ast1 is so far only identified in freshwater crayfish.Ast2 contains the conserved motifs RYS and YP(N/D).

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