Amino acid sequence homology between histone H5 and murine leukemia virus phosphoprotein p12

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Science  30 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4387, pp. 1346-1348
DOI: 10.1126/science.218289


The amino terminal acid sequences of several mouse leukemia virus phosphoproteins (p12) show definite homology with the amino terminal conserved region of H5 histones, the phosphorylated nuclear proteins of nucleated erythrocytes. Differences in the amino acid compositions of the two groups of proteins seem to rule out the possibility that they evolved from a single common ancestral gene. The finding of sequence homology between viral p12's and cellular histones, however, is consistent with evolution of retrovirus structural proteins by a process of differentiation from preexisting cellular genes. The conserved primary and secondary structure at the amino terminal region, common to both groups of proteins, may be related to their common function of nucleic acid binding modulated by phosphorylation.