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Apoptotic Molecular Machinery: Vastly Increased Complexity in Vertebrates Revealed by Genome Comparisons

Science  16 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5507, pp. 1279-1284
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5507.1279

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Abstract

A comparison of the proteins encoded in the recently (nearly) completed human genome to those from the fly and nematode genomes reveals a major increase in the complexity of the apoptotic molecular machinery in vertebrates, in terms of both the number of proteins involved and their domain architecture. Several components of the apoptotic system are shared by humans and flies, to the exclusion of nematodes, which seems to support the existence of a coelomate clade in animal evolution. A considerable repertoire of apoptotic protein domains was detected in Actinomycetes and Cyanobacteria, which suggests a major contribution of horizontal gene transfer to the early evolution of apoptosis.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: koonin{at}ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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