BioScience Trends. 2017;11(2):169-178. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2016.01252)

Livebearing or egg-laying mammals: 27 decisive nucleotides of FAM168.

Pramanik S, Kutzner A, Heese K


In the present study, we determine comprehensive molecular phylogenetic relationships of the novel myelin-associated neurite-outgrowth inhibitor (MANI) gene across the entire eukaryotic lineage. Combined computational genomic and proteomic sequence analyses revealed MANI as one of the two members of the novel family with sequence similarity 168 member (FAM168) genes, consisting of FAM168A and FAM168B, having distinct genetic differences that illustrate diversification in its biological function and genetic taxonomy across the phylogenetic tree. Phylogenetic analyses based on coding sequences of these FAM168 genes revealed that they are paralogs and that the earliest emergence of these genes occurred in jawed vertebrates such as Callorhinchus milii. Surprisingly, these two genes are absent in other chordates that have a notochord at some stage in their lives, such as branchiostoma and tunicates. In the context of phylogenetic relationships among eukaryotic species, our results demonstrate the presence of FAM168 orthologs in vertebrates ranging from Callorhinchus milii to Homo sapiens, displaying distinct taxonomic clusters, comprised of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Analyses of individual FAM168 exons in our sample provide new insights into the molecular relationships between FAM168A and FAM168B (MANI) on the one hand and livebearing and egg-laying mammals on the other hand, demonstrating that a distinctive intermediate exon 4, comprised of 27 nucleotides, appears suddenly only in FAM168A and there in the livebearing mammals only but is absent from all other species including the egg-laying mammals.

KEYWORDS: Central nervous system, genomics, evolution, eukaryotes, FAM168, myelin, neuron, phylogenetic, orthologs

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