With the aim of further investigating the molecular evolution of beta defensin genes, after having analysed beta defensin 1 (DEFB1) in humans and several nonhuman primate species, we have studied the evolution of the beta defensin 2 gene (DEFB2), which codifies for a peptide with antimicrobial and chemoattractant activity, in humans and 16 primate species. We have found evidence of positive selection during the evolution of orthologous DEFB2 genes at two points on a phylogenetic tree relating these primates: during the divergence of the platyrrhines from the catarrhines and during the divergence of the Cercopithecidae from the Hylobatidae, Great Apes and humans. Furthermore, amino acid variations in Old World Monkeys seem to centre either on residues that are involved in oligomerisation in the human molecule, or that are conserved (40–80%) in beta-defensins in general. It is thus likely that these variations affect the biological function of the molecules and suggest that their synthesis and functional analysis might reveal interesting new information as to their role in innate immunity.

Evolution of the beta-defensin 2 gene in higher primates

BONIOTTO, MICHELE;TOSSI, ALESSANDRO;ANTCHEVA, Nikolinka;CROVELLA, SERGIO
2003

Abstract

With the aim of further investigating the molecular evolution of beta defensin genes, after having analysed beta defensin 1 (DEFB1) in humans and several nonhuman primate species, we have studied the evolution of the beta defensin 2 gene (DEFB2), which codifies for a peptide with antimicrobial and chemoattractant activity, in humans and 16 primate species. We have found evidence of positive selection during the evolution of orthologous DEFB2 genes at two points on a phylogenetic tree relating these primates: during the divergence of the platyrrhines from the catarrhines and during the divergence of the Cercopithecidae from the Hylobatidae, Great Apes and humans. Furthermore, amino acid variations in Old World Monkeys seem to centre either on residues that are involved in oligomerisation in the human molecule, or that are conserved (40–80%) in beta-defensins in general. It is thus likely that these variations affect the biological function of the molecules and suggest that their synthesis and functional analysis might reveal interesting new information as to their role in innate immunity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/1702261
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