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Investigating the phylogenetic relationships within physiologically essential gene families across a broad range of taxa can reveal the key gene duplication events underlying their family expansion and is thus important to functional genomics studies. P-Type II ATPases represent a large family of ATP powered transporters that move ions across cellular membranes and includes Na(+)/K(+) transporters, H(+)/K(+) transporters, and plasma membrane Ca(2+) pumps. Here, we examine the evolutionary history of one such transporter, the Sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA), which maintains calcium homeostasis in the cell by actively pumping Ca(2+) into the sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum. Our protein-based phylogenetic analyses across Eukaryotes revealed two monophyletic clades of SERCA proteins, one containing animals, fungi, and plants, and the other consisting of plants and protists. Our analyses suggest that the three known SERCA proteins in vertebrates arose through two major gene duplication events after the divergence from tunicates, but before the separation of fishes and tetrapods. In plants, we recovered two SERCA clades, one being the sister group to Metazoa and the other to Apicomplexa clade, suggesting an ancient duplication in an early eukaryotic ancestor, followed by subsequent loss of one copy in Opisthokonta, the other in protists, and retention of both in plants. We also report relatively recent and independent gene duplication events within invertebrate taxa including tunicates and the leech Helobdella robusta. Thus, it appears that both ancient and recent gene duplication events have played an important role in the evolution of this ubiquitous gene family across the eukaryotic domain.


Ianina Altshuler, James J Vaillant, Sen Xu, Melania E Cristescu. The evolutionary history of sarco(endo)plasmic calcium ATPase (SERCA). PloS one. 2012;7(12):e52617

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PMID: 23285113

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