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Basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins comprise a large superfamily of transcription factors, which are involved in the regulation of various developmental processes. bHLH family members are widely distributed in various eukaryotes including yeast, fruit fly, zebrafish, mouse, and human. In this study, we identified 55 bHLH motifs encoded in genome sequence of the human body louse, Pediculus humanus corporis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae). Phylogenetic analyses of the identified P. humanus corporis bHLH (PhcbHLH) motifs revealed that there are 23, 11, 9, 1, 10, and 1 member(s) in groups A, B, C, D, E, and F, respectively. Examination to GenBank annotations of the 55 PhcbHLH members indicated that 29 PhcbHLH proteins were annotated in consistence with our analytical result, 8 were annotated different with our analytical result, 12 were merely annotated as hypothetical protein, and the rest 6 were not deposited in GenBank. A comparison on insect bHLH gene composition revealed that human body louse possibly has more hairy and E(spl) genes than other insect species. Because hairy and E(spl) genes have been found to negatively regulate the differentiation of insect preneural cells, it is suggested that the existence of additional hairy and E(spl) genes in human body louse is probably the consequence of its long period adaptation to the relatively dark and stable environment. These data provide good references for further studies on regulatory functions of bHLH proteins in the growth and development of human body louse. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Entomological Society of America.


Xu-Hua Wang, Yong Wang, De-Bao Zhang, A-Ke Liu, Qin Yao, Ke-Ping Chen. A genome-wide identification of basic helix-loop-helix motifs in Pediculus humanus corporis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae). Journal of insect science (Online). 2014;14:195

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PMID: 25434030

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