ABSTRACT: Vertebrate evolution has been largely driven by the duplication of genes that allow for the acquisition of new functions. The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins constitute a large and functionally diverse family of membrane transporters. The members of this multigene family are found in all cellular organisms, most often engaged in the translocation of a wide variety of substrates across lipid membranes. Because of the diverse function of these genes, their large size, and the large number of orthologs, ABC genes represent an excellent tool to study gene family evolution. We have identified ABC proteins from the sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis), zebrafish (Danio rerio), and chicken (Gallus gallus) and, using phylogenetic analysis, identified those genes with a one-to-one orthologous relationship to human ABC proteins. All ABC protein subfamilies found in Ciona and zebrafish correspond to the human subfamilies, with the exception of a single ABCH subfamily gene found only in zebrafish. Multiple gene duplication and deletion events were identified in different lineages, indicating an ongoing process of gene evolution. As many ABC genes are involved in human genetic diseases, and important drug transport phenotypes, the understanding of ABC gene evolution is important to the development of animal models and functional studies.
Genomics 08/2006; 88(1):1-11. · 3.02 Impact Factor