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Paper Chase

Remodeling of the involucrin gene during primate evolution.

Cell. Aug 12, 1988;54(4):491-6.
Tseng H, Green H.

Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The protein involucrin is a product of terminal differentiation in the epidermal cell and related cell types. By comparing the nucleotide sequence of the involucrin gene of the lemur with that of the human, it is clear that the gene has undergone unusual evolution in the primates. The coding region of the gene contains an ancestral segment, most of which is common to the lemur and the human, and a species-specific segment of repeats derived from the ancestral segment. Instead of the modern segment of repeats found in the human gene, the lemur gene possesses repeats derived from another sequence at a different location in the ancestral segment. The two kinds of segments of repeats probably represent alternative ways of creating a repeat structure in the involucrin molecule. The modern segment of repeats must have been created after divergence of the higher primates from the prosimians.