Rat Sm-20 is a homologue of the Caenorhabditis elegans gene egl-9 and has been implicated in the regulation of growth, differentiation and apoptosis in muscle and nerve cells. Null mutants in egl-9 result in a complete tolerance to an otherwise lethal toxin produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This study describes the conserved Egl-Nine (EGLN) gene family of which rat SM-20 and C. elegans Egl-9 are members and characterizes the mouse and human homologues. Each of the human genes (EGLN1, EGLN2 and EGLN3) are of a conserved genomic structure consisting of five coding exons. Phylogenetic analysis and domain organization show that EGLN1 represents the ancestral form of the gene family and that EGLN3 is the human orthologue of rat Sm-20. The previously observed mitochondrial targeting of rat SM-20 is unlikely to be a general feature of the protein family and may be a feature specific to rats. An EGLN gene is unexpectedly found in the genome of P. aeruginosa, a bacterium known to produce a toxin that acts through the Egl-9 protein. The pathogenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae is also shown to have an EGLN gene suggesting that it is an important pathogenicity factor. These results provide new insights into host-pathogen interactions and a basis for further functional characterization of the gene family and resolve discrepancies in annotation between gene family members.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|