Protein families in multicellular organisms

R R Copley, J Schultz, C P Ponting, P Bork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complete sequence of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans contains the genetic machinery that is required to undertake the core biological processes of single cells. However, the genome also encodes proteins that are associated with multicellularity, as well as others that are lineage-specific expansions of phylogenetically widespread families and yet more that are absent in non-nematodes. Ongoing analysis is beginning to illuminate the similarities and differences among human proteins and proteins that are encoded by the genomes of the multicellular worm and the unicellular yeast, and will be essential in determining the reliability of transferring experimental data among phylogenetically distant species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-15
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in structural biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999


  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Fluid
  • Multigene Family
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteins
  • Signal Transduction


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