Phylogenetic analysis of the 90 kD heat shock family of protein sequences and an examination of the relationship among animals, plants, and fungi species.
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The heat shock protein (Hsp) sequences, because of their ubiquity and high degree of conservation, provide useful models for phylogenetic analysis. In this paper I have carried out a global alignment of all available sequences (a total of 31) for the 90-kD heat shock protein (Hsp90) family. The minimum amino acid identity that is seen between presently known Hsp90 homologs is about 40% over the entire length, indicating that it is a highly conserved protein. Based on the alignment, a number of signature sequences that either are distinctive of the Hsp90 family or that distinguish between the cytosolic and the endoplasmic reticular forms of Hsp90 have been identified. Detailed phylogenetic analyses based on Hsp90 sequences reported here strongly indicate that the cytosolic and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident forms of Hsp90 constitute paralogous gene families which arose by a gene duplication event that took place very early in the evolution of eukaryotic cells. A minimum of two additional gene duplication events, which took place at a later time, are required to explain the presence of two different forms of Hsp90 that are found in fungi and vertebrate species. In a consensus neighbor-joining bootstrap tree based on Hsp90 sequences, plants and animals species grouped together 989 times of 1,000 (a highly significant score), indicating a closer relationship between them as compared to fungi. A closer affiliation of plant and animal species was also observed in the maximum-parsimony tree, although the relationship was not significantly supported by this method. A survey of the recent literature on this subject indicates that depending on the protein sequence and the methods of phylogenetic analysis, the animal species are indicated as closer relatives to either plants or fungi with significant statistical support for both topologies. Thus the relationship among the animal, plant, and fungi kingdoms remains an unresolved issue at the present time.
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