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Origin of insulin receptor-like tyrosine kinases in marine sponges
Skorokhod, A.; Gamulin, V.; Gundacker, D.; Kavsan, V.; Muller, I.M.; Muller, W.E. (1999). Origin of insulin receptor-like tyrosine kinases in marine sponges. Biol. Bull. 197(2): 198-206
In: The Biological Bulletin. Marine Biological Laboratory: Lancaster. ISSN 0006-3185; e-ISSN 1939-8697, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Skorokhod, A.
  • Gamulin, V.
  • Gundacker, D.
  • Kavsan, V.
  • Muller, I.M.
  • Muller, W.E.

    One autapomorphic character restricted to all Metazoa including Porifera [sponges] is the existence of transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). In this study we screened for molecules from one subfamily within the superfamily of the insulin receptors. The subfamily includes the insulin receptors (InsR), the insulin-like growth factor I receptors, and the InsR-related receptors--all found in vertebrates--as well as the InsR-homolog from Drosophila melanogaster. cDNAs encoding putative InsRs were isolated from the hexactinellid sponge Aphrocallistes vastus, the demosponge Suberites domuncula, and the calcareous sponge Sycon raphanus. Phylogenetic analyses of the catalytic domains of the putative RTKs showed that the sponge polypeptides must be grouped with the InsRs. The relationships revealed that all sponge sequences fall into one branch of this group, whereas related sequences from mammals (human, mouse, and rat), insects and molluscs, and polypeptides from one cephalochordate, fall together into a second branch. We have concluded that (i) the InsR-like molecules evolved in sponges prior to the "Cambrian Explosion" and contributed to the rapid appearance of the higher metazoan phyla; (ii) the sponges constitute a monophyletic taxon, and (iii) epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains are present in sponges, which allows the insertion of this domain into potential receptor and matrix molecules.

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