Conservation of the MORF4 related gene family: identification of a new chromo domain subfamily and novel protein motif

Gene. 2001 Mar 21;266(1-2):111-21. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(01)00372-9.


The seven member, human MORF4 related gene (MRG) family was recently identified based on the ability of Mortality factor on chromosome 4 (MORF4) to induce replicative senescence in immortal cell lines assigned to complementation group B (Bertram et al., 1999. Mol. Cell Biol. 19, 1479-1485). Initial computer based similarity searches identified human retinoblastoma binding protein 1 (RBP-1), Drosophila melanogaster male specific lethal-3 (Msl-3), S. pombe altered polarity-13 (Alp13) and S. cerevisiae Eaf3p, a component of the yeast NuA4 HAT complex (Galarneau et al., 2000. Mol. Cell 5, 927-937), as having similarity to the human MRG protein family. This suggested that the MRG family might be found in multiple species, and analysis of other homologs would provide functional and evolutionary insights into this gene family. Here, we report that MRG family members are present in twenty-three species based on molecular assays and sequence similarity searches. The new family members were divided into two groups based on similarity to the predominant human MRG family members, MRG15 and MRGX. The family members similar to MRG15 define a new, highly conserved subsection of the chromo domain superfamily. Additionally, conservation in the C-terminal two thirds of all the MRG family members and the Drosophila and human MSL-3 proteins defines a new protein domain, the MRG domain. These results indicate a highly conserved role for the MRG family in transcriptional regulation via chromatin remodeling by histone acetylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cattle
  • Chickens
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dogs
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • MORF4 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA