The evolution of monomeric and oligomeric betagamma-type crystallins. Facts and hypotheses

Eur J Biochem. 2002 Jul;269(13):3122-30. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2002.03004.x.


The case of homologous monomeric gamma-type and oligomeric beta-type crystallins has been described and analyzed in evolutionary terms. Data and hypotheses from molecular genetics and structural investigations converge and suggest a novel three-phase model for the evolutionary history of crystallin-type proteins. In the divergent cascades of monomeric and oligomeric crystallins, a pivotal role was played by alterations in the gene segments encoding the C-terminal extensions and the intermotif or interdomain linker peptides. These were genomic hot spots where evolution experimented to produce the modern variety of betagamma-crystallin-type quaternary structures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallins / chemistry*
  • Crystallins / genetics*
  • Dimerization
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Introns
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation


  • Crystallins