Comparative genomics on SNAI1, SNAI2, and SNAI3 orthologs

Oncol Rep. 2005 Oct;14(4):1083-6.


SNAI1, SNAI2, and SNAI3 genes, encoding transcriptional repressors implicated in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), are human homologs of Drosophila snail (sna) and slug genes. SNAI1 represses transcription of CDH1 (E-cadherin) gene. SNAI2 induces the first phase of EMT, including desmosome dissociation, cell spreading, and initiation of cell separation. Because SNAI family proteins are implicated in EMT during embryogenesis and carcinogenesis, SNAI family genes are potent targets of pharmacogenomics. Here, comparative genomics analyses and comparative proteomics analyses on SNAI family orthologs were performed. Rat Snai3 gene, consisting of three exons, was identified within rat genome sequence AC111791.4. Zebrafish snai1a (NM_131066.1) was identified as SNAI1 ortholog. Chicken ChEST362l17 (CR407272.1), Xenopus slug (AF368041.1), and zebrafish zgc92564 (NM_001008581.1) were identified as SNAI2 orthologs. Chicken snail (NM_ 205142.1), Xenopus snail (BC056857.1), and zebrafish snai1b (NM_130989.1) were identified as SNAI3 orthologs. SNAI1 orthologs consisted of SNAG domain and four zinc finger (ZNF) domains, while SNAI2 and SNAI3 orthologs consisted of SNAG domain and five ZNF domains. Based on the integromics analyses, SNAI2 orthologs were found to be more conserved than SNAI1 and SNAI3 orthologs. SNAI1 mRNA was expressed in placenta, neuroblastoma, and diffuse type gastric cancer. SNAI2 mRNA was expressed in placenta, melanocyte, embryonic stem (ES) cells, leiomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and glioblastoma. SNAI3 mRNA was expressed in B cells. Expression of SNAI3 mRNA was repressed due to the existence of anti-sense single-exon transcript. SNAI1, functioning as E-cadherin repressor, is implicated in the malignant infiltrating phenotype of diffuse type gastric cancer through the induction of EMT or fibroblastoid transformation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cadherins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • SNAI1 protein, human
  • SNAI2 protein, human
  • SNAI3 protein, human
  • Snai2 protein, rat
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • sna protein, Drosophila