Evolution of 7SK RNA and its protein partners in metazoa

Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Dec;26(12):2821-30. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msp198. Epub 2009 Sep 4.


7SK RNA is a key player in the regulation of polymerase II transcription. 7SK RNA was considered as a highly conserved vertebrate innovation. The discovery of poorly conserved homologs in several insects and lophotrochozoans, however, implies a much earlier evolutionary origin. The mechanism of 7SK function requires interaction with the proteins HEXIM and La-related protein 7. Here, we present a comprehensive computational analysis of these two proteins in metazoa, and we extend the collection of 7SK RNAs by several additional candidates. In particular, we describe 7SK homologs in Caenorhabditis species. Furthermore, we derive an improved secondary structure model of 7SK RNA, which shows that the structure is quite well-conserved across animal phyla despite the extreme divergence at sequence level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Nuclear / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • RNA-Binding Proteins