The involucrin gene of the tree shrew: recent repeat additions and the relocation of cysteine codons

Gene. 1997 Mar 10;187(1):29-34. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(96)00654-3.


The coding region of the involucrin gene of Tupaia glis has been cloned and sequenced. It resembles the involucrin coding region of other non-anthropoid mammals in possessing a segment of related, short tandem repeats at a defined location, but in Tupaia, there has been recent serial duplication of a repeat into which a cysteine codon had earlier been introduced. As a result of the duplication, there is a total of as many as six cysteine codons in the segment of repeats, a number larger than for any other species yet examined. In Ratttus there has been a comparable but independent addition of cysteine codons, and both Tupaia and Rattus have eliminated an otherwise conserved cysteine codon 75 located close to but outside the segment of repeats. In Tupaia, this elimination probably occurred by gene conversion. Also independently, the gene of Canis has added cysteine codons to the segment of repeats but has not yet lost cysteine 75. It is proposed that the gain and the loss of cysteine codons are parts of a multi-stage program of cysteine relocation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Codon*
  • Cysteine / genetics*
  • Dogs
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Precursors / chemistry
  • Protein Precursors / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Sequence Analysis
  • Tupaia / genetics*


  • Codon
  • Protein Precursors
  • involucrin
  • Cysteine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U65922
  • GENBANK/U65923