Members of the Structural Maintenance of Chromosome (SMC) family have long been of interest to molecular and evolutionary biologists for their role in chromosome structural dynamics, particularly sister chromatid cohesion, condensation, and DNA repair. SMC and related proteins are found in all major groups of living organisms and share a common structure of conserved N and C globular domains separated from the conserved hinge domain by long coiled-coil regions. In eukaryotes there are six paralogous proteins that form three heterodimeric pairs, whereas in prokaryotes there is only one SMC protein that homodimerizes. From recently completed genome sequences, we have identified SMC genes from 34 eukaryotes that have not been described in previous reports. Our phylogenetic analysis of these and previously identified SMC genes supports an origin for the vertebrate meiotic SMC1 in the most recent common ancestor since the divergence from invertebrate animals. Additionally, we have identified duplicate copies due to segmental duplications for some of the SMC paralogs in plants and yeast, mainly SMC2 and SMC6, and detected evidence that duplicates of other paralogs were lost, suggesting differential evolution for these genes. Our analysis indicates that the SMC paralogs have been stably maintained at very low copy numbers, even after segmental (genome-wide) duplications. It is possible that such low copy numbers might be selected during eukaryotic evolution, although other possibilities are not ruled out.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science