Gene conversion between mammalian CCR2 and CCR5 chemokine receptor genes: A potential mechanism for receptor dimerization

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The chemokine receptor genes of the CCR cluster on human chromosome 3p21 play important roles in humoral and cellular immune responses. Several of these receptors have been shown to influence human immunodeficiency virus infection and progression to AIDS, and their homologues may play a role in feline immunodeficiency virus infection. We report the isolation and sequencing of a 150-kb domestic cat BAC clone containing the feline CCR genes CCR1, CCR2, CCR3, and CCR5 to further analyze these four receptor genes within the family Felidae. Comparative and phylogenetic analyses reveal evidence for historic gene conversion between the adjacent CCR2 and CCR5 genes in the Felidae and in three independent mammalian orders (Primates, Cetartiodactyla, and Rodentia), resulting in higher than expected levels of sequence similarity between the two paralogous genes within each order. The gene conversion was restricted to the structural (transmembrane) domains of the CCR2 and CCR5 genes. We also discovered a recent gene conversion event between the third extracellular loop of CCR2 and CCR5 genes that was fixed in Asian lions and found at low frequency in African lions (Panthera leo), suggesting that this domain may have an important functional role. Our results suggest that ongoing parallel gene conversion between CCR2 and CCR5 promotes receptor heterodimerization in independent evolutionary lineages and offers an effective adaptive strategy for gene editing and coevolution among interactive immune response genes in mammals. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Vàzquez-Salat, N., Yuhki, N., Beck, T., O’Brien, S. J., & Murphy, W. J. (2007). Gene conversion between mammalian CCR2 and CCR5 chemokine receptor genes: A potential mechanism for receptor dimerization. Genomics, 90(2), 213–224.

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