Fast rate of evolution in alternatively spliced coding regions of mammalian genes

Ekaterina O. Ermakova, Ramil N. Nurtdinov, Mikhail S. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: At least half of mammalian genes are alternatively spliced. Alternative isoforms are often genome-specific and it has been suggested that alternative splicing is one of the major mechanisms for generating protein diversity in the course of evolution. Another way of looking at alternative splicing is to consider sequence evolution of constitutive and alternative regions of protein-coding genes. Indeed, it turns out that constitutive and alternative regions evolve in different ways. Results: A set of 3029 orthologous pairs of human and mouse alternatively spliced genes was considered. The rate of nonsynonymous substitutions (dN), the rate of synonymous substitutions (ds), and their ratio (ω = dN/ds) appear to be significantly higher in alternatively spliced coding regions compared to constitutive regions. When N-terminal, internal and C-terminal alternatives are analysed separately, C-terminal alternatives appear to make the main contribution to the observed difference. The effects become even more pronounced in a subset of fast evolving genes. Conclusion: These results provide evidence of weaker purifying selection and/or stronger positive selection in alternative regions and thus one more confirmation of accelerated evolution in alternative regions. This study corroborates the theory that alternative splicing serves as a testing ground for molecular evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalBMC Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Fast rate of evolution in alternatively spliced coding regions of mammalian genes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this