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DDB_G0293138 is related (first blast hit, both ways) to a gene which is called src1 in budding yeast. Yeast src1 codes for an inner nuclear membrane protein, whose mRNA is specifically transcribed at G2/M. The knockout is viable but shows a particularly rapid transit through anaphase; the ko also shows synthetic lethality with ts mutants in esp1 (separase) and scc1 (cohesin), which participate in the control of anaphase onset (Navarro et al, Yeast 19, 43-54 (2001). More recent work identified src1 as a cdk1 target (Ubersax et al, Nature 425, 859-64 (2003)). The precise role played by this protein remains to be determined.

DDB_G0293138 is threefold upregulated in vegetative cells of a Dicty strain in which the retinoblastoma-like gene rblA has been disrubpted. Many genes with roles in cell cycle progression are upregulated in this strain. The gene also shows the developmental trajectory typical of cell cycle genes (see DictyExpress) in both Dd and Dp. The Dp promoter contains an element recognized by smyd3, a chromatin modifier which is rblA-repressed in Dicty, and implicated as an oncogene in vertebrates. The Dp element (TTTCCCTCC) is close to conserved in Dd (TTTCCCTCT). All of these suggest that DDB_G0293138 is a cell cycle gene in amebae. In both Dp and Dd there is also expression in late development which is rblA-independent in Dd, suggesting a possible cell-cycle independent role during terminal differentiation.

Clear homologues of DDB_G0293138 are found in ameboflagellates and fungi; there are probable distant relatives in green plants. Among the organisms in which this gene is clearly recognizable, Dictyostelium is arguably the best for cell biological work.

Harry MacWilliams, March 2010

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