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Open Access Research article

A survey of well conserved families of C2H2 zinc-finger genes in Daphnia

Arun Seetharam, Yang Bai and Gary W Stuart*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biology, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:276  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-276

Published: 30 April 2010



A recent comparative genomic analysis tentatively identified roughly 40 orthologous groups of C2H2 Zinc-finger proteins that are well conserved in "bilaterians" (i.e. worms, flies, and humans). Here we extend that analysis to include a second arthropod genome from the crustacean, Daphnia pulex.


Most of the 40 orthologous groups of C2H2 zinc-finger proteins are represented by just one or two proteins within each of the previously surveyed species. Likewise, Daphnia were found to possess a similar number of orthologs for all of these small orthology groups. In contrast, the number of Sp/KLF homologs tends to be greater and to vary between species. Like the corresponding mammalian Sp/KLF proteins, most of the Drosophila and Daphnia homologs can be placed into one of three sub-groups: Class I-III. Daphnia were found to have three Class I proteins that roughly correspond to their Drosophila counterparts, dSP1, btd, CG5669, and three Class II proteins that roughly correspond to Luna, CG12029, CG9895. However, Daphnia have four additional KLF-Class II proteins that are most similar to the vertebrate KLF1/2/4 proteins, a subset not found in Drosophila. Two of these four proteins are encoded by genes linked in tandem. Daphnia also have three KLF-Class III members, one more than Drosophila. One of these is a likely Bteb2 homolog, while the other two correspond to Cabot and KLF13, a vertebrate homolog of Cabot.


Consistent with their likely roles as fundamental determinants of bilaterian form and function, most of the 40 groups of C2H2 zinc-finger proteins are conserved in kind and number in Daphnia. However, the KLF family includes several additional genes that are most similar to genes present in vertebrates but missing in Drosophila.