PloS one

Granule Associated Serine Proteases of Hematopoietic Cells - An Analysis of Their Appearance and Diversification during Vertebrate Evolution.

PMID 26569620


Serine proteases are among the most abundant granule constituents of several hematopoietic cell lineages including mast cells, neutrophils, cytotoxic T cells and NK cells. These proteases are stored in their active form in the cytoplasmic granules and in mammals are encoded from four different chromosomal loci: the chymase locus, the met-ase locus, the T cell tryptase and the mast cell tryptase locus. In order to study their appearance during vertebrate evolution we have performed a bioinformatic analysis of related genes and gene loci from a large panel of metazoan animals from sea urchins to placental mammals for three of these loci: the chymase, met-ase and granzyme A/K loci. Genes related to mammalian granzymes A and K were the most well conserved and could be traced as far back to cartilaginous fish. Here, the granzyme A and K genes were found in essentially the same chromosomal location from sharks to humans. However in sharks, no genes clearly identifiable as members of the chymase or met-ase loci were found. A selection of these genes seemed to appear with bony fish, but sometimes in other loci. Genes related to mammalian met-ase locus genes were found in bony fish. Here, the most well conserved member was complement factor D. However, genes distantly related to the neutrophil proteases were also identified in this locus in several bony fish species, indicating that this locus is also old and appeared at the base of bony fish. In fish, a few of the chymase locus-related genes were found in a locus with bordering genes other than the mammalian chymase locus and some were found in the fish met-ase locus. This indicates that a convergent evolution rather than divergent evolution has resulted in chymase locus-related genes in bony fish.