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In Silico Biology 5, 0024 (2005); ©2005, Bioinformation Systems e.V.  

Magmas gene structure and evolution

Jianbin Peng1, Cheng-Han Huang1, Mary K. Short2 and Paul T. Jubinsky2,*

1 Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, New York Blood Center, New York, N.Y. 10021
2 Section of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y. 10461

* Corresponding author; Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, C-510, Bronx, N.Y. 10461; phone: +1-718-430-3513, fax: +1-718-430-8567; Email:

Edited by E. Wingender; received January 15, 2005; revised February 09, 2005; accepted February 19, 2005; published March 02, 2005


Magmas is a nuclear encoded protein found in the mitochondria of mammalian cells. It participates in granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) signaling in hematopoietic cells and has an essential role in invertebrate development. In order to characterize the protein structural features and gene evolution of Magmas, a dataset containing 61 Magmas homologs from 52 species distributed among animals, plants and fungi was analyzed. All Magmas members were found to possess three novel sequence motifs in addition to a conserved leader peptide. Phylogenetic tree and dN/dS rate ratios showed that Magmas was evolutionarily conserved. Analysis of Magmas gene organization demonstrated incremental intron acquisition in plants and vertebrates. Significant genetic diversity in Magmas was observed from kingdom specific amino acid signatures, the presence of predicted signal peptides that target the protein to other intracellular locations besides the mitochondria, and the detection of multiple isoforms in higher animals. These studies demonstrate that Magmas members constitute an important family of conserved proteins having multifunctional activities, and provide a basis for future experiments.

Keywords: mitochondria, GM-CSF, alternative splicing, gene duplication, functional divergence