Evolution of Toll genes from the perspective of transcriptional regulatory regions

Rajakumar Sankula1, Narayanan Perumal2, Lang Li
1rsankula@iupui.edu, School of Informatics, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis ; 2nperumal@iupui.edu, School of Informatics, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Toll and Toll-related proteins play an important role in antibacterial innate immunity and are widespread in insects, plants, and mammals. The completion of new genomes such as Anopheles gambiae has presented researchers with an ability to fill the gaps in the study of the evolution of innate immunity. In this study, we present a comprehensive and unique phylogenetic analysis of Toll genes of mammals, plants, and insects from the perspective of regulatory regions (-3000 to +10). Due to the general scarcity of conserved alignments in the -3000 to +10 region, we have determined the presence of “evolutionarily” informative transcription factor binding sites in this region employing EZ-Retrieve (http://www.cag.icph.org/bioinformatics.html). Based on the frequency of the presence of these transcription factor binding sites, Toll genes have been represented in a vector form and the phylogeny has been obtained by various distance based methods using pair-wise distances of genes. The resultant phylogeny has revealed interesting but similar results to that of conventional phylogenetic approach with amino acid sequences as input, and these similarities advocate the importance of regulatory regions in determining phylogeny.