The EF-hand superfamily of calcium binding proteins includes the S100, calcium binding protein, and troponin subfamilies. This study represents a genome, structure, and expression analysis of the S100 protein family, in mouse, human, and rat. We confirm the high level of conservation between mammalian sequences but show that four members, including S100A12, are present only in the human genome. We describe three new members of the S100 family in the three species and their locations within the S100 genomic clusters and propose a revised nomenclature and phylogenetic relationship between members of the EF-hand superfamily. Two of the three new genes were induced in bone-marrow-derived macrophages activated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide, suggesting a role in inflammation. Normal human and murine tissue distribution profiles indicate that some members of the family are expressed in a specific manner, whereas others are more ubiquitous. Structure-function analysis of the chemotactic properties of murine S100A8 and human S100A12, particularly within the active hinge domain, suggests that the human protein is the functional homolog of the murine protein. Strong similarities between the promoter regions of human S100A12 and murine S100A8 support this possibility. This study provides insights into the possible processes of evolution of the EF-hand protein superfamily. Evolution of the S100 proteins appears to have occurred in a modular fashion, also seen in other protein families such as the C2H2-type zinc-finger family.
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