Evolutionary journey of the Gc protein (vitamin D-binding protein) across vertebrates

Document Type



Biological and Biomedical Sciences


With so many diverse functions such as transporter of vitamin D metabolites and fatty acids, actin scavenger and macrophage activating factor, Gc must have been one of the most conserved proteins in animal kingdom. Our objective was to investigate the evolution of Gc by analyzing its differences at protein level. Using BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) searches, Gc amino acid sequences were analyzed for homology. Clustal W2 and Jalview were used for multiple sequence alignment analysis, phylogenetic tree by PhyML 3.0 while Batch Web CD-Search Tool was used for identification for conserved domains within protein sequences. Gc protein percent identity between human and rabbit was 83%, which decreased to 81% with cow, 78% with mouse, 76% with rat, 51% with chicken, 41% with frog and 28% with zebrafish. Phylogram showed that rat Gc was the most diverged, while chicken Gc was the most conserved protein. Analysis also indicated high homology among mammals (human, rabbit, cow, rat, and mouse). Gc is a highly conserved protein in chicken and zebrafish. However, the distance from ancestral protein gradually increased in amphibian (frog) and mammals (human, rabbit, cow, rat, and mouse). Human Gc and rabbit Gc appear to be recently evolved proteins. There appears to be an interesting evolutionary pattern- chicken Gc has the least distance from the ancestral protein, while rat Gc is the most diverged. There is no vertebrate devoid of Gc which is suggestive of its important role in vitamin D metabolism in vertebrates.


Intrinsically Disordered Proteins