G protein α subunits are encoded by a multigene family of 16 genes that can be grouped into four classes, Gq, Gs, Gi, and G12. The Gq class is composed of four genes in mouse and human, and two of these genes, Gna11 and Gna15, cosegregate on mouse chromosome 10. We have characterized the gene structures of murine Gna11 and Gna15. The two genes are tandemly duplicated in a head-to-tail array. The upstream gene, Gna11, is ubiquitously expressed, whereas expression of the downstream gene, Gna15, is restricted to hematopoietic cells. The coding sequence of each gene is contained within seven exons, and the two genes together span 43 kb, separated by 6 kb of intergenic region. We have found no evidence for alternative splicing within the coding sequence of either gene. Sequence alignments show that the positions of the six intervening sequences are conserved in the two genes, consistent with Gna11 and Gna15 arising by tandem duplication from a common progenitor gene in vertebrates. Phylogenetic trees reveal unequal evolutionary rates among α subunits of the Gq class. The rate of change is approximately six fold higher in Gna15 than in Gna11.
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