MinireviewThe comparative isozymology of vertebrate hexokinases
Review articleOpen access

Abstract1.1. Multiple hexokinase isozymes have been found in most vertebrates. Since each isozyme displays distinctive structural, kinetic and regulatory characteristics, the system qualifies as a useful probe for studies on molecular evolution.2.2. At least seven types of chromatographic patterns of liver hexokinases have been observed in mammals. In contrast, each Class of lower vertebrates present only two or three distinct profiles.3.3. Aves and higher Reptiles do not have the same hexokinase isozymes as other vertebrates. The nature of the differences is poorly understood.4.4. Ontogenetic changes of liver hexokinase profiles are quite different in rat, chick and frog.5.5. Structural comparisons of three vertebrate hexokinases having a molecular weight of ∼100,000 suggest that those isozymes originated from a pre-vertebrate ancestor through gene duplication followed by fusion and further duplication events. Another hexokinase (the so-called glucokinase), with half the molecular weight, may have arisen either as the result of subsequent even splitting of the fused gene or, less probably, by divergence from a duplicated gene before the fusion event.

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