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Michelet, Claire; Danchin, Etienne G. J.; Jaouannet, Maelle; Bernhagen, Jürgen; Panstruga, Ralph; Kogel, Karl-Heinz; Keller, Harald; Coustau, Christine (2019): Cross-Kingdom Analysis of Diversity, Evolutionary History, and Site Selection within the Eukaryotic Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Superfamily. In: Genes, Vol. 10, No. 10, 740
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Macrophage migration inhibitory factors (MIF) are multifunctional proteins regulating major processes in mammals, including activation of innate immune responses. MIF proteins also play a role in innate immunity of invertebrate organisms or serve as virulence factors in parasitic organisms, raising the question of their evolutionary history. We performed a broad survey of MIF presence or absence and evolutionary relationships across 803 species of plants, fungi, protists, and animals, and explored a potential relation with the taxonomic status, the ecology, and the lifestyle of individual species. We show that MIF evolutionary history in eukaryotes is complex, involving probable ancestral duplications, multiple gene losses and recent clade-specific re-duplications. Intriguingly, MIFs seem to be essential and highly conserved with many sites under purifying selection in some kingdoms (e.g., plants), while in other kingdoms they appear more dispensable (e.g., in fungi) or present in several diverged variants (e.g., insects, nematodes), suggesting potential neofunctionalizations within the protein superfamily.