Evolution of isozyme loci and their differential tissue expression - Creatine Kinase as a Model System

Suzanne E. Fisher, Gregory S. Whitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phylogeny of the creatine kinase (CK, EC isozyme loci and their differential tissue expressions were determined for representatives of 65 families of vertebrates, with emphasis on the fishes. The transition from the single creatine kinase locus, characteristic of certain echinoderms, to the two creatine kinase loci which are orthologous to those present in all vertebrates, occurred early in the chordate line. The majority of pre-teleostean fishes possesses only these two CK loci (A and C). These loci are relatively generalized in their tissue expressions which are variable among species of primitive fishes. The third and fourth creatine kinase loci (B and D) arose separately in the ancestors of the bony fishes and appear to be the result of regional genome duplications. Concomitant with the increase in the number of isozyme loci has been an increase in the specificity of their tissue expression. In the advanced teleost fishes the four CK loci are differentially expressed in a characteristic manner. The A2 isozyme predominates in skeletal muscle, the B2 isozyme in eye and brain, the C2 isozyme in stomach muscle, and the D2 isozyme is found exclusively in testis. We propose a phylogeny of the creatine kinase genes in the lower chordates based on the time of appearance of new CK loci, the sequence in which the loci achieve a tissue restricted expression, and the immunochemical relatedness of the orthologous and paralogous gene products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-55
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1978


  • Creatine kinase
  • Fishes
  • Gene duplication
  • Gene evolution
  • Gene regulation
  • Isozymes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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