PLUNC (palate, lung and nasal epithelium clone) proteins make up the largest branch of the BPI (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein)/LBP (lipopolysaccharide-binding protein) family of lipid-transfer proteins. PLUNCs make up one of the most rapidly evolving mammalian protein families and exhibit low levels of sequence similarity coupled with multiple examples of species-specific gene acquisition and gene loss. Vertebrate genomes contain multiple examples of genes that do not meet our original definition of what is required to be a member of the PLUNC family, namely conservation of exon numbers/sizes, overall protein size, genomic location and the presence of a conserved disulfide bond. This suggests that evolutionary forces have continued to act on the structure of this conserved domain in what are likely to be functionally important ways.

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