We have previously demonstrated that the genes of SCPs (semen coagulum proteins) and the WFDC (whey acidic protein four-disulfide core)-type protease inhibitor elafin are homologous in spite of lacking similarity between their protein products. This led to the discovery of a locus on human chromosome 20, encompassing genes of the SCPs, SEMG1 (semenogelin I) and SEMG2, and 14 genes containing the sequence motif that is characteristic of WFDC-type protease inhibitors. We have now identified additional genes at the locus that are similarly organized, but which give rise to proteins containing the motif of Kunitz-type protease inhibitors. Here, we discuss the evolution of genes encoding SCPs and describe mechanisms by which they and genes with Kunitz motifs might have evolved from genes with WFDC motifs. We can also demonstrate an expansion of the WFDC locus with 0.6 Mb in the cow. The region, which seems to be specific to ruminants, contains several genes and pseudogenes with Kunitz motifs, one of which is the much-studied BPTI (bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor).

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