The Shc protein family is characterized by the (CH2)-PTB-CH1-SH2 modularity. Its complexity increased during evolution from one locus in Drosophila (dShc), to at least three loci in mammals (shc, rai and sli). The three mammalian loci encode, because of alternative initiation codon usage and splicing pattern, at least six Shc-like proteins. Genetic and biological evidence indicates that the mammalian Shc isoforms regulate functions as diverse as growth (p52/p46Shc), apoptosis (p66Shc) and life-span (p66Shc). Available structure-function data and analysis of sequence similarities of Shc-like genes and proteins suggest complex diversification of Shc functions during evolution. Notably, Ras activation, the best-characterized Shc activity, appears to be a recent evolutionary acquisition.
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