Investigating hypothetical products from noncoding frames (HyPNoFs)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypothetical Products from Noncoding Frames (i.e., HyPNoFs) are hypothetical, not-coded proteins, translated from alternate reading frames (i.e., coding+1 and coding+2) of cDNAs. HyPNoFs of CD4, PKC, oncostatin, bcl-2 proto-oncogene, tumor suppressor p53, cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR), and tumor necrosis factors a and β were searched as query sequences vs the SWISS-PROT data bank. Homology searches carried out revealed that hypothetical products (i.e., HyPNoFs) may share high similarity with real protein products actually coded. Sequence similarity of hypothetical products to real proteins is sometimes very high, suggesting common conformational features, according to the Sander and Schneider cutoff value. This finding supports the hypothesis that eukaryotic DNA, currently considered to be monocistronic, might occasionally have polycistronic regions, carrying different protein messages on overlapping frames. As yet, polycistronic genes have been observed in viral genomes only. The presence of polycistronic regions in eukaryotic genes is likely reminiscent of an ancient strategy, rather than a present feature of the genome in eukaryotes. These data suggest that thorough investigation of HyPNoFs is likely to improve our ability to trace genes' evolution and to investigate structure-function relationships of protein and DNA sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-577
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Alternate reading frames
  • Evolution
  • Homology search
  • Overlapping frames
  • Polycistronic genes
  • Primary sequence analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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