Evolutionary genetic analyses of MEF2C gene: implications for learning and memory in Homo sapiens.

Asian journal of psychiatry

PubMedID: 23380319

Kalmady SV, Venkatasubramanian G, Arasappa R, Rao NP. Evolutionary genetic analyses of MEF2C gene: implications for learning and memory in Homo sapiens. Asian J Psychiatr. 2013;6(1):56-9.
MEF2C facilitates context-dependent fear conditioning (CFC) which is a salient aspect of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. CFC might have played a crucial role in human evolution because of its advantageous influence on survival of species. In this study, we analyzed 23 orthologous mammalian gene sequences of MEF2C gene to examine the evidence for positive selection on this gene in Homo sapiens using Phylogenetic Analysis by Maximum Likelihood (PAML) and HyPhy software. Both PAML Bayes Empirical Bayes (BEB) and HyPhy Fixed Effects Likelihood (FEL) analyses supported significant positive selection on 4 codon sites in H. sapiens. Also, haplotter analysis revealed significant ongoing positive selection on this gene in Central European population. The study findings suggest that adaptive selective pressure on this gene might have influenced human evolution. Further research on this gene might unravel the potential role of this gene in learning and memory as well as its pathogenetic effect in certain hippocampal disorders with evolutionary basis like schizophrenia.