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Genome Biology 2002, 3:reviews3010-reviews3010.7 doi:10.1186/gb-2002-3-7-reviews3010Published: 27 June 2002
Multiple members of the 14-3-3 protein family have been found in all eukaryotes so far investigated, yet they are apparently absent from prokaryotes. The major native forms of 14-3-3s are homo- and hetero-dimers, the biological functions of which are to interact physically with specific client proteins and thereby effect a change in the client. As a result, 14-3-3s are involved in a vast array of processes such as the response to stress, cell-cycle control, and apoptosis, serving as adapters, activators, and repressors. There are currently 133 full-length sequences available in GenBank for this highly conserved protein family. A phylogenetic tree based on the conserved middle core region of the protein sequences shows that, in plants, the 14-3-3 family can be divided into two clearly defined groups. The core region encodes an amphipathic groove that binds the multitude of client proteins that have conserved 14-3-3-recognition sequences. The amino and carboxyl termini of 14-3-3 proteins are much more divergent than the core region and may interact with isoform-specific client proteins and/or confer specialized subcellular and tissue localization.