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Gene Family: Histatins and statherin (HTN)

Histatin: Histatins are proteins found in saliva. They are antimicrobial and antifungal proteins, and have been found to play a role in wound-closure. A significant source of histatins is found in the serous fluid secreted by Ebner's glands, salivary glands at the back of the tongue. Here they offer some early defense against incoming microbes. The three major histatins are 1, 3, and 5. Histatin 2 is a degradation product of histatin 1, and all other histatins are degradation products of histatin 3. Therefore there are only two genes, HTN1 and HTN3. Histatins also precipitate tannins from solution - thus preventing alimentary adsorption. [Source: Wikipedia]

Genes contained within the family: 3

Approved Symbol Approved Name Previous Symbols Synonyms Chromosome
HTN1 histatin 1 HIS1 4q13.3
HTN3 histatin 3 HIS2 4q13.3
STATH statherin STR 4q13.3


We have included statherin in this group based on this remark from PMID 23352445: Histatin and statherin exhibit little similarity in their amino acid sequence and are not considered members of the same family.51 However, the histatin cDNAs exhibit an unexpected similarity to statherin cDNAs in the 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs) and signal peptide sequences, and their genes are localized on position 4q11–13 of the human chromosome, further suggesting a possible evolutionary relationship. Comparison of the HTN sequences with the STATH sequence suggests that STATH, HTN1 and HTN3 arose by gene-duplication events. The HTN1 and STATH genes show nearly identical overall gene structures, exhibit 77–81% sequence identity in the intronic regions and 80–88% sequence identity in noncoding exons but only 38–43% sequence identity in the protein-coding regions of exons 4 and 5. Together with their chromosomal location, this suggests that HTN1, HTN3, and STATH belong to a single gene family with accelerated evolution between the HTN and STATH coding sequences.