Here we report the identification of 10 human, 1 murine, and 2 rat ORFs, all of which represent additional members of the DUB/USP17 family of deubiquitinating enzymes. In addition, we demonstrate that this family constitutes part of a tandemly repeated sequence conserved throughout humans, mice, and rats. Furthermore, upon examination of the known family members we have found that the multiple genes observed, in contrast to other gene families, have arisen due to the independent expansion of an ancestral sequence within each species. This premise is further strengthened by the observation that the murine and rat genes span two exons while their human counterparts have one. These observations, in conjunction with previous work demonstrating that the DUB/USP17's are cytokine inducible and that they regulate both cell growth and survival, suggest that the DUB/USP17's are a large highly conserved family of genes that may play an important role in controlling cell fate.
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