Collagens are often considered a metazoan hallmark, with the fibril-forming fibrillar collagens present from sponges to human. From evolutionary studies, three fibrillar collagen clades (named A, B, and C) have been defined and shown to be present in mammals, whereas the emergence of the A and B clades predates the protostome/deuterostome split. Moreover, several C clade fibrillar collagen chains are present in some invertebrate deuterostome genomes but not in protostomes whose genomes have been sequenced. The newly sequenced genomes of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis, the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica, and the cnidarians Hydra magnipapillata (Hydra) and Nematostella vectensis (sea anemone) allow us to have a better understanding of the origin and evolution of fibrillar collagens. Analysis of these genomes suggests that an ancestral fibrillar collagen gene arose at the dawn of the Metazoa, before the divergence of sponge and eumetazoan lineages. The duplication events leading to the formation of the three fibrillar collagen clades (A, B, and C) occurred before the eumetazoan radiation. Interestingly, only the B clade fibrillar collagens preserved their characteristic modular structure from sponge to human. This observation is compatible with the suggested primordial function of type V/XI fibrillar collagens in the initiation of the formation of the collagen fibrils
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