ECEL1 (endothelin-converting enzyme-like I; previously known as XCE) is a putative zinc metalloprotease that was identified recently on the basis of its strong identity with endothelin-converting enzyme. Although the physiological function of ECEL1 is unknown, inactivation of the corresponding gene in mice points to a critical role of this protein in the nervous control of respiration. In the present study we have characterized the human ECEL1 gene. It was located to region q36-q37 of chromosome 2 and shown to be composed of 18 exons spanning approx. 8 kb. The structure of the ECEL1 gene displays some striking similarities with those of genes of related metallopeptidases, supporting the hypothesis that they are all derived from a common ancestor. A short phylogenetic study describing the relationship between the various members of this gene family is also presented.

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Biochemical Journal
Department of Pediatric Surgery

Valdenaire, O., Rohrbacher, E., Langeveld, A., Schweizer, A., & Meijers, C. (2000). Organization and chromosomal localization of the human ECEL1 (XCE) gene encoding a zinc metallopeptidase involved in the nervous control of respiration. Biochemical Journal, 346(3), 611–616. doi:10.1042/0264-6021:3460611