A large fraction of the proteome is made by proteins that are not permanently monomeric but form oligomeric assemblies, which can be either homo- or hetero-oligomeric. Here it is described that protomers of hetero-oligomeric proteins tend to resemble each other more than expected. This is verified by comparing the level of similarity of pairs of hetero-oligomeric protein protomers and of pairs of proteins that do not interact with each other. This observation, interesting per se, might reflect the evolution of hetero-oligomers from ancestral homo-oligomers, through gene duplication and paralogs divergence. However, other hypotheses cannot be excluded and the observed structural similarity might result from several causes.
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