Does anybody know why complement control proteins (also short consensus repeats) are called "sushi" proteins? Is there any special reason for their name?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Welcome to Bio.SE. Your question could use a tad more context to demonstrate that you've tried answering this on your own. We always ask that the asker provide evidence of prior research. See here. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 12:53
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    $\begingroup$ People who discover things have some small reward in being able to name it whatever they want within reason. There's a moth with donald trump like hair which was named after him, and some proteins have incredible names (my current amazement is with the sonic hedgehog protein.) Sometimes - after a while - the names are changed if particularly ridiculous. Sometimes not (luciferin is a prime, imaginative example.) $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @anon Oh, you had cited Sonic Hedgehog, but I didn't realize you already knew of the controversy surrounding it. The reason for the "Sonic", though, is that this is actually the fourth protein in a class of developmental-patterning proteins. The others are named after real species of hedgehogs: Indian hedgehog, desert hedgehog, and moonrat hedgehog. So it's not like someone just pulled the name completely out of the blue. No one ever talks about it, but I don't think those affected would feel much better telling them they had a defect in their moonrat hedgehog gene, either. :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 16:13
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    $\begingroup$ Note that most (all?) of these names come from experiments in Drosophila. That the human homologs kept the same name is another issue. And if you think sonic is bad, consider sevenless, son of sevenless, junk (JNK) and smack, mothers against decapentaplegia (mad), the list goes on. Drosophilists are kinda weird :P $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Apr 25, 2017 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse: I think you may be mistaking the source of the name "luciferin". It's from the Latin for "light bearing", and only (sort of) coincidental that it also happens to be a name for the devil figure from Christian mythology. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 25, 2017 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


Because their shape reminded researchers of rolls of Sushi (Ichinose et al, 1990):

These repeats were initially called GP-I structures because they were first identified in $\beta_2$-glycoprotein I. More recently, they have been called short consensus repeats or sushi structures because of their shape.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I thought it would be cool to add in a quote here from the paper, giving the explanation of the name in the authors' own words. Then I realized the paper you cited is merely a review that claims "More recently, they have been called…sushi". Following the next sentence is a citation to this paper, but that one never uses the word sushi. I'm curious if you know who the first author to use this term might be. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ @CodyGray No idea. A lot of these terms enter the lexicon in labs and at conferences before they ever reach the literature. $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Rumors of free alcohol offered in research conferences are completely untrue. I swear! $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Apr 25, 2017 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ @terdon You're going to the wrong conferences, mate ;) $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2017 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Special thanks for @JackAidley and also thanks for all the other comments. I surmised that the explanation would refer to the shape of proteins, but I couldn't find any source which would tell me so. I also thought that it might be attached to some kind of background story - my own example with precomplex Bötzinger - its name comes from Bötzinger wine served at the symposium in Heidelberg when discovery of this structure was first presented. You can never be 100% sure when it comes to weird names in science and their origins. Examples are numerous. Once again, thank you very much! $\endgroup$
    – Vii Z.
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:26

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