Functional significance may underlie the taxonomic utility of single amino acid substitutions in conserved proteins

Tyler, Kevin M., Wagner, Gerd K., Wu, Qiong and Huber, Katharina T. (2010) Functional significance may underlie the taxonomic utility of single amino acid substitutions in conserved proteins. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 70 (4). pp. 395-402. ISSN 1432-1432

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Abstract

We hypothesized that some amino acid substitutions in conserved proteins that are strongly fixed by critical functional roles would show lineage-specific distributions. As an example of an archetypal conserved eukaryotic protein we considered the active site of ß-tubulin. Our analysis identified one amino acid substitution—ß-tubulin F224—which was highly lineage specific. Investigation of ß-tubulin for other phylogenetically restricted amino acids identified several with apparent specificity for well-defined phylogenetic groups. Intriguingly, none showed specificity for “supergroups” other than the unikonts. To understand why, we analysed the ß-tubulin Neighbor-Net and demonstrated a fundamental division between core ß-tubulins (plant-like) and divergent ß-tubulins (animal and fungal). F224 was almost completely restricted to the core ß-tubulins, while divergent ß-tubulins possessed Y224. Thus, our specific example offers insight into the restrictions associated with the co-evolution of ß-tubulin during the radiation of eukaryotes, underlining a fundamental dichotomy between F-type, core ß-tubulins and Y-type, divergent ß-tubulins. More broadly our study provides proof of principle for the taxonomic utility of critical amino acids in the active sites of conserved proteins.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2010 11:12
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 17:22
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/14992
DOI: 10.1007/s00239-010-9338-y

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