Navigation Links
Novel insights into the evolution of protein networks
Date:3/21/2013

This press release is available in German.

System-wide networks of proteins are indispensable for organisms. Function and evolution of these networks are among the most fascinating research questions in biology. Bioinformatician Thomas Rattei, University of Vienna, and physicist Hernan Makse, City University New York (CUNY), have reconstructed ancestral protein networks. The results are of high interest not only for evolutionary research but also for the interpretation of genome sequence data. Recently, the researchers published their paper in the renowned journal PLOS ONE.

The cells of all organisms consist mostly of proteins, which develop various functions through their complex interactions. These functions range from metabolism, maintenance and control of the cellular structure to the exchange of signals with other cells and the environment. Proteins rarely act alone only their system-wide network makes organisms viable. "The knowledge about function and evolution of these protein networks is currently one of the most fascinating questions in biology and relevant e.g. also to cancer research", explains Thomas Rattei, Head of the Department of Computational Systems Biology at the University Center Althanstrasse.

In pursuit of the blueprint of protein networks

The combination of 20 different building blocks amino acids results in an enormous variety of theoretically possible protein variants; many more than the estimated number of stars in the universe. The random formation of an interaction between proteins seems therefore extremely unlikely. Thomas Rattei, Professor of In-Silico Genomics at the University of Vienna, and Hernan Makse, Professor of Physics at the City University New York (CUNY), and their teams investigate how complex and manifold protein networks could still evolve in present-day organisms.

Starting point of the joint research project was a hypothesis emphasising the importance of the duplication of proteins in the course of evolution. If the gene encoding a protein is duplicated in the genome, which often happens in evolution, original and copy will interact with the same partners in the protein network. Once original and copy diverge over time, novel proteins with individual features and own partners in the network will emerge. Interactions in the network would thereby not be newly created but evolve through duplication and divergence from simpler ancestors.

Protein networks of extinct ancestors were reconstructed

The two workgroups around bioinformatician Thomas Rattei and physicist Hernan Makse tested and improved this hypothesis in an elaborate computational experiment. They developed a novel method for the reconstruction of protein networks of extinct evolutionary ancestors from the genomes and networks of present-day species. Data of seven species from various domains of life were used: from bacteria, fungi, plants, animals to humans.

Present-day networks complex structures through simple mechanisms

The comparison of these reconstructed ancient protein networks yielded a surprisingly clear result: the present-day networks can be explained almost exclusively through the mechanism of duplication and divergence. Novel interactions between proteins emerge on rare occasions. This principle seems to be universal in the evolution of species as it was confirmed by the data obtained from all species analysed in this study. This principle could also explain the dynamics of other biological networks and it explains special features of protein networks such as self-similarity (fractality) in a straightforward way.

Useful for the interpretation of genome sequences and evolutionary biology

The results of the joint research project of the University of Vienna and CUNY will not only be relevant for evolutionary biology. They particularly support the interpretation of genome sequence data, which has become a powerful tool in many areas of biology and medicine in the last years. This is also the goal of many other current research projects of the Department of Computational Systems Biology, which focuses on research on pathogens, microbial communities and molecular interactions between species adopting a system-oriented approach.


'/>"/>

Contact: Thomas Rattei
thomas.rattei@univie.ac.at
43-142-777-6210
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UMass Amherst researchers reveal mechanism of novel biological electron transfer
2. Novel treatment approach for bladder pain using a herpes simplex virus vector reported
3. Scientists discover novel chemical that controls cell behavior
4. BGI Tech develops novel Ultra-Deep de novo assembly solution for heterozygous genomes
5. Novel storage mechanism allows command, control of memory
6. Brown unveils novel wireless brain sensor
7. Novel combination therapy shuts down escape route, killing glioblastoma tumor cells
8. Novel coronavirus well-adapted to humans, susceptible to immunotherapy
9. Novel test streamlines testing for Huntington Disease
10. New tool for mining bacterial genome for novel drugs
11. Novel aptamer boosts T cell-based immune response to therapeutic vaccines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Novel insights into the evolution of protein networks
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 22, 2016 According ... Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, ... (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that ... living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at ... New York City . The teams, ... at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. ... curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced ... has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled ... COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: