Navigation Links
Protein evolution follows a modular principle
Date:7/23/2014

This news release is available in German.

Proteins impart shape and stability to cells, drive metabolic processes and transmit signals. To perform these manifold tasks, they fold into complex three-dimensional shapes. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tbingen have now discovered that proteins can be constructed of similar amino acid chains even when their three-dimensional shapes differ significantly. This suggests that the proteins that exist today arose from common precursors. Presumably, in the course of evolution they were built up from smaller fragments according to a modular principle.

Proteins consist of long chains of 20 different amino acid building blocks that fold into a characteristic three-dimensional structure. It is noteworthy that some modules, known as protein domains, occur more frequently than others. Scientists suspect that many of these domains share a common evolutionary origin.

To test this theory, the Max Planck researchers focussed on two large, evolutionarily ancient protein groups that differ significantly in their folding pattern. While "flavodoxin-like" protein domains fold into a kind of sandwich shape, so-called (βα)8-barrel proteins stack two sandwich elements on top of each other to form a barrel-like structure. "In the folded state it's very difficult to recognize similarities between these two types," Jos Arcadio Faras Rico, first author of the study, explains. The Tbingen scientists therefore compared the amino acid chains of over a thousand representatives of both folding types in a computer analysis. They found that short, characteristic sequences of amino acids occur in both folding types.

In the next step, the team identified a third folding type whose amino acid sequence is an intermediate form between the other two types. To compare the amino acid sequences, the researchers used a highly sensitive method that enabled them to identify even the smallest shared features. "Analysis of the three-dimensional structure of the intermediate form by X-ray crystallography showed that the intermediate form has characteristics of both the barrel-like and the sandwich-like folding type," says Farias-Rico.

The similarity of the amino acid sequences and the existence of an intermediate form confirm a hypothesis proposed by Birte Hcker, head of the Protein Design Working Group at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, according to which the two folding types developed in the course of evolution from a common ancestor. "We assume that evolutionarily early proteins consisted of only short amino acid chains. Those fragments then joined together as in a construction kit to form new molecules with new functions," Hcker explains.

Hcker's team has thus provided fresh insights into the evolution of modern proteins and the origins of life on Earth. In addition, the Max Planck scientist is pursuing research in the field of synthetic biology and wants to apply this knowledge to construct variant proteins with new functions in the laboratory.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nadja Winter
presse-eb@tuebingen.mpg.de
49-707-160-1444
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. High matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression induces microangiogenesis after cerebral infarction
2. Scientists map one of most important proteins in life -- and cancer
3. Measuring the number of protein molecules inside cells
4. National Xenopus resource at the MBL innovates new way to study proteins
5. Cell membrane proteins give up their secrets
6. Proteins hands enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds
7. SLU scientists hit delete: Removing regions of shape-shifting protein explains how blood clots
8. CNIO scientists develop technology to redirect proteins towards specific areas of the genome
9. Research reveals how key controller protein is switched on
10. Cellular defence against fatal associations between proteins and DNA
11. Work environment affects protein properties
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Protein evolution follows a modular principle
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  xG Technology, Inc. ("xG" or ... critical wireless communications for use in challenging operating environments, ... 30, 2016. Management will hold a conference call to ... p.m. Eastern Time (details below). Key Recent ... $16 million binding agreement to acquire Vislink Communication Systems. ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued ... the Biometric Exit Program. The Request for Information (RFI), ... that CBP intends to add biometrics to confirm when ... , in order to deter visa overstays, to ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, allowing ... are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377487 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... BEI Kimco, ... Actuator with a flexure design that ensures high alignment accuracy by preventing unwanted ... is ideally suited where extreme precision is required, such as in medical equipment, ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016 Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), ... to announce the addition of its newest plasma collection ... Nebraska . The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility ... 2016 and brings the total number of BPC,s plasma ... Carlisle , BPC,s Chief Executive Officer said "We are ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... and BEIJING , Nov. ... leading commercial provider of genomic services and solutions with ... today that it has completed a USD $75 Million ... Bank Co., Ltd.,s CMB International Capital Management ( ... Investment Management Co., Ltd. ("SDIC Innovation") and Shanghai Sigma ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... ... SSCI, the established leader in small-molecule cocrystal technology and development, will again ... pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug substance . The Lunch and Learn will take ... the successful November 15th event that took place in Burlingame, CA. Eyal H. Barash, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: