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:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 The ... vendor landscape is marked by the presence of several ... however held by five major players - 3M Cogent, ... companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global military ... companies in the global military biometrics market boast global ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... identity management and secure authentication solutions, today announced ... contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) ... for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has ... onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... Oct. 11, 2017  VMS BioMarketing, a leading provider of ... oncology Clinical Nurse Educator (CNE) network, which will launch this ... communication among health care professionals to enhance the patient care ... staff, and other health care professionals to help women who ... ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has unveiled ... bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to new ... , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking classes ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017 SomaGenics announced ... the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to ... profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single cells using ... highlights the need to accelerate development of approaches to ... "New techniques for measuring levels of ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting ... a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for ... of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: