Navigation Links
UI researcher studies evolution on the molecular level
Date:12/13/2013

The theory of evolution suggests that present-day organisms evolved from earlier life forms.

At the molecular level, evolution reshaped some of the enzymes that help complete chemical processessuch as converting food into energyin humans and all other life forms.

Now a University of Iowa researcher and his colleagues describe the evolution of various forms of the enzyme "dihydrofolate reductase" as it occurred from bacteria to humans. Their paper, "Preservation of Protein Dynamics in Dihydrofolate Reductase Evolution," appears in the Dec. 13 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Amnon Kohen, professor of chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and his collaborators used bioinformatics (genetic sequencing information), computer-based calculations, artificial mutagenesis (DNA modification), and kinetic measurements in their work. They studied "humanized" forms of an enzyme that originated with the common bacterium E. coli in order to relate the action of protein dynamics and catalysis to the process of enzyme evolution.

They found that enzyme dynamics evolved over millions of years to optimize a specific catalyzed reaction that occurs in humans.

"Enzymes are critical components of every living cell, and they catalyze almost all chemical reaction in life. We study how evolution occurred on the molecular level," Kohen says. "This study is an attempt to understand how evolution of the whole organism (for example from bacteria like E. coli to humans) is expressed on the molecular level.

"We chose a 'housekeeping' enzyme, which is present in almost all organisms and is critical to life. That enzyme is called dihydrofolate reductase and is involved in DNA biosynthesis and all cells' replication," he says.

He says the researchers "bridged" between the bacterial and human enzymes by producing 'humanized' bacterial enzyme, meaning modifying parts of the bacterial enzyme to have the amino-acids sequence of the human enzyme. This was done based on a comparison of enzyme sequences of many organisms ranging from bacteria to human.

"We found that while many steps in the catalytic cascade of these enzymes are evolving, the actual chemical conversion catalyzed by the enzymes is conserved along evolutionmeaning that even in the bacteria, the enzyme already has perfectly oriented the reactants in its active site, as well as in the human enzyme. This outcome was not expected, as the human enzyme is much faster and quite different genetically," he says.

Kohen says that the study is significant in that it shows that the dynamics of enzyme evolution is preserved along evolution from bacteria to humans.

"The finding significantly affects how the scientific community understands what was important for evolutionary pressure to preserve and what is unimportant," he says. "For example, the preservation of enzyme dynamics that are involved in catalyzing the chemical conversion are very fast and were not expected to play a role in evolution, thus our findings will bring researchers to consider such fast dynamics not only in evolution, but also in the design of drugs used against this enzyme (and maybe enzymes in general) or the design of bio-mimetic (nature inspired) catalysts."

Kohen says that his study of the diverging genetic sequences between E. coli and Homo sapiens illustrates the process of evolution at a basic level.

"We start with E. coli because it is at a basic level, and we use bioinformatics to trace the evolution of a single enzyme," he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gary Galluzzo
gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu
319-384-0009
University of Iowa
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New organization brings together top researchers to sequence genomes of invertebrates
2. Bonefish spawning behavior in the Bahamas surprises researchers, should aid conservation
3. Where water is limited, researchers determine how much water is enough
4. Researchers at Penn help develop a dynamic model of tissue failure
5. Leibniz Prizes 2014: DFG honors 11 outstanding researchers
6. Researchers named to National Academy of Inventors
7. Researchers at Penn show optimal framework for heartbeats
8. University researchers observe surprising bonefish spawning behavior in the Bahamas
9. ASU researchers discover chameleons use colorful language to communicate
10. Canadian researchers lead groundbreaking discovery in deadly childhood cancer
11. Mount Sinai researchers say new strain of bird flu packs a punch even after becoming drug-resistant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016 Research ... Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics market is ... during the period 2016-2020. Gait analysis ... can be used to compute factors that are ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/19/2016)... 19, 2016 - I dati ... durante il 52 ° Congresso ... - Le conclusioni dello studio indicano un ... trattati, di cui il 90% presenta una d urata ... più. Il settantadue per cento dei pazienti ha riscontrato un ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ... 18, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today ... assault kit processing to help them save time and reduce errors. , Sexual Assault ... be processed and victims informed of results. Due to a previous lack of tools, ...
(Date:5/17/2016)... , May 18, 2016 Haselmeier ... prefilled pen following approval by EMA, the European Medicines ... science and technology company, the new pen version includes ... increased level of confidence to patients during use. ... prefilled pen easier to handle with a larger display ...
(Date:5/17/2016)... ... May 17, 2016 , ... The Children’s Tumor Foundation is enthusiastic to announce ... will show their support in the fight against neurofibromatosis (NF) by lighting up blue ... disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects 1 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: