A biological cosmos of parallel universes: does protein structural plasticity facilitate evolution?

Sebastian Meier, Suat Oezbek

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

While Darwin pictured organismal evolution as "descent with modification" more than 150 years ago, a detailed reconstruction of the basic evolutionary transitions at the molecular level is only emerging now. In particular, the evolution of today's protein structures and their concurrent functions has remained largely mysterious, as the destruction of these structures by mutation seems far easier than their construction. While the accumulation of genomic and structural data has indicated that proteins are related via common ancestors, naturally occurring protein structures are often considered to be evolutionarily robust, thus leaving open the question of how protein structures can be remodelled while selective pressure forces them to function. New information on the proteome, however, increasingly explains the nature of local and global conformational diversity in protein evolution, which allows the acquisition of novel functions via molecular transition forms containing ancestral and novel structures in dynamic equilibrium. Such structural plasticity may permit the evolution of new protein folds and help account for both the origins of new biological functions and the nature of molecular defects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBioEssays
Volume29
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1095-1104
Number of pages10
ISSN0265-9247
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Thermodynamics
  • proteome
  • cosmos
  • experimental study
  • molecular evolution
  • plasticity
  • protein conformation
  • protein folding
  • protein structure
  • protein variant
  • review
  • Evolution
  • Selection (Genetics)
  • Variation (Genetics)
  • BIOCHEMISTRY
  • BIOLOGY
  • LONG-RANGE INTERACTIONS
  • ENERGY LANDSCAPE THEORY
  • ONE SEQUENCE
  • CONFORMATIONAL DIVERSITY
  • AMYLOID FIBRILLOGENESIS
  • DIVERGENT EVOLUTION
  • NATURAL-SELECTION
  • DOMAIN-STRUCTURES
  • CRYSTAL-STRUCTURE
  • 2 FOLDS
  • biological cosmos
  • evolution facilitation
  • parallel universe
  • protein structural plasticity
  • protein
  • 10060, Biochemistry studies - General
  • 10064, Biochemistry studies - Proteins, peptides and amino acids
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
  • PROTEINS

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