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A comparison of genotype-phenotype maps for RNA and proteins


Ferrada, Evandro; Wagner, Andreas (2012). A comparison of genotype-phenotype maps for RNA and proteins. Biophysical Journal, 102(8):1916-1925.

Abstract

The relationship between the genotype (sequence) and the phenotype (structure) of macromolecules affects their ability to evolve new structures and functions. We here compare the genotype space organization of proteins and RNA molecules to identify differences that may affect this ability. To this end, we computationally study the genotype-phenotype relationship for short RNA and lattice proteins of a reduced monomer alphabet size, to make exhaustive analysis and direct comparison of their genotype spaces feasible. We find that many fewer protein molecules than RNA molecules fold, but they fold into many more structures than RNA. In consequence, protein phenotypes have smaller genotype networks whose member genotypes tend to be more similar than for RNA phenotypes. Neighborhoods in sequence space of a given radius around an RNA molecule contain more novel structures than for protein molecules. We compare this property to evidence from natural RNA and protein molecules, and conclude that RNA genotype space may be more conducive to the evolution of new structure phenotypes.

The relationship between the genotype (sequence) and the phenotype (structure) of macromolecules affects their ability to evolve new structures and functions. We here compare the genotype space organization of proteins and RNA molecules to identify differences that may affect this ability. To this end, we computationally study the genotype-phenotype relationship for short RNA and lattice proteins of a reduced monomer alphabet size, to make exhaustive analysis and direct comparison of their genotype spaces feasible. We find that many fewer protein molecules than RNA molecules fold, but they fold into many more structures than RNA. In consequence, protein phenotypes have smaller genotype networks whose member genotypes tend to be more similar than for RNA phenotypes. Neighborhoods in sequence space of a given radius around an RNA molecule contain more novel structures than for protein molecules. We compare this property to evidence from natural RNA and protein molecules, and conclude that RNA genotype space may be more conducive to the evolution of new structure phenotypes.

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17 citations in Web of Science®
17 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:27 January 2012
Deposited On:07 Feb 2013 14:29
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:23
Publisher:Biophysical Society
ISSN:0006-3495
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2012.01.047
PubMed ID:22768948
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-71706

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