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Metabolic determinants of enzyme evolution in a genome-scale bacterial metabolic network


Aguilar-Rodríguez, José; Wagner, Andreas (2018). Metabolic determinants of enzyme evolution in a genome-scale bacterial metabolic network. Genome Biology and Evolution, 10(11):3076-3088.

Abstract

Different genes and proteins evolve at very different rates. To identify the factors that explain these differences is an important aspect of research in molecular evolution. One such factor is the role a protein plays in a large molecular network. Here, we analyze the evolutionary rates of enzyme-coding genes in the genome-scale metabolic network of Escherichia coli to find the evolutionary constraints imposed by the structure and function of this complex metabolic system. Central and highly connected enzymes appear to evolve more slowly than less connected enzymes, but we find that they do so as a by-product of their high abundance, and not because of their position in the metabolic network. In contrast, enzymes catalyzing reactions with high metabolic flux—high substrate to product conversion rates—evolve slowly even after we account for their abundance. Moreover, enzymes catalyzing reactions that are difficult to by-pass through alternative pathways, such that they are essential in many different genetic backgrounds, also evolve more slowly. Our analyses show that an enzyme’s role in the function of a metabolic network affects its evolution more than its place in the network’s structure. They highlight the value of a system-level perspective for studies of molecular evolution.

Abstract

Different genes and proteins evolve at very different rates. To identify the factors that explain these differences is an important aspect of research in molecular evolution. One such factor is the role a protein plays in a large molecular network. Here, we analyze the evolutionary rates of enzyme-coding genes in the genome-scale metabolic network of Escherichia coli to find the evolutionary constraints imposed by the structure and function of this complex metabolic system. Central and highly connected enzymes appear to evolve more slowly than less connected enzymes, but we find that they do so as a by-product of their high abundance, and not because of their position in the metabolic network. In contrast, enzymes catalyzing reactions with high metabolic flux—high substrate to product conversion rates—evolve slowly even after we account for their abundance. Moreover, enzymes catalyzing reactions that are difficult to by-pass through alternative pathways, such that they are essential in many different genetic backgrounds, also evolve more slowly. Our analyses show that an enzyme’s role in the function of a metabolic network affects its evolution more than its place in the network’s structure. They highlight the value of a system-level perspective for studies of molecular evolution.

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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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:23 October 2018
Deposited On:07 Mar 2019 10:45
Last Modified:07 Mar 2019 10:45
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1759-6653
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evy234

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