A reconstrução de enzimas metabólicas ancestrais revelam mecanismos moleculares por detrás da inovação evolucionária através da duplicação de genes

segunda-feira, janeiro 21, 2013

Reconstruction of Ancestral Metabolic Enzymes Reveals Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Evolutionary Innovation through Gene Duplication

Karin Voordeckers equal contributor, Chris A. Brown equal contributor,  Kevin Vanneste, Elisa van der  Zande, Arnout Voet, Steven Maere, Kevin J. Verstrepen


Gene duplications are believed to facilitate evolutionary innovation. However, the mechanisms shaping the fate of duplicated genes remain heavily debated because the molecular processes and evolutionary forces involved are difficult to reconstruct. Here, we study a large family of fungal glucosidase genes that underwent several duplication events. We reconstruct all key ancestral enzymes and show that the very first preduplication enzyme was primarily active on maltose-like substrates, with trace activity for isomaltose-like sugars. Structural analysis and activity measurements on resurrected and present-day enzymes suggest that both activities cannot be fully optimized in a single enzyme. However, gene duplications repeatedly spawned daughter genes in which mutations optimized either isomaltase or maltase activity. Interestingly, similar shifts in enzyme activity were reached multiple times via different evolutionary routes. Together, our results provide a detailed picture of the molecular mechanisms that drove divergence of these duplicated enzymes and show that whereas the classic models of dosage, sub-, and neofunctionalization are helpful to conceptualize the implications of gene duplication, the three mechanisms co-occur and intertwine.
Author Summary
Darwin's theory of evolution is one of gradual change, yet evolution sometimes takes remarkable leaps. Such evolutionary innovations are often linked to gene duplication through one of three basic scenarios: an extra copy can increase protein levels, different ancestral subfunctions can be split over the copies and evolve distinct regulation, or one of the duplicates can develop a novel function. Although there are numerous examples for all these trajectories, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain obscure, mostly because the preduplication genes and proteins no longer exist. Here, we study a family of fungal metabolic enzymes that hydrolyze disaccharides, and that all originated from the same ancestral gene through repeated duplications. By resurrecting the ancient genes and proteins using high-confidence predictions from many fungal genome sequences available, we show that the very first preduplication enzyme was promiscuous, preferring maltose-like substrates but also showing trace activity towards isomaltose-like sugars. After duplication, specific mutations near the active site of one copy optimized the minor activity at the expense of the major ancestral activity, while the other copy further specialized in maltose and lost the minor activity. Together, our results reveal how the three basic trajectories for gene duplicates cannot be separated easily, but instead intertwine into a complex evolutionary path that leads to innovation.