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Nat Genet. 2005 Apr;37(4):351-2. Epub 2005 Mar 6.

Modularity and evolutionary constraint on proteins.

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  • Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA. hunter@ocf.berkeley.edu


Modularity, which has been found in the functional and physical protein interaction networks of many organisms, has been postulated to affect both the mode and tempo of evolution. Here I show that in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, protein interaction hubs situated in single modules are highly constrained, whereas those connecting different modules are more plastic. This pattern of change could reflect a tendency for evolutionary innovations to occur by altering the proteins and interactions between rather than within modules, in a manner somewhat similar to the evolution of new proteins through the shuffling of conserved protein domains.

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