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PLoS Biol. 2012;10(12):e1001446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001446. Epub 2012 Dec 11.

Reconstruction of ancestral metabolic enzymes reveals molecular mechanisms underlying evolutionary innovation through gene duplication.

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  • 1VIB Laboratory for Systems Biology, Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
23239941
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3519909
Free PMC Article

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