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J Mol Biol. 2004 Feb 20;336(3):695-706.

Proteomic traces of speciation.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 7 Divinity Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Recent work has shown that the network of structural similarity between protein domains exhibits a power-law distribution of edges per node. The scale-free nature of this graph, termed the protein domain universe graph or PDUG, may be reproduced via a divergent model of structural evolution. The performance of this model, however, does not preclude the existence of a successful convergent model. To further resolve the issue of protein structural evolution, we explore the predictions of both convergent and divergent models directly. We show that when nodes from the PDUG are partitioned into subgraphs on the basis of their occurrence in the proteomes of particular organisms, these subgraphs exhibit a scale-free nature as well. We explore a simple convergent model of structural evolution and find that the implications of this model are inconsistent with features of these organismal subgraphs. Importantly, we find that biased convergent models are inconsistent with our data. We find that when speciation mechanisms are added to a simple divergent model, subgraphs similar to the organismal subgraphs are produced, demonstrating that dynamic models can easily explain the distributions of structural similarity that exist within proteomes. We show that speciation events must be included in a divergent model of structural evolution to account for the non-random overlap of structural proteomes. These findings have implications for the long-standing debate over convergent and divergent models of protein structural evolution, and for the study of the evolution of organisms as a whole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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