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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2007;61:453-75.

Comparative genomics of protists: new insights into the evolution of eukaryotic signal transduction and gene regulation.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894, USA.


Data from protist genomes suggest that eukaryotes show enormous variability in their gene complements, especially of genes coding regulatory proteins. Overall counts of eukaryotic signaling proteins show weak nonlinear scaling with proteome size, but individual superfamilies of signaling domains might show vast expansions in certain protists. Alteration of domain architectural complexity of signaling proteins and repeated lineage-specific reshaping of architectures might have played a major role in the emergence of new signaling interactions in different eukaryotes. Lateral transfer of various signaling domains from bacteria or from hosts, in parasites such as apicomplexans, appears to also have played a major role in the origin of new functional networks. Lineage-specific expansion of regulatory proteins, particularly of transcription factors, has played a critical role in the adaptive radiation of different protist lineages. Comparative genomics allows objective reconstruction of the ancestral conditions and subsequent diversification of several regulatory systems involved in phosphorylation, cyclic nucleotide signaling, Ubiquitin conjugation, chromatin remodeling, and posttranscriptional gene silencing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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