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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 28;9(1):e86718. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086718. eCollection 2014.

Molecular evolution of multiple-level control of heme biosynthesis pathway in animal kingdom.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan.
2
Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan.
3
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan.
4
Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan ; Department of Medical Research, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
5
Computational Cell Biology Group, Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer (IMPPC), Barcelona, Spain.
6
Cancer and Iron Group, Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer (IMPPC), Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

Adaptation of enzymes in a metabolic pathway can occur not only through changes in amino acid sequences but also through variations in transcriptional activation, mRNA splicing and mRNA translation. The heme biosynthesis pathway, a linear pathway comprised of eight consecutive enzymes in animals, provides researchers with ample information for multiple types of evolutionary analyses performed with respect to the position of each enzyme in the pathway. Through bioinformatics analysis, we found that the protein-coding sequences of all enzymes in this pathway are under strong purifying selection, from cnidarians to mammals. However, loose evolutionary constraints are observed for enzymes in which self-catalysis occurs. Through comparative genomics, we found that in animals, the first intron of the enzyme-encoding genes has been co-opted for transcriptional activation of the genes in this pathway. Organisms sense the cellular content of iron, and through iron-responsive elements in the 5' untranslated regions of mRNAs and the intron-exon boundary regions of pathway genes, translational inhibition and exon choice in enzymes may be enabled, respectively. Pathway product (heme)-mediated negative feedback control can affect the transport of pathway enzymes into the mitochondria as well as the ubiquitin-mediated stability of enzymes. Remarkably, the positions of these controls on pathway activity are not ubiquitous but are biased towards the enzymes in the upstream portion of the pathway. We revealed that multiple-level controls on the activity of the heme biosynthesis pathway depend on the linear depth of the enzymes in the pathway, indicating a new strategy for discovering the molecular constraints that shape the evolution of a metabolic pathway.

PMID:
24489775
PMCID:
PMC3904948
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0086718
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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