Book of Abstracts: Albany 2007

category image Albany 2007
Conversation 15
June 19-23 2007

Early Molecular Evolution

Four fundamentally novel, recent developments make a basis for the Theory of Early Molecular Evolution. The theory outlines the molecular events from the onset of the triplet code to the formation of the earliest sequence/structure/function modules of proteins. These developments are:
  1. Reconstruction of the evolutionary chart of codons (1, 2);
  2. Discovery of omnipresent protein sequence motifs, conserved since the last common ancestor (3, 4);
  3. Discovery of closed loops -- standard structural modules of modern proteins (5-7);
  4. Construction of protein sequence space of module size fragments, with evolutionary implications (8, 9).
The theory generates numerous predictions, confirmed by massive nucleotide and protein sequence analyses, such as existence of two distinct classes of amino acids, and their periodical distribution along the sequences. The emerging picture of the earliest molecular evolutionary events is outlined -- consecutive engagement of codons, formation of the earliest short peptides, and growth of the polypeptide chains to the size of loop closure, 25-30 residues. Repertoire of the very first protein activities is outlined. The earliest closed loop modules are found to be associated with ATP synthesis and utilization.

References and Footnotes
  1. Trifonov, E. N. Gene 261, 139-151 (2000).
  2. Trifonov, E. N. J Biomol Str Dyn 22, 1-11 (2004).
  3. Sobolevsky, Y., Trifonov, E. N. J Mol Evol 61, 591-596 (2005).
  4. Sobolevsky, Y., Trifonov, E. N. J Mol Evol 63, 622-634 (2006).
  5. Berezovsky, I. N., Grosberg, A. Y., Trifonov, E. N. FEBS Letters 466, 283-286 (2000).
  6. Berezovsky, I. N. Protein Engineering 16, 161-167 (2003).
  7. Berezovsky, I. N., Kirzhner, A., Kirzhner, V. M., Trifonov, E. N. J Biomol Str Dyn 21, 327-339 (2003).
  8. Frenkel, Z. M., Trifonov, E. N. J Theor Biol 244, 77-80 (2007).
  9. Frenkel, Z. M., Trifonov, E. N. Proteins Str Function Bioinf, in press.

Edward N. Trifonov

Genome Diversity Center
Institute of Evolution
University of Haifa
Mount Carmel, 31905 Haifa, Israel

Phone: +972 4 828 8096
Fax: +972 4 824 6554
Email: trifonov@research.haifa.ac.il