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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 9:66

First Online: 25 March 2009Received: 30 September 2008Accepted: 25 March 2009


BackgroundProtein domains represent the basic units in the evolution of proteins. Domain duplication and shuffling by recombination and fusion, followed by divergence are the most common mechanisms in this process. Such domain fusion and recombination events are predicted to occur only once for a given multidomain architecture. However, other scenarios may be relevant in the evolution of specific proteins, such as convergent evolution of multidomain architectures. With this in mind, we study glutaredoxin GRX domains, because these domains of approximately one hundred amino acids are widespread in archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes and participate in fusion proteins. GRXs are responsible for the reduction of protein disulfides or glutathione-protein mixed disulfides and are involved in cellular redox regulation, although their specific roles and targets are often unclear.

ResultsIn this work we analyze the distribution and evolution of GRX proteins in archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes. We study over one thousand GRX proteins, each containing at least one GRX domain, from hundreds of different organisms and trace the origin and evolution of the GRX domain within the tree of life.

ConclusionOur results suggest that single domain GRX proteins of the CGFS and CPYC classes have, each, evolved through duplication and divergence from one initial gene that was present in the last common ancestor of all organisms. Remarkably, we identify a case of convergent evolution in domain architecture that involves the GRX domain. Two independent recombination events of a TRX domain to a GRX domain are likely to have occurred, which is an exception to the dominant mechanism of domain architecture evolution.


HGThorizontal gene transfer

LCALast common ancestor

MIMutual information

NMINormalized mutual information


Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2148-9-66 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Rui Alves - Ester Vilaprinyo - Albert Sorribas - Enrique Herrero

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1471-2148-9-66

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