The Origins of Novel Protein Interactions during Animal Opsin EvolutionReport as inadecuate

The Origins of Novel Protein Interactions during Animal Opsin Evolution - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.


Biologists are gaining an increased understanding of the genetic bases of phenotypic change during evolution. Nevertheless, the origins of phenotypes mediated by novel protein-protein interactions remain largely undocumented.

Methodology-Principle Findings

Here we analyze the evolution of opsin visual pigment proteins from the genomes of early branching animals, including a new class of opsins from Cnidaria. We combine these data with existing knowledge of the molecular basis of opsin function in a rigorous phylogenetic framework. We identify adaptive amino acid substitutions in duplicated opsin genes that correlate with a diversification of physiological pathways mediated by different protein-protein interactions.


This study documents how gene duplication events early in the history of animals followed by adaptive structural mutations increased organismal complexity by adding novel protein-protein interactions that underlie different physiological pathways. These pathways are central to vision and other photo-reactive phenotypes in most extant animals. Similar evolutionary processes may have been at work in generating other metazoan sensory systems and other physiological processes mediated by signal transduction.

Author: David C. Plachetzki, Bernard M. Degnan, Todd H. Oakley



Related documents