End-enriched RNA-sequencing reveals evolutionary convergence of pathway-specific enzyme expression stoichiometry


Coexpression of proteins in response to pathway-inducing signals is the founding paradigm of gene regulation. However, it remains unexplored whether the relative abundance of co-regulated proteins requires precise tuning. Here, MIT researchers present large-scale analyses of protein stoichiometry and corresponding regulatory strategies for 21 pathways and 67-224 operons in divergent bacteria separated by 0.6-2 billion years. Using end-enriched RNA-sequencing (Rend-seq) with single-nucleotide resolution, they found that many bacterial gene clusters encoding conserved pathways have undergone massive divergence in transcript abundance and architectures via remodeling of internal promoters and terminators. Remarkably, these evolutionary changes are compensated post-transcriptionally to maintain preferred stoichiometry of protein synthesis rates. Even more strikingly, in eukaryotic budding yeast, functionally analogous proteins that arose independently from bacterial counterparts also evolved to convergent in-pathway expression. The broad requirement for exact protein stoichiometries despite regulatory divergence provides an unexpected principle for building biological pathways both in nature and for synthetic activities.

Lalanne JB, Taggart JC, Guo MS, Herzel L, Schieler A, Li GW. (2018) Evolutionary Convergence of Pathway-Specific Enzyme Expression Stoichiometry. Cell [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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