Evolution of Protein Phosphorylation for Distinct Functional Modules in Vertebrate Genomes
Molecular biology and evolution
Recent publications have revealed that the evolution of phosphosites is influenced by the local protein structures and whether the phosphosites have characterized functions or not. With knowledge of the wide functional range of phosphorylation, we attempted to clarify whether the evolutionary conservation of phosphosites is different among distinct functional modules. We grouped the phosphosites in the human genome into the modules according to the functional categories of KEGG, and
... their evolutionary conservation in vertebrate genomes from mouse to zebrafish. We have found that the phosphosites in the vertebrate-specific functional modules (VFMs) such as cellular signaling processes and responses to stimuli are evolutionarily more conserved than those in the basic functional modules (BFMs) such as metabolic and genetic processes. The phosphosites in the VFMs are also significantly more conserved than their flanking regions, whereas those in the BFMs are not. These results hold for both serine/threonine and tyrosine residues, although the fraction of phosphorylated tyrosine residues is increased in the VFMs. Moreover, the difference in the evolutionary conservation of the phosphosites between the VFMs and BFMs could not be explained by the difference in the local protein structures. There is also a higher fraction of phosphosites with known functions in the VFMs than BFMs. Based on these findings, we have concluded that protein phosphorylation may play more dominant roles for the VFMs than BFMs during the vertebrate evolution. As phosphorylation is a quite rapid biological reaction, the VFMs that quickly respond to outer stimuli and inner signals might heavily depend on this regulatory mechanism. Our results imply that phosphorylation may have an essential role in the evolution of vertebrates.