Ancient evolutionary origin of intrinsically disordered cancer risk regions [article]

Matyas Pajkos, Andras Zeke, Zsuzsa Dosztanyi
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Cancer is a heterogeneous genetic disease that alters the proper functioning of proteins involved in key regulatory processes such as cell cycle, DNA repair, survival or apoptosis. Mutations often accumulate in hot-spots regions, highlighting critical functional modules within these proteins that need to be altered, amplified or abolished for tumor formation. Recent evidence suggests that these mutational hotspots can not only correspond to globular domains but also to intrinsically disordered
more » ... egions (IDRs), which play a significant role in a subset of cancer types. IDRs have distinct functional properties that originate from their inherent flexibility. Generally, they correspond to more recent evolutionary inventions and show larger sequence variations across species. In this work we analyzed the evolutionary origin of disordered regions that are specifically targeted in cancer. Surprisingly, the majority of these disordered cancer risk regions showed remarkable conservation with ancient evolutionary origin, stemming from the earliest multicellular animals or even beyond. Nevertheless, we encountered several examples, where the mutated region emerged at a later stage compared to the origin of the gene family. We also showed the cancer risk regions become quickly fixated after their emergence, but evolution continues to tinker with their genes with novel regulatory elements introduced even at the level of humans. Our concise analysis provides a much clearer picture of the emergence of key regulatory elements in proteins and highlights the importance of taking into account the modular organisation of proteins for the analyses of evolutionary origin.
doi:10.1101/2020.06.15.152298 fatcat:jbpfffpdajgcfn6xow2sqpmu4y