May 16, 2013

Experimental interrogation of the path dependence and stochasticity of protein evolution using phage-assisted continuous evolution

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Bryan C DickinsonDavid R Liu


To what extent are evolutionary outcomes determined by a population's recent environment, and to what extent do they depend on historical contingency and random chance? Here we apply a unique experimental system to investigate evolutionary reproducibility and path dependence at the protein level. We combined phage-assisted continuous evolution with high-throughput sequencing to analyze evolving protein populations as they adapted to divergent and then convergent selection pressures over hundreds of generations. Independent populations of T7 RNA polymerase genes were subjected to one of two selection histories ("pathways") demanding recognition of distinct intermediate promoters followed by a common final promoter. We observed distinct classes of solutions with unequal phenotypic activity and evolutionary potential evolve from the two pathways, as well as from replicate populations exposed to identical selection conditions. Mutational analysis revealed specific epistatic interactions that explained the observed path dependence and irreproducibility. Our results reveal in molecular detail how protein adaptation to different environments, as well as stochasticity among populations evolved in the same environment, can both generate...Continue Reading

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  • Citations33

Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Stochastic Processes
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
Biological Adaptation
In Vitro Molecular Evolution
Oligonucleotide Primers

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