The proteomic complexity and rise of the primordial ancestor of diversified life

BMC Evolutionary Biology
Kyung Mo Kim, Gustavo Caetano-Anollés

Abstract

The last universal common ancestor represents the primordial cellular organism from which diversified life was derived. This urancestor accumulated genetic information before the rise of organismal lineages and is considered to be either a simple 'progenote' organism with a rudimentary translational apparatus or a more complex 'cenancestor' with almost all essential biological processes. Recent comparative genomic studies support the latter model and propose that the urancestor was similar to modern organisms in terms of gene content. However, most of these studies were based on molecular sequences, which are fast evolving and of limited value for deep evolutionary explorations. Here we engage in a phylogenomic study of protein domain structure in the proteomes of 420 free-living fully sequenced organisms. Domains were defined at the highly conserved fold superfamily (FSF) level of structural classification and an iterative phylogenomic approach was used to reconstruct max_set and min_set FSF repertoires as upper and lower bounds of the urancestral proteome. While the functional make up of the urancestral sets was complex, they represent only 5-11% of the 1,420 FSFs of extant proteomes and their make up and reuse was at least 5...Continue Reading

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