One of the vital features in the evolution of more complicated organisms is the birth of allosteric regulation. Allostery is a procedure by which a protein’s exercise can be modulated by binding an effector molecule distal to the lively site.
Regardless of the enormous importance of allostery in biology, the query of how such a characteristic evolved is unexplored territory.
In an article featured online on February 22 in Science, Prof. of Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Investigator Dorothee Kern and her lab address what’s arguably one of the crucial fundamental evolutionary drivers for biology—allostery.
By outlining the evolutionary track of modern protein kinases from their ancient frequent ancestors about 1.5 billion years ago to the present, Kern and her colleagues found the ancient origins of allosteric control for the first time.
To study such an important question, the researchers chose to resurrect the evolution of Aurora kinase along with its allosteric regulator, TPX2. These proteins control the cell cycle in humans and are hence hot cancer targets.
In the paper, the scientists first calculated the amino acid sequences of these ancient proteins utilizing the hugest sequence database available up to now and bioinformatics. They then made these enzymes in the laboratory and characterized their biochemical characteristics.
They discovered that the oldest kinases already use autophosphorylation for their regulation. This is smart from an evolutionary perspective since the process requires its catalytic equipment solely.
The more subtle allosteric regulation, through binding to a second protein, began around 1 billion years ago with the incidence of that partner, TPX2.