Avoidance of Protein Unfolding Constrains Protein Stability in Long-Term Evolution


Razban, R.M., Dasmeh, P., Serohijos, A.W.R. & Shakhnovich, E.I. Avoidance of Protein Unfolding Constrains Protein Stability in Long-Term Evolution. Biophysical Journal 120, 12, 2413–2424 (2021).


Every amino acid residue can influence a protein's overall stability, making stability highly susceptible to change throughout evolution. We consider the distribution of protein stabilities evolutionarily permittable under two previously reported protein fitness functions: flux dynamics and misfolding avoidance. We develop an evolutionary dynamics theory and find that it agrees better with an extensive protein stability data set for dihydrofolate reductase orthologs under the misfolding avoidance fitness function rather than the flux dynamics fitness function. Further investigation with ribonuclease H data demonstrates that not any misfolded state is avoided; rather, it is only the unfolded state. At the end, we discuss how our work pertains to the universal protein abundance-evolutionary rate correlation seen across organisms' proteomes. We derive a closed-form expression relating protein abundance to evolutionary rate that captures Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Homo sapiens experimental trends without fitted parameters.

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Last updated on 10/05/2021