Researchers from EMBL (Cambridge and Heidelberg) and the University of Washington present an evolutionary analysis of the protein phosphorylation of 18 species of fungi that indicates rapid divergence, with only a small fraction conserved for hundreds of millions of years. The work, led by Pedro Beltrão and Judit Villén , has the participation of the research group on Cell Signaling of the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences ( DCEXS ), led by Eulàlia de Nadal and Francesc Posas , and is published on 14 October in the journal Science. Proteins are essential for life and most of the processes that take place in cells are carried out by these molecules. To signal and regulate the functions of their proteins, organisms have developed a fast and versatile mechanism: the modification or marking of proteins by phosphorylation. A mechanism that, like all biological processes,

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has evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Croatia Email ListResearchers have analyzed the phosphorylation of all the proteins of 18 different species of fungi to find out the differences and similarities between them and to learn more about their evolutionary conservation. This analysis has found that there is a rapid divergence in protein markings, with only a small fraction conserved throughout evolution. “At this time when the analysis of genomes has become so important, we cannot forget that it is not enough to know which proteins are present in a cell but also how they are regulated,” say Drs. De Nadal and Posas. “The study provides data in this regard. Evolutionarily highly conserved regulation marks have been discovered and therefore it teaches us how these proteins can be regulated, as well as showing us how quickly possible regulatory

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mechanisms evolve throughout evolution to promote adaptation. ” Except for the well-conserved brands, the results of the study show that the phosphorylation of proteins throughout evolution has been very dynamic, probably to be able to contribute to the diversity between species and to have more tools for adaptation to changes . Those brands that have not changed over time indicate relevance in their function. The identification of these very old marks will allow functional studies to be carried out, thus discovering their importance and defining new functions preserved in evolution. “Taking into account that the fungi analyzed are very far apart from an evolutionary point of view, we believe that the divergence observed in the network of modifications will also occur in other organisms,” add the UPF researchers. “In fact, this divergence could be related to the specific

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