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Science 325 (5948): 1686-1688

Copyright © 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Positive Selection of Tyrosine Loss in Metazoan Evolution

Chris Soon Heng Tan,1,2,3 Adrian Pasculescu,1 Wendell A. Lim,4 Tony Pawson,1,2,* Gary D. Bader,1,2,3,* Rune Linding5,*

Abstract: John Nash showed that within a complex system, individuals are best off if they make the best decision that they can, taking into account the decisions of the other individuals. Here, we investigate whether similar principles influence the evolution of signaling networks in multicellular animals. Specifically, by analyzing a set of metazoan species we observed a striking negative correlation of genomically encoded tyrosine content with biological complexity (as measured by the number of cell types in each organism). We discuss how this observed tyrosine loss correlates with the expansion of tyrosine kinases in the evolution of the metazoan lineage and how it may relate to the optimization of signaling systems in multicellular animals. We propose that this phenomenon illustrates genome-wide adaptive evolution to accommodate beneficial genetic perturbation.

1 Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto M5G 1X5, Canada.
2 Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 1A8, Canada.
3 Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto M5S 3E1, Canada.
4 Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.
5 Cellular and Molecular Logic Team, Section of Cell and Molecular Biology, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, SW3 6JB, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pawson{at}lunenfeld.ca (T.P.); gary.bader{at}utoronto.ca (G.D.B.); linding{at}icr.ac.uk (R.L.)


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