Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Evolution of an ancient protein function involved in organized multicellularity in animals.

  • Author(s): Anderson, Douglas P
  • Whitney, Dustin S
  • Hanson-Smith, Victor
  • Woznica, Arielle
  • Campodonico-Burnett, William
  • Volkman, Brian F
  • King, Nicole
  • Thornton, Joseph W
  • Prehoda, Kenneth E
  • et al.
Abstract

To form and maintain organized tissues, multicellular organisms orient their mitotic spindles relative to neighboring cells. A molecular complex scaffolded by the GK protein-interaction domain (GKPID) mediates spindle orientation in diverse animal taxa by linking microtubule motor proteins to a marker protein on the cell cortex localized by external cues. Here we illuminate how this complex evolved and commandeered control of spindle orientation from a more ancient mechanism. The complex was assembled through a series of molecular exploitation events, one of which - the evolution of GKPID's capacity to bind the cortical marker protein - can be recapitulated by reintroducing a single historical substitution into the reconstructed ancestral GKPID. This change revealed and repurposed an ancient molecular surface that previously had a radically different function. We show how the physical simplicity of this binding interface enabled the evolution of a new protein function now essential to the biological complexity of many animals.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View