Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Evolutionary biology

A ratchet for protein complexity

Molecular machines containing related protein subunits are common in cells. Reconstruction of ancient proteins suggests that this type of complexity can evolve in the absence of any initial selective advantage. See Letter p.360

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Evolution of complexity in a protein ring.

Notes

  1. 1.

    *This article and the paper1 under discussion were published online on 8 January 2012.

References

  1. 1

    Finnigan, G. C., Hanson-Smith, V., Stevens, T. H. & Thornton, J. W. Nature 481 360–364 (2012).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Lynch, M. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 104, 8597–8604 (2007).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Archibald, J. M., Logsdon, J. M. Jr & Doolittle, W. F. Curr. Biol. 9, 1053–1056 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Ruano-Rubio, V. & Fares, M. A. Mol. Biol. Evol. 24, 1384–1396 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Fares, M. A. & Wolfe, K. H. Mol. Biol. Evol. 20, 1588–1597 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Ohno, S. Evolution by Gene Duplication (Springer, 1970).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Wang, Y., Cipriano, D. J. & Forgac, M. J. Biol. Chem. 282, 34058–34065 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Stoltzfus, A. J. Mol. Evol. 49, 169–181 (1999).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Force, A. et al. Genetics 151, 1531–1545 (1999).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Gray, M. W., Lukeš, J., Archibald, J. M., Keeling, P. J. & Doolittle, W. F. Science 330, 920–921 (2011).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to W. Ford Doolittle.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Doolittle, W. A ratchet for protein complexity. Nature 481, 270–271 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10816

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing