Variation and evolution of biomolecular systems: searching for functional relevance

TitleVariation and evolution of biomolecular systems: searching for functional relevance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHuynen, MA, Gabaldón, T, Snel, B
JournalFEBS Lett
Keywords*Evolution; Molecular Genetic Variation Multiprotein Complexes/*genetics Phylogeny Protein Binding/genetics

The availability of genome sequences and functional genomics data from multiple species enables us to compare the composition of biomolecular systems like biochemical pathways and protein complexes between species. Here, we review small- and large-scale, "genomics-based" approaches to biomolecular systems variation. In general, caution is required when comparing the results of bioinformatics analyses of genomes or of functional genomics data between species. Limitations to the sensitivity of sequence analysis tools and the noisy nature of genomics data tend to lead to systematic overestimates of the amount of variation. Nevertheless, the results from detailed manual analyses, and of large-scale analyses that filter out systematic biases, point to a large amount of variation in the composition of biomolecular systems. Such observations challenge our understanding of the function of the systems and their individual components and can potentially facilitate the identification and functional characterization of sub-systems within a system. Mapping the inter-species variation of complex biomolecular systems on a phylogenetic species tree allows one to reconstruct their evolution.


Huynen, Martijn A Gabaldon, Toni Snel, Berend Review Netherlands FEBS letters FEBS Lett. 2005 Mar 21;579(8):1839-45.