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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Evolution of proteomes: fundamental signatures and global trends in amino acid compositions

Fredj Tekaia1* and Edouard Yeramian2

Author Affiliations

1 Unité de Génétique Moléculaire des Levures (URA 2171 CNRS and UFR927 Univ. P.M. Curie), Institut Pasteur, 25, Rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

2 Unité de Bio-Informatique Structurale, URA CNRS 2185, Institut Pasteur, 25, Rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

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BMC Genomics 2006, 7:307  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-307

Published: 5 December 2006

Abstract

Background

The evolutionary characterization of species and lifestyles at global levels is nowadays a subject of considerable interest, particularly with the availability of many complete genomes. Are there specific properties associated with lifestyles and phylogenies? What are the underlying evolutionary trends? One of the simplest analyses to address such questions concerns characterization of proteomes at the amino acids composition level.

Results

In this work, amino acid compositions of a large set of 208 proteomes, with significant number of representatives from the three phylogenetic domains and different lifestyles are analyzed, resorting to an appropriate multidimensional method: Correspondence analysis. The analysis reveals striking discrimination between eukaryotes, prokaryotic mesophiles and hyperthemophiles-themophiles, following amino acid usage. In sharp contrast, no similar discrimination is observed for psychrophiles. The observed distributional properties are compared with various inferred chronologies for the recruitment of amino acids into the genetic code. Such comparisons reveal correlations between the observed segregations of species following amino acid usage, and the separation of amino acids following early or late recruitment.

Conclusion

A simple description of proteomes according to amino acid compositions reveals striking signatures, with sharp segregations or on the contrary non-discriminations following phylogenies and lifestyles. The distribution of species, following amino acid usage, exhibits a discrimination between [high GC]-[high optimal growth temperatures] and [low GC]-[moderate temperatures] characteristics. This discrimination appears to coincide closely with the separation of amino acids following their inferred early or late recruitment into the genetic code. Taken together the various results provide a consistent picture for the evolution of proteomes, in terms of amino acid usage.