Ancient eukaryotic protein interactions illuminate modern genetic traits and disorders

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Ancient eukaryotic protein interactions illuminate modern genetic traits and disorders

Authors

Cox, R. M.; Papoulas, O.; Shril, S.; Lee, C.; Gardner, T.; Battenhouse, A. M.; Lee, M.; Drew, K.; McWhite, C. D.; Yang, D.; Leggere, J. C.; Durand, D.; Hildebrandt, F.; Wallingford, J. B.; Marcotte, E. M.

Abstract

All eukaryotes share a common ancestor from roughly 1.5 - 1.8 billion years ago, a single-celled, swimming microbe known as LECA, the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor. Nearly half of the genes in modern eukaryotes were present in LECA, and many current genetic diseases and traits stem from these ancient molecular systems. To better understand these systems, we compared genes across modern organisms and identified a core set of 10,092 shared protein-coding gene families likely present in LECA, a quarter of which are uncharacterized. We then integrated >26,000 mass spectrometry proteomics analyses from 31 species to infer how these proteins interact in higher-order complexes. The resulting interactome describes the biochemical organization of LECA, revealing both known and new assemblies. We analyzed these ancient protein interactions to find new human gene-disease relationships for bone density and congenital birth defects, demonstrating the value of ancestral protein interactions for guiding functional genetics today.

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