Diversity and dispersal of a ubiquitous protein family: acyl-CoA dehydrogenases

Robert Cedergren Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics, Biochemistry Department, Université de Montréal, 2900 Edouard-Montpetit, Montreal, QC, H3T 1J4, Canada.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 8.81). 08/2009; 37(17):5619-31. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp566
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Acyl-CoA dehydrogenases (ACADs), which are key enzymes in fatty acid and amino acid catabolism, form a large, pan-taxonomic protein family with at least 13 distinct subfamilies. Yet most reported ACAD members have no subfamily assigned, and little is known about the taxonomic distribution and evolution of the subfamilies. In completely sequenced genomes from approximately 210 species (eukaryotes, bacteria and archaea), we detect ACAD subfamilies by rigorous ortholog identification combining sequence similarity search with phylogeny. We then construct taxonomic subfamily-distribution profiles and build phylogenetic trees with orthologous proteins. Subfamily profiles provide unparalleled insight into the organisms' energy sources based on genome sequence alone and further predict enzyme substrate specificity, thus generating explicit working hypotheses for targeted biochemical experimentation. Eukaryotic ACAD subfamilies are traditionally considered as mitochondrial proteins, but we found evidence that in fungi one subfamily is located in peroxisomes and participates in a distinct beta-oxidation pathway. Finally, we discern horizontal transfer, duplication, loss and secondary acquisition of ACAD genes during evolution of this family. Through these unorthodox expansion strategies, the ACAD family is proficient in utilizing a large range of fatty acids and amino acids-strategies that could have shaped the evolutionary history of many other ancient protein families.

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