Environmental Pressure May Change the Composition Protein Disorder in Prokaryotes.

TitleEnvironmental Pressure May Change the Composition Protein Disorder in Prokaryotes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsVicedo, E, Schlessinger, A, Rost, B
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2015

Many prokaryotic organisms have adapted to incredibly extreme habitats. The genomes of such extremophiles differ from their non-extremophile relatives. For example, some proteins in thermophiles sustain high temperatures by being more compact than homologs in non-extremophiles. Conversely, some proteins have increased volumes to compensate for freezing effects in psychrophiles that survive in the cold. Here, we revealed that some differences in organisms surviving in extreme habitats correlate with a simple single feature, namely the fraction of proteins predicted to have long disordered regions. We predicted disorder with different methods for 46 completely sequenced organisms from diverse habitats and found a correlation between protein disorder and the extremity of the environment. More specifically, the overall percentage of proteins with long disordered regions tended to be more similar between organisms of similar habitats than between organisms of similar taxonomy. For example, predictions tended to detect substantially more proteins with long disordered regions in prokaryotic halophiles (survive high salt) than in their taxonomic neighbors. Another peculiar environment is that of high radiation survived, e.g. by Deinococcus radiodurans. The relatively high fraction of disorder predicted in this extremophile might provide a shield against mutations. Although our analysis fails to establish causation, the observed correlation between such a simplistic, coarse-grained, microscopic molecular feature (disorder content) and a macroscopic variable (habitat) remains stunning.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID26252577
PubMed Central IDPMC4529154