Gene duplication is crucial to generating novel signaling pathways during evolution. However, it remains unclear how the redundant proteins produced by gene duplication ultimately acquire new interaction specificities to establish insulated paralogous signaling pathways. Here, we used ancestral sequence reconstruction to resurrect and characterize a bacterial two-component signaling system that duplicated in a-proteobacteria. We determined the interaction specificities of the signaling proteins that existed before and immediately after this duplication event and then identified key mutations responsible for establishing specificity in the two systems. Just three mutations, in only two of the four interacting proteins, were sufficient to establish specificity of the extant systems. Some of these mutations weakened interactions between paralogous systems to limit crosstalk. However, others strengthened interactions within a system, indicating that the ancestral interaction, although functional, had the potential to be strengthened. Our work suggests that protein-protein interactions with such latent potential may be highly amenable to duplication and divergence.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. All gels are provided as Source Data with a master file indicating which individual file contains each gel that appears in the paper. All data plotted in graphs are provided in Excel files.
- Isabel Nocedal
- Michael T Laub
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Karina B Xavier, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal
© 2022, Nocedal & Laub
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Assembly pathways of protein complexes should be precise and efficient to minimise misfolding and unwanted interactions with other proteins in the cell. One way to achieve this efficiency is by seeding assembly pathways during translation via the cotranslational assembly of subunits. While recent evidence suggests that such cotranslational assembly is widespread, little is known about the properties of protein complexes associated with the phenomenon. Here, using a combination of proteome-specific protein complex structures and publicly available ribosome profiling data, we show that cotranslational assembly is particularly common between subunits that form large intermolecular interfaces. To test whether large interfaces have evolved to promote cotranslational assembly, as opposed to cotranslational assembly being a non-adaptive consequence of large interfaces, we compared the sizes of first and last translated interfaces of heteromeric subunits in bacterial, yeast, and human complexes. When considering all together, we observe the N-terminal interface to be larger than the C-terminal interface 54% of the time, increasing to 64% when we exclude subunits with only small interfaces, which are unlikely to cotranslationally assemble. This strongly suggests that large interfaces have evolved as a means to maximise the chance of successful cotranslational subunit binding.
Bacterial pathogens show high levels of chromosomal genetic diversity, but the influence of this diversity on the evolution of antibiotic resistance by plasmid acquisition remains unclear. Here, we address this problem in the context of colistin, a ‘last line of defence’ antibiotic. Using experimental evolution, we show that a plasmid carrying the MCR-1 colistin resistance gene dramatically increases the ability of Escherichia coli to evolve high-level colistin resistance by acquiring mutations in lpxC, an essential chromosomal gene involved in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis. Crucially, lpxC mutations increase colistin resistance in the presence of the MCR-1 gene, but decrease the resistance of wild-type cells, revealing positive sign epistasis for antibiotic resistance between the chromosomal mutations and a mobile resistance gene. Analysis of public genomic datasets shows that lpxC polymorphisms are common in pathogenic E. coli, including those carrying MCR-1, highlighting the clinical relevance of this interaction. Importantly, lpxC diversity is high in pathogenic E. coli from regions with no history of MCR-1 acquisition, suggesting that pre-existing lpxC polymorphisms potentiated the evolution of high-level colistin resistance by MCR-1 acquisition. More broadly, these findings highlight the importance of standing genetic variation and plasmid/chromosomal interactions in the evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resistance.