Title: Independent Effects of Alternative Splicing and Structural Constraint on the Evolution of Mammalian Coding Exons
Authors: Chen, Feng-Chi
Pan, Chia-Lin
Lin, Hsuan-Yu
Department of Biological Science and Technology
Keywords: alternative splicing;intrinsically disordered region;nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rate ratio
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2012
Abstract: Alternative splicing (AS) is known to significantly affect exon-level protein evolutionary rates in mammals. Particularly, alternatively spliced exons (ASEs) have a higher nonsynonymous-to-synonymous substitution rate (dN/dS) ratio than constitutively spliced exons (CSEs), possibly because the former are required only occasionally for normal biological functions. Meanwhile, intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs), the protein regions lacking fixed 3D structures, are also reported to have an increased evolutionary rate due to lack of structural constraint. Interestingly, IDRs tend to be located in alternative protein regions. Yet which of these two factors is the major determinant of the increased dN/dS in mammalian ASEs remains unclear. By comparing human-macaque and human-mouse one-to-one orthologous genes, we demonstrate that AS and protein structural disorder have independent effects on mammalian exon evolution. We performed analyses of covariance to demonstrate that the slopes of the (dN/dS-percentage of IDR) regression lines differ significantly between CSEs and ASEs. In other words, the dN/dS ratios of both ASEs and CSEs increase with the proportion of IDR (PIDR), whereas ASEs have higher dN/dS ratios than CSEs when they have similar PIDRs. Since ASEs and IDRs may less frequently overlap with protein domains (which also affect dN/dS), we also examined the correlations between dN/dS ratio and exon type/PIDR by controlling for the density of protein domain. We found that the effects of exon type and PIDR on dN/dS are both independent of domain density. Our results imply that nature can select for different biological features with regard to ASEs and IDRs, even though the two biological features tend to be localized in the same protein regions.
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msr182
ISSN: 0737-4038
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msr182
Volume: 29
Issue: 1
Begin Page: 187
End Page: 193
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