Reference: Babbitt GA and Schulze KV (2012) Codons support the maintenance of intrinsic DNA polymer flexibility over evolutionary timescales. Genome Biol Evol 4(9):954-65

Reference Help

Abstract


Despite our long familiarity with how the genetic code specifies the amino acid sequence, we still know little about why it is organized in the way that it is. Contrary to the view that the organization of the genetic code is a "frozen accident" of evolution, recent studies have demonstrated that it is highly nonrandom, with implications for both codon assignment and usage. We hypothesize that this inherent nonrandomness may facilitate the coexistence of both sequence and structural information in DNA. Here, we take advantage of a simple metric of intrinsic DNA flexibility to analyze mutational effects on the four phosphate linkages present in any given codon. Application of a simple evolutionary neutral model of substitution to random sequences, translated with alternative genetic codes, reveals that the standard code is highly optimized to favor synonymous substitutions that maximize DNA polymer flexibility, potentially counteracting neutral evolutionary drift toward stiffer DNA caused by spontaneous deamination. Comparison to existing mutational patterns in yeast also demonstrates evidence of strong selective constraint on DNA flexibility, especially at so-called "silent" sites. We also report a fundamental relationship between DNA flexibility, codon usage bias, and several important evolutionary descriptors of comparative genomics (e.g., base composition, transition/transversion ratio, and nonsynonymous vs. synonymous substitution rate). Recent advances in structural genomics have emphasized the role of the DNA polymer's flexibility in both gene function and whole genome folding, thereby implicating possible reasons for codons to facilitate the multiplexing of both genetic and structural information within the same molecular context.

Reference Type
Journal Article | Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Authors
Babbitt GA, Schulze KV
Primary Lit For
Additional Lit For
Review For

Interaction Annotations


Increase the total number of rows showing on this page by using the pull-down located below the table, or use the page scroll at the table's top right to browse through the table's pages; use the arrows to the right of a column header to sort by that column; filter the table using the "Filter" box at the top of the table; click on the small "i" buttons located within a cell for an annotation to view further details about experiment type and any other genes involved in the interaction.

Interactor Interactor Type Assay Annotation Action Modification Phenotype Source Reference

Gene Ontology Annotations


Increase the total number of rows showing on this page using the pull-down located below the table, or use the page scroll at the table's top right to browse through the table's pages; use the arrows to the right of a column header to sort by that column; filter the table using the "Filter" box at the top of the table.

Gene Gene Ontology Term Qualifier Aspect Method Evidence Source Assigned On Annotation Extension Reference

Phenotype Annotations


Increase the total number of rows showing on this page using the pull-down located below the table, or use the page scroll at the table's top right to browse through the table's pages; use the arrows to the right of a column header to sort by that column; filter the table using the "Filter" box at the top of the table; click on the small "i" buttons located within a cell for an annotation to view further details.

Gene Phenotype Experiment Type Mutant Information Strain Background Chemical Details Reference

Regulation Annotations


Increase the total number of rows displayed on this page using the pull-down located below the table, or use the page scroll at the table's top right to browse through the table's pages; use the arrows to the right of a column header to sort by that column; to filter the table by a specific experiment type, type a keyword into the Filter box (for example, “microarray”); download this table as a .txt file using the Download button or click Analyze to further view and analyze the list of target genes using GO Term Finder, GO Slim Mapper, SPELL, or YeastMine.

Regulator Target Experiment Assay Construct Conditions Strain Background Reference