Asymmetrical Evolution of Cytochrome bd Subunits
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Functionally linked genes generally evolve at similar rates and the knowledge of this particular feature of genomic evolution has been used as the basis for the phylogenetic profiling method. We illustrate here an exception to this rule in the evolution of the cytochrome bd complex. This is a two-component oxidase complex, with the subunits I and II known to be widely present in bacteria. The subunits within the cytochrome bd complex are under the same evolutionary pressure and most likely behave in the same evolutionary manner. However, the sequence similarity of genes encoding subunit II varies considerably across species. Genes encoding subunit II evolve 1.2 times faster on most of the branches of their phylogeny than subunit I genes. Furthermore, the genes encoding subunit II in Oceanobacillus iheyensis, Bacillus halodurans, and Staphylococcus species do not have detectable homologues within E. coli due to their large divergence. Together, the two subunits of cytochrome bd reveal an interesting example of an asymmetric pattern of evolutionary change.
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