Posted by: Dan | June 8, 2006

Kinomes: Evolution of an enzyme, from Yeast to Man

A couple months ago, I posted about a PLoS Genetics paper at A Concerned Scientist on the Dictyostelium kinome. For an evolutionary perspective, I think it’s time to look at other kinomes as well, from Yeast to Man, and such a review was published in October 2002 in TiBS(PDF).

Without getting too much into the gene-by-gene and subfamily comparisons contained in the paper, there are striking evidences of descent with modification and nested heirarchies of structure-function relationships across the species examined, including yeast (budding and fission), fruit fly, nematode, slime mold, hydra, mouse, and human. From Manning et al.:

Family comparison (Fig. 1 and Table 1) shows that all major kinase groups and most kinase families are shared among metazoans, and many are also found in yeast, reflecting the breadth of conserved functions mediated by kinases. This ancient conservation enables cross-species analysis of function, particularly of human kinases in simpler model systems. Of 209 subfamilies, 51 are present in all four [yeast, fly, worm and human] genomes, and 144 are present in all metazoans, indicating that most divergence of kinases into specific functions and families occurred during early eukaryotic and metazoan evolution.

Since then, additional genomic evidence supports the quoted conclusions in other organisms.
Differences between kinase subfamilies and genes across species strongly reflect changing cellular functions, including the loss of kinases involved in unicellular-specific functions, and acquiring of kinases involved in immunity, neurobiology, cell cycle control, and morphogenesis.


  • The dictyostelium kinome–analysis of the protein kinases from a simple model organism. Goldberg JM, Manning G, Liu A, Fey P, Pilcher KE, Xu Y, Smith JL. PLoS Genet. 2006 Mar; 2(3):e38. Pubmed
  • Evolution of protein kinase signaling from yeast to man. Manning G, Plowman GD, Hunter T, Sudarsanam S. Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Oct; 27(10):514-20. Pubmed


  1. Great article. Finally got the link to work.


  2. […] These characteristics arose, and are ubiquitously conserved by all animals of greater complexity than cnidarians, along with a wide array of other cellular functions – exemplified by the diversity and functions of the kinome superfamily of signaling proteins. Knowing these facts about the evolutionary origins of cell adhesion and the inter-relatedness of adhesion dynamics in multi-cellular organisms helps us to put more pieces of the puzzle together – rather than simply dissecting humans to understand our physiology and basis for disease, we can examine similar processes in simpler animals and gain knowledge about animal physiology and development at large. […]


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