Experimental evidence for the thermophilicity of ancestral life

Satoshi Akanuma, Yoshiki Nakajima, Shin Ichi Yokobori, Mitsuo Kimura, Naoki Nemoto, Tomoko Mase, Ken Ichi Miyazono, Masaru Tanokura, Akihiko Yamagishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theoretical studies have focused on the environmental temperature of the universal common ancestor of life with conflicting conclusions. Here we provide experimental support for the existence of a thermophilic universal common ancestor. We present the thermal stabilities and catalytic efficiencies of nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDK), designed using the information contained in predictive phylogenetic trees, that seem to represent the last common ancestors of Archaea and of Bacteria. These enzymes display extreme thermal stabilities, suggesting thermophilic ancestries for Archaea and Bacteria. The results are robust to the uncertainties associated with the sequence predictions and to the tree topologies used to infer the ancestral sequences. Moreover, mutagenesis experiments suggest that the universal ancestor also possessed a very thermostable NDK. Because, as we show, the stability of an NDK is directly related to the environmental temperature of its host organism, our results indicate that the last common ancestor of extant life was a thermophile that flourished at a very high temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11067-11072
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul 2
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Nucleoside-Diphosphate Kinase
Archaea
Temperature
Extreme Heat
Bacteria
Mutagenesis
Uncertainty
Theoretical Models
Hot Temperature
Enzymes

Keywords

  • Ancient protein
  • Crystal structure
  • Last universal common ancestor
  • Molecular resurrection
  • Phylogenetic analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Experimental evidence for the thermophilicity of ancestral life. / Akanuma, Satoshi; Nakajima, Yoshiki; Yokobori, Shin Ichi; Kimura, Mitsuo; Nemoto, Naoki; Mase, Tomoko; Miyazono, Ken Ichi; Tanokura, Masaru; Yamagishi, Akihiko.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 110, No. 27, 02.07.2013, p. 11067-11072.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Akanuma, S, Nakajima, Y, Yokobori, SI, Kimura, M, Nemoto, N, Mase, T, Miyazono, KI, Tanokura, M & Yamagishi, A 2013, 'Experimental evidence for the thermophilicity of ancestral life', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, no. 27, pp. 11067-11072. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1308215110
Akanuma, Satoshi ; Nakajima, Yoshiki ; Yokobori, Shin Ichi ; Kimura, Mitsuo ; Nemoto, Naoki ; Mase, Tomoko ; Miyazono, Ken Ichi ; Tanokura, Masaru ; Yamagishi, Akihiko. / Experimental evidence for the thermophilicity of ancestral life. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 ; Vol. 110, No. 27. pp. 11067-11072.
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