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*


研究成果: Article査読

119 被引用数 (Scopus)


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.

ジャーナルProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
出版ステータスPublished - 2013 7月 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 一般


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