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Logo of bioldirectBioMed CentralBiomed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBiology DirectJournal Front Page
Biol Direct. 2012; 7: 8.
Published online Feb 15, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1745-6150-7-8
PMCID: PMC3331848
Rate and breadth of protein evolution are only weakly correlated
Sergey A Naumenkocorresponding author1,2 and Alexey S Kondrashov2,3
1Institute for Information Transmission Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Bolshoi Karetny pereulok 19, Moscow 127994, Russia
2Department of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Vorbyevy Gory 1-73, Moscow 119992, Russia
3Life Sciences Institute and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Sergey A Naumenko: sergey.naumenko/at/; Alexey S Kondrashov: kondrash/at/
Received August 30, 2011; Accepted February 15, 2012.
Evolution at a protein site can be characterized from two different perspectives, by its rate and by the breadth of the set of acceptable amino acids.
There is a weak positive correlation between rates and breadths of evolution, both across individual amino acid sites and across proteins.
Rate and breadth are two distinct, and only weakly correlated, characteristics of protein evolution. The most likely explanation of their positive correlation is heterogeneity of selective constraint, such that less functionally important sites evolve faster and can accept more amino acids.
This article was reviewed by Eugene V. Koonin, Arcady R. Mushegyan, and Eugene I. Shakhnovich.
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