Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

A friend says this paper illustrates that universal common descent is untestable

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Abstract:

Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) add great sophistication to biological systems. Citrullination, a key regulatory mechanism in human physiology and pathophysiology, is enigmatic from an evolutionary perspective. Although the citrullinating enzymes peptidylarginine deiminases (PADIs) are ubiquitous across vertebrates, they are absent from yeast, worms and flies. Based on this distribution PADIs were proposed to have been horizontally transferred, but this has been contested. Here, we map the evolutionary trajectory of PADIs into the animal lineage. We present strong phylogenetic support for a clade encompassing animal and cyanobacterial PADIs that excludes fungal and other bacterial homologues. The animal and cyanobacterial PADI proteins share functionally relevant primary and tertiary synapomorphic sequences that are distinct from a second PADI type present in fungi and actinobacteria. Molecular clock calculations and sequence divergence analyses using the fossil record estimate the last common ancestor of the cyanobacterial and animal PADIs to be less than one billion years old. Additionally, under an assumption of vertical descent, PADI sequence change during this evolutionary time frame is anachronistically low, even when compared to products of likely endosymbiont gene transfer, mitochondrial proteins and some of the most highly conserved sequences in life. The consilience of evidence indicates that PADIs were introduced from cyanobacteria into animals by horizontal gene transfer (HGT). The ancestral cyanobacterial PADI is enzymatically active and can citrullinate eukaryotic proteins, suggesting that the PADI HGT event introduced a new catalytic capability into the regulatory repertoire of animals. This study reveals the unusual evolution of a pleiotropic protein modification.

Thomas F M Cummings, Kevin Gori, Luis Sanchez-Pulido, Gavriil Gavriilidis, David Moi, Abigail R Wilson, Elizabeth Murchison, Christophe Dessimoz, Chris P Ponting, Maria A Christophorou, Citrullination was introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 2021;, msab317, https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msab317

From the paper: “Citrullination, a key regulatory mechanism in human physiology and pathophysiology, is enigmatic from an evolutionary perspective. Although the citrullinating enzymes peptidylarginine deiminases (PADIs) are ubiquitous across vertebrates, they are absent from yeast, worms and flies…Here, we map the evolutionary trajectory of PADIs into the animal lineage. We present strong phylogenetic support for a clade encompassing animal and cyanobacterial PADIs that excludes fungal and other bacterial homologues. The animal and cyanobacterial PADI proteins share functionally relevant primary and tertiary synapomorphic sequences that are distinct from a second PADI type present in fungi and actinobacteria.”

So the clade consists of animals and blue-green algae…

If any assumption can be made as long as it supports universal common descent, universal common descent will always work.

The paper is open access.

Comments
The difference between science and begging the question: Begging the Question
Citrullination was introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria,
They don’t know, they just assume it happened this way. Science
Was citrullination introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria?
Question to be answered.jerry
November 6, 2021
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