Evolution of subfunctionalization in metabolic genes
Comparative physiology is a field that celebrates novelty, but intermediary metabolism is notoriously conserved, particularly amongst animals. Short-term regulation of existing enzymes can deal with changes in metabolic flux, and cells can produce more or less of the enzymes to deal with longer term changes. Over evolutionary time there is potential for the proteins themselves to change, yet many differences in primary structure are inconsequential. Against this background of conservation, there are examples where whole genome duplications enabled the evolution of functional divergence in paralogous genes/proteins of animals. In this seminar I will discuss examples where paralogous genes/proteins show lineage-specific patterns of subfunctionalization. That is, genes/proteins that may be orthologous in origin have evolved differences in function, with important consequences for the evolution of energy metabolism.