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Data from: The roles of compensatory evolution and constraint in aminoacyl tRNA synthetase evolution

Cite this dataset

Adrion, Jeffrey R.; White, P. Signe; Montooth, Kristi L. (2016). Data from: The roles of compensatory evolution and constraint in aminoacyl tRNA synthetase evolution [Dataset]. Dryad.


Mitochondrial protein translation requires interactions between transfer RNAs encoded by the mitochondrial genome (mt-tRNAs) and mitochondrial aminoacyl tRNA synthetase proteins (mt-aaRS) encoded by the nuclear genome. It has been argued that animal mt-tRNAs have higher deleterious substitution rates relative to their nuclear-encoded counterparts, the cytoplasmic tRNAs (cyt-tRNAs). This dynamic predicts elevated rates of compensatory evolution of mt-aaRS that interact with mt-tRNAs, relative to aaRS that interact with cyt-tRNAs (cyt-aaRS). We find that mt-aaRS do evolve at significantly higher rates (exemplified by higher dN and dN/dS) relative to cyt-aaRS, across mammals, birds, and Drosophila. While this pattern supports a model of compensatory evolution, the level at which a gene is expressed is a more general predictor of protein evolutionary rate. We find that gene expression level explains 10-56% of the variance in aaRS dN/dS, and that cyt-aaRS are more highly expressed in addition to having have lower dN/dS values relative to mt-aaRS, consistent with more highly expressed genes being more evolutionarily constrained. Furthermore, we find no evidence of positive selection acting on either class of aaRS protein, as would be expected under a model of compensatory evolution. Nevertheless, the signature of faster mt-aaRS evolution persists in mammalian, but not bird or Drosophila, lineages after controlling for gene expression, suggesting some additional effect of compensatory evolution for mammalian mt-aaRS. We conclude that gene expression is the strongest factor governing differential amino acid substitution rates in proteins interacting with mitochondrial versus cytoplasmic factors, with important differences in mt-aaRS molecular evolution among taxonomic groups.

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