The impact of trans-regulation on the evolutionary rates of metazoan proteins.


Transcription factor (TF) and microRNA (miRNA) are two crucial trans-regulatory factors that coordinately control gene expression. Understanding the impacts of these two factors on the rate of protein sequence evolution is of great importance in evolutionary biology. While many biological factors associated with evolutionary rate variations have been studied, evolutionary analysis of simultaneously accounting for TF and miRNA regulations across metazoans is still uninvestigated. Here, we provide a series of statistical analyses to assess the influences of TF and miRNA regulations on evolutionary rates across metazoans (human, mouse and fruit fly). Our results reveal that the negative correlations between trans-regulation and evolutionary rates hold well across metazoans, but the strength of TF regulation as a rate indicator becomes weak when the other confounding factors that may affect evolutionary rates are controlled. We show that miRNA regulation tends to be a more essential indicator of evolutionary rates than TF regulation, and the combination of TF and miRNA regulations has a significant dependent effect on protein evolutionary rates. We also show that trans-regulation (especially miRNA regulation) is much more important in human/mouse than in fruit fly in determining protein evolutionary rates, suggesting a considerable variation in rate determinants between vertebrates and invertebrates.

Nucleic acids research
Huai-Kuang Tsai
Huai-Kuang Tsai
Research Fellow/Professor