They found that two forms of tweaking which were known to be common in our own cells are equally prevalent in this simple bacterium. Called phosphorylation and lysine acetylation, these two types of post-translational modification also talk to and interfere with each other: the scientists found that disrupting one can cause changes in the other. Since M. pneumoniae is one of the living organisms with the fewest different proteins, this interplay between phosphorylation and lysine acetylation may be a way of getting additional functions out of a limited number of proteins: by tweaking each protein in several ways, enabling it to perform a variety of tasks.And, as more complex cells like our own share the same protein-tweaking tactics, it is probably an ancient strategy that evolved before our branch of the evolutionary tree and M.pneumoniae’s branched their separate ways.
Sonia Furtado Neves | EMBL Research News
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