Type 1 serine/threonine protein phosphatases (PP1s) play key roles in many cellular processes. To understand the evolutionary relationships among PP1s from various kingdoms and to provide a valid basis to evaluate the structure-function relationships of these phosphatases, 44 PP1 sequences were aligned, revealing a high sequence similarity among PP1 homologs. About one-third of the total amino acids are conserved in all the sequences studied. Most of these conserved amino acids are located within a 270-amino-acid core region. They include most sites critical to the activity and regulation of PP1s based on three-dimensional structural studies of mammalian PP1s. Positional variation analysis using a sliding window approach revealed two variable blocks in the 270-amino-acid core region. The major variable block corresponds to a subdomain composed of three alpha-helices (alphaG, alphaH, and alphaI) and three beta-sheets (beta7, beta8, and beta9). Phylogenetic analyses suggested that plant and animal PP1s form distinct monophyletic groups. The plant PP1 family contains several subgroups that may be older than the monocot-dicot divergence. In the animal PP1 family, different vertebrate isoforms appear to form distinct subgroups. Relative substitution rate studies indicated that plant PP1s are more diverse than animal PP1s, with an average substitution rate 1.5 times as large as that of animal PP1s. The possible involvement of PP1s in the establishment of multicellularity is discussed.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.