Evolution of protein phosphorylation across 18 fungal species

Science. 2016 Oct 14;354(6309):229-232. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf2144.


Living organisms have evolved protein phosphorylation, a rapid and versatile mechanism that drives signaling and regulates protein function. We report the phosphoproteomes of 18 fungal species and a phylogenetic-based approach to study phosphosite evolution. We observe rapid divergence, with only a small fraction of phosphosites conserved over hundreds of millions of years. Relative to recently acquired phosphosites, ancient sites are enriched at protein interfaces and are more likely to be functionally important, as we show for sites on H2A1 and eIF4E. We also observe a change in phosphorylation motif frequencies and kinase activities that coincides with the whole-genome duplication event. Our results provide an evolutionary history for phosphosites and suggest that rapid evolution of phosphorylation can contribute strongly to phenotypic diversity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fungal Proteins / classification
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Genomics
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphoproteins / classification
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / classification
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proteome / genetics
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proteome
  • SNF1-related protein kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases