Relationship between G + C in silent sites of codons and amino acid composition of human proteins

J Mol Evol. 1993 Mar;36(3):201-13. doi: 10.1007/BF00160475.


We have investigated the relationship between the G + C content of silent (synonymous) sites in codons and the amino acid composition of encoded proteins for approximately 1,600 human genes. There are positive correlations between silent site G + C and the proportions of codons for Arg, Pro, Ala, Trp, His, Gln, and Leu and negative ones for Tyr, Phe, Asn, Ile, Lys, Asp, Thr, and Glu. The median proteins coded by groups of genes that differ in silent-site G + C content also differ in amino acid composition, as do some proteins coded by homologous genes. The pattern of compositional change can be largely explained by directional mutation pressure, the genetic code, and differences in the frequencies of accepted amino acid substitutions; the shifts in protein composition are likely to be selectively neutral.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Biological Evolution
  • Codon*
  • Cytosine*
  • Genes, ras
  • Genetic Code*
  • Guanine*
  • Humans
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutation
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Receptors, Steroid / genetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Codon
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Guanine
  • Cytosine