New Study Discovers How Altered Protein Folding Drives Multicellular Evolution

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This news was originally released in the University of Helsinki newsroom. Read the full story here.

In a new study led by Georgia Tech and University of Helsinki, researchers have discovered a mechanism steering the evolution of multicellular life.

Co-authored by the School of Biological Sciences’ Dung Lac, Anthony Burnetti, Ozan Bozdag, and Will Ratcliff, the study, “Proteostatic tuning underpins the evolution of novel multicellular traits”, was published in Science Advances this month, and uncovers how altered protein folding drives multicellular evolution.

The team’s research centers on the ongoing Multicellularity Long Term Evolution Experiment (MuLTEE) experiment, in which laboratory yeast are evolving novel multicellular functions, enabling researchers to investigate how these functions arise.

Among the most important multicellular innovations is the origin of robust bodies: over 3,000 generations, these ‘snowflake yeast’ started out weaker than gelatin but evolved to be as strong and tough as wood.

From an evolutionary perspective, this work highlights the power of non-genetic mechanisms in rapid evolutionary change. 

“We tend to focus on genetic change and were quite surprised to find such large changes in the behavior of chaperone proteins,” says Ratcliff. “This underscores how creative and unpredictable evolution can be when finding solutions to new problems, like building a tough body."


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  • Created By:sperrin6
  • Created:03/08/2024
  • Modified By:jhunt7
  • Modified:03/11/2024