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Microtubules are formed by α- and β-tubulin heterodimers nucleated with γ-tubulin. Tubulins are conserved eukaryotic proteins. Previously, it was shown that microtubules are involved in diatom silica frustule morphogenesis. Diatom frustules are varied, and their morphology is species-specific. Despite the attractiveness of the problem of elucidating the molecular mechanisms of genetically programmed morphogenesis, the structure and evolution of diatom tubulins have not been studied previously. Based on available genomic and transcriptome data, we analyzed the phylogeny of the predicted amino acid sequences of diatom α-, β- and γ-tubulins and identified five groups for α-tubulins, six for β-tubulins and four for γ-tubulins. We identified characteristic amino acids of each of these groups and also analyzed possible posttranslational modification sites of diatom tubulins. According to our results, we assumed what changes occurred in the diatom tubulin structures during their evolution. We also identified which tubulin groups are inherent in large diatom taxa. The similarity between the evolution of diatom tubulins and the evolution of diatoms suggests that molecular changes in α-, β- and γ-tubulins could be one of the factors in the formation of a high morphological diversity of diatoms.


Kirill V Khabudaev, Darya P Petrova, Yekaterina D Bedoshvili, Yelena V Likhoshway, Mikhail A Grachev. Molecular Evolution of Tubulins in Diatoms. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Jan 06;23(2)

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PMID: 35054799

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