Interestingly, the researchers finding the study that showing two enzymes; that have evolving over billions of years to control many different bodily functions; including playing a critical role in preventing cancer. The study investigating the enzymes PP1; and PP2A which were knowing to be vital to the process of cell division; although the precise role they played has puzzled scientists until now.
Cell division, also known as mitosis, sees a parent cell divide into two daughter cells containing the same DNA content. If this process going wrong, and the DNA is not partitioning equally; then diseases such as cancer can arise. To safeguard against these errors; the cell uses two classes of enzymes, knowing as kinases and phosphatases; to monitor division and switch signals on and off at certain times.
Enzymes evolving in functions
But although the kinases that turn signals on are well understanding; much less is knowing about the phosphatases that switch them off. There are two major processes in cell division; that make sure your chromosomes segregate properly and if either of these go wrong then it can give rise to cancer, so understanding them is critical. It’s been knowing for some time that PP1 and PP2A control these processing differently; but what wasn’t clear was how they managing to do this.
That was puzzling because if these enzymes were so similar, then why had they been so well conserved over billions of years? The fact that they are each present in almost all living things told us that they must both do something incredibly important and unique. The most important thing a phosphatase needs to do is take an organic chemical called a phosphate off proteins.
Phosphate off proteins
By this eventually discovering was that although PP1 and PP2A; both removing phosphate very similarly, the big difference was that the phosphate itself could turn on PP2A, but turn off PP1. That was an incredibly exciting discovery. Not that they responded in this opposite way that had been known for some time but rather that this was the only difference we could detect between these enzymes.
However, by using the computer modelling to show that; identical enzymes could still produce different effects; if they respond in opposite ways to phosphorylation inputs. As a result, these enzymes produce different effects without actually doing anything unique at all. These enzymes are so well conserved because they respond to phosphorylation inputs in this yin/yang manner.