Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 180–196

The Evolution of the Ribonucleotide Reductases: Much Ado About Oxygen

  • Anthony M. Poole
  • Derek T. Logan
  • Britt-Marie Sjöberg

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-002-2315-3

Cite this article as:
Poole, A., Logan, D. & Sjöberg, BM. J Mol Evol (2002) 55: 180. doi:10.1007/s00239-002-2315-3

Abstract.

Ribonucleotide reduction is the only known biological means for de novo production of deoxyribonucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. These are produced from ribonucleotides, the building blocks of RNA, and the direction of this reaction has been taken to support the idea that, in evolution, RNA preceded DNA as genetic material. However, an understanding of the evolutionary relationships among the three modern-day classes of ribonucleotide reductase and how the first reductase arose early in evolution is still far off. We propose that the diversification of this class of enzymes is inherently tied to microbial colonization of aerobic and anaerobic niches. The work is of broader interest, as it also sheds light on the process of adaptation to oxygenic environments consequent to the evolution of atmospheric oxygen.

Key words: Ribonucleotide reductase — DNA origins — Aerobic — Anaerobic — Oxygen evolution

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony M. Poole
    • 1
  • Derek T. Logan
    • 2
  • Britt-Marie Sjöberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology & Functional Genomics, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, SwedenSE
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biophysics, Lund University, Box 124, SE-22199 Lund, SwedenSE
  3. 3.Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology & Evolution, Institute for Molecular BioSciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New ZealandNZ