Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 57–72 | Cite as

Evolutionary changes in protein composition — evidence for an optimal strategy

  • R. Coutelle
  • G. L. Hofacker
  • R. D. Levine


The information contained in the composition of different proteins of the same family is analyzed. It is found that within each family the gain in information per amino acid replacement is constant. This finding is interpreted to imply that evolutionary changes in proteins follow an “optimal” path in the sense that they maximize the number of potentially functional sequences that can be generated by T accepted point mutations from a given protein, subject to restrictions due to biological function.

Key words

Information gain by accepted point mutations Protein evolution Protein compositions 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Coutelle
    • 1
  • G. L. Hofacker
    • 1
  • R. D. Levine
    • 2
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Theoretische ChemieTechnische Universität MünchenGarchingFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of Physical ChemistryThe Hebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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