Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 52–59 | Cite as

Gene Encoding a Novel Enzyme of LDH2/MDH2 Family is Lost in Plant and Animal Genomes During Transition to Land

  • L. V. Puzakova
  • M. V. PuzakovEmail author
  • A. A. Soldatov
Original Article


l-Lactate/malate dehydrogenases (LDH/MDH) and type 2 l-lactate/malate dehydrogenases (LDH2/MDH2) belong to NADH/NADPH-dependent oxidoreductases (anaerobic dehydrogenases). They form a large protein superfamily with multiple enzyme homologs found in all branches of life: from bacteria and archaea to eukaryotes, and play an essential role in metabolism. Here, we describe the gene encoding a new enzyme of LDH2/MDH2 oxidoreductase family. This gene is found in genomes of all studied groups/classes of bacteria and fungi. In the plant kingdom, this gene was observed only in algae, but not in bryophyta or spermatophyta. This gene is present in all taxonomic groups of animal kingdom beginning with protozoa, but is lost in lungfishes and other, higher taxa of vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, avians and mammals). Since the gene encoding the new enzyme is found only in taxa associated with the aquatic environment, we named it AqE (aquatic enzyme). We demonstrated that AqE gene is convergently lost in different independent lineages of animals and plants. Interestingly, the loss of the gene is consistently associated with transition from aquatic to terrestrial life forms, which suggests that this enzyme is essential in aquatic environment, but redundant or even detrimental in terrestrial organisms.


Evolution Gene loss Oxidoreductase Aquatic enzyme Hypoxic environment Transition to land 



This study was supported by the Russian Academy of Sciences Research Grant No. AAAA-A18-118021490093-4.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

239_2018_9884_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 23 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The A.O. Kovalevsky Institute of Marine Biology Research of RASSevastopolRussia

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