skip to main content

Search for: All records

Editors contains: "Malik, Harmit S."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    A growing body of theoretical and experimental evidence suggests that intramolecular epistasis is a major determinant of rates and patterns of protein evolution and imposes a substantial constraint on the evolution of novel protein functions. Here, we examine the role of intramolecular epistasis in the recurrent evolution of resistance to cardiotonic steroids (CTS) across tetrapods, which occurs via specific amino acid substitutions to the α-subunit family of Na,K-ATPases (ATP1A). After identifying a series of recurrent substitutions at two key sites of ATP1A that are predicted to confer CTS resistance in diverse tetrapods, we then performed protein engineering experiments to test the functional consequences of introducing these substitutions onto divergent species backgrounds. In line with previous results, we find that substitutions at these sites can have substantial background-dependent effects on CTS resistance. Globally, however, these substitutions also have pleiotropic effects that are consistent with additive rather than background-dependent effects. Moreover, the magnitude of a substitution’s effect on activity does not depend on the overall extent of ATP1A sequence divergence between species. Our results suggest that epistatic constraints on the evolution of CTS-resistant forms of Na,K-ATPase likely depend on a small number of sites, with little dependence on overall levels of proteinmore »divergence. We propose that dependence on a limited number sites may account for the observation of convergent CTS resistance substitutions observed among taxa with highly divergent Na,K-ATPases (See S1 Text for Spanish translation).« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2023
  2. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    The sequence space accessible to evolving proteins can be enhanced by cellular chaperones that assist biophysically defective clients in navigating complex folding landscapes. It is also possible, at least in theory, for proteostasis mechanisms that promote strict quality control to greatly constrain accessible protein sequence space. Unfortunately, most efforts to understand how proteostasis mechanisms influence evolution rely on artificial inhibition or genetic knockdown of specific chaperones. The few experiments that perturb quality control pathways also generally modulate the levels of only individual quality control factors. Here, we use chemical genetic strategies to tune proteostasis networks via natural stress response pathways that regulate the levels of entire suites of chaperones and quality control mechanisms. Specifically, we upregulate the unfolded protein response (UPR) to test the hypothesis that the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteostasis network shapes the sequence space accessible to human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) envelope (Env) protein. Elucidating factors that enhance or constrain Env sequence space is critical because Env evolves extremely rapidly, yielding HIV strains with antibody- and drug-escape mutations. We find that UPR-mediated upregulation of ER proteostasis factors, particularly those controlled by the IRE1-XBP1s UPR arm, globally reduces Env mutational tolerance. Conserved, functionally important Env regions exhibit the largestmore »decreases in mutational tolerance upon XBP1s induction. Our data indicate that this phenomenon likely reflects strict quality control endowed by XBP1s-mediated remodeling of the ER proteostasis environment. Intriguingly, and in contrast, specific regions of Env, including regions targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies, display enhanced mutational tolerance when XBP1s is induced, hinting at a role for host proteostasis network hijacking in potentiating antibody escape. These observations reveal a key function for proteostasis networks in decreasing instead of expanding the sequence space accessible to client proteins, while also demonstrating that the host ER proteostasis network profoundly shapes the mutational tolerance of Env in ways that could have important consequences for HIV adaptation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 18, 2023
  3. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    Comparative genomics has enabled the identification of genes that potentially evolved de novo from non-coding sequences. Many such genes are expressed in male reproductive tissues, but their functions remain poorly understood. To address this, we conducted a functional genetic screen of over 40 putative de novo genes with testis-enriched expression in Drosophila melanogaster and identified one gene, atlas , required for male fertility. Detailed genetic and cytological analyses showed that atlas is required for proper chromatin condensation during the final stages of spermatogenesis. Atlas protein is expressed in spermatid nuclei and facilitates the transition from histone- to protamine-based chromatin packaging. Complementary evolutionary analyses revealed the complex evolutionary history of atlas . The protein-coding portion of the gene likely arose at the base of the Drosophila genus on the X chromosome but was unlikely to be essential, as it was then lost in several independent lineages. Within the last ~15 million years, however, the gene moved to an autosome, where it fused with a conserved non-coding RNA and evolved a non-redundant role in male fertility. Altogether, this study provides insight into the integration of novel genes into biological processes, the links between genomic innovation and functional evolution, and the genetic controlmore »of a fundamental developmental process, gametogenesis.« less
  4. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    Equipartitioning by chromosome association and copy number correction by DNA amplification are at the heart of the evolutionary success of the selfish yeast 2-micron plasmid. The present analysis reveals frequent plasmid presence near telomeres ( TEL s) and centromeres ( CEN s) in mitotic cells, with a preference towards the former. Inactivation of Cdc14 causes plasmid missegregation, which is correlated to the non-disjunction of TEL s (and of rDNA) under this condition. Induced missegregation of chromosome XII, one of the largest yeast chromosomes which harbors the rDNA array and is highly dependent on the condensin complex for proper disjunction, increases 2-micron plasmid missegregation. This is not the case when chromosome III, one of the smallest chromosomes, is forced to missegregate. Plasmid stability decreases when the condensin subunit Brn1 is inactivated. Brn1 is recruited to the plasmid partitioning locus ( STB ) with the assistance of the plasmid-coded partitioning proteins Rep1 and Rep2. Furthermore, in a dihybrid assay, Brn1 interacts with Rep1-Rep2. Taken together, these findings support a role for condensin and/or condensed chromatin in 2-micron plasmid propagation. They suggest that condensed chromosome loci are among favored sites utilized by the plasmid for its chromosome-associated segregation. By homing to condensed/quiescent chromosomemore »locales, and not over-perturbing genome homeostasis, the plasmid may minimize fitness conflicts with its host. Analogous persistence strategies may be utilized by other extrachromosomal selfish genomes, for example, episomes of mammalian viruses that hitchhike on host chromosomes for their stable maintenance.« less
  5. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    Centromeres are essential mediators of chromosomal segregation, but both centromeric DNA sequences and associated kinetochore proteins are paradoxically diverse across species. The selfish centromere model explains rapid evolution by both components via an arms-race scenario: centromeric DNA variants drive by distorting chromosomal transmission in female meiosis and attendant fitness costs select on interacting proteins to restore Mendelian inheritance. Although it is clear than centromeres can drive and that drive often carries costs, female meiotic drive has not been directly linked to selection on kinetochore proteins in any natural system. Here, we test the selfish model of centromere evolution in a yellow monkeyflower ( Mimulus guttatus ) population polymorphic for a costly driving centromere ( D ). We show that the D haplotype is structurally and genetically distinct and swept to a high stable frequency within the past 1500 years. We use quantitative genetic mapping to demonstrate that context-dependence in the strength of drive (from near-100% D transmission in interspecific hybrids to near-Mendelian in within-population crosses) primarily reflects variable vulnerability of the non-driving competitor chromosomes, but also map an unlinked modifier of drive coincident with kinetochore protein Centromere-specific Histone 3 A (CenH3A). Finally, CenH3A exhibits a recent (<1000 years) selective sweepmore »in our focal population, implicating local interactions with D in ongoing adaptive evolution of this kinetochore protein. Together, our results demonstrate an active co-evolutionary arms race between DNA and protein components of the meiotic machinery in Mimulus , with important consequences for individual fitness and molecular divergence.« less
  6. Malik, Harmit S. (Ed.)
    Genes for which homologs can be detected only in a limited group of evolutionarily related species, called “lineage-specific genes,” are pervasive: Essentially every lineage has them, and they often comprise a sizable fraction of the group’s total genes. Lineage-specific genes are often interpreted as “novel” genes, representing genetic novelty born anew within that lineage. Here, we develop a simple method to test an alternative null hypothesis: that lineage-specific genes do have homologs outside of the lineage that, even while evolving at a constant rate in a novelty-free manner, have merely become undetectable by search algorithms used to infer homology. We show that this null hypothesis is sufficient to explain the lack of detected homologs of a large number of lineage-specific genes in fungi and insects. However, we also find that a minority of lineage-specific genes in both clades are not well explained by this novelty-free model. The method provides a simple way of identifying which lineage-specific genes call for special explanations beyond homology detection failure, highlighting them as interesting candidates for further study.