In the past few years, rapid advances have been made in sequencing the genomic DNA of human, Caenorhabditis elegans, and so on. As a result, a large number of novel glycosyltransferase genes have been discovered from those genome sequences. How did they increase their family members during the genome evolution? To presume the evolutionary pathway of glycosyltransferases, we have used the molecular evolutionary analysis (1). In that study, we conducted molecular evolutionary analyses on 55 glycosyltransferase genes and mainly discussed about glycosyltransferase genes for N- or O-glycan synthesis. The phylogenetic trees showed the glycosyltransferase genes increased their numbers through gene duplications. We also estimated the divergence time of each branch root and suggested that the glycosyltransferase genes increased their numbers through gene duplications and genome duplications. Comparison of evolutionary rates indicated that the glycosyltransferases tend to evolve more slowly than other genes, and the evolutionary rates changed within each of the glycosyltransferase gene families. These results indicate that the increase in glycosyltransferase genes allows the amino acid change and permits, the creation of the variety of specific activity of the enzyme. Here, we would like to introduce the essence of the evolutionary history of glycosyltransferase genes.
FCCA, Forum; Carbohydrates Coming of Age