Proteins - Functional Diversity

Christos Ouzounis ouzounis at
Wed Sep 7 13:02:08 EST 1994

In article <1994Aug24.085427.34379 at>, robison at (Keith Robison) writes:
> Edwin Wright (ewright at FOX.NSTN.CA) wrote:
> : Does anyone know which specific proteins exhibit the greatest functional
> : diversity among different species?
> Er. How do you define "specific protein" and how do you define
> "functional diversity"?  Most definitions of "specific protein"
> are probably not independent of their function.
> [...]
> Whether these fit your question depends on your definitions...
> Keith Robison
> Harvard University
> Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology
> Department of Genetics / HHMI
> robison at 

Interesting question. Functional diversity is a sloppy term, could be quantified, though.
You should have equally represented families, calibrate for rates of change, and then have
a way of judging by name whether the function remains the same or changes to some extent.
Usually for enzymes, reaction types do not dramatically change, while substrates do. If
you think about a hierarchy of structure (topology), function (reaction class) and finally
specificity (substrate type), all goverved by sequence changes, then 'function' can be
considered to be conserved less than structure does but more than specificity.

Too abstract???...

Christos Ouzounis
EMBL Heidelberg
ouzounis at

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