CELLULAR FIBRONECTIN’S EXTENSIVE EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY:
An early cFN in all DOMAINS
Our 4.5 billion-year-old planet Earth, had, by 3.5 billion years ago shown numerous single cellular biological entities in fossilized rock formations. Presently, there are 3 types of life forms recognized on the planet that have been recently categorized as DOMAINS. They are the Eukarya, Bacteria, and the Archaea DOMAINS. Briefly, Eukaryas, with their genetic material residing in a type of internal nucleus, include all multicellular organisms, such as all plant and all animal species. Bacteria do not have a nucleus; their genetic material is contained within their cytoplasm. These organisms include all of the bacteria, single celled protists (formerly called protozoa), virus, and other organisms that seem to fit into this most numerous DOMAIN. Archaea also do not have a nucleus for their genetic material that is contained within their cytoplasm. Archaeas are found in some of the harshest environments on earth. (Woese et al 1990)
Genetic information gleaned these 3 DOMAINS clearly show their evolutionary differences in their present biology and morphologies. Nonetheless, it has been postulated that these 3 DOMAINS originally evolved from a single progenitor organism. The original evolving primitive cells being in close proximity became involved in a phenomenon named Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT), wherein genetic material was transferred back and forth between evolving primitive evolving single celled organisms. This process eventually came to an end when the organism differentiated into entities that were not in close physical contact with dissimilar neighbors.(Woese 2002)
With this scenario in mind, we return to our main subject, Cellular Fibronectin, in present day form is an extremely large complex modular protein. It contains 3 complex modular domains. From an evolutionary standpoint, the most highly conserved module of cellular fibronectin is its well-researched type III domain. Astonishing, this domain is found in singled celled DOMAINS of Archaea, (Holmes et al 2000), and Bacteria, (Folders et al 2001), ( Mabuchi and Araki 2001), and (Jee et al 2001) ( Kataeva et al 2002). More sophisticated examples of cellular fibronectins type III domains are found in protists, (Lopez-Bernad et al 1996), (Del Cacho et al 2001), and fungus. (Zhong et al 2003) (Saloheimo et al 2002).
Cellular Fibronectins are also found in many plants, (Tsyguelnaia et al 1998) (Pellenc et al 2004), the multicellular organism that has been projected to be separated from the animal kingdom by 2 billion years.
In the most primitive types of animal organisms, cellular fibronectins play prominent roles. The most primitive multicellular organism ever found, Kantherella antarctica, containing only 2 dozen cells with a barely detectable extracellular matrix, has only 3 structural proteins. These well-known proteins are Laminin, Collagen IV, and the most abundant, Cellular Fibronectin. Researchers have called Katharella antarctica, the missing link between protist and the multicellular animal kingdom. (Czaker R, 2000). Cellular Fibronectin is found in all sponges, once considered the most primitive animal. (Muller and Muller 2003) (Labat-Robert et al 1981). Cellular Fibronectin plays a dominant role in the Hydras ability to regenerate its missing parts. (Zhang et al 1994). The cellular type of fibronectin is at least 2 billion years old and its type III module is considerably older. To date, there is no other protein found that has such a traceable evolutionary history.
From its genetic information, Cellular Fibronectin gave birth to a myriad of other more youthful prominent proteins. From an evolutionary point of view, these proteins came into existence when they were needed. Examples of Cellular Fibronentin’s progeny are plasma fibronectin, fibrin, Factor VIII, the blood clotting proteins. They came in existence when animals begot circulatory systems approximately 300 to 500 million years ago. Cellular Fibronectin gave rise to vitronectin and substantial parts of tenascin and a host of many other well-known proteins. The long evolutionary history of Cellular Fibronectins played a prominent role in intimate biological and biophysical actively of the animal systems as evidenced by recent research.
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