Relationship between the occurrence of cysteine in proteins and the complexity of organisms

Attila Miseta, Peter Csutora

Research output: Article

195 Citations (Scopus)


The occurrence and relative positions of cysteine residues were investigated in proteins of various species. Considering random mathematical occurrence for an amino acid coded by two codons (3.28%), cysteine is underrepresented in all organisms investigated. Representation of cysteine appears to correlate positively with the complexity of the organism, ranging between 2.26% in mammals and 0.5% in some members of the Archeabacteria order. This observation, together with the results obtained from comparison of cysteine content of various ribosomal proteins, indicates that evolution takes advantage of increased use of cysteine residues. In all organisms studied except plants, two cysteines are frequently found two amino acid residues apart (C-(X)2-C motif). Such a motif is known to be present in a variety of metal-binding proteins and oxidoreductases. Remarkably, more than 21% of all of cysteines were found within the C-(X)2-C motifs in Archea. This observation may indicate that cysteine appeared in ancient metal-binding proteins first and was introduced into other proteins later.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1239
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between the occurrence of cysteine in proteins and the complexity of organisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this