Numerous tools to generate phylogenetic estimates are available, but there is no single protocol that will produce an accurate phylogenetic tree for any dataset. Here, we investigated some of those tools, paying particular attention to different alignment algorithms, in order to produce a phylogeny for the integral membrane fatty acid desaturase (FAD) family. Herein, we report a novel streamlined protocol which utilises peptide pattern recognition (PPR). This protocol can theoretically be applied universally to generate accurate multiple sequence alignments and improve downstream phylogenetic analyses. Applied to the desaturases, the protocol generated the first detailed phylogenetic estimates for the family since 2003, which suggested they may have evolved from three functionally distinct desaturases and further, that desaturases evolved first in cyanobacteria. In addition to the phylogenetic outputs, we mapped PPR sequence motifs onto an X-ray protein structure to provide insights into biochemical function and demonstrate the complementarity of PPR and phylogenetics.
- peptide pattern recognition
- multiple sequence alignment