UniProt release 10.4
Published May 1, 2007
We have introduced the oldest fossil protein sequence to date into UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, i.e. several peptides from collagen (P0C2W2, P0C2W3, P0C2W4) which were extracted from a 68 million year-old dinosaur: Tyrannosaurus rex. These collagen sequences were obtained by mass spectrometry analysis directly from soft tissue that remained in fossilized bones, which were unearthed from rocks in the Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana, US.
Interestingly, Tyrannosaurus rex collagen is similar to chicken collagen, and similarities have also been found with frog and newt protein. The finding is consistent with the idea that we can trace a direct evolutionary line between birds and dinosaurs (for more information: PMID 17431180).
The discovery of protein in bone soft tissue of dinosaur is a surprise - it was not thought that such organic material could survive this long. "The pathways of cellular decay are well known for modern organisms. And extrapolations predict that all organic matter vanishes within 100,000 years, maximum" (BBC news).
Until now, the oldest fossil protein sequence in UniprotKB/Swiss-Prot was a RuBisCO large subunit from a fossil leaf of a Miocene (17-20 million years old) Magnolia, P30828 (see headline release 1.7).
You can get all these aged proteins by clicking on the keyword Extinct organism protein.
Protein Spotlight (May 2004) Small blast from the past
Changes concerning keywords
- Heat shock -> Stress response