Evolutionary history of TOPIIA topoisomerases in animals
TOPIIA topoisomerases are required for the regulation of DNA topology by DNA cleavage and re-ligation and are important targets of antibiotic and anticancer agents. Humans possess two TOPIIA paralogue genes (TOP2A and TOP2B) with high sequence and structural similarity but distinct cellular functions. Despite their functional and clinical relevance, the evolutionary history of TOPIIA is still poorly understood. Here we show that TOPIIA is highly conserved and could be used to resolve deep phylogenies within Metazoa. We also found that TOPIIA paralogues from jawed and jawless vertebrates had different origins related with tetraploidization events. After duplication, TOP2B evolved under a stronger purifying selection than TOP2A, perhaps promoted by the more specialized role of TOP2B in postmitotic cells. We also detected genetic signatures of positive selection in the highly variable C-terminal domain (CTD), possibly associated with adaptation to cellular interactions. By comparing TOPIIA from modern and archaic humans, we found two amino acid substitutions in the TOP2A CTD, suggesting that TOP2A may have contributed to the evolution of present-day humans, as also suggested by other cell cycle-related genes. Finally, we identified six residues conferring resistance to chemotherapy differing between TOP2A and TOP2B. The six residues can be targets for the development of TOP2A-specific inhibitors that would avoid the side effects caused by inhibiting TOP2B. Altogether, our findings clarify the origin, diversification and selection pressures governing the evolution of animal TOPIIA.