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Dinosaur peptides from fossil bones

From: Ben Creisler

New in PLoS ONE:

San Antonio JD, Schweitzer MH, Jensen ST, Kalluri R, Buckley M, et al.
Dinosaur Peptides Suggest Mechanisms of Protein Survival.
PLoS ONE 6(6): e20381. 


Eleven collagen peptide sequences recovered from chemical extracts of
dinosaur bones were mapped onto molecular models of the vertebrate collagen
fibril derived from extant taxa. The dinosaur peptides localized to fibril
regions protected by the close packing of collagen molecules, and contained
few acidic amino acids. Four peptides mapped to collagen regions crucial
for cell-collagen interactions and tissue development. Dinosaur peptides
were not represented in more exposed parts of the collagen fibril or
regions mediating intermolecular cross-linking. Thus functionally
significant regions of collagen fibrils that are physically shielded within
the fibril may be preferentially preserved in fossils. These results show
empirically that structure-function relationships at the molecular level
could contribute to selective preservation in fossilized vertebrate remains
across geological time, suggest a ?preservation motif?, and bolster current
concepts linking collagen structure to biological function. This non-random
distribution supports the hypothesis that the peptides are produced by the
extinct organisms and suggests a chemical mechanism for survival.

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