Functional modularity is a key attribute of cellular systems and has important roles in evolution. However, the extent to which functional modularity affects protein evolution is largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the evolution of both sequence and expression level of proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and found that proteins within the same functional modules evolve at more similar rates than those between different modules. We also found stronger co-evolution of expression levels between proteins within functional modules than between them. These results suggest that a coordinated evolution of both the sequence and expression level of proteins is constrained by functional modularity.
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