Jay E Mittenthal


516 Morrill Hall
Office: (217) 333-4846
Fax: (217) 244-1648

Mail to: Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
University of Illinois
601 S. Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Jay E Mittenthal

Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Emeritus

Research Topics

Computational Biology


B.A., Amherst College (Biophysics)
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University (Biophysics)
Postdoc., Stanford University

Computational biology: Design and evolution of molecular networks

Evolution of protein folds and metabolism: (with Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, Crop Sciences, UIUC). Gustavo’s group has generated a phylogenetic tree of fold architectures using the frequency of fold occurrence in 185 genomes. With students, we are seeking indices of fold structure that suggest the processes underlying observed transitions in the tree. We have made a model to describe the kinetics of fold evolution represented in the tree. We will evaluate parameters in the model with the data used to construct the tree. With Dr. T. Waddell (Univ. Tennessee, Chattanooga), an expert in prebiotic chemistry, we are also using the tree to analyze the evolution of metabolic networks. Ancestries of folds were determined for each enzyme in the metabolic network for which fold architecture had been determined or can be inferred. The results are displayed in the MANet database, which “paints” evolutionary history on the 127 different metabolic subnetworks in the KEGG database ( Kyoto, Japan). The results suggest that enzymes often coopt the functions of earlier enzymes. Our ultimate goal is to trace the history of diversification of the entire metabolic network.

Representative Publications

Kim HS, Mittenthal JM, Caetano-Anollés G MANET: tracing evolution of protein architecture in metabolic networks. (BMC Bioinformatics, in press)

Wang M, Boca SM, Kalelkar R, Mittenthal JM, Caetano-Anollés G A phylogenomic reconstruction of the protein world based on a genomic census of protein fold architecture. (Complexity, in press)