June 30, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Warning: Do NOT Mutate This Protein Complex

In each cell of your body there is a complex of 8 or more proteins bound together called the BBSome.  This protein complex, discovered in 2007, should not be disturbed.  Here’s what happens when it mutates: “A homozygous mutation in any BBSome subunit (except BBIP10) will make you blind, obese and deaf, will obliterate your sense of smell, will make you grow extra digits and toes and cause your kidneys to fail.
    Children born with Bardet-Beidl syndrome (1 in 100,000 live births) have mutations to one of 14 proteins in this class (and others remain to be identified).  How can one mutation affect so many diverse functions?  Scientists believe that the BBSome is a key component of protein trafficking to the primary cilium, reported Hua Jin and Maxense V. Nachury in Current Biology.1  Primary cilia, they said, are “microtubule-based projections found on many cell types that act like tiny antennae receiving signaling inputs for the cell.”  Functions like sight, smell, and limb patterning rely on signals from primary cilia.  Scientists theorize that the BBSome is involved in providing parts to the intraflagellar transport system (IFT), which delivers construction parts from the base of the cilium or flagellum to the tip.
    The authors said that the BBSome is “highly conserved” (i.e., unevolved) in all ciliated organisms from single-celled green algae to humans, though absent in plants and fungi.  “This pattern of conservation is a signature for proteins that perform fundamental functions in primary cilium assembly,” they explained.  Only chordates have an additional four BBS proteins.
    The activity of the BBSome is an ongoing area of research.  When asked what remains to be explored about it, the authors responded, “Nearly everything!”


1.  Hua Jin and Maxense V. Nachury, “Quick Guide: The BBSome,” Current Biology, Volume 19, Issue 12, 23 June 2009, Pages R472-R473.

This story underscores the precision and specificity of proteins.  The sequence of amino acids that leads to a protein’s folded shape is absolutely critical to its function.  Proteins are often hundreds of amino acid links long.  The authors said that mutations to even one of the eight members of the BBSome complex result in death or severe disability.  If the origin of one protein is beyond the reach of chance (see online book), how much more a complex of 8 or more proteins working together?  This does to chemical evolution theory what another H-bomb would do after global nuclear devastation: it just makes the rubble bounce.
    The answer evolutionists give that some genes are “highly conserved” because they “perform fundamental functions” is a form of the dodge explanation that says, in effect, “if it were not that way, we wouldn’t be here” (see next entry commentary).  It fails to explain where the design came from.  If the origin of a complex system is beyond the reach of chance, what are the alternatives?  Natural law or design.  Natural law, however, produces predictable, repetitive patterns on a simple level – not complex specified information.  That leaves design as the most plausible explanation.

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