Assessing the evolutionary rate of positional orthologous genes in prokaryotes using synteny data.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Comparison of completely sequenced microbial genomes has revealed how fluid these genomes are. Detecting synteny blocks requires reliable methods to determining the orthologs among the whole set of homologs detected by exhaustive comparisons between each pair of completely sequenced genomes. This is a complex and difficult problem in the field of comparative genomics but will help to better understand the way prokaryotic genomes are evolving. RESULTS: We have developed a suite of programs that automate three essential steps to study conservation of gene order, and validated them with a set of 107 bacteria and archaea that cover the majority of the prokaryotic taxonomic space. We identified the whole set of shared homologs between two or more species and computed the evolutionary distance separating each pair of homologs. We applied two strategies to extract from the set of homologs a collection of valid orthologs shared by at least two genomes. The first computes the Reciprocal Smallest Distance (RSD) using the PAM distances separating pairs of homologs. The second method groups homologs in families and reconstructs each family's evolutionary tree, distinguishing bona fide orthologs as well as paralogs created after the last speciation event. Although the phylogenetic tree method often succeeds where RSD fails, the reverse could occasionally be true. Accordingly, we used the data obtained with either methods or their intersection to number the orthologs that are adjacent in for each pair of genomes, the Positional Orthologous Genes (POGs), and to further study their properties. Once all these synteny blocks have been detected, we showed that POGs are subject to more evolutionary constraints than orthologs outside synteny groups, whichever the taxonomic distance separating the compared organisms. CONCLUSION: The suite of programs described in this paper allows a reliable detection of orthologs and is useful for evaluating gene order conservation in prokaryotes whichever their taxonomic distance. Thus, our approach will make easy the rapid identification of POGS in the next few years as we are expecting to be inundated with thousands of completely sequenced microbial genomes.
Project description:In polyploid genomes, homoeologs are a specific subtype of homologs, and can be thought of as orthologs between subgenomes. In Orthologous MAtrix, we infer homoeologs in three polyploid plant species: upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), rapeseed (Brassica napus), and bread wheat (Triticum aestivum). While we can typically recognize the features of a "good" homoeolog prediction (a consistent evolutionary distance, high synteny, and a one-to-one relationship), none of them is a hard-fast criterion. We devised a novel fuzzy logic-based method to assign confidence scores to each pair of predicted homoeologs. We inferred homoeolog pairs and used the new and improved method to assign confidence scores, which ranged from 0 to 100. Most confidence scores were between 70 and 100, but the distribution varied between genomes. The new confidence scores show an improvement over our previous method and were manually evaluated using a subset from various confidence ranges.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Identification of homologous regions or conserved syntenies across genomes is one crucial step in comparative genomics. This task is usually performed by genome alignment softwares like WABA or blastz. In case of conserved syntenies, such regions are defined as conserved gene orders. On the gene order level, homologous regions can even be found between distantly related genomes, which do not align on the nucleotide sequence level. RESULTS: We present a novel approach to identify regions of conserved synteny across multiple genomes. Syntenator represents genomes and alignments thereof as partial order graphs (POGs). These POGs are aligned by a dynamic programming approach employing a gene-specific scoring function. The scoring function reflects the level of protein sequence similarity for each possible gene pair. Our method consistently defines larger homologous regions in pairwise gene order alignments than nucleotide-level comparisons. Our method is superior to methods that work on predefined homology gene sets (as implemented in Blockfinder). Syntenator successfully reproduces 80% of the EnsEMBL man-mouse conserved syntenic blocks. The full potential of our method becomes visible by comparing remotely related genomes and multiple genomes. Gene order alignments potentially resolve up to 75% of the EnsEMBL 1:many orthology relations and 27% of the many:many orthology relations. CONCLUSION: We propose Syntenator as a software solution to reliably infer conserved syntenies among distantly related genomes. The software is available from http://www2.tuebingen.mpg.de/abt4/plone.
Project description:Gene order can be used as an informative character to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships between species independently from the local information present in gene/protein sequences. PhyChro is a reconstruction method based on chromosomal rearrangements, applicable to a wide range of eukaryotic genomes with different gene contents and levels of synteny conservation. For each synteny breakpoint issued from pairwise genome comparisons, the algorithm defines two disjoint sets of genomes, named partial splits, respectively, supporting the two block adjacencies defining the breakpoint. Considering all partial splits issued from all pairwise comparisons, a distance between two genomes is computed from the number of partial splits separating them. Tree reconstruction is achieved through a bottom-up approach by iteratively grouping sister genomes minimizing genome distances. PhyChro estimates branch lengths based on the number of synteny breakpoints and provides confidence scores for the branches. PhyChro performance is evaluated on two data sets of 13 vertebrates and 21 yeast genomes by using up to 130,000 and 179,000 breakpoints, respectively, a scale of genomic markers that has been out of reach until now. PhyChro reconstructs very accurate tree topologies even at known problematic branching positions. Its robustness has been benchmarked for different synteny block reconstruction methods. On simulated data PhyChro reconstructs phylogenies perfectly in almost all cases, and shows the highest accuracy compared with other existing tools. PhyChro is very fast, reconstructing the vertebrate and yeast phylogenies in <15?min.
Project description:An important objective for inferring the evolutionary history of gene families is the determination of orthologies and paralogies. Lineage-specific paralog loss following whole-genome duplication events can cause anciently related homologs to appear in some assays as orthologs. Conserved synteny-the tendency of neighboring genes to retain their relative positions and orders on chromosomes over evolutionary time-can help resolve such errors. Several previous studies examined genome-wide syntenic conservation to infer the contents of ancestral chromosomes and provided insights into the architecture of ancestral genomes, but did not provide methods or tools applicable to the study of the evolution of individual gene families. We developed an automated system to identify conserved syntenic regions in a primary genome using as outgroup a genome that diverged from the investigated lineage before a whole-genome duplication event. The product of this automated analysis, the Synteny Database, allows a user to examine fully or partially assembled genomes. The Synteny Database is optimized for the investigation of individual gene families in multiple lineages and can detect chromosomal inversions and translocations as well as ohnologs (paralogs derived by whole-genome duplication) gone missing. To demonstrate the utility of the system, we present a case study of gene family evolution, investigating the ARNTL gene family in the genomes of Ciona intestinalis, amphioxus, zebrafish, and human.
Project description:Invertebrate and vertebrate GATA transcription factors play important roles in ectoderm and mesendoderm development, as well as in cardiovascular and blood cell fate specification. However, the assignment of evolutionarily conserved roles to GATA homologs requires a detailed framework of orthologous relationships. Although two distinct classes, GATA123 and GATA456, have been unambiguously recognized among deuterostome GATA genes, it has been difficult to resolve exact orthologous relationships among protostome homologs. Protostome GATA genes are often present in multiple copies within any one genome, and rapidly evolving gene sequences have obscured orthology among arthropod and nematode GATA homologs. In addition, a lack of taxonomic sampling has prevented a stepwise reconstruction of protostome GATA gene family evolution.We have identified the complete GATA complement (53 genes) from a diverse sampling of protostome genomes, including six arthropods, three lophotrochozoans, and two nematodes. Reciprocal best hit BLAST analysis suggested orthology of these GATA genes to either the ancestral bilaterian GATA123 or the GATA456 class. Using molecular phylogenetic analyses of gene sequences, together with conserved synteny and comparisons of intron/exon structure, we inferred the evolutionary relationships among these 53 protostome GATA homologs. In particular, we resolved the orthology and evolutionary birth order of all arthropod GATA homologs including the highly divergent Drosophila GATA genes.Our combined analyses confirm that all protostome GATA transcription factor genes are members of either the GATA123 or GATA456 class, and indicate that there have been multiple protostome-specific duplications of GATA456 homologs. Three GATA456 genes exhibit linkage in multiple protostome species, suggesting that this gene cluster arose by tandem duplications from an ancestral GATA456 gene. Within arthropods this GATA456 cluster appears orthologous and widely conserved. Furthermore, the intron/exon structures of the arthropod GATA456 orthologs suggest a distinct order of gene duplication events. At present, however, the evolutionary relationship to similarly linked GATA456 paralogs in lophotrochozoans remains unclear. Our study shows how sampling of additional genomic data, especially from less derived and interspersed protostome taxa, can be used to resolve the orthologous relationships within more divergent gene families.
Project description:Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on earth and encompass a vast amount of genetic diversity. The recent rapid increase in the number of sequenced viral genomes has created unprecedented opportunities for gaining new insight into the structure and evolution of the virosphere. Here, we present an update of the phage orthologous groups (POGs), a collection of 4,542 clusters of orthologous genes from bacteriophages that now also includes viruses infecting archaea and encompasses more than 1,000 distinct virus genomes. Analysis of this expanded data set shows that the number of POGs keeps growing without saturation and that a substantial majority of the POGs remain specific to viruses, lacking homologues in prokaryotic cells, outside known proviruses. Thus, the great majority of virus genes apparently remains to be discovered. A complementary observation is that numerous viral genomes remain poorly, if at all, covered by POGs. The genome coverage by POGs is expected to increase as more genomes are sequenced. Taxon-specific, single-copy signature genes that are not observed in prokaryotic genomes outside detected proviruses were identified for two-thirds of the 57 taxa (those with genomes available from at least 3 distinct viruses), with half of these present in all members of the respective taxon. These signatures can be used to specifically identify the presence and quantify the abundance of viruses from particular taxa in metagenomic samples and thus gain new insights into the ecology and evolution of viruses in relation to their hosts.
Project description:We use the Reciprocal Smallest Distance (RSD) algorithm to identify amino acid sequence orthologs in the Chinese and Indian rhesus macaque draft sequences and estimate the evolutionary distance between such orthologs. We then use GOanna to map gene function annotations and human gene identifiers to the rhesus macaque amino acid sequences. We conclude methodologically by cross-tabulating a list of amino acid orthologs with large divergence scores with a list of genes known to be involved in SIV or HIV pathogenesis. We find that many of the amino acid sequences with large evolutionary divergence scores, as calculated by the RSD algorithm, have been shown to be related to HIV pathogenesis in previous laboratory studies. Four of the strongest candidate genes for SIVmac resistance in Chinese rhesus macaques identified in this study are CDK9, CXCL12, TRIM21, and TRIM32. Additionally, ANKRD30A, CTSZ, GORASP2, GTF2H1, IL13RA1, MUC16, NMDAR1, Notch1, NT5M, PDCD5, RAD50, and TM9SF2 were identified as possible candidates, among others. We failed to find many laboratory experiments contrasting the effects of Indian and Chinese orthologs at these sites on SIVmac pathogenesis, but future comparative studies might hold fertile ground for research into the biological mechanisms underlying innate resistance to SIVmac in Chinese rhesus macaques.
Project description:Orthologs are genes in different species that evolved from a common ancestral gene by speciation. Currently, with the rapid growth of transcriptome data of various species, more reliable orthology information is prerequisite for further studies. However, detection of orthologs could be erroneous if pairwise distance-based methods, such as reciprocal BLAST searches, are utilized. Thus, as a sub-database of H-InvDB, an integrated database of annotated human genes (http://h-invitational.jp/), we constructed a fully curated database of evolutionary features of human genes, called 'Evola'. In the process of the ortholog detection, computational analysis based on conserved genome synteny and transcript sequence similarity was followed by manual curation by researchers examining phylogenetic trees. In total, 18 968 human genes have orthologs among 11 vertebrates (chimpanzee, mouse, cow, chicken, zebrafish, etc.), either computationally detected or manually curated orthologs. Evola provides amino acid sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees of orthologs and homologs. In 'd(N)/d(S) view', natural selection on genes can be analyzed between human and other species. In 'Locus maps', all transcript variants and their exon/intron structures can be compared among orthologous gene loci. We expect the Evola to serve as a comprehensive and reliable database to be utilized in comparative analyses for obtaining new knowledge about human genes. Evola is available at http://www.h-invitational.jp/evola/.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Accurate determination of orthology is central to comparative genomics. For vertebrates in particular, very large gene families, high rates of gene duplication and loss, multiple mechanisms of gene duplication, and high rates of retrotransposition all combine to make inference of orthology between genes difficult. Many methods have been developed to identify orthologous genes, mostly based upon analysis of the inferred protein sequence of the genes. More recently, methods have been proposed that use genomic context in addition to protein sequence to improve orthology assignment in vertebrates. Such methods have been most successfully implemented in fungal genomes and have long been used in prokaryotic genomes, where gene order is far less variable than in vertebrates. However, to our knowledge, no explicit comparison of synteny and sequence based definitions of orthology has been reported in vertebrates, or, more specifically, in mammals. RESULTS: We test a simple method for the measurement and utilization of gene order (local synteny) in the identification of mammalian orthologs by investigating the agreement between coding sequence based orthology (Inparanoid) and local synteny based orthology. In the 5 mammalian genomes studied, 93% of the sampled inter-species pairs were found to be concordant between the two orthology methods, illustrating that local synteny is a robust substitute to coding sequence for identifying orthologs. However, 7% of pairs were found to be discordant between local synteny and Inparanoid. These cases of discordance result from evolutionary events including retrotransposition and genome rearrangements. CONCLUSIONS: By analyzing cases of discordance between local synteny and Inparanoid we show that local synteny can distinguish between true orthologs and recent retrogenes, can resolve ambiguous many-to-many orthology relationships into one-to-one ortholog pairs, and might be used to identify cases of non-orthologous gene displacement by retroduplicated paralogs.
Project description:BACKGROUND: It has been repeatedly observed that gene order is rapidly lost in prokaryotic genomes. However, persistent synteny blocks are found when comparing more or less distant species. These genes that remain consistently adjacent are appealing candidates for the study of genome evolution and a more accurate definition of their functional role. Such studies require visualizing conserved synteny blocks in a large number of genomes at all taxonomic distances. RESULTS: After comparing nearly 600 completely sequenced genomes encompassing the whole prokaryotic tree of life, the computed synteny data were assembled in a relational database, SynteBase. SynteView was designed to visualize conserved synteny blocks in a large number of genomes after choosing one of them as a reference. SynteView functions with data stored either in SynteBase or in a home-made relational database of personal data. In addition, this software can compute on-the-fly and display the distribution of synteny blocks which are conserved in pairs of genomes. This tool has been designed to provide a wealth of information on each positional orthologous gene, to be user-friendly and customizable. It is also possible to download sequences of genes belonging to these synteny blocks for further studies. SynteView is accessible through Java Webstart at http://www.synteview.u-psud.fr. CONCLUSION: SynteBase answers queries about gene order conservation and SynteView visualizes the obtained results in a flexible and powerful way which provides a comparative overview of the conserved synteny in a large number of genomes, whatever their taxonomic distances.