Analysis of rare genomic changes does not support the unikont-bikont phylogeny and suggests cyanobacterial symbiosis as the point of primary radiation of eukaryotes.
ABSTRACT: The deep phylogeny of eukaryotes is an important but extremely difficult problem of evolutionary biology. Five eukaryotic supergroups are relatively well established but the relationship between these supergroups remains elusive, and their divergence seems to best fit a "Big Bang" model. Attempts were made to root the tree of eukaryotes by using potential derived shared characters such as unique fusions of conserved genes. One popular model of eukaryotic evolution that emerged from this type of analysis is the unikont-bikont phylogeny: The unikont branch consists of Metazoa, Choanozoa, Fungi, and Amoebozoa, whereas bikonts include the rest of eukaryotes, namely, Plantae (green plants, Chlorophyta, and Rhodophyta), Chromalveolata, excavates, and Rhizaria. We reexamine the relationships between the eukaryotic supergroups using a genome-wide analysis of rare genomic changes (RGCs) associated with multiple, conserved amino acids (RGC_CAMs and RGC_CAs), to resolve trifurcations of major eukaryotic lineages. The results do not support the basal position of Chromalveolata with respect to Plantae and unikonts or the monophyly of the bikont group and appear to be best compatible with the monophyly of unikonts and Chromalveolata. Chromalveolata show a distinct, additional signal of affinity with Plantae, conceivably, owing to genes transferred from the secondary, red algal symbiont. Excavates are derived forms, with extremely long branches that complicate phylogenetic inference; nevertheless, the RGC analysis suggests that they are significantly more likely to cluster with the unikont-Chromalveolata assemblage than with the Plantae. Thus, the first split in eukaryotic evolution might lie between photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic forms and so could have been triggered by the endosymbiosis between an ancestral unicellular eukaryote and a cyanobacterium that gave rise to the chloroplast.
Project description:Integration of ultrastructural and molecular sequence data has revealed six supergroups of eukaryote organisms (excavates, Rhizaria, chromalveolates, Plantae, Amoebozoa and opisthokonts), and the root of the eukaryote evolutionary tree is suggested to lie between unikonts (Amoebozoa, opisthokonts) and bikonts (the other supergroups). However, some smaller lineages remain of uncertain affinity. One of these unassigned taxa is the anaerobic, free-living, amoeboid flagellate Breviata anathema, which is of key significance as it is unclear whether it is a unikont (i.e. possibly the deepest branching amoebozoan) or a bikont. To establish its evolutionary position, we sequenced thousands of Breviata genes and calculated trees using 78 protein sequences. Our trees and specific substitutions in the 18S RNA sequence indicate that Breviata is related to other Amoebozoa, thereby significantly increasing the cellular diversity of this phylum and establishing Breviata as a deep-branching unikont. We discuss the implications of these results for the ancestral state of Amoebozoa and eukaryotes generally, demonstrating that phylogenomics of phylogenetically 'nomadic' species can elucidate key questions in eukaryote evolution. Furthermore, mitochondrial genes among the Breviata ESTs demonstrate that Breviata probably contains a modified anaerobic mitochondrion. With these findings, remnants of mitochondria have been detected in all putatively deep-branching amitochondriate organisms.
Project description:Nearly all of eukaryotic diversity has been classified into 6 suprakingdom-level groups (supergroups) based on molecular and morphological/cell-biological evidence; these are Opisthokonta, Amoebozoa, Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, Chromalveolata, and Excavata. However, molecular phylogeny has not provided clear evidence that either Chromalveolata or Excavata is monophyletic, nor has it resolved the relationships among the supergroups. To establish the affinities of Excavata, which contains parasites of global importance and organisms regarded previously as primitive eukaryotes, we conducted a phylogenomic analysis of a dataset of 143 proteins and 48 taxa, including 19 excavates. Previous phylogenomic studies have not included all major subgroups of Excavata, and thus have not definitively addressed their interrelationships. The enigmatic flagellate Andalucia is sister to typical jakobids. Jakobids (including Andalucia), Euglenozoa and Heterolobosea form a major clade that we name Discoba. Analyses of the complete dataset group Discoba with the mitochondrion-lacking excavates or "metamonads" (diplomonads, parabasalids, and Preaxostyla), but not with the final excavate group, Malawimonas. This separation likely results from a long-branch attraction artifact. Gradual removal of rapidly-evolving taxa from the dataset leads to moderate bootstrap support (69%) for the monophyly of all Excavata, and 90% support once all metamonads are removed. Most importantly, Excavata robustly emerges between unikonts (Amoebozoa + Opisthokonta) and "megagrouping" of Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, and chromalveolates. Our analyses indicate that Excavata forms a monophyletic suprakingdom-level group that is one of the 3 primary divisions within eukaryotes, along with unikonts and a megagroup of Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, and the chromalveolate lineages.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Our understanding of the eukaryotic tree of life and the tremendous diversity of microbial eukaryotes is in flux as additional genes and diverse taxa are sampled for molecular analyses. Despite instability in many analyses, there is an increasing trend to classify eukaryotic diversity into six major supergroups: the 'Amoebozoa', 'Chromalveolata', 'Excavata', 'Opisthokonta', 'Plantae', and 'Rhizaria'. Previous molecular analyses have often suffered from either a broad taxon sampling using only single-gene data or have used multigene data with a limited sample of taxa. This study has two major aims: (1) to place taxa represented by 72 sequences, 61 of which have not been characterized previously, onto a well-sampled multigene genealogy, and (2) to evaluate the support for the six putative supergroups using two taxon-rich data sets and a variety of phylogenetic approaches. RESULTS: The inferred trees reveal strong support for many clades that also have defining ultrastructural or molecular characters. In contrast, we find limited to no support for most of the putative supergroups as only the 'Opisthokonta' receive strong support in our analyses. The supergroup 'Amoebozoa' has only moderate support, whereas the 'Chromalveolata', 'Excavata', 'Plantae', and 'Rhizaria' receive very limited or no support. CONCLUSION: Our analytical approach substantiates the power of increased taxon sampling in placing diverse eukaryotic lineages within well-supported clades. At the same time, this study indicates that the six supergroup hypothesis of higher-level eukaryotic classification is likely premature. The use of a taxon-rich data set with 105 lineages, which still includes only a small fraction of the diversity of microbial eukaryotes, fails to resolve deeper phylogenetic relationships and reveals no support for four of the six proposed supergroups. Our analyses provide a point of departure for future taxon- and gene-rich analyses of the eukaryotic tree of life, which will be critical for resolving their phylogenetic interrelationships.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Classification of eukaryotes provides a fundamental phylogenetic framework for ecological, medical, and industrial research. In recent years eukaryotes have been classified into six major supergroups: Amoebozoa, Archaeplastida, Chromalveolata, Excavata, Opisthokonta, and Rhizaria. According to this supergroup classification, Archaeplastida and Chromalveolata each arose from a single plastid-generating endosymbiotic event involving a cyanobacterium (Archaeplastida) or red alga (Chromalveolata). Although the plastids within members of the Archaeplastida and Chromalveolata share some features, no nucleocytoplasmic synapomorphies supporting these supergroups are currently known. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study was designed to test the validity of the Archaeplastida and Chromalveolata through the analysis of nucleus-encoded eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2 (EEF2) and cytosolic heat-shock protein of 70 kDa (HSP70) sequences generated from the glaucophyte Cyanophora paradoxa, the cryptophytes Goniomonas truncata and Guillardia theta, the katablepharid Leucocryptos marina, the rhizarian Thaumatomonas sp. and the green alga Mesostigma viride. The HSP70 phylogeny was largely unresolved except for certain well-established groups. In contrast, EEF2 phylogeny recovered many well-established eukaryotic groups and, most interestingly, revealed a well-supported clade composed of cryptophytes, katablepharids, haptophytes, rhodophytes, and Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants). This clade is further supported by the presence of a two amino acid signature within EEF2, which appears to have arisen from amino acid replacement before the common origin of these eukaryotic groups. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our EEF2 analysis strongly refutes the monophyly of the Archaeplastida and the Chromalveolata, adding to a growing body of evidence that limits the utility of these supergroups. In view of EEF2 phylogeny and other morphological evidence, we discuss the possibility of an alternative eukaryotic supergroup.
Project description:The eukaryotic supergroup Opisthokonta includes animals (Metazoa), fungi, and choanoflagellates, as well as the lesser known unicellular lineages Nucleariidae, Fonticula alba, Ichthyosporea, Filasterea and Corallochytrium limacisporum. Whereas the evolutionary positions of the well-known opisthokonts are mostly resolved, the phylogenetic relationships among the more obscure lineages are not. Within the Unikonta (Opisthokonta and Amoebozoa), it has not been determined whether the Apusozoa (apusomonads and ancyromonads) or the Amoebozoa form the sister group to opisthokonts, nor to which side of the hypothesized unikont/bikont divide the Apusozoa belong. Aiming at elucidating the evolutionary tree of the unikonts, we have assembled a dataset with a large sampling of both organisms and genes, including representatives from all known opisthokont lineages. In addition, we include new molecular data from an additional ichthyosporean (Creolimax fragrantissima) and choanoflagellate (Codosiga botrytis). Our analyses show the Apusozoa as a paraphyletic assemblage within the unikonts, with the Apusomonadida forming a sister group to the opisthokonts. Within the Holozoa, the Ichthyosporea diverge first, followed by C. limacisporum, the Filasterea, the Choanoflagellata, and the Metazoa. With our data-enriched tree, it is possible to pinpoint the origin and evolution of morphological characters. As an example, we discuss the evolution of the unikont kinetid.
Project description:Reversible protein ubiquitination regulates virtually all known cellular activities. Here, we present a quantitatively evaluated and broadly applicable method to predict eukaryotic ubiquitinating enzymes (UBE) and deubiquitinating enzymes (DUB) and its application to 50 distinct genomes belonging to four of the five major phylogenetic supergroups of eukaryotes: unikonts (including metazoans, fungi, choanozoa, and amoebozoa), excavates, chromalveolates, and plants. Our method relies on a collection of profile hidden Markov models, and we demonstrate its superior performance (coverage and classification accuracy >99%) by identifying approximately 25% and approximately 35% additional UBE and DUB genes in yeast and human, which had not been reported before. In yeast, we predict 85 UBE and 24 DUB genes, for 814 UBE and 107 DUB genes in the human genome. Most UBE and DUB families are present in all eukaryotic lineages, with plants and animals harboring massively enlarged repertoires of ubiquitin ligases. Unicellular organisms, on the other hand, typically harbor less than 300 UBEs and less than 40 DUBs per genome. Ninety-one UBE/DUB genes are orthologous across all four eukaryotic supergroups, and these likely represent a primordial core of enzymes of the ubiquitination system probably dating back to the first eukaryotes approximately 2 billion years ago. Our genome-wide predictions are available through the Database of Ubiquitinating and Deubiquitinating Enzymes (www.DUDE-db.org), where users can also perform advanced sequence and phylogenetic analyses and submit their own predictions.
Project description:The current consensus for the eukaryote tree of life consists of several large assemblages (supergroups) that are hypothesized to describe the existing diversity. Phylogenomic analyses have shed light on the evolutionary relationships within and between supergroups as well as placed newly sequenced enigmatic species close to known lineages. Yet, a few eukaryote species remain of unknown origin and could represent key evolutionary forms for inferring ancient genomic and cellular characteristics of eukaryotes. Here, we investigate the evolutionary origin of the poorly studied protist Collodictyon (subphylum Diphyllatia) by sequencing a cDNA library as well as the 18S and 28S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes. Phylogenomic trees inferred from 124 genes placed Collodictyon close to the bifurcation of the "unikont" and "bikont" groups, either alone or as sister to the potentially contentious excavate Malawimonas. Phylogenies based on rDNA genes confirmed that Collodictyon is closely related to another genus, Diphylleia, and revealed a very low diversity in environmental DNA samples. The early and distinct origin of Collodictyon suggests that it constitutes a new lineage in the global eukaryote phylogeny. Collodictyon shares cellular characteristics with Excavata and Amoebozoa, such as ventral feeding groove supported by microtubular structures and the ability to form thin and broad pseudopods. These may therefore be ancient morphological features among eukaryotes. Overall, this shows that Collodictyon is a key lineage to understand early eukaryote evolution.
Project description:Calcium signaling is one of the most extensively employed signal transduction mechanisms in life. As life evolved into increasingly complex organisms, Ca(2+) acquired more extensive and varied functions. Here, we compare genes encoding proteins that govern Ca(2+) entry and exit across cells or organelles within organisms of early eukaryotic evolution into fungi, plants, and animals. Recent phylogenomics analyses reveal a complex Ca(2+) signaling machinery in the apusozoan protist Thecamonas trahens, a putative unicellular progenitor of Opisthokonta. We compare T. trahens Ca(2+) signaling to that in a marine bikont protist, Aurantiochytrium limacinum, and demonstrate the conservation of key Ca(2+) signaling molecules in the basally diverging alga Cyanophora paradoxa. Particularly, our findings reveal the conservation of the CatSper channel complex in Au. limacinum and C. paradoxa, suggesting that the CatSper complex likely originated from an ancestral Ca(2+) signaling machinery at the root of early eukaryotic evolution prior to the unikont/bikont split.
Project description:Cilia were present in the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and were retained by most organisms spanning all extant eukaryotic lineages, including organisms in the Unikonta (Amoebozoa, fungi, choanoflagellates, and animals), Archaeplastida, Excavata, Chromalveolata, and Rhizaria. In certain animals, including humans, ciliary gene regulation is mediated by Regulatory Factor X (RFX) transcription factors (TFs). RFX TFs bind X-box promoter motifs and thereby positively regulate >50 ciliary genes. Though RFX-mediated ciliary gene regulation has been studied in several bilaterian animals, little is known about the evolutionary conservation of ciliary gene regulation. Here, we explore the evolutionary relationships between RFX TFs and cilia. By sampling the genome sequences of >120 eukaryotic organisms, we show that RFX TFs are exclusively found in unikont organisms (whether ciliated or not), but are completely absent from the genome sequences of all nonunikont organisms (again, whether ciliated or not). Sampling the promoter sequences of 12 highly conserved ciliary genes from 23 diverse unikont and nonunikont organisms further revealed that phylogenetic footprints of X-box promoter motif sequences are found exclusively in ciliary genes of certain animals. Thus, there is no correlation between cilia/ciliary genes and the presence or absence of RFX TFs and X-box promoter motifs in nonanimal unikont and in nonunikont organisms. These data suggest that RFX TFs originated early in the unikont lineage, distinctly after cilia evolved. The evolutionary model that best explains these observations indicates that the transcriptional rewiring of many ciliary genes by RFX TFs occurred early in the animal lineage.
Project description:Autophagy, the lysosome-mediated self-degradation process, is implicated in survival during starvation in yeast, Dictyostelium and animals. In these eukaryotic taxa (collectively called Unikonts), autophagy is induced primarily through the Atg1/ULK1 complex in response to nutrient depletion. Autophagy has also been well-studied in non-unikont parasites, such as Trypanosoma and Plasmodium, and found important in their life-cycle transitions. However, how autophagy is induced in non-unikonts remains largely unrevealed. Using a bioinformatics approach, we examined the presence of Atg1 and of its complex in the genomes of 40 non-unikonts. We found that these genomes do not encode typical Atg1 proteins: BLAST and HMMER queries matched only with the kinase domain of Atg1, while other segments responsible for regulation and protein-binding were missing. Non-unikonts also lacked other components of the Atg1-inducing complex. Orthologs of an alternative autophagy inducer, Atg6 were found only in the half of the species, indicating that the other half may possess other inducing mechanisms. As key autophagy genes have differential expression patterns during life-cycle, we raise the possibility that autophagy in these protists is induced mainly at the post-transcriptional level. Understanding Atg1-independent autophagy induction mechanisms in these parasites may lead to novel pharmacological interventions, not affecting human Atg1-dependent autophagy.