The evolutionary fate of the horizontally transferred agrobacterial mikimopine synthase gene in the genera Nicotiana and Linaria.
ABSTRACT: Few cases of spontaneously horizontally transferred bacterial genes into plant genomes have been described to date. The occurrence of horizontally transferred genes from the T-DNA of Agrobacterium rhizogenes into the plant genome has been reported in the genus Nicotiana and in the species Linaria vulgaris. Here we compare patterns of evolution in one of these genes (a gene encoding mikimopine synthase, mis) following three different events of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). As this gene plays an important role in Agrobacterium, and there are known cases showing that genes from pathogens can acquire plant protection function, we hypothesised that in at least some of the studied species we will find signs of selective pressures influencing mis sequence. The mikimopine synthase (mis) gene evolved in a different manner in the branch leading to Nicotiana tabacum and N. tomentosiformis, in the branch leading to N. glauca and in the genus Linaria. Our analyses of the genus Linaria suggest that the mis gene began to degenerate soon after the HGT. In contrast, in the case of N. glauca, the mis gene evolved under significant selective pressures. This suggests a possible role of mikimopine synthase in current N. glauca and its ancestor(s). In N. tabacum and N. tomentosiformis, the mis gene has a common frameshift mutation that disrupted its open reading frame. Interestingly, our results suggest that in spite of the frameshift, the mis gene could evolve under selective pressures. This sequence may still have some regulatory role at the RNA level as suggested by coverage of this sequence by small RNAs in N. tabacum.
Project description:Most genetic engineering of plants uses Agrobacterium mediated transformation to introduce novel gene content. In nature, insertion of T-DNA in the plant genome and its subsequent transfer via sexual reproduction has been shown in several species in the genera Nicotiana and Linaria. In these natural examples of horizontal gene transfer from Agrobacterium to plants, the T-DNA donor is assumed to be a mikimopine strain of A. rhizogenes. A sequence homologous to the T-DNA of the Ri plasmid of Agrobacterium rhizogenes was found in the genome of untransformed Nicotiana glauca about 30 years ago, and was named "cellular T-DNA" (cT-DNA). It represents an imperfect inverted repeat and contains homologs of several T-DNA oncogenes (NgrolB, NgrolC, NgORF13, NgORF14) and an opine synthesis gene (Ngmis). A similar cT-DNA has also been found in other species of the genus Nicotiana. These presumably ancient homologs of T-DNA genes are still expressed, indicating that they may play a role in the evolution of these plants. Recently T-DNA has been detected and characterized in Linaria vulgaris and L. dalmatica. In Linaria vulgaris the cT-DNA is present in two copies and organized as a tandem imperfect direct repeat, containing LvORF2, LvORF3, LvORF8, LvrolA, LvrolB, LvrolC, LvORF13, LvORF14, and the Lvmis genes. All L. vulgaris and L. dalmatica plants screened contained the same T-DNA oncogenes and the mis gene. Evidence suggests that there were several independent T-DNA integration events into the genomes of these plant genera. We speculate that ancient plants transformed by A. rhizogenes might have acquired a selective advantage in competition with the parental species. Thus, the events of T-DNA insertion in the plant genome might have affected their evolution, resulting in the creation of new plant species. In this review we focus on the structure and functions of cT-DNA in Linaria and Nicotiana and discuss their possible evolutionary role.
Project description:Background:The transfer of genetic material from non-parent organisms is called horizontal gene transfer (HGT). One of the most conclusive cases of HGT in metazoans was previously described for the cellulose synthase gene in ascidians. Results:In this study we identified a new protein, rusticalin, from the ascidian Styela rustica and presented evidence for its likely origin by HGT. Discernible homologues of rusticalin were found in placozoans, coral, and basal Chordates. Rusticalin was predicted to consist of two distinct regions, an N-terminal domain and a C-terminal domain. The N-terminal domain comprises two cysteine-rich repeats and shows remote similarity to the tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor. The C-terminal domain shares significant sequence similarity with bacterial MD peptidases and bacteriophage A500 L-alanyl-D-glutamate peptidase. A possible transfer of the C-terminal domain by bacteriophage was confirmed by an analysis of noncoding sequences of C. intestinalis rusticalin-like gene, which was found to contain a sequence similar to the bacteriophage A500 recombination site. Moreover, a sequence similar to the bacteriophage recombination site was found to be adjacent to the cellulose synthase catalytic subunit gene in the genome of Streptomices sp., the donor of ascidian cellulose synthase. Conclusions:The C-terminal domain of rusticalin and rusticalin-like proteins is likely to be horizontally transferred by the bacteriophage A500. A common mechanism involving bacteriophage mediated gene transfer can be proposed for at least two HGT events in ascidians.
Project description:In flowering plants, RNA editing is a posttranscriptional process that converts specific C to U in organelle mRNAs. Nicotiana tabacum is an allotetraploid species derived from the progenitors of Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana tomentosiformis. These Nicotiana species have been used as a model for understanding the mechanism and evolution of RNA editing in plastids. In Nicotiana species, the ndhD-1 site is edited to create the translational initiation codon of ndhD that encodes a subunit of the NAD(P)H dehydrogenease (NDH) complex. An analysis of this RNA editing revealed that editing efficiency in N. tomentosiformis is lower (15%) than that in N. tabacum (42%) and N. sylvestris (37%). However, this level of editing is sufficient for accumulating the NDH complex and its activity. The heterogous complementation of Arabidopsis crr4-3 mutant, in which RNA editing of ndhD-1 is completely impaired, with CRR4 orthologous genes derived from Nicotiana species suggested that the reduction in editing efficiency in N. tomentosiformis is caused by amino acid variations accumulating in CRR4.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a major force in microbial evolution. Previous studies have suggested that a variety of factors, including restricted recombination and toxicity of foreign gene products, may act as barriers to the successful integration of horizontally transferred genes. This study identifies an additional central barrier to HGT-the lack of co-adaptation between the codon usage of the transferred gene and the tRNA pool of the recipient organism. Analyzing the genomic sequences of more than 190 microorganisms and the HGT events that have occurred between them, we show that the number of genes that were horizontally transferred between organisms is positively correlated with the similarity between their tRNA pools. Those genes that are better adapted to the tRNA pools of the target genomes tend to undergo more frequent HGT. At the community (or environment) level, organisms that share a common ecological niche tend to have similar tRNA pools. These results remain significant after controlling for diverse ecological and evolutionary parameters. Our analysis demonstrates that there are bi-directional associations between the similarity in the tRNA pools of organisms and the number of HGT events occurring between them. Similar tRNA pools between a donor and a host tend to increase the probability that a horizontally acquired gene will become fixed in its new genome. Our results also suggest that frequent HGT may be a homogenizing force that increases the similarity in the tRNA pools of organisms within the same community.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Abscisic acid (ABA) is an important phytohormone for plant growth, development and responding to stresses such as drought, salinity, and pathogen infection. Pyrabactin Resistance 1 (PYR1)/PYR1-Like (PYL)/Regulatory Component of ABA Receptor (RCAR) (hereafter referred to as PYLs) has been identified as the ABA receptors. The PYL family members have been well studied in many plants. However, the members of PYL family have not been systematically identified at genome level in cultivated tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) and its two ancestors. In this study, the phylogenic relationships, chromosomal distribution, gene structures, conserved motifs/regions, and expression profiles of NtPYLs were analyzed. RESULTS:We identified 29, 11, 16 PYLs in the genomes of allotetraploid N. tabacum, and its two diploid ancestors N. tomentosiformis and N. sylvestris, respectively. The phylogenetic analysis revealed that NtPYLs can be divided into three subfamilies, and each NtPYL has one counterpart in N. sylvestris or N. tomentosiformis. Based on microarray analysis of NtPYL transcripts, four NtPYLs (from subfamily II, III), and five NtPYLs (from subfamily I) are highlighted as potential candidates for further functional characterization in N. tabacum seed development, response to ABA, and germination, and resistance to abiotic stresses, respectively. Interestingly, the expression profiles of members in the same NtPYL subfamily showed somehow similar patterns in tissues at different developmental stages and in leaves of seedlings under drought stress, suggesting particular NtPYLs might have multiple functions in both plant development and drought stress response. CONCLUSIONS:NtPYLs are highlighted for important functions in seed development, germination and response to ABA, and particular in drought tolerance. This work will not only shed light on the PYL family in tobacco, but also provides some valuable information for functional characterization of ABA receptors in N. tabacum.
Project description:Allopolyploidy (interspecific hybridisation and polyploidy) has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of angiosperms and can result in genomic, epigenetic and transcriptomic perturbations. We examine the immediate effects of allopolyploidy on repetitive DNA by comparing the genomes of synthetic and natural Nicotiana tabacum with diploid progenitors N. tomentosiformis (paternal progenitor) and N. sylvestris (maternal progenitor). Using next generation sequencing, a recently developed graph-based repeat identification pipeline, Southern blot and fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) we characterise two highly repetitive DNA sequences (NicCL3 and NicCL7/30). Analysis of two independent high-throughput DNA sequencing datasets indicates NicCL3 forms 1.6-1.9% of the genome in N. tomentosiformis, sequences that occur in multiple, discontinuous tandem arrays scattered over several chromosomes. Abundance estimates, based on sequencing depth, indicate NicCL3 is almost absent in N. sylvestris and has been dramatically reduced in copy number in the allopolyploid N. tabacum. Surprisingly elimination of NicCL3 is repeated in some synthetic lines of N. tabacum in their forth generation. The retroelement NicCL7/30, which occurs interspersed with NicCL3, is also under-represented but to a much lesser degree, revealing targeted elimination of the latter. Analysis of paired-end sequencing data indicates the tandem component of NicCL3 has been preferentially removed in natural N. tabacum, increasing the proportion of the dispersed component. This occurs across multiple blocks of discontinuous repeats and based on the distribution of nucleotide similarity among NicCL3 units, was concurrent with rounds of sequence homogenisation.
Project description:Aquaporins (AQPs) are a class of integral membrane proteins that facilitate the membrane diffusion of water and other small solutes. Nicotiana tabacum is an important model plant, and its allotetraploid genome has recently been released, providing us with the opportunity to analyze the AQP gene family and its evolution. A total of 88 full-length AQP genes were identified in the N. tabacum genome, and the encoding proteins were assigned into five subfamilies: 34 plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIPs); 27 tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIPs); 20 nodulin26-like intrinsic proteins (NIPs); 3 small basic intrinsic proteins (SIPs); 4 uncharacterized X intrinsic proteins (XIPs), including two splice variants. We also analyzed the genomes of two N. tabacum ancestors, Nicotiana tomentosiformis and Nicotiana sylvestris, and identified 49 AQP genes in each species. Functional prediction, based on the substrate specificity-determining positions (SDPs), revealed significant differences in substrate specificity among the AQP subfamilies. Analysis of the organ-specific AQP expression levels in the N. tabacum plant and RNA-seq data of N. tabacum bright yellow-2 suspension cells indicated that many AQPs are simultaneously expressed, but differentially, according to the organs or the cells. Altogether, these data constitute an important resource for future investigations of the molecular, evolutionary, and physiological functions of AQPs in N. tabacum.
Project description:Provide an evolutionary and an empirical molecular genetic foundation of the Sus gene family in tobacco and will be beneficial for further investigations of Sus gene functions Sucrose synthase (Sus) has been well characterized as the key enzyme participating in sucrose metabolism, and the gene family encoding different Sus isozymes has been cloned and characterized in several plant species. However, scant information about this gene family is available to date in tobacco. Here, we identified 14, 6, and 7 Sus genes in the genomes of Nicotiana tabacum, N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis, respectively. These tobacco Sus family members shared high levels of similarity in their nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Phylogenetic analysis revealed distinct evolutionary paths for the tobacco Sus genes. Sus1-4, Sus5, and Sus6-7 originated from three Sus precursors, respectively, which were generated by duplication before the split of monocots and eudicots. There were two additional duplications, before and after the differentiation of the Solanaceae, which separately gave rise to Sus3/4 and Sus1/2. Gene exon/intron structure analysis showed that the tobacco Sus genes contain varying numbers of conserved introns, resulting from intron loss under different selection pressures during the course of evolution. The expression patterns of the NtSus genes differed from each other in various tobacco tissues. Transcripts of Ntab0259170 and Ntab0259180 were detected in leaves at all tested developmental stages, suggesting that these two genes play a predominant role in sucrose metabolism during leaf development. Expression of Ntab0288750 and Ntab0234340 were conspicuously induced by low temperature and virus treatment, indicating that these two isozymes are important in meeting the increased glycolytic demand that occurs during abiotic stress. Our results provide an evolutionary and an empirical molecular genetic foundation of the Sus gene family in tobacco, and will be beneficial for further investigations of Sus gene functions in the processes of tobacco leaf development and tobacco resistance to environmental stresses.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana tomentosiformis are members of the Solanaceae family that includes tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper. These two Nicotiana species originate from South America and exhibit different alkaloid and diterpenoid production. N. sylvestris is cultivated largely as an ornamental plant and it has been used as a diploid model system for studies of terpenoid production, plastid engineering, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress. N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis are considered to be modern descendants of the maternal and paternal donors that formed Nicotiana tabacum about 200,000 years ago through interspecific hybridization. Here we report the first genome-wide analysis of these two Nicotiana species. RESULTS: Draft genomes of N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis were assembled to 82.9% and 71.6% of their expected size respectively, with N50 sizes of about 80 kb. The repeat content was 72-75%, with a higher proportion of retrotransposons and copia-like long terminal repeats in N. tomentosiformis. The transcriptome assemblies showed that 44,000-53,000 transcripts were expressed in the roots, leaves or flowers. The key genes involved in terpenoid metabolism, alkaloid metabolism and heavy metal transport showed differential expression in the leaves, roots and flowers of N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis. CONCLUSIONS: The reference genomes of N. sylvestris and N. tomentosiformis represent a significant contribution to the SOL100 initiative because, as members of the Nicotiana genus of Solanaceae, they strengthen the value of the already existing resources by providing additional comparative information, thereby helping to improve our understanding of plant metabolism and evolution.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has had major impacts on the biology of a wide range of organisms from antibiotic resistance in bacteria to adaptations to herbivory in arthropods. A growing body of literature shows that HGT between non-animals and animals is more commonplace than previously thought. In this study, we present a thorough investigation of HGT in the ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. We applied tests of phylogenetic incongruence to identify nine genes that were likely transferred horizontally early in ctenophore evolution from bacteria and non-metazoan eukaryotes. All but one of these HGTs (an uncharacterized protein) are homologous to characterized enzymes, supporting previous observations that genes encoding enzymes are more likely to be retained after HGT events. We found that the majority of these nine horizontally transferred genes were expressed during development, suggesting that they are active and play a role in the biology of M. leidyi. This is the first report of HGT in ctenophores, and contributes to an ever-growing literature on the prevalence of genetic information flowing between non-animals and animals.