Horizontal gene transfer and genome evolution in Methanosarcina.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Genomes of Methanosarcina spp. are among the largest archaeal genomes. One suggested reason for that is massive horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from bacteria. Genes of bacterial origin may be involved in the central metabolism and solute transport, in particular sugar synthesis, sulfur metabolism, phosphate metabolism, DNA repair, transport of small molecules etc. Horizontally transferred (HT) genes are considered to play the key role in the ability of Methanosarcina spp. to inhabit diverse environments. At the moment, genomes of three Methanosarcina spp. have been sequenced, and while these genomes vary in length and number of protein-coding genes, they all have been shown to accumulate HT genes. However, previous estimates had been made when fewer archaeal genomes were known. Moreover, several Methanosarcinaceae genomes from other genera have been sequenced recently. Here, we revise the census of genes of bacterial origin in Methanosarcinaceae. RESULTS:About 5% of Methanosarcina genes have been shown to be horizontally transferred from various bacterial groups to the last common ancestor either of Methanosarcinaceae, or Methanosarcina, or later in the evolution. Simulation of the composition of the NCBI protein non-redundant database for different years demonstrates that the estimates of the HGT rate have decreased drastically since 2002, the year of publication of the first Methanosarcina genome. The phylogenetic distribution of HT gene donors is non-uniform. Most HT genes were transferred from Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, while no HGT events from Actinobacteria to the common ancestor of Methanosarcinaceae were found. About 50% of HT genes are involved in metabolism. Horizontal transfer of transcription factors is not common, while 46% of horizontally transferred genes have demonstrated differential expression in a variety of conditions. HGT of complete operons is relatively infrequent and half of HT genes do not belong to operons. CONCLUSIONS:While genes of bacterial origin are still more frequent in Methanosarcinaceae than in other Archaea, most HGT events described earlier as Methanosarcina-specific seem to have occurred before the divergence of Methanosarcinaceae. Genes horizontally transferred from bacteria to archaea neither tend to be transferred with their regulators, nor in long operons.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is the process whereby an organism acquires exogenous genes (horizontally transferred genes or HT genes) that are not inherited from the parent, but are derived from another organism. In prokaryotes, HGT has been considered as one of the important driving forces of evolution. Previously, genome-wide analyses have been conducted for estimating the proportion of HT genes in prokaryotic genomes, but the number of species examined at the time was limited, and gene annotation was relatively poor. Currently, tens of thousands of prokaryotic genomes have been published and gene annotation resources have improved. In the present study, HT gene prediction method was modified so that the estimate was robust to gene length, conducting a comprehensive search using 3017 representative prokaryotic genomes belonging to 1348 species. The result showed that an average of 13% (ranging from 0% to 30% across species) of protein-coding genes was predicted as being of horizontal origin. The proportion of the predicted HT genes per species was associated with the species' habitat, while a positive correlation between the proportion and genomic nucleotide frequency was also observed. Moreover, the functions of the predicted HT genes were inferred and compared according to two popular databases, the Clusters of Orthologous Groups and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. As a result, both databases indicated that many of the widely transferred genes were involved in mobile genetic elements (transposons, phages, and plasmids) as expected. Notably, the present study predicted that six as-yet-uncharacterized genes were widely distributed HT genes, and therefore, will be interesting targets for evolutionary studies. Thus, this study demonstrates that a data-driven approach using massive sequence data may contribute to a broader understanding of HGT in prokaryotes.
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: Despite the prevalence of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in bacteria, to this date there were few studies on HGT in the context of gene expression, operons and protein-protein interactions. Using the recently available data set on the E. coli protein-protein interaction network, we sought to explore the impact of HGT on genome structure and protein networks. RESULTS: We classified the E. coli genes into three categories based on their evolutionary conservation: a set of 2158 Core genes that are shared by all E. coli strains, a set of 1044 Non-core genes that are strain-specific, and a set of 1053 genes that were putatively acquired by horizontal transfer. We observed a clear correlation between gene expressivity (measured by Codon Adaptation Index), evolutionary rates, and node connectivity between these categories of genes. Specifically, we found the Core genes are the most highly expressed and the most slowly evolving, while the HGT genes are expressed at the lowest level and evolve at the highest rate. Core genes are the most likely and HGT genes are the least likely to be member of the operons. In addition, we found the Core genes on average are more highly connected than Non-core and HGT genes in the protein interaction network, however the HGT genes displayed a significantly higher mean node degree than the Core and Non-core genes in the defence COG functional category. Interestingly, HGT genes are more likely to be connected to Core genes than expected by chance, which suggest a model of differential attachment in the expansion of cellular networks. CONCLUSION: Results from our analysis shed light on the mode and mechanism of the integration of horizontally transferred genes into operons and protein interaction networks.
Project description:We sequenced genomes of five parasite species in family Orobanchaceae to explore the evolutionary role of horizontal gene transfer in plants. Orobanche minor and Aeginetia indica are obligate parasites with no photosynthetic activity, whereas the other three (Pedicularis keiskei, Phtheirospermum japonicum, and Melampyrum roseum) are facultative parasites. By using reference genome sequences and/or transcriptomes of 14 species from Fabaceae and Poaceae, their major host families, we detected 106 horizontally transferred genes (HGT genes), only in the genomes of the two obligate parasites (22 and 84 for Oro. minor and Ae. indica, respectively), whereas none in the three facultative parasites. The HGT genes, respectively, account for roughly 0.1% and 0.2% of the coding genes in the two species. We found that almost all HGT genes retained introns at the same locations as their homologs in potential host species, indicating a crucial role of DNA-mediated gene transfer, rather than mRNA mediated retro transfer. Furthermore, some of the HGT genes might have transferred simultaneously because they located very closely in the host reference genome, indicating that the length of transferred DNA could exceed 100?kb. We confirmed that almost all introns are spliced in the current genome of the parasite species, and that about half HGT genes do not have any missense mutations or frameshift-causing indels, suggesting that some HGT genes may be still functional. Evolutionary analyses revealed that the nonsynonymous-synonymous substitution ratio is on average elevated on the lineage leading to HGT genes, due to either relaxation of selection or positive selection.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) of operational genes has been widely reported in prokaryotic organisms. However, informational genes such as those involved in transcription and translation processes are very difficult to be horizontally transferred, as described by Woese's complexity hypothesis. Here, we analyzed all of the completed prokaryotic genome sequences (2,143 genomes) in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) database, scanned for genomes with high intragenomic heterogeneity of 16S rRNA gene copies, and explored potential HGT events of ribosomal RNA genes based on the phylogeny, genomic organization, and secondary structures of the ribosomal RNA genes. Our results revealed 28 genomes with relatively high intragenomic heterogeneity of multiple 16S rRNA gene copies (lowest pairwise identity <98.0%), and further analysis revealed HGT events and potential donors of the heterogeneous copies (such as HGT from Chlamydia suis to Chlamydia trachomatis) and mutation events of some heterogeneous copies (such as Streptococcus suis JS14). Interestingly, HGT of the 16S rRNA gene only occurred at intragenus or intraspecies levels, which is quite different from the HGT of operational genes. Our results improve our understanding regarding the exchange of informational genes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is the stable transmission of genetic material between organisms by means other than vertical inheritance. HGT has an important role in the evolution of prokaryotes but is relatively rare in eukaryotes. HGT has been shown to contribute to virulence in eukaryotic pathogens. We studied the importance of HGT in plant pathogenic fungi by identifying horizontally transferred genes in the genomes of three members of the genus Colletotrichum. RESULTS: We identified eleven HGT events from bacteria into members of the genus Colletotrichum or their ancestors. The HGT events include genes involved in amino acid, lipid and sugar metabolism as well as lytic enzymes. Additionally, the putative minimal dates of transference were calculated using a time calibrated phylogenetic tree. This analysis reveals a constant flux of genes from bacteria to fungi throughout the evolution of subphylum Pezizomycotina. CONCLUSIONS: Genes that are typically transferred by HGT are those that are constantly subject to gene duplication and gene loss. The functions of some of these genes suggest roles in niche adaptation and virulence. We found no evidence of a burst of HGT events coinciding with major geological events. In contrast, HGT appears to be a constant, albeit rare phenomenon in the Pezizomycotina, occurring at a steady rate during their evolution.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer has been occasionally mentioned in eukaryotic genomes, but such events appear much less numerous than in prokaryotes, where they play important functional and evolutionary roles. In yeasts, few independent cases have been described, some of which corresponding to major metabolic functions, but no systematic screening of horizontally transferred genes has been attempted so far. Taking advantage of the synteny conservation among five newly sequenced and annotated genomes of Saccharomycetaceae, we carried out a systematic search for HGT candidates amidst genes present in only one species within conserved synteny blocks. Out of 255 species-specific genes, we discovered 11 candidates for HGT, based on their similarity with bacterial proteins and on reconstructed phylogenies. This corresponds to a minimum of six transfer events because some horizontally acquired genes appear to rapidly duplicate in yeast genomes (e.g. YwqG genes in Kluyveromyces thermotolerans and serine recombinase genes of the IS607 family in Saccharomyces kluyveri). We show that the resulting copies are submitted to a strong functional selective pressure. The mechanisms of DNA transfer and integration are discussed, in relation with the generally small size of HGT candidates. Our results on a limited set of species expand by 50% the number of previously published HGT cases in hemiascomycetous yeasts, suggesting that this type of event is more frequent than usually thought. Our restrictive method does not exclude the possibility that additional HGT events exist. Actually, ancestral events common to several yeast species must have been overlooked, and the absence of homologs in present databases leaves open the question of the origin of the 244 remaining species-specific genes inserted within conserved synteny blocks.
Project description:Acquisition of genes through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) allows microbes to rapidly gain new capabilities and adapt to new or changing environments. Identifying widespread HGT regions within multispecies microbiomes can pinpoint the molecular mechanisms that play key roles in microbiome assembly. We sought to identify horizontally transferred genes within a model microbiome, the cheese rind. Comparing 31 newly sequenced and 134 previously sequenced bacterial isolates from cheese rinds, we identified over 200 putative horizontally transferred genomic regions containing 4733 protein coding genes. The largest of these regions are enriched for genes involved in siderophore acquisition, and are widely distributed in cheese rinds in both Europe and the US. These results suggest that HGT is prevalent in cheese rind microbiomes, and that identification of genes that are frequently transferred in a particular environment may provide insight into the selective forces shaping microbial communities.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is common between prokaryotes and phagotrophic eukaryotes. In metazoans, the scale and significance of HGT remains largely unexplored but is usually linked to a close association with parasites and endosymbionts. Marine sponges (Porifera), which host many microorganisms in their tissues and lack an isolated germ line, are potential carriers of genes transferred from prokaryotes. In this study, we identified a number of potential horizontally transferred genes within the genome of the sponge, Amphimedon queenslandica. We further identified homologs of some of these genes in other sponges. The transferred genes, most of which possess catalytic activity for carbohydrate or protein metabolism, have assimilated host genome characteristics and are actively expressed. The diversity of functions contributed by the horizontally transferred genes is likely an important factor in the adaptation and evolution of A. queenslandica. These findings highlight the potential importance of HGT on the success of sponges in diverse ecological niches.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is thought to play an important role in the evolution of species and innovation of genomes. There have been many convincing evidences for HGT for specific genes or gene families, but there has been no estimate of the global extent of HGT. Here, we present a method of identifying HGT events within a given protein family and estimate the global extent of HGT in all curated protein domain families ( approximately 8,000) listed in the Pfam database. The results suggest four conclusions: (i) for all protein domain families in Pfam, the fixation of genes horizontally transferred is not a rampant phenomenon between organisms with substantial phylogenetic separations (1.1-9.7% of Pfam families surveyed at three taxonomic ranges studied show indication of HGT); (ii) however, at the level of domains, >50% of Archaea have one or more protein domains acquired by HGT, and nearly 30-50% of Bacteria did the same when examined at three taxonomic ranges. But, the equivalent value for Eukarya is <10%; (iii) HGT will have very little impact in the construction of organism phylogeny, when the construction methods use whole genomes, large numbers of common genes, or SSU rRNAs; and (iv) there appears to be no strong preference of HGT for protein families of particular cellular or molecular functions.