Recent events dominate interdomain lateral gene transfers between prokaryotes and eukaryotes and, with the exception of endosymbiotic gene transfers, few ancient transfer events persist.
ABSTRACT: While there is compelling evidence for the impact of endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT; transfer from either mitochondrion or chloroplast to the nucleus) on genome evolution in eukaryotes, the role of interdomain transfer from bacteria and/or archaea (i.e. prokaryotes) is less clear. Lateral gene transfers (LGTs) have been argued to be potential sources of phylogenetic information, particularly for reconstructing deep nodes that are difficult to recover with traditional phylogenetic methods. We sought to identify interdomain LGTs by using a phylogenomic pipeline that generated 13 465 single gene trees and included up to 487 eukaryotes, 303 bacteria and 118 archaea. Our goals include searching for LGTs that unite major eukaryotic clades, and describing the relative contributions of LGT and EGT across the eukaryotic tree of life. Given the difficulties in interpreting single gene trees that aim to capture the approximately 1.8 billion years of eukaryotic evolution, we focus on presence-absence data to identify interdomain transfer events. Specifically, we identify 1138 genes found only in prokaryotes and representatives of three or fewer major clades of eukaryotes (e.g. Amoebozoa, Archaeplastida, Excavata, Opisthokonta, SAR and orphan lineages). The majority of these genes have phylogenetic patterns that are consistent with recent interdomain LGTs and, with the notable exception of EGTs involving photosynthetic eukaryotes, we detect few ancient interdomain LGTs. These analyses suggest that LGTs have probably occurred throughout the history of eukaryotes, but that ancient events are not maintained unless they are associated with endosymbiotic gene transfer among photosynthetic lineages.
Project description:Vertical inheritance is foundational to Darwinian evolution, but fails to explain major innovations such as the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria and the origin of photosynthesis in eukaryotes. While lateral gene transfer (LGT) is recognized as an evolutionary force in prokaryotes, the role of LGT in eukaryotic evolution is less clear. With the exception of the transfer of genes from organelles to the nucleus, a process termed endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT), the extent of interdomain transfer from prokaryotes to eukaryotes is highly debated. A common critique of studies of interdomain LGT is the reliance on the topology of single-gene trees that attempt to estimate more than one billion years of evolution. We take a more conservative approach by identifying cases in which a single clade of eukaryotes is found in an otherwise prokaryotic gene tree (i.e. exclusive presence). Starting with a taxon-rich dataset of over 13,600 gene families and passing data through several rounds of curation, we identify and categorize the function of 306 interdomain LGT events into diverse eukaryotes, including 189 putative EGTs, 52 LGTs into Opisthokonta (i.e. animals, fungi and their microbial relatives), and 42 LGTs nearly exclusive to anaerobic eukaryotes. To assess differential gene loss as an explanation for exclusive presence, we compare branch lengths within each LGT tree to a set of vertically-inherited genes subsampled to mimic gene loss (i.e. with the same taxonomic sampling) and consistently find shorter relative distance between eukaryotes and prokaryotes in LGT trees, a pattern inconsistent with gene loss. Our methods provide a framework for future studies of interdomain LGT and move the field closer to an understanding of how best to model the evolutionary history of eukaryotes.
Project description:Our knowledge of the extent and functional impact of lateral gene transfer (LGT) from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, outside of endosymbiosis, is still rather limited. Here we review the recent literature, focusing mainly on microbial parasites, indicating that LGT from diverse prokaryotes has played a significant role in the evolution of a number of lineages, and by extension throughout eukaryotic evolution. As might be expected, taxonomic biases for donor prokaryotes indicate that shared habitat is a major factor driving transfers. The LGTs identified predominantly affect enzymes from metabolic pathways, but over a third of LGT are genes for putative proteins of unknown function. Finally, we discuss the difficulties in analysing LGT among eukaryotes and suggest that high-throughput methodologies integrating different approaches are needed to achieve a more global understanding of the importance of LGT in eukaryotic evolution.
Project description:Lateral gene transfer has been identified as an important mode of genome evolution within prokaryotes. Except for the special case of gene transfer from organelle genomes to the eukaryotic nucleus, only a few cases of lateral gene transfer involving eukaryotes have been described. Here we present phylogenetic and gene order analyses on the small subunit of glutamate synthase (encoded by gltD) and its homologues, including the large subunit of sulfide dehydrogenase (encoded by sudA). The scattered distribution of the sudA and sudB gene pair and the phylogenetic analysis strongly suggest that lateral gene transfer was involved in the propagation of the genes in the three domains of life. One of these transfers most likely occurred between a prokaryote and an ancestor of diplomonad protists. Furthermore, phylogenetic analyses indicate that the gene for the small subunit of glutamate synthase was transferred from a low-GC gram-positive bacterium to a common ancestor of animals, fungi, and plants. Interestingly, in both examples, the eukaryotes encode a single gene that corresponds to a conserved operon structure in prokaryotes. Our analyses, together with several recent publications, show that lateral gene transfers from prokaryotes to unicellular eukaryotes occur with appreciable frequency. In the case of the genes for sulfide dehydrogenase, the transfer affected only a limited group of eukaryotes--the diplomonads--while the transfer of the glutamate synthase gene probably happened earlier in evolution and affected a wider range of eukaryotes.
Project description:A fundamental tenet of multicellular eukaryotic evolution is that vertical inheritance is paramount, with natural selection acting on genetic variants transferred from parents to offspring. This lineal process means that an organism's adaptive potential can be restricted by its evolutionary history, the amount of standing genetic variation, and its mutation rate. Lateral gene transfer (LGT) theoretically provides a mechanism to bypass many of these limitations, but the evolutionary importance and frequency of this process in multicellular eukaryotes, such as plants, remains debated. We address this issue by assembling a chromosome-level genome for the grass Alloteropsis semialata, a species surmised to exhibit two LGTs, and screen it for other grass-to-grass LGTs using genomic data from 146 other grass species. Through stringent phylogenomic analyses, we discovered 57 additional LGTs in the A. semialata nuclear genome, involving at least nine different donor species. The LGTs are clustered in 23 laterally acquired genomic fragments that are up to 170 kb long and have accumulated during the diversification of Alloteropsis. The majority of the 59 LGTs in A. semialata are expressed, and we show that they have added functions to the recipient genome. Functional LGTs were further detected in the genomes of five other grass species, demonstrating that this process is likely widespread in this globally important group of plants. LGT therefore appears to represent a potent evolutionary force capable of spreading functional genes among distantly related grass species.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Metabolic networks are responsible for many essential cellular processes, and exhibit a high level of evolutionary conservation from bacteria to eukaryotes. If genes encoding metabolic enzymes are horizontally transferred and are advantageous, they are likely to become fixed. Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has played a key role in prokaryotic evolution and its importance in eukaryotes is increasingly evident. High levels of endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT) accompanied the establishment of plastids and mitochondria, and more recent events have allowed further acquisition of bacterial genes. Here, we present the first comprehensive multi-species analysis of E/HGT of genes encoding metabolic enzymes from bacteria to unicellular eukaryotes.<h4>Results</h4>The phylogenetic trees of 2,257 metabolic enzymes were used to make E/HGT assertions in ten groups of unicellular eukaryotes, revealing the sources and metabolic processes of the transferred genes. Analyses revealed a preference for enzymes encoded by genes gained through horizontal and endosymbiotic transfers to be connected in the metabolic network. Enrichment in particular functional classes was particularly revealing: alongside plastid related processes and carbohydrate metabolism, this highlighted a number of pathways in eukaryotic parasites that are rich in enzymes encoded by transferred genes, and potentially key to pathogenicity. The plant parasites Phytophthora were discovered to have a potential pathway for lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis of E/HGT origin not seen before in eukaryotes outside the Plantae.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The number of enzymes encoded by genes gained through E/HGT has been established, providing insight into functional gain during the evolution of unicellular eukaryotes. In eukaryotic parasites, genes encoding enzymes that have been gained through horizontal transfer may be attractive drug targets if they are part of processes not present in the host, or are significantly diverged from equivalent host enzymes.
Project description:The plastids of chlorarachniophytes were derived from an ancestral green alga via secondary endosymbiosis. Thus, genes from the "green" lineage via secondary endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT) are expected in the nuclear genomes of the Chlorarachniophyta. However, several recent studies have revealed the presence of "red" genes in their nuclear genomes. To elucidate the origin of such "red" genes in chlorarachniophyte nuclear genomes, we carried out exhaustive single-gene phylogenetic analyses, including two operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that represent two divergent sister lineages of the Chlorarachniophyta, Amorphochlora amoeboformis (?=?Lotharella amoeboformis; based on RNA sequences newly determined here) and Bigelowiella natans (based on the published genome sequence). We identified 10 genes of cyanobacterial origin, phylogenetic analysis of which showed the chlorarachniophytes to branch with the red lineage (red algae and/or red algal secondary or tertiary plastid-containing eukaryotes). Of the 10 genes, 7 demonstrated robust monophyly of the two chlorarachniophyte OTUs. Thus, the common ancestor of the extant chlorarachniophytes likely experienced multiple horizontal gene transfers from the red lineage. Because 4 of the 10 genes are obviously photosynthesis- and/or plastid-related, and almost all of the eukaryotic OTUs in the 10 trees possess plastids, such red genes most likely originated directly from photosynthetic eukaryotes. This situation could be explained by a possible cryptic endosymbiosis of a red algal plastid before the secondary endosymbiosis of the green algal plastid, or a long-term feeding on a single (or multiple closely related) red algal plastid-containing eukaryote(s) after the green secondary endosymbiosis.
Project description:Recombinase enzymes promote DNA repair by homologous recombination. The genes that encode them are ancestral to life, occurring in all known dominions: viruses, Eubacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota. Bacterial recombinases are also present in viruses and eukaryotic groups (supergroups), presumably via ancestral events of lateral gene transfer. The eukaryotic recA genes have two distinct origins (mitochondrial and plastidial), whose acquisition by eukaryotes was possible via primary (bacteria-eukaryote) and/or secondary (eukaryote-eukaryote) endosymbiotic gene transfers (EGTs). Here we present a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the recA genealogy, with substantially increased taxonomic sampling in the bacteria, viruses, eukaryotes and a special focus on the key eukaryotic supergroup Amoebozoa, earlier represented only by Dictyostelium We demonstrate that several major eukaryotic lineages have lost the bacterial recombinases (including Opisthokonta and Excavata), whereas others have retained them (Amoebozoa, Archaeplastida and the SAR-supergroups). When absent, the bacterial recA homologues may have been lost entirely (secondary loss of canonical mitochondria) or replaced by other eukaryotic recombinases. RecA proteins have a transit peptide for organellar import, where they act. The reconstruction of the RecA phylogeny with its EGT events presented here retells the intertwined evolutionary history of eukaryotes and bacteria, while further illuminating the events of endosymbiosis in eukaryotes by expanding the collection of widespread genes that provide insight to this deep history.
Project description:Endosymbiotic theory in eukaryotic-cell evolution rests upon a foundation of three cornerstone partners--the plastid (a cyanobacterium), the mitochondrion (a proteobacterium), and its host (an archaeon)--and carries a corollary that, over time, the majority of genes once present in the organelle genomes were relinquished to the chromosomes of the host (endosymbiotic gene transfer). However, notwithstanding eukaryote-specific gene inventions, single-gene phylogenies have never traced eukaryotic genes to three single prokaryotic sources, an issue that hinges crucially upon factors influencing phylogenetic inference. In the age of genomes, single-gene trees, once used to test the predictions of endosymbiotic theory, now spawn new theories that stand to eventually replace endosymbiotic theory with descriptive, gene tree-based variants featuring supernumerary symbionts: prokaryotic partners distinct from the cornerstone trio and whose existence is inferred solely from single-gene trees. We reason that the endosymbiotic ancestors of mitochondria and chloroplasts brought into the eukaryotic--and plant and algal--lineage a genome-sized sample of genes from the proteobacterial and cyanobacterial pangenomes of their respective day and that, even if molecular phylogeny were artifact-free, sampling prokaryotic pangenomes through endosymbiotic gene transfer would lead to inherited chimerism. Recombination in prokaryotes (transduction, conjugation, transformation) differs from recombination in eukaryotes (sex). Prokaryotic recombination leads to pangenomes, and eukaryotic recombination leads to vertical inheritance. Viewed from the perspective of endosymbiotic theory, the critical transition at the eukaryote origin that allowed escape from Muller's ratchet--the origin of eukaryotic recombination, or sex--might have required surprisingly little evolutionary innovation.
Project description:The influence of lateral gene transfer on gene origins and biology in eukaryotes is poorly understood compared with those of prokaryotes. A number of independent investigations focusing on specific genes, individual genomes, or specific functional categories from various eukaryotes have indicated that lateral gene transfer does indeed affect eukaryotic genomes. However, the lack of common methodology and criteria in these studies makes it difficult to assess the general importance and influence of lateral gene transfer on eukaryotic genome evolution.We used a phylogenomic approach to systematically investigate lateral gene transfer affecting the proteomes of thirteen, mainly parasitic, microbial eukaryotes, representing four of the six eukaryotic super-groups. All of the genomes investigated have been significantly affected by prokaryote-to-eukaryote lateral gene transfers, dramatically affecting the enzymes of core pathways, particularly amino acid and sugar metabolism, but also providing new genes of potential adaptive significance in the life of parasites. A broad range of prokaryotic donors is involved in such transfers, but there is clear and significant enrichment for bacterial groups that share the same habitats, including the human microbiota, as the parasites investigated.Our data show that ecology and lifestyle strongly influence gene origins and opportunities for gene transfer and reveal that, although the outlines of the core eukaryotic metabolism are conserved among lineages, the genes making up those pathways can have very different origins in different eukaryotes. Thus, from the perspective of the effects of lateral gene transfer on individual gene ancestries in different lineages, eukaryotic metabolism appears to be chimeric.
Project description:To understand the evolutionary process of the DNA mismatch repair system, we conducted systematic phylogenetic analysis of its key components, the bacterial MutS and MutL genes and their eukaryotic homologs. Based on genome-wide homolog searches, we identified three new MutS subfamilies (MutS3-5) in addition to the previously studied MutS1 and MutS2 subfamilies. Detailed evolutionary analysis strongly suggests that frequent ancient horizontal gene transfer (HGT) occurred with both MutS and MutL genes from bacteria to eukaryotes and/or archaea. Our results further imply that the origins of mismatch repair system in eukaryotes and archaea are largely attributed to ancient HGT from bacteria instead of vertical evolution. Specifically, the eukaryotic MutS and MutL homologs likely originated from endosymbiotic ancestors of mitochondria or chloroplasts, indicating that not only archaea, but also bacteria are important sources of eukaryotic DNA metabolic genes. The archaeal MutS1 and MutL homologs were also acquired from bacteria simultaneously through HGT. Moreover, the distribution and evolution profiles of the MutS1 and MutL genes suggest that they have undergone long-term coevolution. Our work presents an overall portrait of the evolution of these important genes in DNA metabolism and also provides further understanding about the early evolution of cellular organisms.