Horizontally acquired genes in early-diverging pathogenic fungi enable the use of host nucleosides and nucleotides.
ABSTRACT: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) among bacteria, archaea, and viruses is widespread, but the extent of transfers from these lineages into eukaryotic organisms is contentious. Here we systematically identify hundreds of genes that were likely acquired horizontally from a variety of sources by the early-diverging fungal phyla Microsporidia and Cryptomycota. Interestingly, the Microsporidia have acquired via HGT several genes involved in nucleic acid synthesis and salvage, such as those encoding thymidine kinase (TK), cytidylate kinase, and purine nucleotide phosphorylase. We show that these HGT-derived nucleic acid synthesis genes tend to function at the interface between the metabolic networks of the host and pathogen. Thus, these genes likely play vital roles in diversifying the useable nucleic acid components available to the intracellular parasite, often through the direct capture of resources from the host. Using an in vivo viability assay, we also demonstrate that one of these genes, TK, encodes an enzyme that is capable of activating known prodrugs to their active form, which suggests a possible treatment route for microsporidiosis. We further argue that interfacial genes with well-understood activities, especially those horizontally transferred from bacteria or viruses, could provide medical treatments for microsporidian infections.
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.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In recent years, as the development of next-generation sequencing technology, a growing number of genes have been reported as being horizontally transferred from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, most of them involving arthropods. As a member of the phylum Arthropoda, the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei has to adapt to the complex water environments with various symbiotic or parasitic microorganisms, which provide a platform for horizontal gene transfer (HGT). RESULTS: In this study, we analyzed the genome-wide HGT events in L. vannamei. Through homology search and phylogenetic analysis, followed by experimental PCR confirmation, 14 genes with HGT event were identified: 12 of them were transferred from bacteria and two from fungi. Structure analysis of these genes showed that the introns of the two fungi-originated genes were substituted by shrimp DNA fragment, two genes transferred from bacteria had shrimp specific introns inserted in them. Furthermore, around other three bacteria-originated genes, there were three large DNA segments inserted into the shrimp genome. One segment was a transposon that fully transferred, and the other two segments contained only coding regions of bacteria. Functional prediction of these 14 genes showed that 6 of them might be related to energy metabolism, and 4 others related to defense of the organism. CONCLUSIONS: HGT events from bacteria or fungi were happened in the genome of L. vannamei, and these horizontally transferred genes can be transcribed in shrimp. This is the first time to report the existence of horizontally transferred genes in shrimp. Importantly, most of these genes are exposed to a negative selection pressure and appeared to be functional.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) serves as an important source of innovation for bacterial species. We used a pangenome-based approach to identify genes that were horizontally acquired by four closely related bacterial species, belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family. This enabled us to examine the extent to which such closely related species tend to share horizontally acquired genes. We find that a high percent of horizontally acquired genes are shared among these closely related species. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the extent of sharing of horizontally acquired genes among these four closely related species is predictive of the extent to which these genes will be found in additional bacterial species. Finally, we show that acquired genes shared by more species tend to be better optimized for expression within the genomes of their new hosts. Combined, our results demonstrate the existence of a large pool of frequently horizontally acquired genes that have distinct characteristics from horizontally acquired genes that are less frequently shared between species.
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:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), a mechanism that shares genetic material between the host and donor from separated offspring branches, has been described as a means of producing novel and beneficial phenotypes for the host organisms. In the present study, 12 HGT genes were identified from California two-spot octopus Octopus bimaculoides based on a similarity search, phylogenetic construction, gene composition analysis and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) validation. The data collected from the HGT genes from octopus, indicating the phylogenetic incongruences, CodonW analysis, PCR products, detailed motifs and organisms used in screening. In phylogenetic screening, those genes were nested within bacteria homologs and identified as HGT genes transferred from the bacteria to the octopus. The motifs were similar in proteins of the horizontally acquired Zn-metalloproteinases, but differed to endogenous proteins. CodonW was employed to investigate the codon usage bias between HGT genes and other genes in the octopus genome. In PCR validation, all the HGT genes could be produced as amplified fragments. The results collectively indicated the existence of HGT in molluscs and its potential l contribution to the evolution of octopus with regards to functional innovation and adaptability.
Project description:Metchnikovellids are highly specialized hyperparasites, which infect and reproduce inside gregarines (Apicomplexa) inhabiting marine invertebrates. Their phylogenetic affiliation was under constant discussion until recently, when analysis of the first near-complete metchnikovellid genome, that of Amphiamblys sp., placed it in a basal position with respect to most Microsporidia. Microsporidia are a highly diversified lineage of extremely reduced parasites related to Rozellida (Rozellosporidia?=?Rozellomycota?=?Cryptomycota) within the Holomycota clade of Opisthokonta. By sequencing DNA from a single-isolated infected gregarine cell we obtained an almost complete genome of a second metchnikovellid species, and the first one of a taxonomically described and well-documented species, Metchnikovella incurvata. Our phylogenomic analyses show that, despite being considerably divergent from each other, M. incurvata forms a monophyletic group with Amphiamplys sp., and confirm that metchnikovellids are one of the deep branches of Microsporidia. Comparative genomic analysis demonstrates that, like most Microsporidia, metchnikovellids lack mitochondrial genes involved in energy transduction and are thus incapable of synthesizing their own ATP via mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. They also lack the horizontally acquired ATP transporters widespread in most Microsporidia. We hypothesize that a family of mitochondrial carrier proteins evolved to transport ATP from the host into the metchnikovellid cell. We observe the progressive reduction of genes involved in DNA repair pathways along the evolutionary path of Microsporidia, which might explain, at least partly, the extremely high evolutionary rate of the most derived species. Our data also suggest that genome reduction and acquisition of novel genes co-occurred during the adaptation of Microsporidia to their hosts.
Project description:Genome-wide global detection of genes involved in horizontal gene transfer (HGT) remains an active area of research in medical microbiology and evolutionary genomics. Utilizing the explicit evolutionary method of comparing topologies of a total of 154,805 orthologous gene trees against corresponding 16S rRNA "reference" trees, we previously detected a total of 660,894 candidate HGT events in 2,472 completely-sequenced prokaryotic genomes. Here, we report an HGT-index for each individual gene-reference tree pair reconciliation, representing the total number of detected HGT events on the gene tree divided by the total number of genomes (taxa) member of that tree. HGT-index is thus a simple measure indicating the sensitivity of prokaryotic genes to participate (or not participate) in HGT. Our preliminary list provides HGT-indices for a total of 69,365 genes (detected in >10 and <50% available prokaryotic genomes) that are involved in a wide range of biological processes such as metabolism, information, and bacterial response to environment. Identification of horizontally-derived genes is important to combat antibiotic resistance and is a step forward toward reconstructions of improved phylogenies describing the history of life. Our effort is thus expected to benefit ongoing research in the fields of clinical microbiology and evolutionary biology.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is an important mechanism that contributed to biological diversity, particularly in bacteria. Through acquisition of novel genes, the recipient cell may change its ecological preference and the process could promote speciation. In this study, we determined the complete genome sequence of two Spiroplasma species for comparative analyses and inferred the putative gene gains and losses. Although most Spiroplasma species are symbionts of terrestrial insects, Spiroplasma eriocheiris has evolved to be a lethal pathogen of freshwater crustaceans. We found that approximately 7% of the genes in this genome may have originated from HGT and these genes expanded the metabolic capacity of this organism. Through comparison with the closely related Spiroplasma atrichopogonis, as well as other more divergent lineages, our results indicated that these HGT events could be traced back to the most recent common ancestor of these two species. However, most of these horizontally acquired genes have been pseudogenized in S. atrichopogonis, suggesting that they did not contribute to the fitness of this lineage that maintained the association with terrestrial insects. Thus, accumulation of small deletions that disrupted these foreign genes was not countered by natural selection. On the other hand, the long-term survival of these horizontally acquired genes in the S. eriocheiris genome hinted that they might play a role in the ecological shift of this species. Finally, the implications of these findings and the conflicts among gene content, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and serological typing, are discussed in light of defining bacterial species.
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 (HGT) can equip organisms with novel genes, expanding the repertoire of genetic material available for evolutionary innovation and allowing recipient lineages to colonize new environments. However, few studies have characterized the functions of HGT genes experimentally or examined postacquisition functional divergence. Here, we report the use of ancestral sequence reconstruction and heterologous expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to examine the evolutionary history of an oomycete transporter gene family that was horizontally acquired from fungi. We demonstrate that the inferred ancestral oomycete HGT transporter proteins and their extant descendants transport dicarboxylic acids which are intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The substrate specificity profile of the most ancestral protein has largely been retained throughout the radiation of oomycetes, including in both plant and animal pathogens and in a free-living saprotroph, indicating that the ancestral HGT transporter function has been maintained by selection across a range of different lifestyles. No evidence of neofunctionalization in terms of substrate specificity was detected for different HGT transporter paralogues which have different patterns of temporal expression. However, a striking expansion of substrate range was observed for one plant pathogenic oomycete, with a HGT derived paralogue from Pythium aphanidermatum encoding a protein that enables tricarboxylic acid uptake in addition to dicarboxylic acid uptake. This demonstrates that HGT acquisitions can provide functional additions to the recipient proteome as well as the foundation material for the evolution of expanded protein functions.