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Phylogenetic Analyses of Glycosyl Hydrolase Family 6 Genes in Tunicates: Possible Horizontal Transfer.


ABSTRACT: Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is the movement of genetic material between different species. Although HGT is less frequent in eukaryotes than in bacteria, several instances of HGT have apparently shaped animal evolution. One well-known example is the tunicate cellulose synthase gene, CesA, in which a gene, probably transferred from bacteria, greatly impacted tunicate evolution. A Glycosyl Hydrolase Family 6 (GH6) hydrolase-like domain exists at the C-terminus of tunicate CesA, but not in cellulose synthases of other organisms. The recent discovery of another GH6 hydrolase-like gene (GH6-1) in tunicate genomes further raises the question of how tunicates acquired GH6. To examine the probable origin of these genes, we analyzed the phylogenetic relationship of GH6 proteins in tunicates and other organisms. Our analyses show that tunicate GH6s, the GH6-1 gene, and the GH6 part of the CesA gene, form two independent, monophyletic gene groups. We also compared their sequence signatures and exon splice sites. All tunicate species examined have shared splice sites in GH6-containing genes, implying ancient intron acquisitions. It is likely that the tunicate CesA and GH6-1 genes existed in the common ancestor of all extant tunicates.

SUBMITTER: Li KL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7464555 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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