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Horizontal gene transfer of microbial cellulases into nematode genomes is associated with functional assimilation and gene turnover

Horizontal gene transfer of microbial cellulases into nematode genomes is associated with functional assimilation and gene turnover,10.1186/1471-2148-

Horizontal gene transfer of microbial cellulases into nematode genomes is associated with functional assimilation and gene turnover   (Citations: 2)
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BACKGROUND: Natural acquisition of novel genes from other organisms by horizontal or lateral gene transfer is well established for microorganisms. There is now growing evidence that horizontal gene transfer also plays important roles in the evolution of eukaryotes. Genome-sequencing and EST projects of plant and animal associated nematodes such as Brugia, Meloidogyne, Bursaphelenchus and Pristionchus indicate horizontal gene transfer as a key adaptation towards parasitism and pathogenicity. However, little is known about the functional activity and evolutionary longevity of genes acquired by horizontal gene transfer and the mechanisms favoring such processes. RESULTS: We examine the transfer of cellulase genes to the free-living and beetle-associated nematode Pristionchus pacificus, for which detailed phylogenetic knowledge is available, to address predictions by evolutionary theory for successful gene transfer. We used transcriptomics in seven Pristionchus species and three other related diplogastrid nematodes with a well-defined phylogenetic framework to study the evolution of ancestral cellulase genes acquired by horizontal gene transfer. We performed intra-species, inter-species and inter-genic analysis by comparing the transcriptomes of these ten species and tested for cellulase activity in each species. Species with cellulase genes in their transcriptome always exhibited cellulase activity indicating functional integration into the host's genome and biology. The phylogenetic profile of cellulase genes was congruent with the species phylogeny demonstrating gene longevity. Cellulase genes show notable turnover with elevated birth and death rates. Comparison by sequencing of three selected cellulase genes in 24 natural isolates of Pristionchus pacificus suggests these high evolutionary dynamics to be associated with copy number variations and positive selection. CONCLUSION: We could demonstrate functional integration of acquired cellulase genes into the nematode's biology as predicted by theory. Thus, functional assimilation, remarkable gene turnover and selection might represent key features of horizontal gene transfer events in nematodes.
Journal: BMC Evolutionary Biology - BMC EVOL BIOL , vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 13-10, 2011
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    • ... In fact, most of the candidate HGT genes in nematodes encode enzymes that break down the cell walls of plants and fung...

    Magdalena Zarowiecki. Animals learn new tricks from microorganisms

    • ...What then should be made of the discovery that the free­living nematode Pristionchus pacificus (Figure 1) also encodes cellulolytic enzymes [7]; were these enzymes also acquired by HGT? As they report in a recent paper in BMC Evolutionary Biology, Ralf Sommer and colleagues (Mayer et al. [8]) set out to investigate four criteria they deemed requisite for successful HGT: that the gene is functionally active; that it is integrated into ...
    • ...By sequencing the transcriptomes of seven Pristionchus species as well as three closely related diplogastrid nematodes (Diplogasteroides magnus, Koerneria sudhausi and Acrostichus species), the authors were able to lever­ age a well­established phylogenetic relationship between the ten species to conduct a series of hypothesis­driven inquiries at the species, genus and family levels of evolutionary relationships [8]...
    • ...Innovatively, Mayer et al. [8] build on the current phylogenetic frame­ work to address the last two features of successful HGT, namely longevity and selective pressure...
    • ...A comparison by Mayer et al. [8] of cellulase genes amplified from the genomes of 24 distinct P. pacificus isolates revealed an interesting history of the evolution of Ppacel-1, Ppa-cel-2 and Ppa-cel-3...
    • ...By addressing multiple criteria indicative of successful HGT, Mayer et al. [8] provide compelling evidence bolstering the hypothesis that HGT is indeed an important component in nematode evolution...

    Elizabeth H Schollet al. Computational and phylogenetic validation of nematode horizontal gene ...

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