Comparative Genomics in Diplomonads: Lifestyle Variations Revealed at Genetic Level
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
As sequencing technologies advance genome studies are becoming a basic tool for studying an organism, and with more genomes available comparative genomics is maturing into a powerful tool for biological research. This thesis demonstrates the strength of a comparative genomics approach on a group of understudied eukaryotes, the diplomonads.
Diplomonads are a group of single cell eukaryotic flagellates living in oxygen-poor environments. Most diplomonads are intestinal parasites, like the well-studied human parasite Giardia intestinalis. There are seven different G. intestinalis assemblages (genotypes) affecting different hosts, and it’s under debate whether these are one species. A genome-wide study of three G. intestinalis genomes from different assemblages reveals little inter-assemblage sexual recombination, supporting that the different G. intestinalis assemblages are genetically isolated and thus different species.
A genomic comparison between the fish parasite S. salmonicida and G. intestinalis reveals genetic differences reflecting differences in their parasitic lifestyles. There is a tighter transcriptional regulation and a larger metabolic reservoir in S. salmonicida, likely adaptations to the fluctuating environments it encounters during its systemic infection compared to G. intestinalis which is a strict intestinal parasite.
The S. salmonicida genome analysis also discovers genes involved in energy metabolism. Some of these are experimentally shown to localize to mitochondrion-related organelles in S. salmonicida, indicating that they possess energy-producing organelles that should be classified as hydrogenosomes, as opposed to the mitosomes in G. intestinalis.
A transcriptome analysis of the free-living Trepomonas is compared with genomic data from the two parasitic diplomonads. The majority of the genes associated with a free-living lifestyle, like phagocytosis and a larger metabolic capacity, are of prokaryotic origin. This suggests that the ancestor of the free-living diplomonad was likely host-associated and that the free-living lifestyle is a secondary adaptation acquired through horizontal gene transfers.
In conclusion, this thesis uses different comparative genomics approaches to broaden the knowledge on diplomonad diversity and to provide more insight into how the lifestyle differences are reflected on the genetic level. The bioinformatics pipelines and expertise gained in these studies will be useful in other projects in diplomonads and other organismal groups.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. , 64 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1261
comparative genomics, Giardia intestinalis, Spironucleus salmonicida, Trepomonas, diplomonad, intestinal parasite, free-living, sexual recombination, hydrogenosome, horizontal gene transfer
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Evolutionary Biology Microbiology
Research subject Biology with specialization in Molecular Evolution
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-251650ISBN: 978-91-554-9262-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-251650DiVA: diva2:807221
2015-06-12, BMC, B41, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Berriman, Matt, Doctor
Andersson, Jan O., DocentSvärd, Staffan G., Professor
List of papers