The Dynamics of Lateral Gene Transfer in Genus Leishmania - A Route for Adaptation and Species Diversification
2016 (English)In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, ISSN 1935-2727, E-ISSN 1935-2735, Vol. 10, no 1, e0004326Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Background The genome of Leishmania major harbours a comparably high proportion of genes of prokaryote origin, acquired by lateral gene transfer (LGT). Some of these are present in closely related trypanosomatids, while some are detected in Leishmania only. We have evaluated the impact and destiny of LGT in genus Leishmania. Methodology/Principal Findings To study the dynamics and fate of LGTs we have performed phylogenetic, as well as nucleotide and amino acid composition analyses within orthologous groups of LGTs detected in Leishmania. A set of universal trypanosomatid LGTs was added as a reference group. Both groups of LGTs have, to some extent, ameliorated to resemble the recipient genomes. However, while virtually all of the universal trypanosomatid LGTs are distributed and conserved in the entire genus Leishmania, the LGTs uniquely present in genus Leishmania are more prone to gene loss and display faster rates of evolution. Furthermore, a PCR based approach has been employed to ascertain the presence of a set of twenty LGTs uniquely present in genus Leishmania, and three universal trypanosomatid LGTs, in ten additional strains of Leishmania. Evolutionary rates and predicted expression levels of these LGTs have also been estimated. Ten of the twenty LGTs are distributed and conserved in all species investigated, while the remainder have been subjected to modifications, or undergone pseudogenization, degradation or loss in one or more species. Conclusions/Significance LGTs unique to the genus Leishmania have been acquired after the divergence of Leishmania from the other trypanosomatids, and are evolving faster than their recipient genomes. This implies that LGT in genus Leishmania is a continuous and dynamic process contributing to species differentiation and speciation. This study also highlights the importance of carefully evaluating these dynamic genes, e.g. as LGTs have been suggested as potential drug targets.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 10, no 1, e0004326
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294607DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004326ISI: 000372565700039PubMedID: 26730948OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294607DiVA: diva2:931070
FunderSwedish Research Council Formas, 2008-1366