A spectrum of verticality across genes

Autoři: Falk S. P. Nagies aff001;  Julia Brueckner aff001;  Fernando D. K. Tria aff001;  William F. Martin aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute for Molecular Evolution, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: A spectrum of verticality across genes. PLoS Genet 16(11): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1009200
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009200


Lateral gene transfer (LGT) has impacted prokaryotic genome evolution, yet the extent to which LGT compromises vertical evolution across individual genes and individual phyla is unknown, as are the factors that govern LGT frequency across genes. Estimating LGT frequency from tree comparisons is problematic when thousands of genomes are compared, because LGT becomes difficult to distinguish from phylogenetic artefacts. Here we report quantitative estimates for verticality across all genes and genomes, leveraging a well-known property of phylogenetic inference: phylogeny works best at the tips of trees. From terminal (tip) phylum level relationships, we calculate the verticality for 19,050,992 genes from 101,422 clusters in 5,655 prokaryotic genomes and rank them by their verticality. Among functional classes, translation, followed by nucleotide and cofactor biosynthesis, and DNA replication and repair are the most vertical. The most vertically evolving lineages are those rich in ecological specialists such as Acidithiobacilli, Chlamydiae, Chlorobi and Methanococcales. Lineages most affected by LGT are the α-, β-, γ-, and δ- classes of Proteobacteria and the Firmicutes. The 2,587 eukaryotic clusters in our sample having prokaryotic homologues fail to reject eukaryotic monophyly using the likelihood ratio test. The low verticality of α-proteobacterial and cyanobacterial genomes requires only three partners—an archaeal host, a mitochondrial symbiont, and a plastid ancestor—each with mosaic chromosomes, to directly account for the prokaryotic origin of eukaryotic genes. In terms of phylogeny, the 100 most vertically evolving prokaryotic genes are neither representative nor predictive for the remaining 97% of an average genome. In search of factors that govern LGT frequency, we find a simple but natural principle: Verticality correlates strongly with gene distribution density, LGT being least likely for intruding genes that must replace a preexisting homologue in recipient chromosomes. LGT is most likely for novel genetic material, intruding genes that encounter no competing copy.

Klíčová slova:

Eukaryota – Evolutionary genetics – Genomics – Microbial evolution – Phylogenetic analysis – Phylogenetics – Prokaryotic cells – Sequence alignment


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