Dec 30

Evidence for horizontal gene transfer from Bacteroidetes bacteria to dinoflagellate minicircles.

Evidence for horizontal gene transfer from Bacteroidetes bacteria to dinoflagellate minicircles.

Mol Biol Evol. 2011 Nov 10;

Authors: Moszczynski K, Mackiewicz P, Bodyl A

Abstract
Dinoflagellate protists harbor a characteristic peridinin-containing plastid that evolved from a red or haptophyte alga. In contrast to typical plastids that have ∼100-200 kb circular genomes, the dinoflagellate plastid genome is composed of minicircles that each encode 0-5 genes. It is commonly assumed that dinoflagellate minicircles are derived from a standard plastid genome through drastic reduction and fragmentation. However, we demonstrate that the ycf16 and ycf24 genes (encoded on the Ceratium AF490364 minicircle), as well as rpl28 and rpl33 (encoded on the Pyrocystis AF490367 minicircle), are related to sequences from Algoriphagus and/or Cytophaga bacteria belonging to the Bacteroidetes clade. Moreover, we identified a new open reading frame on the Pyrocystis minicircle encoding a SRP54 N domain, which is typical of FtsY proteins. Because neither of these minicircles share sequence similarity with any other dinoflagellate minicircles, and their genes resemble bacterial operons, we propose that these Ceratium and Pyrocystis minicircles resulted from horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from a Bacteroidetes donor. Our findings are the first indication of HGT to dinoflagellate minicircles, highlighting yet another peculiar aspect of this plastid genome.

PMID: 22075114 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]