Author's posts

Sequence evolution of the major satellite DNA of the genus Ctenomys (Octodontidae, Rodentia)

Sequence variability of RPCS (repetitive PuvII Ctenomys sequence), the major satellite DNA of octodontid Ctenomys rodents, was analysed in species belonging to three groups of species representing the two patterns of karyotypic evolution in the genus: stable and dynamic karyotypes among closely related species. The studied species represent the overall range of RPCS copy number (2000–6.6×10(6) copies per haploid genome) in the genus. RPCS sequence was characterised by PCR amplification of the…

Phylogeny of phagotrophic euglenids (Euglenozoa) as inferred from hsp90 gene sequences

Molecular phylogenies of euglenids are usually based on ribosomal RNA genes that do not resolve the branching order among the deeper lineages. We addressed deep euglenid phylogeny using the cytosolic form of the heat-shock protein 90 gene (hsp90), which has already been employed with some success in other groups of euglenozoans and eukaryotes in general. Hsp90 sequences were generated from three taxa of euglenids representing different degrees of ultrastructural complexity, namely Petalomonas…

Complete nucleotide sequence of the chlorarachniophyte nucleomorph: nature’s smallest nucleus

The introduction of plastids into different heterotrophic protists created lineages of algae that diversified explosively, proliferated in marine and freshwater environments, and radically altered the biosphere. The origins of these secondary plastids are usually inferred from the presence of additional plastid membranes. However, two examples provide unique snapshots of secondary-endosymbiosis-in-action, because they retain a vestige of the endosymbiont nucleus known as the nucleomorph. These…

Lateral gene transfer of a multigene region from cyanobacteria to dinoflagellates resulting in a novel plastid-targeted fusion protein

The number of cases of lateral or horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotic genomes is growing steadily, but in most cases, neither the donor nor the recipient is known, and the biological implications of the transfer are not clear. We describe a relatively well-defined case of transfer from a cyanobacterial source to an ancestor of dinoflagellates that diverged before Oxyrrhis but after Perkinsus. This case is also exceptional in that 2 adjacent genes, a paralogue of the shikimate biosynthetic…

Characterization of a divergent Sec61beta gene in microsporidia

The general secretory (Sec) pathway is the main mechanism for protein secretion and insertion into endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. However, the complete genome of the highly specialized microsporidian parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi appears to lack a gene for Sec61beta, one of three universally conserved proteins that form the core of the Sec translocon. We have identified a putative, highly divergent homologue of Sec61beta in the genome of another…

A high density of ancient spliceosomal introns in oxymonad excavates

CONCLUSION: The Streblomastix data show that the genome of the ancestor of excavates likely contained many introns and the subsequent evolution of introns has proceeded very differently in different excavate lineages: in Streblomastix there has been much stasis while in Trichomonas and Giardia most introns have been lost.

Pyruvate-phosphate dikinase of oxymonads and parabasalia and the evolution of pyrophosphate-dependent glycolysis in anaerobic eukaryotes

In pyrophosphate-dependent glycolysis, the ATP/ADP-dependent enzymes phosphofructokinase (PFK) and pyruvate kinase are replaced by the pyrophosphate-dependent PFK and pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PPDK), respectively. This variant of glycolysis is widespread among bacteria, but it also occurs in a few parasitic anaerobic eukaryotes such as Giardia and Entamoeba spp. We sequenced two genes for PPDK from the amitochondriate oxymonad Streblomastix strix and found evidence for PPDK in Trichomonas…

Causes and effects of nuclear genome reduction

Eukaryotic nuclear genomes are generally considered to be large and gene-sparse, but extreme reduction has taken place several times, resulting in small genomes with a high gene-density. This process involves losing genes, compacting those that remain, or often both. Recently sequenced nuclear genomes include several that have converged to similar gene-densities by many means: variation in numbers and lengths of genes, intergenic regions and introns all contribute, but not equally in any given…

A high frequency of overlapping gene expression in compacted eukaryotic genomes

The gene density of eukaryotic nuclear genomes is generally low relative to prokaryotes, but several eukaryotic lineages (many parasites or endosymbionts) have independently evolved highly compacted, gene-dense genomes. The best studied of these are the microsporidia, highly adapted fungal parasites, and the nucleomorphs, relict nuclei of endosymbiotic algae found in cryptomonads and chlorarachniophytes. These systems are now models for the effects of compaction on the form and dynamics of the…

Comparative genomics of microsporidia

Microsporidia have been known for some time to possess among the smallest genomes of any eukaryote. There is now a completely sequenced microsporidian genome, as well as several other large-scale sequencing efforts, so the nature of these genomes is becoming apparent. This paper reviews some of the characteristics of microsporidian genomes in general, and some of the recent discoveries made through comparative genomic analyses. In general, microsporidian genomes are both reduced and compacted….