, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 716-725
Date: 16 May 2005

Type I Polyketide Synthases May Have Evolved Through Horizontal Gene Transfer

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Type I polyketide synthases (PKSI) are modular multidomain enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of many natural products of industrial interest. PKSI modules are minimally organized in three domains: ketosynthase (KS), acyltransferase (AT), and acyl carrier protein. The KS domain phylogeny of 23 PKSI clusters was determined. The results obtained suggest that many horizontal transfers of PKSI genes have occurred between actinomycetales species. Such gene transfers may explain the homogeneity and the robustness of the actinomycetales group since gene transfers between closely related species could mimic patterns generated by vertical inheritance. We suggest that the linearity and instability of actinomycetales chromosomes associated with their large quantity of genetic mobile elements have favored such horizontal gene transfers.