Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 716–725 | Cite as

Type I Polyketide Synthases May Have Evolved Through Horizontal Gene Transfer

  • Aurélien Ginolhac
  • Cyrille Jarrin
  • Patrick Robe
  • Guy Perrière
  • Timothy M. Vogel
  • Pascal Simonet
  • Renaud Nalin


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.


Polyketide synthase Horizontal gene transfer Molecular phylogeny Ketosynthase Actinomycetales 



We are indebted to the Pôle Bioinformatique Lyonnais for the kind access to their databanks and informatic resources. We gratefully acknowledge Jean-Luc Pernodet and Ludovic Orlando for the fruitful discussions regarding the manuscript. This contribution was supported by European project METACONTROL QLK3-CT-2002-02068.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aurélien Ginolhac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cyrille Jarrin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Robe
    • 1
  • Guy Perrière
    • 3
  • Timothy M. Vogel
    • 2
  • Pascal Simonet
    • 2
  • Renaud Nalin
    • 1
  1. 1.LibraGen S.A.Bâtiment Canal Biotech 1ToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Ecologie Microbienne, UMR CNRS 5557Université Claude BernardVilleurbanne CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Évolutive, UMR CNRS 5558Université Claude BernardVilleurbanne CedexFrance

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