The Frequency of Eubacterium-to-Eukaryote Lateral Gene Transfers Shows Significant Cross-Taxa Variation Within Amoebozoa
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Single-celled bacterivorous eukaryotes offer excellent test cases for evaluation of the frequency of prey-to-predator lateral gene transfer (LGT). Here we use analysis of expressed sequence tag (EST) data sets to quantify the extent of LGT from eubacteria to two amoebae, Acanthamoeba castellanii and Hartmannella vermiformis. Stringent screening for LGT proceeded in several steps intended to enrich for authentic events while at the same time minimizing the incidence of false positives due to factors such as limitations in database coverage and ancient paralogy. The results were compared with data obtained when the same methodology was applied to EST libraries from a number of other eukaryotic taxa. Significant differences in the extent of apparent eubacterium-to-eukaryote LGT were found between taxa. Our results indicate that there may be substantial inter-taxon variation in the number of LGT events that become fixed even between amoebozoan species that have similar feeding modalities.
KeywordsLateral gene transfer Horizontal gene transfer Eukaryotes Eubacteria Genome evolution Amoebozoa Acanthamoeba Hartmannella Dictyostelium Expressed sequence tags
We thank C. Nesbø for her careful reading of the original draft of the manuscript and for her insightful comments. We also thank A. Roger for very useful discussions. This study was conducted under the auspices of the Protist EST Program (PEP), a Genome Canada large-scale genomics project, with funding through Genome Atlantic and the Atlantic Innovation Fund. M.W.G. is pleased to acknowledge salary support from the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Program in Evolutionary Biology).
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