Journal of Genetics

, 98:23 | Cite as

Lateral transfer of organophosphate degradation (opd) genes among soil bacteria: mode of transfer and contributions to organismal fitness

  • Dayananda SiddavattamEmail author
  • Harshita Yakkala
  • Devyani Samantarrai
Review Article


Genes encoding structurally independent phosphotriesterases (PTEs) are identified in soil bacteria. These pte genes, often identified on mobilizable and self-transmissible plasmids are organized as mobile genetic elements. Their dissemination through lateral gene transfer is evident due to the detection of identical organophosphate degradation genes among soil bacteria with little or no taxonomic relationship. Convergent evolution of PTEs provided selective advantages to the bacterial strain as they convert toxic phosphotriesters (PTs) into a source of phosphate. The residues of organophosphate (OP) compounds that accumulate in a soil are proposed to contribute to the evolution of PTEs through substrate-assisted gain-of-function. This review provides comprehensive information on lateral transfer of pte genes and critically examines proposed hypotheses on their evolution in the light of the short half-life of OPs in the environment. The review also proposes alternate factors that have possibly contributed to the evolution and lateral mobility of PTEs by taking into account their biology and analyses of pte genes in genomic and metagenomic databases.


phosphotriesterases opd gene mpd gene lateral gene transfer molecular evolution 



DS received research grants from CSIR and DST, New Delhi. Department of Animal Biology is funded through DST-FIST level-II. The School of Life Science received special assistance through DBT-BUILDER programme.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dayananda Siddavattam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harshita Yakkala
    • 1
  • Devyani Samantarrai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Sciences, School of Life SciencesUniversity of HyderabadHyderabadIndia

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