Gene Transfer from Bacteria and Archaea Facilitated Evolution of an Extremophilic Eukaryote

TitleGene Transfer from Bacteria and Archaea Facilitated Evolution of an Extremophilic Eukaryote
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsSchonknecht G, Chen WH, Ternes CM, Barbier GG, Shrestha RP, Stanke M, Brautigam A, Baker BJ, Banfield JF, Garavito RM, Carr K, Wilkerson C, Rensing SA, Gagneul D, Dickenson NE, Oesterhelt C, Lercher MJ, Weber APM
JournalScience
Volume339
Pagination1207-1210
Date Published2013/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0036-8075
Accession NumberWOS:000315709900048
Keywordsalga; cyanidium-caldarium; environments; family; galdieria-sulphuraria; genome
Abstract

Some microbial eukaryotes, such as the extremophilic red alga Galdieria sulphuraria, live in hot, toxic metal-rich, acidic environments. To elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms of adaptation, we sequenced the 13.7-megabase genome of G. sulphuraria. This alga shows an enormous metabolic flexibility, growing either photoautotrophically or heterotrophically on more than 50 carbon sources. Environmental adaptation seems to have been facilitated by horizontal gene transfer from various bacteria and archaea, often followed by gene family expansion. At least 5% of protein-coding genes of G. sulphuraria were probably acquired horizontally. These proteins are involved in ecologically important processes ranging from heavy-metal detoxification to glycerol uptake and metabolism. Thus, our findings show that a pan-domain gene pool has facilitated environmental adaptation in this unicellular eukaryote.

DOI10.1126/science.1231707
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