Horizontal gene transfer between Wolbachia and the mosquito Aedes aegypti.


Klasson, L; Kambris, Z; Cook, PE; Walker, T; Sinkins, SP; (2009) Horizontal gene transfer between Wolbachia and the mosquito Aedes aegypti. BMC Genomics, 10. p. 33. ISSN 1471-2164 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-10-33

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Abstract

BACKGROUND The evolutionary importance of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from Wolbachia endosymbiotic bacteria to their eukaryotic hosts is a topic of considerable interest and debate. Recent transfers of genome fragments from Wolbachia into insect chromosomes have been reported, but it has been argued that these fragments may be on an evolutionary trajectory to degradation and loss. RESULTS We have discovered a case of HGT, involving two adjacent genes, between the genomes of Wolbachia and the currently Wolbachia-uninfected mosquito Aedes aegypti, an important human disease vector. The lower level of sequence identity between Wolbachia and insect, the transcription of all the genes involved, and the fact that we have identified homologs of the two genes in another Aedes species (Ae. mascarensis), suggest that these genes are being expressed after an extended evolutionary period since horizontal transfer, and therefore that the transfer has functional significance. The association of these genes with Wolbachia prophage regions also provides a mechanism for the transfer. CONCLUSION The data support the argument that HGT between Wolbachia endosymbiotic bacteria and their hosts has produced evolutionary innovation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 19154594
Web of Science ID: 264121000001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/1620551

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