Evolution of glutamine synthetase in heterokonts: evidence for endosymbiotic gene transfer and the early evolution of photosynthesis.
ABSTRACT Although the endosymbiotic evolution of chloroplasts through primary and secondary associations is well established, the evolutionary timing and stability of the secondary endosymbiotic events is less well resolved. Heterokonts include both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic members and the nonphotosynthetic lineages branch basally in phylogenetic reconstructions. Molecular and morphological data indicate that heterokont chloroplasts evolved via a secondary endosymbiosis, involving a heterotrophic host cell and a photosynthetic ancestor of the red algae and this endosymbiotic event may have preceded the divergence of heterokonts and alveolates. If photosynthesis evolved early in this lineage, nuclear genomes of the nonphotosynthetic groups may contain genes that are not essential to photosynthesis but were derived from the endosymbiont genome through gene transfer. These genes offer the potential to trace the evolutionary history of chloroplast gains and losses within these lineages. Glutamine synthetase (GS) is essential for ammonium assimilation and glutamine biosynthesis in all organisms. Three paralogous gene families (GSI, GSII, and GSIII) have been identified and are broadly distributed among prokaryotic and eukaryotic lineages. In diatoms (Heterokonta), the nuclear-encoded chloroplast and cytosolic-localized GS isoforms are encoded by members of the GSII and GSIII family, respectively. Here, we explore the evolutionary history of GSII in both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic heterokonts, red algae, and other eukaryotes. GSII cDNA sequences were obtained from two species of oomycetes by polymerase chain reaction amplification. Additional GSII sequences from eukaryotes and bacteria were obtained from publicly available databases and genome projects. Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses of GSII provided strong support for the monophyly of heterokonts, rhodophytes, chlorophytes, and plants and strong to moderate support for the Opisthokonts. Although the phylogeny is reflective of the unikont/bikont division of eukaryotes, we propose based on the robustness of the phylogenetic analyses that the heterokont GSII gene evolved via endosymbiotic gene transfer from the nucleus of the red-algal endosymbiont to the nucleus of the host. The lack of GSIII sequences in the oomycetes examined here further suggests that the GSIII gene that functions in the cytosol of photosynthetic heterokonts was replaced by the endosymbiont-derived GSII gene.
Article: Glutamine synthetase sequence evolution in the mycobacteria and their use as molecular markers for Actinobacteria speciation.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although the gene encoding for glutamine synthetase (glnA) is essential in several organisms, multiple glnA copies have been identified in bacterial genomes such as those of the phylum Actinobacteria, notably the mycobacterial species. Intriguingly, previous reports have shown that only one copy (glnA1) is essential for growth in M. tuberculosis, while the other copies (glnA2, glnA3 and glnA4) are not. In this report it is shown that the glnA1 and glnA2 encoded glutamine synthetase sequences were inherited from an Actinobacteria ancestor, while the glnA4 and glnA3 encoded GS sequences were sequentially acquired during Actinobacteria speciation. The glutamine synthetase sequences encoded by glnA4 and glnA3 are undergoing reductive evolution in the mycobacteria, whilst those encoded by glnA1 and glnA2 are more conserved. Different selective pressures by the ecological niche that the organisms occupy may influence the sequence evolution of glnA1 and glnA2 and thereby affecting phylogenies based on the protein sequences they encode. The findings in this report may impact the use of similar sequences as molecular markers, as well as shed some light on the evolution of glutamine synthetase in the mycobacteria.BMC Evolutionary Biology 03/2009; 9:48. · 3.52 Impact Factor
Article: Molecular evolution of glutamine synthetase II: Phylogenetic evidence of a non-endosymbiotic gene transfer event early in plant evolution.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Glutamine synthetase (GS) is essential for ammonium assimilation and the biosynthesis of glutamine. The three GS gene families (GSI, GSII, and GSIII) are represented in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. In this study, we examined the evolutionary relationship of GSII from eubacterial and eukaryotic lineages and present robust phylogenetic evidence that GSII was transferred from gamma-Proteobacteria (Eubacteria) to the Chloroplastida. GSII sequences were isolated from four species of green algae (Trebouxiophyceae), and additional green algal (Chlorophyceae and Prasinophytae) and streptophyte (Charales, Desmidiales, Bryophyta, Marchantiophyta, Lycopodiophyta and Tracheophyta) sequences were obtained from public databases. In Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses, eubacterial (GSIIB) and eukaryotic (GSIIE) GSII sequences formed distinct clades. Both GSIIB and GSIIE were found in chlorophytes and early-diverging streptophytes. The GSIIB enzymes from these groups formed a well-supported sister clade with the gamma-Proteobacteria, providing evidence that GSIIB in the Chloroplastida arose by horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Bayesian relaxed molecular clock analyses suggest that GSIIB and GSIIE coexisted for an extended period of time but it is unclear whether the proposed HGT happened prior to or after the divergence of the primary endosymbiotic lineages (the Archaeplastida). However, GSIIB genes have not been identified in glaucophytes or red algae, favoring the hypothesis that GSIIB was gained after the divergence of the primary endosymbiotic lineages. Duplicate copies of the GSIIB gene were present in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Volvox carteri f. nagariensis, and Physcomitrella patens. Both GSIIB proteins in C. reinhardtii and V. carteri f. nagariensis had N-terminal transit sequences, indicating they are targeted to the chloroplast or mitochondrion. In contrast, GSIIB proteins of P. patens lacked transit sequences, suggesting a cytosolic function. GSIIB sequences were absent in vascular plants where the duplication of GSIIE replaced the function of GSIIB. Phylogenetic evidence suggests GSIIB in Chloroplastida evolved by HGT, possibly after the divergence of the primary endosymbiotic lineages. Thus while multiple GS isoenzymes are common among members of the Chloroplastida, the isoenzymes may have evolved via different evolutionary processes. The acquisition of essential enzymes by HGT may provide rapid changes in biochemical capacity and therefore be favored by natural selection.BMC Evolutionary Biology 01/2010; 10:198. · 3.52 Impact Factor