[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A longstanding concept in community ecology is that closely related species compete more strongly than distant relatives. Ecologists have invoked this 'limiting similarity hypothesis' to explain patterns in the structure and function of biological communities and to inform conservation, restoration, and invasive species management. However, few studies have empirically tested the validity of the limiting similarity hypothesis. Here we report the results of a laboratory microcosm experiment in which we used a model system of 23 common, co-occurring North American freshwater green algae to quantify the strength of 216 pair-wise species' interactions (the difference in population density when grown alone vs. in the presence of another species) along a manipulated gradient of evolutionary relatedness (phylogenetic distance, as the sum of branch lengths separating species on a molecular phylogeny). Interspecific interactions varied widely in these bicultures of phytoplankton, ranging from strong competition (relative yield in poly:monoculture << 1) to moderate facilitation (relative yield > 1). Yet, we found no evidence that the strength of species' interactions was influenced by their evolutionary relatedness. There was no relationship between phylogenetic distance and the average, minimum (inferior competitor), nor maximum (superior competitor) interaction strength across all biculture communities (respectively, P = 0.19; P = 0.17, P = 0.14, N = 428). When we examined each individual species, only 17% of individual species' interactions strengths varied as a function of phylogenetic distance, and none of these relationships remained significant after Bonferoni correction for multiple tests (N = 23). Lastly, when we grouped interactions into five qualitatively different types, the frequency of these types was not related to phylogenetic distance among species pairs (F = 1.63, P = 0.15). Our empirical study adds to several others that suggest the biological underpinnings of competition may not be evolutionarily conserved, and thus, ecologists may need to re-evaluate the previously assumed generality of the limiting similarity hypothesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The squid Euprymna scolopes has evolved independent sets of tissues capable of light detection, including a complex eye and a photophore or 'light organ', which houses the luminous bacterial symbiont Vibrio fischeri. As the eye and light organ originate from different embryonic tissues, we examined whether the eye-specification genes, pax6, eya, six, and dac, are shared by these two organs, and if so, whether they are regulated in the light organ by symbiosis. We obtained sequences of the four genes with PCR, confirmed orthology with phylogenetic analysis, and determined that each was expressed in the eye and light organ. With in situ hybridization (ISH), we localized the gene transcripts in developing embryos, comparing the patterns of expression in the two organs. The four transcripts localized to similar tissues, including those associated with the visual system ∼1/4 into embryogenesis (Naef stage 18) and the light organ ∼3/4 into embryogenesis (Naef stage 26). We used ISH and quantitative real-time PCR to examine transcript expression and differential regulation in postembryonic light organs in response to the following colonization conditions: wild-type, luminescent V. fischeri; a mutant strain defective in light production; and as a control, no symbiont. In ISH experiments light organs showed down regulation of the pax6, eya, and six transcripts in response to wild-type V. fischeri. Mutant strains also induced down regulation of the pax6 and eya transcripts, but not of the six transcript. Thus, luminescence was required for down regulation of the six transcript. We discuss these results in the context of symbiont-induced light-organ development. Our study indicates that the eye-specification genes are expressed in light-interacting tissues independent of their embryonic origin and are capable of responding to bacterial cues. These results offer evidence for evolutionary tinkering or the recruitment of eye development genes for use in a light-sensing photophore.
Mechanisms of development 10/2013; · 2.83 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The coexistence of competing species depends on the balance between their fitness differences, which determine their competitive inequalities, and their niche differences, which stabilise their competitive interactions. Darwin proposed that evolution causes species' niches to diverge, but the influence of evolution on relative fitness differences, and the importance of both niche and fitness differences in determining coexistence have not yet been studied together. We tested whether the phylogenetic distances between species of green freshwater algae determined their abilities to coexist in a microcosm experiment. We found that niche differences were more important in explaining coexistence than relative fitness differences, and that phylogenetic distance had no effect on either coexistence or on the sizes of niche and fitness differences. These results were corroborated by an analysis of the frequency of the co-occurrence of 325 pairwise combinations of algal taxa in > 1100 lakes across North America. Phylogenetic distance may not explain the coexistence of freshwater green algae.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple rounds of whole genome duplication have repeatedly marked the evolution of vertebrates, and correlate strongly with morphological innovation. However, less is known about the behavioral, physiological and ecological consequences of genome duplication, and whether these events coincide with major transitions in vertebrate complexity. The complex behavior of anadromy-where adult fishes migrate up rivers from the sea to their natal site to spawn-is well known in salmonid fishes. Some hypotheses suggest that migratory behavior evolved as a consequence of an ancestral genome duplication event, which permitted salinity tolerance and osmoregulatory plasticity. Here we test whether anadromy evolved multiple times within salmonids, and whether genome duplication coincided with the evolution of anadromy. We present a method that uses ancestral character simulation data to plot the frequency of character transitions over a time calibrated phylogenetic tree to provide estimates of the absolute timing of character state transitions. Furthermore, we incorporate extinct and extant taxa to improve on previous estimates of divergence times. We present the first phylogenetic evidence indicating that anadromy evolved at least twice from freshwater salmonid ancestors. Results suggest that genome duplication did not coincide in time with changes in migratory behavior, but preceded a transition to anadromy by 55-50 million years. Our study represents the first attempt to estimate the absolute timing of a complex behavioral trait in relation to a genome duplication event.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 08/2013; · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stomatopod crustaceans have complex visual systems containing up to 16 different spectral classes of photoreceptors, more than described for any other animal. A previous molecular study of this visual system focusing on the expression of opsin genes found many more transcripts than predicted on the basis of physiology, but was unable to fully document the expressed opsin genes responsible for this diversity. Furthermore, questions remain about how other components of phototransduction cascades are involved. This study continues prior investigations by examining the molecular function of stomatopods' visual systems using new whole eye 454 transcriptome datasets from two species, Hemisquilla californiensis and Pseudosquilla ciliata. These two species represent taxonomic diversity within the order Stomatopoda, as well as variations in the anatomy and physiology of the visual system. Using an evolutionary placement algorithm to annotate the transcriptome, we identified the presence of nine components of the stomatopods' G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) phototransduction cascade, including two visual arrestins, subunits of the heterotrimeric G-protein, phospholipase C, transient receptor potential channels, and opsin transcripts. The set of expressed transduction genes suggests that stomatopods utilize a Gq-mediated GPCR-signaling cascade. The most notable difference in expression between the phototransduction cascades of the two species was the number of opsin contigs recovered, with 18 contigs found in retinas of H. californiensis, and 49 contigs in those of P. ciliata. Based on phylogenetic placement and fragment overlap, these contigs were estimated to represent 14 and 33 expressed transcripts, respectively. These data expand the known opsin diversity in stomatopods to clades of arthropod opsins that are sensitive to short wavelengths and ultraviolet wavelengths and confirm the results of previous studies recovering more opsin transcripts than spectrally distinct types of photoreceptors. Many of the recovered transcripts were phylogenetically placed in an evolutionary clade of crustacean opsin sequences that is rapidly expanding as the visual systems from more species are investigated. We discuss these results in relation to the emerging pattern, particularly in crustacean visual systems, of the expression of multiple opsin transcripts in photoreceptors of the same spectral class, and even in single photoreceptor cells.
Integrative and Comparative Biology 05/2013; · 3.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sexual dimorphisms have long drawn the attention of evolutionary biologists. However, we still have much to learn about the evolutionary, genetic, and developmental drivers of sexual dimorphisms. Here, we introduce ostracods of the genus Euphilomedes (Myodocopida, Ostracoda, and Crustacea) as a promising new system in which to investigate why and how sexual dimorphisms evolve. First, we ask whether male-skewed selective pressure from pelagic predators may help explain a dramatic sexual dimorphism in which male Euphilomedes have compound eyes, but females do not. Manipulative experiments demonstrate that blindfolding reduces the survival rate of male Euphilomedes when they are exposed to predatory fish. Blindfolding of the female rudimentary eyes (rudiments) does not, however, similarly influence the survival rate of brooding females. Further, numerical estimates of sighting distances, based on reasonable extrapolations from Euphilomedes's eye morphology, suggest that the eyes of male Euphilomedes are useful for detecting objects roughly the size of certain pelagic predators, but not conspecifics. We conclude that eyes do not mediate direct interactions between male and female Euphilomedes, but that differences in predation pressure-perhaps associated with different reproductive behaviors-contribute to maintaining the sexually dimorphic eyes of these ostracods. Second, through transcriptome sequencing, we examined potential gene regulatory networks that could underlie sexual dimorphism in Euphilomedes' eyes. From the transcriptome of juvenile male Euphilomedes' eyes, we identified phototransduction genes and components of eye-related developmental networks that are well characterized in Drosophila and other species. The presence of suites of eye regulatory genes in our Euphilomedes juvenile male transcriptome will allow us, in future studies, to test how ostracods regulate the development of their sexually dimorphic eyes.
Integrative and Comparative Biology 05/2013; · 3.02 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The impact of biodiversity on the stability of ecological communities has been debated among biologists for more than a century. Recently summarized empirical evidence suggests that biodiversity tends to enhance the temporal stability of community-level properties such as biomass; however, the underlying mechanisms driving this relationship remain poorly understood. Here, we report the results of a microcosm study in which we used simplified systems of freshwater microalgae to explore how the phylogenetic relatedness of species influences the temporal stability of community biomass by altering the nature of their competitive interactions. We show that combinations of two species that are more evolutionarily divergent tend to have lower temporal stability of biomass. In part, this is due to negative 'selection effects' in which bicultures composed of distantly related species are more likely to contain strong competitors that achieve low biomass. In addition, bicultures of distantly related species had on average weaker competitive interactions, which reduced compensatory dynamics and decreased the stability of community biomass. Our results demonstrate that evolutionary history plays a key role in controlling the mechanisms, which give rise to diversity-stability relationships. As such, patterns of shared ancestry may help us predict the ecosystem-level consequences of biodiversity loss.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 01/2013; 280(1768):20131548. · 5.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An ambitious, yet fundamental goal for comparative biology is to understand the evolutionary relationships for all of life. However, many important taxonomic groups have remained recalcitrant to inclusion into broader scale studies. Here, we focus on collection of 9 new 454 transcriptome data sets from Ostracoda, an ancient and diverse group with a dense fossil record, which is often undersampled in broader studies. We combine the new transcriptomes with a new morphological matrix (including fossils) and existing expressed sequence tag, mitochondrial genome, nuclear genome, and ribosomal DNA data. Our analyses lead to new insights into ostracod and pancrustacean phylogeny. We obtained support for three epic pancrustacean clades that likely originated in the Cambrian: Oligostraca (Ostracoda, Mystacocarida, Branchiura, and Pentastomida); Multicrustacea (Copepoda, Malacostraca, and Thecostraca); and a clade we refer to as Allotriocarida (Hexapoda, Remipedia, Cephalocarida, and Branchiopoda). Within the Oligostraca clade, our results support the unresolved question of ostracod monophyly. Within Multicrustacea, we find support for Thecostraca plus Copepoda, for which we suggest the name Hexanauplia. Within Allotriocarida, some analyses support the hypothesis that Remipedia is the sister taxon to Hexapoda, but others support Branchiopoda + Cephalocarida as the sister group of hexapods. In multiple different analyses, we see better support for equivocal nodes using slow-evolving genes or when excluding distant outgroups, highlighting the increased importance of conditional data combination in this age of abundant, often anonymous data. However, when we analyze the same set of species and ignore rate of gene evolution, we find higher support when including all data, more in line with a "total evidence" philosophy. By concatenating molecular and morphological data, we place pancrustacean fossils in the phylogeny, which can be used for studies of divergence times in Pancrustacea, Arthropoda, or Metazoa. Our results and new data will allow for attributes of Ostracoda, such as its amazing fossil record and diverse biology, to be leveraged in broader scale comparative studies. Further, we illustrate how adding extensive next-generation sequence data from understudied groups can yield important new phylogenetic insights into long-standing questions, especially when carefully analyzed in combination with other data.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 09/2012; · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The marine environment is comprised of numerous divergent organisms living under similar selective pressures, often resulting in the evolution of convergent structures such as the fusiform body shape of pelagic squids, fishes, and some marine mammals. However, little is known about the frequency of, and circumstances leading to, convergent evolution in the open ocean. Here, we present a comparative study of the molluscan class Cephalopoda, a marine group known to occupy habitats from the intertidal to the deep sea. Several lineages bear features that may coincide with a benthic or pelagic existence, making this a valuable group for testing hypotheses of correlated evolution. To test for convergence and correlation, we generate the most taxonomically comprehensive multi-gene phylogeny of cephalopods to date. We then create a character matrix of habitat type and morphological characters, which we use to infer ancestral character states and test for correlation between habitat and morphology.
Our study utilizes a taxonomically well-sampled phylogeny to show convergent evolution in all six morphological characters we analyzed. Three of these characters also correlate with habitat. The presence of an autogenic photophore (those relying upon autonomous enzymatic light reactions) is correlated with a pelagic habitat, while the cornea and accessory nidamental gland correlate with a benthic lifestyle. Here, we present the first statistical tests for correlation between convergent traits and habitat in cephalopods to better understand the evolutionary history of characters that are adaptive in benthic or pelagic environments, respectively.
Our study supports the hypothesis that habitat has influenced convergent evolution in the marine environment: benthic organisms tend to exhibit similar characteristics that confer protection from invasion by other benthic taxa, while pelagic organisms possess features that facilitate crypsis and communication in an environment lacking physical refuges. Features that have originated multiple times in distantly related lineages are likely adaptive for the organisms inhabiting a particular environment: studying the frequency and evolutionary history of such convergent characters can increase understanding of the underlying forces driving ecological and evolutionary transitions in the marine environment.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many larval sponges possess pigment ring eyes that apparently mediate phototactic swimming. Yet sponges are not known to possess nervous systems or opsin genes, so the unknown molecular components of sponge phototaxis must differ fundamentally from those in other animals, inspiring questions about how this sensory system functions. Here we present molecular and biochemical data on cryptochrome, a candidate gene for functional involvement in sponge pigment ring eyes. We report that Amphimedon queenslandica, a demosponge, possesses two cryptochrome/photolyase genes, Aq-Cry1 and Aq-Cry2. The mRNA of one gene (Aq-Cry2) is expressed in situ at the pigment ring eye. Additionally, we report that Aq-Cry2 lacks photolyase activity and contains a flavin-based co-factor that is responsive to wavelengths of light that also mediate larval photic behavior. These results suggest that Aq-Cry2 may act in the aneural, opsin-less phototaxic behavior of a sponge.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cnidocytes, the eponymous cell type of the Cnidaria, facilitate both sensory and secretory functions and are among the most complex animal cell types known. In addition to their structural complexity, cnidocytes display complex sensory attributes, integrating both chemical and mechanical cues from the environment into their discharge behavior. Despite more than a century of work aimed at understanding the sensory biology of cnidocytes, the specific sensory receptor genes that regulate their function remain unknown.
Here we report that light also regulates cnidocyte function. We show that non-cnidocyte neurons located in battery complexes of the freshwater polyp Hydra magnipapillata specifically express opsin, cyclic nucleotide gated (CNG) ion channel and arrestin, which are all known components of bilaterian phototransduction cascades. We infer from behavioral trials that different light intensities elicit significant effects on cnidocyte discharge propensity. Harpoon-like stenotele cnidocytes show a pronounced diminution of discharge behavior under bright light conditions as compared to dim light. Further, we show that suppression of firing by bright light is ablated by cis-diltiazem, a specific inhibitor of CNG ion channels.
Our results implicate an ancient opsin-mediated phototransduction pathway and a previously unknown layer of sensory complexity in the control of cnidocyte discharge. These findings also suggest a molecular mechanism for the regulation of other cnidarian behaviors that involve both photosensitivity and cnidocyte function, including diurnal feeding repertoires and/or substrate-based locomotion. More broadly, our findings highlight one novel, non-visual function for opsin-mediated phototransduction in a cnidarian, the origins of which might have preceded the evolution of cnidarian eyes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex organs such as eyes are commonly lost during evolution, but the timescale on which lost phenotypes could be reactivated is a matter of long-standing debate, with important implications for the molecular mechanisms of trait loss. Two phylogenetic approaches have been used to test whether regain of traits has occurred. One way is by comparison of nested, continuous-time Markov models of trait evolution, approaches that we term tree-based tests. A second way to demonstrate statistical support for trait regain is through use of node-based tests that employ explicit estimation of ancestral node states. Here, we estimate new molecular and morphological phylogenies and use them to examine the possibility of eye regain and dispersal between abyssal and shallow seas during the history of cylindroleberidid ostracods, a family of about 200 species, comprising both eyeless and sighted species. First, we confirmed that eye presence/absence is correlated with habitat depth. Parameter estimates from a phylogenetic model indicate that speciation is more rapid in deep-sea eyeless clades compared with shallow-water sighted clades. In addition, we found that tree-based statistical tests usually indicated reversals, including both transitions from deep to shallow seas and regain of eyes. In contrast, node-based statistical tests usually failed to show significant support for reversals. These results also hold for simulated phylogenies, indicating that they are not unique to the current data set. We recommend that both tree-based and node-based tests should be examined before making conclusions about character reversal and that ideally, alternative character histories should be tested using additional data, besides just the phylogenetic distribution of presence/absence of the characters.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While the concept of a dermal light sense has existed for over a century, little progress has been made in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying dispersed photoreception and the evolutionary histories of dispersed photoreceptor cells. These cells historically have been difficult to locate and positively identify, but modern molecular techniques, integrated with existing behavioral, morphological, and physiological data, will make cell identification easier and allow us to address questions of mechanism and evolution. With this in mind, we propose a new classification scheme for all photoreceptor cell types based on two axes, cell distribution (aggregated vs. dispersed) and position within neural networks (first order vs. high order). All photoreceptor cells fall within one of four quadrants created by these axes: aggregated/high order, dispersed/high order, aggregated/first order, or dispersed/first order. This new method of organization will help researchers make objective comparisons between different photoreceptor cell types. Using integrative data from four major phyla (Mollusca, Cnidaria, Echinodermata, and Arthropoda), we also provide evidence for three hypotheses for dispersed photoreceptor cell function and evolution. First, aside from echinoderms, we find that animals often use dispersed photoreceptor cells for tasks that do not require spatial vision. Second, although there are both echinoderm and arthropod exceptions, we find that dispersed photoreceptor cells generally lack morphological specializations that either enhance light gathering or aid in the collection of directional information about light. Third, we find that dispersed photoreceptor cells have evolved a number of times in Metazoa and that most dispersed photoreceptor cells have likely evolved through the co-option of existing phototransduction cascades. Our new classification scheme, combined with modern investigative techniques, will help us address these hypotheses in great detail and generate new hypothesis regarding the function and evolution of dispersed photoreceptor cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the draft genome of the microcrustacean Daphnia pulex, which is only 200 megabases and contains at least 30,907 genes. The high gene count is a consequence of an elevated rate of gene duplication resulting in tandem gene clusters. More than a third of Daphnia's genes have no detectable homologs in any other available proteome, and the most amplified gene families are specific to the Daphnia lineage. The coexpansion of gene families interacting within metabolic pathways suggests that the maintenance of duplicated genes is not random, and the analysis of gene expression under different environmental conditions reveals that numerous paralogs acquire divergent expression patterns soon after duplication. Daphnia-specific genes, including many additional loci within sequenced regions that are otherwise devoid of annotations, are the most responsive genes to ecological challenges.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the draft genome of the microcrustacean Daphnia pulex, which is only 200 megabases and contains at least 30,907 genes. The high gene count is a consequence of an elevated rate of gene duplication resulting in tandem gene clusters. More than a third of Daphnia’s genes have no detectable homologs in any other available proteome, and the most amplified gene families are specific to the Daphnia lineage. The coexpansion of gene families interacting within metabolic pathways suggests that the maintenance of duplicated genes is not random, and the analysis of gene expression under different environmental conditions reveals that numerous paralogs acquire divergent expression patterns soon after duplication. Daphnia-specific genes, including many additional loci within sequenced regions that are otherwise devoid of annotations, are the most responsive genes to ecological challenges.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sponges are an ancient group of animals that diverged from other metazoans over 600 million years ago. Here we present the draft genome sequence of Amphimedon queenslandica, a demosponge from the Great Barrier Reef, and show that it is remarkably similar to other animal genomes in content, structure and organization. Comparative analysis enabled by the sequencing of the sponge genome reveals genomic events linked to the origin and early evolution of animals, including the appearance, expansion and diversification of pan-metazoan transcription factor, signalling pathway and structural genes. This diverse 'toolkit' of genes correlates with critical aspects of all metazoan body plans, and comprises cell cycle control and growth, development, somatic- and germ-cell specification, cell adhesion, innate immunity and allorecognition. Notably, many of the genes associated with the emergence of animals are also implicated in cancer, which arises from defects in basic processes associated with metazoan multicellularity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evolutionary histories of complex traits are complicated because such traits are comprised of multiple integrated and interacting components, which may have different individual histories. Phylogenetic studies of complex trait evolution often do not take this into account, instead focusing only on the history of whole, integrated traits; for example, mapping eyes as simply present or absent through history. Using the biochemistry of animal vision as a model, we demonstrate how investigating the individual components of complex systems can aid in elucidating both the origins and diversification of such systems. Opsin-based phototransduction underlies all visual phenotypes in animals, using complex protein cascades that translate light information into changes in cyclic nucleotide gated (CNG) or canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC) ion-channel activity. Here we show that CNG ion channels play a role in cnidarian phototransduction. Transcripts of a CNG ion channel co-localize with opsin in specific cell types of the eyeless cnidarian Hydra magnipapillata. Further, the CNG inhibitor cis-diltiazem ablates a stereotypical photoresponse in the hydra. Our findings in the Cnidaria, the only non-bilaterian lineage to possess functional opsins, allow us to trace the history of CNG-based photosensitivity to the very origin of animal phototransduction. Our general analytical approach, based on explicit phylogenetic analysis of individual components, contrasts the deep evolutionary history of CNG-based phototransduction, today used in vertebrate vision, with the more recent assembly of TRPC-based systems that are common to protostome (e.g. fly and mollusc) vision.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2010; 277(1690):1963-9. · 5.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Duplication and divergence of genes and genetic networks is hypothesized to be a major driver of the evolution of complexity and novel features. Here, we examine the history of genes and genetic networks in the context of eye evolution by using new approaches to understand patterns of gene duplication during the evolution of metazoan genomes. We hypothesize that 1) genes involved in eye development and phototransduction have duplicated and are retained at higher rates in animal clades that possess more distinct types of optical design; and 2) genes with functional relationships were duplicated and lost together, thereby preserving genetic networks. To test these hypotheses, we examine the rates and patterns of gene duplication and loss evident in 19 metazoan genomes, including that of Daphnia pulex - the first completely sequenced crustacean genome. This is of particular interest because the pancrustaceans (hexapods+crustaceans) have more optical designs than any other major clade of animals, allowing us to test specifically whether the high amount of disparity in pancrustacean eyes is correlated with a higher rate of duplication and retention of vision genes.
Using protein predictions from 19 metazoan whole-genome projects, we found all members of 23 gene families known to be involved in eye development or phototransduction and deduced their phylogenetic relationships. This allowed us to estimate the number and timing of gene duplication and loss events in these gene families during animal evolution. When comparing duplication/retention rates of these genes, we found that the rate was significantly higher in pancrustaceans than in either vertebrates or non-pancrustacean protostomes. Comparing patterns of co-duplication across Metazoa showed that while these eye-genes co-duplicate at a significantly higher rate than those within a randomly shuffled matrix, many genes with known functional relationships in model organisms did not co-duplicate more often than expected by chance.
Overall, and when accounting for factors such as differential rates of whole-genome duplication in different groups, our results are broadly consistent with the hypothesis that genes involved in eye development and phototransduction duplicate at a higher rate in Pancrustacea, the group with the greatest variety of optical designs. The result that these genes have a significantly high number of co-duplications and co-losses could be influenced by shared functions or other unstudied factors such as synteny. Since we did not observe co-duplication/co-loss of genes for all known functional modules (e.g. specific regulatory networks), the interactions among suites of known co-functioning genes (modules) may be plastic at the temporal scale of analysis performed here. Other factors in addition to gene duplication - such as cis-regulation, heterotopy, and co-option - are also likely to be strong factors in the diversification of eye types.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PDZ domains are protein-protein interaction modules widely used to assemble membranous signaling complexes including those found in the neuronal synapse. PDZ-containing genes encoded in metazoan genomes vastly outnumber those in prokaryotes, plants, and fungi. By comparing 40 proteomes to track the evolutionary history of the PDZ domain, we observed that the variety of associations between PDZ and other domains expands greatly along the stem leading to metazoans and choanoflagellates. We asked whether the expansion of PDZ domains was due to random or specific sequence changes. Studying the sequence signatures of 58 PDZ lineages that are common to bilaterian animals, we showed that six common amino acid residues are able to classify 96% of PDZ domains to their correct evolutionary lineage. In PDZ domain-ligand cocrystals, four of these "classifying positions" lie in direct contact with the -1 and -3 residues of the ligand. This suggests coevolution of the more flexible regions of the binding interaction as a central mechanism of specialization inherent within the PDZ domain. To identify these positions, we devised two independent algorithms--a metric termed within-clade entropy (WCE) and an average mutual information (AvgMI) score--that both reached similar results. Extending these tools to the choanoflagellate, Monosiga brevicollis, we compared its PDZ domains with their putative metazoan orthologs. Interestingly, the M. brevicollis genes lack conservation at the classifying positions suggesting dissociation between domain organization in multidomain proteins and specific changes within the PDZ domain.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 12/2009; 27(5):1058-69. · 10.35 Impact Factor