[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The seminal work of Carl Woese and co-workers has contributed to promote the RNA component of the small subunit of the ribosome (SSU rRNA) as a "gold standard" of modern prokaryotic taxonomy and systematics, and an essential tool to explore microbial diversity. Yet, this marker has a limited resolving power, especially at deep phylogenetic depth and can lead to strongly biased trees. The ever-larger number of available complete genomes now calls for a novel standard dataset of robust protein markers that may complement SSU rRNA. In this respect, concatenation of ribosomal proteins (r-proteins) is being growingly used to reconstruct large-scale prokaryotic phylogenies, but their suitability for systematic and/or taxonomic purposes has not been specifically addressed. Using Proteobacteria as a case study, we show that amino acid and nucleic acid r-protein sequences contain a reliable phylogenetic signal at a wide range of taxonomic depths, which has not been totally blurred by mutational saturation or horizontal gene transfer. The use of accurate evolutionary models and reconstruction methods allows overcoming most tree reconstruction artefacts resulting from compositional biases and/or fast evolutionary rates. The inferred phylogenies allow clarifying the relationships among most proteobacterial orders and families, along with the position of several unclassified lineages, suggesting some possible revisions of the current classification. In addition, we investigate the root of the Proteobacteria by considering the time-variation of nucleic acid composition of r-protein sequences and the information carried by horizontal gene transfers, two approaches that do not require the use of an outgroup and limit tree reconstruction artefacts. Altogether, our analyses indicate that r-proteins may represent a promising standard for prokaryotic taxonomy and systematics.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 06/2014; · 4.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The thermophilic sulfate-reducing archaeon Archaeoglobus fulgidus strain VC-16 (DSM 4304), which is known to oxidize fatty acids and n-alkenes, was shown to oxidize saturated hydrocarbons (n-alkanes in the range C10-C21) with thiosulfate or sulfate as a terminal electron acceptor. The amount of n-hexadecane degradation observed was in stoichiometric agreement with the theoretically expected amount of thiosulfate reduction. One of the pathways used by anaerobic microorganisms to activate alkanes is addition to fumarate that involves alkylsuccinate synthase as a key enzyme. A search for genes encoding homologous enzymes in A. fulgidus identified the pflD gene (locus-tag AF1449) that was previously annotated as a pyruvate formate lyase. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that this gene is of bacterial origin and was likely acquired by A. fulgidus from a bacterial donor through a horizontal gene transfer. Based on three-dimensional modeling of the corresponding protein and molecular dynamic simulations, we hypothesize an alkylsuccinate synthase activity for this gene product. The pflD gene expression was upregulated during the growth of A. fulgidus on an n-alkane (C16) compared with growth on a fatty acid. Our results suggest that anaerobic alkane degradation in A. fulgidus may involve the gene pflD in alkane activation through addition to fumarate. These findings highlight the possible importance of hydrocarbon oxidation at high temperatures by A. fulgidus in hydrothermal vents and the deep biosphere.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 24 April 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2014.58.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evolutionary origin of eukaryotes is a question of great interest for which many different hypotheses have been proposed. These hypotheses predict distinct patterns of evolutionary relationships for individual genes of the ancestral eukaryotic genome. The availability of numerous completely sequenced genomes covering the three domains of life makes it possible to contrast these predictions with empirical data. We performed a systematic analysis of the phylogenetic relationships of ancestral eukaryotic genes with archaeal and bacterial genes. In contrast with previous studies, we emphasize the critical importance of methods accounting for statistical support, horizontal gene transfer and gene loss, and we disentangle the processes underlying the phylogenomic pattern we observe. We first recover a clear signal indicating that a fraction of the bacteria-like eukaryotic genes are of alphaproteobacterial origin. Then, we show that the majority of bacteria-related eukaryotic genes actually do not point to a relationship with a specific bacterial taxonomic group. We also provide evidence that eukaryotes branch close to the last archaeal common ancestor. Our results demonstrate that there is no phylogenetic support for hypotheses involving a fusion with a bacterium other than the ancestor of mitochondria. Overall, they leave only two possible interpretations, based respectively on the early-mitochondria hypotheses, which suppose an early endosymbiosis of an alphaproteobacterium in an archaeal host, and on the slow-drip autogenous hypothesis, in which early eukaryotic ancestors were particularly prone to horizontal gene transfers.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 01/2014; · 14.31 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The archaeal machinery responsible for DNA replication is largely homologous to that of eukaryotes and is clearly distinct from its bacterial counterpart. Moreover, it shows high diversity in the various archaeal lineages, including different sets of components, heterogeneous taxonomic distribution, and a large number of additional copies that are sometimes highly divergent. This has made the evolutionary history of this cellular system particularly challenging to dissect. Here, we have carried out an exhaustive identification of homologs of all major replication components in over 140 complete archaeal genomes. Phylogenomic analysis allowed assigning them to either a conserved and probably essential 'core' of replication components that were mainly vertically inherited, or to a variable and highly divergent 'shell' of extra copies that have likely arisen from integrative elements. This suggests that replication proteins are frequently exchanged between extra-chromosomal elements and cellular genomes. Our study allowed clarifying the history that shaped this key cellular process (ancestral components, horizontal gene transfers, gene losses), providing important evolutionary and functional information. Finally, our precise identification of core components permitted to show that the phylogenetic signal carried by DNA replication is highly consistent with that harbored by two other key informational machineries (translation and transcription), strengthening the existence of a robust organismal tree for the Archaea.
Genome Biology and Evolution 01/2014; · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A moderately halophilic, Gram negative, non-sporulating bacterium designed as strain TYRC17T was isolated from olive-processing effluents. The organism is a straight rod, motile by peritrichous flagella, able to respire both oxygen and nitrate. Growth occurred with 0-25 % (w/v) NaCl (optimum, 7 %), at pH 5-11 (optimum, pH 7.0) and at 4-50 °C (optimally at 35 °C). It accumulates poly-β-hydroxyalkanoate granules and produces exopolysaccharides. The predominant fatty acids are C18:1w7c (42.2 %), C16:1w7c (15.6 %), C16:0 (14.2 %). Ubiquinone 9 (Q-9) is the only respiratory quinone. The DNA G+C content of TYRC17T is 53.9 mol%. Phylogenetic analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the strain falls within the genus Halomonas, and more precisely within the subgroup containing Halomonas sulfidaeris, H. titanicae, H. variabilis, H. zhanjiangensis, H. alkaliantarctica, H. boliviensis and H. neptunia. TYRC17T showed high 16S-rRNA sequence identities in particular with the three last species (99.4-99.5 %). However, a Multilocus Sequence Analysis (MLSA) using the 23S rRNA, gyrB, rpoD and secA genes allowed clarifying the phylogenetic position of TYRC17T. This, combined to the level of DNA-DNA hybridization between TYRC17T and its closest relatives ranging only from 21.6 % to 48.4 %, indicated that TYRC17T does not belong to any of these species. On the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, and also genomic and phylogenetic evidences, strain TYRC17T represents a novel species of the genus Halomonas. The name Halomonas olivaria sp. nov. is proposed with TYRC17T (= DSM 19074T = CCUG 53850BT) as the type strain.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY 09/2013; · 2.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During meiosis, the stable pairing of the homologous chromosomes is mediated by the assembly of the synaptonemal complex (SC). Its tripartite structure is well conserved in Metazoa and consists of two lateral elements (LEs) and a central region (CR) that in turn is formed by several transverse filaments (TFs) and a central element (CE). In a previous paper we have shown that not only the structure, but also the major structural proteins SYCP1 (TFs) and SYCP3 (LEs) of the mammalian SC are conserved in metazoan evolution. In continuation of this work, we now investigated the evolution of the mammalian CE-specific proteins using phylogenetic and biochemical/cytological approaches. In analogy to the observations made for SYCP1 and SYCP3, we did not detect homologues of the mammalian CE proteins in insects or nematodes, but in several other metazoan clades. We were able to identify homologues of three mammalian CE proteins in several vertebrate and invertebrate species, for two of these proteins down to the basal-branching phylum of Cnidaria. Our approaches indicate that the SC arose only once, but evolved dynamically during diversification of Metazoa. Certain proteins appear to be ancient in animals, but successive addition of further components as well as protein loss and/or replacements have also taken place in some lineages.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arsenic is widespread in the environment and its presence is a result of natural or anthropogenic activities. Microbes have developed different mechanisms to deal with toxic compounds such as arsenic and this is to resist or metabolise the compound. Here we present the first reference set of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data of an Alphaproteobacterium isolated from an arsenic-containing goldmine: Rhizobium sp. NT-26. Although phylogenetically related to the plant-associated bacteria, this organism has lost the major colonising capabilities needed for symbiosis with legumes. In contrast, the genome of Rhizobium sp. NT-26 comprises a megaplasmid containing the various genes which enable it to metabolise arsenite. Remarkably, although the genes required for arsenite oxidation and flagellar motility/biofilm formation are carried by the megaplasmid and the chromosome, respectively, a coordinate regulation of these two mechanisms was observed. Taken together, these processes illustrate the impact environmental pressure can have on the evolution of bacterial genomes, improving the fitness of bacterial strains by the acquisition of novel functions.
Genome Biology and Evolution 04/2013; · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on phylogenetic analyses and gene distribution patterns of a few complete genomes, a new distinct phylum within the Archaea, the Thaumarchaeota, has recently been proposed. Here we present analyses of six archaeal fosmid sequences derived from a microbial hot spring community in Kamchatka. The phylogenetic analysis of informational components (ribosomal RNAs and proteins) reveals two major (hyper-)thermophilic clades ("Hot Thaumarchaeota-related Clade" 1 and 2, HTC1 and HTC2) related to Thaumarchaeota, representing either deep branches of this phylum or a new archaeal phylum and provides information regarding the ancient evolution of Archaea and their evolutionary links with Eukaryotes.
Research in Microbiology 03/2013; · 2.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strain VNs100T, a novel mesophilic anaerobic rod-cocoid-shaped bacterium, having a sheath-like outer structure (toga) was isolated from a water sample collected in the area of underground gas storage. It was non-motile with cells appearing singly (2-4 μm long x 1-2 μm wide), in pairs, or as long chains and stained Gram-negative. Strain VNs100T was heterotrophic, able to use arabinose, cellobiose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, lactate, mannose, maltose, raffinose, ribose, sucrose and xylose as energy sources only in the presence of elemental sulfur as terminal electron acceptor. Acetate, CO2 and sulfide were the end-products of sugar metabolism. Hydrogen was not detected. Elemental sulfur, but not thiosulfate, sulfate and sulfite, were reduced into sulfide. It grew at temperatures between 30°C and 50°C (optimum 45°C), at pH between 6.2 and 7.9 (optimum 7.3-7.5) and at NaCl concentrations between 0 and 15 g.L-1 (optimum 2 g.L-1). The DNA G+C content was 47.5 mol%. The main cellular fatty acid was C16:0. Phylogenetic analysis of the small-subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequence indicated that strain VNs100T had as its closest relatives 'Mesotoga sulfurireducens' (97.1 % similarity) and Mesotoga prima (similarity of 97.1 % and 97.7 % with each of its two genes respectively) within the order Thermotogales. Hybridization between strain VNS100T and 'Mesotoga sulfurireducens' and between strain VNS100T and Mesotoga prima is 12.9% and 20.6 %, respectively. Based on phenotypic, phylogenetic and taxonomic characteristics, strain VNs100T is proposed as a novel species of genus Mesotoga within the family Thermotogaceae, order Thermotogales. The name Mesotoga infera, sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is VNs100T (= DSM 25546 = JCM 18154).
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY 02/2013; · 2.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In 2004, we discovered an atypical protein in metagenomic data from marine thaumarchaeotal species. This protein, referred as DnaJ-Fer, is composed of a J domain fused to a Ferredoxin (Fer) domain. Surprisingly, the same protein was also found in Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants). Because J domain-containing proteins are known to interact with the major chaperone DnaK/Hsp70, this suggested that a DnaK protein was present in Thaumarchaeota. DnaK/Hsp70, its co-chaperone DnaJ and the nucleotide exchange factor GrpE are involved, among others, in heat shocks and heavy metal cellular stress responses. RESULTS: Using phylogenomic approaches we have investigated the evolutionary history of the DnaJ-Fer protein and of interacting proteins DnaK, DnaJ and GrpE in Thaumarchaeota. These proteins have very complex histories, involving several inter-domain horizontal gene transfers (HGTs) to explain the contemporary distribution of these proteins in archaea. These transfers include one from Cyanobacteria to Viridiplantae and one from Viridiplantae to Thaumarchaeota for the DnaJ-Fer protein, as well as independent HGTs from Bacteria to mesophilic archaea for the DnaK/DnaJ/GrpE system, followed by HGTs among mesophilic and thermophilic archaea. CONCLUSIONS: We highlight the chimerical origin of the set of proteins DnaK, DnaJ, GrpE and DnaJ-Fer in Thaumarchaeota and suggest that the HGT of these proteins has played an important role in the adaptation of several archaeal groups to mesophilic and thermophilic environments from hyperthermophilic ancestors. Finally, the evolutionary history of DnaJ-Fer provides information useful for the relative dating of the diversification of Archaeplastida and Thaumarchaeota.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The availability of over 3000 published genome sequences has enabled the use of comparative genomic approaches to drive the biological function discovery process. Classically, one used to link gene with function by genetic or biochemical approaches, a lengthy process that often took years. Phylogenetic distribution profiles, physical clustering, gene fusion, co-expression profiles, structural information and other genomic or post-genomic derived associations can be now used to make very strong functional hypotheses. Here, we illustrate this shift with the analysis of the DUF71/COG2102 family, a subgroup of the PP-loop ATPase family. RESULTS: The DUF71 family contains at least two subfamilies, one of which was predicted to be the missing diphthine-ammonia ligase (EC 220.127.116.11), Dph6. This enzyme catalyzes the last ATP-dependent step in the synthesis of diphthamide, a complex modification of Elongation Factor 2 that can be ADP-ribosylated by bacterial toxins. Dph6 orthologs are found in nearly all sequenced Archaea and Eucarya, as expected from the distribution of the diphthamide modification. The DUF71 family appears to have originated in the Archaea/Eucarya ancestor and to have been subsequently horizontally transferred to Bacteria. Bacterial DUF71 members likely acquired a different function because the diphthamide modification is absent in this Domain of Life. In-depth investigations suggest that some archaeal and bacterial DUF71 proteins participate in B12 salvage. CONCLUSIONS: This detailed analysis of the DUF71 family members provides an example of the power of integrated data-miming for solving important "missing genes" or "missing function" cases and illustrates the danger of functional annotation of protein families by homology alone.Reviewers' namesThis article was reviewed by Arcady Mushegian, Michael Galperin and L. Aravind.
Biology Direct 09/2012; 7(1):32. · 2.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biosynthesis of iron-sulphur (Fe-S) proteins is catalysed by multi-protein systems, ISC and SUF. However, 'non-ISC, non-SUF' Fe-S biosynthesis factors have been described, both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Here we report in vitro and in vivo investigations of such a 'non-ISC, non SUF' component, the Nfu proteins. Phylogenomic analysis allowed us to define four subfamilies. Escherichia coli NfuA is within subfamily II. Most members of this subfamily have a Nfu domain fused to a 'degenerate' A-type carrier domain (ATC*) lacking Fe-S cluster co-ordinating Cys ligands. The Nfu domain binds a [4Fe-4S] cluster while the ATC* domain interacts with NuoG (a complex I subunit) and aconitase B (AcnB). In vitro, holo-NfuA promotes maturation of AcnB. In vivo, NfuA is necessary for full activity of complex I under aerobic growth conditions, and of AcnB in the presence of superoxide. NfuA receives Fe-S clusters from IscU/HscBA and SufBCD scaffolds and eventually transfers them to the ATCs IscA and SufA. This study provides significant information on one of the Fe-S biogenesis factors that has been often used as a building block by ISC and/or SUF synthesizing organisms, including bacteria, plants and animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adaptation to a solar saltern environment requires mechanisms providing tolerance not only to salinity but also to UV radiation (UVR) and to reactive oxygen species (ROS). We cultivated prokaryote halophiles from two different salinity ponds: the concentrator M1 pond (240 g·L(-1) NaCl) and the crystallizer TS pond (380 g·L(-1) NaCl). We then estimated UV-B and hydrogen peroxide resistance according to the optimal salt concentration for growth of the isolates. We observed a higher biodiversity of bacterial isolates in M1 than in TS. All strains isolated from TS appeared to be extremely halophilic Archaea from the genus Halorubrum. Culturable strains isolated from M1 included extremely halophilic Archaea (genera Haloferax, Halobacterium, Haloterrigena, and Halorubrum) and moderately halophilic Bacteria (genera Halovibrio and Salicola). We also found that archaeal strains were more resistant than bacterial strains to exposure to ROS and UV-B. All organisms tested were more resistant to UV-B exposure at the optimum NaCl concentration for their growth, which is not always the case for H(2)O(2). Finally, if these results are extended to other prokaryotes present in a solar saltern, we could speculate that UVR has greater impact than ROS on the control of prokaryote biodiversity in a solar saltern.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 11/2011; 57(11):923-33. · 1.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Anaphase Promoting Complex or Cyclosome (APC/C) is the largest member of the ubiquitin ligase [E3] family. It plays a crucial role in the control of the cell cycle and cell proliferation by mediating the proteolysis of key components by the proteasome. APC/C is made of a dozen subunits that assemble into a large complex of ~1.5 MDa, which interacts with various cofactors and targets.
Using comparative genomic and phylogenetic approaches, we showed that 24 out of 37 known APC/C subunits, adaptors/co-activators and main targets, were already present in the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) and were well conserved to a few exceptions in all present-day eukaryotic lineages. The phylogenetic analysis of the 24 components inferred to be present in LECA showed that they contain a reliable phylogenetic signal to reconstruct the phylogeny of the domain Eucarya.
Taken together our analyses indicated that LECA had a complex and highly controlled modern-like cell cycle. Moreover, we showed that, despite what is generally assumed, proteins involved in housekeeping cellular functions may be a good complement to informational genes to study the phylogeny of eukaryotes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria glide across solid surfaces by mechanisms that have remained largely mysterious despite decades of research. In the deltaproteobacterium Myxococcus xanthus, this locomotion allows the formation stress-resistant fruiting bodies where sporulation takes place. However, despite the large number of genes identified as important for gliding, no specific machinery has been identified so far, hampering in-depth investigations. Based on the premise that components of the gliding machinery must have co-evolved and encode both envelope-spanning proteins and a molecular motor, we re-annotated known gliding motility genes and examined their taxonomic distribution, genomic localization, and phylogeny. We successfully delineated three functionally related genetic clusters, which we proved experimentally carry genes encoding the basal gliding machinery in M. xanthus, using genetic and localization techniques. For the first time, this study identifies structural gliding motility genes in the Myxobacteria and opens new perspectives to study the motility mechanism. Furthermore, phylogenomics provide insight into how this machinery emerged from an ancestral conserved core of genes of unknown function that evolved to gliding by the recruitment of functional modules in Myxococcales. Surprisingly, this motility machinery appears to be highly related to a sporulation system, underscoring unsuspected common mechanisms in these apparently distinct morphogenic phenomena.