Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genome Res. 2008 Feb;18(2):272-80. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Wolbachia genome integrated in an insect chromosome: evolution and fate of laterally transferred endosymbiont genes.

Author information

  • 1Division of Natural Sciences, The University of the Air, Chiba 261-8586, Japan.


Recent accumulation of microbial genome data has demonstrated that lateral gene transfers constitute an important and universal evolutionary process in prokaryotes, while those in multicellular eukaryotes are still regarded as unusual, except for endosymbiotic gene transfers from mitochondria and plastids. Here we thoroughly investigated the bacterial genes derived from a Wolbachia endosymbiont on the nuclear genome of the beetle Callosobruchus chinensis. Exhaustive PCR detection and Southern blot analysis suggested that approximately 30% of Wolbachia genes, in terms of the gene repertoire of wMel, are present on the insect nuclear genome. Fluorescent in situ hybridization located the transferred genes on the proximal region of the basal short arm of the X chromosome. Molecular evolutionary and other lines of evidence indicated that the transferred genes are probably derived from a single lateral transfer event. The transferred genes were, for the length examined, structurally disrupted, freed from functional constraints, and transcriptionally inactive. Hence, most, if not all, of the transferred genes have been pseudogenized. Notwithstanding this, the transferred genes were ubiquitously detected from Japanese and Taiwanese populations of C. chinensis, while the number of the transferred genes detected differed between the populations. The transferred genes were not detected from congenic beetle species, indicating that the transfer event occurred after speciation of C. chinensis, which was estimated to be one or several million years ago. These features of the laterally transferred endosymbiont genes are compared with the evolutionary patterns of mitochondrial and plastid genome fragments acquired by nuclear genomes through recent endosymbiotic gene transfers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk