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Mol Biol Evol. 1999 Sep;16(9):1125-34.

Horizontal gene transfer in glycosyl hydrolases inferred from codon usage in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Rovira i Virgili University, Catalonia, Spain.


Glycosyl hydrolase (GH) genes from Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis were used to search for cases of horizontal gene transfer. Such an event was inferred by G + C content, codon usage analysis, and a phylogenetic congruency test. The codon usage analysis used is a procedure based on a distance derived from a Pearson linear correlation coefficient determined from a pairwise codon usage comparison. The distances are then used to generate a distance-based tree with which we can define clusters and rapidly compare codon usage. Three genes (yagH from E. coli and xynA and xynB from B. subtilis) were determined to have arrived by horizontal gene transfer and were located in E. coli CP4-6 prophage, and B. subtilis prophages 6 and 5, respectively. In this study, we demonstrate that with codon usage analysis, the proposed horizontally transferred genes can be distinguished from highly expressed genes.

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