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Nucleic Acids Res. 2002 May 1;30(9):1902-10.

Pyrococcus genome comparison evidences chromosome shuffling-driven evolution.

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Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, Université de Paris-Sud, UMR C8621 Centre Universitaire d'Orsay, Bâtiment 409, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.


The genomes of three Pyrococcus species, P.abyssi, P.furiosus and P.horikoshii, were compared at the DNA level, taking advantage of our identification of their replication origins. Three types of rearrangements have been identified: (i) inversion and translation across the replication axis (origin/terminus), (ii) inversion and translocation restricted to a replichore (the half chromosome divided by the replication axis) and (iii) apparent mobility of long clusters of repeated sequences. Rearrangements restricted within a replichore were more common between P.furiosus and the two other Pyrococcus species than between P.horikoshii and P.abyssi. A strong correlation was found between 23 homologous insertion sequence elements, present only in P.furiosus, and recombined segment boundaries, suggesting that transposition events have been a major cause of genomic disruption in this species. Moreover, gene orientation bias was much more disrupted than strand composition biases in fragments that switched their orientation within a replichore upon recombination. This allowed us to conclude that one reversion and one translation occurred in P.abyssi after its divergence from P.horikoshii, and that a smaller segment has specifically recombined in P.furiosus. Whereas a majority of genes are transcribed in the same direction as DNA replication in P.horikoshii and P.abyssi, the colinearity of transcription and replication is only maintained for highly transcribed genes in P.furiosus. We discuss the implications of genomic rearrangements on gene orientation and composition biases, and their consequences on sequence evolution.

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