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Gene. 2007 May 1;392(1-2):47-58. Epub 2006 Nov 17.

A novel group of type I polyketide synthases (PKS) in animals and the complex phylogenomics of PKSs.

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Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd., Orlando, FL 32816-2368, USA.


Type I polyketide synthases (PKSs), and related fatty acid synthases (FASs), represent a large group of proteins encoded by a diverse gene family that occurs in eubacteria and eukaryotes (mainly in fungi). Collectively, enzymes encoded by this gene family produce a wide array of polyketide compounds that encompass a broad spectrum of biological activity including antibiotic, antitumor, antifungal, immunosuppressive, and predator defense functional roles. We employed a phylogenomics approach to estimate relationships among members of this gene family from eubacterial and eukaryotic genomes. Our results suggest that some animal genomes (sea urchins, birds, and fish) possess a previously unidentified group of pks genes, in addition to possessing fas genes used in fatty acid metabolism. These pks genes in the chicken, fish, and sea urchin genomes do not appear to be closely related to any other animal or fungal genes, and instead are closely related to pks genes from the slime mold Dictyostelium and eubacteria. Continued accumulation of genome sequence data from diverse animal lineages is required to clarify whether the presence of these (non-fas) pks genes in animal genomes owes their origins to horizontal gene transfer (from eubacterial or Dictostelium genomes) or to more conventional patterns of vertical inheritance coupled with massive gene loss in several animal lineages. Additionally, results of our broad-scale phylogenetic analyses bolster the support for previous hypotheses of horizontal gene transfer of pks genes from bacterial to fungal and protozoan lineages.

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