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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49403. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049403. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

Rapid evolution of the sequences and gene repertoires of secreted proteins in bacteria.

Author information

1
Centro de Biologia Ambiental, Evolutionary Ecology of Microorganisms, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal.

Abstract

Proteins secreted to the extracellular environment or to the periphery of the cell envelope, the secretome, play essential roles in foraging, antagonistic and mutualistic interactions. We hypothesize that arms races, genetic conflicts and varying selective pressures should lead to the rapid change of sequences and gene repertoires of the secretome. The analysis of 42 bacterial pan-genomes shows that secreted, and especially extracellular proteins, are predominantly encoded in the accessory genome, i.e. among genes not ubiquitous within the clade. Genes encoding outer membrane proteins might engage more frequently in intra-chromosomal gene conversion because they are more often in multi-genic families. The gene sequences encoding the secretome evolve faster than the rest of the genome and in particular at non-synonymous positions. Cell wall proteins in Firmicutes evolve particularly fast when compared with outer membrane proteins of Proteobacteria. Virulence factors are over-represented in the secretome, notably in outer membrane proteins, but cell localization explains more of the variance in substitution rates and gene repertoires than sequence homology to known virulence factors. Accordingly, the repertoires and sequences of the genes encoding the secretome change fast in the clades of obligatory and facultative pathogens and also in the clades of mutualists and free-living bacteria. Our study shows that cell localization shapes genome evolution. In agreement with our hypothesis, the repertoires and the sequences of genes encoding secreted proteins evolve fast. The particularly rapid change of extracellular proteins suggests that these public goods are key players in bacterial adaptation.

PMID:
23189144
PMCID:
PMC3506625
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0049403
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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