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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55390. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055390. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

The diversity and evolution of Wolbachia ankyrin repeat domain genes.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management, University of Western Greece, Agrinio, Greece.

Abstract

Ankyrin repeat domain-encoding genes are common in the eukaryotic and viral domains of life, but they are rare in bacteria, the exception being a few obligate or facultative intracellular Proteobacteria species. Despite having a reduced genome, the arthropod strains of the alphaproteobacterium Wolbachia contain an unusually high number of ankyrin repeat domain-encoding genes ranging from 23 in wMel to 60 in wPip strain. This group of genes has attracted considerable attention for their astonishing large number as well as for the fact that ankyrin proteins are known to participate in protein-protein interactions, suggesting that they play a critical role in the molecular mechanism that determines host-Wolbachia symbiotic interactions. We present a comparative evolutionary analysis of the wMel-related ankyrin repeat domain-encoding genes present in different Drosophila-Wolbachia associations. Our results show that the ankyrin repeat domain-encoding genes change in size by expansion and contraction mediated by short directly repeated sequences. We provide examples of intra-genic recombination events and show that these genes are likely to be horizontally transferred between strains with the aid of bacteriophages. These results confirm previous findings that the Wolbachia genomes are evolutionary mosaics and illustrate the potential that these bacteria have to generate diversity in proteins potentially involved in the symbiotic interactions.

PMID:
23390535
PMCID:
PMC3563639
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0055390
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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