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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 1997 Sep-Oct;44(5):412-9.

Evidence for symbiont-induced alteration of a host's gene expression: irreversible loss of SAM synthetase from Amoeba proteus.

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1
Department of Biology Education, Seoul National University, Korea.

Abstract

Symbiont-bearing xD amoebae no longer produce a 45-kDa cytoplasmic protein that functions as S-adenosylmethionine synthetase in symbiont-free D amoebae. The absence of the protein in xD amoebae is attributable to xD amoeba's failure to transcribe the corresponding gene as a result of harboring bacterial symbionts. However, xD amoebae have about half the level of enzyme activity found in D amoebae, indicating that they use an alternative source for the enzyme. xD amoebae originated from D amoebae by bacterial infection and now depend on their symbionts for survival. xD amoebae exhibit irreversible nucleolar abnormalities when their symbionts are removed, suggesting that X-bacteria supply the needed enzyme. A monoclonal antibody against the 45-kDa protein was produced and used as a probe in cloning its corresponding cDNA. The product of the cDNA was found to have S-adenosylmethionine synthetase activity. These results show how symbiotic X-bacteria may become essential cellular components of amoeba by supplementing a genetic defect for an amoeba's house-keeping gene that is brought about by an action of X-bacteria themselves. This is the first reported example in which symbionts alter the host's gene expression to block the production of an essential protein.

PMID:
9304810
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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