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Nat Microbiol. 2019 Dec;4(12):2383-2392. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0552-0. Epub 2019 Sep 16.

Evolutionary and functional patterns of shared gene neighbourhood in fungi.

Author information

1
Centre for Genomic Regulation, The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Barcelona, Spain.
2
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
3
Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC-CNS), Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Barcelona, Spain.
4
Centre for Genomic Regulation, The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Barcelona, Spain. toni.gabaldon.bcn@gmail.com.
5
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. toni.gabaldon.bcn@gmail.com.
6
ICREA, Barcelona, Spain. toni.gabaldon.bcn@gmail.com.
7
Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC-CNS), Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), Barcelona, Spain. toni.gabaldon.bcn@gmail.com.

Abstract

Gene clusters comprise genomically co-localized and potentially co-regulated genes that tend to be conserved across species. In eukaryotes, multiple examples of metabolic gene clusters are known, particularly among fungi and plants. However, little is known about how gene clustering patterns vary among taxa or with respect to functional roles. Furthermore, mechanisms of the formation, maintenance and evolution of gene clusters remain unknown. We surveyed 341 fungal genomes to discover gene clusters shared by different species, independently of their functions. We inferred 12,120 cluster families, which comprised roughly one third of the gene space and were enriched in genes associated with diverse cellular functions. Additionally, most clusters did not encode transcription factors, suggesting that they are regulated distally. We used phylogenomics to characterize the evolutionary history of these clusters. We found that most clusters originated once and were transmitted vertically, coupled to differential loss. However, convergent evolution-that is, independent appearance of the same cluster-was more prevalent than anticipated. Finally, horizontal gene transfer of entire clusters was somewhat restricted, with the exception of those associated with secondary metabolism. Altogether, our results provide insights on the evolution of gene clustering as well as a broad catalogue of evolutionarily conserved gene clusters whose function remains to be elucidated.

PMID:
31527797
DOI:
10.1038/s41564-019-0552-0

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