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      Evidence for horizontal transfer of a secondary metabolite gene cluster between fungi

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      1 , 1 , 2 , 1 ,
      Genome Biology
      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Phylogenetic and comparative genomic analysis of orthologs of the Magnaporthe grisea ACE1 cluster reveals evidence for horizontal transfer of part of this cluster from an M. grisea-like ancestor into an ancestor of Aspergillus clavatus.

          Abstract

          Background

          Filamentous fungi synthesize many secondary metabolites and are rich in genes encoding proteins involved in their biosynthesis. Genes from the same pathway are often clustered and co-expressed in particular conditions. Such secondary metabolism gene clusters evolve rapidly through multiple rearrangements, duplications and losses. It has long been suspected that clusters can be transferred horizontally between species, but few concrete examples have been described so far.

          Results

          In the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe grisea, the avirulence gene ACE1 that codes for a hybrid polyketide synthase-nonribosomal peptide synthetase (PKS-NRPS) belongs to a cluster of 15 genes involved in secondary metabolism. Additional related clusters were detected in the ascomycetes Chaetomium globosum, Stagonospora nodorum and Aspergillus clavatus. Gene-by-gene phylogenetic analysis showed that in C. globosum and M. grisea, the evolution of these ACE1-like clusters is characterized by successive complex duplication events including tandem duplication within the M. grisea cluster. The phylogenetic trees also present evidence that at least five of the six genes in the homologous ACE1 gene cluster in A. clavatus originated by horizontal transfer from a donor closely related to M. grisea.

          Conclusion

          The ACE1 cluster originally identified in M. grisea is shared by only few fungal species. Its sporadic distribution within euascomycetes is mainly explained by multiple events of duplication and losses. However, because A. clavatus contains an ACE1 cluster of only six genes, we propose that horizontal transfer from a relative of M. grisea into an ancestor of A. clavatus provides a much simpler explanation of the observed data than the alternative of multiple events of duplication and losses of parts of the cluster.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Genome Biol
          Genome Biology
          BioMed Central
          1465-6906
          1465-6914
          2008
          24 January 2008
          : 9
          : 1
          : R18
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
          [2 ]2UMR5240 CNRS/UCB/INSA/BCS, Bayer Cropscience, 69263 Lyon cedex 09, France
          Article
          gb-2008-9-1-r18
          10.1186/gb-2008-9-1-r18
          2395248
          18218086
          4d5f7d87-99e9-477d-8a17-96dd6459cb84
          Copyright © 2008 Khaldi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

          This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

          History
          : 9 October 2007
          : 21 December 2007
          : 24 January 2008
          Categories
          Research

          Genetics
          Genetics

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