Phylogenomics reveals an anomalous distribution of USP genes in metazoans

Forêt, Sylvain, Seneca, François, De Jong, Danielle, Bieller, Annette, Hemmrich, Georg, Augustin, Rene, Hayward, David C., Ball, Eldon E., Bosch, Thomas C.G., Agata, Kiyokazu, Hassel, Monika, and Miller, David J. (2011) Phylogenomics reveals an anomalous distribution of USP genes in metazoans. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 28 (1). pp. 153-161.

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Members of the universal stress protein (USP) family were originally identified in stressed bacteria on the basis of a shared domain, which has since been reported in a phylogenetically diverse range of prokaryotes, fungi, protists and plants. Although not previously characterized in metazoans, here we report that USP genes are distributed in animal genomes in a unique pattern that reflects frequent independent losses and independent expansions. Multiple USP loci are present in urochordates as well as all Cnidaria and Lophotrochozoa examined, but none were detected in any of the available ecdysozoan or non-urochodate deuterostome genome data. The vast majority of the metazoan USPs are short, single domain proteins and are phylogenetically distinct from the prokaryotic, plant, protist and fungal members of the protein family. Whereas most of the metazoan USP genes contain introns, with few exceptions those in the cnidarian Hydra are intronless and cluster together in phylogenetic analyses. Expression patterns were determined for several cnidarian USPs, including two genes belonging to the intronless clade, and these imply diverse functions. The apparent paradox of implied diversity of roles despite high overall levels of sequence (and implied structural) similarity parallels the situation in bacteria. The absence of USP genes in ecdysozoans and most deuterostomes may be a consequence of functional redundancy or specialization in taxon-specific roles.

Item ID: 11835
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1537-1719
Keywords: universal stress protein, Cnidaria, USP, gene loss, Urmetazoa
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2010 02:19
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis @ 70%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060405 Gene Expression (incl Microarray and other genome-wide approaches) @ 10%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0604 Genetics > 060409 Molecular Evolution @ 20%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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