Horizontal transfer and gene loss shaped the evolution of alpha-amylases in bilaterians

Abstract : The subfamily GH13_1 of alpha-amylases is typical of Fungi, but it is also found in some unicellular eukaryotes (e.g. Amoebozoa, choanoflagellates) and non-bilaterian Metazoa. Since a previous study in 2007, GH13_1 amylases were considered ancestral to the Unikonts, including animals, except Bilateria, such that it was thought to have been lost in the ancestor of this clade. The only alpha-amylases known to be present in Bilateria so far belong to the GH13_15 and 24 subfamilies (commonly called bilaterian alpha-amylases) and were likely acquired by horizontal transfer from a proteobacterium. The taxonomic scope of Eukaryota genomes in databases has been greatly increased ever since 2007. We have surveyed GH13_1 sequences in recent data from ca. 1600 bilaterian species, 60 non-bilaterian animals and also in unicellular eukaryotes. As expected, we found a number of those sequences in non-bilaterians: Anthozoa (Cnidaria) and in sponges, confirming the previous observations, but none in jellyfishes and in Ctenophora. Our main and unexpected finding is that such fungal (also called Dictyo-type) amylases were also consistently retrieved in several bilaterian phyla: hemichordates (deuterostomes), brachiopods and related phyla, some molluscs and some annelids (protostomes). We discuss evolutionary hypotheses possibly explaining the scattered distribution of GH13_1 across bilaterians, namely, the retention of the ancestral gene in those phyla only and/or horizontal transfers from non-bilaterian donors.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 9, 2019 - 5:41:43 PM
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Andrea Desiderato, Marcos Barbeitos, Clément Gilbert, Jean-Luc da Lage. Horizontal transfer and gene loss shaped the evolution of alpha-amylases in bilaterians. G3, Genetics Society of America, In press. ⟨hal-02401035⟩

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