PLoS One. 2014 Jun 11;9(6):e99213. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099213. eCollection 2014.
A Survey of Innovation through Duplication in the Reduced Genomes of Twelve Parasites
We characterize the prevalence, distribution, divergence, and putative functions of detectable two-copy paralogs and segmental duplications in the Apicomplexa, a phylum of parasitic protists. Apicomplexans are mostly obligate intracellular parasites responsible for human and animal diseases (e.g. malaria and toxoplasmosis). Gene loss is a major force in the phylum. Genomes are small and protein-encoding gene repertoires are reduced. Despite this genomic streamlining, duplications and gene family amplifications are present. The potential for innovation introduced by duplications is of particular interest. We compared genomes of twelve apicomplexans across four lineages and used orthology and genome cartography to map distributions of duplications against genome architectures. Segmental duplications appear limited to five species. Where present, they correspond to regions enriched for multi-copy and species-specific genes, pointing toward roles in adaptation and innovation. We found a phylum-wide association of duplications with dynamic chromosome regions and syntenic breakpoints. Trends in the distribution of duplicated genes indicate that recent, species-specific duplicates are often tandem while most others have been dispersed by genome rearrangements. These trends show a relationship between genome architecture and gene duplication. Functional analysis reveals: proteases, which are vital to a parasitic lifecycle, to be prominent in putative recent duplications; a pair of paralogous genes in Toxoplasma gondii previously shown to produce the rate-limiting step in dopamine synthesis in mammalian cells, a possible link to the modification of host behavior; and phylum-wide differences in expression and subcellular localization, indicative of modes of divergence. We have uncovered trends in multiple modes of duplicate divergence including sequence, intron content, expression, subcellular localization, and functions of putative recent duplicates that highlight the role of duplications in the continuum of forces that have shaped these genomes.
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