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Citrullination was introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria

Cummings, TFM; Gori, K; Sanchez-Pulido, L; Gavriilidis, G; Moi, D; Wilson, AR; Murchison, E; ... Christophorou, MA; + view all (2021) Citrullination was introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria. Molecular Biology and Evolution , Article msab317. 10.1093/molbev/msab317. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs) add great sophistication to biological systems. Citrullination, a key regulatory mechanism in human physiology and pathophysiology, is enigmatic from an evolutionary perspective. Although the citrullinating enzymes peptidylarginine deiminases (PADIs) are ubiquitous across vertebrates, they are absent from yeast, worms and flies. Based on this distribution PADIs were proposed to have been horizontally transferred, but this has been contested. Here, we map the evolutionary trajectory of PADIs into the animal lineage. We present strong phylogenetic support for a clade encompassing animal and cyanobacterial PADIs that excludes fungal and other bacterial homologues. The animal and cyanobacterial PADI proteins share functionally relevant primary and tertiary synapomorphic sequences that are distinct from a second PADI type present in fungi and actinobacteria. Molecular clock calculations and sequence divergence analyses using the fossil record estimate the last common ancestor of the cyanobacterial and animal PADIs to be less than one billion years old. Additionally, under an assumption of vertical descent, PADI sequence change during this evolutionary time frame is anachronistically low, even when compared to products of likely endosymbiont gene transfer, mitochondrial proteins and some of the most highly conserved sequences in life. The consilience of evidence indicates that PADIs were introduced from cyanobacteria into animals by horizontal gene transfer (HGT). The ancestral cyanobacterial PADI is enzymatically active and can citrullinate eukaryotic proteins, suggesting that the PADI HGT event introduced a new catalytic capability into the regulatory repertoire of animals. This study reveals the unusual evolution of a pleiotropic protein modification.

Type: Article
Title: Citrullination was introduced into animals by horizontal gene transfer from cyanobacteria
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msab317
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msab317
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139431
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