Naturally Mosaic Operons for Secondary Metabolite Biosynthesis: Variability and Putative Horizontal Transfer of Discrete Catalytic Domains of the Epothilone Polyketide Synthase Locus
Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Horizontal gene transfer, Epothilones, Polyketide, Phylogenetics, Operon
A putative instance of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) involving adjacent, discrete β-ketoacyl synthase (KS), acyl carrier protein (ACP) and nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) domains of the epothilone Type I polyketide biosynthetic gene cluster from the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosom was identified using molecular phylogenetics and sequence analyses. The specific KS domain of the module EPO B fails to cluster phylogenetically with other epothilone KS sequences present at this locus, in contrast to what is typically observed in many other Type I polyketide synthase (PKS) biosynthetic loci. Furthermore, the GC content of the epoB KS, epoA ACP and NRPS domains differs significantly from the base composition of other epothilone domain sequences. In addition, the putatively transferred epothilone loci are located near previously identified transposon-like sequences. Lastly, comparison with other KS loci revealed another possible case of horizontal transfer of secondary metabolite genes in the genus Pseudomonas. This study emphasizes the use of several lines of concordant evidence (phylogenetics, base composition, transposon sequences) to infer the evolutionary history of particular gene and enzyme sequences, and the results support the idea that genes coding for adaptive traits, e.g. defensive natural products, may be prone to transposition between divergent prokaryotic taxa and genomes.
Lopez, J. V. 2004. "Naturally mosaic operons for secondary metabolite biosynthesis: variability and putative horizontal transfer of discrete catalytic domains of the epothilone polyketide synthase locus." Molecular Genetics and Genomics no. 270 (5):420-431. doi: 10.1007/s00438-003-0937-9.