LSTM Home > LSTM Research > LSTM Online Archive

Visualization of pseudogenes in intracellular bacteria reveals the different tracks to gene destruction

Fuxelius, H. H., Darby, Alistair C., Cho, N. H. and Andersson, S. G. E. (2008) 'Visualization of pseudogenes in intracellular bacteria reveals the different tracks to gene destruction'. Genome Biology, Vol 9, Issue 2, R42.

gb-2008-9-2-r42.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (430kB)


Background: Pseudogenes reveal ancestral gene functions. Some obligate intracellular bacteria, such as Mycobacterium leprae and Rickettsia spp., carry substantial fractions of pseudogenes. Until recently, horizontal gene transfers were considered to be rare events in obligate host-associated bacteria.
Results: We present a visualization tool that displays the relationships and positions of degraded and partially overlapping gene sequences in multiple genomes. With this tool we explore the origin and deterioration patterns of the Rickettsia pseudogenes and find that variably present genes and pseudogenes tend to have been acquired more recently, are more divergent in sequence, and exhibit a different functional profile compared with genes conserved across all species. Overall, the origin of only one-quarter of the variable genes and pseudogenes can be traced back to the common ancestor of Rickettsia and the outgroup genera Orientia and Wolbachia. These sequences contain only a few disruptive mutations and show a broad functional distribution profile, much like the core genes. The remaining genes and pseudogenes are extensively degraded or solely present in a single species. Their functional profile was heavily biased toward the mobile gene pool and genes for components of the cell wall and the lipopolysaccharide.
Conclusion: Reductive evolution of the vertically inherited genomic core accounts for 25% of the predicted genes in the variable segments of the Rickettsia genomes, whereas 75% stems from the flux of the mobile gene pool along with genes for cell surface structures. Thus, most of the variably present genes and pseudogenes in Rickettsia have arisen from recent acquisitions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 470 Genetic structures
QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 475 Genetic processes
QW Microbiology and Immunology > QW 50 Bacteria (General). Bacteriology. Archaea
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Users 183 not found.
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2010 12:24
Last Modified: 18 May 2018 14:05


View details

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item