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Magnetosome Gene Duplication as an Important Driver in the Evolution of Magnetotaxis in the Alphaproteobacteria

Abstract : The evolution of microbial magnetoreception (or magnetotaxis) is of great interest in the fields of microbiology, evolutionary biology, biophysics, geomi-crobiology, and geochemistry. Current genomic data from magnetotactic bacteria (MTB), the only prokaryotes known to be capable of sensing the Earth's geomag-netic field, suggests an ancient origin of magnetotaxis in the domain Bacteria. Vertical inheritance, followed by multiple independent magnetosome gene cluster loss, is considered to be one of the major forces that drove the evolution of magnetotaxis at or above the class or phylum level, although the evolutionary trajectories at lower taxonomic ranks (e.g., within the class level) remain largely unstudied. Here we report the isolation, cultivation, and sequencing of a novel magnetotactic spiril-lum belonging to the genus Terasakiella (Terasakiella sp. strain SH-1) within the class Alphaproteobacteria. The complete genome sequence of Terasakiella sp. strain SH-1 revealed an unexpected duplication event of magnetosome genes within the mamAB operon, a group of genes essential for magnetosome biomineral-ization and magnetotaxis. Intriguingly, further comparative genomic analysis suggests that the duplication of mamAB genes is a common feature in the genomes of alphaproteobacterial MTB. Taken together, with the additional finding that gene duplication appears to have also occurred in some magnetotactic members of the Deltaproteobacteria, our results indicate that gene duplication plays an important role in the evolution of magnetotaxis in the Alphaproteobacteria and perhaps the domain Bacteria. IMPORTANCE A diversity of organisms can sense the geomagnetic field for the purpose of navigation. Magnetotactic bacteria are the most primitive magnetism-sensing organisms known thus far and represent an excellent model system for the study of the origin, evolution, and mechanism of microbial magnetoreception (or magnetotaxis). The present study is the first report focused on magnetosome gene cluster duplication in the Alphaproteobacteria, which suggests the important role of gene duplication in the evolution of magnetotaxis in the Alphaproteobacteria and perhaps the domain Bacteria.
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Haijian Du, Wenyan Zhang, Wensi Zhang, Weijia Zhang, Hongmiao Pan, et al.. Magnetosome Gene Duplication as an Important Driver in the Evolution of Magnetotaxis in the Alphaproteobacteria. mSystems, 2019, 4 (5), ⟨10.1128/mSystems.00315-19⟩. ⟨hal-02368468⟩

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