The phylogenetic placement of the morphologically simple placozoans is crucial to understanding the evolution of complex animal traits. Here, we examine the influence of adding new genomes from placozoans to a large dataset designed to study the deepest splits in the animal phylogeny. Using site-heterogeneous substitution models, we show that it is possible to obtain strong support, in both amino acid and reduced-alphabet matrices, for either a sister-group relationship between Cnidaria and Placozoa, or for Cnidaria and Bilateria as seen in most published work to date, depending on the orthologues selected to construct the matrix. We demonstrate that a majority of genes show evidence of compositional heterogeneity, and that support for the Cnidaria+Bilateria clade can be assigned to this source of systematic error. In interpreting these results, we caution against a peremptory reading of placozoans as secondarily reduced forms of little relevance to broader discussions of early animal evolution.
SRA accession codes, where used, and all alternative sources for sequence data (e.g. individually hosted websites, personal communications), are listed above in the Materials and Methods section. A DataDryad accession is available at https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6cm1166, which makes available all helper scripts, orthogroups, multiple sequence alignments, phylogenetic program output, and raw host proteomes inputted to OrthoFinder. Metagenomic bins containing placozoan host contigs and raw RNA reads used to derive gene annotations from H4, H6 and H11 isolates are also provided in this accession. PhyloBayes .chain files, due to their large size, are separately accessioned at in Zenodo at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1197272.
Data from: Placozoa and Cnidaria are sister taxaDOI: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6cm1166.
PhyloBayes chain data from: Placozoa and Cnidaria are sister taxa10.5281/zenodo.1197272.
- Harald Gruber-Vodicka
- John C Marioni
- Gonzalo Giribet
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Antonis Rokas, Vanderbilt University, United States
© 2018, Laumer et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Co-functional proteins tend to have rates of evolution that covary over time. This correlation between evolutionary rates can be measured over the branches of a phylogenetic tree through methods such as evolutionary rate covariation (ERC), and then used to construct gene networks by the identification of proteins with functional interactions. The cause of this correlation has been hypothesized to result from both compensatory coevolution at physical interfaces and nonphysical forces such as shared changes in selective pressure. This study explores whether coevolution due to compensatory mutations has a measurable effect on the ERC signal. We examined the difference in ERC signal between physically interacting protein domains within complexes compared to domains of the same proteins that do not physically interact. We found no generalizable relationship between physical interaction and high ERC, although a few complexes ranked physical interactions higher than nonphysical interactions. Therefore, we conclude that coevolution due to physical interaction is weak, but present in the signal captured by ERC, and we hypothesize that the stronger signal instead comes from selective pressures on the protein as a whole and maintenance of the general function.
Synthetic autotrophy is a promising avenue to sustainable bioproduction from CO2. Here, we use iterative laboratory evolution to generate several distinct autotrophic strains. Utilising this genetic diversity, we identify that just three mutations are sufficient for Escherichia coli to grow autotrophically, when introduced alongside non-native energy (formate dehydrogenase) and carbon-fixing (RuBisCO, phosphoribulokinase, carbonic anhydrase) modules. The mutated genes are involved in glycolysis (pgi), central-carbon regulation (crp), and RNA transcription (rpoB). The pgi mutation reduces the enzyme’s activity, thereby stabilising the carbon-fixing cycle by capping a major branching flux. For the other two mutations, we observe down-regulation of several metabolic pathways and increased expression of native genes associated with the carbon-fixing module (rpiB) and the energy module (fdoGH), as well as an increased ratio of NADH/NAD+ - the cycle’s electron-donor. This study demonstrates the malleability of metabolism and its capacity to switch trophic modes using only a small number of genetic changes and could facilitate transforming other heterotrophic organisms into autotrophs.