Gene gain facilitated endosymbiotic evolution of Chlamydiae.

Dharamshi JE, Köstlbacher S, Schön ME, Collingro A, Ettema TJG, Horn M

Nat Microbiol 8 (1) 40-54 [2023-01-00; online 2023-01-05]

Chlamydiae is a bacterial phylum composed of obligate animal and protist endosymbionts. However, other members of the Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae superphylum are primarily free living. How Chlamydiae transitioned to an endosymbiotic lifestyle is still largely unresolved. Here we reconstructed Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae species relationships and modelled superphylum genome evolution. Gene content reconstruction from 11,996 gene families suggests a motile and facultatively anaerobic last common Chlamydiae ancestor that had already gained characteristic endosymbiont genes. Counter to expectations for genome streamlining in strict endosymbionts, we detected substantial gene gain within Chlamydiae. We found that divergence in energy metabolism and aerobiosis observed in extant lineages emerged later during chlamydial evolution. In particular, metabolic and aerobic genes characteristic of the more metabolically versatile protist-infecting chlamydiae were gained, such as respiratory chain complexes. Our results show that metabolic complexity can increase during endosymbiont evolution, adding an additional perspective for understanding symbiont evolutionary trajectories across the tree of life.

Bioinformatics Support for Computational Resources [Service]

PubMed 36604515

DOI 10.1038/s41564-022-01284-9

Crossref 10.1038/s41564-022-01284-9

pmc: PMC9816063
pii: 10.1038/s41564-022-01284-9
figshare: 10.6084/m9.figshare.17033417

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