Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Evolutionary Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Evidence of recent interkingdom horizontal gene transfer between bacteria and Candida parapsilosis

David A Fitzpatrick*, Mary E Logue and Geraldine Butler

Author Affiliations

School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Conway Institute, University College, Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Evolutionary Biology 2008, 8:181  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-8-181

Published: 24 June 2008

Abstract

Background

To date very few incidences of interdomain gene transfer into fungi have been identified. Here, we used the emerging genome sequences of Candida albicans WO-1, Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Clavispora lusitaniae, Pichia guilliermondii, and Lodderomyces elongisporus to identify recent interdomain HGT events. We refer to these as CTG species because they translate the CTG codon as serine rather than leucine, and share a recent common ancestor.

Results

Phylogenetic and syntenic information infer that two C. parapsilosis genes originate from bacterial sources. One encodes a putative proline racemase (PR). Phylogenetic analysis also infers that there were independent transfers of bacterial PR enzymes into members of the Pezizomycotina, and protists. The second HGT gene in C. parapsilosis belongs to the phenazine F (PhzF) superfamily. Most CTG species also contain a fungal PhzF homolog. Our phylogeny suggests that the CTG homolog originated from an ancient HGT event, from a member of the proteobacteria. An analysis of synteny suggests that C. parapsilosis has lost the endogenous fungal form of PhzF, and subsequently reacquired it from a proteobacterial source. There is evidence that Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Basidiomycotina also obtained a PhzF homolog through HGT.

Conclusion

Our search revealed two instances of well-supported HGT from bacteria into the CTG clade, both specific to C. parapsilosis. Therefore, while recent interkingdom gene transfer has taken place in the CTG lineage, its occurrence is rare. However, our analysis will not detect ancient gene transfers, and we may have underestimated the global extent of HGT into CTG species.