Hsp-90 and the biology of nematodes
- Equal contributors
1 Parasitology Group, Institute of Comparative Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK
2 The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:254 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-254Published: 22 October 2009
Hsp-90 from the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is unique in that it fails to bind to the specific Hsp-90 inhibitor, geldanamycin (GA). Here we surveyed 24 different free-living or parasitic nematodes with the aim of determining whether C. elegans Hsp-90 was the exception or the norm amongst the nematodes. We combined these data with codon evolution models in an attempt to identify whether hsp-90 from GA-binding and non-binding species has evolved under different evolutionary constraints.
We show that GA-binding is associated with life history: free-living nematodes and those parasitic species with free-living larval stages failed to bind GA. In contrast, obligate parasites and those worms in which the free-living stage in the environment is enclosed within a resistant egg, possess a GA-binding Hsp-90. We analysed Hsp-90 sequences from fifteen nematode species to determine whether nematode hsp-90s have undergone adaptive evolution that influences GA-binding. Our data provide evidence of rapid diversifying selection in the evolution of the hsp-90 gene along three separate lineages, and identified a number of residues showing significant evidence of adaptive evolution. However, we were unable to prove that the selection observed is correlated with the ability to bind geldanamycin or not.
Hsp-90 is a multi-functional protein and the rapid evolution of the hsp-90 gene presumably correlates with other key cellular functions. Factors other than primary amino acid sequence may influence the ability of Hsp-90 to bind to geldanamycin.