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Testing the Domino Theory of Gene Loss in Buchnera aphidicola: The Relevance of Epistatic Interactions

1
Departamento de Ingeniería Genética, CINVESTAV Irapuato, Km. 9.6 Libramiento Norte Carretera Irapuato-León, 36821 Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico
2
CIMAT, A.P. 402, Guanajuato 36000, Gto., Mexico
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Fundación para el Fomento de la Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de la Comunitat Valenciana (FISABIO)-Salud Pública, Avenida de Catalunya 21, 46020 València, Spain
4
Institute for Integrative Systems Biology, Universitat de València, Calle Catedrático José Beltrán 2, 46980 Paterna, València, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution of Mutualistic Symbiosis)
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Abstract

The domino theory of gene loss states that when some particular gene loses its function and cripples a cellular function, selection will relax in all functionally related genes, which may allow for the non-functionalization and loss of these genes. Here we study the role of epistasis in determining the pattern of gene losses in a set of genes participating in cell envelope biogenesis in the endosymbiotic bacteria Buchnera aphidicola. We provide statistical evidence indicating pairs of genes in B. aphidicola showing correlated gene loss tend to have orthologs in Escherichia coli known to have alleviating epistasis. In contrast, pairs of genes in B. aphidicola not showing correlated gene loss tend to have orthologs in E. coli known to have aggravating epistasis. These results suggest that during the process of genome reduction in B. aphidicola by gene loss, positive or alleviating epistasis facilitates correlated gene losses while negative or aggravating epistasis impairs correlated gene losses. We interpret this as evidence that the reduced proteome of B. aphidicola contains less pathway redundancy and more compensatory interactions, mimicking the situation of E. coli when grown under environmental constrains. View Full-Text
Keywords: endosymbiotic bacteria; genome reduction; gene interactions; correlated evolution endosymbiotic bacteria; genome reduction; gene interactions; correlated evolution
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Martínez-Cano, D.J.; Bor, G.; Moya, A.; Delaye, L. Testing the Domino Theory of Gene Loss in Buchnera aphidicola: The Relevance of Epistatic Interactions. Life 2018, 8, 17.

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