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ORTHOSCOPE Analysis Reveals the Presence of the Cellulose Synthase Gene in All Tunicate Genomes but Not in Other Animal Genomes

Marine Genomics Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Onna, Okinawa 904-0495, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(4), 294;
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 5 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Tunicates or urochordates—comprising ascidians, larvaceans, and salps—are the only metazoans that can synthesize cellulose, a biological function usually associated with bacteria and plants but not animals. Tunicate cellulose or tunicine is a major component of the outer acellular coverage (tunic) of the entire body of these organisms. Previous studies have suggested that the prokaryotic cellulose synthase gene (CesA) was horizontally transferred into the genome of a tunicate ancestor. However, no convenient tools have been devised to determine whether only tunicates harbor CesA. ORTHOSCOPE is a recently developed tool used to identify orthologous genes and to examine the phylogenic relationship of molecules within major metazoan taxa. The present analysis with this tool revealed the presence of CesA orthologs in all sequenced tunicate genomes but an absence in other metazoan genomes. This supports an evolutionary origin of animal cellulose and provides insights into the evolution of this animal taxon. View Full-Text
Keywords: tunicates; CesA genes; ORTHOSCOPE; horizontal gene transfer tunicates; CesA genes; ORTHOSCOPE; horizontal gene transfer

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Inoue, J.; Nakashima, K.; Satoh, N. ORTHOSCOPE Analysis Reveals the Presence of the Cellulose Synthase Gene in All Tunicate Genomes but Not in Other Animal Genomes. Genes 2019, 10, 294.

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