Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Single-cell parasites co-opt 'ready-made' genes from host

Date:
July 18, 2012
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Two species of single-cell parasites have co-opted "ready-made" genes from their hosts that in turn help them exploit their hosts, according to a new study.

Two species of single-cell parasites have co-opted "ready-made" genes from their hosts that in turn help them exploit their hosts, according to a new study by University of British Columbia and University of Ottawa researchers.

Related Articles


Part of a group of parasitic microbes called microsporidia, Encephalitozoon hellem and Encephalitozoon romaleae are related to fungi and are commonly found in the intestines of vertebrates. In humans, they are associated with people with immune deficiencies.

The research team identified six genes in these parasites that were not found in any other microsporidian. Rather than the slow process of inheriting individual genes, E. hellem and E. romaleae have acquired a suite of genes that produce folate, a form of folic acid that helps cell division and growth.

Details are published this week in the online journal PNAS Early Edition.

"With their tiny, reduced genomes, microsporidia are models for gene loss," says lead author Patrick Keeling, a professor in UBC's Dept. of Botany.

"These parasites have undergone massive genome reductions and are literally infection machines -- they only kept genes that are essential for survival."

"But here we found two species have actually acquired new genes that work together to make an essential nutrient that the parasites would otherwise have to steal from their host -- opening up new tissues or even new hosts as targets for infection," says Keeling, director of the Centre for Microbial Diversity and Evolution and a member of Beaty Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC.

The process of horizontal gene transfer -- the ability to acquire ready-made genes with specific functions from foreign genomes -- is an important but often overlooked mechanism of evolution, according to Keeling. "It helps explain the relatively rapid evolution of these tiny organisms and their ability to infect and live off of a wide variety of hosts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.-F. Pombert, M. Selman, F. Burki, F. T. Bardell, L. Farinelli, L. F. Solter, D. W. Whitman, L. M. Weiss, N. Corradi, P. J. Keeling. Gain and loss of multiple functionally related, horizontally transferred genes in the reduced genomes of two microsporidian parasites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1205020109

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Single-cell parasites co-opt 'ready-made' genes from host." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718164951.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2012, July 18). Single-cell parasites co-opt 'ready-made' genes from host. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718164951.htm
University of British Columbia. "Single-cell parasites co-opt 'ready-made' genes from host." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120718164951.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins