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Dispersal and Evolution of the Sinorhizobium meliloti Group II RmInt1 Intron in Bacteria that Interact with Plants

AuthorsFernández-López, Manuel; Muñoz-Adelantado, Estefanía; Gillis, Moniek; Willems, Anne; Toro, Nicolás
Keywordsgroup II intron
nitrogen fixation
Sinorhizobium meliloti
reverse transcriptase
Issue Date6-Apr-2005
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationMolecular Biology and Evolution 22 (6): 1518-1528 (2005)
AbstractGroup II introns are both self-splicing RNAs and mobile retroelements found in bacterial and archaeal genomes and in organelles of eukaryotes. They are thought to be the ancestors of eukaryote spliceosomal introns and non–long terminal repeat retrotransposons.Weshow here that RmInt1, a bacterial group II intron first described in the nitrogen-fixing symbiont of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Sinorhizobium meliloti, is also present in other Sinorhizobium and Rhizobium species. The intron-homing sites in these species are IS elements of the ISRm2011-2 group as in S. meliloti, but ectopic insertion is also observed. We present evidence that these related bacteria have acquired RmInt1 by vertical inheritance from a common ancestor and by independent horizontal transfer events. We also show that RmInt1 is mobile in related taxa of bacteria that interact with plants and tends to evolve toward an inactive form by fragmentation, with loss of the 3# terminus including the intron-encoded protein. Our results provide an overview of the evolution and dispersion of a bacterial group II intron.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msi144
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