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Reconstruction of protein domain evolution using single-cell amplified genomes of uncultured choanoflagellates sheds light on the origin of animals

AuthorsLópez-Escardó, David ; Grau-Bové, Xavier; Guillaumet-Adkins, Amy; Gut, Marta; Sieracki, Michael E.; Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki
KeywordsSingle-cell genomics
Animal multicellularity
Protein domain evolution
Issue DateNov-2019
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationPhilosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences 374(1786): 20190088 (2019)
AbstractUnderstanding the origins of animal multicellularity is a fundamental biological question. Recent genome data have unravelled the role that co-option of pre-existing genes played in the origin of animals. However, there were also some important genetic novelties at the onset of Metazoa. To have a clear understanding of the specific genetic innovations and how they appeared, we need the broadest taxon sampling possible, especially among early-branching animals and their unicellular relatives. Here, we take advantage of single-cell genomics to expand our understanding of the genomic diversity of choanoflagellates, the sister-group to animals. With these genomes, we have performed an updated and taxon-rich reconstruction of protein evolution from the Last Eukaryotic Common Ancestor (LECA) to animals. Our novel data re-defines the origin of some genes previously thought to be metazoan-specific, like the POU transcription factor, which we show appeared earlier in evolution. Moreover, our data indicate that the acquisition of new genes at the stem of Metazoa was mainly driven by duplications and protein domain rearrangement processes at the stem of Metazoa. Furthermore, our analysis allowed us to reveal protein domains that are essential to the maintenance of animal multicellularity. Our analyses also demonstrate the utility of single-cell genomics from uncultured taxa to address evolutionary questions
DescriptionDiscussion meeting issue ‘Single cell ecology’ organized and edited by Thomas A. Richards, Ramon Massana and Neil Hall, 10-11 December 2018, The Royal Society, London.-- 19 pages, 5 figures, 3 tables, supplemental material https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/suppl/10.1098/rstb.2019.0088.-- Data accessibility https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7819571.v1
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0088
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0088
issn: 0962-8436
e-issn: 1471-2970
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