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Cell cycle transcriptomics of Capsaspora provides insights into the evolution of cyclin-CDK machinery

AuthorsPérez-Posada, A.; Dudin, Omaya; Ocaña-Pallarès, Eduard; Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki ; Ondracka, Andrej
Issue Date16-Mar-2020
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS Genetics 16(3): e1008584 (2020)
Abstract[Abstract] Progression through the cell cycle in eukaryotes is regulated on multiple levels. The main driver of the cell cycle progression is the periodic activity of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) complexes. In parallel, transcription during the cell cycle is regulated by a transcriptional program that ensures the just-in-time gene expression. Many core cell cycle regulators are widely conserved in eukaryotes, among them cyclins and CDKs; however, periodic transcriptional programs are divergent between distantly related species. In addition, many otherwise conserved cell cycle regulators have been lost and independently evolved in yeast, a widely used model organism for cell cycle research. For a better understanding of the evolution of the cell cycle regulation in opisthokonts, we investigated the transcriptional program during the cell cycle of the filasterean Capsaspora owczarzaki, a unicellular species closely related to animals. We developed a protocol for cell cycle synchronization in Capsaspora cultures and assessed gene expression over time across the entire cell cycle. We identified a set of 801 periodic genes that grouped into five clusters of expression over time. Comparison with datasets from other eukaryotes revealed that the periodic transcriptional program of Capsaspora is most similar to that of animal cells. We found that orthologues of cyclin A, B and E are expressed at the same cell cycle stages as in human cells and in the same temporal order. However, in contrast to human cells where these cyclins interact with multiple CDKs, Capsaspora cyclins likely interact with a single ancestral CDK1-3. Thus, the Capsaspora cyclin-CDK system could represent an intermediate state in the evolution of animal-like cyclin-CDK regulation. Overall, our results demonstrate that Capsaspora could be a useful unicellular model system for animal cell cycle regulation.
[Author summary] When cells reproduce, proper duplication and splitting of the genetic material is ensured by cell cycle control systems. Many of the regulators in these systems are present across all eukaryotes, such as cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK), or the E2F-Rb transcriptional network. Opisthokonts, the group comprising animals, fungi and their unicellular relatives, represent a puzzling scenario: in contrast to animals, where the cell cycle core machinery seems to be conserved, studies in yeasts have shown that some of these regulators have been lost and independently evolved. For a better understanding of the evolution of the cell cycle regulation in opisthokonts, and ultimately in the lineage leading to animals, we have studied cell cycle regulation in Capsaspora owczarzaki, a unicellular amoeba more closely related to animals than fungi. Our findings suggest that, in the ancestor of Capsaspora and animals, cyclins oscillate in the same temporal order as in animals, and that expansion of CDKs occurred later in the lineage that led to animals.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008584
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