The SNAP hypothesis: Chromosomal rearrangements could emerge from positive Selection during Niche Adaptation

Autoři: Gerrit Brandis aff001;  Diarmaid Hughes aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Biomedical Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: The SNAP hypothesis: Chromosomal rearrangements could emerge from positive Selection during Niche Adaptation. PLoS Genet 16(3): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008615
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008615


The relative linear order of most genes on bacterial chromosomes is not conserved over evolutionary timescales. One explanation is that selection is weak, allowing recombination to randomize gene order by genetic drift. However, most chromosomal rearrangements are deleterious to fitness. In contrast, we propose the hypothesis that rearrangements in gene order are more likely the result of selection during niche adaptation (SNAP). Partial chromosomal duplications occur very frequently by recombination between direct repeat sequences. Duplicated regions may contain tens to hundreds of genes and segregate quickly unless maintained by selection. Bacteria exposed to non-lethal selections (for example, a requirement to grow on a poor nutrient) can adapt by maintaining a duplication that includes a gene that improves relative fitness. Further improvements in fitness result from the loss or inactivation of non-selected genes within each copy of the duplication. When genes that are essential in single copy are lost from different copies of the duplication, segregation is prevented even if the original selection is lifted. Functional gene loss continues until a new genetic equilibrium is reached. The outcome is a rearranged gene order. Mathematical modelling shows that this process of positive selection to adapt to a new niche can rapidly drive rearrangements in gene order to fixation. Signature features (duplication formation and divergence) of the SNAP model were identified in natural isolates from multiple species showing that the initial two steps in the SNAP process can occur with a remarkably high frequency. Further bioinformatic and experimental analyses are required to test if and to which extend the SNAP process acts on bacterial genomes.

Klíčová slova:

Bacterial genomics – Ecological niches – Evolutionary genetics – Frameshift mutation – Genetic drift – Natural selection – Operons – Chromosomal duplications


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