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    The evolutionary history of the genes involved in the biosynthesis of the antioxidant ergothioneine

    Jones, Gary W. and Doyle, Sean and Fitzpatrick, David A. (2014) The evolutionary history of the genes involved in the biosynthesis of the antioxidant ergothioneine. Gene, 549 (1). pp. 161-170. ISSN 0378-1119

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    Ergothioneine (EGT) is a histidine betaine derivative that exhibits antioxidant action in humans. EGT is primarily synthesized by fungal species and a number of bacterial species. A five-gene cluster (egtA, egtB, egtC, egtD&egtE) responsible for EGT production in Mycobacteria smegmatis has recently been identified. The first fungal biosynthetic EGT gene (NcEgt-1) has also been identified in Neurospora crassa. NcEgt-1 contains domains similar to those found inM. smegmatis egtB andegtD. EGT is biomembrane impermeable. Herewe inferred the evolutionary history of the EGT cluster in prokaryotes aswell as examining the phyletic distribution of Egt-1 in the fungal kingdom. A genomic survey of 2509 prokaryotes showed that the five-gene EGT cluster is only found in the Actinobacteria. Our survey identifiedmore than 400 diverse prokaryotes that contain genetically linked orthologs of egtB and egtD. Phylogenetic analyses of Egt proteins show a complex evolutionary history and multiple incidences of horizontal gene transfer. Our analysis also identified two independent incidences of a fusion event of egtB and egtD in bacterial species. A genomic survey of over 100 fungal genomes shows that Egt-1 is found in all fungal phyla, except species that belong to the Saccharomycotina subphylum. This analysis provides a comprehensive analysis of the distribution of the key genes involved in the synthesis of EGT in prokaryotes and fungi. Our phylogenetic inferences illuminate the complex evolutionary history of the genes involved in EGT synthesis in prokaryotes. The potential to synthesize EGT is a fungal trait except for species belonging to the Saccharomycotina subphylum.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Ergothioneine; Antioxidant; Fungal; Prokaryotes; Phylogenetics; Fusion gene;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Biology
    Item ID: 7396
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Sean Doyle
    Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2016 14:46
    Journal or Publication Title: Gene
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Funders: Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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