Horizontal Transfer of Bacterial Cytolethal Distending Toxin B Genes to Insects
Molecular Biology and Evolution
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Horizontal gene transfer events have played a major role in the evolution of microbial species, but their importance in animals is less clear. Here, we report horizontal gene transfer of cytolethal distending toxin B (cdtB), prokaryotic genes encoding eukaryote-targeting DNase I toxins, into the genomes of vinegar flies (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae). We found insect-encoded cdtB genes are most closely related to orthologs from bacteriophage that infect Candidatus Hamiltonella defensa, a bacterial mutualistic symbiont of aphids that confers resistance to parasitoid wasps. In drosophilids, cdtB orthologs are highly expressed during the parasitoid-prone larval stage and encode a protein with ancestral DNase activity. We show that cdtB has been domesticated by diverse insects and hypothesize that it functions in defense against their natural enemies.
Horizontal gene transfer; Cytolethal distending toxin; Aphids; Drosophila; DNase
Entomology | Genetics and Genomics
Verster, K. I.,
Wisecaver, J. H.,
Duncan, R. P.,
Gloss, A. D.,
Armstrong, E. E.,
Price, D. K.,
Menon, A. R.,
Ali, Z. M.,
Whiteman, N. K.
Horizontal Transfer of Bacterial Cytolethal Distending Toxin B Genes to Insects.
Molecular Biology and Evolution, 36(10),