Phylogeny-wide conservation and change in developmental expression, cell-type specificity and functional domains of the transcriptional regulators of social amoebas

Gillian Forbes (Lead / Corresponding author), Zhi-Hui Chen, Koryu Kin, Hajara M. Lawal, Christina Schilde, Yoko Yamada, Pauline Schaap (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

Background: Dictyostelid social amoebas self-organize into fruiting bodies, consisting of spores and up to four supporting cell types in the phenotypically most complex taxon group 4. High quality genomes and stage- and cell-type specific transcriptomes are available for representative species of each of the four taxon groups. To understand how evolution of gene regulation in Dictyostelia contributed to evolution of phenotypic complexity, we analysed conservation and change in abundance, functional domain architecture and developmental regulation of their transcription factors (TFs).

Results: We detected 440 sequence-specific TFs across 33 families, of which 68% were upregulated in multicellular development and about half conserved throughout Dictyostelia. Prespore cells expressed two times more TFs than prestalk cells, but stalk cells expressed more TFs than spores, suggesting that gene expression events that define spores occur earlier than those that define stalk cells. Changes in TF developmental expression, but not in TF abundance or functional domains occurred more frequently between group 4 and groups 1-3, than between the more distant branches formed by groups 1+2 and 3+4.

Conclusions: Phenotypic innovation is correlated with changes in TF regulation, rather than functional domain- or TF acquisition. The function of only 34 TFs is known. Of 12 TFs essential for cell differentiation, 9 are expressed in the cell type for which they are required. The information acquired here on conserved cell type specifity of 120 additional TFs can effectively guide further functional analysis, while observed evolutionary change in TF developmental expression may highlight how genotypic change caused phenotypic innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number890
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Genomics
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019

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Keywords

  • Amoebozoa
  • Comparative genomics
  • Comparative transcriptomics
  • Dictyostelia
  • Evolution of phenotype
  • Evolution of transcriptional regulation

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