Browsing Life sciences by Journal
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Evolutionary recruitment of flexible Esrp-dependent splicing programs into diverse embryonic morphogenetic processesEpithelial-mesenchymal interactions are crucial for the development of numerous animal structures. Thus, unraveling how molecular tools are recruited in different lineages to control interplays between these tissues is key to understanding morphogenetic evolution. Here, we study Esrp genes, which regulate extensive splicing programs and are essential for mammalian organogenesis. We find that Esrp homologs have been independently recruited for the development of multiple structures across deuterostomes. Although Esrp is involved in a wide variety of ontogenetic processes, our results suggest ancient roles in non-neural ectoderm and regulating specific mesenchymal-to-epithelial transitions in deuterostome ancestors. However, consistent with the extensive rewiring of Esrp-dependent splicing programs between phyla, most developmental defects observed in vertebrate mutants are related to other types of morphogenetic processes. This is likely connected to the origin of an event in Fgfr, which was recruited as an Esrp target in stem chordates and subsequently co-opted into the development of many novel traits in vertebrates.
Phylogenetic analyses suggest centipede venom arsenals were repeatedly stocked by horizontal gene transferAbstract: Venoms have evolved over a hundred times in animals. Venom toxins are thought to evolve mostly by recruitment of endogenous proteins with physiological functions. Here we report phylogenetic analyses of venom proteome-annotated venom gland transcriptome data, assisted by genomic analyses, to show that centipede venoms have recruited at least five gene families from bacterial and fungal donors, involving at least eight horizontal gene transfer events. These results establish centipedes as currently the only known animals with venoms used in predation and defence that contain multiple gene families derived from horizontal gene transfer. The results also provide the first evidence for the implication of horizontal gene transfer in the evolutionary origin of venom in an animal lineage. Three of the bacterial gene families encode virulence factors, suggesting that horizontal gene transfer can provide a fast track channel for the evolution of novelty by the exaptation of bacterial weapons into animal venoms.