Differentiation of venoms of predatory marine gastropods: divergence of orthologous toxin genes of closely related Conus species with different dietary specializations
Duda, T.F. (2008). Differentiation of venoms of predatory marine gastropods: divergence of orthologous toxin genes of closely related Conus species with different dietary specializations. J. Mol. Evol. 67(3): 315-321. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00239-008-9155-8
In: Journal of Molecular Evolution. Springer-Verlag: New York. ISSN 0022-2844, more
Venoms of Conus are remarkably diverse among species and the genes that encode conotoxins show high rates of evolution. Yet no prior studies have specifically explored how conotoxin gene evolution contributes to the differentiation of venoms of closely related Conus species. Previous investigations of four-loop conotoxin expression patterns of six closely related Conus species identified 12 sets of putative orthologous loci from these species, including eight pairs of loci that are coexpressed by two of these six species, C. abbreviatus and C. miliaris. Here I analyze the molecular evolution of orthologous conotoxin loci of these species and specifically examine the divergence of the eight orthologous counterparts of C. abbreviatus and C. miliaris. Tree and maximum likelihood-based analyses of these sequences reveal that positive selection promotes the divergence of orthologous genes among species and that the evolution of orthologues of C. abbreviatus and C. miliaris is asymmetric among species. The asymmetric evolution of conotoxin loci among species may result from lineage-specific dietary shifts or interspecific differences in the impact of selection from predator-prey interactions on conotoxin loci.