IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research


Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

Antibacterial gene transfer across the tree of life
Metcalf, J.A.; Funkhouser-Jones, L.J.; Brileya, K.; Reysenbach, A.-L.; Bordenstein, S.R. (2014). Antibacterial gene transfer across the tree of life. eLIFE 3(e04266): 18 pp.
In: eLIFE. eLife Sciences Publications: Cambridge. ISSN 2050-084X, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 


Authors  Top 
  • Metcalf, J.A.
  • Funkhouser-Jones, L.J.
  • Brileya, K.
  • Reysenbach, A.-L.
  • Bordenstein, S.R.

    Though horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is widespread, genes and taxa experience biased rates of transferability. Curiously, independent transmission of homologous DNA to archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes, and viruses is extremely rare and often defies ecological and functional explanations. Here, we demonstrate that a bacterial lysozyme family integrated independently in all domains of life across diverse environments, generating the only glycosyl hydrolase 25 muramidases in plants and archaea. During coculture of a hydrothermal vent archaeon with a bacterial competitor, muramidase transcription is upregulated. Moreover, recombinant lysozyme exhibits broad-spectrum antibacterial action in a dose-dependent manner. Similar to bacterial transfer of antibiotic resistance genes, transfer of a potent antibacterial gene across the universal tree seemingly bestows a niche-transcending adaptation that trumps the barriers against parallel HGT to all domains. The discoveries also comprise the first characterization of an antibacterial gene in archaea and support the pursuit of antibiotics in this underexplored group.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors