PLoS Comput Biol.: auth.: group Dessimoz

PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Jul 22;16(7):e1007553.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007553. Online ahead of print.

Scalable phylogenetic profiling using MinHash uncovers likely eukaryotic sexual reproduction genes


Phylogenetic profiling is a computational method to predict genes involved in the same biological process by identifying protein families which tend to be jointly lost or retained across the tree of life. Phylogenetic profiling has customarily been more widely used with prokaryotes than eukaryotes, because the method is thought to require many diverse genomes. There are now many eukaryotic genomes available, but these are considerably larger, and typical phylogenetic profiling methods require at least quadratic time as a function of the number of genes. We introduce a fast, scalable phylogenetic profiling approach entitled HogProf, which leverages hierarchical orthologous groups for the construction of large profiles and locality-sensitive hashing for efficient retrieval of similar profiles. We show that the approach outperforms Enhanced Phylogenetic Tree, a phylogeny-based method, and use the tool to reconstruct networks and query for interactors of the kinetochore complex as well as conserved proteins involved in sexual reproduction: Hap2, Spo11 and Gex1. HogProf enables large-scale phylogenetic profiling across the three domains of life, and will be useful to predict biological pathways among the hundreds of thousands of eukaryotic species that will become available in the coming few years. HogProf is available at