Genome Biol. Evol.: auth.: group Dessimoz

Genome Biol Evol. 2021 Jan 23;evab010. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evab010. Online ahead of print.

Gene Duplication and Gain in the Trematode Atriophallophorus Winterbourni Contributes to Adaptation to Parasitism

Natalia Zajac 1 2Stefan Zoller 2Katri Seppälä 1 3David Moi 4 5 6Christophe Dessimoz 4 5 6 7 8Jukka Jokela 1 2Hanna Hartikainen 1 2 9Natasha Glover 4 5 6

Free article


Gene duplications and novel genes have been shown to play a major role in helminth adaptation to a parasitic lifestyle because they provide the novelty necessary for adaptation to a changing environment, such as living in multiple hosts. Here we present the de novo sequenced and annotated genome of the parasitic trematode Atriophallophorus winterbourni and its comparative genomic analysis to other major parasitic trematodes. First, we reconstructed the species phylogeny, and dated the split of A. winterbourni from the Opisthorchiata suborder to approximately 237.4 MYA (± 120.4 MY). We then addressed the question of which expanded gene families and gained genes are potentially involved in adaptation to parasitism. To do this, we used Hierarchical Orthologous Groups to reconstruct three ancestral genomes on the phylogeny leading to A. winterbourni and performed a GO enrichment analysis of the gene composition of each ancestral genome, allowing us to characterize the subsequent genomic changes. Out of the 11,499 genes in the A. winterbourni genome, as much as 24% have arisen through duplication events since the speciation of A. winterbourni from the Opisthorchiata, and as much as 31.9% appear to be novel, i.e. newly acquired. We found 13 gene families in A. winterbourni to have had more than 10 genes arising through these recent duplications; all of which have functions potentially relating to host behavioural manipulation, host tissue penetration, and hiding from host immunity through antigen presentation. We identified several families with genes evolving under positive selection. Our results provide a valuable resource for future studies on the genomic basis of adaptation to parasitism and point to specific candidate genes putatively involved in antagonistic host-parasite adaptation.