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Evolution of Dicer and Argonaute orthologs in microsporidian parasites

Huang, Qiang
Infection, genetics, and evolution 2018 v.65 pp. 329-332
Nosema ceranae, RNA interference, animals, genes, hosts, immune response, metabolism, parasites, parasitism, phylogeny, spores, topology
Microsporidia are a group of intracellular parasites which infect animal hosts. The infection can broadly influence the hosts' metabolism, growth as well as immune responses. Recently, a functional RNAi pathway was suggested from the microsporidia parasite Nosema ceranae, whereby the gene Dicer showed strong impact on spore proliferation. Based on sequenced microsporidian species, the RNAi gene orthologs have only been annotated for a few species. In order to study the selection of RNAi gene Dicer and Argonaute orthologs from microsporidian genomes, a phylogenetic analysis was performed based on single copy orthologs of 21 microsporidian parasite species. Of the 21 studied parasite species, 11 parasite species maintained Dicer and Argonaute orthologs, which were further used to build the gene trees. The gene Dicer and Argonaute orthologs were either both maintained or both lost. The topology structures between the phylogenetic Dicer, Argonaute and species trees were consistent. The results suggest that the gene Dicer and Argonaute were selected as a unit, which were selectively maintained/lost during the lineage divergence. The study provides general insights on the selection of RNAi pathway in microsporidian parasites and the evolution of parasitism.