University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Experimental evolution reveals rapid streamlining of vitamin metabolism in chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Experimental evolution reveals rapid streamlining of vitamin metabolism in chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Yoan Coudert.

Vitamins are essential components of all cells, as they provide cofactors for enzymes of central metabolism. Animals must obtain vitamins from their diet, but in fact a widespread and complex distribution of vitamin auxotrophy exists across the whole tree of life. I will present recent work investigating the evolutionary origins of vitamin dependence, using an experimental evolution approach with the fast-growing vitamin B12 -independent alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We observe, after fewer than 500 generations of growth in medium supplemented with vitamin B12 (1000 ng/L), the evolution of a B12 -dependent clone that rapidly displaces its ancestor. Genetic characterisation of this line reveals that a type-II Gulliver-related transposable element (GR-TE) has integrated into the B12 -independent methionine synthase gene (METE). We have captured this transposition event in action, and witness the origin of a new unitary pseudogene, and its subsequent rise in frequency within the population. This selective sweep is reproducible with as little as 200 ng/L vitamin B12 . Our study exhibits how loss of a superfluous gene can occur rapidly and in response to subtle environmental cues, with significant consequences for eco-physiological flexibility.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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