Some archaea have been found to have integrins that allow cross-domain gene transfer

Some archaea have been found to have integrins that allow cross-domain gene transfer

attC × atti recombination) assays. (A) Schematic representation of the experimental setup of the cassette insertion assays. Kanamycin resistance (KmR) suicide vector pJP5603 with a attC Website is transmitted to the recipient E. coli UB5201 strain by conjugation. The recipient strain carries a intI1 Gene expressed by the inducible PAfDB promoter and a attI1 Site based on carbenicillin resistance (CbR) pBAD24 and chloramphenicol resistance (CmR) pACYC184 backbone. The donor suicide vector cannot replicate in the recipient host and can only subsequently persist attC × atti Recombination to form a plasmid cointegrate. (B) Average recombination frequencies (log10 scale, ±1 SE) between attI1 and nine archaea attCs (labeled with strains of origin along the x-axis) and the paradigmatic bacterium attC Side? ˅ (attCaadA7), used as a positive control. Average frequencies were calculated after three independent cassette insertion assays (see Materials and Methods for details). No statistically significant difference in recombination frequency was found among those tested attCs (Kruskal-Wallis test, n=27; df=8, P=0.488). Recombination frequencies are shown for attC only bottom strands. See Table S1 for attC Recombination frequencies of the upper strands. NS, not significant. Recognition: scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq6376″ width=”800″ height=”440″/>
recruiting tape (attC × atti recombination) assays. (A) Schematic representation of the experimental setup of the cassette insertion assays. Kanamycin resistance (KmR) suicide vector pJP5603 with a attC Website is transmitted to the recipient E. coli UB5201 strain by conjugation. The recipient strain carries a intI1 Gene expressed by the inducible PAfDB promoter and a attI1 Site based on carbenicillin resistance (CbR) pBAD24 and chloramphenicol resistance (CmR) pACYC184 backbone. The donor suicide vector cannot replicate in the recipient host and therefore can only subsequently persist attC × atti Recombination to form a plasmid cointegrate. (B) Average recombination frequencies (log10 scale, ±1 SE) between attI1 and nine archaea attCs (labeled with strains of origin along the x-axis) and the paradigmatic bacterium attC Side? ˅ (attCaadA7), used as a positive control. Mean frequencies were calculated after three independent cassette insertion assays (see Materials and Methods for details). No statistically significant difference in recombination frequency was found among those tested attCs (Kruskal-Wallis test, n=27; df=8, P=0.488). Recombination frequencies are shown for attC only bottom strands. See Table S1 for attC Recombination frequencies of the upper strands. NS, not significant. Recognition: scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq6376

A team of researchers from Macquarie University in Australia have found evidence that some archaea have integrins. In her article published in the journal scientific advancesThe group describes how they used a recently developed technique called metagenome-assembled genomes (MAG) to study the genomes of Archaeal specimens in new ways, and what they learned in the process.

Life on earth is divided into three areas: eukarya, bacteria and archaea. The third domain, archaea, is similar to bacteria – its members are often referred to as archaebacteria. Like bacteria, Archaea are unicellular, but unlike bacteria, they rely on lipids in their cell membranes.

In this new attempt, the researchers examined the means by which bacteria and archaea exchange genes and wondered whether it might be possible that they have integrins – gene acquisition and dissemination systems in bacteria that use gene cassettes to express the proteins involved to pass on. To find out, they turned to MAG – a technique that makes it possible to look for individual genes and gene combining sites, called AttC, which contain this sequence for coding the protein integran integrase (IntI).

With the technique, they found many similarities. From 6,700 scanned genomes, they found 75 matches in nine strains, each occupying an integrin. And they all turned out to have the same structure as the integrins found in bacteria, suggesting the use of cassettes.

The researchers believed this indicated that the archaea they identified should be able to swap genes with bacteria and vice versa as easily as bacteria swap genes with each other. To prove their idea was correct, they synthesized AttC from an Archaea sample and exposed it to an E. coli sample. Tests showed that cassettes were created that allow gene replacement.

Finding integrins in archaea will certainly open new avenues of research. One avenue would be to investigate the possibility that swapping genes from archaea to bacteria helps the latter become resistant to drugs designed to kill them. The researchers also note that it would be helpful if a complete Archaea genome were made available.

More information:
Timothy M. Ghaly et al., Discovery of integrons in Archaea: Platforms for cross-domain gene transfer, scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq6376

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