Intragenic Recombination Has a Critical Role on the Evolution of Legionella pneumophila Virulence-Related Effector sidJ
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014
SidJ is a Dot/Icm effector involved in the trafficking or retention of ER-derived vesicles to Legionella pneumophila vacuoles whose mutation causes an observable growth defect, both in macrophage and amoeba hosts. Given the crucial role of this effector in L. pneumophila virulence we investigated the mechanisms shaping its molecular evolution. The alignment of SidJ sequences revealed several alleles with amino acid variations that may influence the protein properties. The identification of HGT events and the detection of balancing selection operating on sidJ evolution emerge as a clear result. Evidence suggests that intragenic recombination is an important strategy in the evolutionary adaptive process playing an active role on sidJ genetic plasticity. This pattern of evolution is in accordance with the life style of L. pneumophila as a broad host-range pathogen by preventing host-specialization and contributing to the resilience of the species.