Adaptive evolution by spontaneous domain fusion and protein relocalization

Andrew D. Farr, Philippe Remigi, Paul B. Rainey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge of adaptive processes encompasses understanding the emergence of new genes. Computational analyses of genomes suggest that new genes can arise by domain swapping; however, empirical evidence has been lacking. Here we describe a set of nine independent deletion mutations that arose during selection experiments with the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens in which the membrane-spanning domain of a fatty acid desaturase became translationally fused to a cytosolic di-guanylate cyclase, generating an adaptive 'wrinkly spreader' phenotype. Detailed genetic analysis of one gene fusion shows that the mutant phenotype is caused by relocalization of the di-guanylate cyclase domain to the cell membrane. The relative ease by which this new gene arose, along with its functional and regulatory effects, provides a glimpse of mutational events and their consequences that are likely to have a role in the evolution of new genes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1562-1568
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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