PRP8 inteins in species of the genus Botrytis and other ascomycetes

A.A.M. Bokor, L.M. Kohn, R.T.M. Poulter, J.A.L. van Kan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The mobile elements termed inteins have a sporadic distribution in microorganisms. It is unclear how these elements are maintained. Inteins are intervening protein sequences that autocatalytically excise themselves from a precursor. Excision is a post-translational process referred to as ‘protein splicing’ in which the sequences flanking the intein are ligated, reforming the mature host protein. Some inteins contain a homing endonuclease domain (HEG) that is proposed to facilitate propagation of the intein element within a gene pool. We have previously demonstrated that the HEG of the PRP8 intein is highly active during meiosis in Botrytis cinerea. Here we analysed the Prp8 gene status in 21 additional Botrytis species to obtain insight into the mode of intein inheritance within the Botrytis lineage. Of the 21 species, 15 contained a PRP8 intein whereas six did not. The analysis was extended to closely related (Sclerotiniaceae) and distantly related (Ascomycota) taxa, focussing on evolutionary diversification of the PRP8 intein, including their possible acquisition by horizontal transfer and loss by deletion. Evidence was obtained for the occurrence of genetic footprints of previous intein occupation. There is no compelling evidence of horizontal transfer among species. Three distinct states of the Prp8 allele were identified, distributed over different orders within the Ascomycota: an occupied allele; an empty allele that was never occupied; an empty allele that was presumably previously occupied, from which the intein was precisely deleted. The presence of the genetic footprint identifies 20 species (including Neurospora crassa, Magnaporthe oryzae and Fusarium oxysporum) that previously contained the intein but have lost it entirely, while only 18 species (including Podospora anserina and Fusarium graminearum) appear never to have contained a PRP8 intein. The analysis indicates that inteins may be maintained in an equilibrium state
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-261
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • homing endonuclease genes
  • horizontal transfer
  • adenosine-triphosphatase
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • branched intermediate
  • protein ligation
  • selfish gene
  • evolution
  • yeast
  • identification

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