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Horizontal gene transfer promoted the evolution of the ability to propagate under anaerobic conditions

  • Zoran Gojkovic
  • W. Knecht
  • E. Zameitat
  • J. Warneboldt
  • J.-B. Coutelis
  • Y. Pynyaha
  • C. Neuveglise
  • K. Moeller
  • M. Löffler
  • Jure Piskur
Publiceringsår: 2004
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 387-393
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Molecular Genetics and Genomics2001-01-01+01:00
Volym: 271
Nummer: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Springer


The ability to propagate under anaerobic conditions

is an essential and unique trait of brewer’s or

baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cervisiae). To understand

the evolution of facultative anaerobiosis we studied the

dependence of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis, more

precisely the fourth enzymic activity catalysed by dihydroorotate

dehydrogenase (DHODase), on the enzymes

of the respiratory chain in several yeast species. While

the majority of yeasts possess a mitochondrial DHODase,

Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a cytoplasmatic enzyme,

whose activity is independent of the presence of

oxygen. From the phylogenetic point of view, this enzyme

is closely related to a bacterial DHODase from

Lactococcus lactis. Here we show that S. kluyveri, which

separated from the S. cerevisiae lineage more than 100

million years ago, represents an evolutionary intermediate,

having both cytoplasmic and mitochondrial

DHODases. We show that these two S. kluyveri enzymes,

and their coding genes, differ in their dependence

on the presence of oxygen. Only the cytoplasmic

DHODase promotes growth in the absence of oxygen.

Apparently a Saccharomyces yeast progenitor which had

a eukaryotic-like mitochondrial DHODase acquired a

bacterial gene for DHODase, which subsequently

allowed cell growth gradually to become independent of



  • Biological Sciences
  • nucleic acid precursors
  • yeast
  • horizontal transfer
  • evolution
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Pyrimidines


  • ISSN: 1617-4615

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