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Rebooting the genome: The role of negative feedback in horizontal gene transfer

Abstract: Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) is one of the key mechanisms driving bacterial evolution. Conjugative plasmids are fundamental vehicles for HGT in bacteria, playing an essential role in the spread of antibiotic resistances. Although the classical view has stressed the instrumental role of these mobile genetic elements in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes, plasmids contain a rich physiology devoted to horizontal and vertical reproduction. This particular lifestyle imposes specific constrains and trade-offs on plasmid physiology, and plasmids have evolved dedicated circuits to balance the opposing demands of vertical and horizontal reproduction. Recent studies on the transcriptional networks of IncW plasmids and other incompatibility groups have unveiled common architectures in the regulatory networks of different plasmid groups. Comparative studies show that negative feedback loops (NFLs) with strong gains are preferred, opening the question of a possible convergent evolution dictated by certain adaptive properties of this particular network motif. System analysis of NFLs with strong feedback gains indicate that this architecture exhibits transient overshooting after horizontal gene transfer. Since plasmid burden is dependent on the expression of plasmid functions, transcriptional overshooting results in a transient increase of the burden immediately after conjugation. We discuss the possible implications of this phenomenon on plasmid propagation, and the regulatory networks that plasmids have evolved to counteract the detrimental side effects of transient overshooting.

 Fuente: Mob Genet Elements. 2015 Feb 23;4(6):1-6.

Editorial: Landes Bioscience

 Fecha de publicación: 23/02/2015

Nº de páginas: 6

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/2159256X.2014.988069

ISSN: 2159-2543,2159-256X