Metabolic adaptations to marine environments: molecular diversity and evolution of ovothiol biosynthesis in Bacteria
Genome Biology and Evolution
Ovothiols are sulphur-containing amino acids synthesized by marine invertebrates, protozoans, and bacteria. They act as pleiotropic molecules in signalling and protection against oxidative stress. The discovery of ovothiol biosynthetic enzymes, sulfoxide synthase OvoA and β-lyase OvoB, paves the way for a systematic investigation of ovothiol distribution and molecular diversification in nature. In this work, we conducted genomic and metagenomics data mining to investigate the distribution and
... versification of ovothiol biosynthetic enzymes in Bacteria. We identified the bacteria endowed with this secondary metabolic pathway, described their taxonomy, habitat and biotic interactions in order to provide insight into their adaptation to specific environments. We report that OvoA and OvoB are mostly encountered in marine aerobic Proteobacteria, some of them establishing symbiotic or parasitic relationships with other organisms. We identified a horizontal gene transfer event of OvoB from Bacteroidetes living in symbiosis with Hydrozoa. Our search within the Ocean Gene Atlas revealed the occurrence of ovothiol biosynthetic genes in Proteobacteria living in a wide range of pelagic and highly oxygenated environments. Finally, we tracked the evolutionary history of ovothiol biosynthesis from marine bacteria to unicellular eukaryotes and metazoans. Our analysis provides new conceptual elements to unravel the evolutionary and ecological significance of ovothiol biosynthesis.