Melnikov, S.V.; Manakongtreecheep, K.; Rivera, K.D.; Makarenko, A.; Pappin, D.J.; Söll, D. Muller’s Ratchet and Ribosome Degeneration in the Obligate Intracellular Parasites Microsporidia. Int. J. Mol. Sci.2018, 19, 4125.
Melnikov, S.V.; Manakongtreecheep, K.; Rivera, K.D.; Makarenko, A.; Pappin, D.J.; Söll, D. Muller’s Ratchet and Ribosome Degeneration in the Obligate Intracellular Parasites Microsporidia. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 4125.
Microsporidia are fungi-like parasites that have the smallest known eukaryotic genome, and for that reason they are used as a model to study the phenomenon of genome decay in parasitic forms of life. Similar to other intracellular parasites that reproduce asexually in an environment with alleviated natural selection, Microsporidia experience continuous genome decay driven by Muller's ratchet - an evolutionary process of irreversible accumulation of deleterious mutations, which leads to gene loss and miniaturization of cellular components. Particularly, Microsporidia have remarkably small ribosomes in which the rRNA is reduced to the minimal enzymatic core. To better understand the impact of Muller's ratchet on RNA and protein molecules in parasitic organisms, particularly regarding their ribosome structure, we have explored an apparent effect of Muller's ratchet on microsporidian ribosomal proteins. Through mass spectrometry, analysis of microsporidian genome sequences and analysis of ribosome structure from non-parasitic eukaryotes, we found that massive rRNA reduction in microsporidian ribosomes appears to annihilate binding sites for ribosomal proteins eL8, eL27, and eS31, suggesting that these proteins are no longer bound to the ribosome in microsporidian species. We then provided an evidence that protein eS31 is retained in Microsporidia due to its non-ribosomal function in ubiquitin biogenesis. To sum up, our study illustrates that while Microsporidia carry the same set of ribosomal proteins as non-parasitic eukaryotes, some of ribosomal proteins are no longer participating in protein synthesis in Microsporidia and they are preserved from genome decay by having extra-ribosomal functions.
Muller's ratchet; genome decay; ribosome; protein synthesis, rudiment
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