Genetic conflicts with Plasmodium parasites and functional constraints shape the evolution of erythrocyte cytoskeletal proteins

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Abstract

Plasmodium parasites exerted a strong selective pressure on primate genomes and mutations in genes encoding erythrocyte cytoskeleton proteins (ECP) determine protective effects against Plasmodium infection/pathogenesis. We thus hypothesized that ECP-encoding genes have evolved in response to Plasmodium-driven selection. We analyzed the evolutionary history of 15 ECP-encoding genes in primates, as well as of their Plasmodium-encoded ligands (KAHRP, MESA and EMP3). Results indicated that EPB42, SLC4A1, and SPTA1 evolved under pervasive positive selection and that episodes of positive selection tended to occur more frequently in primate species that host a larger number of Plasmodium parasites. Conversely, several genes, including ANK1 and SPTB, displayed extensive signatures of purifying selection in primate phylogenies, Homininae lineages, and human populations, suggesting strong functional constraints. Analysis of Plasmodium genes indicated adaptive evolution in MESA and KAHRP; in the latter, different positively selected sites were located in the spectrin-binding domains. Because most of the positively selected sites in alpha-spectrin localized to the domains involved in the interaction with KAHRP, we suggest that the two proteins are engaged in an arms-race scenario. This observation is relevant because KAHRP is essential for the formation of "knobs", which represent a major virulence determinant for P. falciparum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14682
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2018

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Cytoskeletal Proteins
Plasmodium
Parasites
Erythrocytes
Primates
Erythrocyte Membrane
Spectrin
Proteins
Genes
Phylogeny
Malaria
Virulence
History
Genome
Ligands
Mutation
Population

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title = "Genetic conflicts with Plasmodium parasites and functional constraints shape the evolution of erythrocyte cytoskeletal proteins",
abstract = "Plasmodium parasites exerted a strong selective pressure on primate genomes and mutations in genes encoding erythrocyte cytoskeleton proteins (ECP) determine protective effects against Plasmodium infection/pathogenesis. We thus hypothesized that ECP-encoding genes have evolved in response to Plasmodium-driven selection. We analyzed the evolutionary history of 15 ECP-encoding genes in primates, as well as of their Plasmodium-encoded ligands (KAHRP, MESA and EMP3). Results indicated that EPB42, SLC4A1, and SPTA1 evolved under pervasive positive selection and that episodes of positive selection tended to occur more frequently in primate species that host a larger number of Plasmodium parasites. Conversely, several genes, including ANK1 and SPTB, displayed extensive signatures of purifying selection in primate phylogenies, Homininae lineages, and human populations, suggesting strong functional constraints. Analysis of Plasmodium genes indicated adaptive evolution in MESA and KAHRP; in the latter, different positively selected sites were located in the spectrin-binding domains. Because most of the positively selected sites in alpha-spectrin localized to the domains involved in the interaction with KAHRP, we suggest that the two proteins are engaged in an arms-race scenario. This observation is relevant because KAHRP is essential for the formation of {"}knobs{"}, which represent a major virulence determinant for P. falciparum.",
author = "Manuela Sironi and Diego Forni and Mario Clerici and Rachele Cagliani",
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T1 - Genetic conflicts with Plasmodium parasites and functional constraints shape the evolution of erythrocyte cytoskeletal proteins

AU - Sironi, Manuela

AU - Forni, Diego

AU - Clerici, Mario

AU - Cagliani, Rachele

PY - 2018/10/2

Y1 - 2018/10/2

N2 - Plasmodium parasites exerted a strong selective pressure on primate genomes and mutations in genes encoding erythrocyte cytoskeleton proteins (ECP) determine protective effects against Plasmodium infection/pathogenesis. We thus hypothesized that ECP-encoding genes have evolved in response to Plasmodium-driven selection. We analyzed the evolutionary history of 15 ECP-encoding genes in primates, as well as of their Plasmodium-encoded ligands (KAHRP, MESA and EMP3). Results indicated that EPB42, SLC4A1, and SPTA1 evolved under pervasive positive selection and that episodes of positive selection tended to occur more frequently in primate species that host a larger number of Plasmodium parasites. Conversely, several genes, including ANK1 and SPTB, displayed extensive signatures of purifying selection in primate phylogenies, Homininae lineages, and human populations, suggesting strong functional constraints. Analysis of Plasmodium genes indicated adaptive evolution in MESA and KAHRP; in the latter, different positively selected sites were located in the spectrin-binding domains. Because most of the positively selected sites in alpha-spectrin localized to the domains involved in the interaction with KAHRP, we suggest that the two proteins are engaged in an arms-race scenario. This observation is relevant because KAHRP is essential for the formation of "knobs", which represent a major virulence determinant for P. falciparum.

AB - Plasmodium parasites exerted a strong selective pressure on primate genomes and mutations in genes encoding erythrocyte cytoskeleton proteins (ECP) determine protective effects against Plasmodium infection/pathogenesis. We thus hypothesized that ECP-encoding genes have evolved in response to Plasmodium-driven selection. We analyzed the evolutionary history of 15 ECP-encoding genes in primates, as well as of their Plasmodium-encoded ligands (KAHRP, MESA and EMP3). Results indicated that EPB42, SLC4A1, and SPTA1 evolved under pervasive positive selection and that episodes of positive selection tended to occur more frequently in primate species that host a larger number of Plasmodium parasites. Conversely, several genes, including ANK1 and SPTB, displayed extensive signatures of purifying selection in primate phylogenies, Homininae lineages, and human populations, suggesting strong functional constraints. Analysis of Plasmodium genes indicated adaptive evolution in MESA and KAHRP; in the latter, different positively selected sites were located in the spectrin-binding domains. Because most of the positively selected sites in alpha-spectrin localized to the domains involved in the interaction with KAHRP, we suggest that the two proteins are engaged in an arms-race scenario. This observation is relevant because KAHRP is essential for the formation of "knobs", which represent a major virulence determinant for P. falciparum.

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