The order Rickettsiales (Alphaproteobacteria) encompasses multiple diverse lineages of host-associated bacteria, including pathogens, reproductive manipulators, and mutualists. Here, in order to understand how intracellularity and host association originated in this order, and whether they are ancestral or convergently evolved characteristics, we built a large and phylogenetically-balanced dataset that includes de novo sequenced genomes and a selection of published genomic and metagenomic assemblies. We perform detailed functional reconstructions that clearly indicates “late” and parallel evolution of obligate host-association in different Rickettsiales lineages. According to the depicted scenario, multiple independent horizontal acquisitions of transporters led to the progressive loss of biosynthesis of nucleotides, amino acids and other metabolites, producing distinct conditions of host-dependence. Each clade experienced a different pattern of evolution of the ancestral arsenal of interaction apparatuses, including development of specialised effectors involved in the lineage-specific mechanisms of host cell adhesion and/or invasion. © The Author(s) 2024.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2024

    Research areas

  • bacterial disease, cell component, detection method, parallel evolution, Alphaproteobacteria, cytoplasm, genetics, metagenome, molecular evolution, phylogeny, Rickettsiales, Cytoplasm, Evolution, Molecular, Metagenome, Phylogeny, Rickettsiales/genetics, Alphaproteobacteria/genetics

ID: 117801909