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    Fibrillarin (FIB), a methyltransferase essential for life in the vast majority of eukaryotes, is involved in methylation of rRNA required for proper ribosome assembly, as well as methylation of histone H2A of promoter regions of rRNA genes. RNA viral progression that affects both plants and animals requires FIB proteins. Despite the importance and high conservation of fibrillarins, there little is known about the evolutionary dynamics of this small gene family. We applied a phylogenomic microsynteny-network approach to elucidate the evolutionary history of FIB proteins across the Tree of Life. We identified 1063 non-redundant FIB sequences across 1049 completely sequenced genomes from Viruses, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. FIB is a highly conserved single-copy gene through Archaea and Eukarya lineages, except for plants, which have a gene family expansion due to paleopolyploidy and tandem duplications. We found a high conservation of the FIB genomic context during plant evolution. Surprisingly, FIB in mammals duplicated after the Eutheria split (e.g., ruminants, felines, primates) from therian mammals (e.g., marsupials) to form two main groups of sequences, the FIB and FIB-like groups. The FIB-like group transposed to another genomic context and remained syntenic in all the eutherian mammals. This transposition correlates with differences in the expression patterns of FIB-like proteins and with elevated Ks values potentially due to reduced evolutionary constraints of the duplicated copy. Our results point to a unique evolutionary event in mammals, between FIB and FIB-like genes, that led to non-redundant roles of the vital processes in which this protein is involved.

    Citation

    Alejandro Pereira-Santana, Samuel David Gamboa-Tuz, Tao Zhao, M Eric Schranz, Pablo Vinuesa, Andrea Bayona, Luis C Rodríguez-Zapata, Enrique Castano. Fibrillarin evolution through the Tree of Life: Comparative genomics and microsynteny network analyses provide new insights into the evolutionary history of Fibrillarin. PLoS computational biology. 2020 Oct 19;16(10):e1008318

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    PMID: 33075080

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