Complex histories of genes encoding 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoenzymeA reductase

Uri Gophna*, Janelle R. Thompson, Yan Boucher, W. Ford Doolittle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mevalonate pathway for the synthesis of isoprenoids can be found in organisms from all domains of life. It has been previously demonstrated that the first gene specific to that pathway, which encodes the enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoenzymeA reductase (HMGR), has been transferred between domains by lateral gene transfer on several occasions. Here we look within the domain Bacteria at lateral acquisition of HMGR, whether as a single gene or as part of a mevalonate pathway cluster. We observe a complex history of multiple transfer events probably reflecting the fact that HMGR could be beneficial in a variety of physiological and genetic contexts. We demonstrate that even in Vibrio species, where HMGR is not clustered with other genes to form an operon or a metabolic cluster, it is under strong purifying selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Mobilon
  • Molecular evolution
  • Vibrio


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