Lien vers Pubmed [PMID] – 36411352
Lien DOI – 10.1038/s41564-022-01257-y
Nat Microbiol 2022 Dec; 7(12): 2114-2127
The division and cell wall (dcw) gene cluster in Bacteria comprises 17 genes encoding key steps in peptidoglycan synthesis and cytokinesis. To understand the origin and evolution of this cluster, we analysed its presence in over 1,000 bacterial genomes. We show that the dcw gene cluster is strikingly conserved in both gene content and gene order across all Bacteria and has undergone only a few rearrangements in some phyla, potentially linked to cell envelope specificities, but not directly to cell shape. A large concatenation of the 12 most conserved dcw cluster genes produced a robust tree of Bacteria that is largely consistent with recent phylogenies based on frequently used markers. Moreover, evolutionary divergence analyses show that the dcw gene cluster offers advantages in defining high-rank taxonomic boundaries and indicate at least two main phyla in the Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) matching a sharp dichotomy in dcw gene cluster arrangement. Our results place the origin of the dcw gene cluster in the Last Bacterial Common Ancestor and show that it has evolved vertically for billions of years, similar to major cellular machineries such as the ribosome. The strong phylogenetic signal, combined with conserved genomic synteny at large evolutionary distances, makes the dcw gene cluster a robust alternative set of markers to resolve the ever-growing tree of Bacteria.