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Molecular evolution of the glutathione S-transferase family in the Bemisia tabaci species complex

Molecular evolution of the glutathione S-transferase family in the Bemisia tabaci species complex

Seal, Susan ORCID: 0000-0002-3952-1562, Harari, Ofer Aidlin, Santos-Garcia, Diego, Musseri, Mirit, Moshitzky, Pnina, Patel, Mitulkumar, Visendi, Paul, Sertchook, Rotem, Malka, Osnat and Morin, Shai (2020) Molecular evolution of the glutathione S-transferase family in the Bemisia tabaci species complex. Genome Biology and Evolution, 12 (2). pp. 3857-3872. ISSN 1759-6653 (Online) (doi:

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The glutathione S-transferase (GST) family plays an important role in the adaptation of herbivorous insects to new host plants and other environmental constrains. The family codes for enzymes that neutralize reactive oxygen species and phytotoxins through the conjugation of reduced glutathione. Here, we studied the molecular evolution of the GST family in Bemisia tabaci, a complex of >35 sibling species, differing in their geographic and host ranges. We tested if some enzymes evolved different functionality, by comparing their sequences in six species, representing five of the six major genetic clades in the complex. Comparisons of the nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution ratios detected positive selection events in 11 codons of 5 cytosolic GSTs. Ten of them are located in the periphery of the GST dimer, suggesting a putative involvement in interactions with other proteins. Modeling the tertiary structure of orthologous enzymes, identified additional 19 mutations in 9 GSTs, likely affecting the enzymes’ functionality. Most of the mutation events were found in the environmentally responsive classes Delta and Sigma, indicating a slightly different delta/sigma tool box in each species. At a broader genomic perspective, our analyses indicated a significant expansion of the Delta GST class in B. tabaci and a general association between the diet breadth of hemipteran species and their total number of GST genes. We raise the possibility that at least some of the identified changes improve the fitness of the B. tabaci species carrying them, leading to their better adaptation to specific environments.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: molecular evolution, detoxification, positive selection, sap-feeding insect, species complex, glutathione S-transferase
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 16:39

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