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Reconstruction of evolutionary changes in fat and toxin consumption reveals associations with gene losses in mammals: A case study for the lipase inhibitor PNLIPRP1 and the xenobiotic receptor NR1I3.

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Ruf,  Irina
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Ortmann,  Sylvia
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Schiffmann,  Christian
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Hiller,  Michael
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Stefen,  Clara
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Wagner, F., Ruf, I., Lehmann, T., Hofmann, R., Ortmann, S., Schiffmann, C., et al. (2022). Reconstruction of evolutionary changes in fat and toxin consumption reveals associations with gene losses in mammals: A case study for the lipase inhibitor PNLIPRP1 and the xenobiotic receptor NR1I3. Journal of evolutionary biology, 35(2), 225-239. doi:10.1111/jeb.13970.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-037B-8
Abstract
The inactivation of ancestral protein-coding genes (gene loss) can be associated with phenotypic modifications. Within placental mammals, repeated losses of PNLIPRP1 (gene inhibiting fat digestion) occurred preferentially in strictly herbivorous species, whereas repeated NR1I3 losses (gene involved in detoxification) occurred preferentially in strictly carnivorous species. It was hypothesized that lower fat contents of herbivorous diets and lower toxin contents of carnivorous diets cause relaxed selection pressure on these genes, resulting in the accumulation of mutations and ultimately to convergent gene losses. However, because herbivorous and carnivorous diets differ vastly in their composition, a fine-grained analysis is required for hypothesis testing. We generated a trait matrix recording diet and semi-quantitative estimates of fat and toxin consumption for 52 placental species. By including data from 31 fossil taxa, we reconstructed the ancestral diets in major lineages (grundplan reconstruction). We found support that PNLIPRP1 loss is primarily associated with low levels of fat intake and not simply with herbivory/carnivory. In particular, PNLIPRP1 loss also occurred in carnivorous lineages feeding on a fat-poor diet, suggesting that the loss of this gene may be beneficial for occupying ecological niches characterized by fat-poor food resources. Similarly, we demonstrated that carnivorous species are indeed less exposed to diet-related toxins, suggesting that the loss of NR1I3 and related genes (NR1I2 and UGT1A6) resulted from relaxed selection pressure. This study illustrates the need of detailed phenotype studies to obtain a deeper understanding of factors underlying gene losses and to progress in understanding genomic causes of phenotypic variation in mammals.