Identification and characterization of a bacteria-like sequence in the genome of some Silene species
The aim of this work was to characterize a nucleotide sequence MK14 that originated from a plasmid library obtained via degenerate oligonucleotide primed polymerase chain reaction (DOP-PCR) amplification of laser microdissected Y-chromosomes of Silene latifolia. This sequence showed significant similarity to parts of two adjoining genes from bacterial representatives of the genus Ralstonia. MK14 sequence contains a part of a conserved domain, and phylogenetic analysis based on this region confirmed its relationship to Ralstonia-derived sequences. Genomic Southern blot analysis proved the presence of this fragment in the genome of S. latifolia. We hypothesize that this insertion is of bacterial origin, and was probably gained via horizontal gene transfer. Moreover, MK14 insertion is shared by some closely related Silene species, suggesting an ancient spontaneous transformation by an ancestor of bacteria from the genus Ralstonia.