During their long evolutionary history viruses generated many proteins de novo by a mechanism called “overprinting”. Overprinting is a process in which critical nucleotide substitutions in a pre-existing gene can induce the expression of a novel protein by translation of an alternative open reading frame (ORF). Overlapping genes represent an intriguing example of adaptive conflict, because they simultaneously encode two proteins whose freedom to change is constrained by each other. However, overlapping genes are also a source of genetic novelties, as the constraints under which alternative ORFs evolve can give rise to proteins with unusual sequence properties, most importantly the potential for novel functions. Starting with the discovery of overlapping genes in phages infecting Escherichia coli, this review covers a range of studies dealing with detection of overlapping genes in small eukaryotic viruses (genomic length below 30 kb) and recognition of their critical role in the evolution of pathogenicity. Origin of overlapping genes, what factors favor their birth and retention, and how they manage their inherent adaptive conflict are extensively reviewed. Special attention is paid to the assembly of overlapping genes into ad hoc databases, suitable for future studies, and to the development of statistical methods for exploring viral genome sequences in search of undiscovered overlaps.

Origin, evolution and stability of overlapping genes in viruses: A systematic review / Pavesi, A.. - In: GENES. - ISSN 2073-4425. - 12:6(2021), p. 809.809. [10.3390/genes12060809]

Origin, evolution and stability of overlapping genes in viruses: A systematic review

Pavesi A.
2021

Abstract

During their long evolutionary history viruses generated many proteins de novo by a mechanism called “overprinting”. Overprinting is a process in which critical nucleotide substitutions in a pre-existing gene can induce the expression of a novel protein by translation of an alternative open reading frame (ORF). Overlapping genes represent an intriguing example of adaptive conflict, because they simultaneously encode two proteins whose freedom to change is constrained by each other. However, overlapping genes are also a source of genetic novelties, as the constraints under which alternative ORFs evolve can give rise to proteins with unusual sequence properties, most importantly the potential for novel functions. Starting with the discovery of overlapping genes in phages infecting Escherichia coli, this review covers a range of studies dealing with detection of overlapping genes in small eukaryotic viruses (genomic length below 30 kb) and recognition of their critical role in the evolution of pathogenicity. Origin of overlapping genes, what factors favor their birth and retention, and how they manage their inherent adaptive conflict are extensively reviewed. Special attention is paid to the assembly of overlapping genes into ad hoc databases, suitable for future studies, and to the development of statistical methods for exploring viral genome sequences in search of undiscovered overlaps.
Origin, evolution and stability of overlapping genes in viruses: A systematic review / Pavesi, A.. - In: GENES. - ISSN 2073-4425. - 12:6(2021), p. 809.809. [10.3390/genes12060809]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2906670
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