The Rab7 subfamily across Paramecium aurelia species; evidence of high conservation in sequence and function
We examined sequence conservation and signatures of selection in Rab7 proteins across 11 Paramecium aurelia species, and determined the localization patterns of two P. tetraurelia Rab7 paralogs when expressed as GFP fusions in live cells. We found that, while there is a variable number of Rab7 paralogs per genome, Rab7 genes are highly conserved in sequence and appear to be under strong purifying selection across aurelias. Additionally, and surprisingly based on earlier studies, we found that two P. tetraurelia Rab7 proteins have virtually identical localization patterns. Consistent with this, when we examined the gene family of a highly conserved Rab binding partner across aurelias (Rab-Interacting Lysosomal Protein, or RILP), we found that residues in key binding sites in RILPs were absolutely conserved in 13 of 21 proteins, representing genes from 9 of the 11 species examined. Of note, RILP gene number appears to be even more constrained than Rab7 gene number per genome.
Abbreviation: WGD: Whole genome duplication