Data from: Selective advantages favour high genomic AT-contents in intracellular elements
Dietel, Anne-Kathrin; Merker, Holger; Kaltenpoth, Martin; Kost, Christian (2019), Data from: Selective advantages favour high genomic AT-contents in intracellular elements, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p933f2c
Extrachromosomal genetic elements such as bacterial endosymbionts and plasmids generally exhibit AT-contents that are increased relative to their hosts’ DNA. The AT-bias of endosymbiotic genomes is commonly explained by neutral evolutionary processes such as a mutational bias towards increased A+T. Here we show experimentally that an increased AT-content of host-dependent elements can be selectively favoured. Manipulating the nucleotide composition of bacterial cells by introducing A+T-rich or G+C-rich plasmids, we demonstrate that cells containing GC-rich plasmids are less fit than cells containing AT-rich plasmids. Moreover, the cost of GC-rich elements could be compensated by providing precursors of G+C, but not of A+T, thus linking the observed fitness effects to the cytoplasmic availability of nucleotides. Accordingly, introducing AT-rich and GC-rich plasmids into other bacterial species with different genomic GC-contents revealed that the costs of G+C-rich plasmids decreased with an increasing GC-content of their host’s genomic DNA. Taken together, our work identifies selection as a strong evolutionary force that drives the genomes of intracellular genetic elements toward higher A+T contents.