To elucidate the evolution of cyanobacterial envelopes and the relation between gene content and environmental adaptation, cell envelope structures and components of unicellular and filamentous cyanobacteria were analyzed in comparative genomics. Hundreds of envelope biogenesis genes were divided into 5 major groups and annotated according to their conserved domains and phylogenetic profiles. Compared to unicellular species, the gene numbers of filamentous cyanobacteria expanded due to genome enlargement effect, but only few gene families amplified disproportionately, such as those encoding waaG and glycosyl transferase 2. Comparison of envelope genes among various species suggested that the significant variance of certain cyanobacterial envelope biogenesis genes should be the response to their environmental adaptation, which might be also related to the emergence of filamentous shapes with some new functions
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