Comparative phylogenetic analysis of vitellogenin in species of cyst and root-knot nematodes

Hannah Wileman, Roland Perry, Keith Davies

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Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN) are an economically important group of crop pests and are oviparous animals; all nutrients required to develop and ensure the survival of their unhatched progeny need to be deposited within the egg, including proteins. The most abundant protein deposited is vitellin, formed of a precursor protein vitellogenin, which has roles in transporting lipids, providing amino acids and influencing post-embryonic development. The genes encoding vitellogenin have been well studied in Caenorhabditis elegans, but little is known about vitellogenin in PPN. Using the vitellogenin gene sequences from C. elegans, homologous sequences in the genomes of some economically important cyst and root-knot nematodes were identified and hypothetical vitellogenin genes were predicted. Protein domains were then determined. Sequences were aligned using MUSCLE and then used to construct phylogenetic trees using the maximum likelihood method. With the availability of genomic data and use of online local alignment tools, the vitellogenin encoding genes from C. elegans could be aligned to PPN genomes. All predicted genes contained the same protein domains as C. elegans; Vitellogenin-N, vitellogenin open beta-sheet and von Willebrand factor domain type D. The constructed phylogenetic tree clustered the species into four groups: root-knot nematodes, two cyst nematode groups and Caenorhabditis species. By determining the hypothetical vitellogenin genes in PPN and inferring their relationships, this could form a potential basis to understand further the role of vitellogenin in cyst and root-knot nematodes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-476
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Early online date8 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023


  • Crop protection
  • phytonematodes
  • Globodera spp
  • Meloidogyne spp.
  • development
  • Heterodera
  • egg
  • plant-parasitic nematode
  • vitellin
  • Caenorhabditis briggsae
  • Meloidogyne
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • sedentary endoparasite
  • Globodera


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