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Exome Sequencing of 75 Individuals from Multiply Affected Coeliac Families and Large Scale Resequencing Follow Up
Coeliac disease (CeD) is a highly heritable common autoimmune disease involving chronic small intestinal inflammation in response to dietary wheat. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region, and 40 newer regions identified by genome wide association studies (GWAS) and dense fine mapping, account for ∼40% of the disease heritability. We hypothesized that in pedigrees with multiple individuals with CeD rare [minor allele frequency (MAF) <0.5%] mutations of larger effect size (odds ratios of ∼ 2–5) might exist. We sequenced the exomes of 75 coeliac individuals of European ancestry from 55 multiply affected families. We selected interesting variants and genes for further follow up using a combination of: an assessment of shared variants between related subjects, a model-free linkage test, and gene burden tests for multiple, potentially causal, variants. We next performed highly multiplexed amplicon resequencing of all RefSeq exons from 24 candidate genes selected on the basis of the exome sequencing data in 2,248 unrelated coeliac cases and 2,230 controls. 1,335 variants with a 99.9% genotyping call rate were observed in 4,478 samples, of which 939 were present in coding regions of 24 genes (Ti/Tv 2.99). 91.7% of coding variants were rare (MAF <0.5%) and 60% were novel. Gene burden tests performed on rare functional variants identified no significant associations (p<1×10−3) in the resequenced candidate genes. Our strategy of sequencing multiply affected families with deep follow up of candidate genes has not identified any new CeD risk mutations. Coeliac disease (CeD) is a highly heritable common autoimmune disease involving chronic small intestinal inflammation in response to dietary wheat. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region, and 40 newer regions identified by genome wide association studies (GWAS) and dense fine mapping, account for ∼40% of the disease heritability. We hypothesized that in pedigrees with multiple individuals with CeD rare [minor allele frequency (MAF) <0.5%] mutations of larger effect size (odds ratios of ∼ 2–5) might exist. We sequenced the exomes of 75 coeliac individuals of European ancestry from 55 multiply affected families. We selected interesting variants and genes for further follow up using a combination of: an assessment of shared variants between related subjects, a model-free linkage test, and gene burden tests for multiple, potentially causal, variants. We next performed highly multiplexed amplicon resequencing of all RefSeq exons from 24 candidate genes selected on the basis of the exome sequencing data in 2,248 unrelated coeliac cases and 2,230 controls. 1,335 variants with a 99.9% genotyping call rate were observed in 4,478 samples, of which 939 were present in coding regions of 24 genes (Ti/Tv 2.99). 91.7% of coding variants were rare (MAF <0.5%) and 60% were novel. Gene burden tests performed on rare functional variants identified no significant associations (p<1×10−3) in the resequenced candidate genes. Our strategy of sequencing multiply affected families with deep follow up of candidate genes has not identified any new CeD risk mutations.
The Interleukin 3 Gene (IL3) Contributes to Human Brain Volume Variation by Regulating Proliferation and Survival of Neural Progenitors
One of the most significant evolutionary changes underlying the highly developed cognitive abilities of humans is the greatly enlarged brain volume. In addition to being far greater than in most other species, the volume of the human brain exhibits extensive variation and distinct sexual dimorphism in the general population. However, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying normal variation as well as the observed sex difference in human brain volume. Here we show that interleukin-3 (IL3) is strongly associated with brain volume variation in four genetically divergent populations. We identified a sequence polymorphism (rs31480) in the IL3 promoter which alters the expression of IL3 by affecting the binding affinity of transcription factor SP1. Further analysis indicated that IL3 and its receptors are continuously expressed in the developing mouse brain, reaching highest levels at postnatal day 1–4. Furthermore, we found IL3 receptor alpha (IL3RA) was mainly expressed in neural progenitors and neurons, and IL3 could promote proliferation and survival of the neural progenitors. The expression level of IL3 thus played pivotal roles in the expansion and maintenance of the neural progenitor pool and the number of surviving neurons. Moreover, we found that IL3 activated both estrogen receptors, but estrogen didn’t directly regulate the expression of IL3. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in the IL3 promoter regulates human brain volume and reveals novel roles of IL3 in regulating brain development. One of the most significant evolutionary changes underlying the highly developed cognitive abilities of humans is the greatly enlarged brain volume. In addition to being far greater than in most other species, the volume of the human brain exhibits extensive variation and distinct sexual dimorphism in the general population. However, little is known about the genetic mechanisms underlying normal variation as well as the observed sex difference in human brain volume. Here we show that interleukin-3 (IL3) is strongly associated with brain volume variation in four genetically divergent populations. We identified a sequence polymorphism (rs31480) in the IL3 promoter which alters the expression of IL3 by affecting the binding affinity of transcription factor SP1. Further analysis indicated that IL3 and its receptors are continuously expressed in the developing mouse brain, reaching highest levels at postnatal day 1–4. Furthermore, we found IL3 receptor alpha (IL3RA) was mainly expressed in neural progenitors and neurons, and IL3 could promote proliferation and survival of the neural progenitors. The expression level of IL3 thus played pivotal roles in the expansion and maintenance of the neural progenitor pool and the number of surviving neurons. Moreover, we found that IL3 activated both estrogen receptors, but estrogen didn’t directly regulate the expression of IL3. Our results demonstrate that genetic variation in the IL3 promoter regulates human brain volume and reveals novel roles of IL3 in regulating brain development.
Rapid evolutionary response to a transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils
A recently emerged infectious cancer has caused the near extinction of the Tasmanian devil, but some populations persist. Here, Epstein et al. provide evidence for possible resistance via rapid evolution in two genomic regions that contain cancer-related immune response genes. A recently emerged infectious cancer has caused the near extinction of the Tasmanian devil, but some populations persist. Here, Epstein et al. provide evidence for possible resistance via rapid evolution in two genomic regions that contain cancer-related immune response genes.Although cancer rarely acts as an infectious disease, a recently emerged transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) is virtually 100% fatal. Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has swept across nearly the entire species' range, resulting in localized declines exceeding 90% and an overall species decline of more than 80% in less than 20 years. Despite epidemiological models that predict extinction, populations in long-diseased sites persist. Here we report rare genomic evidence of a rapid, parallel evolutionary response to strong selection imposed by a wildlife disease. We identify two genomic regions that contain genes related to immune function or cancer risk in humans that exhibit concordant signatures of selection across three populations. DFTD spreads between hosts by suppressing and evading the immune system, and our results suggest that hosts are evolving immune-modulated resistance that could aid in species persistence in the face of this devastating disease. Although cancer rarely acts as an infectious disease, a recently emerged transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) is virtually 100% fatal. Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) has swept across nearly the entire species' range, resulting in localized declines exceeding 90% and an overall species decline of more than 80% in less than 20 years. Despite epidemiological models that predict extinction, populations in long-diseased sites persist. Here we report rare genomic evidence of a rapid, parallel evolutionary response to strong selection imposed by a wildlife disease. We identify two genomic regions that contain genes related to immune function or cancer risk in humans that exhibit concordant signatures of selection across three populations. DFTD spreads between hosts by suppressing and evading the immune system, and our results suggest that hosts are evolving immune-modulated resistance that could aid in species persistence in the face of this devastating disease.
Association between Genetic Variants in DNA Double Strand Break Repair Pathways and Risk of Radiation Therapy Induced Pneumonitis and Esophagitis in Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
Radiation therapy (RT)-induced pneumonitis and esophagitis are commonly developed side effects in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with definitive RT. Identifying patients who are at increased risk for these toxicities would help to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing toxicities. Here, we systematically investigated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway as potential predictive markers for radiation-induced esophagitis and pneumonitis. We genotyped 440 SNPs from 45 genes in DSB repair pathways in 250 stage I–III NSCLC patients who received definitive radiation or chemoradiation therapy, followed by internal validation in 170 additional patients. We found that 11 SNPs for esophagitis and 8 SNPs for pneumonitis showed consistent effects between discovery and validation populations (same direction of OR and reached significance in meta-analysis). Among them, rs7165790 in the BLM gene was significantly associated with decreased risk of esophagitis in both discovery (OR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.37–0.97, p = 0.037) and validation subgroups (OR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.22–0.94, p = 0.032). A strong cumulative effect was observed for the top SNPs, and gene-based tests revealed 12 genes significantly associated with esophagitis or pneumonitis. Our results support the notion that genetic variations within DSB repair pathway could influence the risk of developing toxicities following definitive RT in NSCLC. Radiation therapy (RT)-induced pneumonitis and esophagitis are commonly developed side effects in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with definitive RT. Identifying patients who are at increased risk for these toxicities would help to maximize treatment efficacy while minimizing toxicities. Here, we systematically investigated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway as potential predictive markers for radiation-induced esophagitis and pneumonitis. We genotyped 440 SNPs from 45 genes in DSB repair pathways in 250 stage I–III NSCLC patients who received definitive radiation or chemoradiation therapy, followed by internal validation in 170 additional patients. We found that 11 SNPs for esophagitis and 8 SNPs for pneumonitis showed consistent effects between discovery and validation populations (same direction of OR and reached significance in meta-analysis). Among them, rs7165790 in the BLM gene was significantly associated with decreased risk of esophagitis in both discovery (OR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.37–0.97, p = 0.037) and validation subgroups (OR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.22–0.94, p = 0.032). A strong cumulative effect was observed for the top SNPs, and gene-based tests revealed 12 genes significantly associated with esophagitis or pneumonitis. Our results support the notion that genetic variations within DSB repair pathway could influence the risk of developing toxicities following definitive RT in NSCLC.
Investigation of Association Between Hip Osteoarthritis Susceptibility Loci and Radiographic Proximal Femur Shape
Objective To test whether previously reported hip morphology or osteoarthritis (OA) susceptibility loci are associated with proximal femur shape as represented by statistical shape model (SSM) modes and as univariate or multivariate quantitative traits. Methods We used pelvic radiographs and genotype data from 929 subjects with unilateral hip OA who had been recruited previously for the Arthritis Research UK Osteoarthritis Genetics Consortium genome‐wide association study. We built 3 SSMs capturing the shape variation of the OA‐unaffected proximal femur in the entire mixed‐sex cohort and for male/female‐stratified cohorts. We selected 41 candidate single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously reported as being associated with hip morphology (for replication analysis) or OA (for discovery analysis) and for which genotype data were available. We performed 2 types of analysis for genotype–phenotype associations between these SNPs and the modes of the SSMs: 1) a univariate analysis using individual SSM modes and 2) a multivariate analysis using combinations of SSM modes. Results The univariate analysis identified association between rs4836732 (within the ASTN2 gene) and mode 5 of the female SSM (P = 0.0016) and between rs6976 (within the GLT8D1 gene) and mode 7 of the mixed‐sex SSM (P = 0.0003). The multivariate analysis identified association between rs5009270 (near the IFRD1 gene) and a combination of modes 3, 4, and 9 of the mixed‐sex SSM (P = 0.0004). Evidence of associations remained significant following adjustment for multiple testing. All 3 SNPs had previously been associated with hip OA. Conclusion These de novo findings suggest that rs4836732, rs6976, and rs5009270 may contribute to hip OA susceptibility by altering proximal femur shape. Objective To test whether previously reported hip morphology or osteoarthritis (OA) susceptibility loci are associated with proximal femur shape as represented by statistical shape model (SSM) modes and as univariate or multivariate quantitative traits. Methods We used pelvic radiographs and genotype data from 929 subjects with unilateral hip OA who had been recruited previously for the Arthritis Research UK Osteoarthritis Genetics Consortium genome‐wide association study. We built 3 SSMs capturing the shape variation of the OA‐unaffected proximal femur in the entire mixed‐sex cohort and for male/female‐stratified cohorts. We selected 41 candidate single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) previously reported as being associated with hip morphology (for replication analysis) or OA (for discovery analysis) and for which genotype data were available. We performed 2 types of analysis for genotype–phenotype associations between these SNPs and the modes of the SSMs: 1) a univariate analysis using individual SSM modes and 2) a multivariate analysis using combinations of SSM modes. Results The univariate analysis identified association between rs4836732 (within the ASTN2 gene) and mode 5 of the female SSM (P = 0.0016) and between rs6976 (within the GLT8D1 gene) and mode 7 of the mixed‐sex SSM (P = 0.0003). The multivariate analysis identified association between rs5009270 (near the IFRD1 gene) and a combination of modes 3, 4, and 9 of the mixed‐sex SSM (P = 0.0004). Evidence of associations remained significant following adjustment for multiple testing. All 3 SNPs had previously been associated with hip OA. Conclusion These de novo findings suggest that rs4836732, rs6976, and rs5009270 may contribute to hip OA susceptibility by altering proximal femur shape.
Trans ethnic study design approaches for fine mapping
Studies that traverse ancestrally diverse populations may increase power to detect novel loci and improve fine-mapping resolution of causal variants by leveraging linkage disequilibrium differences between ethnic groups. The inclusion of African ancestry samples may yield further improvements because of low linkage disequilibrium and high genetic heterogeneity. We investigate the fine-mapping resolution of trans-ethnic fixed-effects meta-analysis for five type II diabetes loci, under various settings of ancestral composition (European, East Asian, African), allelic heterogeneity, and causal variant minor allele frequency. In particular, three settings of ancestral composition were compared: (1) single ancestry (European), (2) moderate ancestral diversity (European and East Asian), and (3) high ancestral diversity (European, East Asian, and African). Our simulations suggest that the European/Asian and European ancestry-only meta-analyses consistently attain similar fine-mapping resolution. The inclusion of African ancestry samples in the meta-analysis leads to a marked improvement in fine-mapping resolution. Studies that traverse ancestrally diverse populations may increase power to detect novel loci and improve fine-mapping resolution of causal variants by leveraging linkage disequilibrium differences between ethnic groups. The inclusion of African ancestry samples may yield further improvements because of low linkage disequilibrium and high genetic heterogeneity. We investigate the fine-mapping resolution of trans-ethnic fixed-effects meta-analysis for five type II diabetes loci, under various settings of ancestral composition (European, East Asian, African), allelic heterogeneity, and causal variant minor allele frequency. In particular, three settings of ancestral composition were compared: (1) single ancestry (European), (2) moderate ancestral diversity (European and East Asian), and (3) high ancestral diversity (European, East Asian, and African). Our simulations suggest that the European/Asian and European ancestry-only meta-analyses consistently attain similar fine-mapping resolution. The inclusion of African ancestry samples in the meta-analysis leads to a marked improvement in fine-mapping resolution.
Mapping of Craniofacial Traits in Outbred Mice Identifies Major Developmental Genes Involved in Shape Determination
Author Summary Formation of the face, mandible, and skull is determined in part by genetic factors, but the relationship between genetic variation and craniofacial development is not well understood. We demonstrate how recent advances in mouse genomics and statistical methods can be used to identify genes involved in craniofacial development. We use outbred mice together with a dense panel of genetic markers to identify genetic loci affecting craniofacial shape. Some of the loci we identify are also known from past studies to contribute to craniofacial development and bone formation. For example, the top candidate gene identified in this study, Mn1, is a gene that appeared at a time when animals started to form bony skulls, suggesting that it may be a key gene in this evolutionary innovation. This further suggests that Mn1 and other genes involved in head formation are also responsible for more fine-grained regulation of its shape. Our results confirm that the outbred mouse population used in this study is suitable to identify single genetic factors even under conditions where many genes cooperate to generate a complex phenotype. Author Summary Formation of the face, mandible, and skull is determined in part by genetic factors, but the relationship between genetic variation and craniofacial development is not well understood. We demonstrate how recent advances in mouse genomics and statistical methods can be used to identify genes involved in craniofacial development. We use outbred mice together with a dense panel of genetic markers to identify genetic loci affecting craniofacial shape. Some of the loci we identify are also known from past studies to contribute to craniofacial development and bone formation. For example, the top candidate gene identified in this study, Mn1, is a gene that appeared at a time when animals started to form bony skulls, suggesting that it may be a key gene in this evolutionary innovation. This further suggests that Mn1 and other genes involved in head formation are also responsible for more fine-grained regulation of its shape. Our results confirm that the outbred mouse population used in this study is suitable to identify single genetic factors even under conditions where many genes cooperate to generate a complex phenotype.The vertebrate cranium is a prime example of the high evolvability of complex traits. While evidence of genes and developmental pathways underlying craniofacial shape determination is accumulating, we are still far from understanding how such variation at the genetic level is translated into craniofacial shape variation. Here we used 3D geometric morphometrics to map genes involved in shape determination in a population of outbred mice (Carworth Farms White, or CFW). We defined shape traits via principal component analysis of 3D skull and mandible measurements. We mapped genetic loci associated with shape traits at ~80,000 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms in ~700 male mice. We found that craniofacial shape and size are highly heritable, polygenic traits. Despite the polygenic nature of the traits, we identified 17 loci that explain variation in skull shape, and 8 loci associated with variation in mandible shape. Together, the associated variants account for 11.4% of skull and 4.4% of mandible shape variation, however, the total additive genetic variance associated with phenotypic variation was estimated in ~45%. Candidate genes within the associated loci have known roles in craniofacial development; this includes 6 transcription factors and several regulators of bone developmental pathways. One gene, Mn1, has an unusually large effect on shape variation in our study. A knockout of this gene was previously shown to affect negatively the development of membranous bones of the cranial skeleton, and evolutionary analysis shows that the gene has arisen at the base of the bony vertebrates (Eutelostomi), where the ossified head first appeared. Therefore, Mn1 emerges as a key gene for both skull formation and within-population shape variation. Our study shows that it is possible to identify important developmental genes through genome-wide mapping of high-dimensional shape features in an outbred population. The vertebrate cranium is a prime example of the high evolvability of complex traits. While evidence of genes and developmental pathways underlying craniofacial shape determination is accumulating, we are still far from understanding how such variation at the genetic level is translated into craniofacial shape variation. Here we used 3D geometric morphometrics to map genes involved in shape determination in a population of outbred mice (Carworth Farms White, or CFW). We defined shape traits via principal component analysis of 3D skull and mandible measurements. We mapped genetic loci associated with shape traits at ~80,000 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms in ~700 male mice. We found that craniofacial shape and size are highly heritable, polygenic traits. Despite the polygenic nature of the traits, we identified 17 loci that explain variation in skull shape, and 8 loci associated with variation in mandible shape. Together, the associated variants account for 11.4% of skull and 4.4% of mandible shape variation, however, the total additive genetic variance associated with phenotypic variation was estimated in ~45%. Candidate genes within the associated loci have known roles in craniofacial development; this includes 6 transcription factors and several regulators of bone developmental pathways. One gene, Mn1, has an unusually large effect on shape variation in our study. A knockout of this gene was previously shown to affect negatively the development of membranous bones of the cranial skeleton, and evolutionary analysis shows that the gene has arisen at the base of the bony vertebrates (Eutelostomi), where the ossified head first appeared. Therefore, Mn1 emerges as a key gene for both skull formation and within-population shape variation. Our study shows that it is possible to identify important developmental genes through genome-wide mapping of high-dimensional shape features in an outbred population.
Meta analysis of genome wide association studies identifies common susceptibility polymorphisms for colorectal and endometrial cancer near SH2B3 and TSHZ1
High-risk mutations in several genes predispose to both colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC). We therefore hypothesised that some lower-risk genetic variants might also predispose to both CRC and EC. Using CRC and EC genome-wide association series, totalling 13,265 cancer cases and 40,245 controls, we found that the protective allele [G] at one previously-identified CRC polymorphism, rs2736100 near TERT, was associated with EC risk (odds ratio (OR) = 1.08, P = 0.000167); this polymorphism influences the risk of several other cancers. A further CRC polymorphism near TERC also showed evidence of association with EC (OR = 0.92; P = 0.03). Overall, however, there was no good evidence that the set of CRC polymorphisms was associated with EC risk, and neither of two previously-reported EC polymorphisms was associated with CRC risk. A combined analysis revealed one genome-wide significant polymorphism, rs3184504, on chromosome 12q24 (OR = 1.10, P = 7.23 × 10−9) with shared effects on CRC and EC risk. This polymorphism, a missense variant in the gene SH2B3, is also associated with haematological and autoimmune disorders, suggesting that it influences cancer risk through the immune response. Another polymorphism, rs12970291 near gene TSHZ1, was associated with both CRC and EC (OR = 1.26, P = 4.82 × 10−8), with the alleles showing opposite effects on the risks of the two cancers. High-risk mutations in several genes predispose to both colorectal cancer (CRC) and endometrial cancer (EC). We therefore hypothesised that some lower-risk genetic variants might also predispose to both CRC and EC. Using CRC and EC genome-wide association series, totalling 13,265 cancer cases and 40,245 controls, we found that the protective allele [G] at one previously-identified CRC polymorphism, rs2736100 near TERT, was associated with EC risk (odds ratio (OR) = 1.08, P = 0.000167); this polymorphism influences the risk of several other cancers. A further CRC polymorphism near TERC also showed evidence of association with EC (OR = 0.92; P = 0.03). Overall, however, there was no good evidence that the set of CRC polymorphisms was associated with EC risk, and neither of two previously-reported EC polymorphisms was associated with CRC risk. A combined analysis revealed one genome-wide significant polymorphism, rs3184504, on chromosome 12q24 (OR = 1.10, P = 7.23 × 10−9) with shared effects on CRC and EC risk. This polymorphism, a missense variant in the gene SH2B3, is also associated with haematological and autoimmune disorders, suggesting that it influences cancer risk through the immune response. Another polymorphism, rs12970291 near gene TSHZ1, was associated with both CRC and EC (OR = 1.26, P = 4.82 × 10−8), with the alleles showing opposite effects on the risks of the two cancers.
Genome wide association study of response to cognitive–behavioural therapy in children with anxiety disorders
Background Anxiety disorders are common, and cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a first-line treatment. Candidate gene studies have suggested a genetic basis to treatment response, but findings have been inconsistent. Aims To perform the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of psychological treatment response in children with anxiety disorders (n = 980). Method Presence and severity of anxiety was assessed using semi-structured interview at baseline, on completion of treatment (post-treatment), and 3 to 12 months after treatment completion (follow-up). DNA was genotyped using the Illumina Human Core Exome-12v1.0 array. Linear mixed models were used to test associations between genetic variants and response (change in symptom severity) immediately post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up. Results No variants passed a genome-wide significance threshold (P = 5 × 10−8) in either analysis. Four variants met criteria for suggestive significance (P<5 × 10−6) in association with response post-treatment, and three variants in the 6-month follow-up analysis. Conclusions This is the first genome-wide therapygenetic study. It suggests no common variants of very high effect underlie response to CBT. Future investigations should maximise power to detect single-variant and polygenic effects by using larger, more homogeneous cohorts. Background Anxiety disorders are common, and cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is a first-line treatment. Candidate gene studies have suggested a genetic basis to treatment response, but findings have been inconsistent. Aims To perform the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of psychological treatment response in children with anxiety disorders (n = 980). Method Presence and severity of anxiety was assessed using semi-structured interview at baseline, on completion of treatment (post-treatment), and 3 to 12 months after treatment completion (follow-up). DNA was genotyped using the Illumina Human Core Exome-12v1.0 array. Linear mixed models were used to test associations between genetic variants and response (change in symptom severity) immediately post-treatment and at 6-month follow-up. Results No variants passed a genome-wide significance threshold (P = 5 × 10−8) in either analysis. Four variants met criteria for suggestive significance (P<5 × 10−6) in association with response post-treatment, and three variants in the 6-month follow-up analysis. Conclusions This is the first genome-wide therapygenetic study. It suggests no common variants of very high effect underlie response to CBT. Future investigations should maximise power to detect single-variant and polygenic effects by using larger, more homogeneous cohorts.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder – A Twin Study of Genetic Architecture, Genome Wide Association and Differential Gene Expression
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety-related diagnosis, affecting approximately 5% of the adult population. One characteristic of GAD is a high degree of anxiety sensitivity (AS), a personality trait which describes the fear of arousal-related sensations. Here we present a genome-wide association study of AS using a cohort of 730 MZ and DZ female twins. The GWAS showed a significant association for a variant within the RBFOX1 gene. A heritability analysis of the same cohort also confirmed a significant genetic component with h2 of 0.42. Additionally, a subset of the cohort (25 MZ twins discordant for AS) was studied for evidence of differential expression using RNA-seq data. Significant differential expression of two exons with the ITM2B gene within the discordant MZ subset was observed, a finding that was replicated in an independent cohort. While previous research has shown that anxiety has a high comorbidity with a variety of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, our analysis suggests a novel etiology specific to AS. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety-related diagnosis, affecting approximately 5% of the adult population. One characteristic of GAD is a high degree of anxiety sensitivity (AS), a personality trait which describes the fear of arousal-related sensations. Here we present a genome-wide association study of AS using a cohort of 730 MZ and DZ female twins. The GWAS showed a significant association for a variant within the RBFOX1 gene. A heritability analysis of the same cohort also confirmed a significant genetic component with h2 of 0.42. Additionally, a subset of the cohort (25 MZ twins discordant for AS) was studied for evidence of differential expression using RNA-seq data. Significant differential expression of two exons with the ITM2B gene within the discordant MZ subset was observed, a finding that was replicated in an independent cohort. While previous research has shown that anxiety has a high comorbidity with a variety of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, our analysis suggests a novel etiology specific to AS.
A genome wide association study of marginal zone lymphoma shows association to the HLA region
Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here the authors carry out a two-stage genome-wide association study in over 8,000 Europeans and identify two new MZL risk loci at chromosome 6p, implicating the major histocompatibility complex in the disease for the first time. Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is a common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here the authors carry out a two-stage genome-wide association study in over 8,000 Europeans and identify two new MZL risk loci at chromosome 6p, implicating the major histocompatibility complex in the disease for the first time.Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is the third most common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here we perform a two-stage GWAS of 1,281 MZL cases and 7,127 controls of European ancestry and identify two independent loci near BTNL2 (rs9461741, P=3.95 × 10−15) and HLA-B (rs2922994, P=2.43 × 10−9) in the HLA region significantly associated with MZL risk. This is the first evidence that genetic variation in the major histocompatibility complex influences MZL susceptibility. Marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) is the third most common subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Here we perform a two-stage GWAS of 1,281 MZL cases and 7,127 controls of European ancestry and identify two independent loci near BTNL2 (rs9461741, P=3.95 × 10−15) and HLA-B (rs2922994, P=2.43 × 10−9) in the HLA region significantly associated with MZL risk. This is the first evidence that genetic variation in the major histocompatibility complex influences MZL susceptibility.
Functional characterization of a multi cancer risk locus on chr5p15.33 reveals regulation of TERT by ZNF148
Genetic variants at multiple loci of chr5p15.33 have been associated with susceptibility to numerous cancers. Here the authors show that the association of one of these loci may be explained by a variant, rs36115365, influencing telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) expression via ZNF148. Genetic variants at multiple loci of chr5p15.33 have been associated with susceptibility to numerous cancers. Here the authors show that the association of one of these loci may be explained by a variant, rs36115365, influencing telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) expression via ZNF148.Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped multiple independent cancer susceptibility loci to chr5p15.33. Here, we show that fine-mapping of pancreatic and testicular cancer GWAS within one of these loci (Region 2 in CLPTM1L) focuses the signal to nine highly correlated SNPs. Of these, rs36115365-C associated with increased pancreatic and testicular but decreased lung cancer and melanoma risk, and exhibited preferred protein-binding and enhanced regulatory activity. Transcriptional gene silencing of this regulatory element repressed TERT expression in an allele-specific manner. Proteomic analysis identifies allele-preferred binding of Zinc finger protein 148 (ZNF148) to rs36115365-C, further supported by binding of purified recombinant ZNF148. Knockdown of ZNF148 results in reduced TERT expression, telomerase activity and telomere length. Our results indicate that the association with chr5p15.33-Region 2 may be explained by rs36115365, a variant influencing TERT expression via ZNF148 in a manner consistent with elevated TERT in carriers of the C allele. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped multiple independent cancer susceptibility loci to chr5p15.33. Here, we show that fine-mapping of pancreatic and testicular cancer GWAS within one of these loci (Region 2 in CLPTM1L) focuses the signal to nine highly correlated SNPs. Of these, rs36115365-C associated with increased pancreatic and testicular but decreased lung cancer and melanoma risk, and exhibited preferred protein-binding and enhanced regulatory activity. Transcriptional gene silencing of this regulatory element repressed TERT expression in an allele-specific manner. Proteomic analysis identifies allele-preferred binding of Zinc finger protein 148 (ZNF148) to rs36115365-C, further supported by binding of purified recombinant ZNF148. Knockdown of ZNF148 results in reduced TERT expression, telomerase activity and telomere length. Our results indicate that the association with chr5p15.33-Region 2 may be explained by rs36115365, a variant influencing TERT expression via ZNF148 in a manner consistent with elevated TERT in carriers of the C allele.
RNA Seq and ChIP Seq reveals SQSTM1/p62 as a key mediator of JunB suppression of NF κB dependent inflammation
Mice with epidermal deletion of JunB transcription factor displayed a psoriasis-like inflammation. The relevance of these findings to humans and the mechanisms mediating JunB function are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that impaired JunB function via gene silencing or overexpression of a dominant negative mutant increased human keratinocyte cell proliferation but decreased cell barrier function. RNA-seq revealed over 500 genes affected by JunB loss-of-function which included an upregulation of an array of proinflammatory molecules relevant to psoriasis. Among these were TNFα, CCL2, CXCL10, IL6R and SQSTM1, an adaptor protein involved in NF-κB activation. ChIP-Seq and gene reporter analyses showed that JunB directly suppressed SQSTM1 through binding to a consensus AP-1 cis-element located around 2 Kb upstream of SQSTM1-trasncription start site. Similar to JunB loss-of-function, SQSTM1-overexpression induced TNFα, CCL2 and CXCL10. Conversely, NF-κB-inhibition genetically with a mutant IκBα or pharmacologically with PDTC prevented cytokine, but not IL6R, induction by JunB-deficiency. Taken together, our findings indicate that JunB controls epidermal growth, barrier formation and proinflammatory responses through direct and indirect mechanisms, pinpointing SQSTM1 as a key mediator of JunB-suppression of NF-κB-dependent inflammation. Mice with epidermal deletion of JunB transcription factor displayed a psoriasis-like inflammation. The relevance of these findings to humans and the mechanisms mediating JunB function are not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that impaired JunB function via gene silencing or overexpression of a dominant negative mutant increased human keratinocyte cell proliferation but decreased cell barrier function. RNA-seq revealed over 500 genes affected by JunB loss-of-function which included an upregulation of an array of proinflammatory molecules relevant to psoriasis. Among these were TNFα, CCL2, CXCL10, IL6R and SQSTM1, an adaptor protein involved in NF-κB activation. ChIP-Seq and gene reporter analyses showed that JunB directly suppressed SQSTM1 through binding to a consensus AP-1 cis-element located around 2 Kb upstream of SQSTM1-trasncription start site. Similar to JunB loss-of-function, SQSTM1-overexpression induced TNFα, CCL2 and CXCL10. Conversely, NF-κB-inhibition genetically with a mutant IκBα or pharmacologically with PDTC prevented cytokine, but not IL6R, induction by JunB-deficiency. Taken together, our findings indicate that JunB controls epidermal growth, barrier formation and proinflammatory responses through direct and indirect mechanisms, pinpointing SQSTM1 as a key mediator of JunB-suppression of NF-κB-dependent inflammation.
Mutations in Rice yellow mottle virus Polyprotein P2a Involved in RYMV2 Gene Resistance Breakdown
Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) is one of the major diseases of rice in Africa. The high resistance of the Oryza glaberrima Tog7291 accession involves a null allele of the RYMV2 gene, whose ortholog in Arabidopsis, CPR5, is a transmembrane nucleoporin involved in effector-triggered immunity. To optimize field deployment of the RYMV2 gene and improve its durability, which is often a weak point in varietal resistance, we analyzed its efficiency toward RYMV isolates representing the genetic diversity of the virus and the molecular basis of resistance breakdown. Tog7291 resistance efficiency was highly variable depending on the isolate used, with infection rates ranging from 0 to 98% of plants. Back-inoculation experiments indicated that infection cases were not due to an incomplete resistance phenotype but to the emergence of resistance-breaking (RB) variants. Interestingly, the capacity of the virus to overcome Tog7291 resistance is associated with a polymorphism at amino-acid 49 of the VPg protein which also affects capacity to overcome the previously studied RYMV1 resistance gene. This polymorphism appeared to be a main determinant of the emergence of RB variants. It acts independently of the resistance gene and rather reflects inter-species adaptation with potential consequences for the durability of resistance. RB mutations were identified by full-length or partial sequencing of the RYMV genome in infected Tog7291 plants and were validated by directed mutagenesis of an infectious viral clone. We found that Tog7291 resistance breakdown involved mutations in the putative membrane anchor domain of the polyprotein P2a. Although the precise effect of these mutations on rice/RYMV interaction is still unknown, our results offer a new perspective for the understanding of RYMV2 mediated resistance mechanisms. Interestingly, in the susceptible IR64 variety, RB variants showed low infectivity and frequent reversion to the wild-type genotype, suggesting that Tog7291 resistance breakdown is associated with a major loss of viral fitness in normally susceptible O. sativa varieties. Despite the high frequency of resistance breakdown in controlled conditions, this loss of fitness is an encouraging element with regards to RYMV2 resistance durability. Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) is one of the major diseases of rice in Africa. The high resistance of the Oryza glaberrima Tog7291 accession involves a null allele of the RYMV2 gene, whose ortholog in Arabidopsis, CPR5, is a transmembrane nucleoporin involved in effector-triggered immunity. To optimize field deployment of the RYMV2 gene and improve its durability, which is often a weak point in varietal resistance, we analyzed its efficiency toward RYMV isolates representing the genetic diversity of the virus and the molecular basis of resistance breakdown. Tog7291 resistance efficiency was highly variable depending on the isolate used, with infection rates ranging from 0 to 98% of plants. Back-inoculation experiments indicated that infection cases were not due to an incomplete resistance phenotype but to the emergence of resistance-breaking (RB) variants. Interestingly, the capacity of the virus to overcome Tog7291 resistance is associated with a polymorphism at amino-acid 49 of the VPg protein which also affects capacity to overcome the previously studied RYMV1 resistance gene. This polymorphism appeared to be a main determinant of the emergence of RB variants. It acts independently of the resistance gene and rather reflects inter-species adaptation with potential consequences for the durability of resistance. RB mutations were identified by full-length or partial sequencing of the RYMV genome in infected Tog7291 plants and were validated by directed mutagenesis of an infectious viral clone. We found that Tog7291 resistance breakdown involved mutations in the putative membrane anchor domain of the polyprotein P2a. Although the precise effect of these mutations on rice/RYMV interaction is still unknown, our results offer a new perspective for the understanding of RYMV2 mediated resistance mechanisms. Interestingly, in the susceptible IR64 variety, RB variants showed low infectivity and frequent reversion to the wild-type genotype, suggesting that Tog7291 resistance breakdown is associated with a major loss of viral fitness in normally susceptible O. sativa varieties. Despite the high frequency of resistance breakdown in controlled conditions, this loss of fitness is an encouraging element with regards to RYMV2 resistance durability.
Ancient Recombination Events between Human Herpes Simplex Viruses
Abstract Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are seen as close relatives but also unambiguously considered as evolutionary independent units. Here, we sequenced the genomes of 18 HSV-2 isolates characterized by divergent UL30 gene sequences to further elucidate the evolutionary history of this virus. Surprisingly, genome-wide recombination analyses showed that all HSV-2 genomes sequenced to date contain HSV-1 fragments. Using phylogenomic analyses, we could also show that two main HSV-2 lineages exist. One lineage is mostly restricted to subSaharan Africa whereas the other has reached a global distribution. Interestingly, only the worldwide lineage is characterized by ancient recombination events with HSV-1. Our findings highlight the complexity of HSV-2 evolution, a virus of putative zoonotic origin which later recombined with its human-adapted relative. They also suggest that coinfections with HSV-1 and 2 may have genomic and potentially functional consequences and should therefore be monitored more closely. Abstract Herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are seen as close relatives but also unambiguously considered as evolutionary independent units. Here, we sequenced the genomes of 18 HSV-2 isolates characterized by divergent UL30 gene sequences to further elucidate the evolutionary history of this virus. Surprisingly, genome-wide recombination analyses showed that all HSV-2 genomes sequenced to date contain HSV-1 fragments. Using phylogenomic analyses, we could also show that two main HSV-2 lineages exist. One lineage is mostly restricted to subSaharan Africa whereas the other has reached a global distribution. Interestingly, only the worldwide lineage is characterized by ancient recombination events with HSV-1. Our findings highlight the complexity of HSV-2 evolution, a virus of putative zoonotic origin which later recombined with its human-adapted relative. They also suggest that coinfections with HSV-1 and 2 may have genomic and potentially functional consequences and should therefore be monitored more closely.
A new species of blunt headed vine snake (Colubridae, Imantodes) from the Chocó region of Ecuador
Abstract We describe a new species of Imantodes from the Chocó region of northwestern Ecuador. The new species differs most significantly from all other congeners in lacking a loreal scale. We analyze the phylogenetic relationships among species of Imantodes based on two mitochondrial genes, and postulate that the new species and Imantodes lentiferus are sister taxa. A key to the species of Imantodes from Ecuador is presented. Abstract We describe a new species of Imantodes from the Chocó region of northwestern Ecuador. The new species differs most significantly from all other congeners in lacking a loreal scale. We analyze the phylogenetic relationships among species of Imantodes based on two mitochondrial genes, and postulate that the new species and Imantodes lentiferus are sister taxa. A key to the species of Imantodes from Ecuador is presented.
Repeated Duplication of Argonaute2 Is Associated with Strong Selection and Testis Specialization in Drosophila
Argonaute2 (Ago2) is a rapidly evolving nuclease in the Drosophila melanogaster RNA interference (RNAi) pathway that targets viruses and transposable elements in somatic tissues. Here we reconstruct the history of Ago2 duplications across the D. obscura group and use patterns of gene expression to infer new functional specialization. We show that some duplications are old, shared by the entire species group, and that losses may be common, including previously undetected losses in the lineage leading to D. pseudoobscura. We find that while the original (syntenic) gene copy has generally retained the ancestral ubiquitous expression pattern, most of the novel Ago2 paralogs have independently specialized to testis-specific expression. Using population genetic analyses, we show that most testis-specific paralogs have significantly lower genetic diversity than the genome-wide average. This suggests recent positive selection in three different species, and model-based analyses provide strong evidence of recent hard selective sweeps in or near four of the six D. pseudoobscura Ago2 paralogs. We speculate that the repeated evolution of testis specificity in obscura group Ago2 genes, combined with their dynamic turnover and strong signatures of adaptive evolution, may be associated with highly derived roles in the suppression of transposable elements or meiotic drive. Our study highlights the lability of RNAi pathways, even within well-studied groups such as Drosophila, and suggests that strong selection may act quickly after duplication in RNAi pathways, potentially giving rise to new and unknown RNAi functions in nonmodel species. Argonaute2 (Ago2) is a rapidly evolving nuclease in the Drosophila melanogaster RNA interference (RNAi) pathway that targets viruses and transposable elements in somatic tissues. Here we reconstruct the history of Ago2 duplications across the D. obscura group and use patterns of gene expression to infer new functional specialization. We show that some duplications are old, shared by the entire species group, and that losses may be common, including previously undetected losses in the lineage leading to D. pseudoobscura. We find that while the original (syntenic) gene copy has generally retained the ancestral ubiquitous expression pattern, most of the novel Ago2 paralogs have independently specialized to testis-specific expression. Using population genetic analyses, we show that most testis-specific paralogs have significantly lower genetic diversity than the genome-wide average. This suggests recent positive selection in three different species, and model-based analyses provide strong evidence of recent hard selective sweeps in or near four of the six D. pseudoobscura Ago2 paralogs. We speculate that the repeated evolution of testis specificity in obscura group Ago2 genes, combined with their dynamic turnover and strong signatures of adaptive evolution, may be associated with highly derived roles in the suppression of transposable elements or meiotic drive. Our study highlights the lability of RNAi pathways, even within well-studied groups such as Drosophila, and suggests that strong selection may act quickly after duplication in RNAi pathways, potentially giving rise to new and unknown RNAi functions in nonmodel species.
Induction of Gametogenesis in the Cnidarian Endosymbiosis Model Aiptasia sp.
Endosymbiosis is widespread among cnidarians and is of high ecological relevance. The tropical sea anemone Aiptasia sp. is a laboratory model system for endosymbiosis between reef-building corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium. Here we identify the key environmental cues to induce reproducible spawning in Aiptasia under controlled laboratory conditions. We find that simulating a lunar cycle with blue-wavelength light is necessary to promote abundant gamete production and synchronous release in well-fed animals. Sexual reproduction rates are genetically determined and differ among clonal lines under similar conditions. We also find the inverse difference in rates of asexual reproduction. This study provides the requisite basis for further development of the Aiptasia model system, allowing analysis of basic cellular and molecular mechanisms in the laboratory as well as investigations of broad questions of ecological and evolutionary relevance. Endosymbiosis is widespread among cnidarians and is of high ecological relevance. The tropical sea anemone Aiptasia sp. is a laboratory model system for endosymbiosis between reef-building corals and photosynthetic dinoflagellate algae of the genus Symbiodinium. Here we identify the key environmental cues to induce reproducible spawning in Aiptasia under controlled laboratory conditions. We find that simulating a lunar cycle with blue-wavelength light is necessary to promote abundant gamete production and synchronous release in well-fed animals. Sexual reproduction rates are genetically determined and differ among clonal lines under similar conditions. We also find the inverse difference in rates of asexual reproduction. This study provides the requisite basis for further development of the Aiptasia model system, allowing analysis of basic cellular and molecular mechanisms in the laboratory as well as investigations of broad questions of ecological and evolutionary relevance.
Draft Genome Sequence of the First Isolate of Extensively Drug Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Ireland
Extensive drug resistance is an emerging threat to the control of tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, even in countries with low TB incidence. We report the draft whole-genome sequence of the first reported extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) strain isolated in Ireland (a low-incidence setting) and describe a number of single-nucleotide variations that correlate with its XDR phenotype. Extensive drug resistance is an emerging threat to the control of tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, even in countries with low TB incidence. We report the draft whole-genome sequence of the first reported extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) strain isolated in Ireland (a low-incidence setting) and describe a number of single-nucleotide variations that correlate with its XDR phenotype.
Phylogenetic patterns of emergence of new genes support a model of frequent de novo evolution
Background New gene emergence is so far assumed to be mostly driven by duplication and divergence of existing genes. The possibility that entirely new genes could emerge out of the non-coding genomic background was long thought to be almost negligible. With the increasing availability of fully sequenced genomes across broad scales of phylogeny, it has become possible to systematically study the origin of new genes over time and thus revisit this question. Results We have used phylostratigraphy to assess trends of gene evolution across successive phylogenetic phases, using mostly the well-annotated mouse genome as a reference. We find several significant general trends and confirm them for three other vertebrate genomes (humans, zebrafish and stickleback). Younger genes are shorter, both with respect to gene length, as well as to open reading frame length. They contain also fewer exons and have fewer recognizable domains. Average exon length, on the other hand, does not change much over time. Only the most recently evolved genes have longer exons and they are often associated with active promotor regions, i.e. are part of bidirectional promotors. We have also revisited the possibility that de novo evolution of genes could occur even within existing genes, by making use of an alternative reading frame (overprinting). We find several cases among the annotated Ensembl ORFs, where the new reading frame has emerged at a higher phylostratigraphic level than the original one. We discuss some of these overprinted genes, which include also the Hoxa9 gene where an alternative reading frame covering the homeobox has emerged within the lineage leading to rodents and primates (Euarchontoglires). Conclusions We suggest that the overall trends of gene emergence are more compatible with a de novo evolution model for orphan genes than a general duplication-divergence model. Hence de novo evolution of genes appears to have occurred continuously throughout evolutionary time and should therefore be considered as a general mechanism for the emergence of new gene functions. Background New gene emergence is so far assumed to be mostly driven by duplication and divergence of existing genes. The possibility that entirely new genes could emerge out of the non-coding genomic background was long thought to be almost negligible. With the increasing availability of fully sequenced genomes across broad scales of phylogeny, it has become possible to systematically study the origin of new genes over time and thus revisit this question. Results We have used phylostratigraphy to assess trends of gene evolution across successive phylogenetic phases, using mostly the well-annotated mouse genome as a reference. We find several significant general trends and confirm them for three other vertebrate genomes (humans, zebrafish and stickleback). Younger genes are shorter, both with respect to gene length, as well as to open reading frame length. They contain also fewer exons and have fewer recognizable domains. Average exon length, on the other hand, does not change much over time. Only the most recently evolved genes have longer exons and they are often associated with active promotor regions, i.e. are part of bidirectional promotors. We have also revisited the possibility that de novo evolution of genes could occur even within existing genes, by making use of an alternative reading frame (overprinting). We find several cases among the annotated Ensembl ORFs, where the new reading frame has emerged at a higher phylostratigraphic level than the original one. We discuss some of these overprinted genes, which include also the Hoxa9 gene where an alternative reading frame covering the homeobox has emerged within the lineage leading to rodents and primates (Euarchontoglires). Conclusions We suggest that the overall trends of gene emergence are more compatible with a de novo evolution model for orphan genes than a general duplication-divergence model. Hence de novo evolution of genes appears to have occurred continuously throughout evolutionary time and should therefore be considered as a general mechanism for the emergence of new gene functions.
Structure and expression of GSL1 and GSL2 genes encoding gibberellin stimulated like proteins in diploid and highly heterozygous tetraploid potato reveals their highly conserved and essential status
Background GSL1 and GSL2, Gibberellin Stimulated-Like proteins (also known as Snakin-1 and Snakin-2), are cysteine-rich peptides from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) with antimicrobial properties. Similar peptides in other species have been implicated in diverse biological processes and are hypothesised to play a role in several aspects of plant development, plant responses to biotic or abiotic stress through their participation in hormone crosstalk, and redox homeostasis. To help resolve the biological roles of GSL1 and GSL2 peptides we have undertaken an in depth analysis of the structure and expression of these genes in potato. Results We have characterised the full length genes for both GSL1 (chromosome 4) and GSL2 (chromosome 1) from diploid and tetraploid potato using the reference genome sequence of potato, coupled with further next generation sequencing of four highly heterozygous tetraploid cultivars. The frequency of SNPs in GSL1 and GSL2 were very low with only one SNP every 67 and 53 nucleotides in exon regions of GSL1 and GSL2, respectively. Analysis of comprehensive RNA-seq data substantiated the role of specific promoter motifs in transcriptional control of gene expression. Expression analysis based on the frequency of next generation sequence reads established that GSL2 was expressed at a higher level than GSL1 in 30 out of 32 tissue and treatment libraries. Furthermore, both the GSL1 and GSL2 genes exhibited constitutive expression that was not up regulated in response to biotic or abiotic stresses, hormone treatments or wounding. Potato transformation with antisense knock-down expression cassettes failed to recover viable plants. Conclusions The potato GSL1 and GSL2 genes are very highly conserved suggesting they contribute to an important biological function. The known antimicrobial activity of the GSL proteins, coupled with the FPKM analysis from RNA-seq data, implies that both genes contribute to the constitutive defence barriers in potatoes. The lethality of antisense knock-down expression of GSL1 and GSL2, coupled with the rare incidence of SNPs in these genes, suggests an essential role for this gene family. These features are consistent with the GSL protein family playing a role in several aspects of plant development in addition to plant defence against biotic stresses. Background GSL1 and GSL2, Gibberellin Stimulated-Like proteins (also known as Snakin-1 and Snakin-2), are cysteine-rich peptides from potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) with antimicrobial properties. Similar peptides in other species have been implicated in diverse biological processes and are hypothesised to play a role in several aspects of plant development, plant responses to biotic or abiotic stress through their participation in hormone crosstalk, and redox homeostasis. To help resolve the biological roles of GSL1 and GSL2 peptides we have undertaken an in depth analysis of the structure and expression of these genes in potato. Results We have characterised the full length genes for both GSL1 (chromosome 4) and GSL2 (chromosome 1) from diploid and tetraploid potato using the reference genome sequence of potato, coupled with further next generation sequencing of four highly heterozygous tetraploid cultivars. The frequency of SNPs in GSL1 and GSL2 were very low with only one SNP every 67 and 53 nucleotides in exon regions of GSL1 and GSL2, respectively. Analysis of comprehensive RNA-seq data substantiated the role of specific promoter motifs in transcriptional control of gene expression. Expression analysis based on the frequency of next generation sequence reads established that GSL2 was expressed at a higher level than GSL1 in 30 out of 32 tissue and treatment libraries. Furthermore, both the GSL1 and GSL2 genes exhibited constitutive expression that was not up regulated in response to biotic or abiotic stresses, hormone treatments or wounding. Potato transformation with antisense knock-down expression cassettes failed to recover viable plants. Conclusions The potato GSL1 and GSL2 genes are very highly conserved suggesting they contribute to an important biological function. The known antimicrobial activity of the GSL proteins, coupled with the FPKM analysis from RNA-seq data, implies that both genes contribute to the constitutive defence barriers in potatoes. The lethality of antisense knock-down expression of GSL1 and GSL2, coupled with the rare incidence of SNPs in these genes, suggests an essential role for this gene family. These features are consistent with the GSL protein family playing a role in several aspects of plant development in addition to plant defence against biotic stresses.
Deep Sequencing of Influenza A Virus from a Human Challenge Study Reveals a Selective Bottleneck and Only Limited Intrahost Genetic Diversification
ABSTRACT Knowledge of influenza virus evolution at the point of transmission and at the intrahost level remains limited, particularly for human hosts. Here, we analyze a unique viral data set of next-generation sequencing (NGS) samples generated from a human influenza challenge study wherein 17 healthy subjects were inoculated with cell- and egg-passaged virus. Nasal wash samples collected from 7 of these subjects were successfully deep sequenced. From these, we characterized changes in the subjects' viral populations during infection and identified differences between the virus in these samples and the viral stock used to inoculate the subjects. We first calculated pairwise genetic distances between the subjects' nasal wash samples, the viral stock, and the influenza virus A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2) reference strain used to generate the stock virus. These distances revealed that considerable viral evolution occurred at various points in the human challenge study. Further quantitative analyses indicated that (i) the viral stock contained genetic variants that originated and likely were selected for during the passaging process, (ii) direct intranasal inoculation with the viral stock resulted in a selective bottleneck that reduced nonsynonymous genetic diversity in the viral hemagglutinin and nucleoprotein, and (iii) intrahost viral evolution continued over the course of infection. These intrahost evolutionary dynamics were dominated by purifying selection. Our findings indicate that rapid viral evolution can occur during acute influenza infection in otherwise healthy human hosts when the founding population size of the virus is large, as is the case with direct intranasal inoculation. IMPORTANCE Influenza viruses circulating among humans are known to rapidly evolve over time. However, little is known about how influenza virus evolves across single transmission events and over the course of a single infection. To address these issues, we analyze influenza virus sequences from a human challenge experiment that initiated infection with a cell- and egg-passaged viral stock, which appeared to have adapted during its preparation. We find that the subjects' viral populations differ genetically from the viral stock, with subjects' viral populations having lower representation of the amino-acid-changing variants that arose during viral preparation. We also find that most of the viral evolution occurring over single infections is characterized by further decreases in the frequencies of these amino-acid-changing variants and that only limited intrahost genetic diversification through new mutations is apparent. Our findings indicate that influenza virus populations can undergo rapid genetic changes during acute human infections. ABSTRACT Knowledge of influenza virus evolution at the point of transmission and at the intrahost level remains limited, particularly for human hosts. Here, we analyze a unique viral data set of next-generation sequencing (NGS) samples generated from a human influenza challenge study wherein 17 healthy subjects were inoculated with cell- and egg-passaged virus. Nasal wash samples collected from 7 of these subjects were successfully deep sequenced. From these, we characterized changes in the subjects' viral populations during infection and identified differences between the virus in these samples and the viral stock used to inoculate the subjects. We first calculated pairwise genetic distances between the subjects' nasal wash samples, the viral stock, and the influenza virus A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2) reference strain used to generate the stock virus. These distances revealed that considerable viral evolution occurred at various points in the human challenge study. Further quantitative analyses indicated that (i) the viral stock contained genetic variants that originated and likely were selected for during the passaging process, (ii) direct intranasal inoculation with the viral stock resulted in a selective bottleneck that reduced nonsynonymous genetic diversity in the viral hemagglutinin and nucleoprotein, and (iii) intrahost viral evolution continued over the course of infection. These intrahost evolutionary dynamics were dominated by purifying selection. Our findings indicate that rapid viral evolution can occur during acute influenza infection in otherwise healthy human hosts when the founding population size of the virus is large, as is the case with direct intranasal inoculation. IMPORTANCE Influenza viruses circulating among humans are known to rapidly evolve over time. However, little is known about how influenza virus evolves across single transmission events and over the course of a single infection. To address these issues, we analyze influenza virus sequences from a human challenge experiment that initiated infection with a cell- and egg-passaged viral stock, which appeared to have adapted during its preparation. We find that the subjects' viral populations differ genetically from the viral stock, with subjects' viral populations having lower representation of the amino-acid-changing variants that arose during viral preparation. We also find that most of the viral evolution occurring over single infections is characterized by further decreases in the frequencies of these amino-acid-changing variants and that only limited intrahost genetic diversification through new mutations is apparent. Our findings indicate that influenza virus populations can undergo rapid genetic changes during acute human infections.
Horizontal Transfers and Gene Losses in the Phospholipid Pathway of Bartonella Reveal Clues about Early Ecological Niches
Bartonellae are mammalian pathogens vectored by blood-feeding arthropods. Although of increasing medical importance, little is known about their ecological past, and host associations are underexplored. Previous studies suggest an influence of horizontal gene transfers in ecological niche colonization by acquisition of host pathogenicity genes. We here expand these analyses to metabolic pathways of 28 Bartonella genomes, and experimentally explore the distribution of bartonellae in 21 species of blood-feeding arthropods. Across genomes, repeated gene losses and horizontal gains in the phospholipid pathway were found. The evolutionary timing of these patterns suggests functional consequences likely leading to an early intracellular lifestyle for stem bartonellae. Comparative phylogenomic analyses discover three independent lineage-specific reacquisitions of a core metabolic gene—NAD(P)H-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpsA)—from Gammaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria. Transferred genes are significantly closely related to invertebrate Arsenophonus-, and Serratia-like endosymbionts, and mammalian Helicobacter-like pathogens, supporting a cellular association with arthropods and mammals at the base of extant Bartonella spp. Our studies suggest that the horizontal reacquisitions had a key impact on bartonellae lineage specific ecological and functional evolution. Bartonellae are mammalian pathogens vectored by blood-feeding arthropods. Although of increasing medical importance, little is known about their ecological past, and host associations are underexplored. Previous studies suggest an influence of horizontal gene transfers in ecological niche colonization by acquisition of host pathogenicity genes. We here expand these analyses to metabolic pathways of 28 Bartonella genomes, and experimentally explore the distribution of bartonellae in 21 species of blood-feeding arthropods. Across genomes, repeated gene losses and horizontal gains in the phospholipid pathway were found. The evolutionary timing of these patterns suggests functional consequences likely leading to an early intracellular lifestyle for stem bartonellae. Comparative phylogenomic analyses discover three independent lineage-specific reacquisitions of a core metabolic gene—NAD(P)H-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpsA)—from Gammaproteobacteria and Epsilonproteobacteria. Transferred genes are significantly closely related to invertebrate Arsenophonus-, and Serratia-like endosymbionts, and mammalian Helicobacter-like pathogens, supporting a cellular association with arthropods and mammals at the base of extant Bartonella spp. Our studies suggest that the horizontal reacquisitions had a key impact on bartonellae lineage specific ecological and functional evolution.
Differential Genome Evolution Between Companion Symbionts in an Insect Bacterial Symbiosis
IMPORTANCE In obligate animal-bacterial symbioses, bacteria experience extreme patterns of genome evolution, including massive gene loss and rapid evolution. However, little is known about this process, particularly in systems with complementary bacterial partners. To understand whether genome evolution impacts symbiont types equally and whether lineages follow the same evolutionary path, we sequenced the genomes of two coresident symbiotic bacteria from a plant sap-feeding insect and compared them to the symbionts from a related host species. We found that the older symbiont has a highly reduced genome with low rates of mutation and gene loss. In contrast, the younger symbiont has a larger genome that exhibits higher mutation rates and varies dramatically in the retention of genes related to cell wall biogenesis, cellular replication, and stress response. We conclude that while symbiotic bacteria evolve toward tiny genomes, this process is shaped by different selection intensities that may reflect the different ages and metabolic roles of symbiont types. IMPORTANCE In obligate animal-bacterial symbioses, bacteria experience extreme patterns of genome evolution, including massive gene loss and rapid evolution. However, little is known about this process, particularly in systems with complementary bacterial partners. To understand whether genome evolution impacts symbiont types equally and whether lineages follow the same evolutionary path, we sequenced the genomes of two coresident symbiotic bacteria from a plant sap-feeding insect and compared them to the symbionts from a related host species. We found that the older symbiont has a highly reduced genome with low rates of mutation and gene loss. In contrast, the younger symbiont has a larger genome that exhibits higher mutation rates and varies dramatically in the retention of genes related to cell wall biogenesis, cellular replication, and stress response. We conclude that while symbiotic bacteria evolve toward tiny genomes, this process is shaped by different selection intensities that may reflect the different ages and metabolic roles of symbiont types.ABSTRACT Obligate symbioses with bacteria allow insects to feed on otherwise unsuitable diets. Some symbionts have extremely reduced genomes and have lost many genes considered to be essential in other bacteria. To understand how symbiont genome degeneration proceeds, we compared the genomes of symbionts in two leafhopper species, Homalodisca vitripennis (glassy-winged sharpshooter [GWSS]) and Graphocephala atropunctata (blue-green sharpshooter [BGSS]) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Each host species is associated with the anciently acquired “Candidatus Sulcia muelleri” (Bacteroidetes) and the more recently acquired “Candidatus Baumannia cicadellinicola” (Gammaproteobacteria). BGSS “Ca. Baumannia” retains 89 genes that are absent from GWSS “Ca. Baumannia”; these underlie central cellular functions, including cell envelope biogenesis, cellular replication, and stress response. In contrast, “Ca. Sulcia” strains differ by only a few genes. Although GWSS “Ca. Baumannia” cells are spherical or pleomorphic (a convergent trait of obligate symbionts), electron microscopy reveals that BGSS “Ca. Baumannia” maintains a rod shape, possibly due to its retention of genes involved in cell envelope biogenesis and integrity. Phylogenomic results suggest that “Ca. Baumannia” is derived from the clade consisting of Sodalis and relatives, a group that has evolved symbiotic associations with numerous insect hosts. Finally, the rates of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions are higher in “Ca. Baumannia” than in “Ca. Sulcia,” which may be due to a lower mutation rate in the latter. Taken together, our results suggest that the two “Ca. Baumannia” genomes represent different stages of genome reduction in which many essential functions are being lost and likely compensated by hosts. “Ca. Sulcia” exhibits much greater genome stability and slower sequence evolution, although the mechanisms underlying these differences are poorly understood. ABSTRACT Obligate symbioses with bacteria allow insects to feed on otherwise unsuitable diets. Some symbionts have extremely reduced genomes and have lost many genes considered to be essential in other bacteria. To understand how symbiont genome degeneration proceeds, we compared the genomes of symbionts in two leafhopper species, Homalodisca vitripennis (glassy-winged sharpshooter [GWSS]) and Graphocephala atropunctata (blue-green sharpshooter [BGSS]) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Each host species is associated with the anciently acquired “Candidatus Sulcia muelleri” (Bacteroidetes) and the more recently acquired “Candidatus Baumannia cicadellinicola” (Gammaproteobacteria). BGSS “Ca. Baumannia” retains 89 genes that are absent from GWSS “Ca. Baumannia”; these underlie central cellular functions, including cell envelope biogenesis, cellular replication, and stress response. In contrast, “Ca. Sulcia” strains differ by only a few genes. Although GWSS “Ca. Baumannia” cells are spherical or pleomorphic (a convergent trait of obligate symbionts), electron microscopy reveals that BGSS “Ca. Baumannia” maintains a rod shape, possibly due to its retention of genes involved in cell envelope biogenesis and integrity. Phylogenomic results suggest that “Ca. Baumannia” is derived from the clade consisting of Sodalis and relatives, a group that has evolved symbiotic associations with numerous insect hosts. Finally, the rates of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions are higher in “Ca. Baumannia” than in “Ca. Sulcia,” which may be due to a lower mutation rate in the latter. Taken together, our results suggest that the two “Ca. Baumannia” genomes represent different stages of genome reduction in which many essential functions are being lost and likely compensated by hosts. “Ca. Sulcia” exhibits much greater genome stability and slower sequence evolution, although the mechanisms underlying these differences are poorly understood.
Selection and evaluation of clinically relevant AAV variants in a xenograft liver model
Glacial vicariance drives phylogeographic diversification in the amphi boreal kelp Saccharina latissima
Glacial vicariance is regarded as one of the most prevalent drivers of phylogeographic structure and speciation among high-latitude organisms, but direct links between ice advances and range fragmentation have been more difficult to establish in marine than in terrestrial systems. Here we investigate the evolution of largely disjunct (and potentially reproductively isolated) phylogeographic lineages within the amphi-boreal kelp Saccharina latissima s. l. Using molecular data (COI, microsatellites) we confirm that S. latissima comprises also the NE Pacific S. cichorioides complex and is composed of divergent lineages with limited range overlap and genetic admixture. Only a few genetic hybrids were detected throughout a Canadian Arctic/NW Greenland contact zone. The degree of genetic differentiation and sympatric isolation of phylogroups suggest that S. latissima s. l. represents a complex of incipient species. Phylogroup distributions compared with paleo-environmental reconstructions of the cryosphere further suggest that diversification within S. latissima results from chronic glacial isolation in disjunct persistence areas intercalated with ephemeral interglacial poleward expansions and admixture at high-latitude (Arctic) contact zones. This study thus supports a role for glaciations not just in redistributing pre-existing marine lineages but also as a speciation pump across multi-glacial cycles for marine organisms otherwise exhibiting cosmopolite amphi-boreal distributions. Glacial vicariance is regarded as one of the most prevalent drivers of phylogeographic structure and speciation among high-latitude organisms, but direct links between ice advances and range fragmentation have been more difficult to establish in marine than in terrestrial systems. Here we investigate the evolution of largely disjunct (and potentially reproductively isolated) phylogeographic lineages within the amphi-boreal kelp Saccharina latissima s. l. Using molecular data (COI, microsatellites) we confirm that S. latissima comprises also the NE Pacific S. cichorioides complex and is composed of divergent lineages with limited range overlap and genetic admixture. Only a few genetic hybrids were detected throughout a Canadian Arctic/NW Greenland contact zone. The degree of genetic differentiation and sympatric isolation of phylogroups suggest that S. latissima s. l. represents a complex of incipient species. Phylogroup distributions compared with paleo-environmental reconstructions of the cryosphere further suggest that diversification within S. latissima results from chronic glacial isolation in disjunct persistence areas intercalated with ephemeral interglacial poleward expansions and admixture at high-latitude (Arctic) contact zones. This study thus supports a role for glaciations not just in redistributing pre-existing marine lineages but also as a speciation pump across multi-glacial cycles for marine organisms otherwise exhibiting cosmopolite amphi-boreal distributions.
Heterogeneous regulation of bacterial natural product biosynthesis via a novel transcription factor
Biological diversity arises among genetically equal subpopulations in the same environment, a phenomenon called phenotypic heterogeneity. The life cycle of the enteric bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens involves a symbiotic interaction with nematodes as well as a pathogenic association with insect larvae. P. luminescens exists in two distinct phenotypic forms designated as primary (1°) and secondary (2°). In contrast to 1° cells, 2° cells are non-pigmented due to the absence of natural compounds, especially anthraquinones (AQs). We identified a novel type of transcriptional regulator, AntJ, which activates expression of the antA-I operon responsible for AQ production. AntJ heterogeneously activates the AQ production in single P. luminescens 1° cells, and blocks AQ production in 2° cells. AntJ contains a proposed ligand-binding WYL-domain, which is widespread among bacteria. AntJ is one of the rare examples of regulators that mediate heterogeneous gene expression by altering activity rather than copy number in single cells. Biological diversity arises among genetically equal subpopulations in the same environment, a phenomenon called phenotypic heterogeneity. The life cycle of the enteric bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens involves a symbiotic interaction with nematodes as well as a pathogenic association with insect larvae. P. luminescens exists in two distinct phenotypic forms designated as primary (1°) and secondary (2°). In contrast to 1° cells, 2° cells are non-pigmented due to the absence of natural compounds, especially anthraquinones (AQs). We identified a novel type of transcriptional regulator, AntJ, which activates expression of the antA-I operon responsible for AQ production. AntJ heterogeneously activates the AQ production in single P. luminescens 1° cells, and blocks AQ production in 2° cells. AntJ contains a proposed ligand-binding WYL-domain, which is widespread among bacteria. AntJ is one of the rare examples of regulators that mediate heterogeneous gene expression by altering activity rather than copy number in single cells.
Low genetic diversity despite multiple introductions of the invasive plant species Impatiens glandulifera in Europe
Background Invasive species can be a major threat to native biodiversity and the number of invasive plant species is increasing across the globe. Population genetic studies of invasive species can provide key insights into their invasion history and ensuing evolution, but also for their control. Here we genetically characterise populations of Impatiens glandulifera, an invasive plant in Europe that can have a major impact on native plant communities. We compared populations from the species’ native range in Kashmir, India, to those in its invaded range, along a latitudinal gradient in Europe. For comparison, the results from 39 other studies of genetic diversity in invasive species were collated. Results Our results suggest that I. glandulifera was established in the wild in Europe at least twice, from an area outside of our Kashmir study area. Our results further revealed that the genetic diversity in invasive populations of I. glandulifera is unusually low compared to native populations, in particular when compared to other invasive species. Genetic drift rather than mutation seems to have played a role in differentiating populations in Europe. We find evidence of limitations to local gene flow after introduction to Europe, but somewhat less restrictions in the native range. I. glandulifera populations with significant inbreeding were only found in the species’ native range and invasive species in general showed no increase in inbreeding upon leaving their native ranges. In Europe we detect cases of migration between distantly located populations. Human activities therefore seem to, at least partially, have facilitated not only introductions, but also further spread of I. glandulifera across Europe. Conclusions Although multiple introductions will facilitate the retention of genetic diversity in invasive ranges, widespread invasive species can remain genetically relatively invariant also after multiple introductions. Phenotypic plasticity may therefore be an important component of the successful spread of Impatiens glandulifera across Europe. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-015-0242-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Invasive species can be a major threat to native biodiversity and the number of invasive plant species is increasing across the globe. Population genetic studies of invasive species can provide key insights into their invasion history and ensuing evolution, but also for their control. Here we genetically characterise populations of Impatiens glandulifera, an invasive plant in Europe that can have a major impact on native plant communities. We compared populations from the species’ native range in Kashmir, India, to those in its invaded range, along a latitudinal gradient in Europe. For comparison, the results from 39 other studies of genetic diversity in invasive species were collated. Results Our results suggest that I. glandulifera was established in the wild in Europe at least twice, from an area outside of our Kashmir study area. Our results further revealed that the genetic diversity in invasive populations of I. glandulifera is unusually low compared to native populations, in particular when compared to other invasive species. Genetic drift rather than mutation seems to have played a role in differentiating populations in Europe. We find evidence of limitations to local gene flow after introduction to Europe, but somewhat less restrictions in the native range. I. glandulifera populations with significant inbreeding were only found in the species’ native range and invasive species in general showed no increase in inbreeding upon leaving their native ranges. In Europe we detect cases of migration between distantly located populations. Human activities therefore seem to, at least partially, have facilitated not only introductions, but also further spread of I. glandulifera across Europe. Conclusions Although multiple introductions will facilitate the retention of genetic diversity in invasive ranges, widespread invasive species can remain genetically relatively invariant also after multiple introductions. Phenotypic plasticity may therefore be an important component of the successful spread of Impatiens glandulifera across Europe. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-015-0242-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Breast milk and in utero transmission of HIV 1 select for envelope variants with unique molecular signatures
Background Mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) poses a serious health threat in developing countries, and adequate interventions are as yet unrealized. HIV-1 infection is frequently initiated by a single founder viral variant, but the factors that influence particular variant selection are poorly understood. Results Our analysis of 647 full-length HIV-1 subtype C and G viral envelope sequences from 22 mother–infant pairs reveals unique genotypic and phenotypic signatures that depend upon transmission route. Relative to maternal strains, intrauterine HIV transmission selects infant variants that have shorter, less-glycosylated V1 loops that are more resistant to soluble CD4 (sCD4) neutralization. Transmission through breastfeeding selects for variants with fewer potential glycosylation sites in gp41, are more sensitive to the broadly neutralizing antibodies PG9 and PG16, and that bind sCD4 with reduced cooperativity. Furthermore, experiments with Affinofile cells indicate that infant viruses, regardless of transmission route, require increased levels of surface CD4 receptor for productive infection. Conclusions These data provide the first evidence for transmission route-specific selection of HIV-1 variants, potentially informing therapeutic strategies and vaccine designs that can be tailored to specific modes of vertical HIV transmission. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-017-0331-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus-type 1 (HIV-1) poses a serious health threat in developing countries, and adequate interventions are as yet unrealized. HIV-1 infection is frequently initiated by a single founder viral variant, but the factors that influence particular variant selection are poorly understood. Results Our analysis of 647 full-length HIV-1 subtype C and G viral envelope sequences from 22 mother–infant pairs reveals unique genotypic and phenotypic signatures that depend upon transmission route. Relative to maternal strains, intrauterine HIV transmission selects infant variants that have shorter, less-glycosylated V1 loops that are more resistant to soluble CD4 (sCD4) neutralization. Transmission through breastfeeding selects for variants with fewer potential glycosylation sites in gp41, are more sensitive to the broadly neutralizing antibodies PG9 and PG16, and that bind sCD4 with reduced cooperativity. Furthermore, experiments with Affinofile cells indicate that infant viruses, regardless of transmission route, require increased levels of surface CD4 receptor for productive infection. Conclusions These data provide the first evidence for transmission route-specific selection of HIV-1 variants, potentially informing therapeutic strategies and vaccine designs that can be tailored to specific modes of vertical HIV transmission. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-017-0331-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Metagenomic based Surveillance of Pacific Coast tick Dermacentor occidentalis Identifies Two Novel Bunyaviruses and an Emerging Human Ricksettsial Pathogen
An increasing number of emerging tick-borne diseases has been reported in the United States since the 1970s. Using metagenomic next generation sequencing, we detected nucleic acid sequences from 2 novel viruses in the family Bunyaviridae and an emerging human rickettsial pathogen, Rickettsia philipii, in a population of the Pacific Coast tick, Dermacentor occidentalis in Mendocino County sampled annually from 2011 to 2014. A total of 250 adults of this human-biting, generalist tick were collected from contiguous chaparral and grassland habitats, and RNA from each individually extracted tick was deep sequenced to an average depth of 7.3 million reads. We detected a Francisella endosymbiont in 174 ticks (70%), and Rickettsia spp. in 19 ticks (8%); Rickettsia-infected ticks contained R. rhipicephali (16 of 250, 6.4%) or R. philipii (3 of 250,1.2%), the agent of eschar-associated febrile illness in humans. The genomes of 2 novel bunyaviruses (>99% complete) in the genera Nairovirus and Phlebovirus were also identified and found to be present in 20–91% of ticks, depending on the year of collection. The high prevalence of these bunyaviruses in sampled Dermacentor ticks suggests that they may be viral endosymbionts, although further studies are needed to determine whether they are infectious for vertebrate hosts, especially humans, and their potential role in tick ecology. An increasing number of emerging tick-borne diseases has been reported in the United States since the 1970s. Using metagenomic next generation sequencing, we detected nucleic acid sequences from 2 novel viruses in the family Bunyaviridae and an emerging human rickettsial pathogen, Rickettsia philipii, in a population of the Pacific Coast tick, Dermacentor occidentalis in Mendocino County sampled annually from 2011 to 2014. A total of 250 adults of this human-biting, generalist tick were collected from contiguous chaparral and grassland habitats, and RNA from each individually extracted tick was deep sequenced to an average depth of 7.3 million reads. We detected a Francisella endosymbiont in 174 ticks (70%), and Rickettsia spp. in 19 ticks (8%); Rickettsia-infected ticks contained R. rhipicephali (16 of 250, 6.4%) or R. philipii (3 of 250,1.2%), the agent of eschar-associated febrile illness in humans. The genomes of 2 novel bunyaviruses (>99% complete) in the genera Nairovirus and Phlebovirus were also identified and found to be present in 20–91% of ticks, depending on the year of collection. The high prevalence of these bunyaviruses in sampled Dermacentor ticks suggests that they may be viral endosymbionts, although further studies are needed to determine whether they are infectious for vertebrate hosts, especially humans, and their potential role in tick ecology.
A hybrid reference guided de novo assembly approach for generating Cyclospora mitochondrion genomes
Cyclospora cayetanensis is a coccidian parasite associated with large and complex foodborne outbreaks worldwide. Linking samples from cyclosporiasis patients during foodborne outbreaks with suspected contaminated food sources, using conventional epidemiological methods, has been a persistent challenge. To address this issue, development of new methods based on potential genomically-derived markers for strain-level identification has been a priority for the food safety research community. The absence of reference genomes to identify nucleotide and structural variants with a high degree of confidence has limited the application of using sequencing data for source tracking during outbreak investigations. In this work, we determined the quality of a high resolution, curated, public mitochondrial genome assembly to be used as a reference genome by applying bioinformatic analyses. Using this reference genome, three new mitochondrial genome assemblies were built starting with metagenomic reads generated by sequencing DNA extracted from oocysts present in stool samples from cyclosporiasis patients. Nucleotide variants were identified in the new and other publicly available genomes in comparison with the mitochondrial reference genome. A consolidated workflow, presented here, to generate new mitochondrion genomes using our reference-guided de novo assembly approach could be useful in facilitating the generation of other mitochondrion sequences, and in their application for subtyping C. cayetanensis strains during foodborne outbreak investigations. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a coccidian parasite associated with large and complex foodborne outbreaks worldwide. Linking samples from cyclosporiasis patients during foodborne outbreaks with suspected contaminated food sources, using conventional epidemiological methods, has been a persistent challenge. To address this issue, development of new methods based on potential genomically-derived markers for strain-level identification has been a priority for the food safety research community. The absence of reference genomes to identify nucleotide and structural variants with a high degree of confidence has limited the application of using sequencing data for source tracking during outbreak investigations. In this work, we determined the quality of a high resolution, curated, public mitochondrial genome assembly to be used as a reference genome by applying bioinformatic analyses. Using this reference genome, three new mitochondrial genome assemblies were built starting with metagenomic reads generated by sequencing DNA extracted from oocysts present in stool samples from cyclosporiasis patients. Nucleotide variants were identified in the new and other publicly available genomes in comparison with the mitochondrial reference genome. A consolidated workflow, presented here, to generate new mitochondrion genomes using our reference-guided de novo assembly approach could be useful in facilitating the generation of other mitochondrion sequences, and in their application for subtyping C. cayetanensis strains during foodborne outbreak investigations.
Anopheles salivary gland proteomes from major malaria vectors
Background Antibody responses against Anopheles salivary proteins can indicate individual exposure to bites of malaria vectors. The extent to which these salivary proteins are species-specific is not entirely resolved. Thus, a better knowledge of the diversity among salivary protein repertoires from various malaria vector species is necessary to select relevant genus-, subgenus- and/or species-specific salivary antigens. Such antigens could be used for quantitative (mosquito density) and qualitative (mosquito species) immunological evaluation of malaria vectors/host contact. In this study, salivary gland protein repertoires (sialomes) from several Anopheles species were compared using in silico analysis and proteomics. The antigenic diversity of salivary gland proteins among different Anopheles species was also examined. Results In silico analysis of secreted salivary gland protein sequences retrieved from an NCBInr database of six Anopheles species belonging to the Cellia subgenus (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. funestus) and Nyssorhynchus subgenus (An. albimanus and An. darlingi) displayed a higher degree of similarity compared to salivary proteins from closely related Anopheles species. Additionally, computational hierarchical clustering allowed identification of genus-, subgenus- and species-specific salivary proteins. Proteomic and immunoblot analyses performed on salivary gland extracts from four Anopheles species (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. albimanus) indicated that heterogeneity of the salivary proteome and antigenic proteins was lower among closely related anopheline species and increased with phylogenetic distance. Conclusion This is the first report on the diversity of the salivary protein repertoire among species from the Anopheles genus at the protein level. This work demonstrates that a molecular diversity is exhibited among salivary proteins from closely related species despite their common pharmacological activities. The involvement of these proteins as antigenic candidates for genus-, subgenus- or species-specific immunological evaluation of individual exposure to Anopheles bites is discussed. Background Antibody responses against Anopheles salivary proteins can indicate individual exposure to bites of malaria vectors. The extent to which these salivary proteins are species-specific is not entirely resolved. Thus, a better knowledge of the diversity among salivary protein repertoires from various malaria vector species is necessary to select relevant genus-, subgenus- and/or species-specific salivary antigens. Such antigens could be used for quantitative (mosquito density) and qualitative (mosquito species) immunological evaluation of malaria vectors/host contact. In this study, salivary gland protein repertoires (sialomes) from several Anopheles species were compared using in silico analysis and proteomics. The antigenic diversity of salivary gland proteins among different Anopheles species was also examined. Results In silico analysis of secreted salivary gland protein sequences retrieved from an NCBInr database of six Anopheles species belonging to the Cellia subgenus (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. funestus) and Nyssorhynchus subgenus (An. albimanus and An. darlingi) displayed a higher degree of similarity compared to salivary proteins from closely related Anopheles species. Additionally, computational hierarchical clustering allowed identification of genus-, subgenus- and species-specific salivary proteins. Proteomic and immunoblot analyses performed on salivary gland extracts from four Anopheles species (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. albimanus) indicated that heterogeneity of the salivary proteome and antigenic proteins was lower among closely related anopheline species and increased with phylogenetic distance. Conclusion This is the first report on the diversity of the salivary protein repertoire among species from the Anopheles genus at the protein level. This work demonstrates that a molecular diversity is exhibited among salivary proteins from closely related species despite their common pharmacological activities. The involvement of these proteins as antigenic candidates for genus-, subgenus- or species-specific immunological evaluation of individual exposure to Anopheles bites is discussed.
Birds and Viruses at a Crossroad Surveillance of Influenza A Virus in Portuguese Waterfowl
During recent years, extensive amounts of data have become available regarding influenza A virus (IAV) in wild birds in northern Europe, while information from southern Europe is more limited. Here, we present an IAV surveillance study conducted in western Portugal 2008–2009, analyzing 1653 samples from six different species of waterfowl, with the majority of samples taken from Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Overall 4.4% of sampled birds were infected. The sampling results revealed a significant temporal variation in the IAV prevalence, including a pronounced peak among predominantly young birds in June, indicating that IAV circulate within breeding populations in the wetlands of western Portugal. The H10N7 and H9N2 subtypes were predominant among isolated viruses. Phylogenetic analyses of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase sequences of H10N7, H9N2 and H11N3 virus showed that sequences from Portugal were closely related to viral sequences from Central Europe as well as to IAVs isolated in the southern parts of Africa, reflecting Portugal’s position on the European-African bird migratory flyway. This study highlights the importance of Portugal as a migratory crossroad for IAV, connecting breeding stationary waterfowl with birds migrating between continents which enable transmission and spread of IAV. During recent years, extensive amounts of data have become available regarding influenza A virus (IAV) in wild birds in northern Europe, while information from southern Europe is more limited. Here, we present an IAV surveillance study conducted in western Portugal 2008–2009, analyzing 1653 samples from six different species of waterfowl, with the majority of samples taken from Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Overall 4.4% of sampled birds were infected. The sampling results revealed a significant temporal variation in the IAV prevalence, including a pronounced peak among predominantly young birds in June, indicating that IAV circulate within breeding populations in the wetlands of western Portugal. The H10N7 and H9N2 subtypes were predominant among isolated viruses. Phylogenetic analyses of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase sequences of H10N7, H9N2 and H11N3 virus showed that sequences from Portugal were closely related to viral sequences from Central Europe as well as to IAVs isolated in the southern parts of Africa, reflecting Portugal’s position on the European-African bird migratory flyway. This study highlights the importance of Portugal as a migratory crossroad for IAV, connecting breeding stationary waterfowl with birds migrating between continents which enable transmission and spread of IAV.
Revision of Partulidae (Gastropoda, Stylommatophora) of Palau, with description of a new genus for an unusual ground dwelling species
Abstract We describe a new stylommatophoran land snail of the family Partulidae from Palau. The new species has a combination of morphological and ecological characters that do not allow its placement in any existing partulid genus, so we describe a new genus for it. The new genus is characterized by a large (18–23 mm) obese-pupoid shell; smooth protoconch; teleoconch with weak and inconsistent, progressively stronger, striae; last half of body whorl not extending beyond the penultimate whorl; widely expanded and reflexed peristome; relatively long penis, with longitudinal pilasters that fuse apically into a fleshy ridge that divides the main chamber from a small apical chamber; and vas deferens entering and penial-retractor muscle attaching at the apex of the penis. Unlike all other partulids, the new species is strictly associated with rocks in contact with the ground. Comparing the other three Palauan species – currently assigned to Partula – to our new genus and to other partulids makes it clear that they require their own genus because their morphology is quite different from that of true Partula and from that of all other genera. Hence, we resurrect the name Palaopartula Pilsbry for these snails. Abstract We describe a new stylommatophoran land snail of the family Partulidae from Palau. The new species has a combination of morphological and ecological characters that do not allow its placement in any existing partulid genus, so we describe a new genus for it. The new genus is characterized by a large (18–23 mm) obese-pupoid shell; smooth protoconch; teleoconch with weak and inconsistent, progressively stronger, striae; last half of body whorl not extending beyond the penultimate whorl; widely expanded and reflexed peristome; relatively long penis, with longitudinal pilasters that fuse apically into a fleshy ridge that divides the main chamber from a small apical chamber; and vas deferens entering and penial-retractor muscle attaching at the apex of the penis. Unlike all other partulids, the new species is strictly associated with rocks in contact with the ground. Comparing the other three Palauan species – currently assigned to Partula – to our new genus and to other partulids makes it clear that they require their own genus because their morphology is quite different from that of true Partula and from that of all other genera. Hence, we resurrect the name Palaopartula Pilsbry for these snails.
Detection and whole genome sequence analysis of an enterovirus 68 cluster
Background Enteroviruses are a common cause of human disease and are associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. Enterovirus 68 is rarely detected yet was reported in many countries in 2010. Here enterovirus 68 was identified for the first time in New Zealand in 2010 and was detected in a further fourteen specimens over a six month period. Objectives To genetically characterise enterovirus 68 specimens identified in New Zealand in 2010. Study design The genome sequence of a New Zealand representative enterovirus 68 isolate was obtained. Ten clinical specimens were analysed by sequencing the VP1 region of the enterovirus 68 genome. Results Based on sequence analysis of the VP1 region and the full genome of one representative isolate, the New Zealand enterovirus 68 isolates clustered with contemporary enterovirus 68 viruses and do not show any clear distinguishing genetic diversity when compared to other strains. All fifteen specimens showed high similarity with enterovirus 68 by VP1 sequencing. The majority of New Zealand patients suffered from bronchiolitis, were less than two years of age and were of Pacific Island or Maori descent. Conclusions We document the rare occurrence of an enterovirus 68 cluster in New Zealand in 2010. These viruses shared similarity with other clusters of enterovirus 68 that occurred globally in 2010. A greater awareness in enterovirus 68 infection may help detect this virus with increased frequency and enable us to better understand the role this strain plays in disease and the reasons behind this global emergence in 2010. Background Enteroviruses are a common cause of human disease and are associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations. Enterovirus 68 is rarely detected yet was reported in many countries in 2010. Here enterovirus 68 was identified for the first time in New Zealand in 2010 and was detected in a further fourteen specimens over a six month period. Objectives To genetically characterise enterovirus 68 specimens identified in New Zealand in 2010. Study design The genome sequence of a New Zealand representative enterovirus 68 isolate was obtained. Ten clinical specimens were analysed by sequencing the VP1 region of the enterovirus 68 genome. Results Based on sequence analysis of the VP1 region and the full genome of one representative isolate, the New Zealand enterovirus 68 isolates clustered with contemporary enterovirus 68 viruses and do not show any clear distinguishing genetic diversity when compared to other strains. All fifteen specimens showed high similarity with enterovirus 68 by VP1 sequencing. The majority of New Zealand patients suffered from bronchiolitis, were less than two years of age and were of Pacific Island or Maori descent. Conclusions We document the rare occurrence of an enterovirus 68 cluster in New Zealand in 2010. These viruses shared similarity with other clusters of enterovirus 68 that occurred globally in 2010. A greater awareness in enterovirus 68 infection may help detect this virus with increased frequency and enable us to better understand the role this strain plays in disease and the reasons behind this global emergence in 2010.
Multivalent Chromosomal Expression of the Clostridium botulinum Serotype A Neurotoxin Heavy Chain Antigen and the Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen in Lactobacillus acidophilus
ABSTRACT Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent toxins that cause severe disease in humans. New and improved vaccines are needed for both of these pathogens. For mucosal vaccine delivery using lactic acid bacteria, chromosomal expression of antigens is preferred over plasmid-based expression systems, as chromosomal expression circumvents plasmid instability and the need for antibiotic pressure. In this study, we constructed three strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM expressing from the chromosome (i) the nontoxic host receptor-binding domain of the heavy chain of Clostridium botulinum serotype A neurotoxin (BoNT/A-Hc), (ii) the anthrax protective antigen (PA), and (iii) both the BoNT/A-Hc and the PA. The BoNT/A-Hc vaccine cassette was engineered to contain the signal peptide from the S-layer protein A from L. acidophilus and a dendritic-cell-targeting peptide. A chromosomal region downstream of lba0889 carrying a highly expressed enolase gene was selected for insertion of the vaccine cassettes. Western blot analysis confirmed the heterologous expression of the two antigens from plasmid and chromosome locations. Stability assays demonstrated loss of the vaccine cassettes from expression plasmids without antibiotic maintenance. RNA sequencing showed high expression of each antigen and that insertion of the vaccine cassettes had little to no effect on the transcription of other genes in the chromosome. This study demonstrated that chromosomal integrative recombinant strains are promising vaccine delivery vehicles when targeted into high-expression chromosomal regions. Levels of expression match high-copy-number plasmids and eliminate the requirement for antibiotic selective maintenance of recombinant plasmids. IMPORTANCE Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent neurotoxins that pose a biochemical warfare concern; therefore, effective vaccines against these bacteria are required. Chromosomal expression of antigens is preferred over plasmid-based expression systems since expressing antigens from a chromosomal location confers an advantage to the vaccine strains by eliminating the antibiotic maintenance required for plasmids and negates issues with plasmid instability that would result in loss of the antigen. Lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, have shown potential for mucosal vaccine delivery, as L. acidophilus is bile and acid tolerant, allowing transit through the gastrointestinal tract where cells interact with host epithelial and immune cells, including dendritic cells. In this study, we successfully expressed C. botulinum and B. anthracis antigens in the probiotic L. acidophilus strain NCFM. Both antigens were highly expressed individually or in tandem from the chromosome of L. acidophilus. ABSTRACT Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent toxins that cause severe disease in humans. New and improved vaccines are needed for both of these pathogens. For mucosal vaccine delivery using lactic acid bacteria, chromosomal expression of antigens is preferred over plasmid-based expression systems, as chromosomal expression circumvents plasmid instability and the need for antibiotic pressure. In this study, we constructed three strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM expressing from the chromosome (i) the nontoxic host receptor-binding domain of the heavy chain of Clostridium botulinum serotype A neurotoxin (BoNT/A-Hc), (ii) the anthrax protective antigen (PA), and (iii) both the BoNT/A-Hc and the PA. The BoNT/A-Hc vaccine cassette was engineered to contain the signal peptide from the S-layer protein A from L. acidophilus and a dendritic-cell-targeting peptide. A chromosomal region downstream of lba0889 carrying a highly expressed enolase gene was selected for insertion of the vaccine cassettes. Western blot analysis confirmed the heterologous expression of the two antigens from plasmid and chromosome locations. Stability assays demonstrated loss of the vaccine cassettes from expression plasmids without antibiotic maintenance. RNA sequencing showed high expression of each antigen and that insertion of the vaccine cassettes had little to no effect on the transcription of other genes in the chromosome. This study demonstrated that chromosomal integrative recombinant strains are promising vaccine delivery vehicles when targeted into high-expression chromosomal regions. Levels of expression match high-copy-number plasmids and eliminate the requirement for antibiotic selective maintenance of recombinant plasmids. IMPORTANCE Clostridium botulinum and Bacillus anthracis produce potent neurotoxins that pose a biochemical warfare concern; therefore, effective vaccines against these bacteria are required. Chromosomal expression of antigens is preferred over plasmid-based expression systems since expressing antigens from a chromosomal location confers an advantage to the vaccine strains by eliminating the antibiotic maintenance required for plasmids and negates issues with plasmid instability that would result in loss of the antigen. Lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, have shown potential for mucosal vaccine delivery, as L. acidophilus is bile and acid tolerant, allowing transit through the gastrointestinal tract where cells interact with host epithelial and immune cells, including dendritic cells. In this study, we successfully expressed C. botulinum and B. anthracis antigens in the probiotic L. acidophilus strain NCFM. Both antigens were highly expressed individually or in tandem from the chromosome of L. acidophilus.
A diverse intrinsic antibiotic resistome from a cave bacterium
Antibiotic resistance is common in environmental bacteria, including those living in isolated caves. Here, Pawlowski et al. study one of these bacterial strains, showing that it is resistant to most clinically used antibiotics through a remarkable variety of mechanisms, some of which are new to science. Antibiotic resistance is common in environmental bacteria, including those living in isolated caves. Here, Pawlowski et al. study one of these bacterial strains, showing that it is resistant to most clinically used antibiotics through a remarkable variety of mechanisms, some of which are new to science.Antibiotic resistance is ancient and widespread in environmental bacteria. These are therefore reservoirs of resistance elements and reflective of the natural history of antibiotics and resistance. In a previous study, we discovered that multi-drug resistance is common in bacteria isolated from Lechuguilla Cave, an underground ecosystem that has been isolated from the surface for over 4 Myr. Here we use whole-genome sequencing, functional genomics and biochemical assays to reveal the intrinsic resistome of Paenibacillus sp. LC231, a cave bacterial isolate that is resistant to most clinically used antibiotics. We systematically link resistance phenotype to genotype and in doing so, identify 18 chromosomal resistance elements, including five determinants without characterized homologues and three mechanisms not previously shown to be involved in antibiotic resistance. A resistome comparison across related surface Paenibacillus affirms the conservation of resistance over millions of years and establishes the longevity of these genes in this genus. Antibiotic resistance is ancient and widespread in environmental bacteria. These are therefore reservoirs of resistance elements and reflective of the natural history of antibiotics and resistance. In a previous study, we discovered that multi-drug resistance is common in bacteria isolated from Lechuguilla Cave, an underground ecosystem that has been isolated from the surface for over 4 Myr. Here we use whole-genome sequencing, functional genomics and biochemical assays to reveal the intrinsic resistome of Paenibacillus sp. LC231, a cave bacterial isolate that is resistant to most clinically used antibiotics. We systematically link resistance phenotype to genotype and in doing so, identify 18 chromosomal resistance elements, including five determinants without characterized homologues and three mechanisms not previously shown to be involved in antibiotic resistance. A resistome comparison across related surface Paenibacillus affirms the conservation of resistance over millions of years and establishes the longevity of these genes in this genus.
Simple SNP based minimal marker genotyping for Humulus lupulus L. identification and variety validation
Background Hop is an economically important crop for the Pacific Northwest USA as well as other regions of the world. It is a perennial crop with rhizomatous or clonal propagation system for varietal distribution. A big concern for growers as well as brewers is variety purity and questions are regularly posed to public agencies concerning the availability of genotype testing. Current means for genotyping are based upon 25 microsatellites that provides relatively accurate genotyping but cannot always differentiate sister-lines. In addition, numerous PCR runs (25) are required to complete this process and only a few laboratories exist that perform this service. A genotyping protocol based upon SNPs would enable rapid accurate genotyping that can be assayed at any laboratory facility set up for SNP-based genotyping. The results of this study arose from a larger project designed for whole genome association studies upon the USDA-ARS hop germplasm collection consisting of approximately 116 distinct hop varieties and germplasm (female lines) from around the world. Results The original dataset that arose from partial sequencing of 121 genotypes resulted in the identification of 374,829 SNPs using TASSEL-UNEAK pipeline. After filtering out genotypes with more than 50 % missing data (5 genotypes) and SNP markers with more than 20 % missing data, 32,206 highly filtered SNP markers across 116 genotypes were identified and considered for this study. Minor allele frequency (MAF) was calculated for each SNP and ranked according to the most informative to least informative. Only those markers without missing data across genotypes as well as 60 % or less heterozygous gamete calls were considered for further analysis. Genetic distances among individuals in the study were calculated using the marker with the highest MAF value, then by using a combination of the two markers with highest MAF values and so on. This process was reiterated until a set of markers was identified that allowed for all genotypes in the study to be genetically differentiated from each other. Next, we compared genetic matrices calculated from the minimal marker sets [(Table 2; 6-, 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-marker set matrices] and that of a matrix calculated from a set of markers with no missing data across all 116 samples (1006 SNP markers). The minimum number of markers required to meet both specifications was a set of 7-markers (Table 3). These seven SNPs were then aligned with a genome assembly, and DNA sequence both upstream and downstream were used to identify primer sequences that can be used to develop seven amplicons for high resolution melting curve PCR detection or other SNP-based PCR detection methods. Conclusions This study identifies a set of 7 SNP markers that may prove useful for the identification and validation of hop varieties and accessions. Variety validation of unknown samples assumes that the variety under question has been included a priori in a discovery panel. These results are based upon in silica studies and markers need to be validated using different SNP marker technology upon a differential set of hop genotypes. The marker sequence data and suggested primer sets provide potential means to fingerprint hop varieties in most genetic laboratories utilizing SNP-marker technology. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1492-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Hop is an economically important crop for the Pacific Northwest USA as well as other regions of the world. It is a perennial crop with rhizomatous or clonal propagation system for varietal distribution. A big concern for growers as well as brewers is variety purity and questions are regularly posed to public agencies concerning the availability of genotype testing. Current means for genotyping are based upon 25 microsatellites that provides relatively accurate genotyping but cannot always differentiate sister-lines. In addition, numerous PCR runs (25) are required to complete this process and only a few laboratories exist that perform this service. A genotyping protocol based upon SNPs would enable rapid accurate genotyping that can be assayed at any laboratory facility set up for SNP-based genotyping. The results of this study arose from a larger project designed for whole genome association studies upon the USDA-ARS hop germplasm collection consisting of approximately 116 distinct hop varieties and germplasm (female lines) from around the world. Results The original dataset that arose from partial sequencing of 121 genotypes resulted in the identification of 374,829 SNPs using TASSEL-UNEAK pipeline. After filtering out genotypes with more than 50 % missing data (5 genotypes) and SNP markers with more than 20 % missing data, 32,206 highly filtered SNP markers across 116 genotypes were identified and considered for this study. Minor allele frequency (MAF) was calculated for each SNP and ranked according to the most informative to least informative. Only those markers without missing data across genotypes as well as 60 % or less heterozygous gamete calls were considered for further analysis. Genetic distances among individuals in the study were calculated using the marker with the highest MAF value, then by using a combination of the two markers with highest MAF values and so on. This process was reiterated until a set of markers was identified that allowed for all genotypes in the study to be genetically differentiated from each other. Next, we compared genetic matrices calculated from the minimal marker sets [(Table 2; 6-, 7-, 8-, 10- and 12-marker set matrices] and that of a matrix calculated from a set of markers with no missing data across all 116 samples (1006 SNP markers). The minimum number of markers required to meet both specifications was a set of 7-markers (Table 3). These seven SNPs were then aligned with a genome assembly, and DNA sequence both upstream and downstream were used to identify primer sequences that can be used to develop seven amplicons for high resolution melting curve PCR detection or other SNP-based PCR detection methods. Conclusions This study identifies a set of 7 SNP markers that may prove useful for the identification and validation of hop varieties and accessions. Variety validation of unknown samples assumes that the variety under question has been included a priori in a discovery panel. These results are based upon in silica studies and markers need to be validated using different SNP marker technology upon a differential set of hop genotypes. The marker sequence data and suggested primer sets provide potential means to fingerprint hop varieties in most genetic laboratories utilizing SNP-marker technology. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1492-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Uncovering the Repertoire of Endogenous Flaviviral Elements in Aedes Mosquito Genomes
ABSTRACT Endogenous viral elements derived from nonretroviral RNA viruses have been described in various animal genomes. Whether they have a biological function, such as host immune protection against related viruses, is a field of intense study. Here, we investigated the repertoire of endogenous flaviviral elements (EFVEs) in Aedes mosquitoes, the vectors of arboviruses such as dengue and chikungunya viruses. Previous studies identified three EFVEs from Aedes albopictus cell lines and one from Aedes aegypti cell lines. However, an in-depth characterization of EFVEs in wild-type mosquito populations and individual mosquitoes in vivo has not been performed. We detected the full-length DNA sequence of the previously described EFVEs and their respective transcripts in several A. albopictus and A. aegypti populations from geographically distinct areas. However, EFVE-derived proteins were not detected by mass spectrometry. Using deep sequencing, we detected the production of PIWI-interacting RNA-like small RNAs, in an antisense orientation, targeting the EFVEs and their flanking regions in vivo. The EFVEs were integrated in repetitive regions of the mosquito genomes, and their flanking sequences varied among mosquito populations. We bioinformatically predicted several new EFVEs from a Vietnamese A. albopictus population and observed variation in the occurrence of those elements among mosquitoes. Phylogenetic analysis of an A. aegypti EFVE suggested that it integrated prior to the global expansion of the species and subsequently diverged among and within populations. The findings of this study together reveal the substantial structural and nucleotide diversity of flaviviral integrations in Aedes genomes. Unraveling this diversity will help to elucidate the potential biological function of these EFVEs. IMPORTANCE Endogenous viral elements (EVEs) are whole or partial viral sequences integrated in host genomes. Interestingly, some EVEs have important functions for host fitness and antiviral defense. Because mosquitoes also have EVEs in their genomes, characterizing these EVEs is a prerequisite for their potential use to manipulate the mosquito antiviral response. In the study described here, we focused on EVEs related to the Flavivirus genus, to which dengue and Zika viruses belong, in individual Aedes mosquitoes from geographically distinct areas. We show the existence in vivo of flaviviral EVEs previously identified in mosquito cell lines, and we detected new ones. We show that EVEs have evolved differently in each mosquito population. They produce transcripts and small RNAs but not proteins, suggesting a function at the RNA level. Our study uncovers the diverse repertoire of flaviviral EVEs in Aedes mosquito populations and contributes to an understanding of their role in the host antiviral system. ABSTRACT Endogenous viral elements derived from nonretroviral RNA viruses have been described in various animal genomes. Whether they have a biological function, such as host immune protection against related viruses, is a field of intense study. Here, we investigated the repertoire of endogenous flaviviral elements (EFVEs) in Aedes mosquitoes, the vectors of arboviruses such as dengue and chikungunya viruses. Previous studies identified three EFVEs from Aedes albopictus cell lines and one from Aedes aegypti cell lines. However, an in-depth characterization of EFVEs in wild-type mosquito populations and individual mosquitoes in vivo has not been performed. We detected the full-length DNA sequence of the previously described EFVEs and their respective transcripts in several A. albopictus and A. aegypti populations from geographically distinct areas. However, EFVE-derived proteins were not detected by mass spectrometry. Using deep sequencing, we detected the production of PIWI-interacting RNA-like small RNAs, in an antisense orientation, targeting the EFVEs and their flanking regions in vivo. The EFVEs were integrated in repetitive regions of the mosquito genomes, and their flanking sequences varied among mosquito populations. We bioinformatically predicted several new EFVEs from a Vietnamese A. albopictus population and observed variation in the occurrence of those elements among mosquitoes. Phylogenetic analysis of an A. aegypti EFVE suggested that it integrated prior to the global expansion of the species and subsequently diverged among and within populations. The findings of this study together reveal the substantial structural and nucleotide diversity of flaviviral integrations in Aedes genomes. Unraveling this diversity will help to elucidate the potential biological function of these EFVEs. IMPORTANCE Endogenous viral elements (EVEs) are whole or partial viral sequences integrated in host genomes. Interestingly, some EVEs have important functions for host fitness and antiviral defense. Because mosquitoes also have EVEs in their genomes, characterizing these EVEs is a prerequisite for their potential use to manipulate the mosquito antiviral response. In the study described here, we focused on EVEs related to the Flavivirus genus, to which dengue and Zika viruses belong, in individual Aedes mosquitoes from geographically distinct areas. We show the existence in vivo of flaviviral EVEs previously identified in mosquito cell lines, and we detected new ones. We show that EVEs have evolved differently in each mosquito population. They produce transcripts and small RNAs but not proteins, suggesting a function at the RNA level. Our study uncovers the diverse repertoire of flaviviral EVEs in Aedes mosquito populations and contributes to an understanding of their role in the host antiviral system.
Gut bacteria are rarely shared by co hospitalized premature infants, regardless of necrotizing enterocolitis development
eLife digest The spread of potentially harmful bacteria is a major source of disease in patients staying in hospitals. Premature babies—born before 37 weeks of pregnancy—can be particularly vulnerable to these infections because their organs may not yet be fully developed. Also, young babies do not have the fully established populations of beneficial microbes that help to protect us from dangerous bacteria. Necrotizing enterocolitis—a life-threatening disease that can cause portions of the bowel to die—is mostly seen in extremely premature babies. Although it is not known what causes this serious condition, research has suggested that a contagious microbe may be responsible. The development of methods that can sequence DNA from whole communities of microbes, known as metagenomics, allows researchers to identify the presence of individual strains of bacteria within these communities. This makes it possible to compare and contrast the strains of bacteria present in both diseased and healthy individuals, to help identify the bacteria responsible for a disease. Here, Raveh-Sadka et al. used a metagenomics approach to study the communities of microbes present in premature babies in a hospital unit during an outbreak of necrotizing enterocolitis. The study found that very few bacterial strains were present in more than one baby, suggesting that bacterial strains are not readily transferred between the babies while they are in the hospital. Furthermore, Raveh-Sadka et al. reveal that no single bacterial strain was shared among all the babies who developed necrotizing enterocolitis. These findings indicate that necrotizing enterocolitis is not caused by a single strain of bacterium. Instead, if bacteria do contribute to the disease, it maybe that it is caused by a variety of potentially harmful bacteria colonizing the gut at the cost of beneficial bacteria. In future, better understanding of the barriers that limit the transfer of bacteria between premature babies could help inform efforts to reduce the spread of infections between patients in hospitals. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05477.002 eLife digest The spread of potentially harmful bacteria is a major source of disease in patients staying in hospitals. Premature babies—born before 37 weeks of pregnancy—can be particularly vulnerable to these infections because their organs may not yet be fully developed. Also, young babies do not have the fully established populations of beneficial microbes that help to protect us from dangerous bacteria. Necrotizing enterocolitis—a life-threatening disease that can cause portions of the bowel to die—is mostly seen in extremely premature babies. Although it is not known what causes this serious condition, research has suggested that a contagious microbe may be responsible. The development of methods that can sequence DNA from whole communities of microbes, known as metagenomics, allows researchers to identify the presence of individual strains of bacteria within these communities. This makes it possible to compare and contrast the strains of bacteria present in both diseased and healthy individuals, to help identify the bacteria responsible for a disease. Here, Raveh-Sadka et al. used a metagenomics approach to study the communities of microbes present in premature babies in a hospital unit during an outbreak of necrotizing enterocolitis. The study found that very few bacterial strains were present in more than one baby, suggesting that bacterial strains are not readily transferred between the babies while they are in the hospital. Furthermore, Raveh-Sadka et al. reveal that no single bacterial strain was shared among all the babies who developed necrotizing enterocolitis. These findings indicate that necrotizing enterocolitis is not caused by a single strain of bacterium. Instead, if bacteria do contribute to the disease, it maybe that it is caused by a variety of potentially harmful bacteria colonizing the gut at the cost of beneficial bacteria. In future, better understanding of the barriers that limit the transfer of bacteria between premature babies could help inform efforts to reduce the spread of infections between patients in hospitals. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05477.002Premature infants are highly vulnerable to aberrant gastrointestinal tract colonization, a process that may lead to diseases like necrotizing enterocolitis. Thus, spread of potential pathogens among hospitalized infants is of great concern. Here, we reconstructed hundreds of high-quality genomes of microorganisms that colonized co-hospitalized premature infants, assessed their metabolic potential, and tracked them over time to evaluate bacterial strain dispersal among infants. We compared microbial communities in infants who did and did not develop necrotizing enterocolitis. Surprisingly, while potentially pathogenic bacteria of the same species colonized many infants, our genome-resolved analysis revealed that strains colonizing each baby were typically distinct. In particular, no strain was common to all infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis. The paucity of shared gut colonizers suggests the existence of significant barriers to the spread of bacteria among infants. Importantly, we demonstrate that strain-resolved comprehensive community analysis can be accomplished on potentially medically relevant time scales. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05477.001 Premature infants are highly vulnerable to aberrant gastrointestinal tract colonization, a process that may lead to diseases like necrotizing enterocolitis. Thus, spread of potential pathogens among hospitalized infants is of great concern. Here, we reconstructed hundreds of high-quality genomes of microorganisms that colonized co-hospitalized premature infants, assessed their metabolic potential, and tracked them over time to evaluate bacterial strain dispersal among infants. We compared microbial communities in infants who did and did not develop necrotizing enterocolitis. Surprisingly, while potentially pathogenic bacteria of the same species colonized many infants, our genome-resolved analysis revealed that strains colonizing each baby were typically distinct. In particular, no strain was common to all infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis. The paucity of shared gut colonizers suggests the existence of significant barriers to the spread of bacteria among infants. Importantly, we demonstrate that strain-resolved comprehensive community analysis can be accomplished on potentially medically relevant time scales. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.05477.001
The Draft Assembly of the Radically Organized Stylonychia lemnae Macronuclear Genome
Stylonychia lemnae is a classical model single-celled eukaryote, and a quintessential ciliate typified by dimorphic nuclei: A small, germline micronucleus and a massive, vegetative macronucleus. The genome within Stylonychia’s macronucleus has a very unusual architecture, comprised variably and highly amplified “nanochromosomes,” each usually encoding a single gene with a minimal amount of surrounding noncoding DNA. As only a tiny fraction of the Stylonychia genes has been sequenced, and to promote research using this organism, we sequenced its macronuclear genome. We report the analysis of the 50.2-Mb draft S. lemnae macronuclear genome assembly, containing in excess of 16,000 complete nanochromosomes, assembled as less than 20,000 contigs. We found considerable conservation of fundamental genomic properties between S. lemnae and its close relative, Oxytricha trifallax, including nanochromosomal gene synteny, alternative fragmentation, and copy number. Protein domain searches in Stylonychia revealed two new telomere-binding protein homologs and the presence of linker histones. Among the diverse histone variants of S. lemnae and O. trifallax, we found divergent, coexpressed variants corresponding to four of the five core nucleosomal proteins (H1.2, H2A.6, H2B.4, and H3.7) suggesting that these ciliates may possess specialized nucleosomes involved in genome processing during nuclear differentiation. The assembly of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome demonstrates that largely complete, well-assembled highly fragmented genomes of similar size and complexity may be produced from one library and lane of Illumina HiSeq 2000 shotgun sequencing. The provision of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome sets the stage for future detailed experimental studies of chromatin-mediated, RNA-guided developmental genome rearrangements. Stylonychia lemnae is a classical model single-celled eukaryote, and a quintessential ciliate typified by dimorphic nuclei: A small, germline micronucleus and a massive, vegetative macronucleus. The genome within Stylonychia’s macronucleus has a very unusual architecture, comprised variably and highly amplified “nanochromosomes,” each usually encoding a single gene with a minimal amount of surrounding noncoding DNA. As only a tiny fraction of the Stylonychia genes has been sequenced, and to promote research using this organism, we sequenced its macronuclear genome. We report the analysis of the 50.2-Mb draft S. lemnae macronuclear genome assembly, containing in excess of 16,000 complete nanochromosomes, assembled as less than 20,000 contigs. We found considerable conservation of fundamental genomic properties between S. lemnae and its close relative, Oxytricha trifallax, including nanochromosomal gene synteny, alternative fragmentation, and copy number. Protein domain searches in Stylonychia revealed two new telomere-binding protein homologs and the presence of linker histones. Among the diverse histone variants of S. lemnae and O. trifallax, we found divergent, coexpressed variants corresponding to four of the five core nucleosomal proteins (H1.2, H2A.6, H2B.4, and H3.7) suggesting that these ciliates may possess specialized nucleosomes involved in genome processing during nuclear differentiation. The assembly of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome demonstrates that largely complete, well-assembled highly fragmented genomes of similar size and complexity may be produced from one library and lane of Illumina HiSeq 2000 shotgun sequencing. The provision of the S. lemnae macronuclear genome sets the stage for future detailed experimental studies of chromatin-mediated, RNA-guided developmental genome rearrangements.
Cool habitats support darker and bigger butterflies in Australian tropical forests
Abstract Morphology mediates the relationship between an organism's body temperature and its environment. Dark organisms, for example, tend to absorb heat more quickly than lighter individuals, which could influence their responses to temperature. Therefore, temperature‐related traits such as morphology may affect patterns of species abundance, richness, and community assembly across a broad range of spatial scales. In this study, we examined variation in color lightness and body size within butterfly communities across hot and cool habitats in the tropical woodland–rainforest ecosystems of northeast Queensland, Australia. Using thermal imaging, we documented the absorption of solar radiation relative to color lightness and wingspan and then built a phylogenetic tree based on available sequences to analyze the effects of habitat on these traits within a phylogenetic framework. In general, darker and larger individuals were more prevalent in cool, closed‐canopy rainforests than in immediately adjacent and hotter open woodlands. In addition, darker and larger butterflies preferred to be active in the shade and during crepuscular hours, while lighter and smaller butterflies were more active in the sun and midday hours—a pattern that held after correcting for phylogeny. Our ex situ experiment supported field observations that dark and large butterflies heated up faster than light and small butterflies under standardized environmental conditions. Our results show a thermal consequence of butterfly morphology across habitats and how environmental factors at a microhabitat scale may affect the distribution of species based on these traits. Furthermore, this study highlights how butterfly species might differentially respond to warming based on ecophysiological traits and how thermal refuges might emerge at microclimatic and habitat scales. Abstract Morphology mediates the relationship between an organism's body temperature and its environment. Dark organisms, for example, tend to absorb heat more quickly than lighter individuals, which could influence their responses to temperature. Therefore, temperature‐related traits such as morphology may affect patterns of species abundance, richness, and community assembly across a broad range of spatial scales. In this study, we examined variation in color lightness and body size within butterfly communities across hot and cool habitats in the tropical woodland–rainforest ecosystems of northeast Queensland, Australia. Using thermal imaging, we documented the absorption of solar radiation relative to color lightness and wingspan and then built a phylogenetic tree based on available sequences to analyze the effects of habitat on these traits within a phylogenetic framework. In general, darker and larger individuals were more prevalent in cool, closed‐canopy rainforests than in immediately adjacent and hotter open woodlands. In addition, darker and larger butterflies preferred to be active in the shade and during crepuscular hours, while lighter and smaller butterflies were more active in the sun and midday hours—a pattern that held after correcting for phylogeny. Our ex situ experiment supported field observations that dark and large butterflies heated up faster than light and small butterflies under standardized environmental conditions. Our results show a thermal consequence of butterfly morphology across habitats and how environmental factors at a microhabitat scale may affect the distribution of species based on these traits. Furthermore, this study highlights how butterfly species might differentially respond to warming based on ecophysiological traits and how thermal refuges might emerge at microclimatic and habitat scales.
DNA Metabarcoding of Amazonian Ichthyoplankton Swarms
Tropical rainforests harbor extraordinary biodiversity. The Amazon basin is thought to hold 30% of all river fish species in the world. Information about the ecology, reproduction, and recruitment of most species is still lacking, thus hampering fisheries management and successful conservation strategies. One of the key understudied issues in the study of population dynamics is recruitment. Fish larval ecology in tropical biomes is still in its infancy owing to identification difficulties. Molecular techniques are very promising tools for the identification of larvae at the species level. However, one of their limits is obtaining individual sequences with large samples of larvae. To facilitate this task, we developed a new method based on the massive parallel sequencing capability of next generation sequencing (NGS) coupled with hybridization capture. We focused on the mitochondrial marker cytochrome oxidase I (COI). The results obtained using the new method were compared with individual larval sequencing. We validated the ability of the method to identify Amazonian catfish larvae at the species level and to estimate the relative abundance of species in batches of larvae. Finally, we applied the method and provided evidence for strong temporal variation in reproductive activity of catfish species in the Ucayalí River in the Peruvian Amazon. This new time and cost effective method enables the acquisition of large datasets, paving the way for a finer understanding of reproductive dynamics and recruitment patterns of tropical fish species, with major implications for fisheries management and conservation. Tropical rainforests harbor extraordinary biodiversity. The Amazon basin is thought to hold 30% of all river fish species in the world. Information about the ecology, reproduction, and recruitment of most species is still lacking, thus hampering fisheries management and successful conservation strategies. One of the key understudied issues in the study of population dynamics is recruitment. Fish larval ecology in tropical biomes is still in its infancy owing to identification difficulties. Molecular techniques are very promising tools for the identification of larvae at the species level. However, one of their limits is obtaining individual sequences with large samples of larvae. To facilitate this task, we developed a new method based on the massive parallel sequencing capability of next generation sequencing (NGS) coupled with hybridization capture. We focused on the mitochondrial marker cytochrome oxidase I (COI). The results obtained using the new method were compared with individual larval sequencing. We validated the ability of the method to identify Amazonian catfish larvae at the species level and to estimate the relative abundance of species in batches of larvae. Finally, we applied the method and provided evidence for strong temporal variation in reproductive activity of catfish species in the Ucayalí River in the Peruvian Amazon. This new time and cost effective method enables the acquisition of large datasets, paving the way for a finer understanding of reproductive dynamics and recruitment patterns of tropical fish species, with major implications for fisheries management and conservation.
Conservation of a pH sensitive structure in the C terminal region of spider silk extends across the entire silk gene family
Spiders produce multiple silks with different physical properties that allow them to occupy a diverse range of ecological niches, including the underwater environment. Despite this functional diversity, past molecular analyses show a high degree of amino acid sequence similarity between C-terminal regions of silk genes that appear to be independent of the physical properties of the resulting silks; instead, this domain is crucial to the formation of silk fibers. Here, we present an analysis of the C-terminal domain of all known types of spider silk and include silk sequences from the spider Argyroneta aquatica, which spins the majority of its silk underwater. Our work indicates that spiders have retained a highly conserved mechanism of silk assembly, despite the extraordinary diversification of species, silk types and applications of silk over 350 million years. Sequence analysis of the silk C-terminal domain across the entire gene family shows the conservation of two uncommon amino acids that are implicated in the formation of a salt bridge, a functional bond essential to protein assembly. This conservation extends to the novel sequences isolated from A. aquatica. This finding is relevant to research regarding the artificial synthesis of spider silk, suggesting that synthesis of all silk types will be possible using a single process. Spiders produce multiple silks with different physical properties that allow them to occupy a diverse range of ecological niches, including the underwater environment. Despite this functional diversity, past molecular analyses show a high degree of amino acid sequence similarity between C-terminal regions of silk genes that appear to be independent of the physical properties of the resulting silks; instead, this domain is crucial to the formation of silk fibers. Here, we present an analysis of the C-terminal domain of all known types of spider silk and include silk sequences from the spider Argyroneta aquatica, which spins the majority of its silk underwater. Our work indicates that spiders have retained a highly conserved mechanism of silk assembly, despite the extraordinary diversification of species, silk types and applications of silk over 350 million years. Sequence analysis of the silk C-terminal domain across the entire gene family shows the conservation of two uncommon amino acids that are implicated in the formation of a salt bridge, a functional bond essential to protein assembly. This conservation extends to the novel sequences isolated from A. aquatica. This finding is relevant to research regarding the artificial synthesis of spider silk, suggesting that synthesis of all silk types will be possible using a single process.
The zebrafish genome encodes the largest vertebrate repertoire of functional aquaporins with dual paralogy and substrate specificities similar to mammals
Background Aquaporins are integral membrane proteins that facilitate the transport of water and small solutes across cell membranes. These proteins are vital for maintaining water homeostasis in living organisms. In mammals, thirteen aquaporins (AQP0-12) have been characterized, but in lower vertebrates, such as fish, the diversity, structure and substrate specificity of these membrane channel proteins are largely unknown. Results The screening and isolation of transcripts from the zebrafish (Danio rerio) genome revealed eighteen sequences structurally related to the four subfamilies of tetrapod aquaporins, i.e., aquaporins (AQP0, -1 and -4), water and glycerol transporters or aquaglyceroporins (Glps; AQP3 and AQP7-10), a water and urea transporter (AQP8), and two unorthodox aquaporins (AQP11 and -12). Phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences demonstrated dual paralogy between teleost and human aquaporins. Three of the duplicated zebrafish isoforms have unlinked loci, two have linked loci, while DrAqp8 was found in triplicate across two chromosomes. Genomic sequencing, structural analysis, and maximum likelihood reconstruction, further revealed the presence of a putative pseudogene that displays hybrid exons similar to tetrapod AQP5 and -1. Ectopic expression of the cloned transcripts in Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrated that zebrafish aquaporins and Glps transport water or water, glycerol and urea, respectively, whereas DrAqp11b and -12 were not functional in oocytes. Contrary to humans and some rodents, intrachromosomal duplicates of zebrafish AQP8 were water and urea permeable, while the genomic duplicate only transported water. All aquaporin transcripts were expressed in adult tissues and found to have divergent expression patterns. In some tissues, however, redundant expression of transcripts encoding two duplicated paralogs seems to occur. Conclusion The zebrafish genome encodes the largest repertoire of functional vertebrate aquaporins with dual paralogy to human isoforms. Our data reveal an early and specific diversification of these integral membrane proteins at the root of the crown-clade of Teleostei. Despite the increase in gene copy number, zebrafish aquaporins mostly retain the substrate specificity characteristic of the tetrapod counterparts. Based upon the integration of phylogenetic, genomic and functional data we propose a new classification for the piscine aquaporin superfamily. Background Aquaporins are integral membrane proteins that facilitate the transport of water and small solutes across cell membranes. These proteins are vital for maintaining water homeostasis in living organisms. In mammals, thirteen aquaporins (AQP0-12) have been characterized, but in lower vertebrates, such as fish, the diversity, structure and substrate specificity of these membrane channel proteins are largely unknown. Results The screening and isolation of transcripts from the zebrafish (Danio rerio) genome revealed eighteen sequences structurally related to the four subfamilies of tetrapod aquaporins, i.e., aquaporins (AQP0, -1 and -4), water and glycerol transporters or aquaglyceroporins (Glps; AQP3 and AQP7-10), a water and urea transporter (AQP8), and two unorthodox aquaporins (AQP11 and -12). Phylogenetic analyses of nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences demonstrated dual paralogy between teleost and human aquaporins. Three of the duplicated zebrafish isoforms have unlinked loci, two have linked loci, while DrAqp8 was found in triplicate across two chromosomes. Genomic sequencing, structural analysis, and maximum likelihood reconstruction, further revealed the presence of a putative pseudogene that displays hybrid exons similar to tetrapod AQP5 and -1. Ectopic expression of the cloned transcripts in Xenopus laevis oocytes demonstrated that zebrafish aquaporins and Glps transport water or water, glycerol and urea, respectively, whereas DrAqp11b and -12 were not functional in oocytes. Contrary to humans and some rodents, intrachromosomal duplicates of zebrafish AQP8 were water and urea permeable, while the genomic duplicate only transported water. All aquaporin transcripts were expressed in adult tissues and found to have divergent expression patterns. In some tissues, however, redundant expression of transcripts encoding two duplicated paralogs seems to occur. Conclusion The zebrafish genome encodes the largest repertoire of functional vertebrate aquaporins with dual paralogy to human isoforms. Our data reveal an early and specific diversification of these integral membrane proteins at the root of the crown-clade of Teleostei. Despite the increase in gene copy number, zebrafish aquaporins mostly retain the substrate specificity characteristic of the tetrapod counterparts. Based upon the integration of phylogenetic, genomic and functional data we propose a new classification for the piscine aquaporin superfamily.
Molecular Longitudinal Tracking of Mycobacterium abscessus spp. during Chronic Infection of the Human Lung
The Mycobacterium abscessus complex is an emerging cause of chronic pulmonary infection in patients with underlying lung disease. The M. abscessus complex is regarded as an environmental pathogen but its molecular adaptation to the human lung during long-term infection is poorly understood. Here we carried out a longitudinal molecular epidemiological analysis of 178 M. abscessus spp. isolates obtained from 10 cystic fibrosis (CF) and 2 non CF patients over a 13 year period. Multi-locus sequence and molecular typing analysis revealed that 11 of 12 patients were persistently colonized with the same genotype during the course of the infection while replacement of a M. abscessus sensu stricto strain with a Mycobacterium massiliense strain was observed for a single patient. Of note, several patients including a pair of siblings were colonized with closely-related strains consistent with intra-familial transmission or a common infection reservoir. In general, a switch from smooth to rough colony morphology was observed during the course of long-term infection, which in some cases correlated with an increasing severity of clinical symptoms. To examine evolution during long-term infection of the CF lung we compared the genome sequences of 6 sequential isolates of Mycobacterium bolletii obtained from a single patient over an 11 year period, revealing a heterogeneous clonal infecting population with mutations in regulators controlling the expression of virulence factors and complex lipids. Taken together, these data provide new insights into the epidemiology of M. abscessus spp. during long-term infection of the CF lung, and the molecular transition from saprophytic organism to human pathogen. The Mycobacterium abscessus complex is an emerging cause of chronic pulmonary infection in patients with underlying lung disease. The M. abscessus complex is regarded as an environmental pathogen but its molecular adaptation to the human lung during long-term infection is poorly understood. Here we carried out a longitudinal molecular epidemiological analysis of 178 M. abscessus spp. isolates obtained from 10 cystic fibrosis (CF) and 2 non CF patients over a 13 year period. Multi-locus sequence and molecular typing analysis revealed that 11 of 12 patients were persistently colonized with the same genotype during the course of the infection while replacement of a M. abscessus sensu stricto strain with a Mycobacterium massiliense strain was observed for a single patient. Of note, several patients including a pair of siblings were colonized with closely-related strains consistent with intra-familial transmission or a common infection reservoir. In general, a switch from smooth to rough colony morphology was observed during the course of long-term infection, which in some cases correlated with an increasing severity of clinical symptoms. To examine evolution during long-term infection of the CF lung we compared the genome sequences of 6 sequential isolates of Mycobacterium bolletii obtained from a single patient over an 11 year period, revealing a heterogeneous clonal infecting population with mutations in regulators controlling the expression of virulence factors and complex lipids. Taken together, these data provide new insights into the epidemiology of M. abscessus spp. during long-term infection of the CF lung, and the molecular transition from saprophytic organism to human pathogen.
The First Comprehensive Phylogeny of Coptis (Ranunculaceae) and Its Implications for Character Evolution and Classification
Coptis (Ranunculaceae) contains 15 species and is one of the pharmaceutically most important plant genera in eastern Asia. Understanding of the evolution of morphological characters and phylogenetic relationships within the genus is very limited. Here, we present the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on two plastid and one nuclear markers. The phylogeny was reconstructed using Bayesian inference, as well as maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. The Swofford-Olsen-Waddell-Hillis and Bayesian tests were used to assess the strength of the conflicts between traditional taxonomic units and those suggested by the phylogenetic inferences. Evolution of morphological characters was inferred using Bayesian method to identify synapomorphies for the infrageneric lineages. Our data recognize two strongly supported clades within Coptis. The first clade contains subgenus Coptis and section Japonocoptis of subgenus Metacoptis, supported by morphological characters, such as traits of the central leaflet base, petal color, and petal shape. The second clade consists of section Japonocoptis of subgenus Metacoptis. Coptis morii is not united with C. quinquefolia, in contrast with the view that C. morii is a synonym of C. quinquefolia. Two varieties of C. chinensis do not cluster together. Coptis groenlandica and C. lutescens are reduced to C. trifolia and C. japonica, respectively. Central leaflet base, sepal shape, and petal blade carry a strong phylogenetic signal in Coptis, while leaf type, sepal and petal color, and petal shape exhibit relatively higher levels of evolutionary flexibility. Coptis (Ranunculaceae) contains 15 species and is one of the pharmaceutically most important plant genera in eastern Asia. Understanding of the evolution of morphological characters and phylogenetic relationships within the genus is very limited. Here, we present the first comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the genus based on two plastid and one nuclear markers. The phylogeny was reconstructed using Bayesian inference, as well as maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood methods. The Swofford-Olsen-Waddell-Hillis and Bayesian tests were used to assess the strength of the conflicts between traditional taxonomic units and those suggested by the phylogenetic inferences. Evolution of morphological characters was inferred using Bayesian method to identify synapomorphies for the infrageneric lineages. Our data recognize two strongly supported clades within Coptis. The first clade contains subgenus Coptis and section Japonocoptis of subgenus Metacoptis, supported by morphological characters, such as traits of the central leaflet base, petal color, and petal shape. The second clade consists of section Japonocoptis of subgenus Metacoptis. Coptis morii is not united with C. quinquefolia, in contrast with the view that C. morii is a synonym of C. quinquefolia. Two varieties of C. chinensis do not cluster together. Coptis groenlandica and C. lutescens are reduced to C. trifolia and C. japonica, respectively. Central leaflet base, sepal shape, and petal blade carry a strong phylogenetic signal in Coptis, while leaf type, sepal and petal color, and petal shape exhibit relatively higher levels of evolutionary flexibility.
Continuous Influx of Genetic Material from Host to Virus Populations
Author Summary While gene exchange is known to occur between viruses and their hosts, this phenomenon has never been studied at the level of the viral population. Here we report that each time a virus from the Baculoviridae family infects a moth, a large number (dozens to hundreds) and high diversity of moth DNA sequences (86 different sequences) can integrate into replicating viral genomes. These findings show that viral populations carry a measurable load of host DNA sequences, further supporting the role of viruses as vectors of horizontal transfer of DNA between insect species. The potential uncontrolled gene spread associated with the use of viruses produced in insect cells as gene delivery vectors and/or biopesticides should therefore be evaluated. Author Summary While gene exchange is known to occur between viruses and their hosts, this phenomenon has never been studied at the level of the viral population. Here we report that each time a virus from the Baculoviridae family infects a moth, a large number (dozens to hundreds) and high diversity of moth DNA sequences (86 different sequences) can integrate into replicating viral genomes. These findings show that viral populations carry a measurable load of host DNA sequences, further supporting the role of viruses as vectors of horizontal transfer of DNA between insect species. The potential uncontrolled gene spread associated with the use of viruses produced in insect cells as gene delivery vectors and/or biopesticides should therefore be evaluated.Many genes of large double-stranded DNA viruses have a cellular origin, suggesting that host-to-virus horizontal transfer (HT) of DNA is recurrent. Yet, the frequency of these transfers has never been assessed in viral populations. Here we used ultra-deep DNA sequencing of 21 baculovirus populations extracted from two moth species to show that a large diversity of moth DNA sequences (n = 86) can integrate into viral genomes during the course of a viral infection. The majority of the 86 different moth DNA sequences are transposable elements (TEs, n = 69) belonging to 10 superfamilies of DNA transposons and three superfamilies of retrotransposons. The remaining 17 sequences are moth sequences of unknown nature. In addition to bona fide DNA transposition, we uncover microhomology-mediated recombination as a mechanism explaining integration of moth sequences into viral genomes. Many sequences integrated multiple times at multiple positions along the viral genome. We detected a total of 27,504 insertions of moth sequences in the 21 viral populations and we calculate that on average, 4.8% of viruses harbor at least one moth sequence in these populations. Despite this substantial proportion, no insertion of moth DNA was maintained in any viral population after 10 successive infection cycles. Hence, there is a constant turnover of host DNA inserted into viral genomes each time the virus infects a moth. Finally, we found that at least 21 of the moth TEs integrated into viral genomes underwent repeated horizontal transfers between various insect species, including some lepidopterans susceptible to baculoviruses. Our results identify host DNA influx as a potent source of genetic diversity in viral populations. They also support a role for baculoviruses as vectors of DNA HT between insects, and call for an evaluation of possible gene or TE spread when using viruses as biopesticides or gene delivery vectors. Many genes of large double-stranded DNA viruses have a cellular origin, suggesting that host-to-virus horizontal transfer (HT) of DNA is recurrent. Yet, the frequency of these transfers has never been assessed in viral populations. Here we used ultra-deep DNA sequencing of 21 baculovirus populations extracted from two moth species to show that a large diversity of moth DNA sequences (n = 86) can integrate into viral genomes during the course of a viral infection. The majority of the 86 different moth DNA sequences are transposable elements (TEs, n = 69) belonging to 10 superfamilies of DNA transposons and three superfamilies of retrotransposons. The remaining 17 sequences are moth sequences of unknown nature. In addition to bona fide DNA transposition, we uncover microhomology-mediated recombination as a mechanism explaining integration of moth sequences into viral genomes. Many sequences integrated multiple times at multiple positions along the viral genome. We detected a total of 27,504 insertions of moth sequences in the 21 viral populations and we calculate that on average, 4.8% of viruses harbor at least one moth sequence in these populations. Despite this substantial proportion, no insertion of moth DNA was maintained in any viral population after 10 successive infection cycles. Hence, there is a constant turnover of host DNA inserted into viral genomes each time the virus infects a moth. Finally, we found that at least 21 of the moth TEs integrated into viral genomes underwent repeated horizontal transfers between various insect species, including some lepidopterans susceptible to baculoviruses. Our results identify host DNA influx as a potent source of genetic diversity in viral populations. They also support a role for baculoviruses as vectors of DNA HT between insects, and call for an evaluation of possible gene or TE spread when using viruses as biopesticides or gene delivery vectors.
The Enterobacterium Trabulsiella odontotermitis Presents Novel Adaptations Related to Its Association with Fungus Growing Termites
Fungus-growing termites rely on symbiotic microorganisms to help break down plant material and to obtain nutrients. Their fungal cultivar, Termitomyces, is the main plant degrader and food source for the termites, while gut bacteria complement Termitomyces in the degradation of foodstuffs, fixation of nitrogen, and metabolism of amino acids and sugars. Due to the community complexity and because these typically anaerobic bacteria can rarely be cultured, little is known about the physiological capabilities of individual bacterial members of the gut communities and their associations with the termite host. The bacterium Trabulsiella odontotermitis is associated with fungus-growing termites, but this genus is generally understudied, with only two described species. Taking diverse approaches, we obtained a solid phylogenetic placement of T. odontotermitis among the Enterobacteriaceae, investigated the physiology and enzymatic profiles of T. odontotermitis isolates, determined the localization of the bacterium in the termite gut, compared draft genomes of two T. odontotermitis isolates to those of their close relatives, and examined the expression of genes relevant to host colonization and putative symbiont functions. Our findings support the hypothesis that T. odontotermitis is a facultative symbiont mainly located in the paunch compartment of the gut, with possible roles in carbohydrate metabolism and aflatoxin degradation, while displaying adaptations to association with the termite host, such as expressing genes for a type VI secretion system which has been demonstrated to assist bacterial competition, colonization, and survival within hosts. Fungus-growing termites rely on symbiotic microorganisms to help break down plant material and to obtain nutrients. Their fungal cultivar, Termitomyces, is the main plant degrader and food source for the termites, while gut bacteria complement Termitomyces in the degradation of foodstuffs, fixation of nitrogen, and metabolism of amino acids and sugars. Due to the community complexity and because these typically anaerobic bacteria can rarely be cultured, little is known about the physiological capabilities of individual bacterial members of the gut communities and their associations with the termite host. The bacterium Trabulsiella odontotermitis is associated with fungus-growing termites, but this genus is generally understudied, with only two described species. Taking diverse approaches, we obtained a solid phylogenetic placement of T. odontotermitis among the Enterobacteriaceae, investigated the physiology and enzymatic profiles of T. odontotermitis isolates, determined the localization of the bacterium in the termite gut, compared draft genomes of two T. odontotermitis isolates to those of their close relatives, and examined the expression of genes relevant to host colonization and putative symbiont functions. Our findings support the hypothesis that T. odontotermitis is a facultative symbiont mainly located in the paunch compartment of the gut, with possible roles in carbohydrate metabolism and aflatoxin degradation, while displaying adaptations to association with the termite host, such as expressing genes for a type VI secretion system which has been demonstrated to assist bacterial competition, colonization, and survival within hosts.
Uncovering the Ancestry of B Chromosomes in Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae (Teleostei, Characidae)
B chromosomes constitute a heterogeneous mixture of genomic parasites that are sometimes derived intraspecifically from the standard genome of the host species, but result from interspecific hybridization in other cases. The mode of origin determines the DNA content, with the B chromosomes showing high similarity with the A genome in the first case, but presenting higher similarity with a different species in the second. The characid fish Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae harbours highly invasive B chromosomes, which are present in all populations analyzed to date in the Parana and Tietê rivers. To investigate the origin of these B chromosomes, we analyzed two natural populations: one carrying B chromosomes and the other lacking them, using a combination of molecular cytogenetic techniques, nucleotide sequence analysis and high-throughput sequencing (Illumina HiSeq2000). Our results showed that i) B chromosomes have not yet reached the Paranapanema River basin; ii) B chromosomes are mitotically unstable; iii) there are two types of B chromosomes, the most frequent of which is lightly C-banded (similar to euchromatin in A chromosomes) (B1), while the other is darkly C-banded (heterochromatin-like) (B2); iv) the two B types contain the same tandem repeat DNA sequences (18S ribosomal DNA, H3 histone genes, MS3 and MS7 satellite DNA), with a higher content of 18S rDNA in the heterochromatic variant; v) all of these repetitive DNAs are present together only in the paracentromeric region of autosome pair no. 6, suggesting that the B chromosomes are derived from this A chromosome; vi) the two B chromosome variants show MS3 sequences that are highly divergent from each other and from the 0B genome, although the B2-derived sequences exhibit higher similarity with the 0B genome (this suggests an independent origin of the two B variants, with the less frequent, B2 type presumably being younger); and vii) the dN/dS ratio for the H3.2 histone gene is almost 4–6 times higher for B chromosomes than for A chromosome sequences, suggesting that purifying selection is relaxed for the DNA sequences located on the B chromosomes, presumably because they are mostly inactive. B chromosomes constitute a heterogeneous mixture of genomic parasites that are sometimes derived intraspecifically from the standard genome of the host species, but result from interspecific hybridization in other cases. The mode of origin determines the DNA content, with the B chromosomes showing high similarity with the A genome in the first case, but presenting higher similarity with a different species in the second. The characid fish Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae harbours highly invasive B chromosomes, which are present in all populations analyzed to date in the Parana and Tietê rivers. To investigate the origin of these B chromosomes, we analyzed two natural populations: one carrying B chromosomes and the other lacking them, using a combination of molecular cytogenetic techniques, nucleotide sequence analysis and high-throughput sequencing (Illumina HiSeq2000). Our results showed that i) B chromosomes have not yet reached the Paranapanema River basin; ii) B chromosomes are mitotically unstable; iii) there are two types of B chromosomes, the most frequent of which is lightly C-banded (similar to euchromatin in A chromosomes) (B1), while the other is darkly C-banded (heterochromatin-like) (B2); iv) the two B types contain the same tandem repeat DNA sequences (18S ribosomal DNA, H3 histone genes, MS3 and MS7 satellite DNA), with a higher content of 18S rDNA in the heterochromatic variant; v) all of these repetitive DNAs are present together only in the paracentromeric region of autosome pair no. 6, suggesting that the B chromosomes are derived from this A chromosome; vi) the two B chromosome variants show MS3 sequences that are highly divergent from each other and from the 0B genome, although the B2-derived sequences exhibit higher similarity with the 0B genome (this suggests an independent origin of the two B variants, with the less frequent, B2 type presumably being younger); and vii) the dN/dS ratio for the H3.2 histone gene is almost 4–6 times higher for B chromosomes than for A chromosome sequences, suggesting that purifying selection is relaxed for the DNA sequences located on the B chromosomes, presumably because they are mostly inactive.
Microscopic and molecular characterization of Hepatozoon domerguei (Apicomplexa) and Foleyella furcata (Nematoda) in wild endemic reptiles from Madagascar
Madagascar is one of the world’s top twelve “megadiversity” hot spots hosting unique and threatened flora and fauna. Parasites are a major component of biodiversity but remain largely uncharacterized in wildlife. In this study we combine microscopic and molecular assessment of hemoparasites in endemic reptile species from Madagascar. We detected three distinct parasites: the apicomplexans Hepatozoon and Sarcocystis, and filarial nematodes. The prevalence and intensity of these apicomplexans were low overall, while microfilarial infections in chameleons were relatively high. We detected mixed infections of two Hepatozoon haplotypes in Madagascarophis colubrinus, and of Hepatozoon and microfilariae in a Furcifer sp. Phylogenetic analyses of Hepatozoon showed evidence of prey-predator transmission, with identical sequences found in the snakes M. colubrinus and Ithycyphus oursi, and their prey Furcifer sp. Based on previous studies regarding the life cycle of Hepatozoon domerguei Landau, Chabaud, Michel, and Brygoo, 1970 in these hosts and due to their morphological similarity, we propose that this Hepatozoon haplotype is Hepatozoon domerguei. Future studies, including the examination of invertebrate hosts, are needed to verify this preliminary taxonomic identification. A distinct hemogregarine haplotype was found in Oplurus sp., which displayed morphologically different gametocytes, some of which were apparently inside leukocytes. The Sarcocystis identified from Tracheloptychus petersi was identical to that reported in a North African snake, indicating that the same lineage is found in geographically distinct regions. By combining morphological and genetic information, Foleyella furcata (Linstow, 1899) filarial nematodes were identified in several Furcifer chameleons. This study provides insights into the distribution, diversity and host-parasite interactions of hemoparasites in wild reptile populations from Madagascar. Madagascar is one of the world’s top twelve “megadiversity” hot spots hosting unique and threatened flora and fauna. Parasites are a major component of biodiversity but remain largely uncharacterized in wildlife. In this study we combine microscopic and molecular assessment of hemoparasites in endemic reptile species from Madagascar. We detected three distinct parasites: the apicomplexans Hepatozoon and Sarcocystis, and filarial nematodes. The prevalence and intensity of these apicomplexans were low overall, while microfilarial infections in chameleons were relatively high. We detected mixed infections of two Hepatozoon haplotypes in Madagascarophis colubrinus, and of Hepatozoon and microfilariae in a Furcifer sp. Phylogenetic analyses of Hepatozoon showed evidence of prey-predator transmission, with identical sequences found in the snakes M. colubrinus and Ithycyphus oursi, and their prey Furcifer sp. Based on previous studies regarding the life cycle of Hepatozoon domerguei Landau, Chabaud, Michel, and Brygoo, 1970 in these hosts and due to their morphological similarity, we propose that this Hepatozoon haplotype is Hepatozoon domerguei. Future studies, including the examination of invertebrate hosts, are needed to verify this preliminary taxonomic identification. A distinct hemogregarine haplotype was found in Oplurus sp., which displayed morphologically different gametocytes, some of which were apparently inside leukocytes. The Sarcocystis identified from Tracheloptychus petersi was identical to that reported in a North African snake, indicating that the same lineage is found in geographically distinct regions. By combining morphological and genetic information, Foleyella furcata (Linstow, 1899) filarial nematodes were identified in several Furcifer chameleons. This study provides insights into the distribution, diversity and host-parasite interactions of hemoparasites in wild reptile populations from Madagascar.
Molecular characterization of totiviruses in Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous
Background Occurrence of extrachromosomal dsRNA elements has been described in the red-yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous, with numbers and sizes that are highly variable among strains with different geographical origin. The studies concerning to the encapsidation in viral-like particles and dsRNA-curing have suggested that some dsRNAs are helper viruses, while others are satellite viruses. However, the nucleotide sequences and functions of these dsRNAs are still unknown. In this work, the nucleotide sequences of four dsRNAs of the strain UCD 67–385 of X. dendrorhous were determined, and their identities and genome structures are proposed. Based on this molecular data, the dsRNAs of different strains of X. dendrorhous were analyzed. Results The complete sequences of L1, L2, S1 and S2 dsRNAs of X. dendrorhous UCD 67–385 were determined, finding two sequences for L1 dsRNA (L1A and L1B). Several ORFs were uncovered in both S1 and S2 dsRNAs, but no homologies were found for any of them when compared to the database. Instead, two ORFs were identified in each L1A, L1B and L2 dsRNAs, whose deduced amino acid sequences were homologous with a major capsid protein (5’-ORF) and a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (3’-ORF) belonging to the Totiviridae family. The genome structures of these dsRNAs are characteristic of Totiviruses, with two overlapped ORFs (the 3’-ORF in the −1 frame with respect to the 5’-ORF), with a slippery site and a pseudoknot in the overlapped regions. These structures are essential for the synthesis of the viral polymerase as a fusion protein with the viral capsid protein through −1 ribosomal frameshifting. In the RNase protection analysis, all the dsRNAs in the four analyzed X. dendrorhous strains were protected from enzymatic digestion. The RT-PCR analysis revealed that, similar to strain UCD 67–385, the L1A and L1B dsRNAs coexist in the strains VKM Y-2059, UCD 67–202 and VKM Y-2786. Furthermore, determinations of the relative amounts of L1 dsRNAs using two-step RT-qPCR revealed a 40-fold increment of the ratio L1A/L1B in the S2 dsRNA-cured strain compared to its parental strain. Conclusions Three totiviruses, named as XdV-L1A, XdV-L1B and XdV-L2, were identified in the strain UCD 67–385 of X. dendrorhous. The viruses XdV-L1A and XdV-L1B were also found in other three X. dendrorhous strains. Our results suggest that the smaller dsRNAs (named XdRm-S1 and XdRm-S2) of strain UCD 67–385 are satellite viruses, and particularly that XdRm-S2 is a satellite of XdV-L1A. Background Occurrence of extrachromosomal dsRNA elements has been described in the red-yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous, with numbers and sizes that are highly variable among strains with different geographical origin. The studies concerning to the encapsidation in viral-like particles and dsRNA-curing have suggested that some dsRNAs are helper viruses, while others are satellite viruses. However, the nucleotide sequences and functions of these dsRNAs are still unknown. In this work, the nucleotide sequences of four dsRNAs of the strain UCD 67–385 of X. dendrorhous were determined, and their identities and genome structures are proposed. Based on this molecular data, the dsRNAs of different strains of X. dendrorhous were analyzed. Results The complete sequences of L1, L2, S1 and S2 dsRNAs of X. dendrorhous UCD 67–385 were determined, finding two sequences for L1 dsRNA (L1A and L1B). Several ORFs were uncovered in both S1 and S2 dsRNAs, but no homologies were found for any of them when compared to the database. Instead, two ORFs were identified in each L1A, L1B and L2 dsRNAs, whose deduced amino acid sequences were homologous with a major capsid protein (5’-ORF) and a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (3’-ORF) belonging to the Totiviridae family. The genome structures of these dsRNAs are characteristic of Totiviruses, with two overlapped ORFs (the 3’-ORF in the −1 frame with respect to the 5’-ORF), with a slippery site and a pseudoknot in the overlapped regions. These structures are essential for the synthesis of the viral polymerase as a fusion protein with the viral capsid protein through −1 ribosomal frameshifting. In the RNase protection analysis, all the dsRNAs in the four analyzed X. dendrorhous strains were protected from enzymatic digestion. The RT-PCR analysis revealed that, similar to strain UCD 67–385, the L1A and L1B dsRNAs coexist in the strains VKM Y-2059, UCD 67–202 and VKM Y-2786. Furthermore, determinations of the relative amounts of L1 dsRNAs using two-step RT-qPCR revealed a 40-fold increment of the ratio L1A/L1B in the S2 dsRNA-cured strain compared to its parental strain. Conclusions Three totiviruses, named as XdV-L1A, XdV-L1B and XdV-L2, were identified in the strain UCD 67–385 of X. dendrorhous. The viruses XdV-L1A and XdV-L1B were also found in other three X. dendrorhous strains. Our results suggest that the smaller dsRNAs (named XdRm-S1 and XdRm-S2) of strain UCD 67–385 are satellite viruses, and particularly that XdRm-S2 is a satellite of XdV-L1A.
Maternal effects and Symbiodinium community composition drive differential patterns in juvenile survival in the coral Acropora tenuis
Coral endosymbionts in the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium are known to impact host physiology and have led to the evolution of reef-building, but less is known about how symbiotic communities in early life-history stages and their interactions with host parental identity shape the structure of coral communities on reefs. Differentiating the roles of environmental and biological factors driving variation in population demographic processes, particularly larval settlement, early juvenile survival and the onset of symbiosis is key to understanding how coral communities are structured and to predicting how they are likely to respond to climate change. We show that maternal effects (that here include genetic and/or effects related to the maternal environment) can explain nearly 24% of variation in larval settlement success and 5–17% of variation in juvenile survival in an experimental study of the reef-building scleractinian coral, Acropora tenuis. After 25 days on the reef, Symbiodinium communities associated with juvenile corals differed significantly between high mortality and low mortality families based on estimates of taxonomic richness, composition and relative abundance of taxa. Our results highlight that maternal and familial effects significantly explain variation in juvenile survival and symbiont communities in a broadcast-spawning coral, with Symbiodinium type A3 possibly a critical symbiotic partner during this early life stage. Coral endosymbionts in the dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium are known to impact host physiology and have led to the evolution of reef-building, but less is known about how symbiotic communities in early life-history stages and their interactions with host parental identity shape the structure of coral communities on reefs. Differentiating the roles of environmental and biological factors driving variation in population demographic processes, particularly larval settlement, early juvenile survival and the onset of symbiosis is key to understanding how coral communities are structured and to predicting how they are likely to respond to climate change. We show that maternal effects (that here include genetic and/or effects related to the maternal environment) can explain nearly 24% of variation in larval settlement success and 5–17% of variation in juvenile survival in an experimental study of the reef-building scleractinian coral, Acropora tenuis. After 25 days on the reef, Symbiodinium communities associated with juvenile corals differed significantly between high mortality and low mortality families based on estimates of taxonomic richness, composition and relative abundance of taxa. Our results highlight that maternal and familial effects significantly explain variation in juvenile survival and symbiont communities in a broadcast-spawning coral, with Symbiodinium type A3 possibly a critical symbiotic partner during this early life stage.
Post translational thioamidation of methyl coenzyme M reductase, a key enzyme in methanogenic and methanotrophic Archaea
Methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR), found in strictly anaerobic methanogenic and methanotrophic archaea, catalyzes the reversible production and consumption of the potent greenhouse gas methane. The α subunit of MCR (McrA) contains several unusual post-translational modifications, including a rare thioamidation of glycine. Based on the presumed function of homologous genes involved in the biosynthesis of thioviridamide, a thioamide-containing natural product, we hypothesized that the archaeal tfuA and ycaO genes would be responsible for post-translational installation of thioglycine into McrA. Mass spectrometric characterization of McrA from the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans lacking tfuA and/or ycaO revealed the presence of glycine, rather than thioglycine, supporting this hypothesis. Phenotypic characterization of the ∆ycaO-tfuA mutant revealed a severe growth rate defect on substrates with low free energy yields and at elevated temperatures (39°C - 45°C). Our analyses support a role for thioglycine in stabilizing the protein secondary structure near the active site. Methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR), found in strictly anaerobic methanogenic and methanotrophic archaea, catalyzes the reversible production and consumption of the potent greenhouse gas methane. The α subunit of MCR (McrA) contains several unusual post-translational modifications, including a rare thioamidation of glycine. Based on the presumed function of homologous genes involved in the biosynthesis of thioviridamide, a thioamide-containing natural product, we hypothesized that the archaeal tfuA and ycaO genes would be responsible for post-translational installation of thioglycine into McrA. Mass spectrometric characterization of McrA from the methanogenic archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans lacking tfuA and/or ycaO revealed the presence of glycine, rather than thioglycine, supporting this hypothesis. Phenotypic characterization of the ∆ycaO-tfuA mutant revealed a severe growth rate defect on substrates with low free energy yields and at elevated temperatures (39°C - 45°C). Our analyses support a role for thioglycine in stabilizing the protein secondary structure near the active site.
The systematics of the worldwide endoparasite family Apodanthaceae (Cucurbitales), with a key, a map, and color photos of most species
Abstract Using morphological, nuclear, and mitochondrial data, we here revise the taxonomy of Apodanthaceae and allocate the 36 names published in the family to ten biological species in two genera, Apodanthes and Pilostyles. All species are endo-parasites that live permanently inside trees or shrubs of the families Salicaceae or Fabaceae and that only emerge to flower. Because of this life history, Apodanthaceae are among the least known families of flowering plants. Nevertheless, the World’s herbaria as of 2013 hold at least 785 collections that, in combination with DNA phylogenies, permit well-founded species circumscriptions and geographic range maps. We also provide a key to all species, discuss the newly accepted or synonymized names, and make available color photos of six of the ten species. Abstract Using morphological, nuclear, and mitochondrial data, we here revise the taxonomy of Apodanthaceae and allocate the 36 names published in the family to ten biological species in two genera, Apodanthes and Pilostyles. All species are endo-parasites that live permanently inside trees or shrubs of the families Salicaceae or Fabaceae and that only emerge to flower. Because of this life history, Apodanthaceae are among the least known families of flowering plants. Nevertheless, the World’s herbaria as of 2013 hold at least 785 collections that, in combination with DNA phylogenies, permit well-founded species circumscriptions and geographic range maps. We also provide a key to all species, discuss the newly accepted or synonymized names, and make available color photos of six of the ten species.
YebC, a putative transcriptional factor involved in the regulation of the proteolytic system of Lactobacillus
The proteolytic system of Lactobacillus plays an essential role in bacterial growth, contributes to the flavor development of fermented products, and can release bioactive health-beneficial peptides during milk fermentation. In this work, a genomic analysis of all genes involved in the proteolytic system of L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis CRL 581 was performed. Genes encoding the cell envelope-associated proteinase, two peptide transport systems, and sixteen peptidases were identified. The influence of the peptide supply on the transcription of 23 genes involved in the proteolytic system of L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis was examined after cell growth in a chemically defined medium (CDM) and CDM supplemented with Casitone. prtL, oppA 1, optS, optA genes as well as oppDFBC and optBCDF operons were the most highly expressed genes in CDM; their expression being repressed 6- to 115-fold by the addition of peptides. The transcriptional analysis was confirmed by proteomics; the up-regulation of the PrtL, PepG, OppD and OptF proteins in the absence of peptides was observed while the DNA-binding protein YebC was up-regulated by peptides. Binding of YebC to the promoter region of prtL, oppA 1, and optS, demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assays, showed that YebC acts as a transcriptional repressor of key proteolytic genes. The proteolytic system of Lactobacillus plays an essential role in bacterial growth, contributes to the flavor development of fermented products, and can release bioactive health-beneficial peptides during milk fermentation. In this work, a genomic analysis of all genes involved in the proteolytic system of L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis CRL 581 was performed. Genes encoding the cell envelope-associated proteinase, two peptide transport systems, and sixteen peptidases were identified. The influence of the peptide supply on the transcription of 23 genes involved in the proteolytic system of L. delbrueckii subsp. lactis was examined after cell growth in a chemically defined medium (CDM) and CDM supplemented with Casitone. prtL, oppA 1, optS, optA genes as well as oppDFBC and optBCDF operons were the most highly expressed genes in CDM; their expression being repressed 6- to 115-fold by the addition of peptides. The transcriptional analysis was confirmed by proteomics; the up-regulation of the PrtL, PepG, OppD and OptF proteins in the absence of peptides was observed while the DNA-binding protein YebC was up-regulated by peptides. Binding of YebC to the promoter region of prtL, oppA 1, and optS, demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assays, showed that YebC acts as a transcriptional repressor of key proteolytic genes.
Cyclical Patterns of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Caused by Enterovirus A71 in Malaysia
Author Summary Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is a major cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in children. Since the first outbreak in Malaysia in 1997, EV-A71 epidemics have occurred every 2–3 years, in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008/2009, and 2012. As the reasons for this cyclical pattern are not known, we hypothesize that it is due to changes in population immunity in children. In this study, we measured the EV-A71 neutralizing antibody prevalence in serum collected from children ≤12 years old between 1995 and 2012, covering 18 years and 6 epidemics. HFMD incidence was highest in children <2 years, and seroprevalence increased with age, and was higher during epidemics compared to non-epidemic periods. Peaks in EV-A71 genetic diversity coincided with reported EV-A71 epidemics. Decreases in EV-A71 seroprevalence over time were significantly associated with subsequent epidemic periods. This suggests that epidemics lead to high levels of population seroprevalence; but during the 2–3 years between epidemics, the population of young children with no immunity is replenished and increases, making it more likely that a new epidemic will occur. This is the first study to show that the cyclical pattern of EV-A71 epidemics is associated with changes in EV-A71 seroprevalence. Author Summary Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is a major cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in children. Since the first outbreak in Malaysia in 1997, EV-A71 epidemics have occurred every 2–3 years, in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2008/2009, and 2012. As the reasons for this cyclical pattern are not known, we hypothesize that it is due to changes in population immunity in children. In this study, we measured the EV-A71 neutralizing antibody prevalence in serum collected from children ≤12 years old between 1995 and 2012, covering 18 years and 6 epidemics. HFMD incidence was highest in children <2 years, and seroprevalence increased with age, and was higher during epidemics compared to non-epidemic periods. Peaks in EV-A71 genetic diversity coincided with reported EV-A71 epidemics. Decreases in EV-A71 seroprevalence over time were significantly associated with subsequent epidemic periods. This suggests that epidemics lead to high levels of population seroprevalence; but during the 2–3 years between epidemics, the population of young children with no immunity is replenished and increases, making it more likely that a new epidemic will occur. This is the first study to show that the cyclical pattern of EV-A71 epidemics is associated with changes in EV-A71 seroprevalence.Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is an important emerging pathogen causing large epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in children. In Malaysia, since the first EV-A71 epidemic in 1997, recurrent cyclical epidemics have occurred every 2–3 years for reasons that remain unclear. We hypothesize that this cyclical pattern is due to changes in population immunity in children (measured as seroprevalence). Neutralizing antibody titers against EV-A71 were measured in 2,141 residual serum samples collected from children ≤12 years old between 1995 and 2012 to determine the seroprevalence of EV-A71. Reported national HFMD incidence was highest in children <2 years, and decreased with age; in support of this, EV-A71 seroprevalence was significantly associated with age, indicating greater susceptibility in younger children. EV-A71 epidemics are also characterized by peaks of increased genetic diversity, often with genotype changes. Cross-sectional time series analysis was used to model the association between EV-A71 epidemic periods and EV-A71 seroprevalence adjusting for age and climatic variables (temperature, rainfall, rain days and ultraviolet radiance). A 10% increase in absolute monthly EV-A71 seroprevalence was associated with a 45% higher odds of an epidemic (adjusted odds ratio, aOR1.45; 95% CI 1.24–1.69; P<0.001). Every 10% decrease in seroprevalence between preceding and current months was associated with a 16% higher odds of an epidemic (aOR = 1.16; CI 1.01–1.34 P<0.034). In summary, the 2–3 year cyclical pattern of EV-A71 epidemics in Malaysia is mainly due to the fall of population immunity accompanying the accumulation of susceptible children between epidemics. This study will impact the future planning, timing and target populations for vaccine programs. Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is an important emerging pathogen causing large epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in children. In Malaysia, since the first EV-A71 epidemic in 1997, recurrent cyclical epidemics have occurred every 2–3 years for reasons that remain unclear. We hypothesize that this cyclical pattern is due to changes in population immunity in children (measured as seroprevalence). Neutralizing antibody titers against EV-A71 were measured in 2,141 residual serum samples collected from children ≤12 years old between 1995 and 2012 to determine the seroprevalence of EV-A71. Reported national HFMD incidence was highest in children <2 years, and decreased with age; in support of this, EV-A71 seroprevalence was significantly associated with age, indicating greater susceptibility in younger children. EV-A71 epidemics are also characterized by peaks of increased genetic diversity, often with genotype changes. Cross-sectional time series analysis was used to model the association between EV-A71 epidemic periods and EV-A71 seroprevalence adjusting for age and climatic variables (temperature, rainfall, rain days and ultraviolet radiance). A 10% increase in absolute monthly EV-A71 seroprevalence was associated with a 45% higher odds of an epidemic (adjusted odds ratio, aOR1.45; 95% CI 1.24–1.69; P<0.001). Every 10% decrease in seroprevalence between preceding and current months was associated with a 16% higher odds of an epidemic (aOR = 1.16; CI 1.01–1.34 P<0.034). In summary, the 2–3 year cyclical pattern of EV-A71 epidemics in Malaysia is mainly due to the fall of population immunity accompanying the accumulation of susceptible children between epidemics. This study will impact the future planning, timing and target populations for vaccine programs.
Intraclade Heterogeneity in Nitrogen Utilization by Marine Prokaryotes Revealed Using Stable Isotope Probing Coupled with Tag Sequencing (Tag SIP)
Nitrogen can greatly influence the structure and productivity of microbial communities through its relative availability and form. However, the roles of specific organisms in the uptake of different nitrogen species remain poorly characterized. Most studies seeking to identify agents of assimilation have been correlative, indirectly linking activity measurements (e.g., nitrate uptake) with the presence or absence of biological markers, particularly functional genes and their transcripts. Evidence is accumulating of previously underappreciated functional diversity in major microbial subpopulations, which may confer physiological advantages under certain environmental conditions leading to ecotype divergence. This microdiversity further complicates our view of genetic variation in environmental samples requiring the development of more targeted approaches. Here, next-generation tag sequencing was successfully coupled with stable isotope probing (Tag-SIP) to assess the ability of individual phylotypes to assimilate a specific N source. Our results provide the first direct evidence of nitrate utilization by organisms thought to lack the genes required for this process including the heterotrophic clades SAR11 and the Archaeal Marine Group II. Alternatively, this may suggest the existence of tightly coupled metabolisms with primary assimilators, e.g., symbiosis, or the rapid and efficient scavenging of recently released products by highly active individuals. These results may be connected with global dominance often seen with these clades, likely conferring an advantage over other clades unable to access these resources. We also provide new direct evidence of in situ nitrate utilization by the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus in support of recent findings. Furthermore, these results revealed widespread functional heterogeneity, i.e., different levels of nitrogen assimilation within clades, likely reflecting niche partitioning by ecotypes. Nitrogen can greatly influence the structure and productivity of microbial communities through its relative availability and form. However, the roles of specific organisms in the uptake of different nitrogen species remain poorly characterized. Most studies seeking to identify agents of assimilation have been correlative, indirectly linking activity measurements (e.g., nitrate uptake) with the presence or absence of biological markers, particularly functional genes and their transcripts. Evidence is accumulating of previously underappreciated functional diversity in major microbial subpopulations, which may confer physiological advantages under certain environmental conditions leading to ecotype divergence. This microdiversity further complicates our view of genetic variation in environmental samples requiring the development of more targeted approaches. Here, next-generation tag sequencing was successfully coupled with stable isotope probing (Tag-SIP) to assess the ability of individual phylotypes to assimilate a specific N source. Our results provide the first direct evidence of nitrate utilization by organisms thought to lack the genes required for this process including the heterotrophic clades SAR11 and the Archaeal Marine Group II. Alternatively, this may suggest the existence of tightly coupled metabolisms with primary assimilators, e.g., symbiosis, or the rapid and efficient scavenging of recently released products by highly active individuals. These results may be connected with global dominance often seen with these clades, likely conferring an advantage over other clades unable to access these resources. We also provide new direct evidence of in situ nitrate utilization by the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus in support of recent findings. Furthermore, these results revealed widespread functional heterogeneity, i.e., different levels of nitrogen assimilation within clades, likely reflecting niche partitioning by ecotypes.
Prevalence and Molecular Identification of Nematode and Dipteran Parasites in an Australian Alpine Grasshopper (Kosciuscola tristis)
In alpine Australia, Orthoptera are abundant, dominant herbivores, important prey species, and hosts for parasites and parasitoids. Despite the central role of orthopterans in alpine ecosystems, the impact of parasites on orthopteran populations is under-explored. In this study we describe the relationship between parasite prevalence and host sex, body size and year of collection. We accessed an existing, preserved collection of 640 Kosciuscola tristis collected from across its range between 2007 and 2011. Upon dissection we collected juvenile parasites and used molecular tools to identify them to three families (Nematoda; Mermithidae, and Arthropoda: Diptera: Tachinidae and Sarcophagidae). The prevalence of nematodes ranged from 3.5% to 25.0% and dipterans from 2.4% to 20.0%. Contrary to predictions, we found no associations between parasite prevalence and grasshopper sex or size. Although there was an association between prevalence of both nematodes and dipterans with year of collection, this is likely driven by a small sample size in the first year. Our results provide a foundation for future studies into parasite prevalence within the alpine environment and the abiotic factors that might influence these associations. In alpine Australia, Orthoptera are abundant, dominant herbivores, important prey species, and hosts for parasites and parasitoids. Despite the central role of orthopterans in alpine ecosystems, the impact of parasites on orthopteran populations is under-explored. In this study we describe the relationship between parasite prevalence and host sex, body size and year of collection. We accessed an existing, preserved collection of 640 Kosciuscola tristis collected from across its range between 2007 and 2011. Upon dissection we collected juvenile parasites and used molecular tools to identify them to three families (Nematoda; Mermithidae, and Arthropoda: Diptera: Tachinidae and Sarcophagidae). The prevalence of nematodes ranged from 3.5% to 25.0% and dipterans from 2.4% to 20.0%. Contrary to predictions, we found no associations between parasite prevalence and grasshopper sex or size. Although there was an association between prevalence of both nematodes and dipterans with year of collection, this is likely driven by a small sample size in the first year. Our results provide a foundation for future studies into parasite prevalence within the alpine environment and the abiotic factors that might influence these associations.
Assessing the links among environmental contaminants, endocrinology, and parasites to understand amphibian declines in montane regions of Costa Rica
Amphibians inhabiting montane riparian zones in the Neotropics are particularly vulnerable to decline, but the reasons are poorly understood. Because environmental contaminants, endocrine disruption, and pathogens often figure prominently in amphibian declines it is imperative that we understand how these factors are potentially interrelated to affect montane populations. One possibility is that increased precipitation associated with global warming promotes the deposition of contaminants in montane regions. Increased exposure to contaminants, in turn, potentially elicits chronic elevations in circulating stress hormones that could contribute to montane population declines by compromising resistance to pathogens and/or production of sex steroids regulating reproduction. Here, we test this hypothesis by examining contaminant levels, stress and sex steroid levels, and nematode abundances in male drab treefrogs, Smilisca sordida, from lowland and montane populations in Costa Rica. We found no evidence that montane populations were more likely to possess contaminants (i.e., organochlorine, organophosphate and carbamate pesticides or benzidine and chlorophenoxy herbicides) than lowland populations. We also found no evidence of elevational differences in circulating levels of the stress hormone corticosterone, estradiol or progesterone. However, montane populations possessed lower androgen levels, hosted more nematode species, and had higher nematode abundances than lowland populations. Although these results suggested that nematodes contributed to lower androgens in montane populations, we were unable to detect a significant inverse relationship between nematode abundance and androgen level. Our results suggest that montane populations of this species are not at greater risk of exposure to contaminants or chronic stress, but implicate nematodes and compromised sex steroid levels as potential threats to montane populations. Amphibians inhabiting montane riparian zones in the Neotropics are particularly vulnerable to decline, but the reasons are poorly understood. Because environmental contaminants, endocrine disruption, and pathogens often figure prominently in amphibian declines it is imperative that we understand how these factors are potentially interrelated to affect montane populations. One possibility is that increased precipitation associated with global warming promotes the deposition of contaminants in montane regions. Increased exposure to contaminants, in turn, potentially elicits chronic elevations in circulating stress hormones that could contribute to montane population declines by compromising resistance to pathogens and/or production of sex steroids regulating reproduction. Here, we test this hypothesis by examining contaminant levels, stress and sex steroid levels, and nematode abundances in male drab treefrogs, Smilisca sordida, from lowland and montane populations in Costa Rica. We found no evidence that montane populations were more likely to possess contaminants (i.e., organochlorine, organophosphate and carbamate pesticides or benzidine and chlorophenoxy herbicides) than lowland populations. We also found no evidence of elevational differences in circulating levels of the stress hormone corticosterone, estradiol or progesterone. However, montane populations possessed lower androgen levels, hosted more nematode species, and had higher nematode abundances than lowland populations. Although these results suggested that nematodes contributed to lower androgens in montane populations, we were unable to detect a significant inverse relationship between nematode abundance and androgen level. Our results suggest that montane populations of this species are not at greater risk of exposure to contaminants or chronic stress, but implicate nematodes and compromised sex steroid levels as potential threats to montane populations.
Variation in species diversity and functional traits of sponge communities near human populations in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson’s diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study highlights the importance of evaluating functional traits and phylogenetic diversity in addition to common diversity metrics when assessing potential environmental impacts on benthic communities. Recent studies have renewed interest in sponge ecology by emphasizing the functional importance of sponges in a broad array of ecosystem services. Many critically important habitats occupied by sponges face chronic stressors that might lead to alterations in their diversity, relatedness, and functional attributes. We addressed whether proximity to human activity might be a significant factor in structuring sponge community composition, as well as potential functional roles, by monitoring sponge diversity and abundance at two structurally similar sites that vary in distance to areas of high coastal development in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. We surveyed sponge communities at each site using belt transects and differences between two sites were compared using the following variables: (1) sponge species richness, Shannon diversity, and inverse Simpson’s diversity; (2) phylogenetic diversity; (3) taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity; (4) trait diversity and dissimilarity; and (5) phylogenetic and trait patterns in community structure. We observed significantly higher sponge diversity at Punta Caracol, the site most distant from human development (∼5 km). Although phylogenetic diversity was lower at Saigon Bay, the site adjacent to a large village including many houses, businesses, and an airport, the sites did not exhibit significantly different patterns of phylogenetic relatedness in species composition. However, each site had a distinct taxonomic and phylogenetic composition (beta diversity). In addition, the sponge community at Saigon included a higher relative abundance of sponges with high microbial abundance and high chlorophyll a concentration, whereas the community at Punta Caracol had a more even distribution of these traits, yielding a significant difference in functional trait diversity between sites. These results suggest that lower diversity and potentially altered community function might be associated with proximity to human populations. This study highlights the importance of evaluating functional traits and phylogenetic diversity in addition to common diversity metrics when assessing potential environmental impacts on benthic communities.
The first complete plastid genomes of Melastomataceae are highly structurally conserved
Background In the past three decades, several studies have predominantly relied on a small sample of the plastome to infer deep phylogenetic relationships in the species-rich Melastomataceae. Here, we report the first full plastid sequences of this family, compare general features of the sampled plastomes to other sequenced Myrtales, and survey the plastomes for highly informative regions for phylogenetics. Methods Genome skimming was performed for 16 species spread across the Melastomataceae. Plastomes were assembled, annotated and compared to eight sequenced plastids in the Myrtales. Phylogenetic inference was performed using Maximum Likelihood on six different data sets, where putative biases were taken into account. Summary statistics were generated for all introns and intergenic spacers with suitable size for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and used to rank the markers by phylogenetic information. Results The majority of the plastomes sampled are conserved in gene content and order, as well as in sequence length and GC content within plastid regions and sequence classes. Departures include the putative presence of rps16 and rpl2 pseudogenes in some plastomes. Phylogenetic analyses of the majority of the schemes analyzed resulted in the same topology with high values of bootstrap support. Although there is still uncertainty in some relationships, in the highest supported topologies only two nodes received bootstrap values lower than 95%. Discussion Melastomataceae plastomes are no exception for the general patterns observed in the genomic structure of land plant chloroplasts, being highly conserved and structurally similar to most other Myrtales. Despite the fact that the full plastome phylogeny shares most of the clades with the previously widely used and reduced data set, some changes are still observed and bootstrap support is higher. The plastome data set presented here is a step towards phylogenomic analyses in the Melastomataceae and will be a useful resource for future studies. Background In the past three decades, several studies have predominantly relied on a small sample of the plastome to infer deep phylogenetic relationships in the species-rich Melastomataceae. Here, we report the first full plastid sequences of this family, compare general features of the sampled plastomes to other sequenced Myrtales, and survey the plastomes for highly informative regions for phylogenetics. Methods Genome skimming was performed for 16 species spread across the Melastomataceae. Plastomes were assembled, annotated and compared to eight sequenced plastids in the Myrtales. Phylogenetic inference was performed using Maximum Likelihood on six different data sets, where putative biases were taken into account. Summary statistics were generated for all introns and intergenic spacers with suitable size for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and used to rank the markers by phylogenetic information. Results The majority of the plastomes sampled are conserved in gene content and order, as well as in sequence length and GC content within plastid regions and sequence classes. Departures include the putative presence of rps16 and rpl2 pseudogenes in some plastomes. Phylogenetic analyses of the majority of the schemes analyzed resulted in the same topology with high values of bootstrap support. Although there is still uncertainty in some relationships, in the highest supported topologies only two nodes received bootstrap values lower than 95%. Discussion Melastomataceae plastomes are no exception for the general patterns observed in the genomic structure of land plant chloroplasts, being highly conserved and structurally similar to most other Myrtales. Despite the fact that the full plastome phylogeny shares most of the clades with the previously widely used and reduced data set, some changes are still observed and bootstrap support is higher. The plastome data set presented here is a step towards phylogenomic analyses in the Melastomataceae and will be a useful resource for future studies.
Identification and molecular characterization of the nicotianamine synthase gene family in bread wheat
Summary Nicotianamine (NA) is a non‐protein amino acid involved in fundamental aspects of metal uptake, transport and homeostasis in all plants and constitutes the biosynthetic precursor of mugineic acid family phytosiderophores (MAs) in graminaceous plant species. Nicotianamine synthase (NAS) genes, which encode enzymes that synthesize NA from S‐adenosyl‐L‐methionine (SAM), are differentially regulated by iron (Fe) status in most plant species and plant genomes have been found to contain anywhere from 1 to 9 NAS genes. This study describes the identification of 21 NAS genes in the hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genome and their phylogenetic classification into two distinct clades. The TaNAS genes are highly expressed during germination, seedling growth and reproductive development. Fourteen of the clade I NAS genes were up‐regulated in root tissues under conditions of Fe deficiency. Protein sequence analyses revealed the presence of endocytosis motifs in all of the wheat NAS proteins as well as chloroplast, mitochondrial and secretory transit peptide signals in four proteins. These results greatly expand our knowledge of NAS gene families in graminaceous plant species as well as the genetics underlying Fe nutrition in bread wheat. Summary Nicotianamine (NA) is a non‐protein amino acid involved in fundamental aspects of metal uptake, transport and homeostasis in all plants and constitutes the biosynthetic precursor of mugineic acid family phytosiderophores (MAs) in graminaceous plant species. Nicotianamine synthase (NAS) genes, which encode enzymes that synthesize NA from S‐adenosyl‐L‐methionine (SAM), are differentially regulated by iron (Fe) status in most plant species and plant genomes have been found to contain anywhere from 1 to 9 NAS genes. This study describes the identification of 21 NAS genes in the hexaploid bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genome and their phylogenetic classification into two distinct clades. The TaNAS genes are highly expressed during germination, seedling growth and reproductive development. Fourteen of the clade I NAS genes were up‐regulated in root tissues under conditions of Fe deficiency. Protein sequence analyses revealed the presence of endocytosis motifs in all of the wheat NAS proteins as well as chloroplast, mitochondrial and secretory transit peptide signals in four proteins. These results greatly expand our knowledge of NAS gene families in graminaceous plant species as well as the genetics underlying Fe nutrition in bread wheat.
Overexpression of a Domain of Unknown Function 231 containing protein increases O xylan acetylation and cellulose biosynthesis in Populus
Background Domain of Unknown Function 231-containing proteins (DUF231) are plant specific and their function is largely unknown. Studies in the model plants Arabidopsis and rice suggested that some DUF231 proteins act in the process of O-acetyl substitution of hemicellulose and esterification of pectin. However, little is known about the function of DUF231 proteins in woody plant species. Results This study provides evidence supporting that one member of DUF231 family proteins in the woody perennial plant Populus deltoides (genotype WV94), PdDUF231A, has a role in the acetylation of xylan and affects cellulose biosynthesis. A total of 52 DUF231-containing proteins were identified in the Populus genome. In P. deltoides transgenic lines overexpressing PdDUF231A (OXPdDUF231A), glucose and cellulose contents were increased. Consistent with these results, the transcript levels of cellulose biosynthesis-related genes were increased in the OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Furthermore, the relative content of total acetylated xylan was increased in the OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Enzymatic saccharification assays revealed that the rate of glucose release increased in OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Plant biomass productivity was also increased in OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Conclusions These results suggest that PdDUF231A affects cellulose biosynthesis and plays a role in the acetylation of xylan. PdDUF231A is a promising target for genetic modification for biofuel production because biomass productivity and compositional quality can be simultaneously improved through overexpression. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s13068-017-0998-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Domain of Unknown Function 231-containing proteins (DUF231) are plant specific and their function is largely unknown. Studies in the model plants Arabidopsis and rice suggested that some DUF231 proteins act in the process of O-acetyl substitution of hemicellulose and esterification of pectin. However, little is known about the function of DUF231 proteins in woody plant species. Results This study provides evidence supporting that one member of DUF231 family proteins in the woody perennial plant Populus deltoides (genotype WV94), PdDUF231A, has a role in the acetylation of xylan and affects cellulose biosynthesis. A total of 52 DUF231-containing proteins were identified in the Populus genome. In P. deltoides transgenic lines overexpressing PdDUF231A (OXPdDUF231A), glucose and cellulose contents were increased. Consistent with these results, the transcript levels of cellulose biosynthesis-related genes were increased in the OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Furthermore, the relative content of total acetylated xylan was increased in the OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Enzymatic saccharification assays revealed that the rate of glucose release increased in OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Plant biomass productivity was also increased in OXPdDUF231A transgenic lines. Conclusions These results suggest that PdDUF231A affects cellulose biosynthesis and plays a role in the acetylation of xylan. PdDUF231A is a promising target for genetic modification for biofuel production because biomass productivity and compositional quality can be simultaneously improved through overexpression. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s13068-017-0998-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Reconstructing Asian faunal introductions to eastern Africa from multi proxy biomolecular and archaeological datasets
Human-mediated biological exchange has had global social and ecological impacts. In sub-Saharan Africa, several domestic and commensal animals were introduced from Asia in the pre-modern period; however, the timing and nature of these introductions remain contentious. One model supports introduction to the eastern African coast after the mid-first millennium CE, while another posits introduction dating back to 3000 BCE. These distinct scenarios have implications for understanding the emergence of long-distance maritime connectivity, and the ecological and economic impacts of introduced species. Resolution of this longstanding debate requires new efforts, given the lack of well-dated fauna from high-precision excavations, and ambiguous osteomorphological identifications. We analysed faunal remains from 22 eastern African sites spanning a wide geographic and chronological range, and applied biomolecular techniques to confirm identifications of two Asian taxa: domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) and black rat (Rattus rattus). Our approach included ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis aided by BLAST-based bioinformatics, Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) collagen fingerprinting, and direct AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) radiocarbon dating. Our results support a late, mid-first millennium CE introduction of these species. We discuss the implications of our findings for models of biological exchange, and emphasize the applicability of our approach to tropical areas with poor bone preservation. Human-mediated biological exchange has had global social and ecological impacts. In sub-Saharan Africa, several domestic and commensal animals were introduced from Asia in the pre-modern period; however, the timing and nature of these introductions remain contentious. One model supports introduction to the eastern African coast after the mid-first millennium CE, while another posits introduction dating back to 3000 BCE. These distinct scenarios have implications for understanding the emergence of long-distance maritime connectivity, and the ecological and economic impacts of introduced species. Resolution of this longstanding debate requires new efforts, given the lack of well-dated fauna from high-precision excavations, and ambiguous osteomorphological identifications. We analysed faunal remains from 22 eastern African sites spanning a wide geographic and chronological range, and applied biomolecular techniques to confirm identifications of two Asian taxa: domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) and black rat (Rattus rattus). Our approach included ancient DNA (aDNA) analysis aided by BLAST-based bioinformatics, Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) collagen fingerprinting, and direct AMS (accelerator mass spectrometry) radiocarbon dating. Our results support a late, mid-first millennium CE introduction of these species. We discuss the implications of our findings for models of biological exchange, and emphasize the applicability of our approach to tropical areas with poor bone preservation.
Evidence of exposure of domestic pigs to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 in Nigeria
Avian influenza viruses (AIV) potentially transmit to swine as shown by experiments, where further reassortment may contribute to the generation of pandemic strains. Associated risks of AIV inter-species transmission are greater in countries like Nigeria with recurrent epidemics of highly pathogenic AI (HPAI) in poultry and significant pig population. Analysis of 129 tracheal swab specimens collected from apparently healthy pigs at slaughterhouse during presence of HPAI virus H5N1 in poultry in Nigeria for influenza A by RT-qPCR yielded 43 positive samples. Twenty-two could be determined by clade specific RT-qPCR as belonging to the H5N1 clade 2.3.2.1c and confirmed by partial hemagglutinin (HA) sequence analysis. In addition, 500 swine sera were screened for antibodies against influenza A virus nucleoprotein and H5 HA using competition ELISAs and hemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests. Serologically, 222 (44.4%) and 42 (8.4%) sera were positive for influenza A virus NP and H5 antibodies, respectively. Sera reacted to H5N1 and A/H1N1pdm09 strains by HI suggesting exposure of the Nigerian domestic pig population to these viruses. We report for the first time in Nigeria, exposure of domestic pigs to H5N1 virus. This poses potential public health and pandemic risk due to interspecies transmission of avian and human influenza viruses. Avian influenza viruses (AIV) potentially transmit to swine as shown by experiments, where further reassortment may contribute to the generation of pandemic strains. Associated risks of AIV inter-species transmission are greater in countries like Nigeria with recurrent epidemics of highly pathogenic AI (HPAI) in poultry and significant pig population. Analysis of 129 tracheal swab specimens collected from apparently healthy pigs at slaughterhouse during presence of HPAI virus H5N1 in poultry in Nigeria for influenza A by RT-qPCR yielded 43 positive samples. Twenty-two could be determined by clade specific RT-qPCR as belonging to the H5N1 clade 2.3.2.1c and confirmed by partial hemagglutinin (HA) sequence analysis. In addition, 500 swine sera were screened for antibodies against influenza A virus nucleoprotein and H5 HA using competition ELISAs and hemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests. Serologically, 222 (44.4%) and 42 (8.4%) sera were positive for influenza A virus NP and H5 antibodies, respectively. Sera reacted to H5N1 and A/H1N1pdm09 strains by HI suggesting exposure of the Nigerian domestic pig population to these viruses. We report for the first time in Nigeria, exposure of domestic pigs to H5N1 virus. This poses potential public health and pandemic risk due to interspecies transmission of avian and human influenza viruses.
New insights into plant glycoside hydrolase family 32 in Agave species
In order to optimize the use of agaves for commercial applications, an understanding of fructan metabolism in these species at the molecular and genetic level is essential. Based on transcriptome data, this report describes the identification and molecular characterization of cDNAs and deduced amino acid sequences for genes encoding fructosyltransferases, invertases and fructan exohydrolases (FEH) (enzymes belonging to plant glycoside hydrolase family 32) from four different agave species (A. tequilana, A. deserti, A. victoriae-reginae, and A. striata). Conserved amino acid sequences and a hypervariable domain allowed classification of distinct isoforms for each enzyme type. Notably however neither 1-FFT nor 6-SFT encoding cDNAs were identified. In silico analysis revealed that distinct isoforms for certain enzymes found in a single species, showed different levels and tissue specific patterns of expression whereas in other cases expression patterns were conserved both within the species and between different species. Relatively high levels of in silico expression for specific isoforms of both invertases and fructosyltransferases were observed in floral tissues in comparison to vegetative tissues such as leaves and stems and this pattern was confirmed by Quantitative Real Time PCR using RNA obtained from floral and leaf tissue of A. tequilana. Thin layer chromatography confirmed the presence of fructans with degree of polymerization (DP) greater than DP three in both immature buds and fully opened flowers also obtained from A. tequilana. In order to optimize the use of agaves for commercial applications, an understanding of fructan metabolism in these species at the molecular and genetic level is essential. Based on transcriptome data, this report describes the identification and molecular characterization of cDNAs and deduced amino acid sequences for genes encoding fructosyltransferases, invertases and fructan exohydrolases (FEH) (enzymes belonging to plant glycoside hydrolase family 32) from four different agave species (A. tequilana, A. deserti, A. victoriae-reginae, and A. striata). Conserved amino acid sequences and a hypervariable domain allowed classification of distinct isoforms for each enzyme type. Notably however neither 1-FFT nor 6-SFT encoding cDNAs were identified. In silico analysis revealed that distinct isoforms for certain enzymes found in a single species, showed different levels and tissue specific patterns of expression whereas in other cases expression patterns were conserved both within the species and between different species. Relatively high levels of in silico expression for specific isoforms of both invertases and fructosyltransferases were observed in floral tissues in comparison to vegetative tissues such as leaves and stems and this pattern was confirmed by Quantitative Real Time PCR using RNA obtained from floral and leaf tissue of A. tequilana. Thin layer chromatography confirmed the presence of fructans with degree of polymerization (DP) greater than DP three in both immature buds and fully opened flowers also obtained from A. tequilana.
The evolutionary fate of the chloroplast and nuclear rps16 genes as revealed through the sequencing and comparative analyses of four novel legume chloroplast genomes from Lupinus
Abstract The Fabaceae family is considered as a model system for understanding chloroplast genome evolution due to the presence of extensive structural rearrangements, gene losses and localized hypermutable regions. Here, we provide sequences of four chloroplast genomes from the Lupinus genus, belonging to the underinvestigated Genistoid clade. Notably, we found in Lupinus species the functional loss of the essential rps16 gene, which was most likely replaced by the nuclear rps16 gene that encodes chloroplast and mitochondrion targeted RPS16 proteins. To study the evolutionary fate of the rps16 gene, we explored all available plant chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Whereas no plant mitochondrial genomes carry an rps16 gene, many plants still have a functional nuclear and chloroplast rps16 gene. Ka/Ks ratios revealed that both chloroplast and nuclear rps16 copies were under purifying selection. However, due to the dual targeting of the nuclear rps16 gene product and the absence of a mitochondrial copy, the chloroplast gene may be lost. We also performed comparative analyses of lupine plastomes (SNPs, indels and repeat elements), identified the most variable regions and examined their phylogenetic utility. The markers identified here will help to reveal the evolutionary history of lupines, Genistoids and closely related clades. Abstract The Fabaceae family is considered as a model system for understanding chloroplast genome evolution due to the presence of extensive structural rearrangements, gene losses and localized hypermutable regions. Here, we provide sequences of four chloroplast genomes from the Lupinus genus, belonging to the underinvestigated Genistoid clade. Notably, we found in Lupinus species the functional loss of the essential rps16 gene, which was most likely replaced by the nuclear rps16 gene that encodes chloroplast and mitochondrion targeted RPS16 proteins. To study the evolutionary fate of the rps16 gene, we explored all available plant chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Whereas no plant mitochondrial genomes carry an rps16 gene, many plants still have a functional nuclear and chloroplast rps16 gene. Ka/Ks ratios revealed that both chloroplast and nuclear rps16 copies were under purifying selection. However, due to the dual targeting of the nuclear rps16 gene product and the absence of a mitochondrial copy, the chloroplast gene may be lost. We also performed comparative analyses of lupine plastomes (SNPs, indels and repeat elements), identified the most variable regions and examined their phylogenetic utility. The markers identified here will help to reveal the evolutionary history of lupines, Genistoids and closely related clades.
Duplication and Diversification of Dipteran Argonaute Genes, and the Evolutionary Divergence of Piwi and Aubergine
Genetic studies of Drosophila melanogaster have provided a paradigm for RNA interference (RNAi) in arthropods, in which the microRNA and antiviral pathways are each mediated by a single Argonaute (Ago1 and Ago2) and germline suppression of transposable elements is mediated by a trio of Piwi-subfamily Argonaute proteins (Ago3, Aub, and Piwi). Without a suitable evolutionary context, deviations from this can be interpreted as derived or idiosyncratic. Here we analyze the evolution of Argonaute genes across the genomes and transcriptomes of 86 Dipteran species, showing that variation in copy number can occur rapidly, and that there is constant flux in some RNAi mechanisms. The lability of the RNAi pathways is illustrated by the divergence of Aub and Piwi (182–156 Ma), independent origins of multiple Piwi-family genes in Aedes mosquitoes (less than 25Ma), and the recent duplications of Ago2 and Ago3 in the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans. In each case the tissue specificity of these genes has altered, suggesting functional divergence or innovation, and consistent with the action of dynamic selection pressures across the Argonaute gene family. We find there are large differences in evolutionary rates and gene turnover between pathways, and that paralogs of Ago2, Ago3, and Piwi/Aub show contrasting rates of evolution after duplication. This suggests that Argonautes undergo frequent evolutionary expansions that facilitate functional divergence. Genetic studies of Drosophila melanogaster have provided a paradigm for RNA interference (RNAi) in arthropods, in which the microRNA and antiviral pathways are each mediated by a single Argonaute (Ago1 and Ago2) and germline suppression of transposable elements is mediated by a trio of Piwi-subfamily Argonaute proteins (Ago3, Aub, and Piwi). Without a suitable evolutionary context, deviations from this can be interpreted as derived or idiosyncratic. Here we analyze the evolution of Argonaute genes across the genomes and transcriptomes of 86 Dipteran species, showing that variation in copy number can occur rapidly, and that there is constant flux in some RNAi mechanisms. The lability of the RNAi pathways is illustrated by the divergence of Aub and Piwi (182–156 Ma), independent origins of multiple Piwi-family genes in Aedes mosquitoes (less than 25Ma), and the recent duplications of Ago2 and Ago3 in the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans. In each case the tissue specificity of these genes has altered, suggesting functional divergence or innovation, and consistent with the action of dynamic selection pressures across the Argonaute gene family. We find there are large differences in evolutionary rates and gene turnover between pathways, and that paralogs of Ago2, Ago3, and Piwi/Aub show contrasting rates of evolution after duplication. This suggests that Argonautes undergo frequent evolutionary expansions that facilitate functional divergence.
Molecular and morphological data supporting phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Goniothalamus (Annonaceae), including a reassessment of previous infrageneric classifications
Data is presented in support of a phylogenetic reconstruction of the species-rich early-divergent angiosperm genus Goniothalamus (Annonaceae) (Tang et al., Mol. Phylogenetic Evol., 2015) [1], inferred using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequences. The data includes a list of primers for amplification and sequencing for nine cpDNA regions: atpB-rbcL, matK, ndhF, psbA-trnH, psbM-trnD, rbcL, trnL-F, trnS-G, and ycf1, the voucher information and molecular data (GenBank accession numbers) of 67 ingroup Goniothalamus accessions and 14 outgroup accessions selected from across the tribe Annoneae, and aligned data matrices for each gene region. We also present our Bayesian phylogenetic reconstructions for Goniothalamus, with information on previous infrageneric classifications superimposed to enable an evaluation of monophyly, together with a taxon-character data matrix (with 15 morphological characters scored for 66 Goniothalamus species and seven other species from the tribe Annoneae that are shown to be phylogenetically correlated). Data is presented in support of a phylogenetic reconstruction of the species-rich early-divergent angiosperm genus Goniothalamus (Annonaceae) (Tang et al., Mol. Phylogenetic Evol., 2015) [1], inferred using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequences. The data includes a list of primers for amplification and sequencing for nine cpDNA regions: atpB-rbcL, matK, ndhF, psbA-trnH, psbM-trnD, rbcL, trnL-F, trnS-G, and ycf1, the voucher information and molecular data (GenBank accession numbers) of 67 ingroup Goniothalamus accessions and 14 outgroup accessions selected from across the tribe Annoneae, and aligned data matrices for each gene region. We also present our Bayesian phylogenetic reconstructions for Goniothalamus, with information on previous infrageneric classifications superimposed to enable an evaluation of monophyly, together with a taxon-character data matrix (with 15 morphological characters scored for 66 Goniothalamus species and seven other species from the tribe Annoneae that are shown to be phylogenetically correlated).
Novel Arenavirus Isolates from Namaqua Rock Mice, Namibia, Southern Africa
Arenaviruses are feared as agents that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers. We report the identification, isolation, and genetic characterization of 2 novel arenaviruses from Namaqua rock mice in Namibia. These findings extend knowledge of the distribution and diversity of arenaviruses in Africa. Arenaviruses are feared as agents that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers. We report the identification, isolation, and genetic characterization of 2 novel arenaviruses from Namaqua rock mice in Namibia. These findings extend knowledge of the distribution and diversity of arenaviruses in Africa.
A novel MC1R allele for black coat colour reveals the Polynesian ancestry and hybridization patterns of Hawaiian feral pigs
Pigs (Sus scrofa) have played an important cultural role in Hawaii since Polynesians first introduced them in approximately AD 1200. Additional varieties of pigs were introduced following Captain Cook's arrival in Hawaii in 1778 and it has been suggested that the current pig population may descend primarily, or even exclusively, from European pigs. Although populations of feral pigs today are an important source of recreational hunting on all of the major islands, they also negatively impact native plants and animals. As a result, understanding the origins of these feral pig populations has significant ramifications for discussions concerning conservation management, identity and cultural continuity on the islands. Here, we analysed a neutral mitochondrial marker and a functional nuclear coat colour marker in 57 feral Hawaiian pigs. Through the identification of a new mutation in the MC1R gene that results in black coloration, we demonstrate that Hawaiian feral pigs are mostly the descendants of those originally introduced during Polynesian settlement, though there is evidence for some admixture. As such, extant Hawaiian pigs represent a unique historical lineage that is not exclusively descended from feral pigs of European origin. Pigs (Sus scrofa) have played an important cultural role in Hawaii since Polynesians first introduced them in approximately AD 1200. Additional varieties of pigs were introduced following Captain Cook's arrival in Hawaii in 1778 and it has been suggested that the current pig population may descend primarily, or even exclusively, from European pigs. Although populations of feral pigs today are an important source of recreational hunting on all of the major islands, they also negatively impact native plants and animals. As a result, understanding the origins of these feral pig populations has significant ramifications for discussions concerning conservation management, identity and cultural continuity on the islands. Here, we analysed a neutral mitochondrial marker and a functional nuclear coat colour marker in 57 feral Hawaiian pigs. Through the identification of a new mutation in the MC1R gene that results in black coloration, we demonstrate that Hawaiian feral pigs are mostly the descendants of those originally introduced during Polynesian settlement, though there is evidence for some admixture. As such, extant Hawaiian pigs represent a unique historical lineage that is not exclusively descended from feral pigs of European origin.
Draft Genome Assembly of a Filamentous Euendolithic (True Boring) Cyanobacterium, Mastigocoleus testarum Strain BC008
Mastigocoleus testarum strain BC008 is a model organism used to study marine photoautotrophic carbonate dissolution. It is a multicellular, filamentous, diazotrophic, euendolithic cyanobacterium ubiquitously found in marine benthic environments. We present an accurate draft genome assembly of 172 contigs spanning 12,700,239 bp with 9,131 annotated genes with an average G+C% of 37.3. Mastigocoleus testarum strain BC008 is a model organism used to study marine photoautotrophic carbonate dissolution. It is a multicellular, filamentous, diazotrophic, euendolithic cyanobacterium ubiquitously found in marine benthic environments. We present an accurate draft genome assembly of 172 contigs spanning 12,700,239 bp with 9,131 annotated genes with an average G+C% of 37.3.
Multiple Introductions of Influenza A(H5N8) Virus into Poultry, Egypt, 2017
After high mortality rates among commercial poultry were reported in Egypt in 2017, we genetically characterized 4 distinct influenza A(H5N8) viruses isolated from poultry. Full-genome analysis indicated separate introductions of H5N8 clade 2.3.4.4 reassortants from Europe and Asia into Egypt, which poses a serious threat for poultry and humans. After high mortality rates among commercial poultry were reported in Egypt in 2017, we genetically characterized 4 distinct influenza A(H5N8) viruses isolated from poultry. Full-genome analysis indicated separate introductions of H5N8 clade 2.3.4.4 reassortants from Europe and Asia into Egypt, which poses a serious threat for poultry and humans.
RNA Viral Metagenome of Whiteflies Leads to the Discovery and Characterization of a Whitefly Transmitted Carlavirus in North America
Whiteflies from the Bemisia tabaci species complex have the ability to transmit a large number of plant viruses and are some of the most detrimental pests in agriculture. Although whiteflies are known to transmit both DNA and RNA viruses, most of the diversity has been recorded for the former, specifically for the Begomovirus genus. This study investigated the total diversity of DNA and RNA viruses found in whiteflies collected from a single site in Florida to evaluate if there are additional, previously undetected viral types within the B. tabaci vector. Metagenomic analysis of viral DNA extracted from the whiteflies only resulted in the detection of begomoviruses. In contrast, whiteflies contained sequences similar to RNA viruses from divergent groups, with a diversity that extends beyond currently described viruses. The metagenomic analysis of whiteflies also led to the first report of a whitefly-transmitted RNA virus similar to Cowpea mild mottle virus (CpMMV Florida) (genus Carlavirus) in North America. Further investigation resulted in the detection of CpMMV Florida in native and cultivated plants growing near the original field site of whitefly collection and determination of its experimental host range. Analysis of complete CpMMV Florida genomes recovered from whiteflies and plants suggests that the current classification criteria for carlaviruses need to be reevaluated. Overall, metagenomic analysis supports that DNA plant viruses carried by B. tabaci are dominated by begomoviruses, whereas significantly less is known about RNA viruses present in this damaging insect vector. Whiteflies from the Bemisia tabaci species complex have the ability to transmit a large number of plant viruses and are some of the most detrimental pests in agriculture. Although whiteflies are known to transmit both DNA and RNA viruses, most of the diversity has been recorded for the former, specifically for the Begomovirus genus. This study investigated the total diversity of DNA and RNA viruses found in whiteflies collected from a single site in Florida to evaluate if there are additional, previously undetected viral types within the B. tabaci vector. Metagenomic analysis of viral DNA extracted from the whiteflies only resulted in the detection of begomoviruses. In contrast, whiteflies contained sequences similar to RNA viruses from divergent groups, with a diversity that extends beyond currently described viruses. The metagenomic analysis of whiteflies also led to the first report of a whitefly-transmitted RNA virus similar to Cowpea mild mottle virus (CpMMV Florida) (genus Carlavirus) in North America. Further investigation resulted in the detection of CpMMV Florida in native and cultivated plants growing near the original field site of whitefly collection and determination of its experimental host range. Analysis of complete CpMMV Florida genomes recovered from whiteflies and plants suggests that the current classification criteria for carlaviruses need to be reevaluated. Overall, metagenomic analysis supports that DNA plant viruses carried by B. tabaci are dominated by begomoviruses, whereas significantly less is known about RNA viruses present in this damaging insect vector.
Calocybella, a new genus for Rugosomyces pudicus (Agaricales, Lyophyllaceae) and emendation of the genus Gerhardtia
Calocybella is a new genus established to accommodate Rugosomyces pudicus. Phylogenetic analyses based on a LSU-ITS sequence dataset place Calocybella sister to Gerhardtia from which it differs morphologically in the presence of clamp-connections and reddening context. The genus Gerhardtia is emended to also include taxa with smooth spores. According to our morphological analysis of voucher material, Calocybe juncicola s. auct. is shown to be Calocybella pudica. Calocybella is a new genus established to accommodate Rugosomyces pudicus. Phylogenetic analyses based on a LSU-ITS sequence dataset place Calocybella sister to Gerhardtia from which it differs morphologically in the presence of clamp-connections and reddening context. The genus Gerhardtia is emended to also include taxa with smooth spores. According to our morphological analysis of voucher material, Calocybe juncicola s. auct. is shown to be Calocybella pudica.
Potential for microbial H2 and metal transformations associated with novel bacteria and archaea in deep terrestrial subsurface sediments
Geological sequestration in deep underground repositories is the prevailing proposed route for radioactive waste disposal. After the disposal of radioactive waste in the subsurface, H2 may be produced by corrosion of steel and, ultimately, radionuclides will be exposed to the surrounding environment. To evaluate the potential for microbial activities to impact disposal systems, we explored the microbial community structure and metabolic functions of a sediment-hosted ecosystem at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory, Hokkaido, Japan. Overall, we found that the ecosystem hosted organisms from diverse lineages, including many from the phyla that lack isolated representatives. The majority of organisms can metabolize H2, often via oxidative [NiFe] hydrogenases or electron-bifurcating [FeFe] hydrogenases that enable ferredoxin-based pathways, including the ion motive Rnf complex. Many organisms implicated in H2 metabolism are also predicted to catalyze carbon, nitrogen, iron and sulfur transformations. Notably, iron-based metabolism is predicted in a novel lineage of Actinobacteria and in a putative methane-oxidizing ANME-2d archaeon. We infer an ecological model that links microorganisms to sediment-derived resources and predict potential impacts of microbial activity on H2 consumption and retardation of radionuclide migration. Geological sequestration in deep underground repositories is the prevailing proposed route for radioactive waste disposal. After the disposal of radioactive waste in the subsurface, H2 may be produced by corrosion of steel and, ultimately, radionuclides will be exposed to the surrounding environment. To evaluate the potential for microbial activities to impact disposal systems, we explored the microbial community structure and metabolic functions of a sediment-hosted ecosystem at the Horonobe Underground Research Laboratory, Hokkaido, Japan. Overall, we found that the ecosystem hosted organisms from diverse lineages, including many from the phyla that lack isolated representatives. The majority of organisms can metabolize H2, often via oxidative [NiFe] hydrogenases or electron-bifurcating [FeFe] hydrogenases that enable ferredoxin-based pathways, including the ion motive Rnf complex. Many organisms implicated in H2 metabolism are also predicted to catalyze carbon, nitrogen, iron and sulfur transformations. Notably, iron-based metabolism is predicted in a novel lineage of Actinobacteria and in a putative methane-oxidizing ANME-2d archaeon. We infer an ecological model that links microorganisms to sediment-derived resources and predict potential impacts of microbial activity on H2 consumption and retardation of radionuclide migration.
Advances in DNA metabarcoding for food and wildlife forensic species identification
Species identification using DNA barcodes has been widely adopted by forensic scientists as an effective molecular tool for tracking adulterations in food and for analysing samples from alleged wildlife crime incidents. DNA barcoding is an approach that involves sequencing of short DNA sequences from standardized regions and comparison to a reference database as a molecular diagnostic tool in species identification. In recent years, remarkable progress has been made towards developing DNA metabarcoding strategies, which involves next-generation sequencing of DNA barcodes for the simultaneous detection of multiple species in complex samples. Metabarcoding strategies can be used in processed materials containing highly degraded DNA e.g. for the identification of endangered and hazardous species in traditional medicine. This review aims to provide insight into advances of plant and animal DNA barcoding and highlights current practices and recent developments for DNA metabarcoding of food and wildlife forensic samples from a practical point of view. Special emphasis is placed on new developments for identifying species listed in the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) appendices for which reliable methods for species identification may signal and/or prevent illegal trade. Current technological developments and challenges of DNA metabarcoding for forensic scientists will be assessed in the light of stakeholders’ needs. Species identification using DNA barcodes has been widely adopted by forensic scientists as an effective molecular tool for tracking adulterations in food and for analysing samples from alleged wildlife crime incidents. DNA barcoding is an approach that involves sequencing of short DNA sequences from standardized regions and comparison to a reference database as a molecular diagnostic tool in species identification. In recent years, remarkable progress has been made towards developing DNA metabarcoding strategies, which involves next-generation sequencing of DNA barcodes for the simultaneous detection of multiple species in complex samples. Metabarcoding strategies can be used in processed materials containing highly degraded DNA e.g. for the identification of endangered and hazardous species in traditional medicine. This review aims to provide insight into advances of plant and animal DNA barcoding and highlights current practices and recent developments for DNA metabarcoding of food and wildlife forensic samples from a practical point of view. Special emphasis is placed on new developments for identifying species listed in the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) appendices for which reliable methods for species identification may signal and/or prevent illegal trade. Current technological developments and challenges of DNA metabarcoding for forensic scientists will be assessed in the light of stakeholders’ needs.
Recombination Is a Major Driving Force of Genetic Diversity in the Anaplasmataceae Ehrlichia ruminantium
The disease, Heartwater, caused by the Anaplasmataceae E. ruminantium, represents a major problem for tropical livestock and wild ruminants. Up to now, no effective vaccine has been available due to a limited cross protection of vaccinal strains on field strains and a high genetic diversity of Ehrlichia ruminantium within geographical locations. To address this issue, we inferred the genetic diversity and population structure of 194 E. ruminantium isolates circulating worldwide using Multilocus Sequence Typing based on lipA, lipB, secY, sodB, and sucA genes. Phylogenetic trees and networks were generated using BEAST and SplitsTree, respectively, and recombination between the different genetic groups was tested using the PHI test for recombination. Our study reveals the repeated occurrence of recombination between E. ruminantium strains, suggesting that it may occur frequently in the genome and has likely played an important role in the maintenance of genetic diversity and the evolution of E. ruminantium. Despite the unclear phylogeny and phylogeography, E. ruminantium isolates are clustered into two main groups: Group 1 (West Africa) and a Group 2 (worldwide) which is represented by West, East, and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean strains. Some sequence types are common between West Africa and Caribbean and between Southern Africa and Indian Ocean strains. These common sequence types highlight two main introduction events due to the movement of cattle: from West Africa to Caribbean and from Southern Africa to the Indian Ocean islands. Due to the long branch lengths between Group 1 and Group 2, and the propensity for recombination between these groups, it seems that the West African clusters of Subgroup 2 arrived there more recently than the original divergence of the two groups, possibly with the original waves of domesticated ruminants that spread across the African continent several thousand years ago. The disease, Heartwater, caused by the Anaplasmataceae E. ruminantium, represents a major problem for tropical livestock and wild ruminants. Up to now, no effective vaccine has been available due to a limited cross protection of vaccinal strains on field strains and a high genetic diversity of Ehrlichia ruminantium within geographical locations. To address this issue, we inferred the genetic diversity and population structure of 194 E. ruminantium isolates circulating worldwide using Multilocus Sequence Typing based on lipA, lipB, secY, sodB, and sucA genes. Phylogenetic trees and networks were generated using BEAST and SplitsTree, respectively, and recombination between the different genetic groups was tested using the PHI test for recombination. Our study reveals the repeated occurrence of recombination between E. ruminantium strains, suggesting that it may occur frequently in the genome and has likely played an important role in the maintenance of genetic diversity and the evolution of E. ruminantium. Despite the unclear phylogeny and phylogeography, E. ruminantium isolates are clustered into two main groups: Group 1 (West Africa) and a Group 2 (worldwide) which is represented by West, East, and Southern Africa, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean strains. Some sequence types are common between West Africa and Caribbean and between Southern Africa and Indian Ocean strains. These common sequence types highlight two main introduction events due to the movement of cattle: from West Africa to Caribbean and from Southern Africa to the Indian Ocean islands. Due to the long branch lengths between Group 1 and Group 2, and the propensity for recombination between these groups, it seems that the West African clusters of Subgroup 2 arrived there more recently than the original divergence of the two groups, possibly with the original waves of domesticated ruminants that spread across the African continent several thousand years ago.
Stable centromere positioning in diverse sequence contexts of complex and satellite centromeres of maize and wild relatives
Background Paradoxically, centromeres are known both for their characteristic repeat sequences (satellite DNA) and for being epigenetically defined. Maize (Zea mays mays) is an attractive model for studying centromere positioning because many of its large (~2 Mb) centromeres are not dominated by satellite DNA. These centromeres, which we call complex centromeres, allow for both assembly into reference genomes and for mapping short reads from ChIP-seq with antibodies to centromeric histone H3 (cenH3). Results We found frequent complex centromeres in maize and its wild relatives Z. mays parviglumis, Z. mays mexicana, and particularly Z. mays huehuetenangensis. Analysis of individual plants reveals minor variation in the positions of complex centromeres among siblings. However, such positional shifts are stochastic and not heritable, consistent with prior findings that centromere positioning is stable at the population level. Centromeres are also stable in multiple F1 hybrid contexts. Analysis of repeats in Z. mays and other species (Zea diploperennis, Zea luxurians, and Tripsacum dactyloides) reveals tenfold differences in abundance of the major satellite CentC, but similar high levels of sequence polymorphism in individual CentC copies. Deviation from the CentC consensus has little or no effect on binding of cenH3. Conclusions These data indicate that complex centromeres are neither a peculiarity of cultivation nor inbreeding in Z. mays. While extensive arrays of CentC may be the norm for other Zea and Tripsacum species, these data also reveal that a wide diversity of DNA sequences and multiple types of genetic elements in and near centromeres support centromere function and constrain centromere positions. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1249-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Paradoxically, centromeres are known both for their characteristic repeat sequences (satellite DNA) and for being epigenetically defined. Maize (Zea mays mays) is an attractive model for studying centromere positioning because many of its large (~2 Mb) centromeres are not dominated by satellite DNA. These centromeres, which we call complex centromeres, allow for both assembly into reference genomes and for mapping short reads from ChIP-seq with antibodies to centromeric histone H3 (cenH3). Results We found frequent complex centromeres in maize and its wild relatives Z. mays parviglumis, Z. mays mexicana, and particularly Z. mays huehuetenangensis. Analysis of individual plants reveals minor variation in the positions of complex centromeres among siblings. However, such positional shifts are stochastic and not heritable, consistent with prior findings that centromere positioning is stable at the population level. Centromeres are also stable in multiple F1 hybrid contexts. Analysis of repeats in Z. mays and other species (Zea diploperennis, Zea luxurians, and Tripsacum dactyloides) reveals tenfold differences in abundance of the major satellite CentC, but similar high levels of sequence polymorphism in individual CentC copies. Deviation from the CentC consensus has little or no effect on binding of cenH3. Conclusions These data indicate that complex centromeres are neither a peculiarity of cultivation nor inbreeding in Z. mays. While extensive arrays of CentC may be the norm for other Zea and Tripsacum species, these data also reveal that a wide diversity of DNA sequences and multiple types of genetic elements in and near centromeres support centromere function and constrain centromere positions. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1249-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Detection of Oropouche virus segment S in patients and inCulex quinquefasciatus in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil
This study aimed to investigate the circulation of Orthobunyavirus species in the state of Mato Grosso (MT) Brazil. During a dengue outbreak in 2011/2012, 529 serum samples were collected from patients with acute febrile illness with symptoms for up to five days and 387 pools of female Culex quinquefasciatus captured in 2013 were subjected to nested-reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for segment S of the Simbu serogroup followed by nucleotide sequencing and virus isolation in Vero cells. Patients (5/529; 0.9%) from Cuiabá (n = 3), Várzea Grande (n = 1) and Nova Mutum (n = 1) municipalities were positive for the S segment of Oropouche virus (OROV). Additionally, eight/387 Cx. quinquefasciatus pools were positive for the segment, with a minimum infection rate of 2.3. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all the samples belong to the subgenotype Ia, presenting high homology with OROV strains obtained from humans and animals in the Brazilian Amazon. The present paper reports the first detection of an Orthobunyavirus, possibly OROV, in patients and in Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes in MT. This finding reinforces the notion that arboviruses frequently reported in the Amazon Region circulate sporadically in MT during dengue outbreaks. This study aimed to investigate the circulation of Orthobunyavirus species in the state of Mato Grosso (MT) Brazil. During a dengue outbreak in 2011/2012, 529 serum samples were collected from patients with acute febrile illness with symptoms for up to five days and 387 pools of female Culex quinquefasciatus captured in 2013 were subjected to nested-reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for segment S of the Simbu serogroup followed by nucleotide sequencing and virus isolation in Vero cells. Patients (5/529; 0.9%) from Cuiabá (n = 3), Várzea Grande (n = 1) and Nova Mutum (n = 1) municipalities were positive for the S segment of Oropouche virus (OROV). Additionally, eight/387 Cx. quinquefasciatus pools were positive for the segment, with a minimum infection rate of 2.3. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that all the samples belong to the subgenotype Ia, presenting high homology with OROV strains obtained from humans and animals in the Brazilian Amazon. The present paper reports the first detection of an Orthobunyavirus, possibly OROV, in patients and in Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes in MT. This finding reinforces the notion that arboviruses frequently reported in the Amazon Region circulate sporadically in MT during dengue outbreaks.
Rapid Gene Family Evolution of a Nematode Sperm Protein Despite Sequence Hyper conservation
Reproductive proteins are often observed to be the most rapidly evolving elements within eukaryotic genomes. The major sperm protein (MSP) is unique to the phylum Nematoda and is required for proper sperm locomotion and fertilization. Here, we annotate the MSP gene family and analyze their molecular evolution in 10 representative species across Nematoda. We show that MSPs are hyper-conserved across the phylum, having maintained an amino acid sequence identity of 83.5–97.7% for over 500 million years. This extremely slow rate of evolution makes MSPs some of the most highly conserved genes yet identified. However, at the gene family level, we show hyper-variability in both gene copy number and genomic position within species, suggesting rapid, lineage-specific gene family evolution. Additionally, we find evidence that extensive gene conversion contributes to the maintenance of sequence identity within chromosome-level clusters of MSP genes. Thus, while not conforming to the standard expectation for the evolution of reproductive proteins, our analysis of the molecular evolution of the MSP gene family is nonetheless consistent with the widely repeatable observation that reproductive proteins evolve rapidly, in this case in terms of the genomic properties of gene structure, copy number, and genomic organization. This unusual evolutionary pattern is likely generated by strong pleiotropic constraints acting on these genes at the sequence level, balanced against expansion at the level of the whole gene family. Reproductive proteins are often observed to be the most rapidly evolving elements within eukaryotic genomes. The major sperm protein (MSP) is unique to the phylum Nematoda and is required for proper sperm locomotion and fertilization. Here, we annotate the MSP gene family and analyze their molecular evolution in 10 representative species across Nematoda. We show that MSPs are hyper-conserved across the phylum, having maintained an amino acid sequence identity of 83.5–97.7% for over 500 million years. This extremely slow rate of evolution makes MSPs some of the most highly conserved genes yet identified. However, at the gene family level, we show hyper-variability in both gene copy number and genomic position within species, suggesting rapid, lineage-specific gene family evolution. Additionally, we find evidence that extensive gene conversion contributes to the maintenance of sequence identity within chromosome-level clusters of MSP genes. Thus, while not conforming to the standard expectation for the evolution of reproductive proteins, our analysis of the molecular evolution of the MSP gene family is nonetheless consistent with the widely repeatable observation that reproductive proteins evolve rapidly, in this case in terms of the genomic properties of gene structure, copy number, and genomic organization. This unusual evolutionary pattern is likely generated by strong pleiotropic constraints acting on these genes at the sequence level, balanced against expansion at the level of the whole gene family.
Quantum changes in Helicobacter pylori gene expression accompany host adaptation
Abstract Helicobacter pylori is a highly successful gastric pathogen. High genomic plasticity allows its adaptation to changing host environments. Complete genomes of H. pylori clinical isolate UM032 and its mice-adapted serial derivatives 298 and 299, generated using both PacBio RS and Illumina MiSeq sequencing technologies, were compared to identify novel elements responsible for host-adaptation. The acquisition of a jhp0562-like allele, which encodes for a galactosyltransferase, was identified in the mice-adapted strains. Our analysis implies a new β-1,4-galactosyltransferase role for this enzyme, essential for Ley antigen expression. Intragenomic recombination between babA and babB genes was also observed. Further, we expanded on the list of candidate genes whose expression patterns have been mediated by upstream homopolymer-length alterations to facilitate host adaption. Importantly, greater than four-fold reduction of mRNA levels was demonstrated in five genes. Among the down-regulated genes, three encode for outer membrane proteins, including BabA, BabB and HopD. As expected, a substantial reduction in BabA protein abundance was detected in mice-adapted strains 298 and 299 via Western analysis. Our results suggest that the expression of Ley antigen and reduced outer membrane protein expressions may facilitate H. pylori colonisation of mouse gastric epithelium. Abstract Helicobacter pylori is a highly successful gastric pathogen. High genomic plasticity allows its adaptation to changing host environments. Complete genomes of H. pylori clinical isolate UM032 and its mice-adapted serial derivatives 298 and 299, generated using both PacBio RS and Illumina MiSeq sequencing technologies, were compared to identify novel elements responsible for host-adaptation. The acquisition of a jhp0562-like allele, which encodes for a galactosyltransferase, was identified in the mice-adapted strains. Our analysis implies a new β-1,4-galactosyltransferase role for this enzyme, essential for Ley antigen expression. Intragenomic recombination between babA and babB genes was also observed. Further, we expanded on the list of candidate genes whose expression patterns have been mediated by upstream homopolymer-length alterations to facilitate host adaption. Importantly, greater than four-fold reduction of mRNA levels was demonstrated in five genes. Among the down-regulated genes, three encode for outer membrane proteins, including BabA, BabB and HopD. As expected, a substantial reduction in BabA protein abundance was detected in mice-adapted strains 298 and 299 via Western analysis. Our results suggest that the expression of Ley antigen and reduced outer membrane protein expressions may facilitate H. pylori colonisation of mouse gastric epithelium.
Microscopic and Molecular Evidence of the First Elasmobranch Adomavirus, the Cause of Skin Disease in a Giant Guitarfish, Rhynchobatus djiddensis
IMPORTANCE Cartilaginous fish, including the sharks and rays, evolved from ancestral fish species at least 400 million years ago. Even though they are the descendants of one of the most ancient vertebrate lineages, reports of viral diseases in these species are rare and poorly documented. Deep sequencing revealed a highly divergent virus, tentatively named guitarfish adomavirus, that is distantly related to known papillomaviruses and polyomaviruses. Out of the eight predicted viral genes, only the helicase could be identified as viral by sequence homology searches (BLAST), exemplifying the difficulties of discovering novel viruses within seas of unidentifiable “dark matter” associated with deep sequencing data. The novel adomavirus represents the first viral genome shown to cause clinical disease in a cartilaginous fish species, the giant guitarfish. Our findings demonstrate that emerging fish viruses are fertile ground to expand our understanding of viral evolution in vertebrates. IMPORTANCE Cartilaginous fish, including the sharks and rays, evolved from ancestral fish species at least 400 million years ago. Even though they are the descendants of one of the most ancient vertebrate lineages, reports of viral diseases in these species are rare and poorly documented. Deep sequencing revealed a highly divergent virus, tentatively named guitarfish adomavirus, that is distantly related to known papillomaviruses and polyomaviruses. Out of the eight predicted viral genes, only the helicase could be identified as viral by sequence homology searches (BLAST), exemplifying the difficulties of discovering novel viruses within seas of unidentifiable “dark matter” associated with deep sequencing data. The novel adomavirus represents the first viral genome shown to cause clinical disease in a cartilaginous fish species, the giant guitarfish. Our findings demonstrate that emerging fish viruses are fertile ground to expand our understanding of viral evolution in vertebrates.ABSTRACT Only eight families of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses are known to infect vertebrate animals. During an investigation of papillomatous skin disease in an elasmobranch species, the giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), a novel virus, distinct from all known viral families in regard to particle size, morphology, genome organization, and helicase phylogeny was discovered. Large inclusion bodies containing 75-nm icosahedral viral particles were present within epithelial cell nuclei in the proliferative skin lesions. Deep metagenomic sequencing revealed a 22-kb circular dsDNA viral genome, tentatively named guitarfish “adomavirus” (GAdoV), with only distant homology to two other fish viruses, Japanese eel endothelial cell-infecting virus (JEECV) and a recently reported marbled eel virus. Phylogenetic analysis of the helicase domain places the guitarfish virus in a novel clade that is equidistant between members of the Papillomaviridae and Polyomaviridae families. Specific PCR, quantitative PCR, and in situ hybridization were used to detect, quantify, and confirm that GAdoV DNA was localized to affected epithelial cell nuclei. Changes in the viral titer, as well as the presence of a hybridization signal, coincided with the progression and then final resolution of gross and microscopic lesions. The results indicate that GAdoV is the causative agent of the proliferative skin lesions. ABSTRACT Only eight families of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses are known to infect vertebrate animals. During an investigation of papillomatous skin disease in an elasmobranch species, the giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), a novel virus, distinct from all known viral families in regard to particle size, morphology, genome organization, and helicase phylogeny was discovered. Large inclusion bodies containing 75-nm icosahedral viral particles were present within epithelial cell nuclei in the proliferative skin lesions. Deep metagenomic sequencing revealed a 22-kb circular dsDNA viral genome, tentatively named guitarfish “adomavirus” (GAdoV), with only distant homology to two other fish viruses, Japanese eel endothelial cell-infecting virus (JEECV) and a recently reported marbled eel virus. Phylogenetic analysis of the helicase domain places the guitarfish virus in a novel clade that is equidistant between members of the Papillomaviridae and Polyomaviridae families. Specific PCR, quantitative PCR, and in situ hybridization were used to detect, quantify, and confirm that GAdoV DNA was localized to affected epithelial cell nuclei. Changes in the viral titer, as well as the presence of a hybridization signal, coincided with the progression and then final resolution of gross and microscopic lesions. The results indicate that GAdoV is the causative agent of the proliferative skin lesions.
An Efficient Strategy for Small Scale Screening and Production of Archaeal Membrane Transport Proteins in Escherichia coli
Background Membrane proteins play a key role in many fundamental cellular processes such as transport of nutrients, sensing of environmental signals and energy transduction, and account for over 50% of all known drug targets. Despite their importance, structural and functional characterisation of membrane proteins still remains a challenge, partially due to the difficulties in recombinant expression and purification. Therefore the need for development of efficient methods for heterologous production is essential. Methodology/Principal Findings Fifteen integral membrane transport proteins from Archaea were selected as test targets, chosen to represent two superfamilies widespread in all organisms known as the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) and the 5-Helix Inverted Repeat Transporter superfamily (5HIRT). These proteins typically have eleven to twelve predicted transmembrane helices and are putative transporters for sugar, metabolite, nucleobase, vitamin or neurotransmitter. They include a wide range of examples from the following families: Metabolite-H+-symporter; Sugar Porter; Nucleobase-Cation-Symporter-1; Nucleobase-Cation-Symporter-2; and neurotransmitter-sodium-symporter. Overproduction of transporters was evaluated with three vectors (pTTQ18, pET52b, pWarf) and two Escherichia coli strains (BL21 Star and C43 (DE3)). Thirteen transporter genes were successfully expressed; only two did not express in any of the tested vector-strain combinations. Initial trials showed that seven transporters could be purified and six of these yielded quantities of ≥ 0.4 mg per litre suitable for functional and structural studies. Size-exclusion chromatography confirmed that two purified transporters were almost homogeneous while four others were shown to be non-aggregating, indicating that they are ready for up-scale production and crystallisation trials. Conclusions/Significance Here, we describe an efficient strategy for heterologous production of membrane transport proteins in E. coli. Small-volume cultures (10 mL) produced sufficient amount of proteins to assess their purity and aggregation state. The methods described in this work are simple to implement and can be easily applied to many more membrane proteins. Background Membrane proteins play a key role in many fundamental cellular processes such as transport of nutrients, sensing of environmental signals and energy transduction, and account for over 50% of all known drug targets. Despite their importance, structural and functional characterisation of membrane proteins still remains a challenge, partially due to the difficulties in recombinant expression and purification. Therefore the need for development of efficient methods for heterologous production is essential. Methodology/Principal Findings Fifteen integral membrane transport proteins from Archaea were selected as test targets, chosen to represent two superfamilies widespread in all organisms known as the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) and the 5-Helix Inverted Repeat Transporter superfamily (5HIRT). These proteins typically have eleven to twelve predicted transmembrane helices and are putative transporters for sugar, metabolite, nucleobase, vitamin or neurotransmitter. They include a wide range of examples from the following families: Metabolite-H+-symporter; Sugar Porter; Nucleobase-Cation-Symporter-1; Nucleobase-Cation-Symporter-2; and neurotransmitter-sodium-symporter. Overproduction of transporters was evaluated with three vectors (pTTQ18, pET52b, pWarf) and two Escherichia coli strains (BL21 Star and C43 (DE3)). Thirteen transporter genes were successfully expressed; only two did not express in any of the tested vector-strain combinations. Initial trials showed that seven transporters could be purified and six of these yielded quantities of ≥ 0.4 mg per litre suitable for functional and structural studies. Size-exclusion chromatography confirmed that two purified transporters were almost homogeneous while four others were shown to be non-aggregating, indicating that they are ready for up-scale production and crystallisation trials. Conclusions/Significance Here, we describe an efficient strategy for heterologous production of membrane transport proteins in E. coli. Small-volume cultures (10 mL) produced sufficient amount of proteins to assess their purity and aggregation state. The methods described in this work are simple to implement and can be easily applied to many more membrane proteins.
Rates and relations of mitochondrial genome evolution across the Echinoidea, with special focus on the superfamily Odontophora
Abstract In order to better characterize the placement of genus Tripneustes, as a representative of the Toxopneustidae family within the broader sea urchin mitochondrial (MT) phylogeny, the complete MT genome of Tripneustes gratilla was generated and compared with all published echinoid MT genomes currently available on NCBI GenBank. The MT genome phylogeny supports the existence of the superfamily Odontophora (consisting of the families Strongylocentrotidae, Echinometridae, and Toxopneustidae). A relaxed molecular‐clock time calibration suggests a split between the three key Odontophore MT lineages occurred during the late Eocene/Oligocene. Major global oceanographic changes have been inferred during this time frame, potentially driving species diversification through environmental selection pressures. To test for signatures of selection acting on the mitochondria, the historical rate of gene evolution of individual MT genes was assessed through a branch‐site comparison of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution ratios (ω). Models of positive selection and neutral evolution, as compared via a likelihood ratio test, show no evidence of strong historical positive selection on mitochondrial genes at the genesis of the Odontophora. However, while pairwise ω comparison revealed signatures of strong negative selection, relatively elevated ω values were observed within the Strongylocentrotus genus. Abstract In order to better characterize the placement of genus Tripneustes, as a representative of the Toxopneustidae family within the broader sea urchin mitochondrial (MT) phylogeny, the complete MT genome of Tripneustes gratilla was generated and compared with all published echinoid MT genomes currently available on NCBI GenBank. The MT genome phylogeny supports the existence of the superfamily Odontophora (consisting of the families Strongylocentrotidae, Echinometridae, and Toxopneustidae). A relaxed molecular‐clock time calibration suggests a split between the three key Odontophore MT lineages occurred during the late Eocene/Oligocene. Major global oceanographic changes have been inferred during this time frame, potentially driving species diversification through environmental selection pressures. To test for signatures of selection acting on the mitochondria, the historical rate of gene evolution of individual MT genes was assessed through a branch‐site comparison of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution ratios (ω). Models of positive selection and neutral evolution, as compared via a likelihood ratio test, show no evidence of strong historical positive selection on mitochondrial genes at the genesis of the Odontophora. However, while pairwise ω comparison revealed signatures of strong negative selection, relatively elevated ω values were observed within the Strongylocentrotus genus.
Comparative genetics of invasive populations of walnut aphid, Chromaphis juglandicola, and its introduced parasitoid, Trioxys pallidus, in California
Abstract Coevolution may be an important component of the sustainability of importation biological control, but how frequently introduced natural enemies coevolve with their target pests is unclear. Here we explore whether comparative population genetics of the invasive walnut aphid, Chromaphis juglandicola, and its introduced parasitoid, Trioxys pallidus, provide insights into the localized breakdown of biological control services in walnut orchards in California. We found that sampled populations of C. juglandicola exhibited higher estimates of genetic differentiation (FST) than co‐occurring populations of T. pallidus. In contrast, estimates of both the inbreeding coefficient (GIS) and contemporary gene flow were higher for T. pallidus than for C. juglandicola. We also found evidence of reciprocal outlier loci in some locations, but none showed significant signatures of selection. Synthesis and applications. Understanding the importance of coevolutionary interactions for the sustainability of biological control remains an important and understudied component of biological control research. Given the observed differences in gene flow and genetic differentiation among populations of T. pallidus and C. juglandicola, we suspect that temporary local disruption of biological control services may occur more frequently than expected while remaining stable at broader regional scales. Further research that combines genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping with measurements of phenotypic traits is needed to provide more conclusive evidence of whether the occurrence of outlier loci that display significant signatures of selection can be interpreted as evidence of the presence of a geographic mosaic of coevolution in this system. Abstract Coevolution may be an important component of the sustainability of importation biological control, but how frequently introduced natural enemies coevolve with their target pests is unclear. Here we explore whether comparative population genetics of the invasive walnut aphid, Chromaphis juglandicola, and its introduced parasitoid, Trioxys pallidus, provide insights into the localized breakdown of biological control services in walnut orchards in California. We found that sampled populations of C. juglandicola exhibited higher estimates of genetic differentiation (FST) than co‐occurring populations of T. pallidus. In contrast, estimates of both the inbreeding coefficient (GIS) and contemporary gene flow were higher for T. pallidus than for C. juglandicola. We also found evidence of reciprocal outlier loci in some locations, but none showed significant signatures of selection. Synthesis and applications. Understanding the importance of coevolutionary interactions for the sustainability of biological control remains an important and understudied component of biological control research. Given the observed differences in gene flow and genetic differentiation among populations of T. pallidus and C. juglandicola, we suspect that temporary local disruption of biological control services may occur more frequently than expected while remaining stable at broader regional scales. Further research that combines genomewide single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping with measurements of phenotypic traits is needed to provide more conclusive evidence of whether the occurrence of outlier loci that display significant signatures of selection can be interpreted as evidence of the presence of a geographic mosaic of coevolution in this system.
An analysis of P seudomonas genomic diversity in take‐all infected wheat fields reveals the lasting impact of wheat cultivars on the soil microbiota
Summary Manipulation of the soil microbiota associated with crop plants has huge promise for the control of crop pathogens. However, to fully realize this potential we need a better understanding of the relationship between the soil environment and the genes and phenotypes that enable microbes to colonize plants and contribute to biocontrol. A recent 2 years of investigation into the effect of wheat variety on second year crop yield in the context of take‐all fungal infection presented the opportunity to examine soil microbiomes under closely defined field conditions. Amplicon sequencing of second year soil samples showed that P seudomonas spp. were particularly affected by the wheat cultivar grown in year one. Consequently, 318 rhizosphere‐associated P seudomonas fluorescens strains were isolated and characterized across a variety of genetic and phenotypic traits. Again, the wheat variety grown in the first year of the study was shown to exert considerable selective pressure on both the extent and nature of P seudomonas genomic diversity. Furthermore, multiple significant correlations were identified within the phenotypic/genetic structure of the Pseudomonas population, and between individual genotypes and the external wheat field environment. The approach outlined here has considerable future potential for our understanding of plant–microbe interactions, and for the broader analysis of complex microbial communities. Summary Manipulation of the soil microbiota associated with crop plants has huge promise for the control of crop pathogens. However, to fully realize this potential we need a better understanding of the relationship between the soil environment and the genes and phenotypes that enable microbes to colonize plants and contribute to biocontrol. A recent 2 years of investigation into the effect of wheat variety on second year crop yield in the context of take‐all fungal infection presented the opportunity to examine soil microbiomes under closely defined field conditions. Amplicon sequencing of second year soil samples showed that P seudomonas spp. were particularly affected by the wheat cultivar grown in year one. Consequently, 318 rhizosphere‐associated P seudomonas fluorescens strains were isolated and characterized across a variety of genetic and phenotypic traits. Again, the wheat variety grown in the first year of the study was shown to exert considerable selective pressure on both the extent and nature of P seudomonas genomic diversity. Furthermore, multiple significant correlations were identified within the phenotypic/genetic structure of the Pseudomonas population, and between individual genotypes and the external wheat field environment. The approach outlined here has considerable future potential for our understanding of plant–microbe interactions, and for the broader analysis of complex microbial communities.
Panmixia and dispersal from the Mediterranean Basin to Macaronesian Islands of a macrolichen species
The Mediterranean region, comprising the Mediterranean Basin and the Macaronesian Islands, represents a center of diversification for many organisms. The genetic structure and connectivity of mainland and island microbial populations has been poorly explored, in particular in the case of symbiotic fungi. Here we investigated genetic diversity and spatial structure of the obligate outcrossing lichen-forming fungus Parmelina carporrhizans in the Mediterranean region. Using eight microsatellite and mating-type markers we showed that fungal populations are highly diverse but lack spatial structure. This is likely due to high connectivity and long distance dispersal of fungal spores. Consistent with low levels of linkage disequilibrium and lack of clonality, we detected both mating-type idiomorphs in all populations. Furthermore we showed that the Macaronesian Islands are the result of colonization from the Mediterranean Basin. The unidirectional gene flow, though, seemed not to be sufficient to counterbalance the effects of drift, resulting in comparatively allelic poor peripheral populations. Our study is the first to shed light on the high connectivity and lack of population structure in natural populations of a strictly sexual lichen fungus. Our data further support the view of the Macaronesian Islands as the end of the colonization road for this symbiotic ascomycete. The Mediterranean region, comprising the Mediterranean Basin and the Macaronesian Islands, represents a center of diversification for many organisms. The genetic structure and connectivity of mainland and island microbial populations has been poorly explored, in particular in the case of symbiotic fungi. Here we investigated genetic diversity and spatial structure of the obligate outcrossing lichen-forming fungus Parmelina carporrhizans in the Mediterranean region. Using eight microsatellite and mating-type markers we showed that fungal populations are highly diverse but lack spatial structure. This is likely due to high connectivity and long distance dispersal of fungal spores. Consistent with low levels of linkage disequilibrium and lack of clonality, we detected both mating-type idiomorphs in all populations. Furthermore we showed that the Macaronesian Islands are the result of colonization from the Mediterranean Basin. The unidirectional gene flow, though, seemed not to be sufficient to counterbalance the effects of drift, resulting in comparatively allelic poor peripheral populations. Our study is the first to shed light on the high connectivity and lack of population structure in natural populations of a strictly sexual lichen fungus. Our data further support the view of the Macaronesian Islands as the end of the colonization road for this symbiotic ascomycete.
A Single Stranded DNA Aptamer That Selectively Binds to Staphylococcus aureus Enterotoxin B
The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is a common foodborne pathogen capable of secreting a cocktail of small, stable, and strain-specific, staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs). Staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP) results when improperly handled food contaminated with SEs is consumed. Gastrointestinal symptoms of SFP include emesis, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain, which manifest within hours of ingesting contaminated food. Immuno-affinity based methods directly detect, identify, and quantify several SEs within a food or clinical sample. However, the success of these assays depends upon the availability of a monoclonal antibody, the development of which is non-trivial and costly. The current scope of the available immuno-affinity based methods is limited to the classical SEs and does not encompass all of the known or emergent SEs. In contrast to antibodies, aptamers are short nucleic acids that exhibit high affinity and specificity for their targets without the high-costs and ethical concerns of animal husbandry. Further, researchers may choose to freely distribute aptamers and develop assays without the proprietary issues that increase the per-sample cost of immuno-affinity assays. This study describes a novel aptamer, selected in vitro, with affinity to staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) that may be used in lieu of antibodies in SE detection assays. The aptamer, designated APTSEB1, successfully isolates SEB from a complex mixture of SEs with extremely high discrimination. This work sets the foundation for future aptamer and assay development towards the entire family of SEs. The rapid, robust, and low-cost identification and quantification of all of the SEs in S. aureus contaminated food is essential for food safety and epidemiological efforts. An in vitro generated library of SE aptamers could potentially allow for the comprehensive and cost-effective analysis of food samples that immuno-affinity assays currently cannot provide. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is a common foodborne pathogen capable of secreting a cocktail of small, stable, and strain-specific, staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs). Staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP) results when improperly handled food contaminated with SEs is consumed. Gastrointestinal symptoms of SFP include emesis, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain, which manifest within hours of ingesting contaminated food. Immuno-affinity based methods directly detect, identify, and quantify several SEs within a food or clinical sample. However, the success of these assays depends upon the availability of a monoclonal antibody, the development of which is non-trivial and costly. The current scope of the available immuno-affinity based methods is limited to the classical SEs and does not encompass all of the known or emergent SEs. In contrast to antibodies, aptamers are short nucleic acids that exhibit high affinity and specificity for their targets without the high-costs and ethical concerns of animal husbandry. Further, researchers may choose to freely distribute aptamers and develop assays without the proprietary issues that increase the per-sample cost of immuno-affinity assays. This study describes a novel aptamer, selected in vitro, with affinity to staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) that may be used in lieu of antibodies in SE detection assays. The aptamer, designated APTSEB1, successfully isolates SEB from a complex mixture of SEs with extremely high discrimination. This work sets the foundation for future aptamer and assay development towards the entire family of SEs. The rapid, robust, and low-cost identification and quantification of all of the SEs in S. aureus contaminated food is essential for food safety and epidemiological efforts. An in vitro generated library of SE aptamers could potentially allow for the comprehensive and cost-effective analysis of food samples that immuno-affinity assays currently cannot provide.
Pegivirus avoids immune recognition but does not attenuate acute phase disease in a macaque model of HIV infection
Author summary People infected with HIV live longer, healthier lives when they are co-infected with the human pegivirus (HPgV)–an understudied virus with a high prevalence in the global human population. To better understand how HPgV protects people with HIV from HIV-associated disease, we infected macaques with simian versions of these two viruses (SPgV and SIV). We found that SPgV had no impact on SIV-associated disease early during the course of SIV infection–a time when SIV and HIV are known to cause irreversible damage to the immune system. Oddly, we found that the immune system did not recognize SPgV; a finding that warrants further investigation. Overall, this study greatly expands on our understanding of the pegiviruses and their interaction with the immune system. Author summary People infected with HIV live longer, healthier lives when they are co-infected with the human pegivirus (HPgV)–an understudied virus with a high prevalence in the global human population. To better understand how HPgV protects people with HIV from HIV-associated disease, we infected macaques with simian versions of these two viruses (SPgV and SIV). We found that SPgV had no impact on SIV-associated disease early during the course of SIV infection–a time when SIV and HIV are known to cause irreversible damage to the immune system. Oddly, we found that the immune system did not recognize SPgV; a finding that warrants further investigation. Overall, this study greatly expands on our understanding of the pegiviruses and their interaction with the immune system.Human pegivirus (HPgV) protects HIV+ people from HIV-associated disease, but the mechanism of this protective effect remains poorly understood. We sequentially infected cynomolgus macaques with simian pegivirus (SPgV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) to model HIV+HPgV co-infection. SPgV had no effect on acute-phase SIV pathogenesis–as measured by SIV viral load, CD4+ T cell destruction, immune activation, or adaptive immune responses–suggesting that HPgV’s protective effect is exerted primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection. We also examined the immune response to SPgV in unprecedented detail, and found that this virus elicits virtually no activation of the immune system despite persistently high titers in the blood over long periods of time. Overall, this study expands our understanding of the pegiviruses–an understudied group of viruses with a high prevalence in the global human population–and suggests that the protective effect observed in HIV+HPgV co-infected people occurs primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection. Human pegivirus (HPgV) protects HIV+ people from HIV-associated disease, but the mechanism of this protective effect remains poorly understood. We sequentially infected cynomolgus macaques with simian pegivirus (SPgV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) to model HIV+HPgV co-infection. SPgV had no effect on acute-phase SIV pathogenesis–as measured by SIV viral load, CD4+ T cell destruction, immune activation, or adaptive immune responses–suggesting that HPgV’s protective effect is exerted primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection. We also examined the immune response to SPgV in unprecedented detail, and found that this virus elicits virtually no activation of the immune system despite persistently high titers in the blood over long periods of time. Overall, this study expands our understanding of the pegiviruses–an understudied group of viruses with a high prevalence in the global human population–and suggests that the protective effect observed in HIV+HPgV co-infected people occurs primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection.
Skin Lesions on Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Three Sites in the Northwest Atlantic, USA
Skin disease occurs frequently in many cetacean species across the globe; methods to categorize lesions have relied on photo-identification (photo-id), stranding, and by-catch data. The current study used photo-id data from four sampling months during 2009 to estimate skin lesion prevalence and type occurring on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from three sites along the southeast United States coast [Sarasota Bay, FL (SSB); near Brunswick and Sapelo Island, GA (BSG); and near Charleston, SC (CHS)]. The prevalence of lesions was highest among BSG dolphins (P = 0.587) and lowest in SSB (P = 0.380), and the overall prevalence was significantly different among all sites (p<0.0167). Logistic regression modeling revealed a significant reduction in the odds of lesion occurrence for increasing water temperatures (OR = 0.92; 95%CI:0.906–0.938) and a significantly increased odds of lesion occurrence for BSG dolphins (OR = 1.39; 95%CI:1.203–1.614). Approximately one-third of the lesioned dolphins from each site presented with multiple types, and population differences in lesion type occurrence were observed (p<0.05). Lesions on stranded dolphins were sampled to determine the etiology of different lesion types, which included three visually distinct samples positive for herpesvirus. Although generally considered non-fatal, skin disease may be indicative of animal health or exposure to anthropogenic or environmental threats, and photo-id data provide an efficient and cost-effective approach to document the occurrence of skin lesions in free-ranging populations. Skin disease occurs frequently in many cetacean species across the globe; methods to categorize lesions have relied on photo-identification (photo-id), stranding, and by-catch data. The current study used photo-id data from four sampling months during 2009 to estimate skin lesion prevalence and type occurring on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from three sites along the southeast United States coast [Sarasota Bay, FL (SSB); near Brunswick and Sapelo Island, GA (BSG); and near Charleston, SC (CHS)]. The prevalence of lesions was highest among BSG dolphins (P = 0.587) and lowest in SSB (P = 0.380), and the overall prevalence was significantly different among all sites (p<0.0167). Logistic regression modeling revealed a significant reduction in the odds of lesion occurrence for increasing water temperatures (OR = 0.92; 95%CI:0.906–0.938) and a significantly increased odds of lesion occurrence for BSG dolphins (OR = 1.39; 95%CI:1.203–1.614). Approximately one-third of the lesioned dolphins from each site presented with multiple types, and population differences in lesion type occurrence were observed (p<0.05). Lesions on stranded dolphins were sampled to determine the etiology of different lesion types, which included three visually distinct samples positive for herpesvirus. Although generally considered non-fatal, skin disease may be indicative of animal health or exposure to anthropogenic or environmental threats, and photo-id data provide an efficient and cost-effective approach to document the occurrence of skin lesions in free-ranging populations.
Performances of Different Fragment Sizes for Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing in Pigs
Background Reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) has been widely used to profile genome-scale DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. However, the applications and technical performances of RRBS with different fragment sizes have not been systematically reported in pigs, which serve as one of the important biomedical models for humans. The aims of this study were to evaluate capacities of RRBS libraries with different fragment sizes to characterize the porcine genome. Results We found that the MspI-digested segments between 40 and 220 bp harbored a high distribution peak at 74 bp, which were highly overlapped with the repetitive elements and might reduce the unique mapping alignment. The RRBS library of 110–220 bp fragment size had the highest unique mapping alignment and the lowest multiple alignment. The cost-effectiveness of the 40–110 bp, 110–220 bp and 40–220 bp fragment sizes might decrease when the dataset size was more than 70, 50 and 110 million reads for these three fragment sizes, respectively. Given a 50-million dataset size, the average sequencing depth of the detected CpG sites in the 110–220 bp fragment size appeared to be deeper than in the 40–110 bp and 40–220 bp fragment sizes, and these detected CpG sties differently located in gene- and CpG island-related regions. Conclusions In this study, our results demonstrated that selections of fragment sizes could affect the numbers and sequencing depth of detected CpG sites as well as the cost-efficiency. No single solution of RRBS is optimal in all circumstances for investigating genome-scale DNA methylation. This work provides the useful knowledge on designing and executing RRBS for investigating the genome-wide DNA methylation in tissues from pigs. Background Reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) has been widely used to profile genome-scale DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. However, the applications and technical performances of RRBS with different fragment sizes have not been systematically reported in pigs, which serve as one of the important biomedical models for humans. The aims of this study were to evaluate capacities of RRBS libraries with different fragment sizes to characterize the porcine genome. Results We found that the MspI-digested segments between 40 and 220 bp harbored a high distribution peak at 74 bp, which were highly overlapped with the repetitive elements and might reduce the unique mapping alignment. The RRBS library of 110–220 bp fragment size had the highest unique mapping alignment and the lowest multiple alignment. The cost-effectiveness of the 40–110 bp, 110–220 bp and 40–220 bp fragment sizes might decrease when the dataset size was more than 70, 50 and 110 million reads for these three fragment sizes, respectively. Given a 50-million dataset size, the average sequencing depth of the detected CpG sites in the 110–220 bp fragment size appeared to be deeper than in the 40–110 bp and 40–220 bp fragment sizes, and these detected CpG sties differently located in gene- and CpG island-related regions. Conclusions In this study, our results demonstrated that selections of fragment sizes could affect the numbers and sequencing depth of detected CpG sites as well as the cost-efficiency. No single solution of RRBS is optimal in all circumstances for investigating genome-scale DNA methylation. This work provides the useful knowledge on designing and executing RRBS for investigating the genome-wide DNA methylation in tissues from pigs.
Consequences of supplying methyl donors during pregnancy on the methylome of the offspring from lactating and non lactating dairy cattle
The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential effects of methyl donor supplementation of pregnant animals in the presence or absence of a concomitant lactation on the methylome of the offspring. Twenty Holstein cows, 10 nulliparous (non-lactating while pregnant) and 10 multiparous (lactating while pregnant) were blocked by parity and randomly assigned to an i.m. weekly injections of a placebo (CTRL) or a solution containing methyl donors (MET). After calving, 5 calves randomly selected from each treatment (two born to non-lactating and three to lactating dams) were blood-sampled to determine their full methylome. There were more than 2,000 CpG differentially methylated between calves born to CTRL and those born to MET, and also between calves born to lactating and non-lactating dams. Most of the differences affected genes involved in immune function, cell growth regulation and differentiation, kinase activity, and ion channeling. We conclude that the coexistence of pregnancy and lactation affects the methylome of the offspring, and that supplementation of methyl donors early in gestation has also consequences on the methylome. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential effects of methyl donor supplementation of pregnant animals in the presence or absence of a concomitant lactation on the methylome of the offspring. Twenty Holstein cows, 10 nulliparous (non-lactating while pregnant) and 10 multiparous (lactating while pregnant) were blocked by parity and randomly assigned to an i.m. weekly injections of a placebo (CTRL) or a solution containing methyl donors (MET). After calving, 5 calves randomly selected from each treatment (two born to non-lactating and three to lactating dams) were blood-sampled to determine their full methylome. There were more than 2,000 CpG differentially methylated between calves born to CTRL and those born to MET, and also between calves born to lactating and non-lactating dams. Most of the differences affected genes involved in immune function, cell growth regulation and differentiation, kinase activity, and ion channeling. We conclude that the coexistence of pregnancy and lactation affects the methylome of the offspring, and that supplementation of methyl donors early in gestation has also consequences on the methylome.
Dietary restriction protects from age associated DNA methylation and induces epigenetic reprogramming of lipid metabolism
Background Dietary restriction (DR), a reduction in food intake without malnutrition, increases most aspects of health during aging and extends lifespan in diverse species, including rodents. However, the mechanisms by which DR interacts with the aging process to improve health in old age are poorly understood. DNA methylation could play an important role in mediating the effects of DR because it is sensitive to the effects of nutrition and can affect gene expression memory over time. Results Here, we profile genome-wide changes in DNA methylation, gene expression and lipidomics in response to DR and aging in female mouse liver. DR is generally strongly protective against age-related changes in DNA methylation. During aging with DR, DNA methylation becomes targeted to gene bodies and is associated with reduced gene expression, particularly of genes involved in lipid metabolism. The lipid profile of the livers of DR mice is correspondingly shifted towards lowered triglyceride content and shorter chain length of triglyceride-associated fatty acids, and these effects become more pronounced with age. Conclusions Our results indicate that DR remodels genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation so that age-related changes are profoundly delayed, while changes at loci involved in lipid metabolism affect gene expression and the resulting lipid profile. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1187-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. Background Dietary restriction (DR), a reduction in food intake without malnutrition, increases most aspects of health during aging and extends lifespan in diverse species, including rodents. However, the mechanisms by which DR interacts with the aging process to improve health in old age are poorly understood. DNA methylation could play an important role in mediating the effects of DR because it is sensitive to the effects of nutrition and can affect gene expression memory over time. Results Here, we profile genome-wide changes in DNA methylation, gene expression and lipidomics in response to DR and aging in female mouse liver. DR is generally strongly protective against age-related changes in DNA methylation. During aging with DR, DNA methylation becomes targeted to gene bodies and is associated with reduced gene expression, particularly of genes involved in lipid metabolism. The lipid profile of the livers of DR mice is correspondingly shifted towards lowered triglyceride content and shorter chain length of triglyceride-associated fatty acids, and these effects become more pronounced with age. Conclusions Our results indicate that DR remodels genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation so that age-related changes are profoundly delayed, while changes at loci involved in lipid metabolism affect gene expression and the resulting lipid profile. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-017-1187-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Geminivirus encoded TrAP suppressor inhibits the histone methyltransferase SUVH4/KYP to counter host defense
eLife digest Many viruses can infect plants and cause diseases that can reduce crop yields. The Geminiviruses are a family of plant viruses that are transmitted by insects and infect tomato, cabbage, and many other crop plants. These viruses hijack the plant cells that they infect and force the plant cells to make viral proteins using instructions provided by the genes in the virus' own DNA. To make proteins, DNA is first copied into molecules of messenger ribonucleic acid (or mRNA) in a process called transcription. However, plants can defend themselves by blocking the transcription of viral DNA through ‘transcriptional gene silencing’. In plant cells, DNA is packaged around proteins called histones to form a structure called chromatin. Small chemical tags attached to the histones can alter the structure of chromatin to regulate the activity of the genes encoded within it. For example, ‘methyl’ tags added to certain histones can block transcription and lower the activity of a gene. DNA from viruses can also associate with histones inside plant cells meaning that transcriptional gene silencing can take place by the addition of these methyl tags. Many Geminiviruses produce a protein called TrAP, which can activate transcription, but it is not clear how this works. Castillo-González et al. studied the TrAP proteins from two different Geminiviruses that can infect crop plants. The commonly used model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, was genetically engineered to produce high levels of these TrAP proteins. These ‘transgenic’ plants did not develop properly: they grew more slowly, had abnormal leaves, and flowered earlier. Furthermore, hundreds of plant genes were more active than usual in the transgenic plants, which suggests that TrAP inhibits transcriptional gene silencing. Further experiments showed that TrAP directly binds to a plant enzyme called KYP—which normally deposits methyl groups on chromatin and prevents it from working. This reduces the number of methyl groups that are attached to histones associated with both viral and plant chromatin, which results in the activation of genes that would normally be switched off. Castillo-González et al.'s findings show how Geminiviruses can stop transcriptional gene silencing of chromatin that contains virus DNA to evade the host plant's defenses. The next challenge is to understand how TrAP inhibits KYP, which may present new ways to genetically engineer plants to become resistant to infection by viruses. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06671.002 eLife digest Many viruses can infect plants and cause diseases that can reduce crop yields. The Geminiviruses are a family of plant viruses that are transmitted by insects and infect tomato, cabbage, and many other crop plants. These viruses hijack the plant cells that they infect and force the plant cells to make viral proteins using instructions provided by the genes in the virus' own DNA. To make proteins, DNA is first copied into molecules of messenger ribonucleic acid (or mRNA) in a process called transcription. However, plants can defend themselves by blocking the transcription of viral DNA through ‘transcriptional gene silencing’. In plant cells, DNA is packaged around proteins called histones to form a structure called chromatin. Small chemical tags attached to the histones can alter the structure of chromatin to regulate the activity of the genes encoded within it. For example, ‘methyl’ tags added to certain histones can block transcription and lower the activity of a gene. DNA from viruses can also associate with histones inside plant cells meaning that transcriptional gene silencing can take place by the addition of these methyl tags. Many Geminiviruses produce a protein called TrAP, which can activate transcription, but it is not clear how this works. Castillo-González et al. studied the TrAP proteins from two different Geminiviruses that can infect crop plants. The commonly used model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, was genetically engineered to produce high levels of these TrAP proteins. These ‘transgenic’ plants did not develop properly: they grew more slowly, had abnormal leaves, and flowered earlier. Furthermore, hundreds of plant genes were more active than usual in the transgenic plants, which suggests that TrAP inhibits transcriptional gene silencing. Further experiments showed that TrAP directly binds to a plant enzyme called KYP—which normally deposits methyl groups on chromatin and prevents it from working. This reduces the number of methyl groups that are attached to histones associated with both viral and plant chromatin, which results in the activation of genes that would normally be switched off. Castillo-González et al.'s findings show how Geminiviruses can stop transcriptional gene silencing of chromatin that contains virus DNA to evade the host plant's defenses. The next challenge is to understand how TrAP inhibits KYP, which may present new ways to genetically engineer plants to become resistant to infection by viruses. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06671.002Transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) can serve as an innate immunity against invading DNA viruses throughout Eukaryotes. Geminivirus code for TrAP protein to suppress the TGS pathway. Here, we identified an Arabidopsis H3K9me2 histone methyltransferase, Su(var)3-9 homolog 4/Kryptonite (SUVH4/KYP), as a bona fide cellular target of TrAP. TrAP interacts with the catalytic domain of KYP and inhibits its activity in vitro. TrAP elicits developmental anomalies phenocopying several TGS mutants, reduces the repressive H3K9me2 mark and CHH DNA methylation, and reactivates numerous endogenous KYP-repressed loci in vivo. Moreover, KYP binds to the viral chromatin and controls its methylation to combat virus infection. Notably, kyp mutants support systemic infection of TrAP-deficient Geminivirus. We conclude that TrAP attenuates the TGS of the viral chromatin by inhibiting KYP activity to evade host surveillance. These findings provide new insight on the molecular arms race between host antiviral defense and virus counter defense at an epigenetic level. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06671.001 Transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) can serve as an innate immunity against invading DNA viruses throughout Eukaryotes. Geminivirus code for TrAP protein to suppress the TGS pathway. Here, we identified an Arabidopsis H3K9me2 histone methyltransferase, Su(var)3-9 homolog 4/Kryptonite (SUVH4/KYP), as a bona fide cellular target of TrAP. TrAP interacts with the catalytic domain of KYP and inhibits its activity in vitro. TrAP elicits developmental anomalies phenocopying several TGS mutants, reduces the repressive H3K9me2 mark and CHH DNA methylation, and reactivates numerous endogenous KYP-repressed loci in vivo. Moreover, KYP binds to the viral chromatin and controls its methylation to combat virus infection. Notably, kyp mutants support systemic infection of TrAP-deficient Geminivirus. We conclude that TrAP attenuates the TGS of the viral chromatin by inhibiting KYP activity to evade host surveillance. These findings provide new insight on the molecular arms race between host antiviral defense and virus counter defense at an epigenetic level. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06671.001
Detailed Analysis of the Genetic and Epigenetic Signatures of iPSC Derived Mesodiencephalic Dopaminergic Neurons
Highlights • Purification of iPSC-derived mdDA neurons and primary embryonic mdDA neurons • Comparative gene-expression profiling and DNA methylation mapping of mdDA neurons • High similarity but also differences between primary and iPSC-derived mdDA neurons • Differences mainly in genes involved in neuron differentiation and development Highlights • Purification of iPSC-derived mdDA neurons and primary embryonic mdDA neurons • Comparative gene-expression profiling and DNA methylation mapping of mdDA neurons • High similarity but also differences between primary and iPSC-derived mdDA neurons • Differences mainly in genes involved in neuron differentiation and developmentSummary Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for in vitro generation of disease-relevant cell types, such as mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mdDA) neurons involved in Parkinson’s disease. Although iPSC-derived midbrain DA neurons have been generated, detailed genetic and epigenetic characterizations of such neurons are lacking. The goal of this study was to examine the authenticity of iPSC-derived DA neurons obtained by established protocols. We FACS purified mdDA (Pitx3Gfp/+) neurons derived from mouse iPSCs and primary mdDA (Pitx3Gfp/+) neurons to analyze and compare their genetic and epigenetic features. Although iPSC-derived DA neurons largely adopted characteristics of their in vivo counterparts, relevant deviations in global gene expression and DNA methylation were found. Hypermethylated genes, mainly involved in neurodevelopment and basic neuronal functions, consequently showed reduced expression levels. Such abnormalities should be addressed because they might affect unambiguous long-term functionality and hamper the potential of iPSC-derived DA neurons for in vitro disease modeling or cell-based therapy. Summary Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for in vitro generation of disease-relevant cell types, such as mesodiencephalic dopaminergic (mdDA) neurons involved in Parkinson’s disease. Although iPSC-derived midbrain DA neurons have been generated, detailed genetic and epigenetic characterizations of such neurons are lacking. The goal of this study was to examine the authenticity of iPSC-derived DA neurons obtained by established protocols. We FACS purified mdDA (Pitx3Gfp/+) neurons derived from mouse iPSCs and primary mdDA (Pitx3Gfp/+) neurons to analyze and compare their genetic and epigenetic features. Although iPSC-derived DA neurons largely adopted characteristics of their in vivo counterparts, relevant deviations in global gene expression and DNA methylation were found. Hypermethylated genes, mainly involved in neurodevelopment and basic neuronal functions, consequently showed reduced expression levels. Such abnormalities should be addressed because they might affect unambiguous long-term functionality and hamper the potential of iPSC-derived DA neurons for in vitro disease modeling or cell-based therapy.
Kmt1e regulates a large neuron specific topological chromatin domain
We report locus-specific disintegration of megabase-scale chromosomal conformations in brain after neuronal ablation of Kmt1e/Setdb1 histone H3-lysine 9 methyltransferase, including a large topologically associated 1.2Mb domain conserved in human and mouse and encompassing >70 genes at the clustered Protocadherin (cPcdh) locus. TADcPcdh in mutant neurons showed abnormal accumulations of CTCF transcriptional regulator and 3D genome organizer at cryptic binding sites, converted into permissive state with DNA cytosine hypomethylation and histone hyperacetylation. Broadly upregulated expression across cPcdh included defective S-type Protocadherin single-cell stochastic constraint. Setdb1-dependent loop formations, bypassing 0.2–1Mb of linear genome, radiated from TADPcdh fringes towards cPcdh cis-regulatory sequences, counterbalanced shorter-range facilitative promoter-enhancer contacts and carried loop-bound polymorphisms associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia. We show that KRAB-zinc finger Setdb1 repressor complex, shielding neuronal 3D genomes from excess CTCF binding, is critically required for structural maintenance of TADcPcdh. We report locus-specific disintegration of megabase-scale chromosomal conformations in brain after neuronal ablation of Kmt1e/Setdb1 histone H3-lysine 9 methyltransferase, including a large topologically associated 1.2Mb domain conserved in human and mouse and encompassing >70 genes at the clustered Protocadherin (cPcdh) locus. TADcPcdh in mutant neurons showed abnormal accumulations of CTCF transcriptional regulator and 3D genome organizer at cryptic binding sites, converted into permissive state with DNA cytosine hypomethylation and histone hyperacetylation. Broadly upregulated expression across cPcdh included defective S-type Protocadherin single-cell stochastic constraint. Setdb1-dependent loop formations, bypassing 0.2–1Mb of linear genome, radiated from TADPcdh fringes towards cPcdh cis-regulatory sequences, counterbalanced shorter-range facilitative promoter-enhancer contacts and carried loop-bound polymorphisms associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia. We show that KRAB-zinc finger Setdb1 repressor complex, shielding neuronal 3D genomes from excess CTCF binding, is critically required for structural maintenance of TADcPcdh.
Genome wide DNA methylation analysis of the porcine hypothalamus pituitary ovary axis
Previous studies have suggested that DNA methylation in both CpG and CpH (where H = C, T or A) contexts plays a critical role in biological functions of different tissues. However, the genome-wide DNA methylation patterns of porcine hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary (HPO) tissues remain virtually unexplored. In this study, methylomes of HPO tissues were profiled to investigate their differences and similarities. We found that HPO methylomes displayed tissue-specific methylation patterns in both CpG and CpH contexts. At gene locations, the methylation and density of CpGs was negatively linked at transcription start sites but positively linked at transcription end sites. The densities of CpGs and CpHs at CpG island (CGI) locations were negatively correlated with their methylation. Moreover, the methylation interactions between CGIs and genes showed similar pattern in the CpG context but tissue-specific pattern in the CpH context. CpGs located in CGIs, upstream regions and exons were protected from methylation dynamics, whereas CGI shores, CGI shelves and intergenic regions were more likely to be targets of methylation changes. The methylation dynamics enriching in a tissue-specific manner appeared to maintain and establish the biological functions of HPO tissues. Our analyses provided valuable insights into the tissue-specific methylomes of porcine HPO tissues. Previous studies have suggested that DNA methylation in both CpG and CpH (where H = C, T or A) contexts plays a critical role in biological functions of different tissues. However, the genome-wide DNA methylation patterns of porcine hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary (HPO) tissues remain virtually unexplored. In this study, methylomes of HPO tissues were profiled to investigate their differences and similarities. We found that HPO methylomes displayed tissue-specific methylation patterns in both CpG and CpH contexts. At gene locations, the methylation and density of CpGs was negatively linked at transcription start sites but positively linked at transcription end sites. The densities of CpGs and CpHs at CpG island (CGI) locations were negatively correlated with their methylation. Moreover, the methylation interactions between CGIs and genes showed similar pattern in the CpG context but tissue-specific pattern in the CpH context. CpGs located in CGIs, upstream regions and exons were protected from methylation dynamics, whereas CGI shores, CGI shelves and intergenic regions were more likely to be targets of methylation changes. The methylation dynamics enriching in a tissue-specific manner appeared to maintain and establish the biological functions of HPO tissues. Our analyses provided valuable insights into the tissue-specific methylomes of porcine HPO tissues.
Stable transgenerational epigenetic inheritance requires a DNA methylation sensing circuit
Epigenetic states are stably propagated in eukaryotes. In plants, DNA methylation patterns are faithfully inherited over many generations but it is unknown how the dynamic activities of cytosine DNA methyltransferases and 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylases interact to maintain epigenetic homeostasis. Here we show that a methylation-sensing gene regulatory circuit centered on a 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylase gene is required for long-term epigenetic fidelity in Arabidopsis. Disrupting this circuit causes widespread methylation losses and abnormal phenotypes that progressively worsen over generations. In heterochromatin, these losses are counteracted such that methylation returns to a normal level over four generations. However, thousands of loci in euchromatin progressively lose DNA methylation between generations and remain unmethylated. We conclude that an actively maintained equilibrium between methylation and demethylation activities is required to ensure long-term stable inheritance of epigenetic information. Epigenetic states are stably propagated in eukaryotes. In plants, DNA methylation patterns are faithfully inherited over many generations but it is unknown how the dynamic activities of cytosine DNA methyltransferases and 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylases interact to maintain epigenetic homeostasis. Here we show that a methylation-sensing gene regulatory circuit centered on a 5-methylcytosine DNA glycosylase gene is required for long-term epigenetic fidelity in Arabidopsis. Disrupting this circuit causes widespread methylation losses and abnormal phenotypes that progressively worsen over generations. In heterochromatin, these losses are counteracted such that methylation returns to a normal level over four generations. However, thousands of loci in euchromatin progressively lose DNA methylation between generations and remain unmethylated. We conclude that an actively maintained equilibrium between methylation and demethylation activities is required to ensure long-term stable inheritance of epigenetic information.