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Monday, September 11, 2017

Recent expansion and adaptive evolution of the carcinoembryonic antigen family in bats of the Yangochiroptera subgroup.

Expansions of gene families are predictive for ongoing genetic adaptation to environmental cues. We describe such an expansion of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) gene family in certain bat families. Members of the CEA family in humans and mice are exploited as cellular receptors by a number of pathogens, possibly due to their function in immunity and reproduction. The CEA family is composed of CEA-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAMs) and secreted pregnancy-specific glycoproteins (PSGs). PSGs are almost exclusively expressed by trophoblast cells at the maternal-fetal interface. The reason why PSGs exist only in a minority of mammals is still unknown.Analysis of…

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The origin, diversification and adaptation of a major mangrove clade (Rhizophoreae) revealed by whole-genome sequencing

Mangroves invade some very marginal habitats for woody plants—at the interface between land and sea. Since mangroves anchor tropical coastal communities globally, their origin, diversification and adaptation are of scientific significance, particularly at a time of global climate change. In this study, a combination of single-molecule long reads and the more conventional short reads are generated from Rhizophora apiculata for the de novo assembly of its genome to a near chromosome level. The longest scaffold, N50 and N90 for the R. apiculata genome, are 13.3 Mb, 5.4 Mb and 1.0 Mb, respectively. Short reads for the genomes and transcriptomes of…

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Mistranslation can enhance fitness through purging of deleterious mutations.

Phenotypic mutations are amino acid changes caused by mistranslation. How phenotypic mutations affect the adaptive evolution of new protein functions is unknown. Here we evolve the antibiotic resistance protein TEM-1 towards resistance on the antibiotic cefotaxime in an Escherichia coli strain with a high mistranslation rate. TEM-1 populations evolved in such strains endow host cells with a general growth advantage, not only on cefotaxime but also on several other antibiotics that ancestral TEM-1 had been unable to deactivate. High-throughput sequencing of TEM-1 populations shows that this advantage is associated with a lower incidence of weakly deleterious genotypic mutations. Our observations…

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The unique genomic landscape surrounding the EPSPS gene in glyphosate resistant Amaranthus palmeri: a repetitive path to resistance.

The expanding number and global distributions of herbicide resistant weedy species threaten food, fuel, fiber and bioproduct sustainability and agroecosystem longevity. Amongst the most competitive weeds, Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats has rapidly evolved resistance to glyphosate primarily through massive amplification and insertion of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene across the genome. Increased EPSPS gene copy numbers results in higher titers of the EPSPS enzyme, the target of glyphosate, and confers resistance to glyphosate treatment. To understand the genomic unit and mechanism of EPSPS gene copy number proliferation, we developed and used a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library from a highly…

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

RelA mutant Enterococcus faecium with multiantibiotic tolerance arising in an immunocompromised host.

Serious bacterial infections in immunocompromised patients require highly effective antibacterial therapy for cure, and thus, this setting may reveal novel mechanisms by which bacteria circumvent antibiotics in the absence of immune pressure. Here, an infant with leukemia developed vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) bacteremia that persisted for 26 days despite appropriate antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 22 consecutive VRE isolates identified the emergence of a single missense mutation (L152F) in relA, which constitutively activated the stringent response, resulting in elevated baseline levels of the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp). Although the mutant remained susceptible to both linezolid and daptomycin in clinical MIC testing and…

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The MHC Diversity in Africa Project (MDAP) pilot – 125 African high resolution HLA types from 5 populations

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC), or human leukocyte antigen (HLA) in humans, is a highly diverse gene family with a key role in immune response to disease; and has been implicated in auto-immune disease, cancer, infectious disease susceptibility, and vaccine response. It has clinical importance in the field of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, where donors and recipient matching of HLA types is key to transplanted organ outcomes. The Sanger based typing (SBT) methods currently used in clinical practice do not capture the full diversity across this region, and require specific reference sequences to deconvolute ambiguity in HLA types.…

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

ASHG Virtual Poster: The MHC Diversity in Africa Project (MDAP) pilot – 125 African high resolution HLA types from 5 populations

In this ASHG 2016 poster video, Martin Pollard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge describes an ambitious project to better represent natural variation in the complex MHC region by sequencing the locus in thousands of people from various populations in Africa. A pilot project in five populations has already revealed a lot of diversity in the region, which is important for human disease, vaccine response, and organ transplantation. Pollard says SMRT Sequencing is the only technology that can deliver the full-length haplotypes necessary to identify complete variation in this highly polymorphic complex. Plus: plans to…

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Shifting fitness and epistatic landscapes reflect trade-offs along an evolutionary pathway.

Nature repurposes proteins via evolutionary processes. Such adaptation can come at the expense of the original protein's function, which is a trade-off of adaptation. We sought to examine other potential adaptive trade-offs. We measured the effect on ampicillin resistance of ~12,500 unique single amino acid mutants of the TEM-1, TEM-17, TEM-19, and TEM-15 ß-lactamase alleles, which constitute an adaptive path in the evolution of cefotaxime resistance. These protein fitness landscapes were compared and used to calculate epistatic interactions between these mutations and the two mutations in the pathway (E104K and G238S). This series of protein fitness landscapes provides a systematic,…

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Adaptive engineering of a hyperthermophilic archaeon on CO and discovering the underlying mechanism by multi-omics analysis.

The hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus onnurineus NA1 can grow and produce H2 on carbon monoxide (CO) and its H2 production rates have been improved through metabolic engineering. In this study, we applied adaptive evolution to enhance H2 productivity. After over 150 serial transfers onto CO medium, cell density, CO consumption rate and H2 production rate increased. The underlying mechanism for those physiological changes could be explained by using multi-omics approaches including genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses. A putative transcriptional regulator was newly identified to regulate the expression levels of genes related to CO oxidation. Transcriptome analysis revealed significant changes in the…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Periodic pattern of genetic and fitness diversity during evolution of an artificial cell-like system.

Genetic and phenotypic diversity are the basis of evolution. Despite their importance, however, little is known about how they change over the course of evolution. In this study, we analyzed the dynamics of the adaptive evolution of a simple evolvable artificial cell-like system using single-molecule real-time sequencing technology that reads an entire single artificial genome. We found that the genomic RNA population increases in fitness intermittently, correlating with a periodic pattern of genetic and fitness diversity produced by repeated diversification and domination. In the diversification phase, a genomic RNA population spreads within a genetic space by accumulating mutations until mutants…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A full genomic characterization of the development of a stable Small Colony Variant cell-type by a clinical Staphylococcus aureus strain.

A key to persistent and recurrent Staphylococcus aureus infections is its ability to adapt to diverse and toxic conditions. This ability includes a switch into a biofilm or to the quasi-dormant Small Colony Variant (SCV). The development and molecular attributes of SCVs have been difficult to study due to their rapid reversion to their parental cell-type. We recently described the unique induction of a matrix-embedded and stable SCV cell-type in a clinical S. aureus strain (WCH-SK2) by growing the cells with limiting conditions for a prolonged timeframe. Here we further study their characteristics. They possessed an increased viability in the…

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Stepwise evolution of pandrug-resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) pose an urgent risk to global human health. CRE that are non-susceptible to all commercially available antibiotics threaten to return us to the pre-antibiotic era. Using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing we determined the complete genome of a pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate, representing the first complete genome sequence of CRE resistant to all commercially available antibiotics. The precise location of acquired antibiotic resistance elements, including mobile elements carrying genes for the OXA-181 carbapenemase, were defined. Intriguingly, we identified three chromosomal copies of an ISEcp1-blaOXA-181 mobile element, one of which has disrupted the mgrB regulatory gene,…

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mistranslation drives the evolution of robustness in TEM-1 ß-lactamase.

How biological systems such as proteins achieve robustness to ubiquitous perturbations is a fundamental biological question. Such perturbations include errors that introduce phenotypic mutations into nascent proteins during the translation of mRNA. These errors are remarkably frequent. They are also costly, because they reduce protein stability and help create toxic misfolded proteins. Adaptive evolution might reduce these costs of protein mistranslation by two principal mechanisms. The first increases the accuracy of translation via synonymous "high fidelity" codons at especially sensitive sites. The second increases the robustness of proteins to phenotypic errors via amino acids that increase protein stability. To study…

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