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March 1, 2019

A siphonous macroalgal genome suggests convergent functions of homeobox genes in algae and land plants.

Genome evolution and development of unicellular, multinucleate macroalgae (siphonous algae) are poorly known, although various multicellular organisms have been studied extensively. To understand macroalgal developmental evolution, we assembled the ~26?Mb genome of a siphonous green alga, Caulerpa lentillifera, with high contiguity, containing 9,311 protein-coding genes. Molecular phylogeny using 107 nuclear genes indicates that the diversification of the class Ulvophyceae, including C. lentillifera, occurred before the split of the Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae. Compared with other green algae, the TALE superclass of homeobox genes, which expanded in land plants, shows a series of lineage-specific duplications in this siphonous macroalga. Plant hormone signalling…

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January 1, 2019

Plastid genomes from diverse glaucophyte genera reveal a largely conserved gene content and limited architectural diversity.

Plastid genome (ptDNA) data of Glaucophyta have been limited for many years to the genus Cyanophora. Here, we sequenced the ptDNAs of Gloeochaete wittrockiana, Cyanoptyche gloeocystis, Glaucocystis incrassata, and Glaucocystis sp. BBH. The reported sequences are the first genome-scale plastid data available for these three poorly studied glaucophyte genera. Although the Glaucophyta plastids appear morphologically "ancestral," they actually bear derived genomes not radically different from those of red algae or viridiplants. The glaucophyte plastid coding capacity is highly conserved (112 genes shared) and the architecture of the plastid chromosomes is relatively simple. Phylogenomic analyses recovered Glaucophyta as the earliest diverging…

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November 1, 2018

Genomic characterization reveals significant divergence within Chlorella sorokiniana (Chlorellales, Trebouxiophyceae)

Selection of highly productive algal strains is crucial for establishing economically viable biomass and biopro- duct cultivation systems. Characterization of algal genomes, including understanding strain-specific differences in genome content and architecture is a critical step in this process. Using genomic analyses, we demonstrate significant differences between three strains of Chlorella sorokiniana (strain 1228, UTEX 1230, and DOE1412). We found that unique, strain-specific genes comprise a substantial proportion of each genome, and genomic regions with> 80% local nucleotide identity constitute

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November 1, 2018

Genomic analysis of Picochlorum species reveals how microalgae may adapt to variable environments.

Understanding how microalgae adapt to rapidly changing environments is not only important to science but can help clarify the potential impact of climate change on the biology of primary producers. We sequenced and analyzed the nuclear genome of multiple Picochlorum isolates (Chlorophyta) to elucidate strategies of environmental adaptation. It was previously found that coordinated gene regulation is involved in adaptation to salinity stress, and here we show that gene gain and loss also play key roles in adaptation. We determined the extent of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from prokaryotes and their role in the origin of novel functions in the…

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October 1, 2018

Haematococcus lacustris: the makings of a giant-sized chloroplast genome.

Recent work on the chlamydomonadalean green alga Haematococcus lacustris uncovered the largest plastid genome on record: a whopping 1.35 Mb with >90 % non-coding DNA. A 500-word description of this genome was published in the journal Genome Announcements. But such a short report for such a large genome leaves many unanswered questions. For instance, the H. lacustris plastome was found to encode only 12 tRNAs, less than half that of a typical plastome, it appears to have a non-standard genetic code, and is one of only a few known plastid DNAs (ptDNAs), out of thousands of available sequences, not biased…

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September 1, 2018

Insights into the evolution of multicellularity from the sea lettuce genome.

We report here the 98.5 Mbp haploid genome (12,924 protein coding genes) of Ulva mutabilis, a ubiquitous and iconic representative of the Ulvophyceae or green seaweeds. Ulva's rapid and abundant growth makes it a key contributor to coastal biogeochemical cycles; its role in marine sulfur cycles is particularly important because it produces high levels of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), the main precursor of volatile dimethyl sulfide (DMS). Rapid growth makes Ulva attractive biomass feedstock but also increasingly a driver of nuisance "green tides." Ulvophytes are key to understanding the evolution of multicellularity in the green lineage, and Ulva morphogenesis is dependent on bacterial…

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September 1, 2018

Exploring the limits and causes of plastid genome expansion in volvocine green algae.

Plastid genomes are not normally celebrated for being large. But researchers are steadily uncovering algal lineages with big and, in rare cases, enormous plastid DNAs (ptDNAs), such as volvocine green algae. Plastome sequencing of five different volvocine species has revealed some of the largest, most repeat-dense plastomes on record, including that of Volvox carteri (~525?kb). Volvocine algae have also been used as models for testing leading hypotheses on organelle genome evolution (e.g., the mutational hazard hypothesis), and it has been suggested that ptDNA inflation within this group might be a consequence of low mutation rates and/or the transition from a…

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September 1, 2018

Genome analyses of the microalga Picochlorum provide insights into the evolution of thermotolerance in the green lineage.

While the molecular events involved in cell responses to heat stress have been extensively studied, our understanding of the genetic basis of basal thermotolerance, and particularly its evolution within the green lineage, remains limited. Here, we present the 13.3-Mb haploid genome and transcriptomes of a halotolerant and thermotolerant unicellular green alga, Picochlorum costavermella (Trebouxiophyceae) to investigate the evolution of the genomic basis of thermotolerance. Differential gene expression at high and standard temperatures revealed that more of the gene families containing up-regulated genes at high temperature were recently evolved, and less originated at the ancestor of green plants. Inversely, there was…

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August 1, 2018

Analysis of the draft genome of the red seaweed Gracilariopsis chorda provides insights into genome size evolution in Rhodophyta.

Red algae (Rhodophyta) underwent two phases of large-scale genome reduction during their early evolution. The red seaweeds did not attain genome sizes or gene inventories typical of other multicellular eukaryotes. We generated a high-quality 92.1 Mb draft genome assembly from the red seaweed Gracilariopsis chorda, including methylation and small (s)RNA data. We analyzed these and other Archaeplastida genomes to address three questions: 1) What is the role of repeats and transposable elements (TEs) in explaining Rhodophyta genome size variation, 2) what is the history of genome duplication and gene family expansion/reduction in these taxa, and 3) is there evidence for…

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July 1, 2018

Mapping and characterizing N6-methyladenine in eukaryotic genomes using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

N6-Methyladenine (m6dA) has been discovered as a novel form of DNA methylation prevalent in eukaryotes; however, methods for high-resolution mapping of m6dA events are still lacking. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing has enabled the detection of m6dA events at single-nucleotide resolution in prokaryotic genomes, but its application to detecting m6dA in eukaryotic genomes has not been rigorously examined. Herein, we identified unique characteristics of eukaryotic m6dA methylomes that fundamentally differ from those of prokaryotes. Based on these differences, we describe the first approach for mapping m6dA events using SMRT sequencing specifically designed for the study of eukaryotic genomes and provide appropriate…

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July 1, 2018

Unrestrained markerless trait stacking in Nannochloropsis gaditana through combined genome editing and marker recycling technologies.

Robust molecular tool kits in model and industrial microalgae are key to efficient targeted manipulation of endogenous and foreign genes in the nuclear genome for basic research and, as importantly, for the development of algal strains to produce renewable products such as biofuels. While Cas9-mediated gene knockout has been demonstrated in a small number of algal species with varying efficiency, the ability to stack traits or generate knockout mutations in two or more loci are often severely limited by selectable agent availability. This poses a critical hurdle in developing production strains, which require stacking of multiple traits, or in probing…

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July 1, 2018

The Chara genome: Secondary complexity and implications for plant terrestrialization.

Land plants evolved from charophytic algae, among which Charophyceae possess the most complex body plans. We present the genome of Chara braunii; comparison of the genome to those of land plants identified evolutionary novelties for plant terrestrialization and land plant heritage genes. C. braunii employs unique xylan synthases for cell wall biosynthesis, a phragmoplast (cell separation) mechanism similar to that of land plants, and many phytohormones. C. braunii plastids are controlled via land-plant-like retrograde signaling, and transcriptional regulation is more elaborate than in other algae. The morphological complexity of this organism may result from expanded gene families, with three cases of particular…

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May 1, 2018

A transposable element annotation pipeline and expression analysis reveal potentially active elements in the microalga Tisochrysis lutea.

Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile DNA sequences known as drivers of genome evolution. Their impacts have been widely studied in animals, plants and insects, but little is known about them in microalgae. In a previous study, we compared the genetic polymorphisms between strains of the haptophyte microalga Tisochrysis lutea and suggested the involvement of active autonomous TEs in their genome evolution.To identify potentially autonomous TEs, we designed a pipeline named PiRATE (Pipeline to Retrieve and Annotate Transposable Elements, download: https://doi.org/10.17882/51795 ), and conducted an accurate TE annotation on a new genome assembly of T. lutea. PiRATE is composed of detection,…

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May 1, 2018

Genomic analyses of unique carbohydrate and phytohormone metabolism in the macroalga Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis (Rhodophyta).

Red algae are economically valuable for food and in industry. However, their genomic information is limited, and the genomic data of only a few species of red algae have been sequenced and deposited recently. In this study, we annotated a draft genome of the macroalga Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta).The entire 88.98 Mb genome of Gp. lemaneiformis 981 was generated from 13,825 scaffolds (=500 bp) with an N50 length of 30,590 bp, accounting for approximately 91% of this algal genome. A total of 38.73 Mb of scaffold sequences were repetitive, and 9281 protein-coding genes were predicted. A phylogenomic analysis of 20 genomes revealed the…

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