April 21, 2020  |  

The genomes of polyextremophilic Cyanidiales contain 1% horizontally transferred genes with diverse adaptive functions.

The role and extent of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in eukaryotes are hotly disputed topics that impact our understanding of the origin of metabolic processes and the role of organelles in cellular evolution. We addressed this issue by analyzing 10 novel Cyanidiales genomes and determined that 1% of their gene inventory is HGT-derived. Numerous HGT candidates share a close phylogenetic relationship with prokaryotes that live in similar habitats as the Cyanidiales and encode functions related to polyextremophily. HGT candidates differ from native genes in GC-content, number of splice sites, and gene expression. HGT candidates are more prone to loss, which may explain the absence of a eukaryotic pan-genome. Therefore, the lack of a pan-genome and cumulative effects fail to provide substantive arguments against our hypothesis of recurring HGT followed by differential loss in eukaryotes. The maintenance of 1% HGTs, even under selection for genome reduction, underlines the importance of non-endosymbiosis related foreign gene acquisition. © 2019, Rossoni et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont (“Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens”) uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. “Ca E. kahalalidefaciens” has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a factory for kahalalide production. This interaction between a bacterium, an alga, and an animal highlights the importance of chemical defense in the evolution of complex symbioses.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Draft genome assembly and transcriptome sequencing of the golden algae Hydrurus foetidus (Chrysophyceae)

Hydrurusfoetidus is a freshwater alga belonging to the phylum Heterokonta. It thrives in cold rivers in polar and high alpine regions. It has several morphological traits reminiscent of single-celled eukaryotes, but can also form macroscopic thalli. Despite its ability to produce polyunsaturated fatty acids, its life under cold conditions and its variable morphology, very little is known about its genome and transcriptome. Here, we present an extensive set of next-generation sequencing data, including genomic short reads from Illumina sequencing and long reads from Nanopore sequencing, as well as full length cDNAs from PacBio IsoSeq sequencing and a small RNA dataset (smaller than 200 bp) sequenced with Illumina. We combined this data with, to our knowledge, the first draft genome assembly of a chrysophyte algae. The assembly consists of 5069 contigs to a total assembly size of 171 Mb and a 77% BUSCO completeness. The new data generated here may contribute to a better understanding of the evolution and ecological roles of chrysophyte algae, as well as to resolve the branching patterns within the Heterokonta.


April 21, 2020  |  

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 components were also expanded in a lineage-specific manner. Expanded transport regulators, which show spatially different expression, suggest that the structural patterning strategy of a multinucleate cell depends on diversification of nuclear pore proteins. These results not only imply functional convergence of duplicated genes among green plants, but also provide insight into evolutionary roots of green plants. Based on the present results, we propose cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the structural differentiation in the siphonous alga. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


April 21, 2020  |  

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 Archaeplastida lineage, but the position of viridiplants as the first branching group was not rejected by the approximately unbiased test. Pairwise distances estimated from 19 different plastid genes revealed that the highest sequence divergence between glaucophyte genera is frequently higher than distances between species of different classes within red algae or viridiplants. Gene synteny and sequence similarity in the ptDNAs of the two Glaucocystis species analyzed is conserved. However, the ptDNA of Gla. incrassata contains a 7.9-kb insertion not detected in Glaucocystis sp. BBH. The insertion contains ten open reading frames that include four coding regions similar to bacterial serine recombinases (two open reading frames), DNA primases, and peptidoglycan aminohydrolases. These three enzymes, often encoded in bacterial plasmids and bacteriophage genomes, are known to participate in the mobilization and replication of DNA mobile elements. It is therefore plausible that the insertion in Gla. incrassata ptDNA is derived from a DNA mobile element.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome analysis and genetic transformation of a water surface-floating microalga Chlorococcum sp. FFG039.

Microalgal harvesting and dewatering are the main bottlenecks that need to be overcome to tap the potential of microalgae for production of valuable compounds. Water surface-floating microalgae form robust biofilms, float on the water surface along with gas bubbles entrapped under the biofilms, and have great potential to overcome these bottlenecks. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in the water surface-floating phenotype. In the present study, we analysed the genome sequence of a water surface-floating microalga Chlorococcum sp. FFG039, with a next generation sequencing technique to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Comparative genomics study with Chlorococcum sp. FFG039 and other non-floating green microalgae revealed some of the unique gene families belonging to this floating microalga, which may be involved in biofilm formation. Furthermore, genetic transformation of this microalga was achieved with an electroporation method. The genome information and transformation techniques presented in this study will be useful to obtain molecular insights into the water surface-floating phenotype of Chlorococcum sp. FFG039.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome assembly of Nannochloropsis oceanica provides evidence of host nucleus overthrow by the symbiont nucleus during speciation.

The species of the genus Nannochloropsis are unique in their maintenance of a nucleus-plastid continuum throughout their cell cycle, non-motility and asexual reproduction. These characteristics should have been endorsed in their gene assemblages (genomes). Here we show that N. oceanica has a genome of 29.3?Mb consisting of 32 pseudochromosomes and containing 7,330 protein-coding genes; and the host nucleus may have been overthrown by an ancient red alga symbiont nucleus during speciation through secondary endosymbiosis. In addition, N. oceanica has lost its flagella and abilities to undergo meiosis and sexual reproduction, and adopted a genome reduction strategy during speciation. We propose that N. oceanica emerged through the active fusion of a host protist and a photosynthesizing ancient red alga and the symbiont nucleus became dominant over the host nucleus while the chloroplast was wrapped by two layers of endoplasmic reticulum. Our findings evidenced an alternative speciation pathway of eukaryotes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Subaerial biofilms on granitic historic buildings: microbial diversity and development of phototrophic multi-species cultures.

Microbial communities of natural subaerial biofilms developed on granitic historic buildings of a World Heritage Site (Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain) were characterized and cultured in liquid BG11 medium. Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing (Pacific Biosciences) revealed that the biofilms were mainly composed of species of Chlorophyta (green algae) and Ascomycota (fungi) commonly associated with rock substrata. Richness and diversity were higher for the fungal than for the algal assemblages and fungi showed higher heterogeneity among samples. Cultures derived from natural biofilms showed the establishment of stable microbial communities mainly composed of Chlorophyta and Cyanobacteria. Although most taxa found in these cultures were not common in the original biofilms, they are likely common pioneer colonizers of building stone surfaces, including granite. Stable phototrophic multi-species cultures of known microbial diversity were thus obtained and their reliability to emulate natural colonization on granite should be confirmed in further experiments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular characterization of eukaryotic algal communities in the tropical phyllosphere based on real-time sequencing of the 18S rDNA gene.

Foliicolous algae are a common occurrence in tropical forests. They are referable to a few simple morphotypes (unicellular, sarcinoid-like or filamentous), which makes their morphology of limited usefulness for taxonomic studies and species diversity assessments. The relationship between algal community and their host phyllosphere was not clear. In order to obtain a more accurate assessment, we used single molecule real-time sequencing of the 18S rDNA gene to characterize the eukaryotic algal community in an area of South-western China.We annotated 2922 OTUs belonging to five classes, Ulvophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyceae, Dinophyceae and Eustigmatophyceae. Novel clades formed by large numbers sequences of green algae were detected in the order Trentepohliales (Ulvophyceae) and the Watanabea clade (Trebouxiophyceae), suggesting that these foliicolous communities may be substantially more diverse than so far appreciated and require further research. Species in Trentepohliales, Watanabea clade and Apatococcus clade were detected as the core members in the phyllosphere community studied. Communities from different host trees and sampling sites were not significantly different in terms of OTUs composition. However, the communities of Musa and Ravenala differed from other host plants significantly at the genus level, since they were dominated by Trebouxiophycean epiphytes.The cryptic diversity of eukaryotic algae especially Chlorophytes in tropical phyllosphere is very high. The community structure at species-level has no significant relationship either with host phyllosphere or locations. The core algal community in tropical phyllopshere is consisted of members from Trentepohliales, Watanabea clade and Apatococcus clade. Our study provided a large amount of novel 18S rDNA sequences that will be useful to unravel the cryptic diversity of phyllosphere eukaryotic algae and for comparisons with similar future studies on this type of communities.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga.

Green algae represent a key segment of the global species capable of photoautotrophic-driven biological carbon fixation. Algae partition fixed-carbon into chemical compounds required for biomass, while diverting excess carbon into internal storage compounds such as starch and lipids or, in certain cases, into targeted extracellular compounds. Two green algae were selected to probe for critical components associated with sugar production and release in a model alga. Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 – which does not release significant quantities of sugars to the extracellular space – was selected as a control to compare with the maltose-releasing Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80 – which was originally isolated from an endosymbiotic association with the ciliate Paramecium bursaria. Both strains were subjected to three sequencing approaches to assemble their genomes and annotate their genes. This analysis was further complemented with transcriptional studies during maltose release by M. conductrix SAG 241.80 versus conditions where sugar release is minimal. The annotation revealed that both strains contain homologs for the key components of a putative pathway leading to cytosolic maltose accumulation, while transcriptional studies found few changes in mRNA levels for the genes associated with these established intracellular sugar pathways. A further analysis of potential sugar transporters found multiple homologs for SWEETs and tonoplast sugar transporters. The analysis of transcriptional differences revealed a lesser and more measured global response for M. conductrix SAG 241.80 versus C. sorokiniana UTEX 1602 during conditions resulting in sugar release, providing a catalog of genes that might play a role in extracellular sugar transport.© 2017 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Anisogamy evolved with a reduced sex-determining region in volvocine green algae

Male and female gametes differing in size—anisogamy—emerged independently from isogamous ancestors in various eukaryotic lineages, although genetic bases of this emergence are still unknown. Volvocine green algae are a model lineage for investigating the transition from isogamy to anisogamy. Here we focus on two closely related volvocine genera that bracket this transition—isogamous Yamagishiella and anisogamous Eudorina. We generated de novo nuclear genome assemblies of both sexes of Yamagishiella and Eudorina to identify the dimorphic sex-determining chromosomal region or mating-type locus (MT) from each. In contrast to the large (>1?Mb) and complex MT of oogamous Volvox, Yamagishiella and Eudorina MT are smaller (7–268?kb) and simpler with only two sex-limited genes—the minus/male-limited MID and the plus/female-limited FUS1. No prominently dimorphic gametologs were identified in either species. Thus, the first step to anisogamy in volvocine algae presumably occurred without an increase in MT size and complexity.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genome of Ectocarpus subulatus highlights unique mechanisms for stress tolerance in brown algae

Brown algae are multicellular photosynthetic organisms belonging to the stramenopile lineage. They are successful colonizers of marine rocky shores world-wide. The genus Ectocarpus, and especially strain Ec32, has been established as a genetic and genomic model for brown algae. A related species, Ectocarpus subulatus Kuetzing, is characterized by its high tolerance of abiotic stress. Here we present the genome and metabolic network of a haploid male strain of E. subulatus, establishing it as a comparative model to study the genomic bases of stress tolerance in Ectocarpus. Our analyses indicate that E. subulatus has separated from Ectocarpus sp. Ec32 via allopatric speciation. Since this event, its genome has been shaped by the activity of viruses and large retrotransposons, which in the case of chlorophyll-binding proteins, may be related to the expansion of this gene family. We have identified a number of further genes that we suspect to contribute to stress tolerance in E. subulatus, including an expanded family of heat shock proteins, the reduction of genes involved in the production of halogenated defense compounds, and the presence of fewer cell wall polysaccharide-modifying enzymes. However, 96% of genes that differed between the two examined Ectocarpus species, as well as 90% of genes under positive selection, were found to be lineage-specific and encode proteins of unknown function. This underlines the uniqueness of brown algae with respect to their stress tolerance mechanisms as well as the significance of establishing E. subulatus as a comparative model for future functional studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

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 relationship among the Chromalveolata, Rhodophyta, Chlorophyta and higher plants. Homology analysis indicated phylogenetic proximity between Gp. lemaneiformis and Chondrus crispus. The number of enzymes related to the metabolism of carbohydrates, including agar, glycoside hydrolases, glycosyltransferases, was abundant. In addition, signaling pathways associated with phytohormones such as auxin, salicylic acid and jasmonates are reported for the first time for this alga.We sequenced and analyzed a draft genome of the red alga Gp. lemaneiformis, and revealed its carbohydrate metabolism and phytohormone signaling characteristics. This work will be helpful in research on the functional and comparative genomics of the order Gracilariales and will enrich the genomic information on marine algae.


September 22, 2019  |  

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, classification and annotation steps. Its detection step combines multiple, existing analysis packages representing all major approaches for TE detection and its classification step was optimized for microalgal genomes. The efficiency of the detection and classification steps was evaluated with data on the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. PiRATE detected 81% of the TE families of A. thaliana and correctly classified 75% of them. We applied PiRATE to T. lutea genomic data and established that its genome contains 15.89% Class I and 4.95% Class II TEs. In these, 3.79 and 17.05% correspond to potentially autonomous and non-autonomous TEs, respectively. Annotation data was combined with transcriptomic and proteomic data to identify potentially active autonomous TEs. We identified 17 expressed TE families and, among these, a TIR/Mariner and a TIR/hAT family were able to synthesize their transposase. Both these TE families were among the three highest expressed genes in a previous transcriptomic study and are composed of highly similar copies throughout the genome of T. lutea. This sum of evidence reveals that both these TE families could be capable of transposing or triggering the transposition of potential related MITE elements.This manuscript provides an example of a de novo transposable element annotation of a non-model organism characterized by a fragmented genome assembly and belonging to a poorly studied phylum at genomic level. Integration of multi-omics data enabled the discovery of potential mobile TEs and opens the way for new discoveries on the role of these repeated elements in genomic evolution of microalgae.


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