The genus Barbarea has emerged as a model for evolution and ecology of plant defense compounds, due to its unusual glucosinolate profile and production of saponins, unique to the Brassicaceae. One species, B. vulgaris, includes two ‘types’, G-type and P-type that differ in trichome density, and their glucosinolate and saponin profiles. A key difference is the stereochemistry of hydroxylation of their common phenethylglucosinolate backbone, leading to epimeric glucobarbarins. Here we report a draft genome sequence of the G-type, and re-sequencing of the P-type for comparison. This enables us to identify candidate genes underlying glucosinolate diversity, trichome density, and study the genetics of biochemical variation for glucosinolate and saponins. B. vulgaris is resistant to the diamondback moth, and may be exploited for “dead-end” trap cropping where glucosinolates stimulate oviposition and saponins deter larvae to the extent that they die. The B. vulgaris genome will promote the study of mechanisms in ecological biochemistry to benefit crop resistance breeding.
Micromonospora sp. strain WMMB235 was isolated in 2011 off the coast of the Florida Keys, USA, from a marine ascidian as part of an ongoing drug discovery project. Analysis of the ~7.1-Mb genome provides insight into this strain’s biosynthetic potential, means of regulation, and response to coculturing conditions. Copyright © 2017 Adnani et al.
In 1986, members of the growing neurotrophin community came together to honor the scientific contributions (and 77th birth- day) of Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini. The celebration took the form of a conference dedicated to the field birthed by Dr. Levi-Montalcini’s discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF), for which she shared the Nobel Prize later that year with Stanley Cohen. The meeting proved to be a great success, and eventually became an ongoing series. The NGF 2016 meeting, held at the beautiful Asilomar conference cen- ter in Monterey, California, was the 13th meeting in this series, and marked the 30th anniversary of the original meeting. A diverse col- lection of investigators, representing academia and industry across 4 continents, gathered to celebrate the past 30 years, discuss the current state of the art, and share in the excitement of envisioning the next 30 years of neurotrophic factor research and applications.
Quantifying the importance of the rare biosphere for microbial community response to organic pollutants in a freshwater ecosystem.
A single liter of water contains hundreds, if not thousands, of bacterial and archaeal species, each of which typically makes up a very small fraction of the total microbial community (<0.1%), the so-called "rare biosphere." How often, and via what mechanisms, e.g., clonal amplification versus horizontal gene transfer, the rare taxa and genes contribute to microbial community response to environmental perturbations represent important unanswered questions toward better understanding the value and modeling of microbial diversity. We tested whether rare species frequently responded to changing environmental conditions by establishing 20-liter planktonic mesocosms with water from Lake Lanier (Georgia, USA) and perturbing them with organic compounds that are rarely detected in the lake, including 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-nitrophenol (4-NP), and caffeine. The populations of the degraders of these compounds were initially below the detection limit of quantitative PCR (qPCR) or metagenomic sequencing methods, but they increased substantially in abundance after perturbation. Sequencing of several degraders (isolates) and time-series metagenomic data sets revealed distinct cooccurring alleles of degradation genes, frequently carried on transmissible plasmids, especially for the 2,4-D mesocosms, and distinct species dominating the post-enrichment microbial communities from each replicated mesocosm. This diversity of species and genes also underlies distinct degradation profiles among replicated mesocosms. Collectively, these results supported the hypothesis that the rare biosphere can serve as a genetic reservoir, which can be frequently missed by metagenomics but enables community response to changing environmental conditions caused by organic pollutants, and they provided insights into the size of the pool of rare genes and species. IMPORTANCE A single liter of water or gram of soil contains hundreds of low-abundance bacterial and archaeal species, the so called rare biosphere. The value of this astonishing biodiversity for ecosystem functioning remains poorly understood, primarily due to the fact that microbial community analysis frequently focuses on abundant organisms. Using a combination of culture-dependent and culture-independent (metagenomics) techniques, we showed that rare taxa and genes commonly contribute to the microbial community response to organic pollutants. Our findings should have implications for future studies that aim to study the role of rare species in environmental processes, including environmental bioremediation efforts of oil spills or other contaminants. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.
Strain Ola 51(T) (=LMG 24251(T)?=?CGMCC 1.7012(T)) is the type strain of the species Kosakonia oryzae and was isolated from surface-sterilized roots of the wild rice species Oryza latifolia grown in Guangdong, China. Here we summarize the features of the strain Ola 51(T) and describe its complete genome sequence. The genome contains one circular chromosome of 5,303,342 nucleotides with 54.01% GC content, 4773 protein-coding genes, 16 rRNA genes, 76 tRNA genes, 13 ncRNA genes, 48 pseudo genes, and 1 CRISPR array.
Ralstonia solanacearum is an important soil-borne plant pathogen with broad geographical distribution and the ability to cause wilt disease in many agriculturally important crops. Genome sequencing of multiple R. solanacearum strains has identified both unique and shared genetic traits influencing their evolution and ability to colonize plant hosts. Previous research has shown that DNA methylation can drive speciation and modulate virulence in bacteria, but the impact of epigenetic modifications on the diversification and pathogenesis of R. solanacearum is unknown. Sequencing of R. solanacearum strains GMI1000 and UY031 using Single Molecule Real-Time technology allowed us to perform a comparative analysis of R. solanacearum methylomes. Our analysis identified a novel methylation motif associated with a DNA methylase that is conserved in all complete Ralstonia spp. genomes and across the Burkholderiaceae, as well as a methylation motif associated to a phage-borne methylase unique to R. solanacearum UY031. Comparative analysis of the conserved methylation motif revealed that it is most prevalent in gene promoter regions, where it displays a high degree of conservation detectable through phylogenetic footprinting. Analysis of hyper- and hypo-methylated loci identified several genes involved in global and virulence regulatory functions whose expression may be modulated by DNA methylation. Analysis of genome-wide modification patterns identified a significant correlation between DNA modification and transposase genes in R. solanacearum UY031, driven by the presence of a high copy number of ISrso3 insertion sequences in this genome and pointing to a novel mechanism for regulation of transposition. These results set a firm foundation for experimental investigations into the role of DNA methylation in R. solanacearum evolution and its adaptation to different plants.
Instances of recent and rapid speciation are suitable for associating phenotypes with their causal genotypes, especially if gene flow homogenizes areas of the genome that are not under divergent selection. We study a rapid radiation of nine sympatric bird species known as capuchino seedeaters, which are differentiated in sexually selected characters of male plumage and song. We sequenced the genomes of a phenotypically diverse set of species to search for differentiated genomic regions. Capuchinos show differences in a small proportion of their genomes, yet selection has acted independently on the same targets in different members of this radiation. Many divergent regions contain genes involved in the melanogenesis pathway, with the strongest signal originating from putative regulatory regions. Selection has acted on these same genomic regions in different lineages, likely shaping the evolution of cis-regulatory elements, which control how more conserved genes are expressed and thereby generate diversity in classically sexually selected traits.
Proteogenomics produces comprehensive and highly accurate protein-coding gene annotation in a complete genome assembly of Malassezia sympodialis.
Complete and accurate genome assembly and annotation is a crucial foundation for comparative and functional genomics. Despite this, few complete eukaryotic genomes are available, and genome annotation remains a major challenge. Here, we present a complete genome assembly of the skin commensal yeast Malassezia sympodialis and demonstrate how proteogenomics can substantially improve gene annotation. Through long-read DNA sequencing, we obtained a gap-free genome assembly for M. sympodialis (ATCC 42132), comprising eight nuclear and one mitochondrial chromosome. We also sequenced and assembled four M. sympodialis clinical isolates, and showed their value for understanding Malassezia reproduction by confirming four alternative allele combinations at the two mating-type loci. Importantly, we demonstrated how proteomics data could be readily integrated with transcriptomics data in standard annotation tools. This increased the number of annotated protein-coding genes by 14% (from 3612 to 4113), compared to using transcriptomics evidence alone. Manual curation further increased the number of protein-coding genes by 9% (to 4493). All of these genes have RNA-seq evidence and 87% were confirmed by proteomics. The M. sympodialis genome assembly and annotation presented here is at a quality yet achieved only for a few eukaryotic organisms, and constitutes an important reference for future host-microbe interaction studies.© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
Fungal genome and mating system transitions facilitated by chromosomal translocations involving intercentromeric recombination.
Species within the human pathogenic Cryptococcus species complex are major threats to public health, causing approximately 1 million annual infections globally. Cryptococcus amylolentus is the most closely known related species of the pathogenic Cryptococcus species complex, and it is non-pathogenic. Additionally, while pathogenic Cryptococcus species have bipolar mating systems with a single large mating type (MAT) locus that represents a derived state in Basidiomycetes, C. amylolentus has a tetrapolar mating system with 2 MAT loci (P/R and HD) located on different chromosomes. Thus, studying C. amylolentus will shed light on the transition from tetrapolar to bipolar mating systems in the pathogenic Cryptococcus species, as well as its possible link with the origin and evolution of pathogenesis. In this study, we sequenced, assembled, and annotated the genomes of 2 C. amylolentus isolates, CBS6039 and CBS6273, which are sexual and interfertile. Genome comparison between the 2 C. amylolentus isolates identified the boundaries and the complete gene contents of the P/R and HD MAT loci. Bioinformatic and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) analyses revealed that, similar to those of the pathogenic Cryptococcus species, C. amylolentus has regional centromeres (CENs) that are enriched with species-specific transposable and repetitive DNA elements. Additionally, we found that while neither the P/R nor the HD locus is physically closely linked to its centromere in C. amylolentus, and the regions between the MAT loci and their respective centromeres show overall synteny between the 2 genomes, both MAT loci exhibit genetic linkage to their respective centromere during meiosis, suggesting the presence of recombinational suppressors and/or epistatic gene interactions in the MAT-CEN intervening regions. Furthermore, genomic comparisons between C. amylolentus and related pathogenic Cryptococcus species provide evidence that multiple chromosomal rearrangements mediated by intercentromeric recombination have occurred during descent of the 2 lineages from their common ancestor. Taken together, our findings support a model in which the evolution of the bipolar mating system was initiated by an ectopic recombination event mediated by similar repetitive centromeric DNA elements shared between chromosomes. This translocation brought the P/R and HD loci onto the same chromosome, and further chromosomal rearrangements then resulted in the 2 MAT loci becoming physically linked and eventually fusing to form the single contiguous MAT locus that is now extant in the pathogenic Cryptococcus species.
Heteroduplex DNA (hetDNA) is a key molecular intermediate during the repair of mitotic double-strand breaks by homologous recombination, but its relationship to 5′ end resection and/or 3′ end extension is poorly understood. In the current study, we examined how perturbations in these processes affect the hetDNA profile associated with repair of a defined double-strand break (DSB) by the synthesis-dependent strand-annealing (SDSA) pathway. Loss of either the Exo1 or Sgs1 long-range resection pathway significantly shortened hetDNA, suggesting that these pathways normally collaborate during DSB repair. In addition, altering the processivity or proofreading activity of DNA polymerase d shortened hetDNA length or reduced break-adjacent mismatch removal, respectively, demonstrating that this is the primary polymerase that extends both 3′ ends. Data are most consistent with the extent of DNA synthesis from the invading end being the primary determinant of hetDNA length during SDSA. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fungus-growing ants engage in complex symbiotic relationships with their fungal crop, specialized fungal pathogens, and bacteria that provide chemical defenses. In an effort to understand the evolutionary origins of this multilateral system, we investigated bacteria isolated from fungi. One bacterial strain (Streptomyces sp. CLI2509) from the bracket fungus Hymenochaete rubiginosa, produced an unusual peptide, tryptorubin A, which contains heteroaromatic links between side chains that give it a rigid polycyclic globular structure. The three-dimensional structure was determined by NMR and MS, including a (13)C-(13)C COSY of isotopically enriched material, degradation, derivatives, and computer modeling. Whole genome sequencing identified a likely pair of biosynthetic genes responsible for tryptorubin A’s linear hexapeptide backbone. The genome also revealed the close relationship between CLI2509 and Streptomyces sp. SPB78, which was previously implicated in an insect-bacterium symbiosis.
Asexual reproduction in animals, though rare, is the main or exclusive mode of reproduction in some long-lived lineages. The longevity of asexual clades may be correlated with the maintenance of heterozygosity by mechanisms that rearrange genomes and reduce recombination. Asexual species thus provide an opportunity to gain insight into the relationship between molecular changes, genome architecture, and cellular processes. Here we report the genome sequence of the parthenogenetic nematode Diploscapter pachys with only one chromosome pair. We show that this unichromosomal architecture is shared by a long-lived clade of asexual nematodes closely related to the genetic model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. Analysis of the genome assembly reveals that the unitary chromosome arose through fusion of six ancestral chromosomes, with extensive rearrangement among neighboring regions. Typical nematode telomeres and telomeric protection-encoding genes are lacking. Most regions show significant heterozygosity; homozygosity is largely concentrated to one region and attributed to gene conversion. Cell-biological and molecular evidence is consistent with the absence of key features of meiosis I, including synapsis and recombination. We propose that D. pachys preserves heterozygosity and produces diploid embryos without fertilization through a truncated meiosis. As a prelude to functional studies, we demonstrate that D. pachys is amenable to experimental manipulation by RNA interference. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
FKBP12-dependent inhibition of calcineurin mediates immunosuppressive antifungal drug action in Malassezia.
The genus Malassezia includes yeasts that are commonly found on the skin or hair of animals and humans as commensals and are associated with a number of skin disorders. We have previously developed an Agrobacterium tumefaciens transformation system effective for both targeted gene deletion and insertional mutagenesis in Malassezia furfur and M. sympodialis In the present study, these molecular resources were applied to characterize the immunophilin FKBP12 as the target of tacrolimus (FK506), ascomycin, and pimecrolimus, which are calcineurin inhibitors that are used as alternatives to corticosteroids in the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders such as those associated with Malassezia species. While M. furfur and M. sympodialis showed in vitro sensitivity to these agents, fkb1? mutants displayed full resistance to all three of them, confirming that FKBP12 is the target of these calcineurin inhibitors and is essential for their activity. We found that calcineurin inhibitors act additively with fluconazole through an FKBP12-dependent mechanism. Spontaneous M. sympodialis isolates resistant to calcineurin inhibitors had mutations in the gene encoding FKBP12 in regions predicted to affect the interactions between FKBP12 and FK506 based on structural modeling. Due to the presence of homopolymer nucleotide repeats in the gene encoding FKBP12, an msh2? hypermutator of M. sympodialis was engineered and exhibited an increase of more than 20-fold in the rate of emergence of resistance to FK506 compared to that of the wild-type strain, with the majority of the mutations found in these repeats.IMPORTANCEMalassezia species are the most abundant fungal components of the mammalian and human skin microbiome. Although they belong to the natural skin commensal flora of humans, they are also associated with a variety of clinical skin disorders. The standard treatment for Malassezia-associated inflammatory skin infections is topical corticosteroids, although their use has adverse side effects and is not recommended for long treatment periods. Calcineurin inhibitors have been proposed as a suitable alternative to treat patients affected by skin lesions caused by Malassezia Although calcineurin inhibitors are well-known as immunosuppressive drugs, they are also characterized by potent antimicrobial activity. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of action of FK506 (tacrolimus), ascomycin (FK520), and pimecrolimus in M. furfur and M. sympodialis and found that the conserved immunophilin FKBP12 is the target of these drugs with which it forms a complex that directly binds calcineurin and inhibits its signaling activity. We found that FKBP12 is also required for the additive activity of calcineurin inhibitors with fluconazole. Furthermore, the increasing natural occurrence in fungal pathogen populations of mutator strains poses a high risk for the rapid emergence of drug resistance and adaptation to host defense. This led us to generate an engineered hypermutator msh2? mutant strain of M. sympodialis and genetically evaluate mutational events resulting in a substantially increased rate of resistance to FK506 compared to that of the wild type. Our study paves the way for the novel clinical use of calcineurin inhibitors with lower immunosuppressive activity that could be used clinically to treat a broad range of fungal infections, including skin disorders caused by Malassezia. Copyright © 2017 Ianiri et al.
Hybrid de novo genome assembly and centromere characterization of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus).
The de novo assembly of repeat-rich mammalian genomes using only high-throughput short read sequencing data typically results in highly fragmented genome assemblies that limit downstream applications. Here, we present an iterative approach to hybrid de novo genome assembly that incorporates datasets stemming from multiple genomic technologies and methods. We used this approach to improve the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) genome from early draft status to a near chromosome-scale assembly.We used a combination of advanced genomic technologies to iteratively resolve conflicts and super-scaffold the M. murinus genome.We improved the M. murinus genome assembly to a scaffold N50 of 93.32 Mb. Whole genome alignments between our primary super-scaffolds and 23 human chromosomes revealed patterns that are congruent with historical comparative cytogenetic data, thus demonstrating the accuracy of our de novo scaffolding approach and allowing assignment of scaffolds to M. murinus chromosomes. Moreover, we utilized our independent datasets to discover and characterize sequences associated with centromeres across the mouse lemur genome. Quality assessment of the final assembly found 96% of mouse lemur canonical transcripts nearly complete, comparable to other published high-quality reference genome assemblies.We describe a new assembly of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) genome with chromosome-scale scaffolds produced using a hybrid bioinformatic and sequencing approach. The approach is cost effective and produces superior results based on metrics of contiguity and completeness. Our results show that emerging genomic technologies can be used in combination to characterize centromeres of non-model species and to produce accurate de novo chromosome-scale genome assemblies of complex mammalian genomes.
Meeting report on experimental approaches to evolution and ecology using yeast and other model systems.
The fourth EMBO-sponsored conference on Experimental Approaches to Evolution and Ecology Using Yeast and Other Model Systems (https://www.embl.de/training/events/2016/EAE16-01/), was held at the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, October 19-23, 2016. The conference was organized by Judith Berman (Tel Aviv University), Maitreya Dunham (University of Washington), Jun-Yi Leu (Academia Sinica), and Lars Steinmetz (EMBL Heidelberg and Stanford University). The meeting attracted ~120 researchers from 28 countries and covered a wide range of topics in the fields of genetics, evolutionary biology, and ecology with a unifying focus on yeast as a model system. Attendees enjoyed the Keith Haring inspired yeast florescence microscopy artwork (Figure 1), a unique feature of the meeting since its inception, and the one-minute flash talks that catalyzed discussions at two vibrant poster sessions. The meeting coincided with the 20th anniversary of the publication describing the sequence of the first eukaryotic genome, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Goffeau et al. 1996). Many of the conference talks focused on important questions about what is contained in the genome, how genomes evolve, and the architecture and behavior of communities of phenotypically and genotypically diverse microorganisms. Here, we summarize highlights of the research talks around these themes. Nearly all presentations focused on novel findings, and we refer the reader to relevant manuscripts that have subsequently been published. Copyright © 2017, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.