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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Investigating the role of exudates in recruiting Streptomyces bacteria to the Arabidopsis thaliana root microbiome

Arabidopsis thaliana has a diverse but consistent root microbiome, recruited in part by the release of fixed carbon in root exudates. Here we focussed on the recruitment of Streptomyces bacteria, which are well established plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria and which have been proposed to be recruited to A. thaliana roots by the release of salicylic acid. We generated high quality genome sequences for eight Streptomyces endophyte strains and showed that although some strains do enhance plant growth, they are not attracted to, and do not feed on, salicyclic acid. We used 13CO2 DNA-stable isotope probing to determine which bacteria are fed by…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A critical comparison of technologies for a plant genome sequencing project.

A high-quality genome sequence of any model organism is an essential starting point for genetic and other studies. Older clone-based methods are slow and expensive, whereas faster, cheaper short-read-only assemblies can be incomplete and highly fragmented, which minimizes their usefulness. The last few years have seen the introduction of many new technologies for genome assembly. These new technologies and associated new algorithms are typically benchmarked on microbial genomes or, if they scale appropriately, on larger (e.g., human) genomes. However, plant genomes can be much more repetitive and larger than the human genome, and plant biochemistry often makes obtaining high-quality DNA…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Biphasic cellular adaptations and ecological implications of Alteromonas macleodii degrading a mixture of algal polysaccharides.

Algal polysaccharides are an important bacterial nutrient source and central component of marine food webs. However, cellular and ecological aspects concerning the bacterial degradation of polysaccharide mixtures, as presumably abundant in natural habitats, are poorly understood. Here, we contextualize marine polysaccharide mixtures and their bacterial utilization in several ways using the model bacterium Alteromonas macleodii 83-1, which can degrade multiple algal polysaccharides and contributes to polysaccharide degradation in the oceans. Transcriptomic, proteomic and exometabolomic profiling revealed cellular adaptations of A. macleodii 83-1 when degrading a mix of laminarin, alginate and pectin. Strain 83-1 exhibited substrate prioritization driven by catabolite repression,…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A well supported multi gene phylogeny of 52 dictyostelia.

The Dictyostelid social amoebas are a popular model system for cell- and developmental biology and for evolution of sociality. Small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA-based phylogenies subdivide the known 150 species into four major and some minor groups, but lack resolution within groups, particularly group 4, and, as shown by genome-based phylogenies of 11 species, showed errors in the position of the root and nodes separating major clades. We are interested in the evolution of cell-type specialization, which particularly expanded in group 4. To construct a more robust phylogeny, we first included 7 recently sequenced genomes in the genome-based phylogeny of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Leveraging multiple transcriptome assembly methods for improved gene structure annotation.

The performance of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) aligners and assemblers varies greatly across different organisms and experiments, and often the optimal approach is not known beforehand.Here, we show that the accuracy of transcript reconstruction can be boosted by combining multiple methods, and we present a novel algorithm to integrate multiple RNA-seq assemblies into a coherent transcript annotation. Our algorithm can remove redundancies and select the best transcript models according to user-specified metrics, while solving common artifacts such as erroneous transcript chimerisms.We have implemented this method in an open-source Python3 and Cython program, Mikado, available on GitHub.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Defining cell identity with single cell omics.

Cells are a fundamental unit of life, and the ability to study the phenotypes and behaviors of individual cells is crucial to understanding the workings of complex biological systems. Cell phenotypes (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) exhibit dramatic heterogeneity between and within the different cell types and states underlying cellular functional diversity. Cell genotypes can also display heterogeneity throughout an organism, in the form of somatic genetic variation-most notably in the emergence and evolution of tumors. Recent technical advances in single-cell isolation and the development of omics approaches sensitive enough to reveal these aspects of cell identity have enabled a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Functional characterization of the mucus barrier on the Xenopus tropicalis skin surface.

Mucosal surfaces represent critical routes for entry and exit of pathogens. As such, animals have evolved strategies to combat infection at these sites, in particular the production of mucus to prevent attachment and to promote subsequent movement of the mucus/microbe away from the underlying epithelial surface. Using biochemical, biophysical, and infection studies, we have investigated the host protective properties of the skin mucus barrier of the Xenopus tropicalis tadpole. Specifically, we have characterized the major structural component of the barrier and shown that it is a mucin glycoprotein (Otogelin-like or Otogl) with similar sequence, domain organization, and structural properties to…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

An ancient integration in a plant NLR is maintained as a trans-species polymorphism

Plant immune receptors are under constant selective pressure to maintain resistance to plant pathogens. Nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins are one class of cytoplasmic immune receptors whose genes commonly show signatures of adaptive evolution. While it is known that balancing selection contributes to maintaining high intraspecific allelic diversity, the evolutionary mechanism that influences the transmission of alleles during speciation remains unclear. The barley Mla locus has over 30 described alleles conferring isolate-specific resistance to barley powdery mildew and contains three NLR families (RGH1, RGH2, and RGH3). We discovered (using sequence capture and RNAseq) the presence of a novel integrated Exo70…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Identification of candidate genes at the Dp-fl locus conferring resistance against the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea

The cultivated apple is susceptible to several pests including the rosy apple aphid (RAA; Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini), control of which is mainly based on chemical treatments. A few cases of resistance to aphids have been described in apple germplasm resources, laying the basis for the development of new resistant cultivars by breeding. The cultivar ‘Florina’ is resistant to RAA, and recently, the Dp-fl locus responsible for its resistance was mapped on linkage group 8 of the apple genome. In this paper, a chromosome walking approach was performed by using a ‘Florina’ bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The walking started from…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative genomics of bdelloid rotifers: Insights from desiccating and nondesiccating species.

Bdelloid rotifers are a class of microscopic invertebrates that have existed for millions of years apparently without sex or meiosis. They inhabit a variety of temporary and permanent freshwater habitats globally, and many species are remarkably tolerant of desiccation. Bdelloids offer an opportunity to better understand the evolution of sex and recombination, but previous work has emphasised desiccation as the cause of several unusual genomic features in this group. Here, we present high-quality whole-genome sequences of 3 bdelloid species: Rotaria macrura and R. magnacalcarata, which are both desiccation intolerant, and Adineta ricciae, which is desiccation tolerant. In combination with the…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Biosynthesis of the 15-membered ring depsipeptide neoantimycin.

Antimycins are a family of natural products possessing outstanding biological activities and unique structures, which have intrigued chemists for over a half century. Of particular interest are the ring-expanded antimycins that show promising anticancer potential and whose biosynthesis remains uncharacterized. Specifically, neoantimycin and its analogs have been shown to be effective regulators of the oncogenic proteins GRP78/BiP and K-Ras. The neoantimycin structural skeleton is built on a 15-membered tetralactone ring containing one methyl, one hydroxy, one benzyl, and three alkyl moieties, as well as an amide linkage to a conserved 3-formamidosalicylic acid moiety. Although the biosynthetic gene cluster for neoantimycins…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Signatures of host specialization and a recent transposable element burst in the dynamic one-speed genome of the fungal barley powdery mildew pathogen.

Powdery mildews are biotrophic pathogenic fungi infecting a number of economically important plants. The grass powdery mildew, Blumeria graminis, has become a model organism to study host specialization of obligate biotrophic fungal pathogens. We resolved the large-scale genomic architecture of B. graminis forma specialis hordei (Bgh) to explore the potential influence of its genome organization on the co-evolutionary process with its host plant, barley (Hordeum vulgare).The near-chromosome level assemblies of the Bgh reference isolate DH14 and one of the most diversified isolates, RACE1, enabled a comparative analysis of these haploid genomes, which are highly enriched with transposable elements (TEs). We…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative genomics of Pseudomonas syringae reveals convergent gene gain and loss associated with specialization onto cherry (Prunus avium).

Genome-wide analyses of the effector- and toxin-encoding genes were used to examine the phylogenetics and evolution of pathogenicity amongst diverse strains of Pseudomonas syringae causing bacterial canker of cherry (Prunus avium), including pathovars P. syringae pv morsprunorum (Psm) races 1 and 2, P. syringae pv syringae (Pss) and P. syringae pv avii. Phylogenetic analyses revealed Psm races and P. syringae pv avii clades were distinct and were each monophyletic, whereas cherry-pathogenic strains of Pss were interspersed amongst strains from other host species. A maximum likelihood approach was used to predict effectors associated with pathogenicity on cherry. Pss possesses a smaller repertoire of type III…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Characterisation of pathogen-specific regions and novel effector candidates in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae.

A reference-quality assembly of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae (Foc), the causative agent of onion basal rot has been generated along with genomes of additional pathogenic and non-pathogenic isolates of onion. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed a single origin of the Foc pathogenic lineage. Genome alignments with other F. oxysporum ff. spp. and non pathogens revealed high levels of syntenic conservation of core chromosomes but little synteny between lineage specific (LS) chromosomes. Four LS contigs in Foc totaling 3.9?Mb were designated as pathogen-specific (PS). A two-fold increase in segmental duplication events was observed between LS regions of the genome compared to within…

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