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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Function-based identification of mammalian enhancers using site-specific integration.

The accurate and comprehensive identification of functional regulatory sequences in mammalian genomes remains a major challenge. Here we describe site-specific integration fluorescence-activated cell sorting followed by sequencing (SIF-seq), an unbiased, medium-throughput functional assay for the discovery of distant-acting enhancers. Targeted single-copy genomic integration into pluripotent cells, reporter assays and flow cytometry are coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing to enable parallel screening of large numbers of DNA sequences. By functionally interrogating >500 kilobases (kb) of mouse and human sequence in mouse embryonic stem cells for enhancer activity we identified enhancers at pluripotency loci including NANOG. In in vitro-differentiated cardiomyocytes and neural…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fusion of TTYH1 with the C19MC microRNA cluster drives expression of a brain-specific DNMT3B isoform in the embryonal brain tumor ETMR.

Embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes (ETMRs) are rare, deadly pediatric brain tumors characterized by high-level amplification of the microRNA cluster C19MC. We performed integrated genetic and epigenetic analyses of 12 ETMR samples and identified, in all cases, C19MC fusions to TTYH1 driving expression of the microRNAs. ETMR tumors, cell lines and xenografts showed a specific DNA methylation pattern distinct from those of other tumors and normal tissues. We detected extreme overexpression of a previously uncharacterized isoform of DNMT3B originating at an alternative promoter that is active only in the first weeks of neural tube development. Transcriptional and immunohistochemical analyses suggest…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Long-read sequencing of chicken transcripts and identification of new transcript isoforms.

The chicken has long served as an important model organism in many fields, and continues to aid our understanding of animal development. Functional genomics studies aimed at probing the mechanisms that regulate development require high-quality genomes and transcript annotations. The quality of these resources has improved dramatically over the last several years, but many isoforms and genes have yet to be identified. We hope to contribute to the process of improving these resources with the data presented here: a set of long cDNA sequencing reads, and a curated set of new genes and transcript isoforms not currently represented in the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The architecture of a scrambled genome reveals massive levels of genomic rearrangement during development.

Programmed DNA rearrangements in the single-celled eukaryote Oxytricha trifallax completely rewire its germline into a somatic nucleus during development. This elaborate, RNA-mediated pathway eliminates noncoding DNA sequences that interrupt gene loci and reorganizes the remaining fragments by inversions and permutations to produce functional genes. Here, we report the Oxytricha germline genome and compare it to the somatic genome to present a global view of its massive scale of genome rearrangements. The remarkably encrypted genome architecture contains >3,500 scrambled genes, as well as >800 predicted germline-limited genes expressed, and some posttranslationally modified, during genome rearrangements. Gene segments for different somatic loci…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

DNA methylation on N(6)-adenine in mammalian embryonic stem cells.

It has been widely accepted that 5-methylcytosine is the only form of DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. Here we identify N(6)-methyladenine as another form of DNA modification in mouse embryonic stem cells. Alkbh1 encodes a demethylase for N(6)-methyladenine. An increase of N(6)-methyladenine levels in Alkbh1-deficient cells leads to transcriptional silencing. N(6)-methyladenine deposition is inversely correlated with the evolutionary age of LINE-1 transposons; its deposition is strongly enriched at young (6 million years old) L1 elements. The deposition of N(6)-methyladenine correlates with epigenetic silencing of such LINE-1 transposons, together with their neighbouring enhancers and genes, thereby resisting the gene activation signals…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Lingula genome provides insights into brachiopod evolution and the origin of phosphate biomineralization.

The evolutionary origins of lingulid brachiopods and their calcium phosphate shells have been obscure. Here we decode the 425-Mb genome of Lingula anatina to gain insights into brachiopod evolution. Comprehensive phylogenomic analyses place Lingula close to molluscs, but distant from annelids. The Lingula gene number has increased to ~34,000 by extensive expansion of gene families. Although Lingula and vertebrates have superficially similar hard tissue components, our genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses show that Lingula lacks genes involved in bone formation, indicating an independent origin of their phosphate biominerals. Several genes involved in Lingula shell formation are shared by molluscs. However,…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comparative genome sequencing reveals genomic signature of extreme desiccation tolerance in the anhydrobiotic midge.

Anhydrobiosis represents an extreme example of tolerance adaptation to water loss, where an organism can survive in an ametabolic state until water returns. Here we report the first comparative analysis examining the genomic background of extreme desiccation tolerance, which is exclusively found in larvae of the only anhydrobiotic insect, Polypedilum vanderplanki. We compare the genomes of P. vanderplanki and a congeneric desiccation-sensitive midge P. nubifer. We determine that the genome of the anhydrobiotic species specifically contains clusters of multi-copy genes with products that act as molecular shields. In addition, the genome possesses several groups of genes with high similarity to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genome organization of the vg1 and nodal3 gene clusters in the allotetraploid frog Xenopus laevis.

Extracellular factors belonging to the TGF-ß family play pivotal roles in the formation and patterning of germ layers during early Xenopus embryogenesis. Here, we show that the vg1 and nodal3 genes of Xenopus laevis are present in gene clusters on chromosomes XLA1L and XLA3L, respectively, and that both gene clusters have been completely lost from the syntenic S chromosome regions. The presence of gene clusters and chromosome-specific gene loss were confirmed by cDNA FISH analyses. Sequence and expression analyses revealed that paralogous genes in the vg1 and nodal3 clusters on the L chromosomes were also altered compared to their Xenopus…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Population scale mapping of transposable element diversity reveals links to gene regulation and epigenomic variation.

Variation in the presence or absence of transposable elements (TEs) is a major source of genetic variation between individuals. Here, we identified 23,095 TE presence/absence variants between 216 Arabidopsis accessions. Most TE variants were rare, and we find these rare variants associated with local extremes of gene expression and DNA methylation levels within the population. Of the common alleles identified, two thirds were not in linkage disequilibrium with nearby SNPs, implicating these variants as a source of novel genetic diversity. Many common TE variants were associated with significantly altered expression of nearby genes, and a major fraction of inter-accession DNA…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Cloche is a bHLH-PAS transcription factor that drives haemato-vascular specification.

Vascular and haematopoietic cells organize into specialized tissues during early embryogenesis to supply essential nutrients to all organs and thus play critical roles in development and disease. At the top of the haemato-vascular specification cascade lies cloche, a gene that when mutated in zebrafish leads to the striking phenotype of loss of most endothelial and haematopoietic cells and a significant increase in cardiomyocyte numbers. Although this mutant has been analysed extensively to investigate mesoderm diversification and differentiation and continues to be broadly used as a unique avascular model, the isolation of the cloche gene has been challenging due to its…

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