April 21, 2020  |  

A bird’s white-eye view on neosex chromosome evolution

Chromosomal organization is relatively stable among avian species, especially with regards to sex chromosomes. Members of the large Sylvioidea clade however have a pair of neo-sex chromosomes which is unique to this clade and originate from a parallel translocation of a region of the ancestral 4A chromosome on both W and Z chromosomes. Here, we took advantage of this unusual event to study the early stages of sex chromosome evolution. To do so, we sequenced a female (ZW) of two Sylvioidea species, a Zosterops borbonicus and a Z. pallidus. Then, we organized the Z. borbonicus scaffolds along chromosomes and annotated genes. Molecular phylogenetic dating under various methods and calibration sets confidently confirmed the recent diversification of the genus Zosterops (1-3.5 million years ago), thus representing one of the most exceptional rates of diversification among vertebrates. We then combined genomic coverage comparisons of five males and seven females, and homology with the zebra finch genome (Taeniopygia guttata) to identify sex chromosome scaffolds, as well as the candidate chromosome breakpoints for the two translocation events. We observed reduced levels of within-species diversity in both translocated regions and, as expected, even more so on the neoW chromosome. In order to compare the rates of molecular evolution in genomic regions of the autosomal-to-sex transitions, we then estimated the ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous polymorphisms (pN/pS) and substitutions (dN/dS). Based on both ratios, no or little contrast between autosomal and Z genes was observed, thus representing a very different outcome than the higher ratios observed at the neoW genes. In addition, we report significant changes in base composition content for translocated regions on the W and Z chromosomes and a large accumulation of transposable elements (TE) on the newly W region. Our results revealed contrasted signals of molecular evolution changes associated to these autosome-to-sex chromosome transitions, with congruent signals of a W chromosome degeneration yet a surprisingly weak support for a fast-Z effect.


April 21, 2020  |  

Phylogenetic reconciliation reveals the natural history of glycopeptide antibiotic biosynthesis and resistance.

Glycopeptide antibiotics are produced by Actinobacteria through biosynthetic gene clusters that include genes supporting their regulation, synthesis, export and resistance. The chemical and biosynthetic diversities of glycopeptides are the product of an intricate evolutionary history. Extracting this history from genome sequences is difficult as conservation of the individual components of these gene clusters is variable and each component can have a different trajectory. We show that glycopeptide biosynthesis and resistance in Actinobacteria maps to approximately 150-400 million years ago. Phylogenetic reconciliation reveals that the precursors of glycopeptide biosynthesis are far older than other components, implying that these clusters arose from a pre-existing pool of genes. We find that resistance appeared contemporaneously with biosynthetic genes, raising the possibility that the mechanism of action of glycopeptides was a driver of diversification in these gene clusters. Our results put antibiotic biosynthesis and resistance into an evolutionary context and can guide the future discovery of compounds possessing new mechanisms of action, which are especially needed as the usefulness of the antibiotics available at present is imperilled by human activity.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of GD1108, a Moderate-Virulence Strain of Human-Associated ST398 Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus multilocus sequence type 398 (ST398) is responsible for an increasing number of severe infections in humans. There are no reports detailing if all ST398 strains are equally virulent. We present the genome sequence of the moderate-virulence ST398 methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strain GD1108, determined in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model, to reveal the ST398 sublineage virulence.Copyright © 2019 McClure et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Draft Genome Sequence of Alteromonas sp. Strain RKMC-009, Isolated from Xestospongia muta via In Situ Culturing Using an Isolation Chip Diffusion Chamber.

We report the draft whole-genome sequence of Alteromonas sp. strain RKMC-009, which was isolated in situ from the sponge Xestospongia muta in San Salvador, The Bahamas, using an isolation chip (ichip). Automated biosynthetic gene cluster analysis using antiSMASH 4.0 predicted the presence of 22 biosynthetic gene clusters.Copyright © 2019 MacIntyre et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequences of Two USA300-Related Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Isolates.

USA300 is a predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain causing significant morbidity and mortality in North America. We present the full annotated genome sequences of two methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates related to the USA300 pulsotype with the goal of studying the evolutionary relationships of this highly successful strain type.Copyright © 2019 McClure and Zhang.


April 21, 2020  |  

Alternative Splicing of the Delta-Opioid Receptor Gene Suggests Existence of New Functional Isoforms.

The delta-opioid receptor (DOPr) participates in mediating the effects of opioid analgesics. However, no selective agonists have entered clinical care despite potential to ameliorate many neurological and psychiatric disorders. In an effort to address the drug development challenges, the functional contribution of receptor isoforms created by alternative splicing of the three-exonic coding gene, OPRD1, has been overlooked. We report that the gene is transcriptionally more diverse than previously demonstrated, producing novel protein isoforms in humans and mice. We provide support for the functional relevance of splice variants through context-dependent expression profiling (tissues, disease model) and conservation of the transcriptional landscape in closely related vertebrates. The conserved alternative transcriptional events have two distinct patterns. First, cassette exon inclusions between exons 1 and 2 interrupt the reading frame, producing truncated receptor fragments comprising only the first transmembrane (TM) domain, despite the lack of exact exon orthologues between distant species. Second, a novel promoter and transcriptional start site upstream of exon 2 produces a transcript of an N-terminally truncated 6TM isoform. However, a fundamental difference in the exonic landscaping as well as translation and translation products poses limits for modelling the human DOPr receptor system in mice.


April 21, 2020  |  

Toxin and genome evolution in a Drosophila defensive symbiosis.

Defenses conferred by microbial symbionts play a vital role in the health and fitness of their animal hosts. An important outstanding question in the study of defensive symbiosis is what determines long term stability and effectiveness against diverse natural enemies. In this study, we combine genome and transcriptome sequencing, symbiont transfection and parasite protection experiments, and toxin activity assays to examine the evolution of the defensive symbiosis between Drosophila flies and their vertically transmitted Spiroplasma bacterial symbionts, focusing in particular on ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs), symbiont-encoded toxins that have been implicated in protection against both parasitic wasps and nematodes. Although many strains of Spiroplasma, including the male-killing symbiont (sMel) of Drosophila melanogaster, protect against parasitic wasps, only the strain (sNeo) that infects the mycophagous fly Drosophila neotestacea appears to protect against parasitic nematodes. We find that RIP repertoire is a major differentiating factor between strains that do and do not offer nematode protection, and that sMel RIPs do not show activity against nematode ribosomes in vivo. We also discovered a strain of Spiroplasma infecting a mycophagous phorid fly, Megaselia nigra. Although both the host and its Spiroplasma are distantly related to D. neotestacea and its symbiont, genome sequencing revealed that the M. nigra symbiont encodes abundant and diverse RIPs, including plasmid-encoded toxins that are closely related to the RIPs in sNeo. Our results suggest that distantly related Spiroplasma RIP toxins may perform specialized functions with regard to parasite specificity and suggest an important role for horizontal gene transfer in the emergence of novel defensive phenotypes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole Genome Sequencing of the Mutamouse Model Reveals Strain- and Colony-Level Variation, and Genomic Features of the Transgene Integration Site.

The MutaMouse transgenic rodent model is widely used for assessing in vivo mutagenicity. Here, we report the characterization of MutaMouse’s whole genome sequence and its genetic variants compared to the C57BL/6 reference genome. High coverage (>50X) next-generation sequencing (NGS) of whole genomes from multiple MutaMouse animals from the Health Canada (HC) colony showed ~5 million SNVs per genome, ~20% of which are putatively novel. Sequencing of two animals from a geographically separated colony at Covance indicated that, over the course of 23 years, each colony accumulated 47,847 (HC) and 17,677 (Covance) non-parental homozygous single nucleotide variants. We found no novel nonsense or missense mutations that impair the MutaMouse response to genotoxic agents. Pairing sequencing data with array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) improved the accuracy and resolution of copy number variants (CNVs) calls and identified 300 genomic regions with CNVs. We also used long-read sequence technology (PacBio) to show that the transgene integration site involved a large deletion event with multiple inversions and rearrangements near a retrotransposon. The MutaMouse genome gives important genetic context to studies using this model, offers insight on the mechanisms of structural variant formation, and contributes a framework to analyze aCGH results alongside NGS data.


April 21, 2020  |  

Mobilome of Brevibacterium aurantiacum Sheds Light on Its Genetic Diversity and Its Adaptation to Smear-Ripened Cheeses.

Brevibacterium aurantiacum is an actinobacterium that confers key organoleptic properties to washed-rind cheeses during the ripening process. Although this industrially relevant species has been gaining an increasing attention in the past years, its genome plasticity is still understudied due to the unavailability of complete genomic sequences. To add insights on the mobilome of this group, we sequenced the complete genomes of five dairy Brevibacterium strains and one non-dairy strain using PacBio RSII. We performed phylogenetic and pan-genome analyses, including comparisons with other publicly available Brevibacterium genomic sequences. Our phylogenetic analysis revealed that these five dairy strains, previously identified as Brevibacterium linens, belong instead to the B. aurantiacum species. A high number of transposases and integrases were observed in the Brevibacterium spp. strains. In addition, we identified 14 and 12 new insertion sequences (IS) in B. aurantiacum and B. linens genomes, respectively. Several stretches of homologous DNA sequences were also found between B. aurantiacum and other cheese rind actinobacteria, suggesting horizontal gene transfer (HGT). A HGT region from an iRon Uptake/Siderophore Transport Island (RUSTI) and an iron uptake composite transposon were found in five B. aurantiacum genomes. These findings suggest that low iron availability in milk is a driving force in the adaptation of this bacterial species to this niche. Moreover, the exchange of iron uptake systems suggests cooperative evolution between cheese rind actinobacteria. We also demonstrated that the integrative and conjugative element BreLI (Brevibacterium Lanthipeptide Island) can excise from B. aurantiacum SMQ-1417 chromosome. Our comparative genomic analysis suggests that mobile genetic elements played an important role into the adaptation of B. aurantiacum to cheese ecosystems.


September 22, 2019  |  

Composition and pathogenic potential of a microbial bioremediation product used for crude oil degradation.

A microbial bioremediation product (MBP) used for large-scale oil degradation was investigated for microbial constituents and possible pathogenicity. Aerobic growth on various media yielded >108 colonies mL-1. Full-length 16S rDNA sequencing and fatty acid profiling from morphologically distinct colonies revealed =13 distinct genera. Full-length 16S rDNA library sequencing, by either Sanger or long-read PacBio technology, suggested that up to 21% of the MBP was composed of Arcobacter. Other high abundance microbial constituents (>6%) included the genera Proteus, Enterococcus, Dysgonomonas and several genera in the order Bacteroidales. The MBP was most susceptible to ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, gentamicin, and meropenam. MBP exposure of human HT29 and A549 cells caused significant cytotoxicity, and bacterial growth and adherence. An acellular MBP filtrate was also cytotoxic to HT29, but not A549. Both MBP and filtrate exposures elevated the neutrophil chemoattractant IL-8. In endotracheal murine exposures, bacterial pulmonary clearance was complete after one-week. Elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1ß, IL-6, and TNF-a, and chemokines KC and MCP-1 occurred between 2h and 48h post-exposure, followed by restoration to baseline levels at 96h. Cytokine/chemokine signalling was accompanied by elevated blood neutrophils and monocytes at 4h and 48h, respectively. Peripheral acute phase response markers were maximal at 24h. All indicators examined returned to baseline values by 168h. In contrast to HT29, but similar to A549 observations, MBP filtrate did not induce significant murine effects with the indicators examined. The results demonstrated the potentially complex nature of MBPs and transient immunological effects during exposure. Products containing microbes should be scrutinized for pathogenic components and subjected to characterisation and quality validation prior to commercial release.


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 that C19MC-dependent DNMT3B deregulation is mediated by RBL2, a known repressor of DNMT3B. Transfection with individual C19MC microRNAs resulted in DNMT3B upregulation and RBL2 downregulation in cultured cells. Our data suggest a potential oncogenic re-engagement of an early developmental program in ETMR via epigenetic alteration mediated by an embryonic, brain-specific DNMT3B isoform.


September 22, 2019  |  

Sequence motifs associated with paternal transmission of mitochondrial DNA in the horse mussel, Modiolus modiolus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae).

In the majority of metazoans paternal mitochondria represent evolutionary dead-ends. In many bivalves, however, this paradigm does not hold true; both maternal and paternal mitochondria are inherited. Herein, we characterize maternal and paternal mitochondrial control regions of the horse mussel, Modiolus modiolus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae). The maternal control region is 808bp long, while the paternal control region is longer at 2.3kb. We hypothesize that the size difference is due to a combination of repeated duplications within the control region of the paternal mtDNA genome, as well as an evolutionarily ancient recombination event between two sex-associated mtDNA genomes that led to the insertion of a second control region sequence in the genome that is now transmitted via males. In a comparison to other mytilid male control regions, we identified two evolutionarily Conserved Motifs, CMA and CMB, associated with paternal transmission of mitochondrial DNA. CMA is characterized by a conserved purine/pyrimidine pattern, while CMB exhibits a specific 13bp nucleotide string within a stem and loop structure. The identification of motifs CMA and CMB in M. modiolus extends our understanding of Sperm Transmission Elements (STEs) that have recently been identified as being associated with the paternal transmission of mitochondria in marine bivalves. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

PHACTR1 splicing isoforms and eQTLs in atherosclerosis-relevant human cells.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a variant (rs9349379) at the phosphatase and actin regulator 1 (PHACTR1) locus that is associated with coronary artery disease (CAD). The same variant is also an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) for PHACTR1 in human coronary arteries (hCA). Here, we sought to characterize PHACTR1 splicing pattern in atherosclerosis-relevant human cells. We also explored how rs9349379 modulates the expression of the different PHACTR1 splicing isoforms.We combined rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) with next-generation long-read DNA sequencing to discover all PHACTR1 transcripts in many human tissues and cell types. We measured PHACTR1 transcripts by qPCR to identify transcript-specific eQTLs.We confirmed a brain-specific long transcript, a short transcript expressed in monocytes and four intermediate transcripts that are different due to alternative splicing of two in-frame exons. In contrast to a previous report, we confirmed that the PHACTR1 protein is present in vascular smooth muscle cells. In 158 hCA from our collection and the GTEx dataset, rs9349379 was only associated with the expression levels of the intermediate PHACTR1 transcripts.Our comprehensive transcriptomic profiling of PHACTR1 indicates that this gene encodes six main transcripts. Five of them are expressed in hCA, where atherosclerotic plaques develop. In this tissue, genotypes at rs9349379 are associated with the expression of the intermediate transcripts, but not the immune-specific short transcript. This result suggests that rs9349379 may in part influence CAD by modulating the expression of intermediate PHACTR1 transcripts in endothelial or vascular smooth muscle cells found in hCA.


September 22, 2019  |  

Re-classification of Clavibacter michiganensis subspecies on the basis of whole-genome and multi-locus sequence analyses.

Although the genus Clavibacter was originally proposed to accommodate all phytopathogenic coryneform bacteria containing B2? diaminobutyrate in the peptidoglycan, reclassification of all but one species into other genera has resulted in the current monospecific status of the genus. The single species in the genus, Clavibacter michiganensis, has multiple subspecies, which are all highly host-specific plant pathogens. Whole genome analysis based on average nucleotide identity and digital DNA-DNA hybridization as well as multi-locus sequence analysis (MLSA) of seven housekeeping genes support raising each of the C. michiganensis subspecies to species status. On the basis of whole genome and MLSA data, we propose the establishment of two new species and three new combinations: Clavibacter capsici sp. nov., comb. nov. and Clavibacter tessellarius sp. nov., comb. nov., and Clavibacter insidiosus comb. nov., Clavibacter nebraskensis comb. nov. and Clavibacter sepedonicus comb. nov.


September 22, 2019  |  

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) genome and transcriptome.

When unifying genomic resources among studies and comparing data between species, there is often no better resource than a genome sequence. Having a reference genome for the Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) will enable the extensive genomic resources available for Pacific salmon, Atlantic salmon, and rainbow trout to be leveraged when asking questions related to the Chinook salmon. The Chinook salmon’s wide distribution, long cultural impact, evolutionary history, substantial hatchery production, and recent wild-population decline make it an important research species. In this study, we sequenced and assembled the genome of a Chilliwack River Hatchery female Chinook salmon (gynogenetic and homozygous at all loci). With a reference genome sequence, new questions can be asked about the nature of this species, and its role in a rapidly changing world.


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