April 21, 2020  |  

Genome assembly and gene expression in the American black bear provides new insights into the renal response to hibernation.

The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is rising worldwide and 10-15% of the global population currently suffers from CKD and its complications. Given the increasing prevalence of CKD there is an urgent need to find novel treatment options. The American black bear (Ursus americanus) copes with months of lowered kidney function and metabolism during hibernation without the devastating effects on metabolism and other consequences observed in humans. In a biomimetic approach to better understand kidney adaptations and physiology in hibernating black bears, we established a high-quality genome assembly. Subsequent RNA-Seq analysis of kidneys comparing gene expression profiles in black bears entering (late fall) and emerging (early spring) from hibernation identified 169 protein-coding genes that were differentially expressed. Of these, 101 genes were downregulated and 68 genes were upregulated after hibernation. Fold changes ranged from 1.8-fold downregulation (RTN4RL2) to 2.4-fold upregulation (CISH). Most notable was the upregulation of cytokine suppression genes (SOCS2, CISH, and SERPINC1) and the lack of increased expression of cytokines and genes involved in inflammation. The identification of these differences in gene expression in the black bear kidney may provide new insights in the prevention and treatment of CKD. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.

April 21, 2020  |  

The Genome of C57BL/6J “Eve”, the Mother of the Laboratory Mouse Genome Reference Strain.

Isogenic laboratory mouse strains enhance reproducibility because individual animals are genetically identical. For the most widely used isogenic strain, C57BL/6, there exists a wealth of genetic, phenotypic, and genomic data, including a high-quality reference genome (GRCm38.p6). Now 20 years after the first release of the mouse reference genome, C57BL/6J mice are at least 26 inbreeding generations removed from GRCm38 and the strain is now maintained with periodic reintroduction of cryorecovered mice derived from a single breeder pair, aptly named Adam and Eve. To provide an update to the mouse reference genome that more accurately represents the genome of today’s C57BL/6J mice, we took advantage of long read, short read, and optical mapping technologies to generate a de novo assembly of the C57BL/6J Eve genome (B6Eve). Using these data, we have addressed recurring variants observed in previous mouse genomic studies. We have also identified structural variations, closed gaps in the mouse reference assembly, and revealed previously unannotated coding sequences. This B6Eve assembly explains discrepant observations that have been associated with GRCm38-based analyses, and will inform a reference genome that is more representative of the C57BL/6J mice that are in use today.Copyright © 2019 Sarsani et al.

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