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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

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.


October 23, 2019  |  

Optimized CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing for Leishmania and its use to target a multigene family, induce chromosomal translocation, and study DNA break repair mechanisms.

CRISPR-Cas9-mediated genome editing has recently been adapted for Leishmania spp. parasites, the causative agents of human leishmaniasis. We have optimized this genome-editing tool by selecting for cells with CRISPR-Cas9 activity through cotargeting the miltefosine transporter gene; mutation of this gene leads to miltefosine resistance. This cotargeting strategy integrated into a triple guide RNA (gRNA) expression vector was used to delete all 11 copies of the A2 multigene family; this was not previously possible with the traditional gene-targeting method. We found that the Leishmania donovani rRNA promoter is more efficient than the U6 promoter in driving gRNA expression, and sequential transfections of the oligonucleotide donor significantly eased the isolation of edited mutants. A gRNA and Cas9 coexpression vector was developed that was functional in all tested Leishmania species, including L. donovani, L. major, and L. mexicana. By simultaneously targeting sites from two different chromosomes, all four types of targeted chromosomal translocations were generated, regardless of the polycistronic transcription direction from the parent chromosomes. It was possible to use this CRISPR system to create a single conserved amino acid substitution (A189G) mutation for both alleles of RAD51, a DNA recombinase involved in homology-directed repair. We found that RAD51 is essential for L. donovani survival based on direct observation of the death of mutants with both RAD51 alleles disrupted, further confirming that this CRISPR system can reveal gene essentiality. Evidence is also provided that microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) plays a major role in double-strand DNA break repair in L. donovani. IMPORTANCELeishmania parasites cause human leishmaniasis. To accelerate characterization of Leishmania genes for new drug and vaccine development, we optimized and simplified the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool for Leishmania. We show that co-CRISPR targeting of the miltefosine transporter gene and serial transfections of an oligonucleotide donor significantly eased isolation of edited mutants. This cotargeting strategy was efficiently used to delete all 11 members of the A2 virulence gene family. This technical advancement is valuable, since there are many gene clusters and supernumerary chromosomes in the various Leishmania species and isolates. We simplified this CRISPR system by developing a gRNA and Cas9 coexpression vector which could be used to delete genes in various Leishmania species. This CRISPR system could also be used to generate specific chromosomal translocations, which will help in the study of Leishmania gene expression and transcription control. This study also provides new information about double-strand DNA break repair mechanisms in Leishmania.


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  |  

Complete genome sequence and genomic characterization of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA1 (11869BP).

Our body has natural defense systems to protect against potentially harmful microbes, including the physical and chemical barriers of the intestinal epithelium (Corfield et al., 2000). The physical barrier of the intestinal epithelium protects the host against pathogenic microbes (Anderson et al., 1993), and the intestinal mucosa coated with mucus excretes pathogens from the intestinal tract (Corfield et al., 2000).


September 22, 2019  |  

The complete mitochondrial genome of the hermaphroditic freshwater mussel Anodonta cygnea (Bivalvia: Unionidae): in silico analyses of sex-specific ORFs across order Unionoida.

Doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI) of mitochondrial DNA in bivalves is a fascinating exception to strictly maternal inheritance as practiced by all other animals. Recent work on DUI suggests that there may be unique regions of the mitochondrial genomes that play a role in sex determination and/or sexual development in freshwater mussels (order Unionoida). In this study, one complete mitochondrial genome of the hermaphroditic swan mussel, Anodonta cygnea, is sequenced and compared to the complete mitochondrial genome of the gonochoric duck mussel, Anodonta anatina. An in silico assessment of novel proteins found within freshwater bivalve species (known as F-, H-, and M-open reading frames or ORFs) is conducted, with special attention to putative transmembrane domains (TMs), signal peptides (SPs), signal cleavage sites (SCS), subcellular localization, and potential control regions. Characteristics of TMs are also examined across freshwater mussel lineages.In silico analyses suggests the presence of SPs and SCSs and provides some insight into possible function(s) of these novel ORFs. The assessed confidence in these structures and functions was highly variable, possibly due to the novelty of these proteins. The number and topology of putative TMs appear to be maintained among both F- and H-ORFs, however, this is not the case for M-ORFs. There does not appear to be a typical control region in H-type mitochondrial DNA, especially given the loss of tandem repeats in unassigned regions when compared to F-type mtDNA.In silico analyses provides a useful tool to discover patterns in DUI and to navigate further in situ analyses related to DUI in freshwater mussels. In situ analysis will be necessary to further explore the intracellular localizations and possible role of these open reading frames in the process of sex determination in freshwater mussel.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of the wheat fungal pathogen Pyrenophora tritici-repentis reveals chromosomal variations and genome plasticity.

Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr) is a necrotrophic fungal pathogen that causes the major wheat disease, tan spot. We set out to provide essential genomics-based resources in order to better understand the pathogenicity mechanisms of this important pathogen.Here, we present eight new Ptr isolate genomes, assembled and annotated; representing races 1, 2 and 5, and a new race. We report a high quality Ptr reference genome, sequenced by PacBio technology with Illumina paired-end data support and optical mapping. An estimated 98% of the genome coverage was mapped to 10 chromosomal groups, using a two-enzyme hybrid approach. The final reference genome was 40.9 Mb and contained a total of 13,797 annotated genes, supported by transcriptomic and proteogenomics data sets.Whole genome comparative analysis revealed major chromosomal segmental rearrangements and fusions, highlighting intraspecific genome plasticity in this species. Furthermore, the Ptr race classification was not supported at the whole genome level, as phylogenetic analysis did not cluster the ToxA producing isolates. This expansion of available Ptr genomics resources will directly facilitate research aimed at controlling tan spot disease.


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