July 19, 2019  |  

Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae.

Sex chromosomes in plants and animals and fungal mating-type chromosomes often show exceptional genome features, with extensive suppression of homologous recombination and cytological differentiation between members of the diploid chromosome pair. Despite strong interest in the genetics of these chromosomes, their large regions of suppressed recombination often are enriched in transposable elements and therefore can be challenging to assemble. Here we show that the latest improvements of the PacBio sequencing yield assembly of the whole genome of the anther-smut fungus, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (the pathogenic fungus causing anther-smut disease of Silene latifolia), into finished chromosomes or chromosome arms, even for the repeat-rich mating-type chromosomes and centromeres. Suppressed recombination of the mating-type chromosomes is revealed to span nearly 90% of their lengths, with extreme levels of rearrangements, transposable element accumulation, and differentiation between the two mating types. We observed no correlation between allelic divergence and physical position in the nonrecombining regions of the mating-type chromosomes. This may result from gene conversion or from rearrangements of ancient evolutionary strata, i.e., successive steps of suppressed recombination. Centromeres were found to be composed mainly of copia-like transposable elements and to possess specific minisatellite repeats identical between the different chromosomes. We also identified subtelomeric motifs. In addition, extensive signs of degeneration were detected in the nonrecombining regions in the form of transposable element accumulation and of hundreds of gene losses on each mating-type chromosome. Furthermore, our study highlights the potential of the latest breakthrough PacBio chemistry to resolve complex genome architectures. Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into sex chromosome evolution and aging from the genome of a short-lived fish.

The killifish Nothobranchius furzeri is the shortest-lived vertebrate that can be bred in the laboratory. Its rapid growth, early sexual maturation, fast aging, and arrested embryonic development (diapause) make it an attractive model organism in biomedical research. Here, we report a draft sequence of its genome that allowed us to uncover an intra-species Y chromosome polymorphism representing-in real time-different stages of sex chromosome formation that display features of early mammalian XY evolution “in action.” Our data suggest that gdf6Y, encoding a TGF-ß family growth factor, is the master sex-determining gene in N. furzeri. Moreover, we observed genomic clustering of aging-related genes, identified genes under positive selection, and revealed significant similarities of gene expression profiles between diapause and aging, particularly for genes controlling cell cycle and translation. The annotated genome sequence is provided as an online resource (http://www.nothobranchius.info/NFINgb). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into the preservation of the homomorphic sex-determining chromosome of Aedes aegypti from the discovery of a male-biased gene tightly linked to the M-locus.

The preservation of a homomorphic sex-determining chromosome in some organisms without transformation into a heteromorphic sex chromosome is a long-standing enigma in evolutionary biology. A dominant sex-determining locus (or M-locus) in an undifferentiated homomorphic chromosome confers the male phenotype in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti. Genetic evidence suggests that the M-locus is in a nonrecombining region. However, the molecular nature of the M-locus has not been characterized. Using a recently developed approach based on Illumina sequencing of male and female genomic DNA, we identified a novel gene, myo-sex, that is present almost exclusively in the male genome but can sporadically be found in the female genome due to recombination. For simplicity, we define sequences that are primarily found in the male genome as male-biased. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on A. aegypti chromosomes demonstrated that the myo-sex probe localized to region 1q21, the established location of the M-locus. Myo-sex is a duplicated myosin heavy chain gene that is highly expressed in the pupa and adult male. Myo-sex shares 83% nucleotide identity and 97% amino acid identity with its closest autosomal paralog, consistent with ancient duplication followed by strong purifying selection. Compared with males, myo-sex is expressed at very low levels in the females that acquired it, indicating that myo-sex may be sexually antagonistic. This study establishes a framework to discover male-biased sequences within a homomorphic sex-determining chromosome and offers new insights into the evolutionary forces that have impeded the expansion of the nonrecombining M-locus in A. aegypti.


July 7, 2019  |  

The Harvest suite for rapid core-genome alignment and visualization of thousands of intraspecific microbial genomes.

Whole-genome sequences are now available for many microbial species and clades, however, existing whole-genome alignment methods are limited in their ability to perform sequence comparisons of multiple sequences simultaneously. Here we present the Harvest suite of core-genome alignment and visualization tools for the rapid and simultaneous analysis of thousands of intraspecific microbial strains. Harvest includes Parsnp, a fast core-genome multi-aligner, and Gingr, a dynamic visual platform. Together they provide interactive core-genome alignments, variant calls, recombination detection, and phylogenetic trees. Using simulated and real data we demonstrate that our approach exhibits unrivaled speed while maintaining the accuracy of existing methods. The Harvest suite is open-source and freely available from: http://github.com/marbl/harvest.


July 7, 2019  |  

Surveillance of bat coronaviruses in Kenya identifies relatives of human coronaviruses NL63 and 229E and their recombination history.

Bats harbor a large diversity of coronaviruses (CoVs), several of which are related to zoonotic pathogens that cause severe disease in humans. Our screening of bat samples collected in Kenya from 2007 to 2010 not only detected RNA from several novel CoVs but, more significantly, identified sequences that were closely related to human CoVs NL63 and 229E, suggesting that these two human viruses originate from bats. We also demonstrated that human CoV NL63 is a recombinant between NL63-like viruses circulating in Triaenops bats and 229E-like viruses circulating in Hipposideros bats, with the breakpoint located near 5′ and 3′ ends of the spike (S) protein gene. In addition, two further interspecies recombination events involving the S gene were identified, suggesting that this region may represent a recombination “hot spot” in CoV genomes. Finally, using a combination of phylogenetic and distance-based approaches, we showed that the genetic diversity of bat CoVs is primarily structured by host species and subsequently by geographic distances.IMPORTANCE Understanding the driving forces of cross-species virus transmission is central to understanding the nature of disease emergence. Previous studies have demonstrated that bats are the ultimate reservoir hosts for a number of coronaviruses (CoVs), including ancestors of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and human CoV 229E (HCoV-229E). However, the evolutionary pathways of bat CoVs remain elusive. We provide evidence for natural recombination between distantly related African bat coronaviruses associated with Triaenops afer and Hipposideros sp. bats that resulted in a NL63-like virus, an ancestor of the human pathogen HCoV-NL63. These results suggest that interspecies recombination may play an important role in CoV evolution and the emergence of novel CoVs with zoonotic potential. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genetic analysis of Neisseria meningitidis sequence type 7 serogroup X originating from serogroup A.

Neisseria meningitidis causes meningococcal disease, often resulting in fulminant meningitis, sepsis, and death. Vaccination programs have been developed to prevent infection of this pathogen, but serogroup replacement is a problem. Capsular switching has been an important survival mechanism for N. meningitidis, allowing the organism to evolve in the present vaccine era. However, related mechanisms have not been completely elucidated. Genetic analysis of capsular switching between diverse serogroups would help further our understanding of this pathogen. In this study, we analyzed the genetic characteristics of the sequence type 7 (ST-7) serogroup X strain that was predicted to arise from ST-7 serogroup A at the genomic level. By comparing the genomic structures and sequences, ST-7 serogroup X was closest to ST-7 serogroup A, whereas eight probable recombination regions, including the capsular gene locus, were identified. This indicated that serogroup X originated from serogroup A by recombination leading to capsular switching. The recombination involved approximately 8,540 bp from the end of the ctrC gene to the middle of the galE gene. There were more recombination regions and strain-specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms in serogroup X than in serogroup A genomes. However, no specific gene was found for each serogroup except those in the capsule gene locus. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Recombination-dependent replication and gene conversion homogenize repeat sequences and diversify plastid genome structure

There is a misinterpretation in the literature regarding the variable orientation of the small single copy region of plastid genomes (plastomes). The common phenomenon of small and large single copy inversion, hypothesized to occur through intramolecular recombination between inverted repeats (IR) in a circular, single unit-genome, in fact, more likely occurs through recombination-dependent replication (RDR) of linear plastome templates. If RDR can be primed through both intra- and intermolecular recombination, then this mechanism could not only create inversion isomers of so-called single copy regions, but also an array of alternative sequence arrangements.We used Illumina paired-end and PacBio single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequences to characterize repeat structure in the plastome of Monsonia emarginata (Geraniaceae). We used OrgConv and inspected nucleotide alignments to infer ancestral nucleotides and identify gene conversion among repeats and mapped long (>1 kb) SMRT reads against the unit-genome assembly to identify alternative sequence arrangements.Although M. emarginata lacks the canonical IR, we found that large repeats (>1 kilobase; kb) represent ~22% of the plastome nucleotide content. Among the largest repeats (>2 kb), we identified GC-biased gene conversion and mapping filtered, long SMRT reads to the M. emarginata unit-genome assembly revealed alternative, substoichiometric sequence arrangements.We offer a model based on RDR and gene conversion between long repeated sequences in the M. emarginata plastome and provide support that both intra-and intermolecular recombination between large repeats, particularly in repeat-rich plastomes, varies unit-genome structure while homogenizing the nucleotide sequence of repeats.© 2017 Botanical Society of America.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic analyses reveal that partial sequence of an earlier pseudorabies virus in China is originated from a Bartha-vaccine-like strain.

Pseudorabies virus (PRV), the causative agent of Aujeszky?s disease, has gained increased attention in China in recent years as a result of the outbreak of emergent pseudorabies. Several genomic and partial sequences are available for Chinese emergent and European-American strains of PRV, but limited sequence data exist for the earlier Chinese strains. In this study, we determined the complete genomic sequence of one earlier Chinese strain SC and one emergent strain HLJ8. Compared with other known sequences, we demonstrated that PRV strains from distinct geographical regions displayed divergent evolution. Additionally, we report for the first time, a recombination event between PRV strains, and show that strain SC is a recombinant of an endemic Chinese strain and a Bartha-vaccine-like strain. These results contribute to our understanding of PRV evolution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

High quality maize centromere 10 sequence reveals evidence of frequent recombination events.

The ancestral centromeres of maize contain long stretches of the tandemly arranged CentC repeat. The abundance of tandem DNA repeats and centromeric retrotransposons (CR) has presented a significant challenge to completely assembling centromeres using traditional sequencing methods. Here, we report a nearly complete assembly of the 1.85 Mb maize centromere 10 from inbred B73 using PacBio technology and BACs from the reference genome project. The error rates estimated from overlapping BAC sequences are 7 × 10(-6) and 5 × 10(-5) for mismatches and indels, respectively. The number of gaps in the region covered by the reassembly was reduced from 140 in the reference genome to three. Three expressed genes are located between 92 and 477 kb from the inferred ancestral CentC cluster, which lies within the region of highest centromeric repeat density. The improved assembly increased the count of full-length CR from 5 to 55 and revealed a 22.7 kb segmental duplication that occurred approximately 121,000 years ago. Our analysis provides evidence of frequent recombination events in the form of partial retrotransposons, deletions within retrotransposons, chimeric retrotransposons, segmental duplications including higher order CentC repeats, a deleted CentC monomer, centromere-proximal inversions, and insertion of mitochondrial sequences. Double-strand DNA break (DSB) repair is the most plausible mechanism for these events and may be the major driver of centromere repeat evolution and diversity. In many cases examined here, DSB repair appears to be mediated by microhomology, suggesting that tandem repeats may have evolved to efficiently repair frequent DSBs in centromeres.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of Campylobacter fetus from reptiles and mammals reveals divergent evolution in host-associated lineages.

Campylobacter fetus currently comprises three recognized subspecies, which display distinct host association. Campylobacter fetus subsp. fetus and C fetus subsp. venerealis are both associated with endothermic mammals, primarily ruminants, whereas C fetus subsp. testudinum is primarily associated with ectothermic reptiles. Both C. fetus subsp. testudinum and C. fetus subsp. fetus have been associated with severe infections, often with a systemic component, in immunocompromised humans. To study the genetic factors associated with the distinct host dichotomy in C. fetus, whole-genome sequencing and comparison of mammal- and reptile-associated C fetus was performed. The genomes of C fetus subsp. testudinum isolated from either reptiles or humans were compared with elucidate the genetic factors associated with pathogenicity in humans. Genomic comparisons showed conservation of gene content and organization among C fetus subspecies, but a clear distinction between mammal- and reptile-associated C fetus was observed. Several genomic regions appeared to be subspecies specific, including a putative tricarballylate catabolism pathway, exclusively present in C fetus subsp. testudinum strains. Within C fetus subsp. testudinum, sapA, sapB, and sapAB type strains were observed. The recombinant locus iamABC (mlaFED) was exclusively associated with invasive C fetus subsp. testudinum strains isolated from humans. A phylogenetic reconstruction was consistent with divergent evolution in host-associated strains and the existence of a barrier to lateral gene transfer between mammal- and reptile-associated C fetus Overall, this study shows that reptile-associated C fetus subsp. testudinum is genetically divergent from mammal-associated C fetus subspecies. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic recombination leading to decreased virulence of group B Streptococcus in a mouse model of adult invasive disease.

Adult invasive disease caused by Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is increasing worldwide. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) now permits rapid identification of recombination events, a phenomenon that occurs frequently in GBS. Using WGS, we described that strain NGBS375, a capsular serotype V GBS isolate of sequence type (ST)297, has an ST1 genomic background but has acquired approximately 300 kbp of genetic material likely from an ST17 strain. Here, we examined the virulence of this strain in an in vivo model of GBS adult invasive infection. The mosaic ST297 strain showed intermediate virulence, causing significantly less systemic infection and reduced mortality than a more virulent, serotype V ST1 isolate. Bacteremia induced by the ST297 strain was similar to that induced by a serotype III ST17 strain, which was the least virulent under the conditions tested. Yet, under normalized bacteremia levels, the in vivo intrinsic capacity to induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines was similar between the ST297 strain and the virulent ST1 strain. Thus, the diminished virulence of the mosaic strain may be due to reduced capacity to disseminate or multiply in blood during a systemic infection which could be mediated by regulatory factors contained in the recombined region.


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