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December 1, 2018

Multiscale patterns and drivers of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in the roots and root-associated soil of a wild perennial herb.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form diverse communities and are known to influence above-ground community dynamics and biodiversity. However, the multiscale patterns and drivers of AM fungal composition and diversity are still poorly understood. We sequenced DNA markers from roots and root-associated soil from Plantago lanceolata plants collected across multiple spatial scales to allow comparison of AM fungal communities among neighbouring plants, plant subpopulations, nearby plant populations, and regions. We also measured soil nutrients, temperature, humidity, and community composition of neighbouring plants and nonAM root-associated fungi. AM fungal communities were already highly dissimilar among neighbouring plants (c. 30 cm apart), albeit with a…

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December 1, 2018

Soil microclimate changes affect soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean pine forest.

Soil microclimate is a potentially important regulator of the composition of plant-associated fungal communities in climates with significant drought periods. Here, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean Pinus pinaster forest in relation to soil moisture and temperature. Fungal communities in 336 soil samples collected monthly over 1 year from 28 long-term experimental plots were assessed by PacBio sequencing of ITS2 amplicons. Total fungal biomass was estimated by analysing ergosterol. Community changes were analysed in the context of functional traits. Soil fungal biomass was lowest during summer and late winter and highest during autumn, concurrent with…

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December 1, 2018

Contrasting distribution patterns between aquatic and terrestrial Phytophthora species along a climatic gradient are linked to functional traits.

Diversity of microbial organisms is linked to global climatic gradients. The genus Phytophthora includes both aquatic and terrestrial plant pathogenic species that display a large variation of functional traits. The extent to which the physical environment (water or soil) modulates the interaction of microorganisms with climate is unknown. Here, we explored the main environmental drivers of diversity and functional trait composition of Phytophthora communities. Communities were obtained by a novel metabarcoding setup based on PacBio sequencing of river filtrates in 96 river sites along a geographical gradient. Species were classified as terrestrial or aquatic based on their phylogenetic clade. Overall,…

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September 15, 2018

Lack of thinning effects over inter-annual changes in soil fungal community and diversity in a Mediterranean pine forest

Predicted changes in global climate might negatively affect the soil microbiome and associated ecosystem processes in Mediterranean forests. Forest treatments, such as forest thinning, have been suggested to mitigate climate change impacts on vegetation by reducing competition between trees, thus increasing water availability. Studies addressing the combined effects of climate and forest thinning on belowground fungal communities are still scarce, being fundamental to elaborate adaptive strategies to global warming. The aim of this study was to evaluate the tree density reduction effects on soil fungal communities and their response to inter-annual changes in weather conditions. The temporal dynamics of soil…

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April 1, 2018

Repeated evolution of self-compatibility for reproductive assurance.

Sexual reproduction in eukaryotes requires the fusion of two compatible gametes of opposite sexes or mating types. To meet the challenge of finding a mating partner with compatible gametes, evolutionary mechanisms such as hermaphroditism and self-fertilization have repeatedly evolved. Here, by combining the insights from comparative genomics, computer simulations and experimental evolution in fission yeast, we shed light on the conditions promoting separate mating types or self-compatibility by mating-type switching. Analogous to multiple independent transitions between switchers and non-switchers in natural populations mediated by structural genomic changes, novel switching genotypes readily evolved under selection in the experimental populations. Detailed fitness…

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December 8, 2017

A blaOXA-181-harbouring multi-resistant ST147 Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate from Pakistan that represent an intermediate stage towards pan-drug resistance.

Carbapenem resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-KP) infections are an ever-increasing global issue, especially in the Indian subcontinent. Here we report genetic insight into a blaOXA-181 harbouring Klebsiella pneumoniae, belonging to the pandemic lineage ST147, that represents an intermediate stage towards pan-drug resistance. The CR-KP isolate DA48896 was isolated from a patient from Pakistan and was susceptible only to tigecycline and colistin. It harboured blaOXA-181 and was assigned to sequence type ST147. Analysis from whole genome sequencing revealed a very high sequence similarity to the previously sequenced pan-resistant K. pneumoniae isolate MS6671 from the United Arab Emirates. The two isolates are very…

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October 1, 2017

De novo design and synthesis of a 30-cistron translation-factor module.

Two of the many goals of synthetic biology are synthesizing large biochemical systems and simplifying their assembly. While several genes have been assembled together by modular idempotent cloning, it is unclear if such simplified strategies scale to very large constructs for expression and purification of whole pathways. Here we synthesize from oligodeoxyribonucleotides a completely de-novo-designed, 58-kb multigene DNA. This BioBrick plasmid insert encodes 30 of the 31 translation factors of the PURE translation system, each His-tagged and in separate transcription cistrons. Dividing the insert between three high-copy expression plasmids enables the bulk purification of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and translation factors…

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September 1, 2017

Retention of seed trees fails to lifeboat ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity in harvested Scots pine forests.

Fennoscandian forestry has in the past decades changed from natural regeneration of forests towards replantation of clear-cuts, which negatively impacts ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) diversity. Retention of trees during harvesting enables EMF survival, and we therefore expected EMF communities to be more similar to those in old natural stands after forest regeneration using seed trees compared to full clear-cutting and replanting. We sequenced fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) amplicons to assess EMF communities in 10- to 60-year-old Scots pine stands regenerated either using seed trees or through replanting of clear-cuts with old natural stands as reference. We also investigated local…

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July 17, 2017

Analysis of aquaporins from the euryhaline barnacle Balanus improvisus reveals differential expression in response to changes in salinity.

Barnacles are sessile macro-invertebrates, found along rocky shores in coastal areas worldwide. The euryhaline bay barnacle Balanus improvisus (Darwin, 1854) (= Amphibalanus improvisus) can tolerate a wide range of salinities, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the osmoregulatory capacity of this truly brackish species are not well understood. Aquaporins are pore-forming integral membrane proteins that facilitate transport of water, small solutes and ions through cellular membranes, and that have been shown to be important for osmoregulation in many organisms. The knowledge of the function of aquaporins in crustaceans is, however, limited and nothing is known about them in barnacles. We here…

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