April 21, 2020  |  

TIN2 Functions with TPP1/POT1 To Stimulate Telomerase Processivity.

TIN2 is an important regulator of telomere length, and mutations in TINF2, the gene encoding TIN2, cause short-telomere syndromes. While the genetics underscore the importance of TIN2, the mechanism through which TIN2 regulates telomere length remains unclear. Here, we tested the effects of human TIN2 on telomerase activity. We identified a new isoform in human cells, TIN2M, that is expressed at levels similar to those of previously studied TIN2 isoforms. All three TIN2 isoforms localized to and maintained telomere integrity in vivo, and localization was not disrupted by telomere syndrome mutations. Using direct telomerase activity assays, we discovered that TIN2 stimulated telomerase processivity in vitro All of the TIN2 isoforms stimulated telomerase to similar extents. Mutations in the TPP1 TEL patch abrogated this stimulation, suggesting that TIN2 functions with TPP1/POT1 to stimulate telomerase processivity. We conclude from our data and previously published work that TIN2/TPP1/POT1 is a functional shelterin subcomplex. Copyright © 2019 Pike et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cytogenomic analysis of several repetitive DNA elements in turbot (Scophthalmus maximus).

Repetitive DNA plays a fundamental role in the organization, size and evolution of eukaryotic genomes. The sequencing of the turbot revealed a small and compact genome, as in all flatfish studied to date. The assembly of repetitive regions is still incomplete because it is difficult to correctly identify their position, number and array. The combination of classical cytogenetic techniques along with high quality sequencing is essential to increase the knowledge of the structure and composition of these sequences and, thus, of the structure and function of the whole genome. In this work, the in silico analysis of H1 histone, 5S rDNA, telomeric and Rex repetitive sequences, was compared to their chromosomal mapping by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), providing a more comprehensive picture of these elements in the turbot genome. FISH assays confirmed the location of H1 in LG8; 5S rDNA in LG4 and LG6; telomeric sequences at the end of all chromosomes whereas Rex elements were dispersed along most chromosomes. The discrepancies found between both approaches could be related to the sequencing methodology applied in this species and also to the resolution limitations of the FISH technique. Turbot cytogenomic analyses have proven to add new chromosomal landmarks in the karyotype of this species, representing a powerful tool to investigate targeted genomic sequences or regions in the genetic and physical maps of this species. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Double insertion of transposable elements provides a substrate for the evolution of satellite DNA.

Eukaryotic genomes are replete with repeated sequences in the form of transposable elements (TEs) dispersed across the genome or as satellite arrays, large stretches of tandemly repeated sequences. Many satellites clearly originated as TEs, but it is unclear how mobile genetic parasites can transform into megabase-sized tandem arrays. Comprehensive population genomic sampling is needed to determine the frequency and generative mechanisms of tandem TEs, at all stages from their initial formation to their subsequent expansion and maintenance as satellites. The best available population resources, short-read DNA sequences, are often considered to be of limited utility for analyzing repetitive DNA due to the challenge of mapping individual repeats to unique genomic locations. Here we develop a new pipeline called ConTExt that demonstrates that paired-end Illumina data can be successfully leveraged to identify a wide range of structural variation within repetitive sequence, including tandem elements. By analyzing 85 genomes from five populations of Drosophila melanogaster, we discover that TEs commonly form tandem dimers. Our results further suggest that insertion site preference is the major mechanism by which dimers arise and that, consequently, dimers form rapidly during periods of active transposition. This abundance of TE dimers has the potential to provide source material for future expansion into satellite arrays, and we discover one such copy number expansion of the DNA transposon hobo to approximately 16 tandem copies in a single line. The very process that defines TEs-transposition-thus regularly generates sequences from which new satellites can arise.© 2018 McGurk and Barbash; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

The structure of a conserved telomeric region associated with variant antigen loci in the blood parasite Trypanosoma congolense

African trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne disease of humans and livestock caused by African trypanosomes (Trypanosoma spp.). Survival in the vertebrate bloodstream depends on antigenic variation of Variant Surface Glycoproteins (VSGs) coating the parasite surface. In T. brucei, a model for antigenic variation, monoallelic VSG expression originates from dedicated VSG expression sites (VES). Trypanosoma brucei VES have a conserved structure consisting of a telomeric VSG locus downstream of unique, repeat sequences, and an independent promoter. Additional protein-coding sequences, known as “Expression Site Associated Genes (ESAGs)”, are also often present and are implicated in diverse, bloodstream-stage functions. Trypanosoma congolense is a related veterinary pathogen, also displaying VSG-mediated antigenic variation. A T. congolense VES has not been described, making it unclear if regulation of VSG expression is conserved between species. Here, we describe a conserved telomeric region associated with VSG loci from long-read DNA sequencing of two T. congolense strains, which consists of a distal repeat, conserved noncoding elements and other genes besides the VSG; although these are not orthologous to T. brucei ESAGs. Most conserved telomeric regions are associated with accessory minichromosomes, but the same structure may also be associated with megabase chromosomes. We propose that this region represents the T. congolense VES, and through comparison with T. brucei, we discuss the parallel evolution of antigenic switching mechanisms, and unique adaptation of the T. brucei VES for developmental regulation of bloodstream-stage genes. Hence, we provide a basis for understanding antigenic switching in T. congolense and the origins of the African trypanosome VES.


September 22, 2019  |  

Noise-Cancelling Repeat Finder: Uncovering tandem repeats in error-prone long-read sequencing data

Tandem DNA repeats can be sequenced with long-read technologies, but cannot be accurately deciphered due to the lack of computational tools taking high error rates of these technologies into account. Here we introduce Noise-Cancelling Repeat Finder (NCRF) to uncover putative tandem repeats of specified motifs in noisy long reads produced by Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore sequencers. Using simulations, we validated the use of NCRF to locate tandem repeats with motifs of various lengths and demonstrated its superior performance as compared to two alternative tools. Using real human whole-genome sequencing data, NCRF identified long arrays of the (AATGG)n repeat involved in heat shock stress response.


September 22, 2019  |  

Loss of Rap1 supports recombination-based telomere maintenance independent of RNA-DNA hybrids in fission yeast

To investigate the molecular changes needed for cells to maintain their telomeres by recombination, we monitored telomere appearance during serial culture of fission yeast cells lacking the telomerase recruitment factor Ccq1. Rad52 is loaded onto critically short telomeres shortly after germination despite continued telomere erosion, suggesting that recruitment of recombination factors is not sufficient to maintain telomeres in the absence of telomerase function. Instead, survivor formation coincides with the derepression of telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA). Degradation of telomere-associated TERRA in this context drives a severe growth crisis, ultimately leading to a distinct type of linear survivor with altered cytological telomere characteristics and the eviction of the shelterin component Rap1 (but not the TRF1/TRF2 orthologue, Taz1) from the telomere. We demonstrate that deletion of Rap1 is protective, preventing the growth crisis that is otherwise triggered by degradation of telomere-engaged TERRA in survivors with linear chromosomes. Thus, modulating the stoichiometry of shelterin components appears to support recombination-dependent survivors to persist in the absence of telomere-engaged TERRA.


September 21, 2019  |  

Assembling large genomes with single-molecule sequencing and locality-sensitive hashing.

Long-read, single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is routinely used to finish microbial genomes, but available assembly methods have not scaled well to larger genomes. We introduce the MinHash Alignment Process (MHAP) for overlapping noisy, long reads using probabilistic, locality-sensitive hashing. Integrating MHAP with the Celera Assembler enabled reference-grade de novo assemblies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster and a human hydatidiform mole cell line (CHM1) from SMRT sequencing. The resulting assemblies are highly continuous, include fully resolved chromosome arms and close persistent gaps in these reference genomes. Our assembly of D. melanogaster revealed previously unknown heterochromatic and telomeric transition sequences, and we assembled low-complexity sequences from CHM1 that fill gaps in the human GRCh38 reference. Using MHAP and the Celera Assembler, single-molecule sequencing can produce de novo near-complete eukaryotic assemblies that are 99.99% accurate when compared with available reference genomes.


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 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Sporisorium scitamineum and biotrophic interaction transcriptome with sugarcane.

Sporisorium scitamineum is a biotrophic fungus responsible for the sugarcane smut, a worldwide spread disease. This study provides the complete sequence of individual chromosomes of S. scitamineum from telomere to telomere achieved by a combination of PacBio long reads and Illumina short reads sequence data, as well as a draft sequence of a second fungal strain. Comparative analysis to previous available sequences of another strain detected few polymorphisms among the three genomes. The novel complete sequence described herein allowed us to identify and annotate extended subtelomeric regions, repetitive elements and the mitochondrial DNA sequence. The genome comprises 19,979,571 bases, 6,677 genes encoding proteins, 111 tRNAs and 3 assembled copies of rDNA, out of our estimated number of copies as 130. Chromosomal reorganizations were detected when comparing to sequences of S. reilianum, the closest smut relative, potentially influenced by repeats of transposable elements. Repetitive elements may have also directed the linkage of the two mating-type loci. The fungal transcriptome profiling from in vitro and from interaction with sugarcane at two time points (early infection and whip emergence) revealed that 13.5% of the genes were differentially expressed in planta and particular to each developmental stage. Among them are plant cell wall degrading enzymes, proteases, lipases, chitin modification and lignin degradation enzymes, sugar transporters and transcriptional factors. The fungus also modulates transcription of genes related to surviving against reactive oxygen species and other toxic metabolites produced by the plant. Previously described effectors in smut/plant interactions were detected but some new candidates are proposed. Ten genomic islands harboring some of the candidate genes unique to S. scitamineum were expressed only in planta. RNAseq data was also used to reassure gene predictions.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing of the desiccation-tolerant grass Oropetium thomaeum.

Plant genomes, and eukaryotic genomes in general, are typically repetitive, polyploid and heterozygous, which complicates genome assembly. The short read lengths of early Sanger and current next-generation sequencing platforms hinder assembly through complex repeat regions, and many draft and reference genomes are fragmented, lacking skewed GC and repetitive intergenic sequences, which are gaining importance due to projects like the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE). Here we report the whole-genome sequencing and assembly of the desiccation-tolerant grass Oropetium thomaeum. Using only single-molecule real-time sequencing, which generates long (>16?kilobases) reads with random errors, we assembled 99% (244?megabases) of the Oropetium genome into 625 contigs with an N50 length of 2.4?megabases. Oropetium is an example of a ‘near-complete’ draft genome which includes gapless coverage over gene space as well as intergenic sequences such as centromeres, telomeres, transposable elements and rRNA clusters that are typically unassembled in draft genomes. Oropetium has 28,466 protein-coding genes and 43% repeat sequences, yet with 30% more compact euchromatic regions it is the smallest known grass genome. The Oropetium genome demonstrates the utility of single-molecule real-time sequencing for assembling high-quality plant and other eukaryotic genomes, and serves as a valuable resource for the plant comparative genomics community.


July 19, 2019  |  

ATM kinase is required for telomere elongation in mouse and human cells.

Short telomeres induce a DNA damage response, senescence, and apoptosis, thus maintaining telomere length equilibrium is essential for cell viability. Telomerase addition of telomere repeats is tightly regulated in cells. To probe pathways that regulate telomere addition, we developed the ADDIT assay to measure new telomere addition at a single telomere in vivo. Sequence analysis showed telomerase-specific addition of repeats onto a new telomere occurred in just 48 hr. Using the ADDIT assay, we found that ATM is required for addition of new repeats onto telomeres in mouse cells. Evaluation of bulk telomeres, in both human and mouse cells, showed that blocking ATM inhibited telomere elongation. Finally, the activation of ATM through the inhibition of PARP1 resulted in increased telomere elongation, supporting the central role of the ATM pathway in regulating telomere addition. Understanding this role of ATM may yield new areas for possible therapeutic intervention in telomere-mediated disease. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete telomere-to-telomere de novo assembly of the Plasmodium falciparum genome through long-read (>11?kb), single molecule, real-time sequencing.

The application of next-generation sequencing to estimate genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal malaria parasite, has proved challenging due to the skewed AT-richness [~80.6% (A?+?T)] of its genome and the lack of technology to assemble highly polymorphic subtelomeric regions that contain clonally variant, multigene virulence families (Ex: var and rifin). To address this, we performed amplification-free, single molecule, real-time sequencing of P. falciparum genomic DNA and generated reads of average length 12?kb, with 50% of the reads between 15.5 and 50?kb in length. Next, using the Hierarchical Genome Assembly Process, we assembled the P. falciparum genome de novo and successfully compiled all 14 nuclear chromosomes telomere-to-telomere. We also accurately resolved centromeres [~90-99% (A?+?T)] and subtelomeric regions and identified large insertions and duplications that add extra var and rifin genes to the genome, along with smaller structural variants such as homopolymer tract expansions. Overall, we show that amplification-free, long-read sequencing combined with de novo assembly overcomes major challenges inherent to studying the P. falciparum genome. Indeed, this technology may not only identify the polymorphic and repetitive subtelomeric sequences of parasite populations from endemic areas but may also evaluate structural variation linked to virulence, drug resistance and disease transmission. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing uncovers the adaptive topography of a carnivorous plant genome.

Utricularia gibba, the humped bladderwort, is a carnivorous plant that retains a tiny nuclear genome despite at least two rounds of whole genome duplication (WGD) since common ancestry with grapevine and other species. We used a third-generation genome assembly with several complete chromosomes to reconstruct the two most recent lineage-specific ancestral genomes that led to the modern U. gibba genome structure. Patterns of subgenome dominance in the most recent WGD, both architectural and transcriptional, are suggestive of allopolyploidization, which may have generated genomic novelty and led to instantaneous speciation. Syntenic duplicates retained in polyploid blocks are enriched for transcription factor functions, whereas gene copies derived from ongoing tandem duplication events are enriched in metabolic functions potentially important for a carnivorous plant. Among these are tandem arrays of cysteine protease genes with trap-specific expression that evolved within a protein family known to be useful in the digestion of animal prey. Further enriched functions among tandem duplicates (also with trap-enhanced expression) include peptide transport (intercellular movement of broken-down prey proteins), ATPase activities (bladder-trap acidification and transmembrane nutrient transport), hydrolase and chitinase activities (breakdown of prey polysaccharides), and cell-wall dynamic components possibly associated with active bladder movements. Whereas independently polyploid Arabidopsis syntenic gene duplicates are similarly enriched for transcriptional regulatory activities, Arabidopsis tandems are distinct from those of U. gibba, while still metabolic and likely reflecting unique adaptations of that species. Taken together, these findings highlight the special importance of tandem duplications in the adaptive landscapes of a carnivorous plant genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

Multiple independent changes in mitochondrial genome conformation in chlamydomonadalean algae

Chlamydomonadalean green algae are no stranger to linear mitochondrial genomes, particularly members of the Reinhardtinia clade. At least nine different Reinhardtinia species are known to have linear mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs), including the model species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Thus, it is no surprise that some have suggested that the most recent common ancestor of the Reinhardtinia clade had a linear mtDNA. But the recent uncovering of circular-mapping mtDNAs in a range of Reinhardtinia algae, such as Volvox carteri and Tetrabaena socialis, has shed doubt on this hypothesis. Here, we explore mtDNA sequence and structure within the colonial Reinhardtinia algae Yamagishiella unicocca and Eudorina sp. NIES-3984, which occupy phylogenetically intermediate positions between species with opposing mtDNA mapping structures. Sequencing and gel electrophoresis data indicate that Y. unicocca has a linear monomeric mitochondrial genome with long (3?kb) palindromic telomeres. Conversely, the mtDNA of Eudorina sp., despite having an identical gene order to that of Y. unicocca, assembled as a circular-mapping molecule. Restriction digests of Eudorina sp. mtDNA supported its circular map, but also revealed a linear monomeric form with a matching architecture and gene order to the Y. unicocca mtDNA. Based on these data, we suggest that there have been at least three separate shifts in mtDNA conformation in the Reinhardtinia, and that the common ancestor of this clade had a linear monomeric mitochondrial genome with palindromic telomeres.


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