September 22, 2019  |  

Phenotypic diversification by enhanced genome restructuring after induction of multiple DNA double-strand breaks.

DNA double-strand break (DSB)-mediated genome rearrangements are assumed to provide diverse raw genetic materials enabling accelerated adaptive evolution; however, it remains unclear about the consequences of massive simultaneous DSB formation in cells and their resulting phenotypic impact. Here, we establish an artificial genome-restructuring technology by conditionally introducing multiple genomic DSBs in vivo using a temperature-dependent endonuclease TaqI. Application in yeast and Arabidopsis thaliana generates strains with phenotypes, including improved ethanol production from xylose at higher temperature and increased plant biomass, that are stably inherited to offspring after multiple passages. High-throughput genome resequencing revealed that these strains harbor diverse rearrangements, including copy number variations, translocations in retrotransposons, and direct end-joinings at TaqI-cleavage sites. Furthermore, large-scale rearrangements occur frequently in diploid yeasts (28.1%) and tetraploid plants (46.3%), whereas haploid yeasts and diploid plants undergo minimal rearrangement. This genome-restructuring system (TAQing system) will enable rapid genome breeding and aid genome-evolution studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

The complete chloroplast genome sequence of Actinidia arguta using the PacBio RS II platform.

Actinidia arguta is the most basal species in a phylogenetically and economically important genus in the family Actinidiaceae. To better understand the molecular basis of the Actinidia arguta chloroplast (cp), we sequenced the complete cp genome from A. arguta using Illumina and PacBio RS II sequencing technologies. The cp genome from A. arguta was 157,611 bp in length and composed of a pair of 24,232 bp inverted repeats (IRs) separated by a 20,463 bp small single copy region (SSC) and an 88,684 bp large single copy region (LSC). Overall, the cp genome contained 113 unique genes. The cp genomes from A. arguta and three other Actinidia species from GenBank were subjected to a comparative analysis. Indel mutation events and high frequencies of base substitution were identified, and the accD and ycf2 genes showed a high degree of variation within Actinidia. Forty-seven simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 155 repetitive structures were identified, further demonstrating the rapid evolution in Actinidia. The cp genome analysis and the identification of variable loci provide vital information for understanding the evolution and function of the chloroplast and for characterizing Actinidia population genetics.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genome of Rhizophagus clarus HR1 reveals a common genetic basis for auxotrophy among arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

Mycorrhizal symbiosis is one of the most fundamental types of mutualistic plant-microbe interaction. Among the many classes of mycorrhizae, the arbuscular mycorrhizae have the most general symbiotic style and the longest history. However, the genomes of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are not well characterized due to difficulties in cultivation and genetic analysis. In this study, we sequenced the genome of the AM fungus Rhizophagus clarus HR1, compared the sequence with the genome sequence of the model species R. irregularis, and checked for missing genes that encode enzymes in metabolic pathways related to their obligate biotrophy.In the genome of R. clarus, we confirmed the absence of cytosolic fatty acid synthase (FAS), whereas all mitochondrial FAS components were present. A KEGG pathway map identified the absence of genes encoding enzymes for several other metabolic pathways in the two AM fungi, including thiamine biosynthesis and the conversion of vitamin B6 derivatives. We also found that a large proportion of the genes encoding glucose-producing polysaccharide hydrolases, that are present even in ectomycorrhizal fungi, also appear to be absent in AM fungi.In this study, we found several new genes that are absent from the genomes of AM fungi in addition to the genes previously identified as missing. Missing genes for enzymes in primary metabolic pathways imply that AM fungi may have a higher dependency on host plants than other biotrophic fungi. These missing metabolic pathways provide a genetic basis to explore the physiological characteristics and auxotrophy of AM fungi.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recurrent loss, horizontal transfer, and the obscure origins of mitochondrial introns in diatoms (Bacillariophyta).

We sequenced mitochondrial genomes from five diverse diatoms (Toxarium undulatum, Psammoneis japonica, Eunotia naegelii, Cylindrotheca closterium, and Nitzschia sp.), chosen to fill important phylogenetic gaps and help us characterize broadscale patterns of mitochondrial genome evolution in diatoms. Although gene content was strongly conserved, intron content varied widely across species. The vast majority of introns were of group II type and were located in the cox1 or rnl genes. Although recurrent intron loss appears to be the principal underlying cause of the sporadic distributions of mitochondrial introns across diatoms, phylogenetic analyses showed that intron distributions superficially consistent with a recurrent-loss model were sometimes more complicated, implicating horizontal transfer as a likely mechanism of intron acquisition as well. It was not clear, however, whether diatoms were the donors or recipients of horizontally transferred introns, highlighting a general challenge in resolving the evolutionary histories of many diatom mitochondrial introns. Although some of these histories may become clearer as more genomes are sampled, high rates of intron loss suggest that the origins of many diatom mitochondrial introns are likely to remain unclear.


September 22, 2019  |  

GC content elevates mutation and recombination rates in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The chromosomes of many eukaryotes have regions of high GC content interspersed with regions of low GC content. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, high-GC regions are often associated with high levels of meiotic recombination. In this study, we constructed URA3 genes that differ substantially in their base composition [URA3-AT (31% GC), URA3-WT (43% GC), and URA3-GC (63% GC)] but encode proteins with the same amino acid sequence. The strain with URA3-GC had an approximately sevenfold elevated rate of ura3 mutations compared with the strains with URA3-WT or URA3-AT About half of these mutations were single-base substitutions and were dependent on the error-prone DNA polymerase ?. About 30% were deletions or duplications between short (5-10 base) direct repeats resulting from DNA polymerase slippage. The URA3-GC gene also had elevated rates of meiotic and mitotic recombination relative to the URA3-AT or URA3-WT genes. Thus, base composition has a substantial effect on the basic parameters of genome stability and evolution. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genetic adaptation of a mevalonate pathway deficient mutant in Staphylococcus aureus.

In this study we addressed the question how a mevalonate (MVA)-auxotrophic Staphylococcus aureus?mvaS mutant can revert to prototrophy. This mutant couldn’t grow in the absence of MVA. However, after a long lag-phase of 4-6 days the mutant adapted from auxotrophic to prototrophic phenotype. During that time, it acquired two point mutations: One mutation in the coding region of the regulator gene spx, which resulted in an amino acid exchange that decreased Spx function. The other mutation in the upstream-element within the core-promoter of the mevalonolactone lactonase gene drp35. This mutation led to an increased expression of drp35. In repeated experiments the mutations always occurred in spx and drp35 and in the same order. The first detectable mutation appeared in spx and allowed slight growth; the second mutation, in drp35, increased growth further. Phenotypical characterizations of the mutant showed that small amounts of the lipid-carrier undecaprenol are synthesized, despite the lack of mvaS. The growth of the adapted clone, ?mvaSad, indicates that the mutations reawake a rescue bypass. We think that this bypass enters the MVA pathway at the stage of MVA, because blocking the pathway downstream of MVA led to growth arrest of the mutant. In addition, the lactonase Drp35 is able to convert mevalonolactone to MVA. Summarized, we describe here a mutation-based two-step adaptation process that allows resuscitation of growth of the ?mvaS mutant.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genome assembly of the fungal pathogen Pyrenochaeta lycopersici from Single-Molecule Real-Time sequencing sheds new light on its biological complexity.

The first draft genome sequencing of the non-model fungal pathogen Pyrenochaeta lycopersici showed an expansion of gene families associated with heterokaryon incompatibility and lacking of mating-type genes, providing insights into the genetic basis of this “imperfect” fungus which lost the ability to produce the sexual stage. However, due to the Illumina short-read technology, the draft genome was too fragmented to allow a comprehensive characterization of the genome, especially of the repetitive sequence fraction. In this work, the sequencing of another P. lycopersici isolate using long-read Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing technology was performed with the aim of obtaining a gapless genome. Indeed, a gapless genome assembly of 62.7 Mb was obtained, with a fraction of repetitive sequences representing 30% of the total bases. The gene content of the two P. lycopersici isolates was very similar, and the large difference in genome size (about 8 Mb) might be attributable to the high fraction of repetitive sequences detected for the new sequenced isolate. The role of repetitive elements, including transposable elements, in modulating virulence effectors is well established in fungal plant pathogens. Moreover, transposable elements are of fundamental importance in creating and re-modelling genes, especially in imperfect fungi. Their abundance in P. lycopersici, together with the large expansion of heterokaryon incompatibility genes in both sequenced isolates, suggest the presence of possible mechanisms alternative to gene re-assorting mediated by sexual recombination. A quite large fraction (~9%) of repetitive elements in P. lycopersici, has no homology with known classes, strengthening this hypothesis. The availability of a gapless genome of P. lycopersici allowed the in-depth analysis of its genome content, by annotating functional genes and TEs. This goal will be an important resource for shedding light on the evolution of the reproductive and pathogenic behaviour of this soilborne pathogen and the onset of a possible speciation within this species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome analyses of the microalga Picochlorum provide insights into the evolution of thermotolerance in the green lineage.

While the molecular events involved in cell responses to heat stress have been extensively studied, our understanding of the genetic basis of basal thermotolerance, and particularly its evolution within the green lineage, remains limited. Here, we present the 13.3-Mb haploid genome and transcriptomes of a halotolerant and thermotolerant unicellular green alga, Picochlorum costavermella (Trebouxiophyceae) to investigate the evolution of the genomic basis of thermotolerance. Differential gene expression at high and standard temperatures revealed that more of the gene families containing up-regulated genes at high temperature were recently evolved, and less originated at the ancestor of green plants. Inversely, there was an excess of ancient gene families containing transcriptionally repressed genes. Interestingly, there is a striking overlap between the thermotolerance and halotolerance transcriptional rewiring, as more than one-third of the gene families up-regulated at 35?°C were also up-regulated under variable salt concentrations in Picochlorum SE3. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of the 9,304 protein coding genes revealed 26 genes of horizontally transferred origin in P. costavermella, of which five were differentially expressed at higher temperature. Altogether, these results provide new insights about how the genomic basis of adaptation to halo- and thermotolerance evolved in the green lineage.


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  |  

Genomic insights into host adaptation between the wheat stripe rust pathogen (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) and the barley stripe rust pathogen (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei).

Plant fungal pathogens can rapidly evolve and adapt to new environmental conditions in response to sudden changes of host populations in agro-ecosystems. However, the genomic basis of their host adaptation, especially at the forma specialis level, remains unclear.We sequenced two isolates each representing Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) and P. striiformis f. sp. hordei (Psh), different formae speciales of the stripe rust fungus P. striiformis highly adapted to wheat and barley, respectively. The divergence of Pst and Psh, estimated to start 8.12 million years ago, has been driven by high nucleotide mutation rates. The high genomic variation within dikaryotic urediniospores of P. striiformis has provided raw genetic materials for genome evolution. No specific gene families have enriched in either isolate, but extensive gene loss events have occurred in both Pst and Psh after the divergence from their most recent common ancestor. A large number of isolate-specific genes were identified, with unique genomic features compared to the conserved genes, including 1) significantly shorter in length; 2) significantly less expressed; 3) significantly closer to transposable elements; and 4) redundant in pathways. The presence of specific genes in one isolate (or forma specialis) was resulted from the loss of the homologues in the other isolate (or forma specialis) by the replacements of transposable elements or losses of genomic fragments. In addition, different patterns and numbers of telomeric repeats were observed between the isolates.Host adaptation of P. striiformis at the forma specialis level is a complex pathogenic trait, involving not only virulence-related genes but also other genes. Gene loss, which might be adaptive and driven by transposable element activities, provides genomic basis for host adaptation of different formae speciales of P. striiformis.


September 22, 2019  |  

The linear mitochondrial genome of the quarantine chytrid Synchytrium endobioticum; insights into the evolution and recent history of an obligate biotrophic plant pathogen.

Chytridiomycota species (chytrids) belong to a basal lineage in the fungal kingdom. Inhabiting terrestrial and aquatic environments, most are free-living saprophytes but several species cause important diseases: e.g. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, responsible for worldwide amphibian decline; and Synchytrium endobioticum, causing potato wart disease. S. endobioticum has an obligate biotrophic lifestyle and isolates can be further characterized as pathotypes based on their virulence on a differential set of potato cultivars. Quarantine measures have been implemented globally to control the disease and prevent its spread. We used a comparative approach using chytrid mitogenomes to determine taxonomical relationships and to gain insights into the evolution and recent history of introductions of this plant pathogen.We assembled and annotated the complete mitochondrial genome of 30 S. endobioticum isolates and generated mitochondrial genomes for five additional chytrid species. The mitochondrial genome of S. endobioticum is linear with terminal inverted repeats which was validated by tailing and PCR amplifying the telomeric ends. Surprisingly, no conservation in organisation and orientation of mitochondrial genes was observed among the Chytridiomycota except for S. endobioticum and its sister species Synchytrium microbalum. However, the mitochondrial genome of S. microbalum is circular and comprises only a third of the 72.9 Kbp found for S. endobioticum suggesting recent linearization and expansion. Four mitochondrial lineages were identified in the S. endobioticum mitochondrial genomes. Several pathotypes occur in different lineages, suggesting that these have emerged independently. In addition, variations for polymorphic sites in the mitochondrial genome of individual isolates were observed demonstrating that S. endobioticum isolates represent a community of different genotypes. Such communities were shown to be complex and stable over time, but we also demonstrate that the use of semi-resistant potato cultivars triggers a rapid shift in the mitochondrial haplotype associated with increased virulence.Mitochondrial genomic variation shows that S. endobioticum has been introduced into Europe multiple times, that several pathotypes emerged multiple times, and that isolates represent communities of different genotypes. Our study represents the most comprehensive dataset of chytrid mitogenomes, which provides new insights into the extraordinary dynamics and evolution of mitochondrial genomes involving linearization, expansion and reshuffling.


September 22, 2019  |  

B chromosomes of the Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) contribute to genome variations at the level of individuals and populations.

The Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer) is a bony fish from the Latidae family, which is widely distributed in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region. The karyotype of the Asian seabass contains 24 pairs of A chromosomes and a variable number of AT- and GC-rich B chromosomes (Bchrs or Bs). Dot-like shaped and nucleolus-associated AT-rich Bs were microdissected and sequenced earlier. Here we analyzed DNA fragments from Bs to determine their repeat and gene contents using the Asian seabass genome as a reference. Fragments of 75 genes, including an 18S rRNA gene, were found in the Bs; repeats represented 2% of the Bchr assembly. The 18S rDNA of the standard genome and Bs were similar and enriched with fragments of transposable elements. A higher nuclei DNA content in the male gonad and somatic tissue, compared to the female gonad, was demonstrated by flow cytometry. This variation in DNA content could be associated with the intra-individual variation in the number of Bs. A comparison between the copy number variation among the B-related fragments from whole genome resequencing data of Asian seabass individuals identified similar profiles between those from the South-East Asian/Philippines and Indian region but not the Australian ones. Our results suggest that Bs might cause variations in the genome among the individuals and populations of Asian seabass. A personalized copy number approach for segmental duplication detection offers a suitable tool for population-level analysis across specimens with low coverage genome sequencing.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole genome sequencing and microsatellite analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum E5 NF54 strain show that the var, rifin and stevor gene families follow Mendelian inheritance.

Plasmodium falciparum exhibits a high degree of inter-isolate genetic diversity in its variant surface antigen (VSA) families: P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, repetitive interspersed family (RIFIN) and subtelomeric variable open reading frame (STEVOR). The role of recombination for the generation of this diversity is a subject of ongoing research. Here the genome of E5, a sibling of the 3D7 genome strain is presented. Short and long read whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques (Ilumina, Pacific Bioscience) and a set of 84 microsatellites (MS) were employed to characterize the 3D7 and non-3D7 parts of the E5 genome. This is the first time that VSA genes in sibling parasites were analysed with long read sequencing technology.Of the 5733 E5 genes only 278 genes, mostly var and rifin/stevor genes, had no orthologues in the 3D7 genome. WGS and MS analysis revealed that chromosomal crossovers occurred at a rate of 0-3 per chromosome. var, stevor and rifin genes were inherited within the respective non-3D7 or 3D7 chromosomal context. 54 of the 84 MS PCR fragments correctly identified the respective MS as 3D7- or non-3D7 and this correlated with var and rifin/stevor gene inheritance in the adjacent chromosomal regions. E5 had 61 var and 189 rifin/stevor genes. One large non-chromosomal recombination event resulted in a new var gene on chromosome 14. The remainder of the E5 3D7-type subtelomeric and central regions were identical to 3D7.The data show that the rifin/stevor and var gene families represent the most diverse compartments of the P. falciparum genome but that the majority of var genes are inherited without alterations within their respective parental chromosomal context. Furthermore, MS genotyping with 54 MS can successfully distinguish between two sibling progeny of a natural P. falciparum cross and thus can be used to investigate identity by descent in field isolates.


September 22, 2019  |  

The landscape of repetitive elements in the refined genome of chilli anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum truncatum.

The ascomycete fungus Colletotrichum truncatum is a major phytopathogen with a broad host range which causes anthracnose disease of chilli. The genome sequencing of this fungus led to the discovery of functional categories of genes that may play important roles in fungal pathogenicity. However, the presence of gaps in C. truncatum draft assembly prevented the accurate prediction of repetitive elements, which are the key players to determine the genome architecture and drive evolution and host adaptation. We re-sequenced its genome using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology to obtain a refined assembly with lesser and smaller gaps and ambiguities. This enabled us to study its genome architecture by characterising the repetitive sequences like transposable elements (TEs) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs), which constituted 4.9 and 0.38% of the assembled genome, respectively. The comparative analysis among different Colletotrichum species revealed the extensive repeat rich regions, dominated by Gypsy superfamily of long terminal repeats (LTRs), and the differential composition of SSRs in their genomes. Our study revealed a recent burst of LTR amplification in C. truncatum, C. higginsianum, and C. scovillei. TEs in C. truncatum were significantly associated with secretome, effectors and genes in secondary metabolism clusters. Some of the TE families in C. truncatum showed cytosine to thymine transitions indicative of repeat-induced point mutation (RIP). C. orbiculare and C. graminicola showed strong signatures of RIP across their genomes and “two-speed” genomes with extensive AT-rich and gene-sparse regions. Comparative genomic analyses of Colletotrichum species provided an insight into the species-specific SSR profiles. The SSRs in the coding and non-coding regions of the genome revealed the composition of trinucleotide repeat motifs in exons with potential to alter the translated protein structure through amino acid repeats. This is the first genome-wide study of TEs and SSRs in C. truncatum and their comparative analysis with six other Colletotrichum species, which would serve as a useful resource for future research to get insights into the potential role of TEs in genome expansion and evolution of Colletotrichum fungi and for development of SSR-based molecular markers for population genomic studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Type II restriction modification system in Ureaplasma parvum OMC-P162 strain.

Ureaplasma parvum serovar 3 strain, OMC-P162, was isolated from the human placenta of a preterm delivery at 26 weeks’ gestation. In this study, we sequenced the complete genome of OMC-P162 and compared it with other serovar 3 strains isolated from patients with different clinical conditions. Ten unique genes in OMC-P162, five of which encoded for hypothetical proteins, were identified. Of these, genes UPV_229 and UPV_230 formed an operon whose open reading frames were predicted to code for a DNA methyltransferase and a hypothetical protein, respectively. DNA modification analysis of the OMC-P162 genome identified N4-methylcytosine (m4C) and N6-methyladenine (m6A), but not 5-methylocytosine (m5C). UPV230 recombinant protein displayed endonuclease activity and recognized the CATG sequence, resulting in a blunt cut between A and T. This restriction enzyme activity was identical to that of the cultivated OMC-P162 strain, suggesting that this restriction enzyme was naturally expressed in OMC-P162. We designated this enzyme as UpaP162. Treatment of pT7Blue plasmid with recombinant protein UPV229 completely blocked UpaP162 restriction enzyme activity. These results suggest that the UPV_229 and UPV_230 genes act as a type II restriction-modification system in Ureaplasma OMC-P162.


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