September 22, 2019  |  

Metataxonomics reveal vultures as a reservoir for Clostridium perfringens.

The Old World vulture may carry and spread pathogens for emerging infections since they feed on the carcasses of dead animals and participate in the sky burials of humans, some of whom have died from communicable diseases. Therefore, we studied the precise fecal microbiome of the Old World vulture with metataxonomics, integrating the high-throughput sequencing of almost full-length small subunit ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) gene amplicons in tandem with the operational phylogenetic unit (OPU) analysis strategy. Nine vultures of three species were sampled using rectal swabs on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Using the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform, we obtained 54 135 high-quality reads of 16S rRNA amplicons with an average of 1442±6.9?bp in length and 6015±1058 reads per vulture. Those sequences were classified into 314 OPUs, including 102 known species, 50 yet to be described species and 161 unknown new lineages of uncultured representatives. Forty-five species have been reported to be responsible for human outbreaks or infections, and 23 yet to be described species belong to genera that include pathogenic species. Only six species were common to all vultures. Clostridium perfringens was the most abundant and present in all vultures, accounting for 30.8% of the total reads. Therefore, using the new technology, we found that vultures are an important reservoir for C. perfringens as evidenced by the isolation of 107 strains encoding for virulence genes, representing 45 sequence types. Our study suggests that the soil-related C. perfringens and other pathogens could have a reservoir in vultures and other animals.

September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly of a Chinese soybean genome.

Soybean was domesticated in China and has become one of the most important oilseed crops. Due to bottlenecks in their introduction and dissemination, soybeans from different geographic areas exhibit extensive genetic diversity. Asia is the largest soybean market; therefore, a high-quality soybean reference genome from this area is critical for soybean research and breeding. Here, we report the de novo assembly and sequence analysis of a Chinese soybean genome for “Zhonghuang 13” by a combination of SMRT, Hi-C and optical mapping data. The assembled genome size is 1.025 Gb with a contig N50 of 3.46 Mb and a scaffold N50 of 51.87 Mb. Comparisons between this genome and the previously reported reference genome (cv. Williams 82) uncovered more than 250,000 structure variations. A total of 52,051 protein coding genes and 36,429 transposable elements were annotated for this genome, and a gene co-expression network including 39,967 genes was also established. This high quality Chinese soybean genome and its sequence analysis will provide valuable information for soybean improvement in the future.

September 22, 2019  |  

The genomic and functional landscapes of developmental plasticity in the American cockroach.

Many cockroach species have adapted to urban environments, and some have been serious pests of public health in the tropics and subtropics. Here, we present the 3.38-Gb genome and a consensus gene set of the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana. We report insights from both genomic and functional investigations into the underlying basis of its adaptation to urban environments and developmental plasticity. In comparison with other insects, expansions of gene families in P. americana exist for most core gene families likely associated with environmental adaptation, such as chemoreception and detoxification. Multiple pathways regulating metamorphic development are well conserved, and RNAi experiments inform on key roles of 20-hydroxyecdysone, juvenile hormone, insulin, and decapentaplegic signals in regulating plasticity. Our analyses reveal a high level of sequence identity in genes between the American cockroach and two termite species, advancing it as a valuable model to study the evolutionary relationships between cockroaches and termites.

September 22, 2019  |  

Genome and secretome analysis of Pochonia chlamydosporia provide new insight into egg-parasitic mechanisms.

Pochonia chlamydosporia infects eggs and females of economically important plant-parasitic nematodes. The fungal isolates parasitizing different nematodes are genetically distinct. To understand their intraspecific genetic differentiation, parasitic mechanisms, and adaptive evolution, we assembled seven putative chromosomes of P. chlamydosporia strain 170 isolated from root-knot nematode eggs (~44?Mb, including 7.19% of transposable elements) and compared them with the genome of the strain 123 (~41?Mb) isolated from cereal cyst nematode. We focus on secretomes of the fungus, which play important roles in pathogenicity and fungus-host/environment interactions, and identified 1,750 secreted proteins, with a high proportion of carboxypeptidases, subtilisins, and chitinases. We analyzed the phylogenies of these genes and predicted new pathogenic molecules. By comparative transcriptome analysis, we found that secreted proteins involved in responses to nutrient stress are mainly comprised of proteases and glycoside hydrolases. Moreover, 32 secreted proteins undergoing positive selection and 71 duplicated gene pairs encoding secreted proteins are identified. Two duplicated pairs encoding secreted glycosyl hydrolases (GH30), which may be related to fungal endophytic process and lost in many insect-pathogenic fungi but exist in nematophagous fungi, are putatively acquired from bacteria by horizontal gene transfer. The results help understanding genetic origins and evolution of parasitism-related genes.

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