September 22, 2019  |  

A workflow for studying specialized metabolism in nonmodel eukaryotic organisms

Eukaryotes contain a diverse tapestry of specialized metabolites, many of which are of significant pharmaceutical and industrial importance to humans. Nevertheless, exploration of specialized metabolic pathways underlying specific chemical traits in nonmodel eukaryotic organisms has been technically challenging and historically lagged behind that of the bacterial systems. Recent advances in genomics, metabolomics, phylogenomics, and synthetic biology now enable a new workflow for interrogating unknown specialized metabolic systems in nonmodel eukaryotic hosts with greater efficiency and mechanistic depth. This chapter delineates such workflow by providing a collection of state-of-the-art approaches and tools, ranging from multiomics-guided candidate gene identification to in vitro and in vivo functional and structural characterization of specialized metabolic enzymes. As already demonstrated by several recent studies, this new workflow opens up a gateway into the largely untapped world of natural product biochemistry in eukaryotes. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative transcriptomic and physiological analyses of Medicago sativa L. indicates that multiple regulatory networks are activated during continuous ABA treatment.

Alfalfa is the most extensively cultivated forage legume worldwide. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying alfalfa responses to exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) are still unknown. In this study, the first global transcriptome profiles of alfalfa roots under ABA treatments for 1, 3 and 12 h (three biological replicates for each time point, including the control group) were constructed using a BGISEQ-500 sequencing platform. A total of 50,742 isoforms with a mean length of 2541 bp were generated, and 4944 differentially expressed isoforms (DEIs) were identified after ABA deposition. Metabolic analyses revealed that these DEIs were involved in plant hormone signal transduction, transcriptional regulation, antioxidative defense and pathogen immunity. Notably, several well characterized hormone signaling pathways, for example, the core ABA signaling pathway, was activated, while salicylic acid, jasmonate and ethylene signaling pathways were mainly suppressed by exogenous ABA. Moreover, the physiological work showed that catalase and peroxidase activity and glutathione and proline content were increased after ABA deposition, which is in accordance with the dynamic transcript profiles of the relevant genes in antioxidative defense system. These results indicate that ABA has the potential to improve abiotic stress tolerance, but that it may negatively regulate pathogen resistance in alfalfa.

September 22, 2019  |  

Size and content of the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome in dioecious Mercurialis annua, a plant with homomorphic sex chromosomes.

Dioecious plants vary in whether their sex chromosomes are heteromorphic or homomorphic, but even homomorphic sex chromosomes may show divergence between homologues in the non-recombining, sex-determining region (SDR). Very little is known about the SDR of these species, which might represent particularly early stages of sex-chromosome evolution. Here, we assess the size and content of the SDR of the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua, a species with homomorphic sex chromosomes and mild Y-chromosome degeneration. We used RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify new Y-linked markers for M. annua. Twelve of 24 transcripts showing male-specific expression in a previous experiment could be amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) only from males, and are thus likely to be Y-linked. Analysis of genome-capture data from multiple populations of M. annua pointed to an additional six male-limited (and thus Y-linked) sequences. We used these markers to identify and sequence 17 sex-linked bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), which form 11 groups of non-overlapping sequences, covering a total sequence length of about 1.5 Mb. Content analysis of this region suggests that it is enriched for repeats, has low gene density, and contains few candidate sex-determining genes. The BACs map to a subset of the sex-linked region of the genetic map, which we estimate to be at least 14.5 Mb. This is substantially larger than estimates for other dioecious plants with homomorphic sex chromosomes, both in absolute terms and relative to their genome sizes. Our data provide a rare, high-resolution view of the homomorphic Y chromosome of a dioecious plant.

September 22, 2019  |  

A complete Cannabis chromosome assembly and adaptive admixture for elevated cannabidiol (CBD) content

Cannabis has been cultivated for millennia with distinct cultivars providing either fiber and grain or tetrahydrocannabinol. Recent demand for cannabidiol rather than tetrahydrocannabinol has favored the breeding of admixed cultivars with extremely high cannabidiol content. Despite several draft Cannabis genomes, the genomic structure of cannabinoid synthase loci has remained elusive. A genetic map derived from a tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol segregating population and a complete chromosome assembly from a high-cannabidiol cultivar together resolve the linkage of cannabidiolic and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase gene clusters which are associated with transposable elements. High-cannabidiol cultivars appear to have been generated by integrating hemp-type cannabidiolic acid synthase gene clusters into a background of marijuana-type cannabis. Quantitative trait locus mapping suggests that overall drug potency, however, is associated with other genomic regions needing additional study.

September 22, 2019  |  

Cryptocurrencies and Zero Mode Wave guides: An unclouded path to a more contiguous Cannabis sativa L. genome assembly

We describe the use ofa Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) to crypto- fund the single molecule sequencing and publication ofa Type ll Cannabis plant. This resulted in the construction of the most contiguous Cannabis genome assembly to date. The combined use of the Dash cryptocurrency, DAOs, and Pacific Biosciences sequencing delivered a 1.03 Gb genome with a N50 of 665Kb in 77 days from funding to public upload. This represents a 230 fold improvement in the contiguity of the first cannabis assemblies in 2011 and a 4 fold improvement over all cannabis assemblies to date. 34Gb ofadditional sequencing pushed the assembly to a N50 of 3.8Mb. Hi-C data from Phase Genomics further scaffolded the assembly to 35 contigs at an N50 of 74Mb but requires additional curation. The genome is partially phased and larger than previously reported (2N : 1.33Gb). The CBCA, THCA and CBDA synthase gene clusters have been phased onto respective contigs demonstrating tandem repeat expansions.

September 22, 2019  |  

3D molecular cytology of Hop (Humulus lupulus) meiotic chromosomes reveals non-disomic pairing and segregation, aneuploidy, and genomic structural variation.

Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) is an important crop worldwide, known as the main flavoring ingredient in beer. The diversifying brewing industry demands variation in flavors, superior process properties, and sustainable agronomics, which are the focus of advanced molecular breeding efforts in hops. Hop breeders have been limited in their ability to create strains with desirable traits, however, because of the unusual and unpredictable inheritance patterns and associated non-Mendelian genetic marker segregation. Cytogenetic analysis of meiotic chromosome behavior has also revealed conspicuous and prevalent occurrences of multiple, atypical, non-disomic chromosome complexes, including those involving autosomes in late prophase. To explore the role of meiosis in segregation distortion, we undertook 3D cytogenetic analysis of hop pollen mother cells stained with DAPI and FISH. We used telomere FISH to demonstrate that hop exhibits a normal telomere clustering bouquet. We also identified and characterized a new sub-terminal 180 bp satellite DNA tandem repeat family called HSR0, located proximal to telomeres. Highly variable 5S rDNA FISH patterns within and between plants, together with the detection of anaphase chromosome bridges, reflect extensive departures from normal disomic signal composition and distribution. Subsequent FACS analysis revealed variable DNA content in a cultivated pedigree. Together, these findings implicate multiple phenomena, including aneuploidy, segmental aneuploidy, or chromosome rearrangements, as contributing factors to segregation distortion in hop.

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