April 21, 2020  |  

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal Av frequencies. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays, we show that cellular G4s are less abundant when sRNA transcription is lower. In addition, using ChIP, we demonstrate that the G4-sRNA forms a stable RNA:DNA hybrid (R-loop) with its template strand. However, modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression does not alter G4 abundance quantified through ChIP. Since pilin Av frequencies were not altered when modulating R-loop levels by controlling RNase HI expression, we conclude that transcription of the sRNA is necessary, but stable R-loops are not required to promote pilin Av. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

April 21, 2020  |  

High satellite repeat turnover in great apes studied with short- and long-read technologies.

Satellite repeats are a structural component of centromeres and telomeres, and in some instances their divergence is known to drive speciation. Due to their highly repetitive nature, satellite sequences have been understudied and underrepresented in genome assemblies. To investigate their turnover in great apes, we studied satellite repeats of unit sizes up to 50?bp in human, chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, using unassembled short and long sequencing reads. The density of satellite repeats, as identified from accurate short reads (Illumina), varied greatly among great ape genomes. These were dominated by a handful of abundant repeated motifs, frequently shared among species, which formed two groups: (1) the (AATGG)n repeat (critical for heat shock response) and its derivatives; and (2) subtelomeric 32-mers involved in telomeric metabolism. Using the densities of abundant repeats, individuals could be classified into species. However clustering did not reproduce the accepted species phylogeny, suggesting rapid repeat evolution. Several abundant repeats were enriched in males vs. females; using Y chromosome assemblies or FIuorescent In Situ Hybridization, we validated their location on the Y. Finally, applying a novel computational tool, we identified many satellite repeats completely embedded within long Oxford Nanopore and Pacific Biosciences reads. Such repeats were up to 59?kb in length and consisted of perfect repeats interspersed with other similar sequences. Our results based on sequencing reads generated with three different technologies provide the first detailed characterization of great ape satellite repeats, and open new avenues for exploring their functions. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

April 21, 2020  |  

Development of a Molecular Marker Linked to the A4 Locus and the Structure of HD Genes in Pleurotus eryngii

Allelic differences in A and B mating-type loci are a prerequisite for the progression of mating in the genus Pleurotus eryngii; thus, the crossing is hampered by this biological barrier in inbreeding. Molecular markers linked to mating types of P. eryngii KNR2312 were investigated with randomly amplified polymorphic DNA to enhance crossing efficiency. An A4-linked sequence was identified and used to find the adjacent genomic region with the entire motif of the A locus from a contig sequenced by PacBio. The sequence-characterized amplified region marker 7-2299 distinguished A4 mating-type monokaryons from KNR2312 and other strains. A BLAST search of flanked sequences revealed that the A4 locus had a general feature consisting of the putative HD1 and HD2 genes. Both putative HD transcription factors contain a homeodomain sequence and a nuclear localization sequence; however, valid dimerization motifs were found only in the HD1 protein. The ACAAT motif, which was reported to have relevance to sex determination, was found in the intergenic region. The SCAR marker could be applicable in the classification of mating types in the P. eryngii breeding program, and the A4 locus could be the basis for a multi-allele detection marker.

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