April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic sequence and copy number evolution during hybrid crop development in sunflowers.

Hybrid crops, an important part of modern agriculture, rely on the development of male and female heterotic gene pools. In sunflowers, heterotic gene pools were developed through the use of crop-wild relatives to produce cytoplasmic male sterile female and branching, fertility restoring male lines. Here, we use genomic data from a diversity panel of male, female, and open-pollinated lines to explore the genetic changes brought during modern improvement. We find the male lines have diverged most from their open-pollinated progenitors and that genetic differentiation is concentrated in chromosomes, 8, 10 and 13, due to introgressions from wild relatives. Ancestral variation from open-pollinated varieties almost universally evolved in parallel for both male and female lines suggesting little or no selection for heterotic overdominance. Furthermore, we show that gene content differs between the male and female lines and that differentiation in gene content is concentrated in high FST regions. This means that the introgressions that brought branching and fertility restoration to the male lines, brought with them different gene content from the ancestral haplotypes, including the removal of some genes. Although we find no evidence that gene complementation genomewide is responsible for heterosis between male and female lines, several of the genes that are largely absent in either the male or female lines are associated with pathogen defense, suggesting complementation may be functionally relevant for crop breeders.


April 21, 2020  |  

Analysis of transcripts and splice isoforms in Medicago sativa L. by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

The full-length transcriptome of alfalfa was analyzed with PacBio single-molecule long-read sequencing technology. The transcriptome data provided full-length sequences and gene isoforms of transcripts in alfalfa, which will improve genome annotation and enhance our understanding of the gene structure of alfalfa. As an important forage, alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is world-wide planted. For its complexity of genome and unfinished whole genome sequencing, the sequences and complete structure of mRNA transcripts remain unclear in alfalfa. In this study, single-molecule long-read sequencing was applied to investigate the alfalfa transcriptome using the Pacific Biosciences platform, and a total of 113,321 transcripts were obtained from young, mature and senescent leaves. We identified 72,606 open reading frames including 46,616 full-length ORFs, 1670 transcription factors from 54 TF families and 44,040 simple sequence repeats from 30,797 sequences. A total of 7568 alternative splicing events was identified and the majority of alternative splicing events in alfalfa was intron retention. In addition, we identified 17,740 long non-coding RNAs. Our results show the feasibility of deep sequencing full-length RNA from alfalfa transcriptome on a single-molecule level.


April 21, 2020  |  

Midrib Sucrose Accumulation and Sugar Transporter Gene Expression in YCS-Affected Sugarcane Leaves

Sucrose accumulation and decreased photosynthesis are early symptoms of yellow canopy syndrome (YCS) in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), and precede the visual yellowing of the leaves. To investigate broad-scale gene expression changes during YCS-onset, transcriptome analyses coupled to metabolome analyses were performed. Across leaf tissues, the greatest number of differentially expressed genes related to the chloroplast, and the metabolic processes relating to nitrogen and carbohydrates. Five genes represented 90% of the TPM (Transcripts Per Million) associated with the downregulation of transcription during YCS-onset, which included PSII D1 (PsbA). This differential expression was consistent with a feedback regulatory effect upon photosynthesis. Broad-scale gene expression analyses did not reveal a cause for leaf sugar accumulation during YCS-onset. Interestingly, the midrib showed the greatest accumulation of sugars, followed by symptomatic lamina. To investigate if phloem loading/reloading may be compromised on a gene expression level – to lead to leaf sucrose accumulation – sucrose transport-related proteins of SWEETs, Sucrose Transporters (SUTs), H+-ATPases and H+-pyrophosphatases (H+-PPases) were characterised from a sugarcane transcriptome and expression analysed. Two clusters of Type I H+-PPases, with one upregulated and the other downregulated, were evident. Although less pronounced, a similar pattern of change was observed for the H+-ATPases. The disaccharide transporting SWEETs were downregulated after visual symptoms were present, and a monosaccharide transporting SWEET upregulated preceding, as well as after, symptom development. SUT gene expression was the least responsive to YCS development. The results are consistent with a reduction of photoassimilate movement through the phloem leading to sucrose build-up in the leaf.


April 21, 2020  |  

Methylome and Metabolome Analyses Reveal Adaptive Mechanisms in Geobacter sulfurreducens Grown on Different Terminal Electron Acceptors.

The Geobacter species evolved respiratory versatility to utilize a wide range of terminal electron acceptors. To explore this adaptive mechanism, Fe(III) citrate, hydrous ferric oxide, and fumarate were selected as electron acceptors, and the methylome and metabolome of Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA grown on each electron acceptor were investigated via third-generation, single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing and gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, respectively. Results showed that the patterns of 4-methylcytosine (m4C) and 6-methyladenine (m6A) modification, the concentrations of fatty acids (e.g., caprylic acid, capric acid, and squalene), and the activity of antioxidant enzymes (e.g., superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione reductase) were all varied in different electron acceptor cultures. Moreover, genes (e.g., GSU0466 and GSU1467) with low expression levels generally had high methylation levels. These findings suggest that m4C and m6A modifications, fatty acids, and antioxidant enzymes all play a role in the adaptation of G. sulfurreducens to diverse electron acceptors, and DNA methylation may be involved in the adaptation mainly via gene expression regulation.


April 21, 2020  |  

An integrated whole genome analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis reveals insights into relationship between its genome, transcriptome and methylome.

Human tuberculosis disease (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a complex disease, with a spectrum of outcomes. Genomic, transcriptomic and methylation studies have revealed differences between Mtb lineages, likely to impact on transmission, virulence and drug resistance. However, so far no studies have integrated sequence-based genomic, transcriptomic and methylation characterisation across a common set of samples, which is critical to understand how DNA sequence and methylation affect RNA expression and, ultimately, Mtb pathogenesis. Here we perform such an integrated analysis across 22?M. tuberculosis clinical isolates, representing ancient (lineage 1) and modern (lineages 2 and 4) strains. The results confirm the presence of lineage-specific differential gene expression, linked to specific SNP-based expression quantitative trait loci: with 10 eQTLs involving SNPs in promoter regions or transcriptional start sites; and 12 involving potential functional impairment of transcriptional regulators. Methylation status was also found to have a role in transcription, with evidence of differential expression in 50 genes across lineage 4 samples. Lack of methylation was associated with three novel variants in mamA, likely to cause loss of function of this enzyme. Overall, our work shows the relationship of DNA sequence and methylation to RNA expression, and differences between ancient and modern lineages. Further studies are needed to verify the functional consequences of the identified mechanisms of gene expression regulation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-read assembly of the Chinese rhesus macaque genome and identification of ape-specific structural variants.

We present a high-quality de novo genome assembly (rheMacS) of the Chinese rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) using long-read sequencing and multiplatform scaffolding approaches. Compared to the current Indian rhesus macaque reference genome (rheMac8), rheMacS increases sequence contiguity 75-fold, closing 21,940 of the remaining assembly gaps (60.8 Mbp). We improve gene annotation by generating more than two million full-length transcripts from ten different tissues by long-read RNA sequencing. We sequence resolve 53,916 structural variants (96% novel) and identify 17,000 ape-specific structural variants (ASSVs) based on comparison to ape genomes. Many ASSVs map within ChIP-seq predicted enhancer regions where apes and macaque show diverged enhancer activity and gene expression. We further characterize a subset that may contribute to ape- or great-ape-specific phenotypic traits, including taillessness, brain volume expansion, improved manual dexterity, and large body size. The rheMacS genome assembly serves as an ideal reference for future biomedical and evolutionary studies.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-wide mutational biases fuel transcriptional diversity in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.

The Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) members display different host-specificities and virulence phenotypes. Here, we have performed a comprehensive RNAseq and methylome analysis of the main clades of the MTBC and discovered unique transcriptional profiles. The majority of genes differentially expressed between the clades encode proteins involved in host interaction and metabolic functions. A significant fraction of changes in gene expression can be explained by positive selection on single mutations that either create or disrupt transcriptional start sites (TSS). Furthermore, we show that clinical strains have different methyltransferases inactivated and thus different methylation patterns. Under the tested conditions, differential methylation has a minor direct role on transcriptomic differences between strains. However, disruption of a methyltransferase in one clinical strain revealed important expression differences suggesting indirect mechanisms of expression regulation. Our study demonstrates that variation in transcriptional profiles are mainly due to TSS mutations and have likely evolved due to differences in host characteristics.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative genomics reveals structural and functional features specific to the genome of a foodborne Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Escherichia coli O157:H7 (O157) has been linked to numerous foodborne disease outbreaks. The ability to rapidly sequence and analyze genomes is important for understanding epidemiology, virulence, survival, and evolution of outbreak strains. In the current study, we performed comparative genomics to determine structural and functional features of the genome of a foodborne O157 isolate NADC 6564 and infer its evolutionary relationship to other O157 strains.The chromosome of NADC 6564 contained 5466?kb compared to reference strains Sakai (5498?kb) and EDL933 (5547?kb) and shared 41 of its 43 Linear Conserved Blocks (LCB) with the reference strains. However, 18 of 41 LCB had inverse orientation in NADC 6564 compared to the reference strains. NADC 6564 shared 18 of 19 bacteriophages with reference strains except that the chromosomal positioning of some of the phages differed among these strains. The additional phage (P19) of NADC 6564 was located on a 39-kb insertion element (IE) encoding several hypothetical proteins, an integrase, transposases, transcriptional regulators, an adhesin, and a phosphoethanolamine transferase (PEA). The complete homologs of the 39-kb?IE were found in E. coli PCN061 of porcine origin. The IE-encoded PEA showed low homology (32-33%) to four other PEA in NADC 6564 and PEA linked to mobilizable colistin resistance in E. coli but was highly homologous (95%) to a PEA of uropathogenic, avian pathogenic, and enteroaggregative E. coli. NADC 6564 showed slightly higher minimum inhibitory concentration of colistin compared to the reference strains. The 39-kb?IE also contained dndBCDE and dptFGH operons encoding DNA S-modification and a restriction pathway, linked to oxidative stress tolerance and self-defense against foreign DNA, respectively. Evolutionary tree analysis grouped NADC 6564 with lineage I O157 strains.These results indicated that differential phage counts and different chromosomal positioning of many bacteriophages and genomic islands might have resulted in recombination events causing altered chromosomal organization in NADC 6564. Evolutionary analysis grouped NADC 6564 with lineage I strains and suggested its earlier divergence from these strains. The ability to perform S-DNA modification might affect tolerance of NADC 6564 to various stressors.


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