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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Metabolism of toxic sugars by strains of the bee gut symbiont Gilliamella apicola.

Social bees collect carbohydrate-rich food to support their colonies, and yet, certain carbohydrates present in their diet or produced through the breakdown of pollen are toxic to bees. The gut microbiota of social bees is dominated by a few core bacterial species, including the Gram-negative species Gilliamella apicola We isolated 42 strains of G. apicola from guts of honey bees and bumble bees and sequenced their genomes. All of the G. apicola strains share high 16S rRNA gene similarity, but they vary extensively in gene repertoires related to carbohydrate metabolism. Predicted abilities to utilize different sugars were verified experimentally. Some strains can…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The state of play in higher eukaryote gene annotation.

A genome sequence is worthless if it cannot be deciphered; therefore, efforts to describe – or ‘annotate’ – genes began as soon as DNA sequences became available. Whereas early work focused on individual protein-coding genes, the modern genomic ocean is a complex maelstrom of alternative splicing, non-coding transcription and pseudogenes. Scientists – from clinicians to evolutionary biologists – need to navigate these waters, and this has led to the design of high-throughput, computationally driven annotation projects. The catalogues that are being produced are key resources for genome exploration, especially as they become integrated with expression, epigenomic and variation data sets.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The microbiome of the leaf surface of Arabidopsis protects against a fungal pathogen.

We have explored the importance of the phyllosphere microbiome in plant resistance in the cuticle mutants bdg (BODYGUARD) or lacs2.3 (LONG CHAIN FATTY ACID SYNTHASE 2) that are strongly resistant to the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The study includes infection of plants under sterile conditions, 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of the phyllosphere microbiome, and isolation and high coverage sequencing of bacteria from the phyllosphere. When inoculated under sterile conditions bdg became as susceptible as wild-type (WT) plants whereas lacs2.3 mutants retained the resistance. Adding washes of its phyllosphere microbiome could restore the resistance of bdg mutants, whereas the resistance of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomics and host specialization of honey bee and bumble bee gut symbionts.

Gilliamella apicola and Snodgrassella alvi are dominant members of the honey bee (Apis spp.) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) gut microbiota. We generated complete genomes of the type strains G. apicola wkB1(T) and S. alvi wkB2(T) (isolated from Apis), as well as draft genomes for four other strains from Bombus. G. apicola and S. alvi were found to occupy very different metabolic niches: The former is a saccharolytic fermenter, whereas the latter is an oxidizer of carboxylic acids. Together, they may form a syntrophic network for partitioning of metabolic resources. Both species possessed numerous genes [type 6 secretion systems, repeats…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

RNAi-based treatment of chronically infected patients and chimpanzees reveals that integrated hepatitis B virus DNA is a source of HBsAg.

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health concern worldwide, frequently leading to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Evidence suggests that high viral antigen load may play a role in chronicity. Production of viral proteins is thought to depend on transcription of viral covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA). In a human clinical trial with an RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutic targeting HBV transcripts, ARC-520, HBV S antigen (HBsAg) was strongly reduced in treatment-naïve patients positive for HBV e antigen (HBeAg) but was reduced significantly less in patients who were HBeAg-negative or had received long-term therapy with nucleos(t)ide…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Divergent brain gene expression profiles between alternative behavioural helper types in a cooperative breeder.

Juveniles of the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher either consistently provide help in form of alloparental egg care (“cleaners”) or consistently abstain from helping (“noncleaners”). These phenotypes are not based on heritable genetic differences. Instead, they arise during ontogeny, which should lead to differences in brain structure or physiology, a currently untested prediction. We compared brain gene expression profiles of cleaners and noncleaners in two experimental conditions, a helping opportunity and a control condition. We aimed to identify (a) expression differences between cleaners and noncleaners in the control, (b) changes in gene expression induced by the opportunity and (c)…

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Sunday, 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…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Metagenomic binning of a marine sponge microbiome reveals unity in defense but metabolic specialization.

Marine sponges are ancient metazoans that are populated by distinct and highly diverse microbial communities. In order to obtain deeper insights into the functional gene repertoire of the Mediterranean sponge Aplysina aerophoba, we combined Illumina short-read and PacBio long-read sequencing followed by un-targeted metagenomic binning. We identified a total of 37 high-quality bins representing 11 bacterial phyla and two candidate phyla. Statistical comparison of symbiont genomes with selected reference genomes revealed a significant enrichment of genes related to bacterial defense (restriction-modification systems, toxin-antitoxin systems) as well as genes involved in host colonization and extracellular matrix utilization in sponge symbionts. A…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A new standard for crustacean genomes: The highly contiguous, annotated genome assembly of the clam shrimp Eulimnadia texana reveals HOX gene order and identifies the sex chromosome.

Vernal pool clam shrimp (Eulimnadia texana) are a promising model system due to their ease of lab culture, short generation time, modest sized genome, a somewhat rare stable androdioecious sex determination system, and a requirement to reproduce via desiccated diapaused eggs. We generated a highly contiguous genome assembly using 46× of PacBio long read data and 216× of Illumina short reads, and annotated using Illumina RNAseq obtained from adult males or hermaphrodites. Of the 120?Mb genome 85% is contained in the largest eight contigs, the smallest of which is 4.6?Mb. The assembly contains 98% of transcripts predicted via RNAseq. This…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genomes of Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, common parasites of bumblebees.

Trypanosomatids (Trypanosomatidae, Kinetoplastida) are flagellated protozoa containing many parasites of medical or agricultural importance. Among those, Crithidia bombi and C. expoeki, are common parasites in bumble bees around the world, and phylogenetically close to Leishmania and Leptomonas. They have a simple and direct life cycle with one host, and partially castrate the founding queens greatly reducing their fitness. Here, we report the nuclear genome sequences of one clone of each species, extracted from a field-collected infection. Using a combination of Roche 454 FLX Titanium, Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS, and Illumina GA2 instruments for C. bombi, and PacBio for C. expoeki,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The draft genome assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus supports identification of novel allergen isoforms in Dermatophagoides species.

Background: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and Dermatophagoides farinae (DF) are highly similar disease-asso- ciated mites with frequently overlapping geographic distributions. A draft genome of DP was assembled to identify the candidate allergens in DP that are homologous to those in DF, investigate allergen isoforms, and facilitate comparisons with related Acari. Methods: PacBio and Illumina whole-genome sequencing was performed on DP. Assembly and reconstruction of the genomes were optimized for isoform identification in a heterogeneous population. Bioinformatic analyses of Acari genomes were performed. Results: The predicted size of the DP nuclear genome is 52.5 Mb. A predicted set of 19,368 proteins was…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The genome of the Hi5 germ cell line from Trichoplusia ni, an agricultural pest and novel model for small RNA biology.

We report a draft assembly of the genome of Hi5 cells from the lepidopteran insect pest,Trichoplusia ni, assigning 90.6% of bases to one of 28 chromosomes and predicting 14,037 protein-coding genes. Chemoreception and detoxification gene families revealT. ni-specific gene expansions that may explain its widespread distribution and rapid adaptation to insecticides. Transcriptome and small RNA data from thorax, ovary, testis, and the germline-derived Hi5 cell line show distinct expression profiles for 295 microRNA- and >393 piRNA-producing loci, as well as 39 genes encoding small RNA pathway proteins. Nearly all of the W chromosome is devoted to piRNA production, andT. nisiRNAs…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A manually annotated Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis (kiwifruit) genome highlights the challenges associated with draft genomes and gene prediction in plants.

Most published genome sequences are drafts, and most are dominated by computational gene prediction. Draft genomes typically incorporate considerable sequence data that are not assigned to chromosomes, and predicted genes without quality confidence measures. The current Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit) ‘Hongyang’ draft genome has 164 Mb of sequences unassigned to pseudo-chromosomes, and omissions have been identified in the gene models.A second genome of an A. chinensis (genotype Red5) was fully sequenced. This new sequence resulted in a 554.0 Mb assembly with all but 6 Mb assigned to pseudo-chromosomes. Pseudo-chromosomal comparisons showed a considerable number of translocation events have occurred following a whole genome duplication…

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