September 22, 2019  |  

The DNA methylome of the hyperthermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.

DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification observed in the genomic DNA (gDNA) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Methylated nucleobases, N6-methyl-adenine (m6A), N4-methyl-cytosine (m4C), and 5-methyl-cytosine (m5C), detected on gDNA represent the discrimination mark between self and non-self DNA when they are part of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea). In addition, m5C in Eukaryotes and m6A in Bacteria play an important role in the regulation of key cellular processes. Although archaeal genomes present modified bases as in the two other domains of life, the significance of DNA methylations as regulatory mechanisms remains largely uncharacterized in Archaea. Here, we began by investigating the DNA methylome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The strategy behind this initial study entailed the use of combined digestion assays, dot blots, and genome resequencing, which utilizes specific restriction enzymes, antibodies specifically raised against m6A and m5C and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, respectively, to identify DNA methylations occurring in exponentially growing cells. The previously identified restriction-modification system, specific of S. acidocaldarius, was confirmed by digestion assay and SMRT sequencing while, the presence of m6A was revealed by dot blot and identified on the characteristic Dam motif by SMRT sequencing. No m5C was detected by dot blot under the conditions tested. Furthermore, by comparing the distribution of both detected methylations along the genome and, by analyzing DNA methylation profiles in synchronized cells, we investigated in which cellular pathways, in particular the cell cycle, this m6A methylation could be a key player. The analysis of sequencing data rejected a role for m6A methylation in another defense system and also raised new questions about a potential involvement of this modification in the regulation of other biological functions in S. acidocaldarius.

September 22, 2019  |  

Epigenetic landscape influences the liver cancer genome architecture.

The accumulations of different types of genetic alterations such as nucleotide substitutions, structural rearrangements and viral genome integrations and epigenetic alterations contribute to carcinogenesis. Here, we report correlation between the occurrence of epigenetic features and genetic aberrations by whole-genome bisulfite, whole-genome shotgun, long-read, and virus capture sequencing of 373 liver cancers. Somatic substitutions and rearrangement breakpoints are enriched in tumor-specific hypo-methylated regions with inactive chromatin marks and actively transcribed highly methylated regions in the cancer genome. Individual mutation signatures depend on chromatin status, especially, signatures with a higher transcriptional strand bias occur within active chromatic areas. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration sites are frequently detected within inactive chromatin regions in cancer cells, as a consequence of negative selection for integrations in active chromatin regions. Ultra-high structural instability and preserved unmethylation of integrated HBV genomes are observed. We conclude that both precancerous and somatic epigenetic features contribute to the cancer genome architecture.

September 22, 2019  |  

Sea cucumber genome provides insights into saponin biosynthesis and aestivation regulation.

Echinoderms exhibit several fascinating evolutionary innovations that are rarely seen in the animal kingdom, but how these animals attained such features is not well understood. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the genome and extensive transcriptomes of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus, a species from a special echinoderm group with extraordinary potential for saponin synthesis, aestivation and organ regeneration. The sea cucumber does not possess a reorganized Hox cluster as previously assumed for all echinoderms, and the spatial expression of Hox7 and Hox11/13b potentially guides the embryo-to-larva axial transformation. Contrary to the typical production of lanosterol in animal cholesterol synthesis, the oxidosqualene cyclase of sea cucumber produces parkeol for saponin synthesis and has “plant-like” motifs suggestive of convergent evolution. The transcriptional factors Klf2 and Egr1 are identified as key regulators of aestivation, probably exerting their effects through a clock gene-controlled process. Intestinal hypometabolism during aestivation is driven by the DNA hypermethylation of various metabolic gene pathways, whereas the transcriptional network of intestine regeneration involves diverse signaling pathways, including Wnt, Hippo and FGF. Decoding the sea cucumber genome provides a new avenue for an in-depth understanding of the extraordinary features of sea cucumbers and other echinoderms.

September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide DNA methylation and transcriptome changes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with rifampicin and isoniazid resistance

We investigated the genome-wide DNA methylation and transcriptome changes in M. tuberculosis with rifampicin or isoniazid resistance. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and microarray technology were performed to expound DNA methylation profiles and differentially expressed genes in rifampicin or isoniazid resis- tant M. tuberculosis. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) biological pathway analysis and meth- ylated regulatory network analysis were conducted by online forecasting databases. Integrated analysis of DNA methylation and transcriptome revealed that 335 differentially methylated genes (175 hypermethylated and 160 hypomethylated) and 132 significant differentially expressed genes (68 up-regulated and 63 down-regulated) were found to be regulated by both rifampicin and isoniazid in M. tuberculosis H37Rv. Correlation analysis showed that differential methylated genes were negatively correlated with their transcriptional levels in rifampicin or isoniazid resistant strains. KEGG pathway analysis indicated that nitrogen metabolism pathway is closely related to differ- entially methylated genes induced by rifampicin and isoniazid. KEGG also suggested that differentially expressed genes in rifampicin or isoniazid-resistant strains may play different roles in regulating signal transduction events. Furthermore, five differentially methylated candidate genes (Rv0840c, Rv2243, Rv0644c, Rv2386c and Rv1130) in rifampicin resistant strains and three genes (Rv0405, Rv0252 and Rv0908) in isoniazid-resistant strains were verified the existence of protein-protein interaction in STRING database. Integrated DNA methylation and transcrip- tome analyses provide an epigenetic overview of rifampicin and isoniazid-induced antibiotic resistance in M. tuber- culosis H37Rv. Several interesting genes and regulatory pathways may provide valuable resources for epigenetic studies in M. tuberculosis antibiotic resistance.

September 22, 2019  |  

A miR172 target-deficient AP2-like gene correlates with the double flower phenotype in roses.

One of the well-known floral abnormalities in flowering plants is the double-flower phenotype, which corresponds to flowers that develop extra petals, sometimes even containing entire flowers within flowers. Because of their highly priced ornamental value, spontaneous double-flower variants have been found and selected for in a wide range of ornamental species. Previously, double flower formation in roses was associated with a restriction of AGAMOUS expression domain toward the centre of the meristem, leading to extra petals. Here, we characterized the genomic region containing the mutation associated with the switch from simple to double flowers in the rose. An APETALA2-like gene (RcAP2L), a member of the Target Of EAT-type (TOE-type) subfamily, lies within this interval. In the double flower rose, two alleles of RcAP2L are present, one of which harbours a transposable element inserted into intron 8. This insertion leads to the creation of a miR172 resistant RcAP2L variant. Analyses of the presence of this variant in a set of simple and double flower roses demonstrate a correlation between the presence of this allele and the double flower phenotype. These data suggest a role of this miR172 resistant RcAP2L variant in regulating RcAGAMOUS expression and double flower formation in Rosa sp.

September 22, 2019  |  

Methylation of the reelin gene promoter in peripheral blood and its relationship with the cognitive function of schizophrenia patients.

There is a decrease in the expression of the reelin gene (RELN) in the brain of schizophrenia patients, which can underlie observed cognitive abnormalities. It is suggested that this decrease is caused by the hypermethylation of the RELN promoter. The aim of the study was to investigate methylation of the RELN promoter in the peripheral blood of schizophrenia patients and its association with their cognitive deficits. A modified SMRT-BS (single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing) was used. We determined the methylation rate of 170 CpG sites within a 1465 bp DNA region containing the entire CpG island in the RELN promoter in 51 schizophrenia patients and 52 healthy controls. All subjects completed a battery of neuropsychological tests. There were no DNA methylation changes associated with schizophrenia. Most CpGs sites were unmethylated in both groups. At the same time, there was a variability in the methylation level of different regions within the promoter. The methylation level in the area from -258 to -151 bp relative to RELN transcription start site was a significant predictor of the index of patients’ cognitive functioning if sex, age, smoking, education, and polymorphism rsl858815 had been considered. The positive correlation between the methylation rate in this region and cognitive index suggests that the hypomethylation of the RELN promoter could contribute to the development of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.

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