September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular genetic diversity and characterization of conjugation genes in the fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is the etiologic agent of “white spot”, a commercially important disease of freshwater fish. As a parasitic ciliate, I. multifiliis infects numerous host species across a broad geographic range. Although Ichthyophthirius outbreaks are difficult to control, recent sequencing of the I. multifiliis genome has revealed a number of potential metabolic pathways for therapeutic intervention, along with likely vaccine targets for disease prevention. Nonetheless, major gaps exist in our understanding of both the life cycle and population structure of I. multifiliis in the wild. For example, conjugation has never been described in this species, and it is unclear whether I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction, despite the presence of a germline micronucleus. In addition, no good methods exist to distinguish strains, leaving phylogenetic relationships between geographic isolates completely unresolved. Here, we compared nucleotide sequences of SSUrDNA, mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit I and cox-1 genes, and 14 somatic SNP sites from nine I. multifiliis isolates obtained from four different states in the US since 1995. The mitochondrial sequences effectively distinguished the isolates from one another and divided them into at least two genetically distinct groups. Furthermore, none of the nine isolates shared the same composition of the 14 somatic SNP sites, suggesting that I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction at some point in its life cycle. Finally, compared to the well-studied free-living ciliates Tetrahymena thermophila and Paramecium tetraurelia, I. multifiliis has lost 38% and 29%, respectively, of 16 experimentally confirmed conjugation-related genes, indicating that mechanistic differences in sexual reproduction are likely to exist between I. multifiliis and other ciliate species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

September 22, 2019  |  

Gene presence-absence polymorphism in castrating anther-smut fungi: Recent gene Gains and Phylogeographic Structure.

Gene presence-absence polymorphisms segregating within species are a significant source of genetic variation but have been little investigated to date in natural populations. In plant pathogens, the gain or loss of genes encoding proteins interacting directly with the host, such as secreted proteins, probably plays an important role in coevolution and local adaptation. We investigated gene presence-absence polymorphism in populations of two closely related species of castrating anther-smut fungi, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (MvSl) and M. silenes-dioicae (MvSd), from across Europe, on the basis of Illumina genome sequencing data and high-quality genome references. We observed presence-absence polymorphism for 186 autosomal genes (2% of all genes) in MvSl, and only 51 autosomal genes in MvSd. Distinct genes displayed presence-absence polymorphism in the two species. Genes displaying presence-absence polymorphism were frequently located in subtelomeric and centromeric regions and close to repetitive elements, and comparison with outgroups indicated that most were present in a single species, being recently acquired through duplications in multiple-gene families. Gene presence-absence polymorphism in MvSl showed a phylogeographic structure corresponding to clusters detected based on SNPs. In addition, gene absence alleles were rare within species and skewed toward low-frequency variants. These findings are consistent with a deleterious or neutral effect for most gene presence-absence polymorphism. Some of the observed gene loss and gain events may however be adaptive, as suggested by the putative functions of the corresponding encoded proteins (e.g., secreted proteins) or their localization within previously identified selective sweeps. The adaptive roles in plant and anther-smut fungi interactions of candidate genes however need to be experimentally tested in future studies.

September 22, 2019  |  

Multiple convergent supergene evolution events in mating-type chromosomes.

Convergent adaptation provides unique insights into the predictability of evolution and ultimately into processes of biological diversification. Supergenes (beneficial gene linkage) are striking examples of adaptation, but little is known about their prevalence or evolution. A recent study on anther-smut fungi documented supergene formation by rearrangements linking two key mating-type loci, controlling pre- and post-mating compatibility. Here further high-quality genome assemblies reveal four additional independent cases of chromosomal rearrangements leading to regions of suppressed recombination linking these mating-type loci in closely related species. Such convergent transitions in genomic architecture of mating-type determination indicate strong selection favoring linkage of mating-type loci into cosegregating supergenes. We find independent evolutionary strata (stepwise recombination suppression) in several species, with extensive rearrangements, gene losses, and transposable element accumulation. We thus show remarkable convergence in mating-type chromosome evolution, recurrent supergene formation, and repeated evolution of similar phenotypes through different genomic changes.

September 22, 2019  |  

Integration of genomic data with NMR analysis enables assignment of the full stereostructure of neaumycin B, a potent inhibitor of glioblastoma from a marine-derived Micromonospora.

The microbial metabolites known as the macrolides are some of the most successful natural products used to treat infectious and immune diseases. Describing the structures of these complex metabolites, however, is often extremely difficult due to the presence of multiple stereogenic centers inherent in this class of polyketide-derived metabolites. With the availability of genome sequence data and a better understanding of the molecular genetics of natural product biosynthesis, it is now possible to use bioinformatic approaches in tandem with spectroscopic tools to assign the full stereostructures of these complex metabolites. In our quest to discover and develop new agents for the treatment of cancer, we observed the production of a highly cytotoxic macrolide, neaumycin B, by a marine-derived actinomycete bacterium of the genus Micromonospora. Neaumycin B is a complex polycyclic macrolide possessing 19 asymmetric centers, usually requiring selective degradation, crystallization, derivatization, X-ray diffraction analysis, synthesis, or other time-consuming approaches to assign the complete stereostructure. As an alternative approach, we sequenced the genome of the producing strain and identified the neaumycin gene cluster ( neu). By integrating the known stereospecificities of biosynthetic enzymes with comprehensive NMR analysis, the full stereostructure of neaumycin B was confidently assigned. This approach exemplifies how mining gene cluster information while integrating NMR-based structure data can achieve rapid, efficient, and accurate stereostructural assignments for complex macrolides.

September 22, 2019  |  

Changes in the genetic requirements for microbial interactions with increasing community complexity.

Microbial community structure and function rely on complex interactions whose underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. To investigate these interactions in a simple microbiome, we introduced E. coli into an experimental community based on a cheese rind and identified the differences in E. coli’s genetic requirements for growth in interactive and non-interactive contexts using Random Barcode Transposon Sequencing (RB-TnSeq) and RNASeq. Genetic requirements varied among pairwise growth conditions and between pairwise and community conditions. Our analysis points to mechanisms by which growth conditions change as a result of increasing community complexity and suggests that growth within a community relies on a combination of pairwise and higher-order interactions. Our work provides a framework for using the model organism E. coli as a readout to investigate microbial interactions regardless of the genetic tractability of members of the studied ecosystem.© 2018, Morin et al.

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