October 23, 2019  |  

Gene targeting by the TAL effector PthXo2 reveals cryptic resistance gene for bacterial blight of rice.

Bacterial blight of rice is caused by the ?-proteobacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae, which utilizes a group of type III TAL (transcription activator-like) effectors to induce host gene expression and condition host susceptibility. Five SWEET genes are functionally redundant to support bacterial disease, but only two were experimentally proven targets of natural TAL effectors. Here, we report the identification of the sucrose transporter gene OsSWEET13 as the disease-susceptibility gene for PthXo2 and the existence of cryptic recessive resistance to PthXo2-dependent X. oryzae pv. oryzae due to promoter variations of OsSWEET13 in japonica rice. PthXo2-containing strains induce OsSWEET13 in indica rice IR24 due to the presence of an unpredicted and undescribed effector binding site not present in the alleles in japonica rice Nipponbare and Kitaake. The specificity of effector-associated gene induction and disease susceptibility is attributable to a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), which is also found in a polymorphic allele of OsSWEET13 known as the recessive resistance gene xa25 from the rice cultivar Minghui 63. The mutation of OsSWEET13 with CRISPR/Cas9 technology further corroborates the requirement of OsSWEET13 expression for the state of PthXo2-dependent disease susceptibility to X. oryzae pv. oryzae. Gene profiling of a collection of 104 strains revealed OsSWEET13 induction by 42 isolates of X. oryzae pv. oryzae. Heterologous expression of OsSWEET13 in Nicotiana benthamiana leaf cells elevates sucrose concentrations in the apoplasm. The results corroborate a model whereby X. oryzae pv. oryzae enhances the release of sucrose from host cells in order to exploit the host resources.© 2015 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

September 22, 2019  |  

Survey of Ixodes pacificus ticks in California reveals a diversity of microorganisms and a novel and widespread Anaplasmataceae species.

Ixodes pacificus ticks can harbor a wide range of human and animal pathogens. To survey the prevalence of tick-borne known and putative pathogens, we tested 982 individual adult and nymphal I. pacificus ticks collected throughout California between 2007 and 2009 using a broad-range PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) assay designed to detect a wide range of tick-borne microorganisms. Overall, 1.4% of the ticks were found to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, 2.0% were infected with Borrelia miyamotoi and 0.3% were infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In addition, 3.0% were infected with Babesia odocoilei. About 1.2% of the ticks were co-infected with more than one pathogen or putative pathogen. In addition, we identified a novel Anaplasmataceae species that we characterized by sequencing of its 16S rRNA, groEL, gltA, and rpoB genes. Sequence analysis indicated that this organism is phylogenetically distinct from known Anaplasma species with its closest genetic near neighbors coming from Asia. The prevalence of this novel Anaplasmataceae species was as high as 21% at one site, and it was detected in 4.9% of ticks tested statewide. Based upon this genetic characterization we propose that this organism be called ‘Candidatus Cryptoplasma californiense’. Knowledge of this novel microbe will provide awareness for the community about the breadth of the I. pacificus microbiome, the concept that this bacterium could be more widely spread; and an opportunity to explore whether this bacterium also contributes to human or animal disease burden.

September 22, 2019  |  

A comprehensive analysis of alternative splicing in paleopolyploid maize.

Identifying and characterizing alternative splicing (AS) enables our understanding of the biological role of transcript isoform diversity. This study describes the use of publicly available RNA-Seq data to identify and characterize the global diversity of AS isoforms in maize using the inbred lines B73 and Mo17, and a related species, sorghum. Identification and characterization of AS within maize tissues revealed that genes expressed in seed exhibit the largest differential AS relative to other tissues examined. Additionally, differences in AS between the two genotypes B73 and Mo17 are greatest within genes expressed in seed. We demonstrate that changes in the level of alternatively spliced transcripts (intron retention and exon skipping) do not solely reflect differences in total transcript abundance, and we present evidence that intron retention may act to fine-tune gene expression across seed development stages. Furthermore, we have identified temperature sensitive AS in maize and demonstrate that drought-induced changes in AS involve distinct sets of genes in reproductive and vegetative tissues. Examining our identified AS isoforms within B73 × Mo17 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) identified splicing QTL (sQTL). The 43.3% of cis-sQTL regulated junctions are actually identified as alternatively spliced junctions in our analysis, while 10 Mb windows on each side of 48.2% of trans-sQTLs overlap with splicing related genes. Using sorghum as an out-group enabled direct examination of loss or conservation of AS between homeologous genes representing the two subgenomes of maize. We identify several instances where AS isoforms that are conserved between one maize homeolog and its sorghum ortholog are absent from the second maize homeolog, suggesting that these AS isoforms may have been lost after the maize whole genome duplication event. This comprehensive analysis provides new insights into the complexity of AS in maize.

September 22, 2019  |  

Optical and physical mapping with local finishing enables megabase-scale resolution of agronomically important regions in the wheat genome.

Numerous scaffold-level sequences for wheat are now being released and, in this context, we report on a strategy for improving the overall assembly to a level comparable to that of the human genome.Using chromosome 7A of wheat as a model, sequence-finished megabase-scale sections of this chromosome were established by combining a new independent assembly using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based physical map, BAC pool paired-end sequencing, chromosome-arm-specific mate-pair sequencing and Bionano optical mapping with the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium RefSeq v1.0 sequence and its underlying raw data. The combined assembly results in 18 super-scaffolds across the chromosome. The value of finished genome regions is demonstrated for two approximately 2.5 Mb regions associated with yield and the grain quality phenotype of fructan carbohydrate grain levels. In addition, the 50 Mb centromere region analysis incorporates cytological data highlighting the importance of non-sequence data in the assembly of this complex genome region.Sufficient genome sequence information is shown to now be available for the wheat community to produce sequence-finished releases of each chromosome of the reference genome. The high-level completion identified that an array of seven fructosyl transferase genes underpins grain quality and that yield attributes are affected by five F-box-only-protein-ubiquitin ligase domain and four root-specific lipid transfer domain genes. The completed sequence also includes the centromere.

September 22, 2019  |  

Distribution of the pco gene cluster and associated genetic determinants among swine Escherichia coli from a controlled feeding trial.

Copper is used as an alternative to antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention. However, bacteria developed tolerance mechanisms for elevated copper concentrations, including those encoded by the pco operon in Gram-negative bacteria. Using cohorts of weaned piglets, this study showed that the supplementation of feed with copper concentrations as used in the field did not result in a significant short-term increase in the proportion of pco-positive fecal Escherichia coli. The pco and sil (silver resistance) operons were found concurrently in all screened isolates, and whole-genome sequencing showed that they were distributed among a diversity of unrelated E. coli strains. The presence of pco/sil in E. coli was not associated with elevated copper minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) under a variety of conditions. As found in previous studies, the pco/sil operons were part of a Tn7-like structure found both on the chromosome or on plasmids in the E. coli strains investigated. Transfer of a pco/sil IncHI2 plasmid from E. coli to Salmonellaenterica resulted in elevated copper MICs in the latter. Escherichia coli may represent a reservoir of pco/sil genes transferable to other organisms such as S. enterica, for which it may represent an advantage in the presence of copper. This, in turn, has the potential for co-selection of resistance to antibiotics.

September 22, 2019  |  

Reassessment of the evolution of wheat chromosomes 4A, 5A, and 7B.

Comparison of genome sequences of wild emmer wheat and Aegilops tauschii suggests a novel scenario of the evolution of rearranged wheat chromosomes 4A, 5A, and 7B. Past research suggested that wheat chromosome 4A was subjected to a reciprocal translocation T(4AL;5AL)1 that occurred in the diploid progenitor of the wheat A subgenome and to three major rearrangements that occurred in polyploid wheat: pericentric inversion Inv(4AS;4AL)1, paracentric inversion Inv(4AL;4AL)1, and reciprocal translocation T(4AL;7BS)1. Gene collinearity along the pseudomolecules of tetraploid wild emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides, subgenomes AABB) and diploid Aegilops tauschii (genomes DD) was employed to confirm these rearrangements and to analyze the breakpoints. The exchange of distal regions of chromosome arms 4AS and 4AL due to pericentric inversion Inv(4AS;4AL)1 was detected, and breakpoints were validated with an optical Bionano genome map. Both breakpoints contained satellite DNA. The breakpoints of reciprocal translocation T(4AL;7BS)1 were also found. However, the breakpoints that generated paracentric inversion Inv(4AL;4AL)1 appeared to be collocated with the 4AL breakpoints that had produced Inv(4AS;4AL)1 and T(4AL;7BS)1. Inv(4AS;4AL)1, Inv(4AL;4AL)1, and T(4AL;7BS)1 either originated sequentially, and Inv(4AL;4AL)1 was produced by recurrent chromosome breaks at the same breakpoints that generated Inv(4AS;4AL)1 and T(4AL;7BS)1, or Inv(4AS;4AL)1, Inv(4AL;4AL)1, and T(4AL;7BS)1 originated simultaneously. We prefer the latter hypothesis since it makes fewer assumptions about the sequence of events that produced these chromosome rearrangements.

September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic analysis revealed rapid differentiation in the pathogenicity-related gene repertoires between Pyricularia oryzae and Pyricularia penniseti isolated from a Pennisetum grass.

A number of Pyricularia species are known to infect different grass species. In the case of Pyricularia oryzae (syn. Magnaporthe oryzae), distinct populations are known to be adapted to a wide variety of grass hosts, including rice, wheat and many other grasses. The genome sizes of Pyricularia species are typical for filamentous ascomycete fungi [~?40 Mbp for P. oryzae, and ~?45 Mbp for P. grisea]. Genome plasticity, mediated in part by deletions promoted by recombination between repetitive elements [Genome Res 26:1091-1100, 2016, Nat Rev Microbiol 10:417-430,2012] and transposable elements [Annu Rev Phytopathol 55:483-503,2017] contributes to host adaptation. Therefore, comparisons of genome structure of individual species will provide insight into the evolution of host specificity. However, except for the P. oryzae subgroup, little is known about the gene content or genome organization of other Pyricularia species, such as those infecting Pennisetum grasses.Here, we report the genome sequence of P. penniseti strain P1609 isolated from a Pennisetum grass (JUJUNCAO) using PacBio SMRT sequencing technology. Phylogenomic analysis of 28 Magnaporthales species and 5 non-Magnaporthales species indicated that P1609 belongs to a Pyricularia subclade, which is genetically distant from P. oryzae. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that the pathogenicity-related gene repertoires had diverged between P1609 and the P. oryzae strain 70-15, including the known avirulence genes, other putative secreted proteins, as well as some other predicted Pathogen-Host Interaction (PHI) genes. Genomic sequence comparison also identified many genomic rearrangements relative to P. oryzae.Our results suggested that the genomic sequence of the P. penniseti P1609 could be a useful resource for the genetic study of the Pennisetum-infecting Pyricularia species and provide new insight into evolution of pathogen genomes during host adaptation.

July 19, 2019  |  

Aluminum tolerance in maize is associated with higher MATE1 gene copy number.

Genome structure variation, including copy number variation and presence/absence variation, comprises a large extent of maize genetic diversity; however, its effect on phenotypes remains largely unexplored. Here, we describe how copy number variation underlies a rare allele that contributes to maize aluminum (Al) tolerance. Al toxicity is the primary limitation for crop production on acid soils, which make up 50% of the world’s potentially arable lands. In a recombinant inbred line mapping population, copy number variation of the Al tolerance gene multidrug and toxic compound extrusion 1 (MATE1) is the basis for the quantitative trait locus of largest effect on phenotypic variation. This expansion in MATE1 copy number is associated with higher MATE1 expression, which in turn results in superior Al tolerance. The three MATE1 copies are identical and are part of a tandem triplication. Only three maize inbred lines carrying the three-copy allele were identified from maize and teosinte diversity panels, indicating that copy number variation for MATE1 is a rare, and quite likely recent, event. These maize lines with higher MATE1 copy number are also Al-tolerant, have high MATE1 expression, and originate from regions of highly acidic soils. Our findings show a role for copy number variation in the adaptation of maize to acidic soils in the tropics and suggest that genome structural changes may be a rapid evolutionary response to new environments.

July 19, 2019  |  

Large genomic differences between Moraxella bovoculi isolates acquired from the eyes of cattle with infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis versus the deep nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle.

Moraxella bovoculi is a recently described bacterium that is associated with infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) or “pinkeye” in cattle. In this study, closed circularized genomes were generated for seven M. bovoculi isolates: three that originated from the eyes of clinical IBK bovine cases and four from the deep nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle. Isolates that originated from the eyes of IBK cases profoundly differed from those that originated from the nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle in genome structure, gene content and polymorphism diversity and consequently placed into two distinct phylogenetic groups. These results suggest that there are genetically distinct strains of M. bovoculi that may not associate with IBK.

July 7, 2019  |  

The genome and methylome of a beetle with complex social behavior, Nicrophorus vespilloides (Coleoptera: Silphidae).

Testing for conserved and novel mechanisms underlying phenotypic evolution requires a diversity of genomes available for comparison spanning multiple independent lineages. For example, complex social behavior in insects has been investigated primarily with eusocial lineages, nearly all of which are Hymenoptera. If conserved genomic influences on sociality do exist, we need data from a wider range of taxa that also vary in their levels of sociality. Here, we present the assembled and annotated genome of the subsocial beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, a species long used to investigate evolutionary questions of complex social behavior. We used this genome to address two questions. First, do aspects of life history, such as using a carcass to breed, predict overlap in gene models more strongly than phylogeny? We found that the overlap in gene models was similar between N. vespilloides and all other insect groups regardless of life history. Second, like other insects with highly developed social behavior but unlike other beetles, does N. vespilloides have DNA methylation? We found strong evidence for an active DNA methylation system. The distribution of methylation was similar to other insects with exons having the most methylated CpGs. Methylation status appears highly conserved; 85% of the methylated genes in N. vespilloides are also methylated in the hymentopteran Nasonia vitripennis. The addition of this genome adds a coleopteran resource to answer questions about the evolution and mechanistic basis of sociality and to address questions about the potential role of methylation in social behavior. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of a major urban malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles stephensi.

Background Anopheles stephensi is the key vector of malaria throughout the Indian subcontinent and Middle East and an emerging model for molecular and genetic studies of mosquito-parasite interactions. The type form of the species is responsible for the majority of urban malaria transmission across its range.ResultsHere, we report the genome sequence and annotation of the Indian strain of the type form of An. stephensi. The 221 Mb genome assembly represents more than 92% of the entire genome and was produced using a combination of 454, Illumina, and PacBio sequencing. Physical mapping assigned 62% of the genome onto chromosomes, enabling chromosome-based analysis. Comparisons between An. stephensi and An. gambiae reveal that the rate of gene order reshuffling on the X chromosome was three times higher than that on the autosomes. An. stephensi has more heterochromatin in pericentric regions but less repetitive DNA in chromosome arms than An. gambiae. We also identify a number of Y-chromosome contigs and BACs. Interspersed repeats constitute 7.1% of the assembled genome while LTR retrotransposons alone comprise more than 49% of the Y contigs. RNA-seq analyses provide new insights into mosquito innate immunity, development, and sexual dimorphism.ConclusionsThe genome analysis described in this manuscript provides a resource and platform for fundamental and translational research into a major urban malaria vector. Chromosome-based investigations provide unique perspectives on Anopheles chromosome evolution. RNA-seq analysis and studies of immunity genes offer new insights into mosquito biology and mosquito-parasite interactions.

July 7, 2019  |  

Divergent and convergent modes of interaction between wheat and Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici isolates revealed by the comparative gene co-expression network and genome analyses.

Two opposing evolutionary constraints exert pressure on plant pathogens: one to diversify virulence factors in order to evade plant defenses, and the other to retain virulence factors critical for maintaining a compatible interaction with the plant host. To better understand how the diversified arsenals of fungal genes promote interaction with the same compatible wheat line, we performed a comparative genomic analysis of two North American isolates of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt).The patterns of inter-isolate divergence in the secreted candidate effector genes were compared with the levels of conservation and divergence of plant-pathogen gene co-expression networks (GCN) developed for each isolate. Comprative genomic analyses revealed substantial level of interisolate divergence in effector gene complement and sequence divergence. Gene Ontology (GO) analyses of the conserved and unique parts of the isolate-specific GCNs identified a number of conserved host pathways targeted by both isolates. Interestingly, the degree of inter-isolate sub-network conservation varied widely for the different host pathways and was positively associated with the proportion of conserved effector candidates associated with each sub-network. While different Pgt isolates tended to exploit similar wheat pathways for infection, the mode of plant-pathogen interaction varied for different pathways with some pathways being associated with the conserved set of effectors and others being linked with the diverged or isolate-specific effectors.Our data suggest that at the intra-species level pathogen populations likely maintain divergent sets of effectors capable of targeting the same plant host pathways. This functional redundancy may play an important role in the dynamic of the “arms-race” between host and pathogen serving as the basis for diverse virulence strategies and creating conditions where mutations in certain effector groups will not have a major effect on the pathogen’s ability to infect the host.

July 7, 2019  |  

Evolution of the wheat blast fungus through functional losses in a host specificity determinant.

Wheat blast first emerged in Brazil in the mid-1980s and has recently caused heavy crop losses in Asia. Here we show how this devastating pathogen evolved in Brazil. Genetic analysis of host species determinants in the blast fungus resulted in the cloning of avirulence genes PWT3 and PWT4, whose gene products elicit defense in wheat cultivars containing the corresponding resistance genes Rwt3 and Rwt4 Studies on avirulence and resistance gene distributions, together with historical data on wheat cultivation in Brazil, suggest that wheat blast emerged due to widespread deployment of rwt3 wheat (susceptible to Lolium isolates), followed by the loss of function of PWT3 This implies that the rwt3 wheat served as a springboard for the host jump to common wheat. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

July 7, 2019  |  

Strategies for optimizing BioNano and Dovetail explored through a second reference quality assembly for the legume model, Medicago truncatula.

Third generation sequencing technologies, with sequencing reads in the tens- of kilo-bases, facilitate genome assembly by spanning ambiguous regions and improving continuity. This has been critical for plant genomes, which are difficult to assemble due to high repeat content, gene family expansions, segmental and tandem duplications, and polyploidy. Recently, high-throughput mapping and scaffolding strategies have further improved continuity. Together, these long-range technologies enable quality draft assemblies of complex genomes in a cost-effective and timely manner.Here, we present high quality genome assemblies of the model legume plant, Medicago truncatula (R108) using PacBio, Dovetail Chicago (hereafter, Dovetail) and BioNano technologies. To test these technologies for plant genome assembly, we generated five assemblies using all possible combinations and ordering of these three technologies in the R108 assembly. While the BioNano and Dovetail joins overlapped, they also showed complementary gains in continuity and join numbers. Both technologies spanned repetitive regions that PacBio alone was unable to bridge. Combining technologies, particularly Dovetail followed by BioNano, resulted in notable improvements compared to Dovetail or BioNano alone. A combination of PacBio, Dovetail, and BioNano was used to generate a high quality draft assembly of R108, a M. truncatula accession widely used in studies of functional genomics. As a test for the usefulness of the resulting genome sequence, the new R108 assembly was used to pinpoint breakpoints and characterize flanking sequence of a previously identified translocation between chromosomes 4 and 8, identifying more than 22.7 Mb of novel sequence not present in the earlier A17 reference assembly.Adding Dovetail followed by BioNano data yielded complementary improvements in continuity over the original PacBio assembly. This strategy proved efficient and cost-effective for developing a quality draft assembly compared to traditional reference assemblies.

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