April 21, 2020  |  

Early Sex-chromosome Evolution in the Diploid Dioecious Plant Mercurialis annua.

Suppressed recombination allows divergence between homologous sex chromosomes and the functionality of their genes. Here, we reveal patterns of the earliest stages of sex-chromosome evolution in the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua on the basis of cytological analysis, de novo genome assembly and annotation, genetic mapping, exome resequencing of natural populations, and transcriptome analysis. The genome assembly contained 34,105 expressed genes, of which 10,076 were assigned to linkage groups. Genetic mapping and exome resequencing of individuals across the species range both identified the largest linkage group, LG1, as the sex chromosome. Although the sex chromosomes of M. annua are karyotypically homomorphic, we estimate that about a third of the Y chromosome has ceased recombining, containing 568 transcripts and spanning 22.3 cM in the corresponding female map. Nevertheless, we found limited evidence for Y-chromosome degeneration in terms of gene loss and pseudogenization, and most X- and Y-linked genes appear to have diverged in the period subsequent to speciation between M. annua and its sister species M. huetii which shares the same sex-determining region. Taken together, our results suggest that the M. annua Y chromosome has at least two evolutionary strata: a small old stratum shared with M. huetii, and a more recent larger stratum that is probably unique to M. annua and that stopped recombining about one million years ago. Patterns of gene expression within the non-recombining region are consistent with the idea that sexually antagonistic selection may have played a role in favoring suppressed recombination.Copyright © 2019, Genetics.


April 21, 2020  |  

Spreading Patterns of NDM-Producing Enterobacteriaceae in Clinical and Environmental Settings in Yangon, Myanmar.

The spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), contributing to widespread carbapenem resistance, has become a global concern. However, the specific dissemination patterns of carbapenemase genes have not been intensively investigated in developing countries, including Myanmar, where NDM-type carbapenemases are spreading in clinical settings. In the present study, we phenotypically and genetically characterized 91 CPE isolates obtained from clinical (n = 77) and environmental (n = 14) samples in Yangon, Myanmar. We determined the dissemination of plasmids harboring genes encoding NDM-1 and its variants using whole-genome sequencing and plasmid analysis. IncFII plasmids harboring blaNDM-5 and IncX3 plasmids harboring blaNDM-4 or blaNDM-7 were the most prevalent plasmid types identified among the isolates. The IncFII plasmids were predominantly carried by clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, and their clonal expansion was observed within the same ward of a hospital. In contrast, the IncX3 plasmids were found in phylogenetically divergent isolates from clinical and environmental samples classified into nine species, suggesting widespread dissemination of plasmids via horizontal transfer. Half of the environmental isolates were found to possess IncX3 plasmids, and this type of plasmid was confirmed to transfer more effectively to recipient organisms at a relatively low temperature (25°C) compared to the IncFII plasmid. Moreover, various other plasmid types were identified harboring blaNDM-1, including IncFIB, IncFII, IncL/M, and IncA/C2, among clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae or Enterobacter cloacae complex. Overall, our results highlight three distinct patterns of the dissemination of blaNDM-harboring plasmids among CPE isolates in Myanmar, contributing to a better understanding of their molecular epidemiology and dissemination in a setting of endemicity.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Gammaherpesvirus Readthrough Transcription Generates a Long Non-Coding RNA That Is Regulated by Antisense miRNAs and Correlates with Enhanced Lytic Replication In Vivo.

Gammaherpesviruses, including the human pathogens Epstein?Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) are oncogenic viruses that establish lifelong infections in hosts and are associated with the development of lymphoproliferative diseases and lymphomas. Recent studies have shown that the majority of the mammalian genome is transcribed and gives rise to numerous long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). Likewise, the large double-stranded DNA virus genomes of herpesviruses undergo pervasive transcription, including the expression of many as yet uncharacterized lncRNAs. Murine gammaperherpesvirus 68 (MHV68, MuHV-4, ?HV68) is a natural pathogen of rodents, and is genetically and pathogenically related to EBV and KSHV, providing a highly tractable model for studies of gammaherpesvirus biology and pathogenesis. Through the integrated use of parallel data sets from multiple sequencing platforms, we previously resolved transcripts throughout the MHV68 genome, including at least 144 novel transcript isoforms. Here, we sought to molecularly validate novel transcripts identified within the M3/M2 locus, which harbors genes that code for the chemokine binding protein M3, the latency B cell signaling protein M2, and 10 microRNAs (miRNAs). Using strand-specific northern blots, we validated the presence of M3-04, a 3.91 kb polyadenylated transcript that initiates at the M3 transcription start site and reads through the M3 open reading frame (ORF), the M3 poly(a) signal sequence, and the M2 ORF. This unexpected transcript was solely localized to the nucleus, strongly suggesting that it is not translated and instead may function as a lncRNA. Use of an MHV68 mutant lacking two M3-04-antisense pre-miRNA stem loops resulted in highly increased expression of M3-04 and increased virus replication in the lungs of infected mice, demonstrating a key role for these RNAs in regulation of lytic infection. Together these findings suggest the possibility of a tripartite regulatory relationship between the lncRNA M3-04, antisense miRNAs, and the latency gene M2.


April 21, 2020  |  

Into the Thermus Mobilome: Presence, Diversity and Recent Activities of Insertion Sequences Across Thermus spp.

A high level of transposon-mediated genome rearrangement is a common trait among microorganisms isolated from thermal environments, probably contributing to the extraordinary genomic plasticity and horizontal gene transfer (HGT) observed in these habitats. In this work, active and inactive insertion sequences (ISs) spanning the sequenced members of the genus Thermus were characterized, with special emphasis on three T. thermophilus strains: HB27, HB8, and NAR1. A large number of full ISs and fragments derived from different IS families were found, concentrating within megaplasmids present in most isolates. Potentially active ISs were identified through analysis of transposase integrity, and domestication-related transposition events of ISTth7 were identified in laboratory-adapted HB27 derivatives. Many partial copies of ISs appeared throughout the genome, which may serve as specific targets for homologous recombination contributing to genome rearrangement. Moreover, recruitment of IS1000 32 bp segments as spacers for CRISPR sequence was identified, pointing to the adaptability of these elements in the biology of these thermophiles. Further knowledge about the activity and functional diversity of ISs in this genus may contribute to the generation of engineered transposons as new genetic tools, and enrich our understanding of the outstanding plasticity shown by these thermophiles.


April 21, 2020  |  

Consensus and variations in cell line specificity among human metapneumovirus strains.

Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) has been a notable etiological agent of acute respiratory infection in humans, but it was not discovered until 2001, because HMPV replicates only in a limited number of cell lines and the cytopathic effect (CPE) is often mild. To promote the study of HMPV, several groups have generated green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing recombinant HMPV strains (HMPVGFP). However, the growing evidence has complicated the understanding of cell line specificity of HMPV, because it seems to vary notably among HMPV strains. In addition, unique A2b clade HMPV strains with a 180-nucleotide duplication in the G gene (HMPV A2b180nt-dup strains) have recently been detected. In this study, we re-evaluated and compared the cell line specificity of clinical isolates of HMPV strains, including the novel HMPV A2b180nt-dup strains, and six recombinant HMPVGFP strains, including the newly generated recombinant HMPV A2b180nt-dup strain, MG0256-EGFP. Our data demonstrate that VeroE6 and LLC-MK2 cells generally showed the highest infectivity with any clinical isolates and recombinant HMPVGFP strains. Other human-derived cell lines (BEAS-2B, A549, HEK293, MNT-1, and HeLa cells) showed certain levels of infectivity with HMPV, but these were significantly lower than those of VeroE6 and LLC-MK2 cells. Also, the infectivity in these suboptimal cell lines varied greatly among HMPV strains. The variations were not directly related to HMPV genotypes, cell lines used for isolation and propagation, specific genome mutations, or nucleotide duplications in the G gene. Thus, these variations in suboptimal cell lines are likely intrinsic to particular HMPV strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

Biphasic cellular adaptations and ecological implications of Alteromonas macleodii degrading a mixture of algal polysaccharides.

Algal polysaccharides are an important bacterial nutrient source and central component of marine food webs. However, cellular and ecological aspects concerning the bacterial degradation of polysaccharide mixtures, as presumably abundant in natural habitats, are poorly understood. Here, we contextualize marine polysaccharide mixtures and their bacterial utilization in several ways using the model bacterium Alteromonas macleodii 83-1, which can degrade multiple algal polysaccharides and contributes to polysaccharide degradation in the oceans. Transcriptomic, proteomic and exometabolomic profiling revealed cellular adaptations of A. macleodii 83-1 when degrading a mix of laminarin, alginate and pectin. Strain 83-1 exhibited substrate prioritization driven by catabolite repression, with initial laminarin utilization followed by simultaneous alginate/pectin utilization. This biphasic phenotype coincided with pronounced shifts in gene expression, protein abundance and metabolite secretion, mainly involving CAZymes/polysaccharide utilization loci but also other functional traits. Distinct temporal changes in exometabolome composition, including the alginate/pectin-specific secretion of pyrroloquinoline quinone, suggest that substrate-dependent adaptations influence chemical interactions within the community. The ecological relevance of cellular adaptations was underlined by molecular evidence that common marine macroalgae, in particular Saccharina and Fucus, release mixtures of alginate and pectin-like rhamnogalacturonan. Moreover, CAZyme microdiversity and the genomic predisposition towards polysaccharide mixtures among Alteromonas spp. suggest polysaccharide-related traits as an ecophysiological factor, potentially relating to distinct ‘carbohydrate utilization types’ with different ecological strategies. Considering the substantial primary productivity of algae on global scales, these insights contribute to the understanding of bacteria-algae interactions and the remineralization of chemically diverse polysaccharide pools, a key step in marine carbon cycling.


April 21, 2020  |  

CRISPR/CAS9 targeted CAPTURE of mammalian genomic regions for characterization by NGS.

The robust detection of structural variants in mammalian genomes remains a challenge. It is particularly difficult in the case of genetically unstable Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines with only draft genome assemblies available. We explore the potential of the CRISPR/Cas9 system for the targeted capture of genomic loci containing integrated vectors in CHO-K1-based cell lines followed by next generation sequencing (NGS), and compare it to popular target-enrichment sequencing methods and to whole genome sequencing (WGS). Three different CRISPR/Cas9-based techniques were evaluated; all of them allow for amplification-free enrichment of target genomic regions in the range from 5 to 60 fold, and for recovery of ~15 kb-long sequences with no sequencing artifacts introduced. The utility of these protocols has been proven by the identification of transgene integration sites and flanking sequences in three CHO cell lines. The long enriched fragments helped to identify Escherichia coli genome sequences co-integrated with vectors, and were further characterized by Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). Other advantages of CRISPR/Cas9-based methods are the ease of bioinformatics analysis, potential for multiplexing, and the production of long target templates for real-time sequencing.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomics-driven discovery of a biosynthetic gene cluster required for the synthesis of BII-Rafflesfungin from the fungus Phoma sp. F3723.

Phomafungin is a recently reported broad spectrum antifungal compound but its biosynthetic pathway is unknown. We combed publicly available Phoma genomes but failed to find any putative biosynthetic gene cluster that could account for its biosynthesis.Therefore, we sequenced the genome of one of our Phoma strains (F3723) previously identified as having antifungal activity in a high-throughput screen. We found a biosynthetic gene cluster that was predicted to synthesize a cyclic lipodepsipeptide that differs in the amino acid composition compared to Phomafungin. Antifungal activity guided isolation yielded a new compound, BII-Rafflesfungin, the structure of which was determined.We describe the NRPS-t1PKS cluster ‘BIIRfg’ compatible with the synthesis of the cyclic lipodepsipeptide BII-Rafflesfungin [HMHDA-L-Ala-L-Glu-L-Asn-L-Ser-L-Ser-D-Ser-D-allo-Thr-Gly]. We report new Stachelhaus codes for Ala, Glu, Asn, Ser, Thr, and Gly. We propose a mechanism for BII-Rafflesfungin biosynthesis, which involves the formation of the lipid part by BIIRfg_PKS followed by activation and transfer of the lipid chain by a predicted AMP-ligase on to the first PCP domain of the BIIRfg_NRPS gene.


April 21, 2020  |  

Cichorium intybus L.?×?Cicerbita alpina Walbr.: doubled haploid chicory induction and CENH3 characterization

Intergeneric hybridization between industrial chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and Cicerbita alpina Walbr. induces interspecific hybrids and haploid chicory plants after in vitro embryo rescue. The protocol yielded haploids in 5 out of 12 cultivars pollinated; altogether 18 haploids were regenerated from 2836 embryos, with a maximum efficiency of 1.96% haploids per cross. Obtained haploids were chromosome doubled with mitosis inhibitors trifluralin and oryzalin; exposure to 0.05 g L-1 oryzalin during one week was the most efficient treatment to regenerate doubled haploids. Inbreeding effects in vitro were limited, but the ploidy level affects morphology. Transcriptome sequencing revealed two unique copies of CENH3 in Cicerbita alpina Walbr. Comparison of CENH3.1 protein sequences of Cicerbita and Cichorium obtained through transcriptome and whole shotgun genome sequencing revealed two amino-acid substitutions at critical residues of the histone fold domain. These particular changes cause chromosome elimination and reduced centromere loading in several other species and might indicate a CENH3-dependent mechanism causing chromosome elimination of parental chromosomes during Cichorium?×?Cicerbita intergeneric hybridization. Our results provide insights in chromosome elimination and might increase the efficiency of haploid induction in Cichorium.


April 21, 2020  |  

Whole-Genome Sequences of Five Acinetobacter baumannii Strains From a Child With Leukemia M2.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an opportunistic pathogen and is one of the primary etiological agents of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). A. baumannii infections are difficult to treat due to the intrinsic and acquired antibiotic resistance of strains of this bacterium, which frequently limits therapeutic options. In this study, five A. baumannii strains (810CP, 433H, 434H, 483H, and A-2), all of which were isolated from a child with leukemia M2, were characterized through antibiotic susceptibility profiling, the detection of genes encoding carbapenem hydrolyzing oxacillinases, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), adherence and invasion assays toward the A549 cell line, and the whole-genome sequence (WGS). The five strains showed Multidrug resistant (MDR) profiles and amplification of the blaOXA-23 gene, belonging to ST758 and grouped into two PFGE clusters. WGS of 810CP revealed the presence of a circular chromosome and two small plasmids, pAba810CPa and pAba810CPb. Both plasmids carried genes encoding the Sp1TA system, although resistance genes were not identified. A gene-by-gene comparison analysis was performed among the A. baumannii strains isolated in this study and others A. baumannii ST758 strains (HIMFG and INCan), showing that 86% of genes were present in all analyzed strains. Interestingly, the 433H, 434H, and 483H strains varied by 8-10 single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), while the A2 and 810CP strains varied by 46 SNVs. Subsequently, an analysis using BacWGSTdb showed that all of our strains had the same resistance genes and were ST758. However, some variations were observed in relation to virulence genes, mainly in the 810CP strain. The genes involved in the synthesis of hepta-acylated lipooligosaccharides, the pgaABCD locus encoding poly-ß-1-6-N-acetylglucosamine, the ompA gene, Csu pili, bap, the two-component system bfms/bfmR, a member of the phospholipase D family, and two iron-uptake systems were identified in our A. baumannii strains genome. The five A. baumannii strains isolated from the child were genetically different and showed important characteristics that promote survival in a hospital environment. The elucidation of their genomic sequences provides important information for understanding their epidemiology, antibiotic resistance, and putative virulence factors.


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