September 22, 2019  |  

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop. © 2017 Clavijo et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide identification and analysis of the ALTERNATIVE OXIDASE gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat.

A comprehensive understanding of wheat responses to environmental stress will contribute to the long-term goal of feeding the planet. ALERNATIVE OXIDASE (AOX) genes encode proteins involved in a bypass of the electron transport chain and are also known to be involved in stress tolerance in multiple species. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the AOX gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat. Four genes each were found in the diploid ancestors Triticum urartu, and Aegilops tauschii, and three in Aegilops speltoides. In hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum), 20 genes were identified, some with multiple splice variants, corresponding to a total of 24 proteins for those with observed transcription and translation. These proteins were classified as AOX1a, AOX1c, AOX1e or AOX1d via phylogenetic analysis. Proteins lacking most or all signature AOX motifs were assigned to putative regulatory roles. Analysis of protein-targeting sequences suggests mixed localization to the mitochondria and other organelles. In comparison to the most studied AOX from Trypanosoma brucei, there were amino acid substitutions at critical functional domains indicating possible role divergence in wheat or grasses in general. In hexaploid wheat, AOX genes were expressed at specific developmental stages as well as in response to both biotic and abiotic stresses such as fungal pathogens, heat and drought. These AOX expression patterns suggest a highly regulated and diverse transcription and expression system. The insights gained provide a framework for the continued and expanded study of AOX genes in wheat for stress tolerance through breeding new varieties, as well as resistance to AOX-targeted herbicides, all of which can ultimately be used synergistically to improve crop yield.


September 22, 2019  |  

Isoform sequencing provides a more comprehensive view of the Panax ginseng transcriptome.

Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) has been widely used for medicinal purposes and contains potent plant secondary metabolites, including ginsenosides. To obtain transcriptomic data that offers a more comprehensive view of functional genomics in P. ginseng, we generated genome-wide transcriptome data from four different P. ginseng tissues using PacBio isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) technology. A total of 135,317 assembled transcripts were generated with an average length of 3.2 kb and high assembly completeness. Of those unigenes, 67.5% were predicted to be complete full-length (FL) open reading frames (ORFs) and exhibited a high gene annotation rate. Furthermore, we successfully identified unique full-length genes involved in triterpenoid saponin synthesis and plant hormonal signaling pathways, including auxin and cytokinin. Studies on the functional genomics of P. ginseng seedlings have confirmed the rapid upregulation of negative feed-back loops by auxin and cytokinin signaling cues. The conserved evolutionary mechanisms in the auxin and cytokinin canonical signaling pathways of P. ginseng are more complex than those in Arabidopsis thaliana. Our analysis also revealed a more detailed view of transcriptome-wide alternative isoforms for 88 genes. Finally, transposable elements (TEs) were also identified, suggesting transcriptional activity of TEs in P. ginseng. In conclusion, our results suggest that long-read, full-length or partial-unigene data with high-quality assemblies are invaluable resources as transcriptomic references in P. ginseng and can be used for comparative analyses in closely related medicinal plants.


September 22, 2019  |  

Full-length transcriptome survey and expression analysis of Cassia obtusifolia to discover putative genes related to aurantio-obtusin biosynthesis, seed formation and development, and stress response.

The seed is the pharmaceutical and breeding organ of Cassia obtusifolia, a well-known medical herb containing aurantio-obtusin (a kind of anthraquinone), food, and landscape. In order to understand the molecular mechanism of the biosynthesis of aurantio-obtusin, seed formation and development, and stress response of C. obtusifolia, it is necessary to understand the genomics information. Although previous seed transcriptome of C. obtusifolia has been carried out by short-read next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, the vast majority of the resulting unigenes did not represent full-length cDNA sequences and supply enough gene expression profile information of the various organs or tissues. In this study, fifteen cDNA libraries, which were constructed from the seed, root, stem, leaf, and flower (three repetitions with each organ) of C. obtusifolia, were sequenced using hybrid approach combining single-molecule real-time (SMRT) and NGS platform. More than 4,315,774 long reads with 9.66 Gb sequencing data and 361,427,021 short reads with 108.13 Gb sequencing data were generated by SMRT and NGS platform, respectively. 67,222 consensus isoforms were clustered from the reads and 81.73% (61,016) of which were longer than 1000 bp. Furthermore, the 67,222 consensus isoforms represented 58,106 nonredundant transcripts, 98.25% (57,092) of which were annotated and 25,573 of which were assigned to specific metabolic pathways by KEGG. CoDXS and CoDXR genes were directly used for functional characterization to validate the accuracy of sequences obtained from transcriptome. A total of 658 seed-specific transcripts indicated their special roles in physiological processes in seed. Analysis of transcripts which were involved in the early stage of anthraquinone biosynthesis suggested that the aurantio-obtusin in C. obtusifolia was mainly generated from isochorismate and Mevalonate/methylerythritol phosphate (MVA/MEP) pathway, and three reactions catalyzed by Menaquinone-specific isochorismate synthase (ICS), 1-deoxy-d-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase (DXS) and isopentenyl diphosphate (IPPS) might be the limited steps. Several seed-specific CYPs, SAM-dependent methyltransferase, and UDP-glycosyltransferase (UDPG) supplied promising candidate genes in the late stage of anthraquinone biosynthesis. In addition, four seed-specific transcriptional factors including three MYB Transcription Factor (MYB) and one MADS-box Transcription Factor (MADS) transcriptional factors) and alternative splicing might be involved with seed formation and development. Meanwhile, most members of Hsp20 genes showed high expression level in seed and flower; seven of which might have chaperon activities under various abiotic stresses. Finally, the expressional patterns of genes with particular interests showed similar trends in both transcriptome assay and qRT-PCR. In conclusion, this is the first full-length transcriptome sequencing reported in Caesalpiniaceae family, and thus providing a more complete insight into aurantio-obtusin biosynthesis, seed formation and development, and stress response as well in C. obtusifolia.


September 22, 2019  |  

Isoform sequencing and state-of-art applications for unravelling complexity of plant transcriptomes

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing developed by PacBio, also called third-generation sequencing (TGS), offers longer reads than the second-generation sequencing (SGS). Given its ability to obtain full-length transcripts without assembly, isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) of transcriptomes by PacBio is advantageous for genome annotation, identification of novel genes and isoforms, as well as the discovery of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA). In addition, Iso-Seq gives access to the direct detection of alternative splicing, alternative polyadenylation (APA), gene fusion, and DNA modifications. Such applications of Iso-Seq facilitate the understanding of gene structure, post-transcriptional regulatory networks, and subsequently proteomic diversity. In this review, we summarize its applications in plant transcriptome study, specifically pointing out challenges associated with each step in the experimental design and highlight the development of bioinformatic pipelines. We aim to provide the community with an integrative overview and a comprehensive guidance to Iso-Seq, and thus to promote its applications in plant research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Integrative analysis of three RNA sequencing methods identifies mutually exclusive exons of MADS-box isoforms during early bud development in Picea abies.

Recent efforts to sequence the genomes and transcriptomes of several gymnosperm species have revealed an increased complexity in certain gene families in gymnosperms as compared to angiosperms. One example of this is the gymnosperm sister clade to angiosperm TM3-like MADS-box genes, which at least in the conifer lineage has expanded in number of genes. We have previously identified a member of this sub-clade, the conifer gene DEFICIENS AGAMOUS LIKE 19 (DAL19), as being specifically upregulated in cone-setting shoots. Here, we show through Sanger sequencing of mRNA-derived cDNA and mapping to assembled conifer genomic sequences that DAL19 produces six mature mRNA splice variants in Picea abies. These splice variants use alternate first and last exons, while their four central exons constitute a core region present in all six transcripts. Thus, they are likely to be transcript isoforms. Quantitative Real-Time PCR revealed that two mutually exclusive first DAL19 exons are differentially expressed across meristems that will form either male or female cones, or vegetative shoots. Furthermore, mRNA in situ hybridization revealed that two mutually exclusive last DAL19 exons were expressed in a cell-specific pattern within bud meristems. Based on these findings in DAL19, we developed a sensitive approach to transcript isoform assembly from short-read sequencing of mRNA. We applied this method to 42 putative MADS-box core regions in P. abies, from which we assembled 1084 putative transcripts. We manually curated these transcripts to arrive at 933 assembled transcript isoforms of 38 putative MADS-box genes. 152 of these isoforms, which we assign to 28 putative MADS-box genes, were differentially expressed across eight female, male, and vegetative buds. We further provide evidence of the expression of 16 out of the 38 putative MADS-box genes by mapping PacBio Iso-Seq circular consensus reads derived from pooled sample sequencing to assembled transcripts. In summary, our analyses reveal the use of mutually exclusive exons of MADS-box gene isoforms during early bud development in P. abies, and we find that the large number of identified MADS-box transcripts in P. abies results not only from expansion of the gene family through gene duplication events but also from the generation of numerous splice variants.


September 22, 2019  |  

A survey of the complex transcriptome from the highly polyploid sugarcane genome using full-length isoform sequencing and de novo assembly from short read sequencing.

Despite the economic importance of sugarcane in sugar and bioenergy production, there is not yet a reference genome available. Most of the sugarcane transcriptomic studies have been based on Saccharum officinarum gene indices (SoGI), expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and de novo assembled transcript contigs from short-reads; hence knowledge of the sugarcane transcriptome is limited in relation to transcript length and number of transcript isoforms.The sugarcane transcriptome was sequenced using PacBio isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) of a pooled RNA sample derived from leaf, internode and root tissues, of different developmental stages, from 22 varieties, to explore the potential for capturing full-length transcript isoforms. A total of 107,598 unique transcript isoforms were obtained, representing about 71% of the total number of predicted sugarcane genes. The majority of this dataset (92%) matched the plant protein database, while just over 2% was novel transcripts, and over 2% was putative long non-coding RNAs. About 56% and 23% of total sequences were annotated against the gene ontology and KEGG pathway databases, respectively. Comparison with de novo contigs from Illumina RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) of the internode samples from the same experiment and public databases showed that the Iso-Seq method recovered more full-length transcript isoforms, had a higher N50 and average length of largest 1,000 proteins; whereas a greater representation of the gene content and RNA diversity was captured in RNA-Seq. Only 62% of PacBio transcript isoforms matched 67% of de novo contigs, while the non-matched proportions were attributed to the inclusion of leaf/root tissues and the normalization in PacBio, and the representation of more gene content and RNA classes in the de novo assembly, respectively. About 69% of PacBio transcript isoforms and 41% of de novo contigs aligned with the sorghum genome, indicating the high conservation of orthologs in the genic regions of the two genomes.The transcriptome dataset should contribute to improved sugarcane gene models and sugarcane protein predictions; and will serve as a reference database for analysis of transcript expression in sugarcane.


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. Their creation, however, remains challenging.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptome profiling of two ornamental and medicinal papaver herbs.

The Papaver spp. (Papaver rhoeas (Corn poppy) and Papaver nudicaule (Iceland poppy)) genera are ornamental and medicinal plants that are used for the isolation of alkaloid drugs. In this study, we generated 700 Mb of transcriptome sequences with the PacBio platform. They were assembled into 120,926 contigs, and 1185 (82.2%) of the benchmarking universal single-copy orthologs (BUSCO) core genes were completely present in our assembled transcriptome. Furthermore, using 128 Gb of Illumina sequences, the transcript expression was assessed at three stages of Papaver plant development (30, 60, and 90 days), from which we identified 137 differentially expressed transcripts. Furthermore, three co-occurrence heat maps are generated from 51 different plant genomes along with the Papaver transcriptome, i.e., secondary metabolite biosynthesis, isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis (BIA) pathway, and cytochrome. Sixty-nine transcripts in the BIA pathway along with 22 different alkaloids (quantified with LC-QTOF-MS/MS) were mapped into the BIA KEGG map (map00950). Finally, we identified 39 full-length cytochrome transcripts and compared them with other genomes. Collectively, this transcriptome data, along with the expression and quantitative metabolite profiles, provides an initial recording of secondary metabolites and their expression related to Papaver plant development. Moreover, these profiles could help to further detail the functional characterization of the various secondary metabolite biosynthesis and Papaver plant development associated problems.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptome-wide investigation of circular RNAs in rice.

Various stable circular RNAs (circRNAs) are newly identified to be the abundance of noncoding RNAs in Archaea, Caenorhabditis elegans, mice, and humans through high-throughput deep sequencing coupled with analysis of massive transcriptional data. CircRNAs play important roles in miRNA function and transcriptional controlling by acting as competing endogenous RNAs or positive regulators on their parent coding genes. However, little is known regarding circRNAs in plants. Here, we report 2354 rice circRNAs that were identified through deep sequencing and computational analysis of ssRNA-seq data. Among them, 1356 are exonic circRNAs. Some circRNAs exhibit tissue-specific expression. Rice circRNAs have a considerable number of isoforms, including alternative backsplicing and alternative splicing circularization patterns. Parental genes with multiple exons are preferentially circularized. Only 484 circRNAs have backsplices derived from known splice sites. In addition, only 92 circRNAs were found to be enriched for miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) in flanking sequences or to be complementary to at least 18-bp flanking intronic sequences, indicating that there are some other production mechanisms in addition to direct backsplicing in rice. Rice circRNAs have no significant enrichment for miRNA target sites. A transgenic study showed that overexpression of a circRNA construct could reduce the expression level of its parental gene in transgenic plants compared with empty-vector control plants. This suggested that circRNA and its linear form might act as a negative regulator of its parental gene. Overall, these analyses reveal the prevalence of circRNAs in rice and provide new biological insights into rice circRNAs.© 2015 Lu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.


September 22, 2019  |  

The expressed portion of the barley genome

In this chapter, we refer to the expressed portion of the barley genome as the relatively small fraction of the total cellular DNA that either contains the genes that ultimately produce proteins, or that directly/indirectly controls the level, location and/or timing of when these genes are expressed and proteins are produced. We start by describing the dynamics of tissue and time-dependent gene expression and how common patterns across multiple samples can provide clues about gene networks involved in common biological processes. We then describe some of the complexities of how a single mRNA template can be differentially processed by alternative splicing to generate multiple different proteins or provide a mechanism to regulate the amount of functional gene product in a cell at a given point in time. We extend our analysis, using a number of biological examples, to address how diverse families of small non-coding microRNAs specifically regulate gene expression, and complete our appraisal by looking at the physical/molecular environment around genes that can result in either the promotion or repression of gene expression. We conclude by assessing some of the issues that remain around our ability to fully exploit the depth and power of current approaches for analysing gene expression and propose improvements that could be made using new but available sequencing and bioinformatics technologies.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo transcriptome assembly of drought tolerant CAM plants, Agave deserti and Agave tequilana.

Agaves are succulent monocotyledonous plants native to xeric environments of North America. Because of their adaptations to their environment, including crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM, a water-efficient form of photosynthesis), and existing technologies for ethanol production, agaves have gained attention both as potential lignocellulosic bioenergy feedstocks and models for exploring plant responses to abiotic stress. However, the lack of comprehensive Agave sequence datasets limits the scope of investigations into the molecular-genetic basis of Agave traits.Here, we present comprehensive, high quality de novo transcriptome assemblies of two Agave species, A. tequilana and A. deserti, built from short-read RNA-seq data. Our analyses support completeness and accuracy of the de novo transcriptome assemblies, with each species having a minimum of approximately 35,000 protein-coding genes. Comparison of agave proteomes to those of additional plant species identifies biological functions of gene families displaying sequence divergence in agave species. Additionally, a focus on the transcriptomics of the A. deserti juvenile leaf confirms evolutionary conservation of monocotyledonous leaf physiology and development along the proximal-distal axis.Our work presents a comprehensive transcriptome resource for two Agave species and provides insight into their biology and physiology. These resources are a foundation for further investigation of agave biology and their improvement for bioenergy development.


September 22, 2019  |  

Unveiling the complexity of the maize transcriptome by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

Zea mays is an important genetic model for elucidating transcriptional networks. Uncertainties about the complete structure of mRNA transcripts limit the progress of research in this system. Here, using single-molecule sequencing technology, we produce 111,151 transcripts from 6 tissues capturing ~70% of the genes annotated in maize RefGen_v3 genome. A large proportion of transcripts (57%) represent novel, sometimes tissue-specific, isoforms of known genes and 3% correspond to novel gene loci. In other cases, the identified transcripts have improved existing gene models. Averaging across all six tissues, 90% of the splice junctions are supported by short reads from matched tissues. In addition, we identified a large number of novel long non-coding RNAs and fusion transcripts and found that DNA methylation plays an important role in generating various isoforms. Our results show that characterization of the maize B73 transcriptome is far from complete, and that maize gene expression is more complex than previously thought.


September 22, 2019  |  

Contemporary evolution of a Lepidopteran species, Heliothis virescens, in response to modern agricultural practices.

Adaptation to human-induced environmental change has the potential to profoundly influence the genomic architecture of affected species. This is particularly true in agricultural ecosystems, where anthropogenic selection pressure is strong. Heliothis virescens primarily feeds on cotton in its larval stages, and US populations have been declining since the widespread planting of transgenic cotton, which endogenously expresses proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). No physiological adaptation to Bt toxin has been found in the field, so adaptation in this altered environment could involve (i) shifts in host plant selection mechanisms to avoid cotton, (ii) changes in detoxification mechanisms required for cotton-feeding vs. feeding on other hosts or (iii) loss of resistance to previously used management practices including insecticides. Here, we begin to address whether such changes occurred in H. virescens populations between 1997 and 2012, as Bt-cotton cultivation spread through the agricultural landscape. For our study, we produced an H. virescens genome assembly and used this in concert with a ddRAD-seq-enabled genome scan to identify loci with significant allele frequency changes over the 15-year period. Genetic changes at a previously described H. virescens insecticide target of selection were detectable in our genome scan and increased our confidence in this methodology. Additional loci were also detected as being under selection, and we quantified the selection strength required to elicit observed allele frequency changes at each locus. Potential contributions of genes near loci under selection to adaptive phenotypes in the H. virescens cotton system are discussed.© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rodin provides new insights into rubber biosynthesis

The Russian dandelion Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rodin (TKS), a member of the Composite family and a potential alternative source of natural rubber (NR) and inulin, is an ideal model system for studying rubber biosynthesis. Here we present the draft genome of TKS, the first assembled NR-producing weed plant. The draft TKS genome assembly has a length of 1.29 Gb, containing 46,731 predicted protein-coding genes and 68.56% repeats, in which the LTR-RT elements predominantly contribute to the genome enlargement. We analyzed the heterozygous regions/genes, suggesting its possible involvement in inbreeding depression. Through comparative studies between rubber-producing and non-rubber-producing plants, we found that enzymes of the mevalonate (MVA) pathway and rubber elongation might be critical for rubber biosynthesis, and several key isoforms have been isolated showing predominantly expressed in the latex, indicating their crucial functions in rubber biosynthesis. Moreover, for two important families in rubber elongation, the CPT/CPTL and REF/SRPP families, diverse evolutionary tracks have been revealed. These results provide valuable resources and new insights into the mechanism of NR biosynthesis, and facilitate the development of alternative NR producing crops.


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