July 19, 2019  |  

DNA methylation on N6-adenine in C. elegans.

In mammalian cells, DNA methylation on the fifth position of cytosine (5mC) plays an important role as an epigenetic mark. However, DNA methylation was considered to be absent in C. elegans because of the lack of detectable 5mC, as well as homologs of the cytosine DNA methyltransferases. Here, using multiple approaches, we demonstrate the presence of adenine N(6)-methylation (6mA) in C. elegans DNA. We further demonstrate that this modification increases trans-generationally in a paradigm of epigenetic inheritance. Importantly, we identify a DNA demethylase, NMAD-1, and a potential DNA methyltransferase, DAMT-1, which regulate 6mA levels and crosstalk between methylations of histone H3K4 and adenines and control the epigenetic inheritance of phenotypes associated with the loss of the H3K4me2 demethylase spr-5. Together, these data identify a DNA modification in C. elegans and raise the exciting possibility that 6mA may be a carrier of heritable epigenetic information in eukaryotes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Widespread adenine N6-methylation of active genes in fungi.

N6-methyldeoxyadenine (6mA) is a noncanonical DNA base modification present at low levels in plant and animal genomes, but its prevalence and association with genome function in other eukaryotic lineages remains poorly understood. Here we report that abundant 6mA is associated with transcriptionally active genes in early-diverging fungal lineages. Using single-molecule long-read sequencing of 16 diverse fungal genomes, we observed that up to 2.8% of all adenines were methylated in early-diverging fungi, far exceeding levels observed in other eukaryotes and more derived fungi. 6mA occurred symmetrically at ApT dinucleotides and was concentrated in dense methylated adenine clusters surrounding the transcriptional start sites of expressed genes; its distribution was inversely correlated with that of 5-methylcytosine. Our results show a striking contrast in the genomic distributions of 6mA and 5-methylcytosine and reinforce a distinct role for 6mA as a gene-expression-associated epigenomic mark in eukaryotes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Linking secondary metabolites to gene clusters through genome sequencing of six diverse Aspergillus species.

The fungal genus ofAspergillusis highly interesting, containing everything from industrial cell factories, model organisms, and human pathogens. In particular, this group has a prolific production of bioactive secondary metabolites (SMs). In this work, four diverseAspergillusspecies (A. campestris,A. novofumigatus,A. ochraceoroseus, andA. steynii) have been whole-genome PacBio sequenced to provide genetic references in threeAspergillussections.A. taichungensisandA. candidusalso were sequenced for SM elucidation. ThirteenAspergillusgenomes were analyzed with comparative genomics to determine phylogeny and genetic diversity, showing that each presented genome contains 15-27% genes not found in other sequenced Aspergilli. In particular,A. novofumigatuswas compared with the pathogenic speciesA. fumigatusThis suggests thatA. novofumigatuscan produce most of the same allergens, virulence, and pathogenicity factors asA. fumigatus, suggesting thatA. novofumigatuscould be as pathogenic asA. fumigatusFurthermore, SMs were linked to gene clusters based on biological and chemical knowledge and analysis, genome sequences, and predictive algorithms. We thus identify putative SM clusters for aflatoxin, chlorflavonin, and ochrindol inA. ochraceoroseus,A. campestris, andA. steynii, respectively, and novofumigatonin,ent-cycloechinulin, andepi-aszonalenins inA. novofumigatusOur study delivers six fungal genomes, showing the large diversity found in theAspergillusgenus; highlights the potential for discovery of beneficial or harmful SMs; and supports reports ofA. novofumigatuspathogenicity. It also shows how biological, biochemical, and genomic information can be combined to identify genes involved in the biosynthesis of specific SMs.


July 19, 2019  |  

Identification and analysis of adenine N6-methylation sites in the rice genome.

DNA N6-methyladenine (6mA) is a non-canonical DNA modification that is present at low levels in different eukaryotes1-8, but its prevalence and genomic function in higher plants are unclear. Using mass spectrometry, immunoprecipitation and validation with analysis of single-molecule real-time sequencing, we observed that about 0.2% of all adenines are 6mA methylated in the rice genome. 6mA occurs most frequently at GAGG motifs and is mapped to about 20% of genes and 14% of transposable elements. In promoters, 6mA marks silent genes, but in bodies correlates with gene activity. 6mA overlaps with 5-methylcytosine (5mC) at CG sites in gene bodies and is complementary to 5mC at CHH sites in transposable elements. We show that OsALKBH1 may be potentially involved in 6mA demethylation in rice. The results suggest that 6mA is complementary to 5mC as an epigenomic mark in rice and reinforce a distinct role for 6mA as a gene expression-associated epigenomic mark in eukaryotes.


July 19, 2019  |  

From short reads to chromosome-scale genome assemblies.

A high-quality, annotated genome assembly is the foundation for many downstream studies. However, obtaining such an assembly is a complex, reiterative process that requires the assimilation of high-quality data and combines different approaches and data types. While some software packages incorporating multiple steps of genome assembly are commercially available, they may not be flexible enough to be routinely applied to all organisms, particularly to nonmodel species such as pathogenic oomycetes and fungi. If researchers understand and apply the most appropriate, currently available tools for each step, it is possible to customize parameters and optimize results for their organism of study. Based on our experience of de novo assembly and annotation of several oomycete species, this chapter provides a modular workflow from processing of raw reads, to initial assembly generation, through optimization, chromosome-scale scaffolding and annotation, outlining input and output data as well as examples and alternative software used for each step. The accompanying Notes provide background information for each step as well as alternative options. The final result of this workflow could be an annotated, high-quality, validated, chromosome-scale assembly or a draft assembly of sufficient quality to meet specific needs of a project.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the thermotolerant foodborne pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg ATCC 43845 and phylogenetic analysis of loci encoding increased protein quality control mechanisms.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica bacteria are important foodborne pathogens with major economic impact. Some isolates exhibit increased heat tolerance, a concern for food safety. Analysis of a finished-quality genome sequence of an isolate commonly used in heat resistance studies, S. enterica subsp. enterica serovar Senftenberg 775W (ATCC 43845), demonstrated an interesting observation that this strain contains not just one, but two horizontally acquired thermotolerance locus homologs. These two loci reside on a large 341.3-kbp plasmid that is similar to the well-studied IncHI2 R478 plasmid but lacks any antibiotic resistance genes found on R478 or other IncHI2 plasmids. As this historical Salmonella isolate has been in use since 1941, comparative analysis of the plasmid and of the thermotolerance loci contained on the plasmid will provide insight into the evolution of heat resistance loci as well as acquisition of resistance determinants in IncHI2 plasmids. IMPORTANCE Thermal interventions are commonly used in the food industry as a means of mitigating pathogen contamination in food products. Concern over heat-resistant food contaminants has recently increased, with the identification of a conserved locus shown to confer heat resistance in disparate lineages of Gram-negative bacteria. Complete sequence analysis of a historical isolate of Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg, used in numerous studies because of its novel heat resistance, revealed that this important strain possesses two distinct copies of this conserved thermotolerance locus, residing on a multireplicon IncHI2/IncHI2A plasmid. Phylogenetic analysis of these loci in comparison with homologs identified in various bacterial genera provides an opportunity to examine the evolution and distribution of loci conferring resistance to environmental stressors, such as heat and desiccation.


July 7, 2019  |  

SMRT Sequencing revealed mitogenome characteristics and mitogenome-wide DNA modification pattern in Ophiocordyceps sinensis.

Single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing was used to characterize mitochondrial (mt) genome of Ophiocordyceps sinensis and to analyze the mt genome-wide pattern of epigenetic DNA modification. The complete mt genome of O. sinensis, with a size of 157,539 bp, is the fourth largest Ascomycota mt genome sequenced to date. It contained 14 conserved protein-coding genes (PCGs), 1 intronic protein rps3, 27 tRNAs and 2 rRNA subunits, which are common characteristics of the known mt genomes in Hypocreales. A phylogenetic tree inferred from 14 PCGs in Pezizomycotina fungi supports O. sinensis as most closely related to Hirsutella rhossiliensis in Ophiocordycipitaceae. A total of 36 sequence sites in rps3 were under positive selection, with dN/dS >1 in the 20 compared fungi. Among them, 16 sites were statistically significant. In addition, the mt genome-wide base modification pattern of O. sinensis was determined in this study, especially DNA methylation. The methylations were located in coding and uncoding regions of mt PCGs in O. sinensis, and might be closely related to the expression of PCGs or the binding affinity of transcription factor A to mtDNA. Consequently, these methylations may affect the enzymatic activity of oxidative phosphorylation and then the mt respiratory rate; or they may influence mt biogenesis. Therefore, methylations in the mitogenome of O. sinensis might be a genetic feature to adapt to the cold and low PO2 environment at high altitude, where O. sinensis is endemic. This is the first report on epigenetic modifications in a fungal mt genome.


July 7, 2019  |  

N6-adenine DNA methylation is associated with the linker DNA of H2A.Z-containing well-positioned nucleosomes in Pol II-transcribed genes in Tetrahymena.

DNA N6-methyladenine (6mA) is newly rediscovered as a potential epigenetic mark across a more diverse range of eukaryotes than previously realized. As a unicellular model organism, Tetrahymena thermophila is among the first eukaryotes reported to contain 6mA modification. However, lack of comprehensive information about 6mA distribution hinders further investigations into its function and regulatory mechanism. In this study, we provide the first genome-wide, base pair-resolution map of 6mA in Tetrahymena by applying single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. We provide evidence that 6mA occurs mostly in the AT motif of the linker DNA regions. More strikingly, these linker DNA regions with 6mA are usually flanked by well-positioned nucleosomes and/or H2A.Z-containing nucleosomes. We also find that 6mA is exclusively associated with RNA polymerase II (Pol II)-transcribed genes, but is not an unambiguous mark for active transcription. These results support that 6mA is an integral part of the chromatin landscape shaped by adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent chromatin remodeling and transcription.© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


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