April 21, 2020  |  

The Chinese chestnut genome: a reference for species restoration

Forest tree species are increasingly subject to severe mortalities from exotic pests, diseases, and invasive organisms, accelerated by climate change. Forest health issues are threatening multiple species and ecosystem sustainability globally. While sources of resistance may be available in related species, or among surviving trees, introgression of resistance genes into threatened tree species in reasonable time frames requires genome-wide breeding tools. Asian species of chestnut (Castanea spp.) are being employed as donors of disease resistance genes to restore native chestnut species in North America and Europe. To aid in the restoration of threatened chestnut species, we present the assembly of a reference genome with chromosome-scale sequences for Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), the disease-resistance donor for American chestnut restoration. We also demonstrate the value of the genome as a platform for research and species restoration, including new insights into the evolution of blight resistance in Asian chestnut species, the locations in the genome of ecologically important signatures of selection differentiating American chestnut from Chinese chestnut, the identification of candidate genes for disease resistance, and preliminary comparisons of genome organization with related species.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome of Crucihimalaya himalaica, a close relative of Arabidopsis, shows ecological adaptation to high altitude.

Crucihimalaya himalaica, a close relative of Arabidopsis and Capsella, grows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) about 4,000 m above sea level and represents an attractive model system for studying speciation and ecological adaptation in extreme environments. We assembled a draft genome sequence of 234.72 Mb encoding 27,019 genes and investigated its origin and adaptive evolutionary mechanisms. Phylogenomic analyses based on 4,586 single-copy genes revealed that C. himalaica is most closely related to Capsella (estimated divergence 8.8 to 12.2 Mya), whereas both species form a sister clade to Arabidopsis thaliana and Arabidopsis lyrata, from which they diverged between 12.7 and 17.2 Mya. LTR retrotransposons in C. himalaica proliferated shortly after the dramatic uplift and climatic change of the Himalayas from the Late Pliocene to Pleistocene. Compared with closely related species, C. himalaica showed significant contraction and pseudogenization in gene families associated with disease resistance and also significant expansion in gene families associated with ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and DNA repair. We identified hundreds of genes involved in DNA repair, ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, and reproductive processes with signs of positive selection. Gene families showing dramatic changes in size and genes showing signs of positive selection are likely candidates for C. himalaica’s adaptation to intense radiation, low temperature, and pathogen-depauperate environments in the QTP. Loss of function at the S-locus, the reason for the transition to self-fertilization of C. himalaica, might have enabled its QTP occupation. Overall, the genome sequence of C. himalaica provides insights into the mechanisms of plant adaptation to extreme environments.Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


April 21, 2020  |  

Stout camphor tree genome fills gaps in understanding of flowering plant genome evolution.

We present reference-quality genome assembly and annotation for the stout camphor tree (Cinnamomum kanehirae (Laurales, Lauraceae)), the first sequenced member of the Magnoliidae comprising four orders (Laurales, Magnoliales, Canellales and Piperales) and over 9,000 species. Phylogenomic analysis of 13 representative seed plant genomes indicates that magnoliid and eudicot lineages share more recent common ancestry than monocots. Two whole-genome duplication events were inferred within the magnoliid lineage: one before divergence of Laurales and Magnoliales and the other within the Lauraceae. Small-scale segmental duplications and tandem duplications also contributed to innovation in the evolutionary history of Cinnamomum. For example, expansion of the terpenoid synthase gene subfamilies within the Laurales spawned the diversity of Cinnamomum monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Species-Wide Inventory of NLR Genes and Alleles in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Infectious disease is both a major force of selection in nature and a prime cause of yield loss in agriculture. In plants, disease resistance is often conferred by nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins, intracellular immune receptors that recognize pathogen proteins and their effects on the host. Consistent with extensive balancing and positive selection, NLRs are encoded by one of the most variable gene families in plants, but the true extent of intraspecific NLR diversity has been unclear. Here, we define a nearly complete species-wide pan-NLRome in Arabidopsis thaliana based on sequence enrichment and long-read sequencing. The pan-NLRome largely saturates with approximately 40 well-chosen wild strains, with half of the pan-NLRome being present in most accessions. We chart NLR architectural diversity, identify new architectures, and quantify selective forces that act on specific NLRs and NLR domains. Our study provides a blueprint for defining pan-NLRomes.Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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  |  

Single-Molecule Long-Read Sequencing of Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. Transcriptome: Identification of Aroma-Related Genes

Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. is an economically important tree species that is resistant to drought and infertility, and has potential medicinal and edible value. However, comprehensive genomic data are not yet available for this species, limiting its potential utility for medicinal use, breeding programs, and cultivation. Transcriptome sequencing provides an effective approach to remedying this shortcoming. Herein, single-molecule long-read sequencing and next-generation sequencingapproacheswereusedinparalleltoobtaintranscriptisoformstructureandgenefunctional informationinZ.bungeanum. Intotal, 282,101readsofinserts(ROIs)wereidentified, including134,074 full-length non-chimeric reads, among which 65,711 open reading frames (ORFs), 50,135 simple sequence repeats (SSRs), and 1492 long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were detected. Functional annotation revealed metabolic pathways related to aroma components and color characteristics in Z. bungeanum. Unexpectedly, 30 transcripts were annotated as genes involved in regulating the pathogenesis of breast and colorectal cancers. This work provides a comprehensive transcriptome resource for Z. bungeanum, and lays a foundation for the further investigation and utilization of Zanthoxylum resources.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cataloguing over-expressed genes in Epstein Barr Virus immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines through consensus analysis of PacBio transcriptomes corroborates hypomethylation of chromosome 1

The ability of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) to transform resting cell B-cells into immortalized lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) provides a continuous source of peripheral blood lymphocytes that are used to model conditions in which these lymphocytes play a key role. Here, the PacBio generated transcriptome of three LCLs from a parent-daughter trio (SRAid:SRP036136) provided by a previous study [1] were analyzed using a kmer-based version of YeATS (KEATS). The set of over-expressed genes in these cell lines were determined based on a comparison with the PacBio transcriptome of twenty tissues pro- vided by another study (hOPTRS) [2]. MIR155 long non-coding RNA (MIR155HG), Fc fragment of IgE receptor II (FCER2), T-cell leukemia/lymphoma 1A (TCL1A), and germinal center associated signaling and motility (GCSAM) were genes having the highest expression counts in the three LCLs with no expression in hOPTRS. Other over-expressed genes, having low expression in hOPTRS, were membrane spanning 4-domains A1 (MS4A1) and ribosomal protein S2 pseudogene 55 (RPS2P55). While some of these genes are known to be over-expressed in LCLs, this study provides a comprehensive cataloguing of such genes. A recent work involving a patient with EBV-positive large B-cell lymphoma was “unusually lacking various B-cell markers”, but over-expressing CD30 [3] – a gene ranked 79 among uniquely expressed genes here. Hypomethylation of chromosome 1 observed in EBV immortalized LCLs [4, 5] is also corroborated here by mapping the genes to chromosomes. Extending previous work identifying un-annotated genes [6], 80 genes were identified which are expressed in the three LCLs, not in hOPTRS, and missing in the GENCODE, RefSeq and RefSeqGene databases. KEATS introduces a method of determining expression counts based on a partitioning of the known annotated genes, has runtimes of a few hours on a personal workstation and provides detailed reports enabling proper debugging.


September 22, 2019  |  

Shorter unreported sequences in a RACE-Seq study involving seven tissues confirms ~150 novel transcripts identified in MCF-7 cell line PacBio transcriptome, leaving ~100 non-redundant transcripts exclusive to the cancer cell line.

PacBio sequencing generates much longer reads compared to second-generation sequencing technologies, with a trade-off of lower throughput, higher error rate and more cost per base. The PacBio transcriptome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 was found to have ~300 transcripts un-annotated in the current GENCODE (v25) or RefSeq, and missing in the liver, heart and brain PacBio transcriptomes [1]. RACE-sequencing (RACE-seq [2]) extends a well-established method of characterizing cDNA molecules generated by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE [3]) using high-throughput sequencing technologies, reducing costs compared to PacBio. Here, shorter fragments of ~150 transcripts were found to be present in seven tissues analyzed in a recent RACE-seq study (Accid:ERP012249) [4]. These transcripts were not among the ~2500 novel transcripts reported in that study, tested separately here using the genomic coordinates provided, although “all curated novel isoforms were incorporated into the human GENCODE set (v22)” in that study. Non-redundancy analysis of the exclusive transcripts identified one transcript mapping to Chr1 with seven different splice variants, and erroneously mapped to Chr15 (PAC clone 15q11-q13) from the Prader-Willi/Angelman Syndrome region (Accid:AC004137.1). Finally, there are ~100 non-redundant transcripts missing in the seven tissues, in addition to other three tissues analyzed previously. Their absence in GENCODE and RefSeq databases rule them out as commonly transcribed regions, further increasing their likelihood as biomarkers.


September 22, 2019  |  

MCF-7 breast cancer cell line PacBio generated transcriptome has ~300 novel transcribed regions, un-annotated in both RefSeq and GENCODE, and absent in the liver, heart and brain transcriptomes

Illuminating the “dark” regions of the human genome remains an ongoing effort, a decade and a half after the human genome was sequenced – RefSeq and GENCODE being two of the major annotation databases. Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) has provided open access to the transcriptome of MCF-7, a breast cancer cell line that has provided significant therapeutic advancement in breast cancer research since the 1970s. PacBio sequencing generates much longer reads compared to second-generation sequencing technologies, with a trade-off of lower throughput, higher error rate and more cost per base. Here, this transcriptome was analyzed using the YeATS pipeline, with additionally introduced kmer based algorithms, reducing computational times to a few hours on a simple workstation. Out of ~300 transcripts that have no match in both RefSeq and GENCODE, ~250 are absent in the transcriptomes of the heart, liver and brain, also provided by PacBio. Also, ~200 transcripts are absent in a recent catalogue of un-annotated long non-coding RNAs from 6,503 samples (~43 Terabases of sequence data) [1], and only two present in common in an experimental workflow RACE-Seq that reported 2,556 novel transcripts [2]. ~100 transcripts have >100 amino acid open reading frames, and have the potential of being protein coding genes. ORF based annotation also identified few bacterial transcripts in the PacBio database mapped to the human genome, and one human transcript that has been annotated as bacterial in the NCBI database. The current work reiterates the under-utilization of transcriptomes for annotating genomes. It also provides new leads for investigating breast cancer by virtue of exclusively expressed transcripts not expressed in other tissues, which have the prospects of breast cancer biomarkers based on further investigations.


September 22, 2019  |  

Ecological genomics of tropical trees: how local population size and allelic diversity of resistance genes relate to immune responses, cosusceptibility to pathogens, and negative density dependence

In tropical forests, rarer species show increased sensitivity to species-specific soil pathogens and more negative effects of conspecific density on seedling survival (NDD). These patterns suggest a connection between ecology and immunity, perhaps because small population size disproportionately reduces genetic diversity of hyperdiverse loci such as immunity genes. In an experiment examining seedling roots from six species in one tropical tree community, we found that smaller populations have reduced amino acid diversity in pathogen resistance (R) genes but not the transcriptome in general. Normalized R gene amino acid diversity varied with local abundance and prior measures of differences in sensitivity to conspecific soil and NDD. After exposure to live soil, species with lower R gene diversity had reduced defence gene induction, more cosusceptibility of maternal cohorts to colonization by potentially pathogenic fungi, reduced root growth arrest (an R gene-mediated response) and their root-associated fungi showed lower induction of self-defence (antioxidants). Local abundance was not related to the ability to induce immune responses when pathogen recognition was bypassed by application of salicylic acid, a phytohormone that activates defence responses downstream of R gene signalling. These initial results support the hypothesis that smaller local tree populations have reduced R gene diversity and recognition-dependent immune responses, along with greater cosusceptibility to species-specific pathogens that may facilitate disease transmission and NDD. Locally rare species may be less able to increase their equilibrium abundance without genetic boosts to defence via immigration of novel R gene alleles from a larger and more diverse regional population.


September 22, 2019  |  

Plant 24-nt reproductive phasiRNAs from intramolecular duplex mRNAs in diverse monocots.

In grasses, two pathways that generate diverse and numerous 21-nt (premeiotic) and 24-nt (meiotic) phased siRNAs are highly enriched in anthers, the male reproductive organs. These “phasiRNAs” are analogous to mammalian piRNAs, yet their functions and evolutionary origins remain largely unknown. The 24-nt meiotic phasiRNAs have only been described in grasses, wherein their biogenesis is dependent on a specialized Dicer (DCL5). To assess how evolution gave rise to this pathway, we examined reproductive phasiRNA pathways in nongrass monocots: garden asparagus, daylily, and lily. The common ancestors of these species diverged approximately 115-117 million years ago (MYA). We found that premeiotic 21-nt and meiotic 24-nt phasiRNAs were abundant in all three species and displayed spatial localization and temporal dynamics similar to grasses. The miR2275-triggered pathway was also present, yielding 24-nt reproductive phasiRNAs, and thus originated more than 117 MYA. In asparagus, unlike in grasses, these siRNAs are largely derived from inverted repeats (IRs); analyses in lily identified thousands of precursor loci, and many were also predicted to form foldback substrates for Dicer processing. Additionally, reproductive phasiRNAs were present in female reproductive organs and thus may function in both male and female germinal development. These data describe several distinct mechanisms of production for 24-nt meiotic phasiRNAs and provide new insights into the evolution of reproductive phasiRNA pathways in monocots.© 2018 Kakrana et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

An ancient integration in a plant NLR is maintained as a trans-species polymorphism

Plant immune receptors are under constant selective pressure to maintain resistance to plant pathogens. Nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat (NLR) proteins are one class of cytoplasmic immune receptors whose genes commonly show signatures of adaptive evolution. While it is known that balancing selection contributes to maintaining high intraspecific allelic diversity, the evolutionary mechanism that influences the transmission of alleles during speciation remains unclear. The barley Mla locus has over 30 described alleles conferring isolate-specific resistance to barley powdery mildew and contains three NLR families (RGH1, RGH2, and RGH3). We discovered (using sequence capture and RNAseq) the presence of a novel integrated Exo70 domain in RGH2 in the Mla3 haplotype. Allelic variation across barley accessions includes presence/absence of the integrated domain in RGH2. Expanding our search to several Poaceae species, we found shared interspecific conservation in the RGH2-Exo70 integration. We hypothesise that balancing selection has maintained allelic variation at Mla as a trans-species polymorphism over 24 My, thus contributing to and preserving interspecific allelic diversity during speciation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of candidate genes at the Dp-fl locus conferring resistance against the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea

The cultivated apple is susceptible to several pests including the rosy apple aphid (RAA; Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini), control of which is mainly based on chemical treatments. A few cases of resistance to aphids have been described in apple germplasm resources, laying the basis for the development of new resistant cultivars by breeding. The cultivar ‘Florina’ is resistant to RAA, and recently, the Dp-fl locus responsible for its resistance was mapped on linkage group 8 of the apple genome. In this paper, a chromosome walking approach was performed by using a ‘Florina’ bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The walking started from the available tightly linked molecular markers flanking the resistance region. Various walking steps were performed in order to identify the minimum tiling path of BAC clones covering the Dp-fl region from both the “resistant” and “susceptible” chromosomes of ‘Florina’. A genomic region of about 279 Kb encompassing the Dp-fl resistance locus was fully sequenced by the PacBio technology. Through the development of new polymorphic markers, the mapping interval around the resistance locus was narrowed down to a physical region of 95 Kb. The annotation of this sequence resulted in the identification of four candidate genes putatively involved in the RAA resistance response.


September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular characterization of NBS-LRR genes in the soybean Rsv3 locus reveals several divergent alleles that likely confer resistance to the soybean mosaic virus.

The divergence patterns of NBS – LRR genes in soybean Rsv3 locus were deciphered and several divergent alleles ( NBS_C, NBS_D and Columbia NBS_E ) were identified as the likely functional candidates of Rsv3. The soybean Rsv3 locus, which confers resistance to the soybean mosaic virus (SMV), has been previously mapped to a region containing five nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeats (NBS-LRR) genes (referred to as nbs_A-E) in Williams 82. In resistant cultivars, however, the number of NBS-LRR genes in this region and their divergence from susceptible alleles remain unclear. In the present study, we constructed and screened a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library for an Rsv3-possessing cultivar, Zaoshu 18. Sequencing two positive BAC inserts on the Rsv3 locus revealed that Zaoshu 18 possesses the same gene content and order as Williams 82, but two of the NBS-LRR genes, NBS_C and NBS_D, exhibit distinct features that were not observed in the Williams 82 alleles. Obtaining these NBS-LRR genes from eight additional cultivars demonstrated that the NBS_A-D genes diverged into two different alleles: the nbs_A-D alleles were associated with the rsv3-type cultivars, whereas the NBS_A-D alleles were associated with the Rsv3-possessing cultivars. For the NBS_E gene, the cultivar Columbia possesses an allele (NBS_E) that differed from that in Zaoshu 18 and rsv3-type cultivars (nbs_E). Exchanged fragments were further detected on alleles of the NBS_C-E genes, suggesting that recombination is a major force responsible for allele divergence. Also, the LRR domains of the NBS_C-E genes exhibited extremely strong signals of positive selection. Overall, the divergence patterns of the NBS-LRR genes in Rsv3 locus elucidated by this study indicate that not only NBS_C but also NBS_D and Columbia NBS_E are likely functional alleles that confer resistance to SMV.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomes of 13 domesticated and wild rice relatives highlight genetic conservation, turnover and innovation across the genus Oryza.

The genus Oryza is a model system for the study of molecular evolution over time scales ranging from a few thousand to 15 million years. Using 13 reference genomes spanning the Oryza species tree, we show that despite few large-scale chromosomal rearrangements rapid species diversification is mirrored by lineage-specific emergence and turnover of many novel elements, including transposons, and potential new coding and noncoding genes. Our study resolves controversial areas of the Oryza phylogeny, showing a complex history of introgression among different chromosomes in the young ‘AA’ subclade containing the two domesticated species. This study highlights the prevalence of functionally coupled disease resistance genes and identifies many new haplotypes of potential use for future crop protection. Finally, this study marks a milestone in modern rice research with the release of a complete long-read assembly of IR 8 ‘Miracle Rice’, which relieved famine and drove the Green Revolution in Asia 50 years ago.


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