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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Evolution of host support for two ancient bacterial symbionts with differentially degraded genomes in a leafhopper host.

Plant sap-feeding insects (Hemiptera) rely on bacterial symbionts for nutrition absent in their diets. These bacteria experience extreme genome reduction and require genetic resources from their hosts, particularly for basic cellular processes other than nutrition synthesis. The host-derived mechanisms that complete these processes have remained poorly understood. It is also unclear how hosts meet the distinct needs of multiple bacterial partners with differentially degraded genomes. To address these questions, we investigated the cell-specific gene-expression patterns in the symbiotic organs of the aster leafhopper (ALF), Macrosteles quadrilineatus (Cicadellidae). ALF harbors two intracellular symbionts that have two of the smallest known bacterial…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

De novo assembly of the Pasteuria penetrans genome reveals high plasticity, host dependency, and BclA-like collagens.

Pasteuria penetrans is a gram-positive endospore forming bacterial parasite of Meloidogyne spp. the most economically damaging genus of plant parasitic nematodes globally. The obligate antagonistic nature of P. penetrans makes it an attractive candidate biological control agent. However, deployment of P. penetrans for this purpose is inhibited by a lack of understanding of its metabolism and the molecular mechanics underpinning parasitism of the host, in particular the initial attachment of the endospore to the nematode cuticle. Several attempts to assemble the genomes of species within this genus have been unsuccessful. Primarily this is due to the obligate parasitic nature of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Glyphosate resistance and EPSPS gene duplication: Convergent evolution in multiple plant species.

One of the increasingly widespread mechanisms of resistance to the herbicide glyphosate is copy number variation (CNV) of the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene. EPSPS gene duplication has been reported in eight weed species, ranging from 3-5 extra copies to more than 150 extra copies. In the case of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a section of >300 kb containing EPSPS and many other genes has been replicated and inserted at new loci throughout the genome, resulting in significant increase in total genome size. The replicated sequence contains several classes of mobile genetic elements including helitrons, raising the intriguing possibility of extra-chromosomal…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element.

The discordance between genome size and the complexity of eukaryotes can partly be attributed to differences in repeat density. The Muller F element (~5.2 Mb) is the smallest chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster, but it is substantially larger (>18.7 Mb) in D. ananassae To identify the major contributors to the expansion of the F element and to assess their impact, we improved the genome sequence and annotated the genes in a 1.4-Mb region of the D. ananassae F element, and a 1.7-Mb region from the D element for comparison. We find that transposons (particularly LTR and LINE retrotransposons) are major contributors…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

The kinetoplastid-infecting Bodo saltans virus (BsV), a window into the most abundant giant viruses in the sea.

Giant viruses are ecologically important players in aquatic ecosystems that have challenged concepts of what constitutes a virus. Herein, we present the giant Bodo saltans virus (BsV), the first characterized representative of the most abundant group of giant viruses in ocean metagenomes, and the first isolate of a klosneuvirus, a subgroup of the Mimiviridae proposed from metagenomic data. BsV infects an ecologically important microzooplankton, the kinetoplastid Bodo saltans. Its 1.39 Mb genome encodes 1227 predicted ORFs, including a complex replication machinery. Yet, much of its translational apparatus has been lost, including all tRNAs. Essential genes are invaded by homing endonuclease-encoding…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Potato late blight field resistance from QTL dPI09c is conferred by the NB-LRR gene R8.

Following the often short-lived protection that major nucleotide binding, leucine-rich-repeat (NB-LRR) resistance genes offer against the potato pathogen Phytophthora infestans, field resistance was thought to provide a more durable alternative to prevent late blight disease. We previously identified the QTL dPI09c on potato chromosome 9 as a more durable field resistance source against late blight. Here, the resistance QTL was fine-mapped to a 186 kb region. The interval corresponds to a larger, 389 kb, genomic region in the potato reference genome of Solanum tuberosum Group Phureja doubled monoploid clone DM1-3 (DM) and from which functional NB-LRRs R8, R9a, Rpi-moc1, and…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Assessing genome assembly quality using the LTR Assembly Index (LAI).

Assembling a plant genome is challenging due to the abundance of repetitive sequences, yet no standard is available to evaluate the assembly of repeat space. LTR retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) are the predominant interspersed repeat that is poorly assembled in draft genomes. Here, we propose a reference-free genome metric called LTR Assembly Index (LAI) that evaluates assembly continuity using LTR-RTs. After correcting for LTR-RT amplification dynamics, we show that LAI is independent of genome size, genomic LTR-RT content, and gene space evaluation metrics (i.e., BUSCO and CEGMA). By comparing genomic sequences produced by various sequencing techniques, we reveal the significant gain of…

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