September 22, 2019  |  

Meeting report: 31st International Mammalian Genome Conference, Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications.

High on the Heidelberg hills, inside the Advanced Training Centre of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus with its unique double-helix staircase, scientists gathered for the EMBL conference “Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications,” organized in cooperation with the International Mammalian Genome Society (IMGS) and the Mouse Molecular Genetics (MMG) group. The conference attracted 205 participants from 30 countries, representing 6 of the 7 continents-all except Antarctica. It was a richly diverse group of geneticists, clinicians, and bioinformaticians, with presentations by established and junior investigators, including many trainees. From the 24th-27th of October 2017, they shared exciting advances in mammalian genetics and genomics research, from the introduction of cutting-edge technologies to descriptions of translational studies involving highly relevant models of human disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Targeted combinatorial alternative splicing generates brain region-specific repertoires of neurexins.

Molecular diversity of surface receptors has been hypothesized to provide a mechanism for selective synaptic connectivity. Neurexins are highly diversified receptors that drive the morphological and functional differentiation of synapses. Using a single cDNA sequencing approach, we detected 1,364 unique neurexin-a and 37 neurexin-ß mRNAs produced by alternative splicing of neurexin pre-mRNAs. This molecular diversity results from near-exhaustive combinatorial use of alternative splice insertions in Nrxn1a and Nrxn2a. By contrast, Nrxn3a exhibits several highly stereotyped exon selections that incorporate novel elements for posttranscriptional regulation of a subset of transcripts. Complexity of Nrxn1a repertoires correlates with the cellular complexity of neuronal tissues, and a specific subset of isoforms is enriched in a purified cell type. Our analysis defines the molecular diversity of a critical synaptic receptor and provides evidence that neurexin diversity is linked to cellular diversity in the nervous system. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Sequence of the sugar pine megagenome.

Until very recently, complete characterization of the megagenomes of conifers has remained elusive. The diploid genome of sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Dougl.) has a highly repetitive, 31 billion bp genome. It is the largest genome sequenced and assembled to date, and the first from the subgenus Strobus, or white pines, a group that is notable for having the largest genomes among the pines. The genome represents a unique opportunity to investigate genome “obesity” in conifers and white pines. Comparative analysis of P. lambertiana and P. taeda L. reveals new insights on the conservation, age, and diversity of the highly abundant transposable elements, the primary factor determining genome size. Like most North American white pines, the principal pathogen of P. lambertiana is white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fischer ex Raben.). Identification of candidate genes for resistance to this pathogen is of great ecological importance. The genome sequence afforded us the opportunity to make substantial progress on locating the major dominant gene for simple resistance hypersensitive response, Cr1 We describe new markers and gene annotation that are both tightly linked to Cr1 in a mapping population, and associated with Cr1 in unrelated sugar pine individuals sampled throughout the species’ range, creating a solid foundation for future mapping. This genomic variation and annotated candidate genes characterized in our study of the Cr1 region are resources for future marker-assisted breeding efforts as well as for investigations of fundamental mechanisms of invasive disease and evolutionary response. Copyright © 2016 by the Genetics Society of America.


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  |  

Complete genome sequence and genomic characterization of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA1 (11869BP).

Our body has natural defense systems to protect against potentially harmful microbes, including the physical and chemical barriers of the intestinal epithelium (Corfield et al., 2000). The physical barrier of the intestinal epithelium protects the host against pathogenic microbes (Anderson et al., 1993), and the intestinal mucosa coated with mucus excretes pathogens from the intestinal tract (Corfield et al., 2000).


September 22, 2019  |  

Two groups of cocirculating, epidemic Clostridiodes difficile strains microdiversify through different mechanisms.

Clostridiodes difficile strains from the NAPCR1/ST54 and NAP1/ST01 types have caused outbreaks despite of their notable differences in genome diversity. By comparing whole genome sequences of 32 NAPCR1/ST54 isolates and 17 NAP1/ST01 recovered from patients infected with C. difficile we assessed whether mutation, homologous recombination (r) or nonhomologous recombination (NHR) through lateral gene transfer (LGT) have differentially shaped the microdiversification of these strains. The average number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in coding sequences (NAPCR1/ST54?=?24; NAP1/ST01?=?19) and SNP densities (NAPCR1/ST54?=?0.54/kb; NAP1/ST01?=?0.46/kb) in the NAPCR1/ST54 and NAP1/ST01 isolates was comparable. However, the NAP1/ST01 isolates showed 3× higher average dN/dS rates (8.35) that the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (2.62). Regarding r, whereas 31 of the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates showed 1 recombination block (3,301-8,226?bp), the NAP1/ST01 isolates showed no bases in recombination. As to NHR, the pangenome of the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates was larger (4,802 gene clusters, 26% noncore genes) and more heterogeneous (644?±?33 gene content changes) than that of the NAP1/ST01 isolates (3,829 gene clusters, ca. 6% noncore genes, 129?±?37 gene content changes). Nearly 55% of the gene content changes seen among the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (355?±?31) were traced back to MGEs with putative genes for antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors that were only detected in single isolates or isolate clusters. Congruently, the LGT/SNP rate calculated for the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (26.8?±?2.8) was 4× higher than the one obtained for the NAP1/ST1 isolates (6.8?±?2.0). We conclude that NHR-LGT has had a greater role in the microdiversification of the NAPCR1/ST54 strains, opposite to the NAP1/ST01 strains, where mutation is known to play a more prominent role.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genus-wide assessment of lignocellulose utilization in the extremely thermophilic Caldicellulosiruptor by genomic, pan-genomic and metagenomic analysis

Metagenomic data from Obsidian Pool (Yellowstone National Park, USA) and 13 genome sequences were used to reassess genus-wide biodiversity for the extremely thermophilic Caldicellulosiruptor The updated core genome contains 1,401 ortholog groups (average genome size for 13 species = 2,516 genes). The pangenome, which remains open with a revised total of 3,493 ortholog groups, encodes a variety of multidomain glycoside hydrolases (GHs). These include three cellulases with GH48 domains that are colocated in the glucan degradation locus (GDL) and are specific determinants for microcrystalline cellulose utilization. Three recently sequenced species, Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strain Rt8.B8 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor morganii), Thermoanaerobacter cellulolyticus strain NA10 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor naganoensis), and Caldicellulosiruptor sp. strain Wai35.B1 (renamed here Caldicellulosiruptor danielii), degraded Avicel and lignocellulose (switchgrass). C. morganii was more efficient than Caldicellulosiruptor bescii in this regard and differed from the other 12 species examined, both based on genome content and organization and in the specific domain features of conserved GHs. Metagenomic analysis of lignocellulose-enriched samples from Obsidian Pool revealed limited new information on genus biodiversity. Enrichments yielded genomic signatures closely related to that of Caldicellulosiruptor obsidiansis, but there was also evidence for other thermophilic fermentative anaerobes (Caldanaerobacter, Fervidobacterium, Caloramator, and Clostridium). One enrichment, containing 89.8% Caldicellulosiruptor and 9.7% Caloramator, had a capacity for switchgrass solubilization comparable to that of C. bescii These results refine the known biodiversity of Caldicellulosiruptor and indicate that microcrystalline cellulose degradation at temperatures above 70°C, based on current information, is limited to certain members of this genus that produce GH48 domain-containing enzymes.IMPORTANCE The genus Caldicellulosiruptor contains the most thermophilic bacteria capable of lignocellulose deconstruction, which are promising candidates for consolidated bioprocessing for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals. The focus here is on the extant capability of this genus for plant biomass degradation and the extent to which this can be inferred from the core and pangenomes, based on analysis of 13 species and metagenomic sequence information from environmental samples. Key to microcrystalline hydrolysis is the content of the glucan degradation locus (GDL), a set of genes encoding glycoside hydrolases (GHs), several of which have GH48 and family 3 carbohydrate binding module domains, that function as primary cellulases. Resolving the relationship between the GDL and lignocellulose degradation will inform efforts to identify more prolific members of the genus and to develop metabolic engineering strategies to improve this characteristic. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence and characterization of a protein-glutaminase producing strain, Chryseobacterium proteolyticum QSH1265.

Recently, an enzyme named protein-glutaminase (PG) has been identified as a new type of enzyme with significant potential for deamidation of food proteins. The enzyme is shown to be expressed as a pre-pro-protein with a putative signal peptide of 21 amino acids, a pro-sequence of 114 amino acids, and a mature PG of 185 amino acids. The microbial enzyme PG specifically catalyzes deamidation of proteins without protein hydrolysis pretreatment and only reacts with glutamine residues in the side-chains of proteins or long peptides. All these attributes suggest that it has a great potential for food industrial applications. However, until recently, there have been relatively few studies of the PG-producing strains. A strain named Chryseobacterium proteolyticum QSH1265 which can produce PG was isolated from a soil sample collected in Songjiang, Shanghai, China. Its enzyme activity was about 0.34 ± 0.01 U/mL when using carboxybenzoxy-Gln-Gly as a substrate. The strain can produce acid from D-glucose, maltose, L-arabinose sucrose, glycerol, and mannitol but not fructose, and it is also positive for indole production and urease. Here we describe the complete genome sequence of this strain via PacBio RSII sequencing. The C. proteolyticum QSH1265 genome consists of a circular chromosome with total length of 4,849,803 bp without any plasmids. All of 4563 genes were predicted including 4459 genes for protein-coding and 104 RNA-relative genes with an average G+C content of 36.16%. The KEGG and COG annotation provide information for the specific function of proteins encoded in the genome, such as proteases, chromoproteins, stress proteins, antiporters, etc. A highly conserved hypothetical protein shares a promoter with the gene encoding the protein-glutaminase enzyme. The genome sequence and preliminary annotation provide valuable genetic information for further study of C. proteolyticum.


September 22, 2019  |  

An introduced crop plant is driving diversification of the virulent bacterial pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila.

Erwinia tracheiphila is the causal agent of bacterial wilt of cucurbits, an economically important phytopathogen affecting an economically important phytopathogen affecting few cultivated Cucurbitaceae few cultivated Cucurbitaceae host plant species in temperate eastern North America. However, essentially nothing is known about E. tracheiphila population structure or genetic diversity. To address this shortcoming, a representative collection of 88 E. tracheiphila isolates was gathered from throughout its geographic range, and their genomes were sequenced. Phylogenomic analysis revealed three genetic clusters with distinct hrpT3SS virulence gene repertoires, host plant association patterns, and geographic distributions. Low genetic heterogeneity within each cluster suggests a recent population bottleneck followed by population expansion. We showed that in the field and greenhouse, cucumber (Cucumis sativus), which was introduced to North America by early Spanish conquistadors, is the most susceptible host plant species and the only species susceptible to isolates from all three lineages. The establishment of large agricultural populations of highly susceptible C. sativus in temperate eastern North America may have facilitated the original emergence of E. tracheiphila into cucurbit agroecosystems, and this introduced plant species may now be acting as a highly susceptible reservoir host. Our findings have broad implications for agricultural sustainability by drawing attention to how worldwide crop plant movement, agricultural intensification, and locally unique environments may affect the emergence, evolution, and epidemic persistence of virulent microbial pathogens.IMPORTANCEErwinia tracheiphila is a virulent phytopathogen that infects two genera of cucurbit crop plants, Cucurbita spp. (pumpkin and squash) and Cucumis spp. (muskmelon and cucumber). One of the unusual ecological traits of this pathogen is that it is limited to temperate eastern North America. Here, we complete the first large-scale sequencing of an E. tracheiphila isolate collection. From phylogenomic, comparative genomic, and empirical analyses, we find that introduced Cucumis spp. crop plants are driving the diversification of E. tracheiphila into multiple lineages. Together, the results from this study show that locally unique biotic (plant population) and abiotic (climate) conditions can drive the evolutionary trajectories of locally endemic pathogens in unexpected ways. Copyright © 2018 Shapiro et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of two diploid wild relatives of cultivated sweetpotato reveal targets for genetic improvement

Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] is a globally important staple food crop, especially for sub-Saharan Africa. Agronomic improvement of sweetpotato has lagged behind other major food crops due to a lack of genomic and genetic resources and inherent challenges in breeding a heterozygous, clonally propagated polyploid. Here, we report the genome sequences of its two diploid relatives, I. trifida and I. triloba, and show that these high-quality genome assemblies are robust references for hexaploid sweetpotato. Comparative and phylogenetic analyses reveal insights into the ancient whole-genome triplication history of Ipomoea and evolutionary relationships within the Batatas complex. Using resequencing data from 16 genotypes widely used in African breeding programs, genes and alleles associated with carotenoid biosynthesis in storage roots are identified, which may enable efficient breeding of varieties with high provitamin A content. These resources will facilitate genome-enabled breeding in this important food security crop.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a worldwide parasite of social bee colonies, provides insights into detoxification and herbivory.

The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida; ATUMI) is an invasive parasite of bee colonies. ATUMI feeds on both fruits and bee nest products, facilitating its spread and increasing its impact on honey bees and other pollinators. We have sequenced and annotated the ATUMI genome, providing the first genomic resources for this species and for the Nitidulidae, a beetle family that is closely related to the extraordinarily species-rich clade of beetles known as the Phytophaga. ATUMI thus provides a contrasting view as a neighbor for one of the most successful known animal groups.We present a robust genome assembly and a gene set possessing 97.5% of the core proteins known from the holometabolous insects. The ATUMI genome encodes fewer enzymes for plant digestion than the genomes of wood-feeding beetles but nonetheless shows signs of broad metabolic plasticity. Gustatory receptors are few in number compared to other beetles, especially receptors with known sensitivity (in other beetles) to bitter substances. In contrast, several gene families implicated in detoxification of insecticides and adaptation to diverse dietary resources show increased copy numbers. The presence and diversity of homologs involved in detoxification differ substantially from the bee hosts of ATUMI.Our results provide new insights into the genomic basis for local adaption and invasiveness in ATUMI and a blueprint for control strategies that target this pest without harming their honey bee hosts. A minimal set of gustatory receptors is consistent with the observation that, once a host colony is invaded, food resources are predictable. Unique detoxification pathways and pathway members can help identify which treatments might control this species even in the presence of honey bees, which are notoriously sensitive to pesticides.


July 19, 2019  |  

Aluminum tolerance in maize is associated with higher MATE1 gene copy number.

Genome structure variation, including copy number variation and presence/absence variation, comprises a large extent of maize genetic diversity; however, its effect on phenotypes remains largely unexplored. Here, we describe how copy number variation underlies a rare allele that contributes to maize aluminum (Al) tolerance. Al toxicity is the primary limitation for crop production on acid soils, which make up 50% of the world’s potentially arable lands. In a recombinant inbred line mapping population, copy number variation of the Al tolerance gene multidrug and toxic compound extrusion 1 (MATE1) is the basis for the quantitative trait locus of largest effect on phenotypic variation. This expansion in MATE1 copy number is associated with higher MATE1 expression, which in turn results in superior Al tolerance. The three MATE1 copies are identical and are part of a tandem triplication. Only three maize inbred lines carrying the three-copy allele were identified from maize and teosinte diversity panels, indicating that copy number variation for MATE1 is a rare, and quite likely recent, event. These maize lines with higher MATE1 copy number are also Al-tolerant, have high MATE1 expression, and originate from regions of highly acidic soils. Our findings show a role for copy number variation in the adaptation of maize to acidic soils in the tropics and suggest that genome structural changes may be a rapid evolutionary response to new environments.


July 19, 2019  |  

A comparative analysis of methylome profiles of Campylobacter jejuni sheep abortion isolate and gastroenteric strains using PacBio data.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of human gastrointestinal disease and small ruminant abortions in the United States. The recent emergence of a highly virulent, tetracycline-resistant C. jejuni subsp. jejuni sheep abortion clone (clone SA) in the United States, and that strain’s association with human disease, has resulted in a heightened awareness of the zoonotic potential of this organism. Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time sequencing technology was used to explore the variation in the genome-wide methylation patterns of the abortifacient clone SA (IA3902) and phenotypically distinct gastrointestinal-specific C. jejuni strains (NCTC 11168 and 81-176). Several notable differences were discovered that distinguished the methylome of IA3902 from that of 11168 and 81-176: identification of motifs novel to IA3902, genome-specific hypo- and hypermethylated regions, strain level variability in genes methylated, and differences in the types of methylation motifs present in each strain. These observations suggest a possible role of methylation in the contrasting disease presentations of these three C. jejuni strains. In addition, the methylation profiles between IA3902 and a luxS mutant were explored to determine if variations in methylation patterns could be identified that might explain the role of LuxS-dependent methyl recycling in IA3902 abortifacient potential.


July 19, 2019  |  

Sequence data for Clostridium autoethanogenum using three generations of sequencing technologies.

During the past decade, DNA sequencing output has been mostly dominated by the second generation sequencing platforms which are characterized by low cost, high throughput and shorter read lengths for example, Illumina. The emergence and development of so called third generation sequencing platforms such as PacBio has permitted exceptionally long reads (over 20?kb) to be generated. Due to read length increases, algorithm improvements and hybrid assembly approaches, the concept of one chromosome, one contig and automated finishing of microbial genomes is now a realistic and achievable task for many microbial laboratories. In this paper, we describe high quality sequence datasets which span three generations of sequencing technologies, containing six types of data from four NGS platforms and originating from a single microorganism, Clostridium autoethanogenum. The dataset reported here will be useful for the scientific community to evaluate upcoming NGS platforms, enabling comparison of existing and novel bioinformatics approaches and will encourage interest in the development of innovative experimental and computational methods for NGS data.


July 19, 2019  |  

Aquaculture genomics, genetics and breeding in the United States: current status, challenges, and priorities for future research.

Advancing the production efficiency and profitability of aquaculture is dependent upon the ability to utilize a diverse array of genetic resources. The ultimate goals of aquaculture genomics, genetics and breeding research are to enhance aquaculture production efficiency, sustainability, product quality, and profitability in support of the commercial sector and for the benefit of consumers. In order to achieve these goals, it is important to understand the genomic structure and organization of aquaculture species, and their genomic and phenomic variations, as well as the genetic basis of traits and their interrelationships. In addition, it is also important to understand the mechanisms of regulation and evolutionary conservation at the levels of genome, transcriptome, proteome, epigenome, and systems biology. With genomic information and information between the genomes and phenomes, technologies for marker/causal mutation-assisted selection, genome selection, and genome editing can be developed for applications in aquaculture. A set of genomic tools and resources must be made available including reference genome sequences and their annotations (including coding and non-coding regulatory elements), genome-wide polymorphic markers, efficient genotyping platforms, high-density and high-resolution linkage maps, and transcriptome resources including non-coding transcripts. Genomic and genetic control of important performance and production traits, such as disease resistance, feed conversion efficiency, growth rate, processing yield, behaviour, reproductive characteristics, and tolerance to environmental stressors like low dissolved oxygen, high or low water temperature and salinity, must be understood. QTL need to be identified, validated across strains, lines and populations, and their mechanisms of control understood. Causal gene(s) need to be identified. Genetic and epigenetic regulation of important aquaculture traits need to be determined, and technologies for marker-assisted selection, causal gene/mutation-assisted selection, genome selection, and genome editing using CRISPR and other technologies must be developed, demonstrated with applicability, and application to aquaculture industries.Major progress has been made in aquaculture genomics for dozens of fish and shellfish species including the development of genetic linkage maps, physical maps, microarrays, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, transcriptome databases and various stages of genome reference sequences. This paper provides a general review of the current status, challenges and future research needs of aquaculture genomics, genetics, and breeding, with a focus on major aquaculture species in the United States: catfish, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, tilapia, striped bass, oysters, and shrimp. While the overall research priorities and the practical goals are similar across various aquaculture species, the current status in each species should dictate the next priority areas within the species. This paper is an output of the USDA Workshop for Aquaculture Genomics, Genetics, and Breeding held in late March 2016 in Auburn, Alabama, with participants from all parts of the United States.


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