April 21, 2020  |  

Trophic specialization results in genomic reduction in free-living marine idiomarina bacteria.

The streamlining hypothesis is generally used to explain the genomic reduction events related to the small genome size of free-living bacteria like marine bacteria SAR11. However, our current understanding of the correlation between bacterial genome size and environmental adaptation relies on too few species. It is still unclear whether there are other paths leading to genomic reduction in free-living bacteria. The genome size of marine free-living bacteria of the genus Idiomarina belonging to the order Alteromonadales (Gammaproteobacteria) is much smaller than the size of related genomes from bacteria in the same order. Comparative genomic and physiological analyses showed that the genomic reduction pattern in this genus is different from that of the classical SAR11 lineage. Genomic reduction reconstruction and substrate utilization profile showed that Idiomarina spp. lost a large number of genes related to carbohydrate utilization, and instead they specialized on using proteinaceous resources. Here we propose a new hypothesis to explain genomic reduction in this genus; we propose that trophic specialization increasing the metabolic efficiency for using one kind of substrate but reducing the substrate utilization spectrum could result in bacterial genomic reduction, which would be not uncommon in nature. This hypothesis was further tested in another free-living genus, Kangiella, which also shows dramatic genomic reduction. These findings highlight that trophic specialization is potentially an important path leading to genomic reduction in some marine free-living bacteria, which is distinct from the classical lineages like SAR11.IMPORTANCE The streamlining hypothesis is usually used to explain the genomic reduction events in free-living bacteria like SAR11. However, we find that the genomic reduction phenomenon in the bacterial genus Idiomarina is different from that in SAR11. Therefore, we propose a new hypothesis to explain genomic reduction in this genus based on trophic specialization that could result in genomic reduction, which would be not uncommon in nature. Not only can the trophic specialization hypothesis explain the genomic reduction in the genus Idiomarina, but it also sheds new light on our understanding of the genomic reduction processes in other free-living bacterial lineages. Copyright © 2019 Qin et al.

April 21, 2020  |  

Ancestral Admixture Is the Main Determinant of Global Biodiversity in Fission Yeast.

Mutation and recombination are key evolutionary processes governing phenotypic variation and reproductive isolation. We here demonstrate that biodiversity within all globally known strains of Schizosaccharomyces pombe arose through admixture between two divergent ancestral lineages. Initial hybridization was inferred to have occurred ~20-60 sexual outcrossing generations ago consistent with recent, human-induced migration at the onset of intensified transcontinental trade. Species-wide heritable phenotypic variation was explained near-exclusively by strain-specific arrangements of alternating ancestry components with evidence for transgressive segregation. Reproductive compatibility between strains was likewise predicted by the degree of shared ancestry. To assess the genetic determinants of ancestry block distribution across the genome, we characterized the type, frequency, and position of structural genomic variation using nanopore and single-molecule real-time sequencing. Despite being associated with double-strand break initiation points, over 800 segregating structural variants exerted overall little influence on the introgression landscape or on reproductive compatibility between strains. In contrast, we found strong ancestry disequilibrium consistent with negative epistatic selection shaping genomic ancestry combinations during the course of hybridization. This study provides a detailed, experimentally tractable example that genomes of natural populations are mosaics reflecting different evolutionary histories. Exploiting genome-wide heterogeneity in the history of ancestral recombination and lineage-specific mutations sheds new light on the population history of S. pombe and highlights the importance of hybridization as a creative force in generating biodiversity. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

April 21, 2020  |  

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression, virulence and pathogen-host interactions.

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