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 replication of the EPSPS-containing sequence. In kochia (Kochia scoparia), from three to more than 10 extra EPSPS copies are arranged as a tandem gene duplication at one locus. In the remaining six weed species that exhibit EPSPS gene duplication, little is known about the underlying mechanisms of gene duplication or their entire sequence. There is mounting evidence that adaptive gene amplification is an important mode of evolution in the face of intense human-mediated selection pressure. The convergent evolution of CNVs for glyphosate resistance in weeds, through at least two different mechanisms, may be indicative of a more general importance for this mechanism of adaptation in plants. CNVs warrant further investigation across plant functional genomics for adaptation to biotic and abiotic stresses, particularly for adaptive evolution on rapid time scales.© The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


September 22, 2019  |  

Mutators as drivers of adaptation in Streptococcus and a risk factor for host jumps and vaccine escape

Heritable hypermutable strains deficient in DNA repair genes (mutators) facilitate microbial adaptation as they may rapidly generate beneficial mutations. Mutators deficient in mismatch (MMR) and oxidised guanine (OG) repair are abundant in clinical samples and show increased adaptive potential in experimental infection models but their role in pathoadaptation is poorly understood. Here we investigate the role of mutators in epidemiology and evolution of the broad host pathogen, Streptococcus iniae, employing 80 strains isolated globally over 40 years. We determine phylogenetic relationship among S. iniae using 10,267 non-recombinant core genome single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), estimate their mutation rate by fluctuation analysis, and detect variation in major MMR (mutS, mutL, dnaN, recD2, rnhC) and OG (mutY, mutM, mutX) genes. S. iniae mutation rate phenotype and genotype are strongly associated with phylogenetic diversification and variation in major streptococcal virulence determinants (capsular polysaccharide, hemolysin, cell chain length, resistance to oxidation, and biofilm formation). Furthermore, profound changes in virulence determinants observed in mammalian isolates (atypical host) and vaccine-escape isolates found in bone (atypical tissue) of vaccinated barramundi are linked to multiple MMR and OG variants and unique mutation rates. This implies that adaptation to new host taxa, new host tissue, and to immunity of a vaccinated host is promoted by mutator strains. Our findings support the importance of mutation rate dynamics in evolution of pathogenic bacteria, in particular adaptation to a drastically different immunological setting that occurs during host jump and vaccine escape events.Importance Host immune response is a powerful selective pressure that drives diversification of pathogenic microorganisms and, ultimately, evolution of new strains. Major adaptive events in pathogen evolution, such as transmission to a new host species or infection of vaccinated hosts, require adaptation to a drastically different immune landscape. Such adaptation may be favoured by hypermutable strains (or mutators) that are defective in normal DNA repair and consequently capable of generating multiple potentially beneficial and compensatory mutations. This permits rapid adjustment of virulence and antigenicity in a new immunological setting. Here we show that mutators, through mutations in DNA repair genes and corresponding shifts in mutation rate, are associated with major diversification events and virulence evolution in the broad host-range pathogen Streptococcus iniae. We show that mutators underpin infection of vaccinated hosts, transmission to new host species and the evolution of new strains.


September 21, 2019  |  

in silico Whole Genome Sequencer & Analyzer (iWGS): a computational pipeline to guide the design and analysis of de novo genome sequencing studies.

The availability of genomes across the tree of life is highly biased toward vertebrates, pathogens, human disease models, and organisms with relatively small and simple genomes. Recent progress in genomics has enabled the de novo decoding of the genome of virtually any organism, greatly expanding its potential for understanding the biology and evolution of the full spectrum of biodiversity. The increasing diversity of sequencing technologies, assays, and de novo assembly algorithms have augmented the complexity of de novo genome sequencing projects in non-model organisms. To reduce the costs and challenges in de novo genome sequencing projects and streamline their experimental design and analysis, we developed iWGS (in silico Whole Genome Sequencer and Analyzer), an automated pipeline for guiding the choice of appropriate sequencing strategy and assembly protocols. iWGS seamlessly integrates the four key steps of a de novo genome sequencing project: data generation (through simulation), data quality control, de novo assembly, and assembly evaluation and validation. The last three steps can also be applied to the analysis of real data. iWGS is designed to enable the user to have great flexibility in testing the range of experimental designs available for genome sequencing projects, and supports all major sequencing technologies and popular assembly tools. Three case studies illustrate how iWGS can guide the design of de novo genome sequencing projects and evaluate the performance of a wide variety of user-specified sequencing strategies and assembly protocols on genomes of differing architectures. iWGS, along with a detailed documentation, is freely available at https://github.com/zhouxiaofan1983/iWGS. Copyright © 2016 Author et al.


September 21, 2019  |  

Recent advances in bioinformatics for fish genomics

In the past few years, we have contributed efforts to ~1/5 of the reported fish genomes. Based on our related experience, here we outline recent advances in bioinformatics for fish genomics, with an emphasis on development of software for genome assembly, genome annotation and evolutionary analysis. This review will be helpful for the new players of genome analysis on both animals and plants. In the past decade, whole genome sequences of approximately 50 fish species have been reported [1]. We have been involved in ~1/5 of these international works from 2014 to 2017, such as mudskippers (2014) [2], Chinese large yellow croaker [3], Chinese barbel fishes [4], Asian arowana [5,6], Channel catfish [7], seahorses [8], Japanese flounder [9], Chinese clearhead icefish [10] and Northern snakehead [11]. We are also in charge of the China Auqatic 10-100-1,000 Genomics Program [12], in which ~100 fish genomes are sequencing targets for the next 3~5 years. Based on our previous experience on fish genomic studies, here we outline recent advances in related bioinformatics for fish genomics to share with public readers. Since the basic informatics includes genome assembly, genome annotation and evolutionary analysis, we discuss them one by one in this order.


September 21, 2019  |  

The complete mitochondrial genome of Bombax ceiba

Bombax ceiba is a beautiful and deciduous tree with important economic and ecological values. Here, we sequenced the intact mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) of B. ceiba on the PacBio sequencing platform (Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, CA). The mitogenome is 594,390bp and is comprised of 35 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes, and 25 tRNA genes. The phylogeny analysis suggested that B. ceiba was closely clustered with the genus Gossypium.


September 21, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O145:H28 demonstrates a common evolutionary lineage with Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Although serotype O157:H7 is the predominant enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC that cause severe foodborne illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome have increased worldwide. In fact, non-O157 serotypes are now estimated to cause over half of all the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cases, and outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC infections are frequently associated with serotypes O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. Currently, there are no complete genomes for O145 in public databases.We determined the complete genome sequences of two O145 strains (EcO145), one linked to a US lettuce-associated outbreak (RM13514) and one to a Belgium ice-cream-associated outbreak (RM13516). Both strains contain one chromosome and two large plasmids, with genome sizes of 5,737,294 bp for RM13514 and 5,559,008 bp for RM13516. Comparative analysis of the two EcO145 genomes revealed a large core (5,173 genes) and a considerable amount of strain-specific genes. Additionally, the two EcO145 genomes display distinct chromosomal architecture, virulence gene profile, phylogenetic origin of Stx2a prophage, and methylation profile (methylome). Comparative analysis of EcO145 genomes to other completely sequenced STEC and other E. coli and Shigella genomes revealed that, unlike any other known non-O157 EHEC strain, EcO145 ascended from a common lineage with EcO157/EcO55. This evolutionary relationship was further supported by the pangenome analysis of the 10 EHEC str ains. Of the 4,192 EHEC core genes, EcO145 shares more genes with EcO157 than with the any other non-O157 EHEC strains.Our data provide evidence that EcO145 and EcO157 evolved from a common lineage, but ultimately each serotype evolves via a lineage-independent nature to EHEC by acquisition of the core set of EHEC virulence factors, including the genes encoding Shiga toxin and the large virulence plasmid. The large variation between the two EcO145 genomes suggests a distinctive evolutionary path between the two outbreak strains. The distinct methylome between the two EcO145 strains is likely due to the presence of a BsuBI/PstI methyltransferase gene cassette in the Stx2a prophage of the strain RM13514, suggesting a role of horizontal gene transfer-mediated epigenetic alteration in the evolution of individual EHEC strains.


September 21, 2019  |  

Mistranslation drives the evolution of robustness in TEM-1 ß-lactamase.

How biological systems such as proteins achieve robustness to ubiquitous perturbations is a fundamental biological question. Such perturbations include errors that introduce phenotypic mutations into nascent proteins during the translation of mRNA. These errors are remarkably frequent. They are also costly, because they reduce protein stability and help create toxic misfolded proteins. Adaptive evolution might reduce these costs of protein mistranslation by two principal mechanisms. The first increases the accuracy of translation via synonymous “high fidelity” codons at especially sensitive sites. The second increases the robustness of proteins to phenotypic errors via amino acids that increase protein stability. To study how these mechanisms are exploited by populations evolving in the laboratory, we evolved the antibiotic resistance gene TEM-1 in Escherichia coli hosts with either normal or high rates of mistranslation. We analyzed TEM-1 populations that evolved under relaxed and stringent selection for antibiotic resistance by single molecule real-time sequencing. Under relaxed selection, mistranslating populations reduce mistranslation costs by reducing TEM-1 expression. Under stringent selection, they efficiently purge destabilizing amino acid changes. More importantly, they accumulate stabilizing amino acid changes rather than synonymous changes that increase translational accuracy. In the large populations we study, and on short evolutionary timescales, the path of least resistance in TEM-1 evolution consists of reducing the consequences of translation errors rather than the errors themselves.


September 21, 2019  |  

Characterization of multi-drug resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolated from cephalic recording chambers in research macaques (Macaca spp.).

Nonhuman primates are commonly used for cognitive neuroscience research and often surgically implanted with cephalic recording chambers for electrophysiological recording. Aerobic bacterial cultures from 25 macaques identified 72 bacterial isolates, including 15 Enterococcus faecalis isolates. The E. faecalis isolates displayed multi-drug resistant phenotypes, with resistance to ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, bacitracin, and erythromycin, as well as high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Multi-locus sequence typing showed that most belonged to two E. faecalis sequence types (ST): ST 4 and ST 55. The genomes of three representative isolates were sequenced to identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistances and other traits. Antimicrobial resistance genes identified included aac(6′)-aph(2″), aph(3′)-III, str, ant(6)-Ia, tetM, tetS, tetL, ermB, bcrABR, cat, and dfrG, and polymorphisms in parC (S80I) and gyrA (S83I) were observed. These isolates also harbored virulence factors including the cytolysin toxin genes in ST 4 isolates, as well as multiple biofilm-associated genes (esp, agg, ace, SrtA, gelE, ebpABC), hyaluronidases (hylA, hylB), and other survival genes (ElrA, tpx). Crystal violet biofilm assays confirmed that ST 4 isolates produced more biofilm than ST 55 isolates. The abundance of antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor genes in the ST 4 isolates likely relates to the loss of CRISPR-cas. This macaque colony represents a unique model for studying E. faecalis infection associated with indwelling devices, and provides an opportunity to understand the basis of persistence of this pathogen in a healthcare setting.


September 21, 2019  |  

Whole genome sequence of the soybean aphid, Aphis glycines.

Aphids are emerging as model organisms for both basic and applied research. Of the 5,000 estimated species, only three aphids have published whole genome sequences: the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia, and the green peach aphid, Myzus persicae. We present the whole genome sequence of a fourth aphid, the soybean aphid (Aphis glycines), which is an extreme specialist and an important invasive pest of soybean (Glycine max). The availability of genomic resources is important to establish effective and sustainable pest control, as well as to expand our understanding of aphid evolution. We generated a 302.9 Mbp draft genome assembly for Ap. glycines using a hybrid sequencing approach. This assembly shows high completeness with 19,182 predicted genes, 92% of known Ap. glycines transcripts mapping to contigs, and substantial continuity with a scaffold N50 of 174,505 bp. The assembly represents 95.5% of the predicted genome size of 317.1 Mbp based on flow cytometry. Ap. glycines contains the smallest known aphid genome to date, based on updated genome sizes for 19 aphid species. The repetitive DNA content of the Ap. glycines genome assembly (81.6 Mbp or 26.94% of the 302.9 Mbp assembly) shows a reduction in the number of classified transposable elements compared to Ac. pisum, and likely contributes to the small estimated genome size. We include comparative analyses of gene families related to host-specificity (cytochrome P450’s and effectors), which may be important in Ap. glycines evolution. This Ap. glycines draft genome sequence will provide a resource for the study of aphid genome evolution, their interaction with host plants, and candidate genes for novel insect control methods. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 21, 2019  |  

PacBio assembly of a Plasmodium knowlesi genome sequence with Hi-C correction and manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family.

Plasmodium knowlesi has risen in importance as a zoonotic parasite that has been causing regular episodes of malaria throughout South East Asia. The P. knowlesi genome sequence generated in 2008 highlighted and confirmed many similarities and differences in Plasmodium species, including a global view of several multigene families, such as the large SICAvar multigene family encoding the variant antigens known as the schizont-infected cell agglutination proteins. However, repetitive DNA sequences are the bane of any genome project, and this and other Plasmodium genome projects have not been immune to the gaps, rearrangements and other pitfalls created by these genomic features. Today, long-read PacBio and chromatin conformation technologies are overcoming such obstacles. Here, based on the use of these technologies, we present a highly refined de novo P. knowlesi genome sequence of the Pk1(A+) clone. This sequence and annotation, referred to as the ‘MaHPIC Pk genome sequence’, includes manual annotation of the SICAvar gene family with 136 full-length members categorized as type I or II. This sequence provides a framework that will permit a better understanding of the SICAvar repertoire, selective pressures acting on this gene family and mechanisms of antigenic variation in this species and other pathogens.


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 Rpi_vnt1 have arisen independently in wild species. dRenSeq analysis of parental clones alongside resistant and susceptible bulks of the segregating population B3C1HP showed full sequence representation of R8. This was independently validated using long-range PCR and screening of a bespoke bacterial artificial chromosome library. The latter enabled a comparative analysis of the sequence variation in this locus in diverse Solanaceae. We reveal for the first time that broad spectrum and durable field resistance against P. infestans is conferred by the NB-LRR gene R8, which is thought to provide narrow spectrum race-specific resistance.


September 21, 2019  |  

Multi-Locus Variable number of tandem repeat Analysis (MLVA) of Yersinia ruckeri confirms the existence of host-specificity, geographic endemism and anthropogenic dissemination of virulent clones.

A Multi-Locus Variable number of tandem repeat Analysis (MLVA) assay was developed for epizootiological study of the internationally significant fish pathogen Yersinia ruckeri, which causes yersiniosis in salmonids. The assay involves amplification of ten Variable Number of Tandem Repeat (VNTR) loci in two five-plex PCR reactions, followed by capillary electrophoresis. A collection of 484 Y. ruckeri isolates, originating from various biological sources and collected from four continents over seven decades, was analysed. Minimum spanning tree cluster analysis of MLVA profiles separated the studied population into nine major clonal complexes, and a number of minor clusters and singletons. The major clonal complexes could be associated with host species, geographic origin and serotype. A single large clonal complex of serotype O1 isolates dominating the yersiniosis situation in international rainbow trout farming suggests anthropogenic spread of this clone, possibly related to transport of fish. Moreover, sub-clustering within this clonal complex indicates putative transmission routes and multiple biotype shift events. In contrast to the situation in rainbow trout, Y. ruckeri strains associated with disease in Atlantic salmon appear as more or less geographically isolated clonal complexes. A single complex of serotype O1 exclusive to Norway was found to be responsible for almost all major yersiniosis outbreaks in modern Norwegian salmon farming, and site-specific sub-clustering further indicates persistent colonisation of freshwater farms in Norway. Identification of genetically diverse Y. ruckeri isolates from clinically healthy fish and environmental sources also suggests the widespread existence of less virulent or avirulent strains.Importance This comprehensive population study substantially improves our understanding of the epizootiological history and nature of an internationally important fish pathogenic bacterium. The MLVA assay developed and presented represents a high-resolution typing tool particularly well suited for Yersinia ruckeri infection tracing, selection of strains for vaccine inclusion, and risk assessment. The ability of the assay to separate isolates into geographically linked and/or possibly host-specific clusters reflects its potential utility for maintenance of national biosecurity. The MLVA is internationally applicable, robust, and provides clear, unambiguous and easily interpreted results. Typing is reasonably inexpensive, with a moderate technological requirement, and may be completed from a harvested colony within a single working day. As the resulting MLVA profiles are readily portable, any Y. ruckeri strain may rapidly be placed in a global epizootiological context. Copyright © 2018 Gulla et al.


September 21, 2019  |  

Divergent selection causes whole genome differentiation without physical linkage among the targets in Spodoptera frugiperda (Noctuidae)

The process of speciation involves whole genome differentiation by overcoming gene flow between diverging populations. We have ample knowledge which evolutionary forces may cause genomic differentiation, and several speciation models have been proposed to explain the transition from genetic to genomic differentiation. However, it is still unclear what are critical conditions enabling genomic differentiation in nature. The Fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is observed as two sympatric strains that have different host-plant ranges, suggesting the possibility of ecological divergent selection. In our previous study, we observed that these two strains show genetic differentiation across the whole genome with an unprecedentedly low extent, suggesting the possibility that whole genome sequences started to be differentiated between the strains. In this study, we analyzed whole genome sequences from these two strains from Mississippi to identify critical evolutionary factors for genomic differentiation. The genomic Fst is low (0.017) while 91.3% of 10kb windows have Fst greater than 0, suggesting genome-wide differentiation with a low extent. We identified nearly 400 outliers of genetic differentiation between strains, and found that physical linkage among these outliers is not a primary cause of genomic differentiation. Fst is not significantly correlated with gene density, a proxy for the strength of selection, suggesting that a genomic reduction in migration rate dominates the extent of local genetic differentiation. Our analyses reveal that divergent selection alone is sufficient to generate genomic differentiation, and any following diversifying factors may increase the level of genetic differentiation between diverging strains in the process of speciation.


September 21, 2019  |  

Population sequencing reveals clonal diversity and ancestral inbreeding in the grapevine cultivar Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is the basis of some of the world’s most iconic wines and its success is underpinned by a historic program of clonal selection. There are numerous clones of Chardonnay available that exhibit differences in key viticultural and oenological traits that have arisen from the accumulation of somatic mutations during centuries of asexual propagation. However, the genetic variation that underlies these differences remains largely unknown. To address this knowledge gap, a high-quality, diploid-phased Chardonnay genome assembly was produced from single-molecule real time sequencing, and combined with re-sequencing data from 15 different Chardonnay clones. There were 1620 markers identified that distinguish the 15 clones. These markers were reliably used for clonal identification of independently sourced genomic material, as well as in identifying a potential genetic basis for some clonal phenotypic differences. The predicted parentage of the Chardonnay haplomes was elucidated by mapping sequence data from the predicted parents of Chardonnay (Gouais blanc and Pinot noir) against the Chardonnay reference genome. This enabled the detection of instances of heterosis, with differentially-expanded gene families being inherited from the parents of Chardonnay. Most surprisingly however, the patterns of nucleotide variation present in the Chardonnay genome indicate that Pinot noir and Gouais blanc share an extremely high degree of kinship that has resulted in the Chardonnay genome displaying characteristics that are indicative of inbreeding.


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