September 22, 2019  |  

Regulation of yeast-to-hyphae transition in Yarrowia lipolytica.

The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica undergoes a morphological transition from yeast-to-hyphal growth in response to environmental conditions. A forward genetic screen was used to identify mutants that reliably remain in the yeast phase, which were then assessed by whole-genome sequencing. All the smooth mutants identified, so named because of their colony morphology, exhibit independent loss of DNA at a repetitive locus made up of interspersed ribosomal DNA and short 10- to 40-mer telomere-like repeats. The loss of repetitive DNA is associated with downregulation of genes with stress response elements (5′-CCCCT-3′) and upregulation of genes with cell cycle box (5′-ACGCG-3′) motifs in their promoter region. The stress response element is bound by the transcription factor Msn2p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae We confirmed that the Y. lipolyticamsn2 (Ylmsn2) ortholog is required for hyphal growth and found that overexpression of Ylmsn2 enables hyphal growth in smooth strains. The cell cycle box is bound by the Mbp1p/Swi6p complex in S. cerevisiae to regulate G1-to-S phase progression. We found that overexpression of either the Ylmbp1 or Ylswi6 homologs decreased hyphal growth and that deletion of either Ylmbp1 or Ylswi6 promotes hyphal growth in smooth strains. A second forward genetic screen for reversion to hyphal growth was performed with the smooth-33 mutant to identify additional genetic factors regulating hyphal growth in Y. lipolytica Thirteen of the mutants sequenced from this screen had coding mutations in five kinases, including the histidine kinases Ylchk1 and Ylnik1 and kinases of the high-osmolarity glycerol response (HOG) mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade Ylssk2, Ylpbs2, and Ylhog1 Together, these results demonstrate that Y. lipolytica transitions to hyphal growth in response to stress through multiple signaling pathways.IMPORTANCE Many yeasts undergo a morphological transition from yeast-to-hyphal growth in response to environmental conditions. We used forward and reverse genetic techniques to identify genes regulating this transition in Yarrowia lipolytica We confirmed that the transcription factor Ylmsn2 is required for the transition to hyphal growth and found that signaling by the histidine kinases Ylchk1 and Ylnik1 as well as the MAP kinases of the HOG pathway (Ylssk2, Ylpbs2, and Ylhog1) regulates the transition to hyphal growth. These results suggest that Y. lipolytica transitions to hyphal growth in response to stress through multiple kinase pathways. Intriguingly, we found that a repetitive portion of the genome containing telomere-like and rDNA repeats may be involved in the transition to hyphal growth, suggesting a link between this region and the general stress response. Copyright © 2018 Pomraning et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic comparisons of closely related malaria parasites differing in virulence and sequestration pattern.

Background: Malaria parasite species differ greatly in the harm they do to humans. While P. falciparum kills hundreds of thousands per year, P. vivax kills much less often and P. malariae is relatively benign. Strains of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi show phenotypic variation in virulence during infections of laboratory mice. This make it an excellent species to study genes which may be responsible for this trait. By understanding the mechanisms which underlie differences in virulence we can learn how parasites adapt to their hosts and how we might prevent disease. Methods: Here we present a complete reference genome sequence for a more virulent P. chabaudi strain, PcCB, and perform a detailed comparison with the genome of the less virulent PcAS strain. Results: We found the greatest variation in the subtelomeric regions, in particular amongst the sequences of the pir gene family, which has been associated with virulence and establishment of chronic infection. Despite substantial variation at the sequence level, the repertoire of these genes has been largely maintained, highlighting the requirement for functional conservation as well as diversification in host-parasite interactions. However, a subset of pir genes, previously associated with increased virulence, were more highly expressed in PcCB, suggesting a role for this gene family in virulence differences between strains. We found that core genes involved in red blood cell invasion have been under positive selection and that the more virulent strain has a greater preference for reticulocytes, which has elsewhere been associated with increased virulence. Conclusions: These results provide the basis for a mechanistic understanding of the phenotypic differences between Plasmodium chabaudi strains, which might ultimately be translated into a better understanding of malaria parasites affecting humans.


September 22, 2019  |  

N6-methyladenine DNA methylation in Japonica and Indica rice genomes and its association with gene expression, plant development, and stress responses.

N6-Methyladenine (6mA) DNA methylation has recently been implicated as a potential new epigenetic marker in eukaryotes, including the dicot model Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the conservation and divergence of 6mA distribution patterns and functions in plants remain elusive. Here we report high-quality 6mA methylomes at single-nucleotide resolution in rice based on substantially improved genome sequences of two rice cultivars, Nipponbare (Nip; Japonica) and 93-11 (Indica). Analysis of 6mA genomic distribution and its association with transcription suggest that 6mA distribution and function is rather conserved between rice and Arabidopsis. We found that 6mA levels are positively correlated with the expression of key stress-related genes, which may be responsible for the difference in stress tolerance between Nip and 93-11. Moreover, we showed that mutations in DDM1 cause defects in plant growth and decreased 6mA level. Our results reveal that 6mA is a conserved DNA modification that is positively associated with gene expression and contributes to key agronomic traits in plants. Copyright © 2018 The Author. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

MadID, a versatile approach to map protein-DNA interactions, highlights telomere-nuclear envelope contact sites in human cells.

Mapping the binding sites of DNA- or chromatin-interacting proteins is essential to understanding biological processes. DNA adenine methyltransferase identification (DamID) has emerged as a comprehensive method to map genome-wide occupancy of proteins of interest. A caveat of DamID is the specificity of Dam methyltransferase for GATC motifs that are not homogenously distributed in the genome. Here, we developed an optimized method named MadID, using proximity labeling of DNA by the methyltransferase M.EcoGII. M.EcoGII mediates N6-adenosine methylation in any DNA sequence context, resulting in deeper and unbiased coverage of the genome. We demonstrate, using m6A-specific immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing, that MadID is a robust method to identify protein-DNA interactions at the whole-genome level. Using MadID, we revealed contact sites between human telomeres, repetitive sequences devoid of GATC sites, and the nuclear envelope. Overall, MadID opens the way to identification of binding sites in genomic regions that were largely inaccessible. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 21, 2019  |  

A distinct and genetically diverse lineage of the hybrid fungal pathogen Verticillium longisporum population causes stem striping in British oilseed rape.

Population genetic structures illustrate evolutionary trajectories of organisms adapting to differential environmental conditions. Verticillium stem striping disease on oilseed rape was mainly observed in continental Europe, but has recently emerged in the United Kingdom. The disease is caused by the hybrid fungal species Verticillium longisporum that originates from at least three separate hybridization events, yet hybrids between Verticillium progenitor species A1 and D1 are mainly responsible for Verticillium stem striping. We reveal a hitherto un-described dichotomy within V. longisporum lineage A1/D1 that correlates with the geographic distribution of the isolates with an ‘A1/D1 West’ and an ‘A1/D1 East’ cluster. Genome comparison between representatives of the A1/D1 West and East clusters excluded population distinctiveness through separate hybridization events. Remarkably, the A1/D1 West population that is genetically more diverse than the entire A1/D1 East cluster caused the sudden emergence of Verticillium stem striping in the UK, whereas in continental Europe Verticillium stem striping is predominantly caused by the more genetically uniform A1/D1 East population. The observed genetic diversity of the A1/D1 West population argues against a recent introduction of the pathogen into the UK, but rather suggests that the pathogen previously established in the UK and remained latent or unnoticed as oilseed rape pathogen until recently.© 2017 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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  |  

Assembling large genomes with single-molecule sequencing and locality-sensitive hashing.

Long-read, single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is routinely used to finish microbial genomes, but available assembly methods have not scaled well to larger genomes. We introduce the MinHash Alignment Process (MHAP) for overlapping noisy, long reads using probabilistic, locality-sensitive hashing. Integrating MHAP with the Celera Assembler enabled reference-grade de novo assemblies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Drosophila melanogaster and a human hydatidiform mole cell line (CHM1) from SMRT sequencing. The resulting assemblies are highly continuous, include fully resolved chromosome arms and close persistent gaps in these reference genomes. Our assembly of D. melanogaster revealed previously unknown heterochromatic and telomeric transition sequences, and we assembled low-complexity sequences from CHM1 that fill gaps in the human GRCh38 reference. Using MHAP and the Celera Assembler, single-molecule sequencing can produce de novo near-complete eukaryotic assemblies that are 99.99% accurate when compared with available reference genomes.


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