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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The changing landscape of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium in Australia: a population-level genomic study.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) represent a major source of nosocomial infection worldwide. In Australia, there has been a recent concerning increase in bacteraemia associated with the vanA genotype, prompting investigation into the genomic epidemiology of VREfm.A population-level study of VREfm (10 November-9 December 2015) was conducted. A total of 321 VREfm isolates (from 286 patients) across Victoria State were collected and sequenced with Illumina NextSeq. SNPs were used to assess relatedness. STs and genes associated with resistance and virulence were identified. The vanA-harbouring plasmid from an isolate from each ST was assembled using long-read data. Illumina reads from remaining isolates…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Report from the Killer-cell Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIR) component of the 17th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop.

The goals of the KIR component of the 17th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop (IHIW) were to encourage and educate researchers to begin analyzing KIR at allelic resolution, and to survey the nature and extent of KIR allelic diversity across human populations. To represent worldwide diversity, we analyzed 1269 individuals from ten populations, focusing on the most polymorphic KIR genes, which express receptors having three immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domains (KIR3DL1/S1, KIR3DL2 and KIR3DL3). We identified 13 novel alleles of KIR3DL1/S1, 13 of KIR3DL2 and 18 of KIR3DL3. Previously identified alleles, corresponding to 33 alleles of KIR3DL1/S1, 38 of KIR3DL2, and 43…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Trophoblast organoids as a model for maternal-fetal interactions during human placentation.

The placenta is the extraembryonic organ that supports the fetus during intrauterine life. Although placental dysfunction results in major disorders of pregnancy with immediate and lifelong consequences for the mother and child, our knowledge of the human placenta is limited owing to a lack of functional experimental models1. After implantation, the trophectoderm of the blastocyst rapidly proliferates and generates the trophoblast, the unique cell type of the placenta. In vivo, proliferative villous cytotrophoblast cells differentiate into two main sub-populations: syncytiotrophoblast, the multinucleated epithelium of the villi responsible for nutrient exchange and hormone production, and extravillous trophoblast cells, which anchor the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Major improvements to the Heliconius melpomene genome assembly used to confirm 10 chromosome fusion events in 6 million years of butterfly evolution.

The Heliconius butterflies are a widely studied adaptive radiation of 46 species spread across Central and South America, several of which are known to hybridize in the wild. Here, we present a substantially improved assembly of the Heliconius melpomene genome, developed using novel methods that should be applicable to improving other genome assemblies produced using short read sequencing. First, we whole-genome-sequenced a pedigree to produce a linkage map incorporating 99% of the genome. Second, we incorporated haplotype scaffolds extensively to produce a more complete haploid version of the draft genome. Third, we incorporated ~20x coverage of Pacific Biosciences sequencing, and…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Chromosome-level assembly of Arabidopsis thaliana Ler reveals the extent of translocation and inversion polymorphisms.

Resequencing or reference-based assemblies reveal large parts of the small-scale sequence variation. However, they typically fail to separate such local variation into colinear and rearranged variation, because they usually do not recover the complement of large-scale rearrangements, including transpositions and inversions. Besides the availability of hundreds of genomes of diverse Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, there is so far only one full-length assembled genome: the reference sequence. We have assembled 117 Mb of the A. thaliana Landsberg erecta (Ler) genome into five chromosome-equivalent sequences using a combination of short Illumina reads, long PacBio reads, and linkage information. Whole-genome comparison against the reference…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Contrasting evolutionary genome dynamics between domesticated and wild yeasts.

Structural rearrangements have long been recognized as an important source of genetic variation, with implications in phenotypic diversity and disease, yet their detailed evolutionary dynamics remain elusive. Here we use long-read sequencing to generate end-to-end genome assemblies for 12 strains representing major subpopulations of the partially domesticated yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its wild relative Saccharomyces paradoxus. These population-level high-quality genomes with comprehensive annotation enable precise definition of chromosomal boundaries between cores and subtelomeres and a high-resolution view of evolutionary genome dynamics. In chromosomal cores, S. paradoxus shows faster accumulation of balanced rearrangements (inversions, reciprocal translocations and transpositions), whereas S. cerevisiae…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Discovery and biosynthesis of gladiolin: A Burkholderia gladioli antibiotic with promising activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

An antimicrobial activity screen of Burkholderia gladioli BCC0238, a clinical isolate from a cystic fibrosis patient, led to the discovery of gladiolin, a novel macrolide antibiotic with potent activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv. Gladiolin is structurally related to etnangien, a highly unstable antibiotic from Sorangium cellulosum that is also active against Mycobacteria. Like etnangien, gladiolin was found to inhibit RNA polymerase, a validated drug target in M. tuberculosis. However, gladiolin lacks the highly labile hexaene moiety of etnangien and was thus found to possess significantly increased chemical stability. Moreover, gladiolin displayed low mammalian cytotoxicity and good activity against several M.…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Neofunctionalization of duplicated P450 genes drives the evolution of insecticide resistance in the brown planthopper.

Gene duplication is a major source of genetic variation that has been shown to underpin the evolution of a wide range of adaptive traits [1, 2]. For example, duplication or amplification of genes encoding detoxification enzymes has been shown to play an important role in the evolution of insecticide resistance [3-5]. In this context, gene duplication performs an adaptive function as a result of its effects on gene dosage and not as a source of functional novelty [3, 6-8]. Here, we show that duplication and neofunctionalization of a cytochrome P450, CYP6ER1, led to the evolution of insecticide resistance in the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

HIV envelope glycoform heterogeneity and localized diversity govern the initiation and maturation of a V2 apex broadly neutralizing antibody lineage.

Understanding how broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to HIV envelope (Env) develop during natural infection can help guide the rational design of an HIV vaccine. Here, we described a bnAb lineage targeting the Env V2 apex and the Ab-Env co-evolution that led to development of neutralization breadth. The lineage Abs bore an anionic heavy chain complementarity-determining region 3 (CDRH3) of 25 amino acids, among the shortest known for this class of Abs, and achieved breadth with only 10% nucleotide somatic hypermutation and no insertions or deletions. The data suggested a role for Env glycoform heterogeneity in the activation of the lineage…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Accelerated ex situ breeding of GBSS- and PTST1-edited cassava for modified starch.

Crop diversification required to meet demands for food security and industrial use is often challenged by breeding time and amenability of varieties to genome modification. Cassava is one such crop. Grown for its large starch-rich storage roots, it serves as a staple food and a commodity in the multibillion-dollar starch industry. Starch is composed of the glucose polymers amylopectin and amylose, with the latter strongly influencing the physicochemical properties of starch during cooking and processing. We demonstrate that CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9)-mediated targeted mutagenesis of two genes involved in amylose biosynthesis, PROTEIN TARGETING TO STARCH…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Identification and heterologous expression of the chaxamycin biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii.

Streptomyces leeuwenhoekii, isolated from the hyperarid Atacama Desert, produces the new ansamycin-like compounds chaxamycins A to D, which possess potent antibacterial activity and moderate antiproliferative activity. We report the development of genetic tools to manipulate S. leeuwenhoekii and the identification and partial characterization of the 80.2-kb chaxamycin biosynthesis gene cluster, which was achieved by both mutational analysis in the natural producer and heterologous expression in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) strain M1152. Restoration of chaxamycin production in a nonproducing ?cxmK mutant (cxmK encodes 3-amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid [AHBA] synthase) was achieved by supplementing the growth medium with AHBA, suggesting that mutasynthesis may be a…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Dual functions of Macpiwi1 in transposon silencing and stem cell maintenance in the flatworm Macrostomum lignano.

PIWI proteins and piRNA pathways are essential for transposon silencing and some aspects of gene regulation during animal germline development. In contrast to most animal species, some flatworms also express PIWIs and piRNAs in somatic stem cells, where they are required for tissue renewal and regeneration. Here, we have identified and characterized piRNAs and PIWI proteins in the emerging model flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We found that M. lignano encodes at least three PIWI proteins. One of these, Macpiwi1, acts as a key component of the canonical piRNA pathway in the germline and in somatic stem cells. Knockdown of Macpiwi1 dramatically…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Genome and transcriptome of the regeneration-competent flatworm, Macrostomum lignano.

The free-living flatworm, Macrostomum lignano has an impressive regenerative capacity. Following injury, it can regenerate almost an entirely new organism because of the presence of an abundant somatic stem cell population, the neoblasts. This set of unique properties makes many flatworms attractive organisms for studying the evolution of pathways involved in tissue self-renewal, cell-fate specification, and regeneration. The use of these organisms as models, however, is hampered by the lack of a well-assembled and annotated genome sequences, fundamental to modern genetic and molecular studies. Here we report the genomic sequence of M. lignano and an accompanying characterization of its transcriptome.…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Glanville fritillary genome retains an ancient karyotype and reveals selective chromosomal fusions in Lepidoptera.

Previous studies have reported that chromosome synteny in Lepidoptera has been well conserved, yet the number of haploid chromosomes varies widely from 5 to 223. Here we report the genome (393?Mb) of the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia; Nymphalidae), a widely recognized model species in metapopulation biology and eco-evolutionary research, which has the putative ancestral karyotype of n=31. Using a phylogenetic analyses of Nymphalidae and of other Lepidoptera, combined with orthologue-level comparisons of chromosomes, we conclude that the ancestral lepidopteran karyotype has been n=31 for at least 140?My. We show that fusion chromosomes have retained the ancestral chromosome segments and…

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