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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microbial communities are shaped by plant-driven changes in resource availability during secondary succession.

Although we understand the ecological processes eliciting changes in plant community composition during secondary succession, we do not understand whether co-occurring changes in plant detritus shape saprotrophic microbial communities in soil. In this study, we investigated soil microbial composition and function across an old-field chronosequence ranging from 16 to 86 years following agricultural abandonment, as well as three forests representing potential late-successional ecosystems. Fungal and bacterial community composition was quantified from ribosomal DNA, and insight into the functional potential of the microbial community to decay plant litter was gained from shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Accumulation of soil organic…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Widespread polycistronic transcripts in fungi revealed by single-molecule mRNA sequencing.

Genes in prokaryotic genomes are often arranged into clusters and co-transcribed into polycistronic RNAs. Isolated examples of polycistronic RNAs were also reported in some higher eukaryotes but their presence was generally considered rare. Here we developed a long-read sequencing strategy to identify polycistronic transcripts in several mushroom forming fungal species including Plicaturopsis crispa, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Trametes versicolor, and Gloeophyllum trabeum. We found genome-wide prevalence of polycistronic transcription in these Agaricomycetes, involving up to 8% of the transcribed genes. Unlike polycistronic mRNAs in prokaryotes, these co-transcribed genes are also independently transcribed. We show that polycistronic transcription may interfere with expression of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single-cell (meta-)genomics of a dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii reveals genomic plasticity.

The genus Thiomargarita includes the world’s largest bacteria. But as uncultured organisms, their physiology, metabolism, and basis for their gigantism are not well understood. Thus, a genomics approach, applied to a single Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii cell was employed to explore the genetic potential of one of these enigmatic giant bacteria. The Thiomargarita cell was obtained from an assemblage of budding Ca. T. nelsonii attached to a provannid gastropod shell from Hydrate Ridge, a methane seep offshore of Oregon, USA. Here we present a manually curated genome of Bud S10 resulting from a hybrid assembly of long Pacific Biosciences and short…

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Sunday, 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…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Melanization of mycorrhizal fungal necromass structures microbial decomposer communities

Mycorrhizal fungal necromass is increasingly recognized as an important contributor to soil organic carbon pools, particularly in forest ecosystems. While its decomposition rate is primarily determined by biochemical composition, how traits such as melanin content affect the structure of necromass decomposer communities remains poorly understood. To assess the role of biochemical traits on microbial decomposer community composition and functioning, we incubated melanized and non-melanized necromass of the mycorrhizal fungus Meliniomyces bicolor in Pinus- and Quercus-dominated forests in Minnesota, USA and then assessed the associated fungal and bacterial decomposer communities after 1, 2 and 3 months using high-throughput sequencing. Melanized necromass…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Analyses of alternative polyadenylation: from old school biochemistry to high-throughput technologies.

Alternations in usage of polyadenylation sites during transcription termination yield transcript isoforms from a gene. Recent findings of transcriptome-wide alternative polyadenylation (APA) as a molecular response to changes in biology position APA not only as a molecular event of early transcriptional termination but also as a cellular regulatory step affecting various biological pathways. With the development of high-throughput profiling technologies at a single nucleotide level and their applications targeted to the 3′-end of mRNAs, dynamics in the landscape of mRNA 3′-end is measureable at a global scale. In this review, methods and technologies that have been adopted to study APA…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microbial communities and elk foraging intensity: implications for soil biogeochemical cycling in the sagebrush steppe.

Foraging intensity of large herbivores may exert an indirect top-down ecological force on soil microbial communities via changes in plant litter inputs. We investigated the responses of the soil microbial community to elk (Cervus elaphus) winter range occupancy across a long-term foraging exclusion experiment in the sagebrush steppe of the North American Rocky Mountains, combining phylogenetic analysis of fungi and bacteria with shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Winter foraging intensity was associated with reduced bacterial richness and increasingly distinct bacterial communities. Although fungal communities did not respond linearly to foraging intensity, a greater ß-diversity response to winter foraging exclusion…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga.

Green algae represent a key segment of the global species capable of photoautotrophic-driven biological carbon fixation. Algae partition fixed-carbon into chemical compounds required for biomass, while diverting excess carbon into internal storage compounds such as starch and lipids or, in certain cases, into targeted extracellular compounds. Two green algae were selected to probe for critical components associated with sugar production and release in a model alga. Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 – which does not release significant quantities of sugars to the extracellular space – was selected as a control to compare with the maltose-releasing Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80 – which…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

De novo assembly and phasing of dikaryotic genomes from two isolates of Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae, the causal agent of oat crown rust.

Oat crown rust, caused by the fungus Pucinnia coronata f. sp. avenae, is a devastating disease that impacts worldwide oat production. For much of its life cycle, P. coronata f. sp. avenae is dikaryotic, with two separate haploid nuclei that may vary in virulence genotype, highlighting the importance of understanding haplotype diversity in this species. We generated highly contiguous de novo genome assemblies of two P. coronata f. sp. avenae isolates, 12SD80 and 12NC29, from long-read sequences. In total, we assembled 603 primary contigs for 12SD80, for a total assembly length of 99.16 Mbp, and 777 primary contigs for 12NC29, for…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The complete replicons of 16 Ensifer meliloti strains offer insights into intra- and inter-replicon gene transfer, transposon-associated loci, and repeat elements.

Ensifer meliloti (formerly Rhizobium meliloti and Sinorhizobium meliloti) is a model bacterium for understanding legume-rhizobial symbioses. The tripartite genome of E. meliloti consists of a chromosome, pSymA and pSymB, and in some instances strain-specific accessory plasmids. The majority of previous sequencing studies have relied on the use of assemblies generated from short read sequencing, which leads to gaps and assembly errors. Here we used PacBio-based, long-read assemblies and were able to assemble, de novo, complete circular replicons. In this study, we sequenced, de novo-assembled and analysed 10 E. meliloti strains. Sequence comparisons were also done with data from six previously…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Whole-genome resequencing and pan-transcriptome reconstruction highlight the impact of genomic structural Variation on secondary metabolite gene clusters in the grapevine Esca pathogen Phaeoacremonium minimum.

The Ascomycete fungus Phaeoacremonium minimum is one of the primary causal agents of Esca, a widespread and damaging grapevine trunk disease. Variation in virulence among Pm. minimum isolates has been reported, but the underlying genetic basis of the phenotypic variability remains unknown. The goal of this study was to characterize intraspecific genetic diversity and explore its potential impact on virulence functions associated with secondary metabolism, cellular transport, and cell wall decomposition. We generated a chromosome-scale genome assembly, using single molecule real-time sequencing, and resequenced the genomes and transcriptomes of multiple isolates to identify sequence and structural polymorphisms. Numerous insertion and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A complete Cannabis chromosome assembly and adaptive admixture for elevated cannabidiol (CBD) content

Cannabis has been cultivated for millennia with distinct cultivars providing either fiber and grain or tetrahydrocannabinol. Recent demand for cannabidiol rather than tetrahydrocannabinol has favored the breeding of admixed cultivars with extremely high cannabidiol content. Despite several draft Cannabis genomes, the genomic structure of cannabinoid synthase loci has remained elusive. A genetic map derived from a tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol segregating population and a complete chromosome assembly from a high-cannabidiol cultivar together resolve the linkage of cannabidiolic and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase gene clusters which are associated with transposable elements. High-cannabidiol cultivars appear to have been generated by integrating hemp-type cannabidiolic acid synthase gene…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Improved reference genome for the domestic horse increases assembly contiguity and composition.

Recent advances in genomic sequencing technology and computational assembly methods have allowed scientists to improve reference genome assemblies in terms of contiguity and composition. EquCab2, a reference genome for the domestic horse, was released in 2007. Although of equal or better quality compared to other first-generation Sanger assemblies, it had many of the shortcomings common to them. In 2014, the equine genomics research community began a project to improve the reference sequence for the horse, building upon the solid foundation of EquCab2 and incorporating new short-read data, long-read data, and proximity ligation data. Here, we present EquCab3. The count of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Out in the cold: Identification of genomic regions associated with cold tolerance in the biocontrol fungus Clonostachys rosea through genome-wide association mapping.

There is an increasing importance for using biocontrol agents in combating plant diseases sustainably and in the long term. As large scale genomic sequencing becomes economically viable, the impact of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on biocontrol-associated phenotypes can be easily studied across entire genomes of fungal populations. Here, we improved a previously reported genome assembly of the biocontrol fungus Clonostachys rosea strain IK726 using the PacBio sequencing platform, which resulted in a total genome size of 70.7 Mbp and 21,246 predicted genes. We further performed whole-genome re-sequencing of 52 additional C. rosea strains isolated globally using Illumina sequencing technology, in…

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