September 22, 2019  |  

The maize W22 genome provides a foundation for functional genomics and transposon biology.

The maize W22 inbred has served as a platform for maize genetics since the mid twentieth century. To streamline maize genome analyses, we have sequenced and de novo assembled a W22 reference genome using short-read sequencing technologies. We show that significant structural heterogeneity exists in comparison to the B73 reference genome at multiple scales, from transposon composition and copy number variation to single-nucleotide polymorphisms. The generation of this reference genome enables accurate placement of thousands of Mutator (Mu) and Dissociation (Ds) transposable element insertions for reverse and forward genetics studies. Annotation of the genome has been achieved using RNA-seq analysis, differential nuclease sensitivity profiling and bisulfite sequencing to map open reading frames, open chromatin sites and DNA methylation profiles, respectively. Collectively, the resources developed here integrate W22 as a community reference genome for functional genomics and provide a foundation for the maize pan-genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

ABC transporter mis-splicing associated with resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab in laboratory- and field-selected pink bollworm.

Evolution of pest resistance threatens the benefits of genetically engineered crops that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) insecticidal proteins. Strategies intended to delay pest resistance are most effective when implemented proactively. Accordingly, researchers have selected for and analyzed resistance to Bt toxins in many laboratory strains of pests before resistance evolves in the field, but the utility of this approach depends on the largely untested assumption that laboratory- and field-selected resistance to Bt toxins are similar. Here we compared the genetic basis of resistance to Bt toxin Cry2Ab, which is widely deployed in transgenic crops, between laboratory- and field-selected populations of the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella), a global pest of cotton. We discovered that resistance to Cry2Ab is associated with mutations disrupting the same ATP-binding cassette transporter gene (PgABCA2) in a laboratory-selected strain from Arizona, USA, and in field-selected populations from India. The most common mutation, loss of exon 6 caused by alternative splicing, occurred in resistant larvae from both locations. Together with previous data, the results imply that mutations in the same gene confer Bt resistance in laboratory- and field-selected strains and suggest that focusing on ABCA2 genes may help to accelerate progress in monitoring and managing resistance to Cry2Ab.


September 22, 2019  |  

The bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks influences pathogen susceptibility.

Ticks are of medical importance owing to their ability to transmit pathogens to humans and animals. The Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of a number of pathogens, including Anaplasma marginale, which is the most widespread tick-borne pathogen of livestock. Although ticks host pathogenic bacteria, they also harbor bacterial endosymbionts that have a role in tick physiology, survival, as well as pathogen acquisition and transmission. The goal of this study was to characterize the bacterial microbiome and examine the impact of microbiome disruption on pathogen susceptibility. The bacterial microbiome of two populations of D. andersoni with historically different susceptibilities to A. marginale was characterized. In this study, the microbiome was disrupted and then ticks were exposed to A. marginale or Francisella novicida to determine whether the microbiome correlated with pathogen susceptibility. Our study showed that an increase in proportion and quantity of Rickettsia bellii in the microbiome was negatively correlated to A. marginale levels in ticks. Furthermore, a decrease in Francisella endosymbionts was associated with lower F. novicida infection levels, demonstrating a positive pathogen-endosymbiont relationship. We demonstrate that endosymbionts and pathogens have varying interactions, and suggest that microbiome manipulation may provide a possible method for biocontrol by decreasing pathogen susceptibility of ticks.


September 22, 2019  |  

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed from populations collected at two different ecologically distinct sites by comparing field (F1) and lab-reared populations (F1-F3) over three generations. The microbiome composition of pooled and individual samples was analyzed by sequencing nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons using a Pacific Biosciences CCS platform that allows identification of bacteria to the species level.In this study, we found that the D. andersoni microbiome was distinct in different geographic populations and was tissue specific, differing between the midgut and the salivary gland, over multiple generations. Additionally, our study showed that the microbiomes of laboratory-reared populations were not necessarily representative of their respective field populations. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the microbiome of a few individual ticks does not represent the microbiome composition at the population level.We demonstrated that the bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni was complex over three generations and specific to tick tissue (midgut vs. salivary glands) as well as geographic location (Burns, Oregon vs. Lake Como, Montana vs. laboratory setting). These results provide evidence that habitat of the tick population is a vital component of the complexity of the bacterial microbiome of ticks, and that the microbiome of lab colonies may not allow for comparative analyses with field populations. A broader understanding of microbiome variation will be required if we are to employ manipulation of the microbiome as a method for interfering with acquisition and transmission of tick-borne pathogens.


September 22, 2019  |  

A comparative transcriptional landscape of maize and sorghum obtained by single-molecule sequencing.

Maize and sorghum are both important crops with similar overall plant architectures, but they have key differences, especially in regard to their inflorescences. To better understand these two organisms at the molecular level, we compared expression profiles of both protein-coding and noncoding transcripts in 11 matched tissues using single-molecule, long-read, deep RNA sequencing. This comparative analysis revealed large numbers of novel isoforms in both species. Evolutionarily young genes were likely to be generated in reproductive tissues and usually had fewer isoforms than old genes. We also observed similarities and differences in alternative splicing patterns and activities, both among tissues and between species. The maize subgenomes exhibited no bias in isoform generation; however, genes in the B genome were more highly expressed in pollen tissue, whereas genes in the A genome were more highly expressed in endosperm. We also identified a number of splicing events conserved between maize and sorghum. In addition, we generated comprehensive and high-resolution maps of poly(A) sites, revealing similarities and differences in mRNA cleavage between the two species. Overall, our results reveal considerable splicing and expression diversity between sorghum and maize, well beyond what was reported in previous studies, likely reflecting the differences in architecture between these two species.© 2018 Wang et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of two genotype A2 small ruminant lentiviruses isolated from infected U.S. sheep.

Two distinct subgroups of genotype A2 small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) have been identified in the United States that infect sheep with specific host transmembrane protein 154 (TMEM154) diplotypes. Here, we report the first two complete genome sequences of SRLV strains infecting U.S. sheep belonging to genotype A2, subgroups 1 and 2. Copyright © 2017 Workman et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide analysis of complex wheat gliadins, the dominant carriers of celiac disease epitopes.

Gliadins, specified by six compound chromosomal loci (Gli-A1/B1/D1 and Gli-A2/B2/D2) in hexaploid bread wheat, are the dominant carriers of celiac disease (CD) epitopes. Because of their complexity, genome-wide characterization of gliadins is a strong challenge. Here, we approached this challenge by combining transcriptomic, proteomic and bioinformatic investigations. Through third-generation RNA sequencing, full-length transcripts were identified for 52 gliadin genes in the bread wheat cultivar Xiaoyan 81. Of them, 42 were active and predicted to encode 25 a-, 11 ?-, one d- and five ?-gliadins. Comparative proteomic analysis between Xiaoyan 81 and six newly-developed mutants each lacking one Gli locus indicated the accumulation of 38 gliadins in the mature grains. A novel group of a-gliadins (the CSTT group) was recognized to contain very few or no CD epitopes. The d-gliadins identified here or previously did not carry CD epitopes. Finally, the mutant lacking Gli-D2 showed significant reductions in the most celiac-toxic a-gliadins and derivative CD epitopes. The insights and resources generated here should aid further studies on gliadin functions in CD and the breeding of healthier wheat.


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 was observed. Furthermore, winter foraging exclusion increased soil cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic enzyme potential and higher foraging intensity reduced chitinolytic gene abundance. Thus, future changes in winter range occupancy may shape biogeochemical processes via shifts in microbial communities and subsequent changes to their physiological capacities to cycle soil C and N.© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluation of 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing using two next-generation sequencing technologies for phylogenetic analysis of the rumen bacterial community in steers.

Next generation sequencing technologies have vastly changed the approach of sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene for studies in microbial ecology. Three distinct technologies are available for large-scale 16S sequencing. All three are subject to biases introduced by sequencing error rates, amplification primer selection, and read length, which can affect the apparent microbial community. In this study, we compared short read 16S rRNA variable regions, V1-V3, with that of near-full length 16S regions, V1-V8, using highly diverse steer rumen microbial communities, in order to examine the impact of technology selection on phylogenetic profiles. Short paired-end reads from the Illumina MiSeq platform were used to generate V1-V3 sequence, while long “circular consensus” reads from the Pacific Biosciences RSII instrument were used to generate V1-V8 data. The two platforms revealed similar microbial operational taxonomic units (OTUs), as well as similar species richness, Good’s coverage, and Shannon diversity metrics. However, the V1-V8 amplified ruminal community resulted in significant increases in several orders of taxa, such as phyla Proteobacteria and Verrucomicrobia (P < 0.05). Taxonomic classification accuracy was also greater in the near full-length read. UniFrac distance matrices using jackknifed UPGMA clustering also noted differences between the communities. These data support the consensus that longer reads result in a finer phylogenetic resolution that may not be achieved by shorter 16S rRNA gene fragments. Our work on the cattle rumen bacterial community demonstrates that utilizing near full-length 16S reads may be useful in conducting a more thorough study, or for developing a niche-specific database to use in analyzing data from shorter read technologies when budgetary constraints preclude use of near-full length 16S sequencing. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Unveiling the complexity of the maize transcriptome by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

Zea mays is an important genetic model for elucidating transcriptional networks. Uncertainties about the complete structure of mRNA transcripts limit the progress of research in this system. Here, using single-molecule sequencing technology, we produce 111,151 transcripts from 6 tissues capturing ~70% of the genes annotated in maize RefGen_v3 genome. A large proportion of transcripts (57%) represent novel, sometimes tissue-specific, isoforms of known genes and 3% correspond to novel gene loci. In other cases, the identified transcripts have improved existing gene models. Averaging across all six tissues, 90% of the splice junctions are supported by short reads from matched tissues. In addition, we identified a large number of novel long non-coding RNAs and fusion transcripts and found that DNA methylation plays an important role in generating various isoforms. Our results show that characterization of the maize B73 transcriptome is far from complete, and that maize gene expression is more complex than previously thought.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessment of an organ-specific de novo transcriptome of the nematode trap-crop, Solanum sisymbriifolium

Solanum sisymbriifolium, also known as “Litchi Tomato” or “Sticky Nightshade,” is an undomesticated and poorly researched plant related to potato and tomato. Unlike the latter species, S. sisymbriifolium induces eggs of the cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, to hatch and migrate into its roots, but then arrests further nematode maturation. In order to provide researchers with a partial blueprint of its genetic make-up so that the mechanism of this response might be identified, we used single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing to compile a high quality de novo transcriptome of 41,189 unigenes drawn from individually sequenced bud, root, stem, and leaf RNA populations. Functional annotation and BUSCO analysis showed that this transcriptome was surprisingly complete, even though it represented genes expressed at a single time point. By sequencing the 4 organ libraries separately, we found we could get a reliable snapshot of transcript distributions in each organ. A divergent site analysis of the merged transcriptome indicated that this species might have undergone a recent genome duplication and re-diploidization. Further analysis indicated that the plant then retained a disproportionate number of genes associated with photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism in comparison to genes with characteristics of R-proteins or involved in secondary metabolism. The former processes may have given S. sisymbriifolium a bigger competitive advantage than the latter did. Copyright © 2018 Wixom et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Reference assembly and annotation of the Pyrenophora teres f. teres isolate 0-1.

Pyrenophora teres f.teres, the causal agent of net form net blotch (NFNB) of barley, is a destructive pathogen in barley-growing regions throughout the world. Typical yield losses due to NFNB range from 10 to 40%; however, complete loss has been observed on highly susceptible barley lines where environmental conditions favor the pathogen. Currently, genomic resources for this economically important pathogen are limited to a fragmented draft genome assembly and annotation, with limited RNA support of theP. teresf.teresisolate 0-1. This research presents an updated 0-1 reference assembly facilitated by long-read sequencing and scaffolding with the assistance of genetic linkage maps. Additionally, genome annotation was mediated by RNAseq analysis using three infection time points and a pure culture sample, resulting in 11,541 high-confidence gene models. The 0-1 genome assembly and annotation presented here now contains the majority of the repetitive content of the genome. Analysis of the 0-1 genome revealed classic characteristics of a “two-speed” genome, being compartmentalized into GC-equilibrated and AT-rich compartments. The assembly of repetitive AT-rich regions will be important for future investigation of genes known as effectors, which often reside in close proximity to repetitive regions. These effectors are responsible for manipulation of the host defense during infection. This updatedP. teresf.teresisolate 0-1 reference genome assembly and annotation provides a robust resource for the examination of the barley-P. teresf.tereshost-pathogen coevolution. Copyright © 2018 Wyatt et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Reference quality genome assemblies of three Parastagonospora nodorum isolates differing in virulence on wheat.

Parastagonospora nodorum, the causal agent of Septoria nodorum blotch in wheat, has emerged as a model necrotrophic fungal organism for the study of host-microbe interactions. To date, three necrotrophic effectors have been identified and characterized from this pathogen, including SnToxA, SnTox1, and SnTox3. Necrotrophic effector identification was greatly aided by the development of a draft genome of Australian isolate SN15 via Sanger sequencing, yet it remained largely fragmented. This research presents the development of nearly finished genomes of P. nodorum isolates Sn4, Sn2000, and Sn79-1087 using long-read sequencing technology. RNAseq analysis of isolate Sn4, consisting of eight time points covering various developmental and infection stages, mediated the annotation of 13,379 genes. Analysis of these genomes revealed large-scale polymorphism between the three isolates, including the complete absence of contig 23 from isolate Sn79-1087, and a region of genome expansion on contig 10 in isolates Sn4 and Sn2000. Additionally, these genomes exhibit the hallmark characteristics of a “two-speed” genome, being partitioned into two distinct GC-equilibrated and AT-rich compartments. Interestingly, isolate Sn79-1087 contains a lower proportion of AT-rich segments, indicating a potential lack of evolutionary hotspots. These newly sequenced genomes, consisting of telomere-to-telomere assemblies of nearly all 23 P. nodorum chromosomes, provide a robust foundation for the further examination of effector biology and genome evolution. Copyright © 2018 Richards et al.


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 a total length of 105.25 Mbp; approximately 52% of each genome was assembled into alternate haplotypes. This revealed structural variation between haplotypes in each isolate equivalent to more than 2% of the genome size, in addition to about 260,000 and 380,000 heterozygous single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 12SD80 and 12NC29, respectively. Transcript-based annotation identified 26,796 and 28,801 coding sequences for isolates 12SD80 and 12NC29, respectively, including about 7,000 allele pairs in haplotype-phased regions. Furthermore, expression profiling revealed clusters of coexpressed secreted effector candidates, and the majority of orthologous effectors between isolates showed conservation of expression patterns. However, a small subset of orthologs showed divergence in expression, which may contribute to differences in virulence between 12SD80 and 12NC29. This study provides the first haplotype-phased reference genome for a dikaryotic rust fungus as a foundation for future studies into virulence mechanisms in P. coronata f. sp. avenaeIMPORTANCE Disease management strategies for oat crown rust are challenged by the rapid evolution of Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae, which renders resistance genes in oat varieties ineffective. Despite the economic importance of understanding P. coronata f. sp. avenae, resources to study the molecular mechanisms underpinning pathogenicity and the emergence of new virulence traits are lacking. Such limitations are partly due to the obligate biotrophic lifestyle of P. coronata f. sp. avenae as well as the dikaryotic nature of the genome, features that are also shared with other important rust pathogens. This study reports the first release of a haplotype-phased genome assembly for a dikaryotic fungal species and demonstrates the amenability of using emerging technologies to investigate genetic diversity in populations of P. coronata f. sp. avenae. Copyright © 2018 Miller et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cross-species comparison of the gut: Differential gene expression sheds light on biological differences in closely related tenebrionids.

The gut is one of the primary interfaces between an insect and its environment. Understanding gene expression profiles in the insect gut can provide insight into interactions with the environment as well as identify potential control methods for pests. We compared the expression profiles of transcripts from the gut of larval stages of two coleopteran insects, Tenebrio molitor and Tribolium castaneum. These tenebrionids have different life cycles, varying in the duration and number of larval instars. T. castaneum has a sequenced genome and has been a model for coleopterans, and we recently obtained a draft genome for T. molitor. We assembled gut transcriptome reads from each insect to their respective genomes and filtered mapped reads to RPKM>1, yielding 11,521 and 17,871 genes in the T. castaneum and T. molitor datasets, respectively. There were identical GO terms in each dataset, and enrichment analyses also identified shared GO terms. From these datasets, we compiled an ortholog list of 6907 genes; 45% of the total assembled reads from T. castaneum were found in the top 25 orthologs, but only 27% of assembled reads were found in the top 25 T. molitor orthologs. There were 2281 genes unique to T. castaneum, and 2088 predicted genes unique to T. molitor, although improvements to the T. molitor genome will likely reduce these numbers as more orthologs are identified. We highlight a few unique genes in T. castaneum or T. molitor that may relate to distinct biological functions. A large number of putative genes expressed in the larval gut with uncharacterized functions (36 and 68% from T. castaneum and T. molitor, respectively) support the need for further research. These data are the first step in building a comprehensive understanding of the physiology of the gut in tenebrionid insects, illustrating commonalities and differences that may be related to speciation and environmental adaptation. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


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