September 22, 2019  |  

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop. © 2017 Clavijo et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Chromosome-level reference genome and alternative splicing atlas of moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis).

Bamboo is one of the most important nontimber forestry products worldwide. However, a chromosome-level reference genome is lacking, and an evolutionary view of alternative splicing (AS) in bamboo remains unclear despite emerging omics data and improved technologies.Here, we provide a chromosome-level de novo genome assembly of moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) using additional abundance sequencing data and a Hi-C scaffolding strategy. The significantly improved genome is a scaffold N50 of 79.90 Mb, approximately 243 times longer than the previous version. A total of 51,074 high-quality protein-coding loci with intact structures were identified using single-molecule real-time sequencing and manual verification. Moreover, we provide a comprehensive AS profile based on the identification of 266,711 unique AS events in 25,225 AS genes by large-scale transcriptomic sequencing of 26 representative bamboo tissues using both the Illumina and Pacific Biosciences sequencing platforms. Through comparisons with orthologous genes in related plant species, we observed that the AS genes are concentrated among more conserved genes that tend to accumulate higher transcript levels and share less tissue specificity. Furthermore, gene family expansion, abundant AS, and positive selection were identified in crucial genes involved in the lignin biosynthetic pathway of moso bamboo.These fundamental studies provide useful information for future in-depth analyses of comparative genome and AS features. Additionally, our results highlight a global perspective of AS during evolution and diversification in bamboo.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide identification and analysis of the ALTERNATIVE OXIDASE gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat.

A comprehensive understanding of wheat responses to environmental stress will contribute to the long-term goal of feeding the planet. ALERNATIVE OXIDASE (AOX) genes encode proteins involved in a bypass of the electron transport chain and are also known to be involved in stress tolerance in multiple species. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the AOX gene family in diploid and hexaploid wheat. Four genes each were found in the diploid ancestors Triticum urartu, and Aegilops tauschii, and three in Aegilops speltoides. In hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum), 20 genes were identified, some with multiple splice variants, corresponding to a total of 24 proteins for those with observed transcription and translation. These proteins were classified as AOX1a, AOX1c, AOX1e or AOX1d via phylogenetic analysis. Proteins lacking most or all signature AOX motifs were assigned to putative regulatory roles. Analysis of protein-targeting sequences suggests mixed localization to the mitochondria and other organelles. In comparison to the most studied AOX from Trypanosoma brucei, there were amino acid substitutions at critical functional domains indicating possible role divergence in wheat or grasses in general. In hexaploid wheat, AOX genes were expressed at specific developmental stages as well as in response to both biotic and abiotic stresses such as fungal pathogens, heat and drought. These AOX expression patterns suggest a highly regulated and diverse transcription and expression system. The insights gained provide a framework for the continued and expanded study of AOX genes in wheat for stress tolerance through breeding new varieties, as well as resistance to AOX-targeted herbicides, all of which can ultimately be used synergistically to improve crop yield.


September 22, 2019  |  

A comprehensive analysis of alternative splicing in paleopolyploid maize.

Identifying and characterizing alternative splicing (AS) enables our understanding of the biological role of transcript isoform diversity. This study describes the use of publicly available RNA-Seq data to identify and characterize the global diversity of AS isoforms in maize using the inbred lines B73 and Mo17, and a related species, sorghum. Identification and characterization of AS within maize tissues revealed that genes expressed in seed exhibit the largest differential AS relative to other tissues examined. Additionally, differences in AS between the two genotypes B73 and Mo17 are greatest within genes expressed in seed. We demonstrate that changes in the level of alternatively spliced transcripts (intron retention and exon skipping) do not solely reflect differences in total transcript abundance, and we present evidence that intron retention may act to fine-tune gene expression across seed development stages. Furthermore, we have identified temperature sensitive AS in maize and demonstrate that drought-induced changes in AS involve distinct sets of genes in reproductive and vegetative tissues. Examining our identified AS isoforms within B73 × Mo17 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) identified splicing QTL (sQTL). The 43.3% of cis-sQTL regulated junctions are actually identified as alternatively spliced junctions in our analysis, while 10 Mb windows on each side of 48.2% of trans-sQTLs overlap with splicing related genes. Using sorghum as an out-group enabled direct examination of loss or conservation of AS between homeologous genes representing the two subgenomes of maize. We identify several instances where AS isoforms that are conserved between one maize homeolog and its sorghum ortholog are absent from the second maize homeolog, suggesting that these AS isoforms may have been lost after the maize whole genome duplication event. This comprehensive analysis provides new insights into the complexity of AS in maize.


September 22, 2019  |  

The habu genome reveals accelerated evolution of venom protein genes.

Evolution of novel traits is a challenging subject in biological research. Several snake lineages developed elaborate venom systems to deliver complex protein mixtures for prey capture. To understand mechanisms involved in snake venom evolution, we decoded here the ~1.4-Gb genome of a habu, Protobothrops flavoviridis. We identified 60 snake venom protein genes (SV) and 224 non-venom paralogs (NV), belonging to 18 gene families. Molecular phylogeny reveals early divergence of SV and NV genes, suggesting that one of the four copies generated through two rounds of whole-genome duplication was modified for use as a toxin. Among them, both SV and NV genes in four major components were extensively duplicated after their diversification, but accelerated evolution is evident exclusively in the SV genes. Both venom-related SV and NV genes are significantly enriched in microchromosomes. The present study thus provides a genetic background for evolution of snake venom composition.


September 22, 2019  |  

Analysis of aquaporins from the euryhaline barnacle Balanus improvisus reveals differential expression in response to changes in salinity.

Barnacles are sessile macro-invertebrates, found along rocky shores in coastal areas worldwide. The euryhaline bay barnacle Balanus improvisus (Darwin, 1854) (= Amphibalanus improvisus) can tolerate a wide range of salinities, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the osmoregulatory capacity of this truly brackish species are not well understood. Aquaporins are pore-forming integral membrane proteins that facilitate transport of water, small solutes and ions through cellular membranes, and that have been shown to be important for osmoregulation in many organisms. The knowledge of the function of aquaporins in crustaceans is, however, limited and nothing is known about them in barnacles. We here present the repertoire of aquaporins from a thecostracan crustacean, the barnacle B. improvisus, based on genome and transcriptome sequencing. Our analyses reveal that B. improvisus contains eight genes for aquaporins. Phylogenetic analysis showed that they represented members of the classical water aquaporins (Aqp1, Aqp2), the aquaglyceroporins (Glp1, Glp2), the unorthodox aquaporin (Aqp12) and the arthropod-specific big brain aquaporin (Bib). Interestingly, we also found two big brain-like proteins (BibL1 and BibL2) constituting a new group of aquaporins not yet described in arthropods. In addition, we found that the two water-specific aquaporins were expressed as C-terminal splice variants. Heterologous expression of some of the aquaporins followed by functional characterization showed that Aqp1 transported water and Glp2 water and glycerol, agreeing with the predictions of substrate specificity based on 3D modeling and phylogeny. To investigate a possible role for the B. improvisus aquaporins in osmoregulation, mRNA expression changes in adult barnacles were analysed after long-term acclimation to different salinities. The most pronounced expression difference was seen for AQP1 with a substantial (>100-fold) decrease in the mantle tissue in low salinity (3 PSU) compared to high salinity (33 PSU). Our study provides a base for future mechanistic studies on the role of aquaporins in osmoregulation.


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  |  

Transcriptional fates of human-specific segmental duplications in brain.

Despite the importance of duplicate genes for evolutionary adaptation, accurate gene annotation is often incomplete, incorrect, or lacking in regions of segmental duplication. We developed an approach combining long-read sequencing and hybridization capture to yield full-length transcript information and confidently distinguish between nearly identical genes/paralogs. We used biotinylated probes to enrich for full-length cDNA from duplicated regions, which were then amplified, size-fractionated, and sequenced using single-molecule, long-read sequencing technology, permitting us to distinguish between highly identical genes by virtue of multiple paralogous sequence variants. We examined 19 gene families as expressed in developing and adult human brain, selected for their high sequence identity (average >99%) and overlap with human-specific segmental duplications (SDs). We characterized the transcriptional differences between related paralogs to better understand the birth-death process of duplicate genes and particularly how the process leads to gene innovation. In 48% of the cases, we find that the expressed duplicates have changed substantially from their ancestral models due to novel sites of transcription initiation, splicing, and polyadenylation, as well as fusion transcripts that connect duplication-derived exons with neighboring genes. We detect unannotated open reading frames in genes currently annotated as pseudogenes, while relegating other duplicates to nonfunctional status. Our method significantly improves gene annotation, specifically defining full-length transcripts, isoforms, and open reading frames for new genes in highly identical SDs. The approach will be more broadly applicable to genes in structurally complex regions of other genomes where the duplication process creates novel genes important for adaptive traits.© 2018 Dougherty et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Shannon: an information-optimal de novo RNA-Seq assembler

De novo assembly of short RNA-Seq reads into transcripts is challenging due to sequence similarities in transcriptomes arising from gene duplications and alternative splicing of transcripts. We present Shannon, an RNA-Seq assembler with an optimality guarantee derived from principles of information theory: Shannon reconstructs nearly all information-theoretically reconstructable transcripts. Shannon is based on a theory we develop for de novo RNA-Seq assembly that reveals differing abundances among transcripts to be the key, rather than the barrier, to effective assembly. The assembly problem is formulated as a sparsest-flow problem on a transcript graph, and the heart of Shannon is a novel iterative flow-decomposition algorithm. This algorithm provably solves the information-theoretically reconstructable instances in linear-time even though the general sparsest-flow problem is NP-hard. Shannon also incorporates several additional new algorithmic advances: a new error-correction algorithm based on successive cancelation, a multi-bridging algorithm that carefully utilizes read information in the k-mer de Bruijn graph, and an approximate graph partitioning algorithm to split the transcriptome de Bruijn graph into smaller components. In tests on large RNA-Seq datasets, Shannon obtains significant increases in sensitivity along with improvements in specificity in comparison to state-of-the-art assemblers.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification and analysis of glutathione S-transferase gene family in sweet potato reveal divergent GST-mediated networks in aboveground and underground tissues in response to abiotic stresses.

Sweet potato, a hexaploid species lacking a reference genome, is one of the most important crops in many developing countries, where abiotic stresses are a primary cause of reduction of crop yield. Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are multifunctional enzymes that play important roles in oxidative stress tolerance and cellular detoxification.A total of 42 putative full-length GST genes were identified from two local transcriptome databases and validated by molecular cloning and Sanger sequencing. Sequence and intraspecific phylogenetic analyses revealed extensive differentiation in their coding sequences and divided them into eight subfamilies. Interspecific phylogenetic and comparative analyses indicated that most examined GST paralogs might originate and diverge before the speciation of sweet potato. Results from large-scale RNA-seq and quantitative real-time PCR experiments exhibited extensive variation in gene-expression profiles across different tissues and varieties, which implied strong evolutionary divergence in their gene-expression regulation. Moreover, we performed five manipulated stress experiments and uncovered highly divergent stress-response patterns of sweet potato GST genes in aboveground and underground tissues.Our study identified a large number of sweet potato GST genes, systematically investigated their evolutionary diversification, and provides new insights into the GST-mediated stress-response mechanisms in this worldwide crop.


September 22, 2019  |  

High resolution annotation of zebrafish transcriptome using long-read sequencing.

With the emergence of zebrafish as an important model organism, a concerted effort has been made to study its transcriptome. This effort is limited, however, by gaps in zebrafish annotation, which are especially pronounced concerning transcripts dynamically expressed during zygotic genome activation (ZGA). To date, short-read sequencing has been the principal technology for zebrafish transcriptome annotation. In part because these sequence reads are too short for assembly methods to resolve the full complexity of the transcriptome, the current annotation is rudimentary. By providing direct observation of full-length transcripts, recently refined long-read sequencing platforms can dramatically improve annotation coverage and accuracy. Here, we leveraged the SMRT platform to study the transcriptome of zebrafish embryos before and after ZGA. Our analysis revealed additional novelty and complexity in thehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/nfidence novel transcripts that originated from previously unannotated loci and 1835 high-confidence new isoforms in previously annotated genes. We validated these findings using a suite of computational approaches including structural prediction, sequence homology, and functional conservation analyses, as well as by confirmatory transcript quantification with short-read sequencing data. Our analyses provided insight into new homologs and paralogs of functionally important proteins and noncoding RNAs, isoform switching occurrences, and different classes of novel splicing events. Several novel isoforms representing distinct splicing events were validated through PCR experiments, including the discovery and validation of a novel 8-kb transcript spanning multiple mir-430 elements, an important driver of early development. Our study provides a significantly improved zebrafish transcriptome annotation resource.© 2018 Nudelman et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Rewired RNAi-mediated genome surveillance in house dust mites.

House dust mites are common pests with an unusual evolutionary history, being descendants of a parasitic ancestor. Transition to parasitism is frequently accompanied by genome rearrangements, possibly to accommodate the genetic change needed to access new ecology. Transposable element (TE) activity is a source of genomic instability that can trigger large-scale genomic alterations. Eukaryotes have multiple transposon control mechanisms, one of which is RNA interference (RNAi). Investigation of the dust mite genome failed to identify a major RNAi pathway: the Piwi-associated RNA (piRNA) pathway, which has been replaced by a novel small-interfering RNA (siRNA)-like pathway. Co-opting of piRNA function by dust mite siRNAs is extensive, including establishment of TE control master loci that produce siRNAs. Interestingly, other members of the Acari have piRNAs indicating loss of this mechanism in dust mites is a recent event. Flux of RNAi-mediated control of TEs highlights the unusual arc of dust mite evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

Constructing a ‘chromonome’ of yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata) for comparative analysis of chromosomal rearrangements.

To investigate chromosome evolution in fish species, we newly mapped 181 markers that allowed us to construct a yellowtail (Seriola quinqueradiata) radiation hybrid (RH) physical map with 1,713 DNA markers, which was far denser than a previous map, and we anchored thede novoassembled sequences onto the RH physical map. Finally, we mapped a total of 13,977 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) on a genome sequence assembly aligned with the physical map. Using the high-density physical map and anchored genome sequences, we accurately compared the yellowtail genome structure with the genome structures of five model fishes to identify characteristics of the yellowtail genome. Between yellowtail and Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), almost all regions of the chromosomes were conserved and some blocks comprising several markers were translocated. Using the genome information of the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) as a reference, we further documented syntenic relationships and chromosomal rearrangements that occurred during evolution in four other acanthopterygian species (Japanese medaka, zebrafish, spotted green pufferfish and three-spined stickleback). The evolutionary chromosome translocation frequency was 1.5-2-times higher in yellowtail than in medaka, pufferfish, and stickleback.


September 22, 2019  |  

Extreme haplotype variation in the desiccation-tolerant clubmoss Selaginella lepidophylla.

Plant genome size varies by four orders of magnitude, and most of this variation stems from dynamic changes in repetitive DNA content. Here we report the small 109?Mb genome of Selaginella lepidophylla, a clubmoss with extreme desiccation tolerance. Single-molecule sequencing enables accurate haplotype assembly of a single heterozygous S. lepidophylla plant, revealing extensive structural variation. We observe numerous haplotype-specific deletions consisting of largely repetitive and heavily methylated sequences, with enrichment in young Gypsy LTR retrotransposons. Such elements are active but rapidly deleted, suggesting “bloat and purge” to maintain a small genome size. Unlike all other land plant lineages, Selaginella has no evidence of a whole-genome duplication event in its evolutionary history, but instead shows unique tandem gene duplication patterns reflecting adaptation to extreme drying. Gene expression changes during desiccation in S. lepidophylla mirror patterns observed across angiosperm resurrection plants.


September 22, 2019  |  

Vertebrate genome evolution in the light of fish cytogenomics and rDNAomics.

To understand the cytogenomic evolution of vertebrates, we must first unravel the complex genomes of fishes, which were the first vertebrates to evolve and were ancestors to all other vertebrates. We must not forget the immense time span during which the fish genomes had to evolve. Fish cytogenomics is endowed with unique features which offer irreplaceable insights into the evolution of the vertebrate genome. Due to the general DNA base compositional homogeneity of fish genomes, fish cytogenomics is largely based on mapping DNA repeats that still represent serious obstacles in genome sequencing and assembling, even in model species. Localization of repeats on chromosomes of hundreds of fish species and populations originating from diversified environments have revealed the biological importance of this genomic fraction. Ribosomal genes (rDNA) belong to the most informative repeats and in fish, they are subject to a more relaxed regulation than in higher vertebrates. This can result in formation of a literal ‘rDNAome’ consisting of more than 20,000 copies with their high proportion employed in extra-coding functions. Because rDNA has high rates of transcription and recombination, it contributes to genome diversification and can form reproductive barrier. Our overall knowledge of fish cytogenomics grows rapidly by a continuously increasing number of fish genomes sequenced and by use of novel sequencing methods improving genome assembly. The recently revealed exceptional compositional heterogeneity in an ancient fish lineage (gars) sheds new light on the compositional genome evolution in vertebrates generally. We highlight the power of synergy of cytogenetics and genomics in fish cytogenomics, its potential to understand the complexity of genome evolution in vertebrates, which is also linked to clinical applications and the chromosomal backgrounds of speciation. We also summarize the current knowledge on fish cytogenomics and outline its main future avenues.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.