Biology in general
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Biology in general
The list of sources for information on interesting topics from biology in general
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Adaptive genetic robustness of Escherichia coli metabolic fluxes

Genetic robustness refers to phenotypic invariance in the face of mutation and is a common characteristic of life, but its evolutionary origin is highly controversial. Genetic robustness could be an intrinsic property of biological systems, a result of direct natural selection, or a byproduct of selection for environmental robustness. To differentiate among these hypotheses, we analyze the metabolic network of Escherichia coli and comparable functional random networks. Treating the flux of each reaction as a trait and computationally predicting trait values upon mutations or environmental shifts, we discover that (1) genetic robustness is greater for the actual network than the random networks, (2) the genetic robustness of a trait increases with trait importance and this correlation is stronger in the actual network than in the random networks, and (3) the above result holds even after the control of environmental robustness. These findings demonstrate an adaptive origin of genetic robustness, consistent with the theoretical prediction that, under certain conditions, direct selection is sufficiently powerful to promote genetic robustness in cellular organisms.

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MycoBASE: expanding the functional annotation coverage of mycobacterial genomes

MycoBASE: expanding the functional annotation coverage of mycobacterial genomes | Biology in general | Scoop.it

Central to most omic scale experiments is the interpretation and examination of resulting gene lists corresponding to differentially expressed, regulated, or observed gene or protein sets. Complicating interpretation is a lack of functional annotation assigned to a large percentage of many microbial genomes. This is particularly noticeable in mycobacterial genomes, which are significantly divergent from many of the microbial model species used for gene and protein functional characterization, but which are extremely important clinically. Mycobacterial species, ranging from M. tuberculosis to M. abscessus, are responsible for deadly infectious diseases that kill over 1.5 million people each year across the world. A better understanding of the coding capacity of mycobacterial genomes is therefore necessary to shed increasing light on putative mechanisms of virulence, pathogenesis, and functional adaptations.

Here we describe the improved functional annotation coverage of 11 important mycobacterial genomes, many involved in human diseases including tuberculosis, leprosy, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections. Of the 11 mycobacterial genomes, we provide 9899 new functional annotations, compared to NCBI and TBDB annotations, for genes previously characterized as genes of unknown function, hypothetical, and hypothetical conserved proteins. Functional annotations are available at our newly developed web resource MycoBASE (Mycobacterial Annotation Server) at strong.ucdenver.edu/mycobase.

Improved annotations allow for better understanding and interpretation of genomic and transcriptomic experiments, including analyzing the functional implications of insertions, deletions, and mutations, inferring the function of understudied genes, and determining functional changes resulting from differential expression studies. MycoBASE provides a valuable resource for mycobacterial researchers, through improved and searchable functional annotations and functional enrichment strategies. MycoBASE will be continually supported and updated to include new genomes, enabling a powerful resource to aid the quest to better understand these important pathogenic and environmental species.

 

THE_inteins's insight:

This is very useful resource for all microbiologists! :)

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Plenty of moustaches but not enough women: cross sectional study of medical leaders

At top American medical schools, mustaches hold more power than women. In an effort to highlight the glass ceiling in medical education, a team of researchers looked at photographs of 1,018 department heads at the 50 medical schools receiving the most research funding from the National Institutes of Health. They counted 137 women and 190 mustaches. Mustaches outnumbered women in almost every specialty. The only fields where there were more female department heads than mustachioed ones were pediatrics, dermatology, and obstetrics and gynecology. The field with the most mustaches was psychiatry. How does that make you feel?

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Bergamot versus beetle: evidence for intraspecific chemical specialization

This is such a great title!!!!

 

Abstract

A large proportion of phytophagous insects show host plant specificity (monophagy or oligophagy), often determined by host secondary chemistry. Yet, even specialists can be negatively affected by host chemistry at high levels or with novel compounds, which may manifest itself if their host species is chemically variable. This study tested for reciprocal effects of a specialist tortoise beetle (Physonota unipunctata) feeding on a host plant (Monarda fistulosa) with two monoterpene chemotypes [thymol (T) and carvacrol (C)] using a controlled field experiment where larvae fed on caged plants of both chemotypes, haphazardly collected natural plants with and without beetle damage, and growth chamber experiments where larvae that hatched and briefly fed on one chemotype were reared on either chemotype. In the field experiment, plant chemotype did not affect larval weight or length, but did influence larval survival with almost 8.3 % more surviving on T plants. Herbivores reduced seed head area (86.5 % decrease), stem mass (41.2 %) and stem height (21.1 %) of caged plants, but this was independent of host chemotype. Natural plants experienced similar reductions in these variables (74.0, 41.4 and 8.7 %) and T chemotypes were more frequently damaged. In the growth chamber, larval relative growth rate (RGR) differed for both feeding history and year. Larvae from T natal plants reared on T hosts grew at almost twice the rate of those from C and reared on T. Larvae from either T or C natal plants reared on C plants showed intermediate growth rates. Additional analyses revealed natal plant chemotype as the most important factor, with the RGR of larvae from T natal plants almost one-third higher than that of those from C natal plants. These cumulative results demonstrate intraspecific variation in plant resistance that may lead to herbivore specialization on distinct host chemistry, which has implications for the evolutionary trajectory of both the insect and plant species.

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Reconfiguration of nucleosome-depleted regions at distal regulatory elements accompanies DNA methylation of enhancers and insulators in cancer

It is well established that cancer-associated epigenetic repression occurs concomitant with CpG island hypermethylation and loss of nucleosomes at promoters, but the role of nucleosome occupancy and epigenetic reprogramming at distal regulatory elements in cancer is still poorly understood. Here, we evaluate the scope of global epigenetic alterations at enhancers and insulator elements in prostate and breast cancer cells using simultaneous genome-wide mapping of DNA methylation and nucleosome occupancy (NOMe-seq). We find that the genomic location of nucleosome-depleted regions (NDRs) is mostly cell type specific and preferentially found at enhancers in normal cells. In cancer cells, however, we observe a global reconfiguration of NDRs at distal regulatory elements coupled with a substantial reorganization of the cancer methylome. Aberrant acquisition of nucleosomes at enhancer-associated NDRs is associated with hypermethylation and epigenetic silencing marks, and conversely, loss of nucleosomes with demethylation and epigenetic activation. Remarkably, we show that nucleosomes remain strongly organized and phased at many facultative distal regulatory elements, even in the absence of a NDR as an anchor. Finally, we find that key transcription factor (TF) binding sites also show extensive peripheral nucleosome phasing, suggesting the potential for TFs to organize NDRs genome-wide and contribute to deregulation of cancer epigenomes. Together, our findings suggest that “decommissioning” of NDRs and TFs at distal regulatory elements in cancer cells is accompanied by DNA hypermethylation susceptibility of enhancers and insulator elements, which in turn may contribute to an altered genome-wide architecture and epigenetic deregulation in malignancy.

 

 

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Pif1 regulates telomere length by preferentially removing telomerase from long telomere ends

Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein complex, is responsible for maintaining the telomere length at chromosome ends. Using its RNA component as a template, telomerase uses its reverse transcriptase activity to extend the 3′-end single-stranded, repetitive telomeric DNA sequence. Pif1, a 5′-to-3′ helicase, has been suggested to regulate telomerase activity. We used single-molecule experiments to directly show that Pif1 helicase regulates telomerase activity by removing telomerase from telomere ends, allowing the cycling of the telomerase for additional extension processes. This telomerase removal efficiency increases at longer ssDNA gaps and at higher Pif1 concentrations. The enhanced telomerase removal efficiency by Pif1 at the longer single-stranded telomeric DNA suggests a way of how Pif1 regulates telomerase activity and maintains telomere length.

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Networks of lexical borrowing and lateral gene transfer in language and genome evolution

Networks of lexical borrowing and lateral gene transfer in language and genome evolution | Biology in general | Scoop.it

For a long time, both biologists and linguists have been using family trees to model how species and languages evolve. But in contrast to biology – where the tree model is generally accepted to be the most realistic way to model how eukaryotic species (species with nucleated cells, such as animals and plants) evolve – linguists have always treated language trees with a certain suspicion. They have emphasized that – given the important role that horizontal transmission plays in language history – such trees can only capture vertical aspects of language evolution, while horizontal aspects (which linguists traditionally model as “waves” that spread out in circles around a center in geographic space) are ignored.


Via Bradford Condon
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A recently transferred cluster of bacterial genes in Trichomonas vaginalis - lateral gene transfer and the fate of acquired genes

Lateral Gene Transfer (LGT) has recently gained recognition as an important contributor to some eukaryote proteomes, but the mechanisms of acquisition and fixation in eukaryotic genomes are still uncertain. A previously defined norm for LGTs in microbial eukaryotes states that the majority are genes involved in metabolism, the LGTs are typically localized one by one, surrounded by vertically inherited genes on the chromosome, and phylogenetics shows that a broad collection of bacterial lineages have contributed to the transferome.

A unique 34 kbp long fragment with 27 clustered genes (TvLF) of prokaryote origin was identified in the sequenced genome of the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. Using a PCR based approach we confirmed the presence of the orthologous fragment in four additional T. vaginalis strains. Detailed sequence analyses unambiguously suggest that TvLF is the result of one single, recent LGT event. The proposed donor is a close relative to the firmicute bacterium Peptoniphilus harei. High nucleotide sequence similarity between T. vaginalis strains, as well as to P. harei, and the absence of homologs in other Trichomonas species, suggests that the transfer event took place after the radiation of the genus Trichomonas. Some genes have undergone pseudogenization and degradation, indicating that they may not be retained in the future. Functional annotations reveal that genes involved in informational processes are particularly prone to degradation.

We conclude that, although the majority of eukaryote LGTs are single gene occurrences, they may be acquired in clusters of several genes that are subsequently cleansed of evolutionarily less advantageous genes.

 

 

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The low recombining pericentromeric region of barley restricts gene diversity and evolution but not gene expression

The low-recombining pericentromeric region of the barley genome contains roughly a quarter of the genes of the species, embedded in low recombining DNA that is rich in repeats and repressive chromatin signatures. We have investigated the effects of pericentromeric region residency upon the expression, diversity and evolution of these genes. We observe no significant difference in average transcript level or developmental RNA specificity between the barley pericentromeric region and the rest of the genome. In contrast, all of the evolutionary parameters studied here show evidence of compromised gene evolution in this region. First, genes within the pericentromeric region of wild barley show reduced diversity and significantly weakened purifying selection compared to the rest of the genome. Second, gene duplicates (ohnolog pairs) derived from the cereal whole genome duplication event ca. 60MYa have been completely eliminated from the barley pericentromeric region. Third, local gene duplication in the pericentromeric region is reduced by 29% relative to the rest of the genome. Thus, the pericentromeric region of barley is a permissive environment for gene expression but has restricted gene evolution in a sizeable fraction of barley's genes.

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CHOPCHOP: a CRISPR/Cas9 and TALEN web tool for genome editing

Major advances in genome editing have recently been made possible with the development of the TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 methods. The speed and ease of implementing these technologies has led to an explosion of mutant and transgenic organisms. A rate-limiting step in efficiently applying TALEN and CRISPR/Cas9 methods is the selection and design of targeting constructs. We have developed an online tool, CHOPCHOP (https://chopchop.rc.fas.harvard.edu), to expedite the design process. CHOPCHOP accepts a wide range of inputs (gene identifiers, genomic regions or pasted sequences) and provides an array of advanced options for target selection. It uses efficient sequence alignment algorithms to minimize search times, and rigorously predicts off-target binding of single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) and TALENs. Each query produces an interactive visualization of the gene with candidate target sites displayed at their genomic positions and color-coded according to quality scores. In addition, for each possible target site, restriction sites and primer candidates are visualized, facilitating a streamlined pipeline of mutant generation and validation. The ease-of-use and speed of CHOPCHOP make it a valuable tool for genome engineering.

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A Common Evolutionary Origin for Tailed-Bacteriophage Functional Modules and Bacterial Machineries

Bacteriophages belonging to the order Caudovirales possess a tail acting as a molecular nanomachine used during infection to recognize the host cell wall, attach to it, pierce it, and ensure the high-efficiency delivery of the genomic DNA to the host cytoplasm. In this review, we provide a comprehensive analysis of the various proteins constituting tailed bacteriophages from a structural viewpoint. To this end, we had in mind to pinpoint the resemblances within and between functional modules such as capsid/tail connectors, the tails themselves, or the tail distal host recognition devices, termed baseplates. This comparison has been extended to bacterial machineries embedded in the cell wall, for which shared molecular homology with phages has been recently revealed. This is the case for the type VI secretion system (T6SS), an inverted phage tail at the bacterial surface, or bacteriocins. Gathering all these data, we propose that a unique ancestral protein fold may have given rise to a large number of bacteriophage modules as well as to some related bacterial machinery components.

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XVI International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Rhodes, Greece, 6-10 July 2014

XVI International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Rhodes, Greece, 6-10 July 2014 | Biology in general | Scoop.it

Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, May 28, 2014 8:52 AM

I can't wait for this conference!

Christophe Jacquet's comment, May 28, 2014 10:15 AM
See you there!
Mary Williams's curator insight, May 29, 2014 4:30 AM

Looks like a super conference, great poster too!


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In silico gene-level evolution explains microbial population diversity through differential gene mobility

Microbial communities can show astonishing ecological and phylogenetic diversity. What is the role of pervasive Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) in shaping this diversity in the presence of clonally expanding ‘killer strains’? Does HGT of antibiotic production and resistance genes erase phylogenetic structure? To answer these questions, we study a spatial eco-evolutionary model of prokaryotes, inspired by recent findings on antagonistic interactions in Vibrionaceae populations. We find toxin genes evolve to be highly mobile, while resistance genes minimize mobility. This differential gene mobility is a requirement to maintain a diverse and dynamic ecosystem. The resistance gene repertoire acts as a core genome that corresponds to the phylogeny of cells, while toxin genes do not follow this phylogeny and have a patchy distribution. We also show that inter-strain HGT makes the emergent phylogenetic structure robust to selective sweeps. Lastly, in this evolved ecosystem we observe antagonistic interactions between, rather than within, spatially structure sub-populations, as has been previously observed for prokaryotes in soils and oceans. In contrast to ascribing the diversification and evolution of microbial communities to clonal dynamics, we show that multi-level evolution can elegantly explain the observed phylogenetic structure and ecosystem diversity.
THE_inteins's insight:

Interesting spin on horizontal gene transfer.

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Centromere and telomere sequence alterations reflect the rapid genome evolution within the carnivorous plant genus Genlisea

Centromere and telomere sequence alterations reflect the rapid genome evolution within the carnivorous plant genus Genlisea | Biology in general | Scoop.it
Linear chromosomes of eukaryotic organisms invariably possess centromeres and telomeres to ensure proper chromosome segregation during nuclear divisions and to protect the chromosome ends from deterioration and fusion, respectively. While centromeric sequences may differ between species, with arrays of tandemly repeated sequences and retrotransposons being the most abundant sequence types in plant centromeres, telomeric sequences are usually highly conserved among plants and other organisms. The genome size of the carnivorous genus Genlisea (Lentibulariaceae) is highly variable. Here we study evolutionary sequence plasticity of these chromosomal domains at an intrageneric level. We show that Genlisea nigrocaulis (1C = 86 Mbp; 2n = 40) and G. hispidula (1C = 1550 Mbp; 2n = 40) differ as to their DNA composition at centromeres and telomeres. G. nigrocaulis and its close relative G. pygmaea revealed mainly 161 bp tandem repeats, while G. hispidula and its close relative G. subglabra displayed a combination of four retroelements at centromeric positions. G. nigrocaulis and G. pygmaea chromosome ends are characterized by the Arabidopsis-type telomeric repeats (TTTAGGG); G. hispidula and G. subglabra instead revealed two intermingled sequence variants (TTCAGG and TTTCAGG). These differences in centromeric and, surprisingly, also in telomeric DNA sequences, uncovered between groups with on average a > 9-fold genome size difference, emphasize the fast genome evolution within this genus. Such intrageneric evolutionary alteration of telomeric repeats with cytosine in the guanine-rich strand, not yet known for plants, might impact the epigenetic telomere chromatin modification.
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Population Dynamics of Self-Replicating Cell-like Structures Emerging from Chaos

We present here a system of self-propelled particles that follow a very simple motion law in continuous space in a deterministic and asynchronous way. This system of particles is capable of producing, depending on the particle density in the habitat, several spatio-temporal patterns emerging from an initial randomized spatial configuration. We found that those structures show specific population dynamics which arise from death (decay) and growth (self-replication) of those structures, thus we call the system Primordial Particle System (PPS), as the model can be interpreted as a simplistic model of emergence of self-replicating chemical structures from initially chaotic mixed components in the "primordial soup" at the beginning of life. We describe the observed dynamics, show the emerging spatio-temporal structures and present a macroscopic top-down model as well as a probabilistic microscopic bottom-up model of the system.

 

Population Dynamics of Self-Replicating Cell-like Structures Emerging from Chaos
Thomas Schmickl, Martin Stefanec

http://arxiv.org/abs/1512.04478


Via Complexity Digest, Miloš Bajčetić
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AAAS Fellowship Decision Criticized | The Scientist Magazine®

"(Selection as a [AAAS] fellow) doesn’t reflect behavior or other issues" - Are you serious?! I would think it reflects the integrity and high ethics of conduct...

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Differential retention and divergent resolution of duplicate genes following whole-genome duplication

The Paramecium aurelia complex is a group of 15 species that share at least three past whole-genome duplications (WGDs). The macronuclear genome sequences of P. biaurelia and P. sexaurelia are presented and compared to the published sequence of P. tetraurelia. Levels of duplicate-gene retention from the recent WGD differ by >10% across species, with P. sexaurelia losing significantly more genes than P. biaurelia or P. tetraurelia. In addition, historically high rates of gene conversion have homogenized WGD paralogs, probably extending paralogs lifetime. The probability of duplicate retention is positively correlated with GC content and expression level; ribosomal proteins, transcription factors, and intracellular signaling proteins are overrepresented among maintained duplicates. Finally, multiple sources of evidence indicate that P. sexaurelia diverged from the two other lineages immediately following, or perhaps concurrent with, the recent WGD, with approximately half of gene losses between P. tetraurelia and P. sexaurelia representing divergent gene resolutions (i.e., silencing of alternative paralogs), as expected for random duplicate loss between these species. Additionally, though P. biaurelia and P. tetraurelia diverged from each other much later, there are still over 100 cases of divergent resolution between these two species. Taken together, these results indicate that divergent resolution of duplicate genes between lineages acts to reinforce reproductive isolation between species in the Paramecium aurelia complex.

 

 

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Reverse gyrase - recent advances and current mechanistic understanding of positive DNA supercoiling

Reverse gyrases are topoisomerases that introduce positive supercoils into DNA in an ATP-dependent reaction. They consist of a helicase domain and a topoisomerase domain that closely cooperate in catalysis. The mechanism of the functional cooperation of these domains has remained elusive. Recent studies have shown that the helicase domain is a nucleotide-regulated conformational switch that alternates between an open conformation with a low affinity for double-stranded DNA, and a closed state with a high double-stranded DNA affinity. The conformational cycle leads to transient separation of DNA duplexes by the helicase domain. Reverse gyrase-specific insertions in the helicase module are involved in binding to single-stranded DNA regions, DNA unwinding and supercoiling. Biochemical and structural data suggest that DNA processing by reverse gyrase is not based on sequential action of the helicase and topoisomerase domains, but rather the result of an intricate cooperation of both domains at all stages of the reaction. This review summarizes the recent advances of our understanding of the reverse gyrase mechanism. We put forward and discuss a refined, yet simple model in which reverse gyrase directs strand passage toward increasing linking numbers and positive supercoiling by controlling the conformation of a bound DNA bubble.

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Type II restriction endonucleases—a historical perspective and more

This article continues the series of Surveys and Summaries on restriction endonucleases (REases) begun this year in Nucleic Acids Research. Here we discuss ‘Type II’ REases, the kind used for DNA analysis and cloning. We focus on their biochemistry: what they are, what they do, and how they do it. Type II REases are produced by prokaryotes to combat bacteriophages. With extreme accuracy, each recognizes a particular sequence in double-stranded DNA and cleaves at a fixed position within or nearby. The discoveries of these enzymes in the 1970s, and of the uses to which they could be put, have since impacted every corner of the life sciences. They became the enabling tools of molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology, and made analysis at the most fundamental levels routine. Hundreds of different REases have been discovered and are available commercially. Their genes have been cloned, sequenced and overexpressed. Most have been characterized to some extent, but few have been studied in depth. Here, we describe the original discoveries in this field, and the properties of the first Type II REases investigated. We discuss the mechanisms of sequence recognition and catalysis, and the varied oligomeric modes in which Type II REases act. We describe the surprising heterogeneity revealed by comparisons of their sequences and structures.

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Abandoning sex: multiple origins of asexuality in the ciliate Tetrahymena

Abandoning sex: multiple origins of asexuality in the ciliate Tetrahymena | Biology in general | Scoop.it

By segregating somatic and germinal functions into large, compound macronuclei and small diploid micronuclei, respectively, ciliates can explore sexuality in ways other eukaryotes cannot. Sex, for instance, is not for reproduction but for nuclear replacement in the two cells temporarily joined in conjugation. With equal contributions from both conjugants, there is no cost of sex which theory predicts should favor asexuality. Yet ciliate asexuality is rare. The exceptional Tetrahymena has abandoned sex through loss of the micronucleus; its amicronucleates are abundant in nature where they reproduce by binary fission but never form conjugating pairs. A possible reason for their abundance is that the Tetrahymena macronucleus does not accumulate mutations as proposed by Muller’s ratchet. As such, Tetrahymena amicronucleates have the potential to be very old. This study used cytochrome oxidase-1 barcodes to determine the phylogenetic origin and relative age of amicronucleates isolated from nature.

 

 

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Celebrating five years of Genome Biology and Evolution

In 2007, SMBE conducted a grass-roots survey to investigate the needs of the field regarding new publication outlets, particularly in the fields of genomics and molecular evolution. The result, in 2009, was Genome Biology and Evolution.

2014 marks the fifth anniversary of GBE and to celebrate this milestone we have brought together a collection of articles – one from each year of GBE’s existence – for you to enjoy.

We are looking forward to where the next five years will take us.

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Subtelomeric CTCF and cohesin binding site organization using improved subtelomere assemblies and a novel annotation pipeline

Mapping genome-wide data to human subtelomeres has been problematic due to the incomplete assembly and challenges of low-copy repetitive DNA elements. Here, we provide updated human subtelomere sequence assemblies that were extended by filling telomere-adjacent gaps using clone-based resources. A bioinformatic pipeline incorporating multiread mapping for annotation of the updated assemblies using short-read data sets was developed and implemented. Annotation of subtelomeric sequence features as well as mapping of CTCF and cohesin binding sites using ChIP-seq data sets from multiple human cell types confirmed that CTCF and cohesin bind within 3 kb of the start of terminal repeat tracts at many, but not all, subtelomeres. CTCF and cohesin co-occupancy were also enriched near internal telomere-like sequence (ITS) islands and the nonterminal boundaries of subtelomere repeat elements (SREs) in transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and human embryonic stem cell (ES) lines, but were not significantly enriched in the primary fibroblast IMR90 cell line. Subtelomeric CTCF and cohesin sites predicted by ChIP-seq using our bioinformatics pipeline (but not predicted when only uniquely mapping reads were considered) were consistently validated by ChIP-qPCR. The colocalized CTCF and cohesin sites in SRE regions are candidates for mediating long-range chromatin interactions in the transcript-rich SRE region. A public browser for the integrated display of short-read sequence–based annotations relative to key subtelomere features such as the start of each terminal repeat tract, SRE identity and organization, and subtelomeric gene models was established.

 

 

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Quantitative telomerase enzyme activity determination using droplet digital PCR with single cell resolution

The telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP) for the human reverse transcriptase, telomerase, is a PCR-based assay developed two decades ago and is still used for routine determination of telomerase activity. The TRAP assay can only reproducibly detect ∼2-fold differences and is only quantitative when compared to internal standards and reference cell lines. The method generally involves laborious radioactive gel electrophoresis and is not conducive to high-throughput analyzes. Recently droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) technologies have become available that allow for absolute quantification of input deoxyribonucleic acid molecules following PCR. We describe the reproducibility and provide several examples of a droplet digital TRAP (ddTRAP) assay for telomerase activity, including quantitation of telomerase activity in single cells, telomerase activity across several common telomerase positive cancer cells lines and in human primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells following mitogen stimulation. Adaptation of the TRAP assay to digital format allows accurate and reproducible quantification of the number of telomerase-extended products (i.e. telomerase activity; 57.8 ± 7.5) in a single HeLa cell. The tools developed in this study allow changes in telomerase enzyme activity to be monitored on a single cell basis and may have utility in designing novel therapeutic approaches that target telomerase.

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The Brassica oleracea genome reveals the asymmetrical evolution of polyploid genomes

The Brassica oleracea genome reveals the asymmetrical evolution of polyploid genomes | Biology in general | Scoop.it

Polyploidization has provided much genetic variation for plant adaptive evolution, but the mechanisms by which the molecular evolution of polyploid genomes establishes genetic architecture underlying species differentiation are unclear. Brassica is an ideal model to increase knowledge of polyploid evolution. Here we describe a draft genome sequence of Brassica oleracea, comparing it with that of its sister species B. rapa to reveal numerous chromosome rearrangements and asymmetrical gene loss in duplicated genomic blocks, asymmetrical amplification of transposable elements, differential gene co-retention for specific pathways and variation in gene expression, including alternative splicing, among a large number of paralogous and orthologous genes. Genes related to the production of anticancer phytochemicals and morphological variations illustrate consequences of genome duplication and gene divergence, imparting biochemical and morphological variation to B. oleracea. This study provides insights into Brassica genome evolution and will underpin research into the many important crops in this genus.


Via Pierre-Marc Delaux
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Biswapriya Biswavas Misra's curator insight, June 4, 2014 10:55 PM

Polyploidization has provided much genetic variation for plant adaptive evolution, but the mechanisms by which the molecular evolution of polyploid genomes establishes genetic architecture underlying species differentiation are unclear. Brassica is an ideal model to increase knowledge of polyploid evolution. Here we describe a draft genome sequence of Brassica oleracea, comparing it with that of its sister species B. rapa to reveal numerous chromosome rearrangements and asymmetrical gene loss in duplicated genomic blocks, asymmetrical amplification of transposable elements, differential gene co-retention for specific pathways and variation in gene expression, including alternative splicing, among a large number of paralogous and orthologous genes. Genes related to the production of anticancer phytochemicals and morphological variations illustrate consequences of genome duplication and gene divergence, imparting biochemical and morphological variation to B. oleracea. This study provides insights into Brassica genome evolution and will underpin research into the many important crops in this genus.