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Current Biology: Evidence for Extensive Recent Intron Transposition in Closely Related Fungi

Current Biology: Evidence for Extensive Recent Intron Transposition in Closely Related Fungi | MyPublications | Scoop.it

Though spliceosomal introns are a major structural component of most eukaryotic genes and intron density varies by more than three orders of magnitude among eukaryotes, the origins of introns are poorly understood, and only a few cases of unambiguous intron gain are known. We utilized population genomic comparisons of three closely related fungi to identify crucial transitory phases of intron gain and loss. We found 74 intron positions showing intraspecific presence-absence polymorphisms (PAPs) for the entire intron. Population genetic analyses identified intron PAPs at different stages of fixation and showed that intron gain or loss was very recent. We found direct support for extensive intron transposition among unrelated genes. A substantial proportion of highly similar introns in the genome either were recently gained or showed a transient phase of intron PAP. We also identified an intron transfer among paralogous genes that created a new intron. Intron loss was due mainly to homologous recombination involving reverse-transcribed mRNA. The large number of intron positions in transient phases of either intron gain or loss shows that intron evolution is much faster than previously thought and provides an excellent model to study molecular mechanisms of intron gain.

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Journal of Evolutionary Biology: A cryptic heterogametic transition revealed by sex-linked DNA markers in Palearctic green toads

Journal of Evolutionary Biology: A cryptic heterogametic transition revealed by sex-linked DNA markers in Palearctic green toads | MyPublications | Scoop.it

In sharp contrast to birds and mammals, most cold-blooded vertebrates have homomorphic (morphologically undifferentiated) sex chromosomes. This might result either from recurrent X-Y recombination (occurring e.g. during occasional events of sex reversal) or from frequent turnovers (during which sex-determining genes are overthrown by new autosomal mutations). Evidence for turnovers is indeed mounting in fish, but very few have so far been documented in amphibians, possibly because of practical difficulties in identifying sex chromosomes. Female heterogamety (ZW) has long been established in Bufo bufo, based on sex reversal and crossing experiments. Here, we investigate a sex-linked marker identified from a laboratory cross between Palearctic green toads (Bufo viridis subgroup). The F1 offspring produced by a female Bufo balearicus and a male Bufo siculus were phenotypically sexed, displaying an even sex ratio. A sex-specific marker detected in highly reproducible AFLP genotypes was cloned. Sequencing revealed a noncoding, microsatellite-containing fragment. Reamplification and genotyping of families of this and a reciprocal cross showed B. siculus to be male heterogametic (XY) and suggested the same system for B. balearicus. Our results thus reveal a cryptic heterogametic transition within bufonid frogs and help explain patterns of hybrid fitness within the B. viridis subgroup. Turnovers of genetic sex-determination systems may be more frequent in amphibians than previously thought and thus contribute to the prevalence of homomorphic sex chromosomes in this group.

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Current Biology: Segregation in a Mycorrhizal Fungus Alters Rice Growth and Symbiosis-Specific Gene Transcription

Current Biology: Segregation in a Mycorrhizal Fungus Alters Rice Growth and Symbiosis-Specific Gene Transcription | MyPublications | Scoop.it

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbioses with the majority of plants, improving plant nutrition and diversity. Evidence exists suggesting that AMF contain populations of genetically different nucleotypes coexisting in a common cytoplasm. This potentially has two important consequences for their genetics. First, by random distribution of nuclei at spore formation, new offspring of an AMF could receive different complements of nucleotypes compared to the parent or siblings—we consider this as segregation. Second, genetic exchange between AMF would allow the mixing of nuclei, altering nucleotype diversity in new spores. Because segregation was assumed not to occur and genetic exchange has only recently been demonstrated, no attempts have been made to test whether this affects the symbiosis with plants. Here, we show that segregation occurs in the AMF Glomus intraradices and can enhance the growth of rice up to five times, even though neither parental nor crossed AMF lines induced a positive growth response. This process also resulted in an alteration of symbiosis-specific gene transcription in rice. Our results demonstrate that manipulation of AMF genetics has important consequences for the symbiotic effects on plants and could be used to enhance the growth of globally important crops.

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New Phytologist: The transcriptome of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices (DAOM 197198) reveals functional tradeoffs in an obligate symbiont

New Phytologist: The transcriptome of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices (DAOM 197198) reveals functional tradeoffs in an obligate symbiont | MyPublications | Scoop.it

The arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis is arguably the most ecologically important eukaryotic symbiosis, yet it is poorly understood at the molecular level. To provide novel insights into the molecular basis of symbiosis-associated traits, we report the first genome-wide analysis of the transcriptome from Glomus intraradices DAOM 197198.
We generated a set of 25 906 nonredundant virtual transcripts (NRVTs) transcribed in germinated spores, extraradical mycelium and symbiotic roots using Sanger and 454 sequencing. NRVTs were used to construct an oligoarray for investigating gene expression.
We identified transcripts coding for the meiotic recombination machinery, as well as meiosis-specific proteins, suggesting that the lack of a known sexual cycle in G. intraradices is not a result of major deletions of genes essential for sexual reproduction and meiosis. Induced expression of genes encoding membrane transporters and small secreted proteins in intraradical mycelium, together with the lack of expression of hydrolytic enzymes acting on plant cell wall polysaccharides, are all features of G. intraradices that are shared with ectomycorrhizal symbionts and obligate biotrophic pathogens.
Our results illuminate the genetic basis of symbiosis-related traits of the most ancient lineage of plant biotrophs, advancing future research on these agriculturally and ecologically important symbionts.

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Annual Review of Genetics: Arbuscular Mycorrhiza: The Challenge to Understand the Genetics of the Fungal Partner

Annual Review of Genetics: Arbuscular Mycorrhiza: The Challenge to Understand the Genetics of the Fungal Partner | MyPublications | Scoop.it

Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses occur between fungi and the majority of plant species. They are important for plant nutrition, plant growth, protection from pathogens, plant diversity, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem processes. A key goal in research is to understand the molecular basis of the establishment, regulation, and functioning of the symbiosis. However, lack of knowledge on the genetics of the fungal side of this association has hindered progress. Here, we show how several key, recently discovered processes concerning the genetics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi could be essential for ultimately understanding the molecular genetics of this important symbiosis with plants.

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BMC Evolutionary Biology: Recombination in Glomus intraradices, a supposed ancient asexual arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus

BMC Evolutionary Biology: Recombination in Glomus intraradices, a supposed ancient asexual arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus | MyPublications | Scoop.it

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are important symbionts of most plant species, promoting plant diversity and productivity. This symbiosis is thought to have contributed to the early colonisation of land by plants. Morphological stasis over 400 million years and the lack of an observed sexual stage in any member of the phylum Glomeromycota led to the controversial suggestion of AMF being ancients asexuals. Evidence for recombination in AMF is contradictory.

We addressed the question of recombination in the AMF Glomus intraradices by sequencing 11 polymorphic nuclear loci in 40 morphologically identical isolates from one field. Phylogenetic relationships among genotypes showed a reticulate network pattern providing a rationale to test for recombination. Five statistical tests predicted multiple recombinant regions in the genome of a core set of isolates. In contrast, five clonal lineages had fixed a large number of differences.

Our data show that AMF from one field have undergone recombination but that clonal lineages coexist. This finding has important consequences for understanding AMF evolution, co-evolution of AMF and plants and highlights the potential for commercially introduced AMF inoculum recombining with existing local populations. Finally, our results reconcile seemingly contradictory studies on whether AMF are clonal or form recombining populations.

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