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1.  A deep survey of alternative splicing in grape reveals changes in the splicing machinery related to tissue, stress condition and genotype 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:99.
Alternative splicing (AS) significantly enhances transcriptome complexity. It is differentially regulated in a wide variety of cell types and plays a role in several cellular processes. Here we describe a detailed survey of alternative splicing in grape based on 124 SOLiD RNAseq analyses from different tissues, stress conditions and genotypes.
We used the RNAseq data to update the existing grape gene prediction with 2,258 new coding genes and 3,336 putative long non-coding RNAs. Several gene structures have been improved and alternative splicing was described for about 30% of the genes. A link between AS and miRNAs was shown in 139 genes where we found that AS affects the miRNA target site. A quantitative analysis of the isoforms indicated that most of the spliced genes have one major isoform and tend to simultaneously co-express a low number of isoforms, typically two, with intron retention being the most frequent alternative splicing event.
As described in Arabidopsis, also grape displays a marked AS tissue-specificity, while stress conditions produce splicing changes to a minor extent. Surprisingly, some distinctive splicing features were also observed between genotypes. This was further supported by the observation that the panel of Serine/Arginine-rich splicing factors show a few, but very marked differences between genotypes. The finding that a part the splicing machinery can change in closely related organisms can lead to some interesting hypotheses for evolutionary adaptation, that could be particularly relevant in the response to sudden and strong selective pressures.
PMCID: PMC4108029  PMID: 24739459
Alternative splicing; Transcriptome; RNAseq; Grapevine
2.  RNA Sequencing of the Exercise Transcriptome in Equine Athletes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83504.
The horse is an optimal model organism for studying the genomic response to exercise-induced stress, due to its natural aptitude for athletic performance and the relative homogeneity of its genetic and environmental backgrounds. Here, we applied RNA-sequencing analysis through the use of SOLiD technology in an experimental framework centered on exercise-induced stress during endurance races in equine athletes. We monitored the transcriptional landscape by comparing gene expression levels between animals at rest and after competition. Overall, we observed a shift from coding to non-coding regions, suggesting that the stress response involves the differential expression of not annotated regions. Notably, we observed significant post-race increases of reads that correspond to repeats, especially the intergenic and intronic L1 and L2 transposable elements. We also observed increased expression of the antisense strands compared to the sense strands in intronic and regulatory regions (1 kb up- and downstream) of the genes, suggesting that antisense transcription could be one of the main mechanisms for transposon regulation in the horse under stress conditions. We identified a large number of transcripts corresponding to intergenic and intronic regions putatively associated with new transcriptional elements. Gene expression and pathway analysis allowed us to identify several biological processes and molecular functions that may be involved with exercise-induced stress. Ontology clustering reflected mechanisms that are already known to be stress activated (e.g., chemokine-type cytokines, Toll-like receptors, and kinases), as well as “nucleic acid binding” and “signal transduction activity” functions. There was also a general and transient decrease in the global rates of protein synthesis, which would be expected after strenuous global stress. In sum, our network analysis points toward the involvement of specific gene clusters in equine exercise-induced stress, including those involved in inflammation, cell signaling, and immune interactions.
PMCID: PMC3877044  PMID: 24391776
3.  Laterally transferred elements and high pressure adaptation in Photobacterium profundum strains 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:122.
Oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth's surface with an average depth of 3800 m and a pressure of 38 MPa, thus a large part of the biosphere is occupied by high pressure environments. Piezophilic (pressure-loving) organisms are adapted to deep-sea life and grow optimally at pressures higher than 0.1 MPa. To better understand high pressure adaptation from a genomic point of view three different Photobacterium profundum strains were compared. Using the sequenced piezophile P. profundum strain SS9 as a reference, microarray technology was used to identify the genomic regions missing in two other strains: a pressure adapted strain (named DSJ4) and a pressure-sensitive strain (named 3TCK). Finally, the transcriptome of SS9 grown under different pressure (28 MPa; 45 MPa) and temperature (4°C; 16°C) conditions was analyzed taking into consideration the differentially expressed genes belonging to the flexible gene pool.
These studies indicated the presence of a large flexible gene pool in SS9 characterized by various horizontally acquired elements. This was verified by extensive analysis of GC content, codon usage and genomic signature of the SS9 genome. 171 open reading frames (ORFs) were found to be specifically absent or highly divergent in the piezosensitive strain, but present in the two piezophilic strains. Among these genes, six were found to also be up-regulated by high pressure.
These data provide information on horizontal gene flow in the deep sea, provide additional details of P. profundum genome expression patterns and suggest genes which could perform critical functions for abyssal survival, including perhaps high pressure growth.
PMCID: PMC1239915  PMID: 16162277

Results 1-3 (3)