The freshwater cnidarian Hydra was first described in 17021 and has been the object of study for 300 years. Experimental studies of Hydra between 1736 and 1744 culminated in the discovery of asexual reproduction of an animal by budding, the first description of regeneration in an animal, and successful transplantation of tissue between animals2. Today, Hydra is an important model for studies of axial patterning3, stem cell biology4 and regeneration5. Here we report the genome of Hydra magnipapillata and compare it to the genomes of the anthozoan Nematostella vectensis6 and other animals. The Hydra genome has been shaped by bursts of transposable element expansion, horizontal gene transfer, trans-splicing, and simplification of gene structure and gene content that parallel simplification of the Hydra life cycle. We also report the sequence of the genome of a novel bacterium stably associated with H. magnipapillata. Comparisons of the Hydra genome to the genomes of other animals shed light on the evolution of epithelia, contractile tissues, developmentally regulated transcription factors, the Spemann–Mangold organizer, pluripotency genes and the neuromuscular junction.
Recent metagenomic studies of environments, such as marine and soil, have significantly enhanced our understanding of the diverse microbial communities living in these habitats and their essential roles in sustaining vast ecosystems. The increase in the number of publications related to soil and marine metagenomics is in sharp contrast to those of air, yet airborne microbes are thought to have significant impacts on many aspects of our lives from their potential roles in atmospheric events such as cloud formation, precipitation, and atmospheric chemistry to their major impact on human health. In this review, we will discuss the current progress in airborne metagenomics, with a special focus on exploring the challenges and opportunities of undertaking such studies. The main challenges of conducting metagenomic studies of airborne microbes are as follows: 1) Low density of microorganisms in the air, 2) efficient retrieval of microorganisms from the air, 3) variability in airborne microbial community composition, 4) the lack of standardized protocols and methodologies, and 5) DNA sequencing and bioinformatics-related challenges. Overcoming these challenges could provide the groundwork for comprehensive analysis of airborne microbes and their potential impact on the atmosphere, global climate, and our health. Metagenomic studies offer a unique opportunity to examine viral and bacterial diversity in the air and monitor their spread locally or across the globe, including threats from pathogenic microorganisms. Airborne metagenomic studies could also lead to discoveries of novel genes and metabolic pathways relevant to meteorological and industrial applications, environmental bioremediation, and biogeochemical cycles.
airborne microorganisms; culture-independent studies; microbial diversity; metagenomics; 16S rRNA sequencing; metabolic potential
Comparative genomics provides insights into the diversification of bacterial species. Bacterial speciation usually takes place with lasting homologous recombination, which not only acts as a cohering force between diverging lineages but brings advantageous alleles favored by natural selection, and results in ecologically distinct species, e.g., frequent host shift in Xanthomonas pathogenic to various plants.
Using whole-genome sequences, we examined the genetic divergence in Xanthomonas campestris that infected Brassicaceae, and X. citri, pathogenic to a wider host range. Genetic differentiation between two incipient races of X. citri pv. mangiferaeindicae was attributable to a DNA fragment introduced by phages. In contrast to most portions of the genome that had nearly equivalent levels of genetic divergence between subspecies as a result of the accumulation of point mutations, 10% of the core genome involving with homologous recombination contributed to the diversification in Xanthomonas, as revealed by the correlation between homologous recombination and genomic divergence. Interestingly, 179 genes were under positive selection; 98 (54.7%) of these genes were involved in homologous recombination, indicating that foreign genetic fragments may have caused the adaptive diversification, especially in lineages with nutritional transitions. Homologous recombination may have provided genetic materials for the natural selection, and host shifts likely triggered ecological adaptation in Xanthomonas. To a certain extent, we observed positive selection nevertheless contributed to ecological divergence beyond host shifting.
Altogether, mediated with lasting gene flow, species formation in Xanthomonas was likely governed by natural selection that played a key role in helping the deviating populations to explore novel niches (hosts) or respond to environmental cues, subsequently triggering species diversification.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1369-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Xanthomonas; Adaptive diversification; Host shift; Parapatric speciation; Homologous recombination; Comparative genomics
The ocelloid is an extraordinary eyespot organelle found only in the dinoflagellate family Warnowiaceae. It contains retina- and lens-like structures called the retinal body and the hyalosome. The ocelloid has been an evolutionary enigma because of its remarkable resemblance to the multicellular camera-type eye. To determine if the ocelloid is functionally photoreceptive, we investigated the warnowiid dinoflagellate Erythropsidinium. Here, we show that the morphology of the retinal body changed depending on different illumination conditions and the hyalosome manifests the refractile nature. Identifying a rhodopsin gene fragment in Erythropsidinium ESTs that is expressed in the retinal body by in situ hybridization, we also show that ocelloids are actually light sensitive photoreceptors. The rhodopsin gene identified is most closely related to bacterial rhodopsins. Taken together, we suggest that the ocelloid is an intracellular camera-type eye, which might be originated from endosymbiotic origin.
The chicken domestication process represents a typical model of artificial selection, and gives significant insight into the general understanding of the influence of artificial selection on recognizable phenotypes. Two Japanese domesticated chicken varieties, the fighting cock (Shamo) and the long-crowing chicken (Naganakidori), have been selectively bred for dramatically different phenotypes. The former has been selected exclusively for aggressiveness and the latter for long crowing with an obedient sitting posture. To understand the particular mechanism behind these genetic changes during domestication, we investigated the degree of genetic differentiation in the aforementioned chickens, focusing on dopamine receptor D2, D3, and D4 genes. We studied other ornamental chickens such as Chabo chickens as a reference for comparison. When genetic differentiation was measured by an index of nucleotide differentiation (NST) newly devised in this study, we found that the NST value of DRD4 for Shamo (0.072) was distinctively larger than those of the other genes among the three populations, suggesting that aggressiveness has been selected for in Shamo by collecting a variety of single nucleotide polymorphisms. In addition, we found that in DRD4 in Naganakidori, there is a deletion variant of one proline at the 24th residue in the repeat of nine prolines of exon 1. We thus conclude that artificial selection has operated on these different kinds of genetic variation in the DRD4 genes of Shamo and Naganakidori so strongly that the two domesticated varieties have differentiated to obtain their present opposite features in a relatively short period of time.
Coevolution is important for the maintenance of the interaction between a ligand and its receptor during evolution. The interaction between axon guidance molecule Slit and its receptor Robo is critical for the axon repulsion in neural tissues, which is evolutionarily conserved from planarians to humans. However, the mechanism of coevolution between Slit and Robo remains unclear. In this study, we found that coordinated amino acid changes took place at interacting sites of Slit and Robo by comparing the amino acids at these sites among different organisms. In addition, the high level correlation between evolutionary rate of Slit and Robo was identified in vertebrates. Furthermore, the sites under positive selection of slit and robo were detected in the same lineage such as mosquito and teleost. Overall, our results provide evidence for the coevolution between Slit and Robo.
Nerve cells and spontaneous coordinated behavior first appeared near the base of animal evolution in the common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. Experiments on the cnidarian Hydra have demonstrated that nerve cells are essential for this behavior, although nerve cells in Hydra are organized in a diffuse network and do not form ganglia. Here we show that the gap junction protein innexin-2 is expressed in a small group of nerve cells in the lower body column of Hydra and that an anti-innexin-2 antibody binds to gap junctions in the same region. Treatment of live animals with innexin-2 antibody eliminates gap junction staining and reduces spontaneous body column contractions. We conclude that a small subset of nerve cells, connected by gap junctions and capable of synchronous firing, act as a pacemaker to coordinate the contraction of the body column in the absence of ganglia.
Nori, a marine red alga, is one of the most profitable mariculture crops in the world. However, the biological properties of this macroalga are poorly understood at the molecular level. In this study, we determined the draft genome sequence of susabi-nori (Pyropia yezoensis) using next-generation sequencing platforms. For sequencing, thalli of P. yezoensis were washed to remove bacteria attached on the cell surface and enzymatically prepared as purified protoplasts. The assembled contig size of the P. yezoensis nuclear genome was approximately 43 megabases (Mb), which is an order of magnitude smaller than the previously estimated genome size. A total of 10,327 gene models were predicted and about 60% of the genes validated lack introns and the other genes have shorter introns compared to large-genome algae, which is consistent with the compact size of the P. yezoensis genome. A sequence homology search showed that 3,611 genes (35%) are functionally unknown and only 2,069 gene groups are in common with those of the unicellular red alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae. As color trait determinants of red algae, light-harvesting genes involved in the phycobilisome were predicted from the P. yezoensis nuclear genome. In particular, we found a second homolog of phycobilisome-degradation gene, which is usually chloroplast-encoded, possibly providing a novel target for color fading of susabi-nori in aquaculture. These findings shed light on unexplained features of macroalgal genes and genomes, and suggest that the genome of P. yezoensis is a promising model genome of marine red algae.
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) comprise a significant percentage of the mammalian genome, and it is poorly understood whether they will remain as inactive genomes or emerge as infectious retroviruses. Although several types of ERVs are present in domestic cats, infectious ERVs have not been demonstrated. Here, we report a previously uncharacterized class of endogenous gammaretroviruses, termed ERV-DCs, that is present and hereditary in the domestic cat genome. We have characterized a subset of ERV-DC proviral clones, which are numbered according to their genomic insertions. One of these, ERV-DC10, located in the q12-q21 region on chromosome C1, is an infectious gammaretrovirus capable of infecting a broad range of cells, including human. Our studies indicate that ERV-DC10 entered the genome of domestic cats in the recent past and appeared to translocate to or reintegrate at a distinct locus as infectious ERV-DC18. Insertional polymorphism analysis revealed that 92 of 244 domestic cats had ERV-DC10 on a homozygous or heterozygous locus. ERV-DC-like sequences were found in primate and rodent genomes, suggesting that these ERVs, and recombinant viruses such as RD-114 and BaEV, originated from an ancestor of ERV-DC. We also found that a novel recombinant virus, feline leukemia virus subgroup D (FeLV-D), was generated by ERV-DC env transduction into feline leukemia virus in domestic cats. Our results indicate that ERV-DCs behave as donors and/or acceptors in the generation of infectious, recombinant viruses. The presence of such infectious endogenous retroviruses, which could be harmful or beneficial to the host, may affect veterinary medicine and public health.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) is a destructive complication of retinal detachment and vitreoretinal surgery which can lead to severe vision reduction by tractional retinal detachments. The purpose of this study was to determine the gene expression profile of epiretinal membranes (ERMs) associated with a PVR (PVR-ERM) and to compare it to the expression profile of less-aggressive secondary ERMs.
A PCR-amplified complementary DNA (cDNA) library was constructed using the RNAs isolated from ERMs obtained during vitrectomy. The sequence from the 5′ end was obtained for randomly selected clones and used to generate expressed sequence tags (ESTs). We obtained 1116 nonredundant clusters representing individual genes expressed in PVR-ERMs, and 799 clusters representing the genes expressed in secondary ERMs. The transcriptome of the PVR-ERMs was subdivided by functional subsets of genes related to metabolism, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, signaling, and other functions, by FatiGo analysis. The genes highly expressed in PVR-ERMs were compared to those expressed in the secondary ERMs, and these were subdivided by cell adhesion, proliferation, and other functions. Querying 10 cell adhesion-related genes against the STRING database yielded 70 possible physical relationships to other genes/proteins, which included an additional 60 genes that were not detected in the PVR-ERM library. Of these, soluble CD44 and soluble vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1 were significantly increased in the vitreous of patients with PVR.
Our results support an earlier hypothesis that a PVR-ERM, even from genomic points of view, is an aberrant form of wound healing response. Genes preferentially expressed in PVR-ERMs may play an important role in the progression of PVR and could be served as therapeutic targets.
In evolution of mammals, some of essential genes for placental development are known to be of retroviral origin, as syncytin-1 derived from an envelope (env) gene of an endogenous retrovirus (ERV) aids in the cell fusion of placenta in humans. Although the placenta serves the same function in all placental mammals, env-derived genes responsible for trophoblast cell fusion and maternal immune tolerance differ among species and remain largely unidentified in the bovine species. To examine env-derived genes playing a role in the bovine placental development comprehensively, we determined the transcriptomic profiles of bovine conceptuses during three crucial windows of implantation periods using a high-throughput sequencer. The sequence reads were mapped into the bovine genome, in which ERV candidates were annotated using RetroTector© (7,624 and 1,542 for ERV-derived and env-derived genes, respectively). The mapped reads showed that approximately 18% (284 genes) of env-derived genes in the genome were expressed during placenta formation, and approximately 4% (63 genes) were detected for all days examined. We verified three env-derived genes that are expressed in trophoblast cells by polymerase chain reaction. Out of these three, the sequence of env-derived gene with the longest open reading frame (named BERV-P env) was found to show high expression levels in trophoblast cell lines and to be similar to those of syncytin-Car1 genes found in dogs and cats, despite their disparate origins. These results suggest that placentation depends on various retrovirus-derived genes that could have replaced endogenous predecessors during evolution.
endogenous retrovirus; RNA-seq; syncytin; envelope; cow
H-InvDB (http://www.h-invitational.jp/) is a comprehensive human gene database started in 2004. In the latest version, H-InvDB 8.0, a total of 244 709 human complementary DNA was mapped onto the hg19 reference genome and 43 829 gene loci, including nonprotein-coding ones, were identified. Of these loci, 35 631 were identified as potential protein-coding genes, and 22 898 of these were identical to known genes. In our analysis, 19 309 annotated genes were specific to H-InvDB and not found in RefSeq and Ensembl. In fact, 233 genes of the 19 309 turned out to have protein functions in this version of H-InvDB; they were annotated as unknown protein functions in the previous version. Furthermore, 11 genes were identified as known Mendelian disorder genes. It is advantageous that many biologically functional genes are hidden in the H-InvDB unique genes. As large-scale proteomic projects have been conducted to elucidate the functions of all human proteins, we have enhanced the proteomic information with an advanced protein view and new subdatabase of protein complexes (Protein Complex Database with quality index). We propose that H-InvDB is an important resource for finding novel candidate targets for medical care and drug development.
The relationship between sequence polymorphisms and human disease has been studied mostly in terms of effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) leading to single amino acid substitutions that change protein structure and function. However, less attention has been paid to more drastic sequence polymorphisms which cause premature termination of a protein’s sequence or large changes, insertions, or deletions in the sequence. We have analyzed a large set (n = 512) of insertions and deletions (indels) and single nucleotide polymorphisms causing premature termination of translation in disease-related genes. Prediction of protein-destabilization effects was performed by graphical presentation of the locations of polymorphisms in the protein structure, using the Genomes TO Protein (GTOP) database, and manual annotation with a set of specific criteria. Protein-destabilization was predicted for 44.4% of the nonsense SNPs, 32.4% of the frameshifting indels, and 9.1% of the non-frameshifting indels. A prediction of nonsense-mediated decay allowed to infer which truncated proteins would actually be translated as defective proteins. These cases included the proteins linked to diseases inherited dominantly, suggesting a relation between these diseases and toxic aggregation. Our approach would be useful in identifying potentially aggregation-inducing polymorphisms that may have pathological effects.
We sequenced the genome of Theileria orientalis, a tick-borne apicomplexan protozoan parasite of cattle. The focus of this study was a comparative genome analysis of T. orientalis relative to other highly pathogenic Theileria species, T. parva and T. annulata. T. parva and T. annulata induce transformation of infected cells of lymphocyte or macrophage/monocyte lineages; in contrast, T. orientalis does not induce uncontrolled proliferation of infected leukocytes and multiplies predominantly within infected erythrocytes. While synteny across homologous chromosomes of the three Theileria species was found to be well conserved overall, subtelomeric structures were found to differ substantially, as T. orientalis lacks the large tandemly arrayed subtelomere-encoded variable secreted protein-encoding gene family. Moreover, expansion of particular gene families by gene duplication was found in the genomes of the two transforming Theileria species, most notably, the TashAT/TpHN and Tar/Tpr gene families. Gene families that are present only in T. parva and T. annulata and not in T. orientalis, Babesia bovis, or Plasmodium were also identified. Identification of differences between the genome sequences of Theileria species with different abilities to transform and immortalize bovine leukocytes will provide insight into proteins and mechanisms that have evolved to induce and regulate this process. The T. orientalis genome database is available at http://totdb.czc.hokudai.ac.jp/.
Cancer-like growth of leukocytes infected with malignant Theileria parasites is a unique cellular event, as it involves the transformation and immortalization of one eukaryotic cell by another. In this study, we sequenced the whole genome of a nontransforming Theileria species, Theileria orientalis, and compared it to the published sequences representative of two malignant, transforming species, T. parva and T. annulata. The genome-wide comparison of these parasite species highlights significant genetic diversity that may be associated with evolution of the mechanism(s) deployed by an intracellular eukaryotic parasite to transform its host cell.
Numerous cultivars of Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus subgenus Cerasus) are recognized, but in many cases they are difficult to distinguish morphologically. Therefore, we evaluated the clonal status of 215 designated cultivars using 17 SSR markers. More than half the cultivars were morphologically distinct and had unique genotypes. However, 22 cultivars were found to consist of multiple clones, which probably originate from the chance seedlings, suggesting that their unique characteristics have not been maintained through propagation by grafting alone. We also identified 23 groups consisting of two or more cultivars with identical genotypes. Most members of these groups were putatively synonymously related and morphologically identical. However, some of them were probably derived from bud sport mutants and had distinct morphologies. SSR marker analysis provided useful insights into the clonal status of the examined Japanese flowering cherry cultivars and proved to be a useful tool for cultivar characterization.
Cerasus; clone identification; cultivars; Prunus; SSR; microsatellite; taxonomy
Kleptoplastidy is the retention of plastids obtained from ingested algal prey, which may remain temporarily functional and be used for photosynthesis by the predator. We showed that the marine dinoflagellate Dinophysis mitra has great kleptoplastid diversity. We obtained 308 plastid rbcL sequences by gene cloning from 14 D. mitra cells and 102 operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Most sequences were new in the genetic database and positioned within Haptophyceae (227 sequences [73.7%], 80 OTUs [78.4%]), particularly within the genus Chrysochromulina. Others were closely related to Prasinophyceae (16 sequences [5.2%], 5 OTUs [4.9%]), Dictyochophyceae (14 sequences [4.5%], 5 OTUs [4.9%]), Pelagophyceae (14 sequences [4.5%], 1 OTU [1.0%]), Bolidophyceae (3 sequences [1.0%], 1 OTU [1.0%]), and Bacillariophyceae (1 sequence [0.3%], 1 OTU [1.0%]); however, 33 sequences (10.8%) as 9 OTUs (8.8%) were not closely clustered with any particular group. Only six sequences were identical to those of Chrysochromulina simplex, Chrysochromulina hirta, Chrysochromulina sp. TKB8936, Micromonas pusilla NEPCC29, Micromonas pusilla CCMP491, and an unidentified diatom. Thus, we detected >100 different plastid sequences from 14 D. mitra cells, strongly suggesting kleptoplastidy and the need for mixotrophic prey such as Laboea, Tontonia, and Strombidium-like ciliates, which retain numerous symbiotic plastids from different origins, for propagation and plastid sequestration.
The Targeted Proteins Research Program (TPRP) promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan is the phase II of structural biology project (2007–2011) following the Protein 3000 Project (2002–2006) in Japan. While the phase I Protein 3000 Project put partial emphasis on the construction and maintenance of pipelines for structural analyses, the TPRP is dedicated to revealing the structures and functions of the targeted proteins that have great importance in both basic research and industrial applications. To pursue this objective, 35 Targeted Proteins (TP) Projects selected in the three areas of fundamental biology, medicine and pharmacology, and food and environment are tightly collaborated with 10 Advanced Technology (AT) Projects in the four fields of protein production, structural analyses, chemical library and screening, and information platform. Here, the outlines and achievements of the 35 TP Projects are summarized in the system named TP Atlas. Progress in the diversified areas is described in the modules of Graphical Summary, General Summary, Tabular Summary, and Structure Gallery of the TP Atlas in the standard and unified format. Advances in TP Projects owing to novel technologies stemmed from AT Projects and collaborative research among TP Projects are illustrated as a hallmark of the Program. The TP Atlas can be accessed at http://net.genes.nig.ac.jp/tpatlas/index_e.html.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10969-012-9139-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Structural biology; National project; Research dissemination; Targeted Proteins Research Program; Protein 3000 Project
The industrially important food-yeast Candida utilis is a Crabtree effect-negative yeast used to produce valuable chemicals and recombinant proteins. In the present study, we conducted whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of C. utilis, which showed that this yeast diverged long before the formation of the CUG and Saccharomyces/Kluyveromyces clades. In addition, we performed comparative genome and transcriptome analyses using next-generation sequencing, which resulted in the identification of genes important for characteristic phenotypes of C. utilis such as those involved in nitrate assimilation, in addition to the gene encoding the functional hexose transporter. We also found that an antisense transcript of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene, which in silico analysis did not predict to be a functional gene, was transcribed in the stationary-phase, suggesting a novel system of repression of ethanol production. These findings should facilitate the development of more sophisticated systems for the production of useful reagents using C. utilis.
Eukaryote genomes contain many noncoding regions, and they are quite complex. To understand these complexities, we constructed a database, Genome Composition Database, for the whole genome composition statistics for 101 eukaryote genome data, as well as more than 1,000 prokaryote genomes. Frequencies of all possible one to ten oligonucleotides were counted for each genome, and these observed values were compared with expected values computed under observed oligonucleotide frequencies of length 1–4. Deviations from expected values were much larger for eukaryotes than prokaryotes, except for fungal genomes. Mammalian genomes showed the largest deviation among animals. The results of comparison are available online at http://esper.lab.nig.ac.jp/genome-composition-database/.
GCD; oligonucleotide frequency; alignment-free sequence comparison
The DNA Data Bank of Japan (DDBJ; http://www.ddbj.nig.ac.jp) maintains and provides archival, retrieval and analytical resources for biological information. The central DDBJ resource consists of public, open-access nucleotide sequence databases including raw sequence reads, assembly information and functional annotation. Database content is exchanged with EBI and NCBI within the framework of the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC). In 2011, DDBJ launched two new resources: the ‘DDBJ Omics Archive’ (DOR; http://trace.ddbj.nig.ac.jp/dor) and BioProject (http://trace.ddbj.nig.ac.jp/bioproject). DOR is an archival database of functional genomics data generated by microarray and highly parallel new generation sequencers. Data are exchanged between the ArrayExpress at EBI and DOR in the common MAGE-TAB format. BioProject provides an organizational framework to access metadata about research projects and the data from the projects that are deposited into different databases. In this article, we describe major changes and improvements introduced to the DDBJ services, and the launch of two new resources: DOR and BioProject.