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1.  The BAG Homology Domain of Snl1 Cures Yeast Prion [URE3] Through Regulation of Hsp70 Chaperones 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):461-470.
The BAG family of proteins is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to humans and plants. In animals and plants, the BAG family possesses multiple members with overlapping and distinct functions that regulate many cellular processes, such as signaling, protein degradation, and stress response. The only BAG domain protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is Snl1, which is anchored to the endoplasmic reticulum through an amino-terminal transmembrane region. Snl1 is the only known membrane-associated nucleotide exchange factor for 70-kilodalton heat shock protein (Hsp70), and thus its role in regulating cytosolic Hsp70 functions is not clear. Here, we examine whether Snl1 regulates Hsp70 activity in the propagation of stable prion-like protein aggregates. We show that unlike other nucleotide exchange factors, Snl1 is not required for propagation of yeast prions [URE3] and [PSI+]. Overexpressing Snl1 derivative consisting of only the BAG domain (Snl1-S) cures [URE3]; however, elevated levels of the entire cytosolic domain of Snl1 (Snl1-M), which has nine additional amino-terminal residues, has no effect. Substituting the three lysine residues in this region of Snl1-M with alanine restores ability to cure [URE3]. [PSI+] is unaffected by overproduction of either Snl1-S or Snl1-M. The Snl1-S mutant engineered with weaker affinity to Hsp70 does not cure [URE3], indicating that curing of [URE3] by Snl1-S requires Hsp70. Our data suggest that Snl1 anchoring to endoplasmic reticulum or nuclear membrane restricts its ability to modulate cytosolic activities of Hsp70 proteins. Furthermore, the short amino-terminal extension of the BAG domain profoundly affects its function.
PMCID: PMC3962485  PMID: 24408033
Hsp70; nucleotide exchange factor; yeast prion; Snl1; BAG domain
2.  gitter: A Robust and Accurate Method for Quantification of Colony Sizes From Plate Images 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):547-552.
Colony-based screens that quantify the fitness of clonal populations on solid agar plates are perhaps the most important source of genome-scale functional information in microorganisms. The images of ordered arrays of mutants produced by such experiments can be difficult to process because of laboratory-specific plate features, morphed colonies, plate edges, noise, and other artifacts. Most of the tools developed to address this problem are optimized to handle a single setup and do not work out of the box in other settings. We present gitter, an image analysis tool for robust and accurate processing of images from colony-based screens. gitter works by first finding the grid of colonies from a preprocessed image and then locating the bounds of each colony separately. We show that gitter produces comparable colony sizes to other tools in simple cases but outperforms them by being able to handle a wider variety of screens and more accurately quantify colony sizes from difficult images. gitter is freely available as an R package from under the LGPL. Tutorials and demos can be found at
PMCID: PMC3962492  PMID: 24474170
Genetics; Image Analysis; R; Synthetic Genetic Array
3.  Near-Absent Levels of Segregational Variation Suggest Limited Opportunities for the Introduction of Genetic Variation Via Homeologous Chromosome Pairing in Synthetic Neoallotetraploid Mimulus 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):509-522.
Genetic variation is the fundamental medium of evolution. In allopolyploids, which are the product of hybridization and whole genome duplication, if homologous chromosomes always pair, then all descendants of a single diploid F1 hybrid lineage will be genetically identical. Contrarily, genetic variation among initially isogenic lineages is augmented when homeologous chromosomes pair; this added variation may contribute to phenotypic evolution. Mimulus sookensis is a naturally occurring, small-flowered allotetraploid derived from the large-flowered Mimulus guttatus and small-flowered Mimulus nasutus. Because diploid F1 hybrids between M. guttatus and M. nasutus have large flowers, phenotypic evolution post-polyploidization is implied in M. sookensis. Here, we present genetic and phenotypic analyses of synthetic neoallotetraploid Mimulus derived from a cross between M. guttatus and M. nasutus. Genetic marker data from S2 and BC1N progeny suggest that chromosomes regularly pair with their homologous counterpart. By measuring the phenotype of synthetic neoallotetraploids, we demonstrate that polyploidization per se does not induce the small flowers of M. sookensis. Moreover, phenotypic measurements of synthetic allotetraploid F2s and S4 families suggest that rare homeologous recombination events have a negligible phenotypic effect in the first few generations. In total, the results are consistent with either exceedingly rare homeologous pairing and recombination or spontaneous fragment loss. The low levels of fragment loss and phenotypic variation in neoallotetraploids suggest that homeologous recombination after polyploidization is not a major mechanism of phenotypic evolution in M. sookensis. Rather, it may be that spontaneous mutations or epigenetic changes after allopolyploidization have driven phenotypic evolution in M. sookensis.
PMCID: PMC3962489  PMID: 24470218
Mimulus; neoallotetraploid; segregational variation; homeologous recombination; colchicine
4.  The Yeast Ess1 Prolyl Isomerase Controls Swi6 and Whi5 Nuclear Localization 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):523-537.
The Ess1 prolyl isomerase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its human ortholog, Pin1, play critical roles in transcription by regulating RNA polymerase II. In human cells, Pin1 also regulates a variety of signaling proteins, and Pin1 misexpression is linked to several human diseases. To gain insight into Ess1/Pin1 function, we carried out a synthetic genetic array screen to identify novel targets of Ess1 in yeast. We identified potential targets of Ess1 in transcription, stress, and cell-cycle pathways. We focused on the cell-cycle regulators Swi6 and Whi5, both of which show highly regulated nucleocytoplasmic shuttling during the cell cycle. Surprisingly, Ess1 did not control their transcription but instead was necessary for their nuclear localization. Ess1 associated with Swi6 and Whi5 in vivo and bound directly to peptides corresponding to their nuclear localization sequences in vitro. Binding by Ess1 was significant only if the Swi6 and Whi5 peptides were phosphorylated at Ser-Pro motifs, the target sites of cyclin-dependent kinases. On the basis of these results, we propose a model in which Ess1 induces a conformational switch (cis-trans isomerization) at phospho-Ser-Pro sites within the nuclear targeting sequences of Swi6 and Whi5. This switch would promote nuclear entry and/or retention during late M and G1 phases and might work by stimulating dephosphorylation at these sites by the Cdc14 phosphatase. This is the first study to identify targets of Ess1 in yeast other than RNA polymerase II.
PMCID: PMC3962490  PMID: 24470217
proline isomerase; cyclin-dependent kinase sites; nuclear import; biolayer interferometry
5.  Reduced rDNA Copy Number Does Not Affect “Competitive” Chromosome Pairing in XYY Males of Drosophila melanogaster 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):497-507.
The ribosomal DNA (rDNA) arrays are causal agents in X-Y chromosome pairing in meiosis I of Drosophila males. Despite broad variation in X-linked and Y-linked rDNA copy number, polymorphisms in regulatory/spacer sequences between rRNA genes, and variance in copy number of interrupting R1 and R2 retrotransposable elements, there is little evidence that different rDNA arrays affect pairing efficacy. I investigated whether induced rDNA copy number polymorphisms affect chromosome pairing in a “competitive” situation in which complex pairing configurations were possible using males with XYY constitution. Using a common normal X chromosome, one of two different full-length Y chromosomes, and a third chromosome from a series of otherwise-isogenic rDNA deletions, I detected no differences in X-Y or Y-Y pairing or chromosome segregation frequencies that could not be attributed to random variation alone. This work was performed in the context of an undergraduate teaching program at Texas A&M University, and I discuss the pedagogical utility of this and other such experiments.
PMCID: PMC3962488  PMID: 24449686
Drosophila; male meiotic/meiosis pairing; aneuploidy; Y chromosome; ribosomal DNA
6.  Heteroscedastic Ridge Regression Approaches for Genome-Wide Prediction With a Focus on Computational Efficiency and Accurate Effect Estimation 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):539-546.
Ridge regression with heteroscedastic marker variances provides an alternative to Bayesian genome-wide prediction methods. Our objectives were to suggest new methods to determine marker-specific shrinkage factors for heteroscedastic ridge regression and to investigate their properties with respect to computational efficiency and accuracy of estimated effects. We analyzed published data sets of maize, wheat, and sugar beet as well as simulated data with the new methods. Ridge regression with shrinkage factors that were proportional to single-marker analysis of variance estimates of variance components (i.e., RRWA) was the fastest method. It required computation times of less than 1 sec for medium-sized data sets, which have dimensions that are common in plant breeding. A modification of the expectation-maximization algorithm that yields heteroscedastic marker variances (i.e., RMLV) resulted in the most accurate marker effect estimates. It outperformed the homoscedastic ridge regression approach for best linear unbiased prediction in particular for situations with high marker density and strong linkage disequilibrium along the chromosomes, a situation that occurs often in plant breeding populations. We conclude that the RRWA and RMLV approaches provide alternatives to the commonly used Bayesian methods, in particular for applications in which computational feasibility or accuracy of effect estimates are important, such as detection or functional analysis of genes or planning crosses.
PMCID: PMC3962491  PMID: 24449687
genome-wide prediction; ridge regression; heteroscedastic marker variances; linkage disequilibrium; plant breeding populations; GenPred; Shared data resources
7.  In Vivo Determination of Direct Targets of the Nonsense-Mediated Decay Pathway in Drosophila 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):485-496.
Nonsense-mediated messenger RNA (mRNA) decay (NMD) is a mRNA degradation pathway that regulates a significant portion of the transcriptome. The expression levels of numerous genes are known to be altered in NMD mutants, but it is not known which of these transcripts is a direct pathway target. Here, we present the first genome-wide analysis of direct NMD targeting in an intact animal. By using rapid reactivation of the NMD pathway in a Drosophila melanogaster NMD mutant and globally monitoring of changes in mRNA expression levels, we can distinguish between primary and secondary effects of NMD on gene expression. Using this procedure, we identified 168 candidate direct NMD targets in vivo. Remarkably, we found that 81% of direct target genes do not show increased expression levels in an NMD mutant, presumably due to feedback regulation. Because most previous studies have used up-regulation of mRNA expression as the only means to identify NMD-regulated transcripts, our results provide new directions for understanding the roles of the NMD pathway in endogenous gene regulation during animal development and physiology. For instance, we show clearly that direct target genes have longer 3′ untranslated regions compared with nontargets, suggesting long 3′ untranslated regions target mRNAs for NMD in vivo. In addition, we investigated the role of NMD in suppressing transcriptional noise and found that although the transposable element Copia is up-regulated in NMD mutants, this effect appears to be indirect.
PMCID: PMC3962487  PMID: 24429422
Upf2; reactivation; NMD; Drosophila; RNA-seq
8.  Genomic and Phenotypic Characterization of a Wild Medaka Population: Towards the Establishment of an Isogenic Population Genetic Resource in Fish 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):433-445.
Oryzias latipes (medaka) has been established as a vertebrate genetic model for more than a century and recently has been rediscovered outside its native Japan. The power of new sequencing methods now makes it possible to reinvigorate medaka genetics, in particular by establishing a near-isogenic panel derived from a single wild population. Here we characterize the genomes of wild medaka catches obtained from a single Southern Japanese population in Kiyosu as a precursor for the establishment of a near-isogenic panel of wild lines. The population is free of significant detrimental population structure and has advantageous linkage disequilibrium properties suitable for the establishment of the proposed panel. Analysis of morphometric traits in five representative inbred strains suggests phenotypic mapping will be feasible in the panel. In addition, high-throughput genome sequencing of these medaka strains confirms their evolutionary relationships on lines of geographic separation and provides further evidence that there has been little significant interbreeding between the Southern and Northern medaka population since the Southern/Northern population split. The sequence data suggest that the Southern Japanese medaka existed as a larger older population that went through a relatively recent bottleneck approximately 10,000 years ago. In addition, we detect patterns of recent positive selection in the Southern population. These data indicate that the genetic structure of the Kiyosu medaka samples is suitable for the establishment of a vertebrate near-isogenic panel and therefore inbreeding of 200 lines based on this population has commenced. Progress of this project can be tracked at
PMCID: PMC3962483  PMID: 24408034
Medaka; inbreeding; population genomics; strain specific features
9.  Caenorhabditis elegans SWI/SNF Subunits Control Sequential Developmental Stages in the Somatic Gonad 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(3):471-483.
The Caenorhabditis elegans somatic gonadal precursors (SGPs) are multipotent progenitors that give rise to all somatic tissues of the adult reproductive system. The hunchback and Ikaros-like gene ehn-3 is expressed specifically in SGPs and is required for their development into differentiated tissues of the somatic gonad. To find novel genes involved in SGP development, we used a weak allele of ehn-3 as the basis for a reverse genetic screen. Feeding RNAi was used to screen ∼2400 clones consisting of transcription factors, signaling components, and chromatin factors. The screen identified five members of the C. elegans SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex as genetic enhancers of ehn-3. We characterized alleles of 10 SWI/SNF genes and found that SWI/SNF subunits are required for viability and gonadogenesis. Two conserved SWI/SNF complexes, PBAF and BAF, are defined by their unique array of accessory subunits around a common enzymatic core that includes a catalytic Swi2/Snf2–type ATPase. Tissue-specific RNAi experiments suggest that C. elegans PBAF and BAF complexes control different processes during somatic gonadal development: PBRM-1, a signature subunit of PBAF, is important for normal SGP development, whereas LET-526, the distinguishing subunit of BAF, is required for development of a differentiated cell type, the distal tip cell (DTC). We found that the SWSN-4 ATPase subunit is required for SGP and DTC development. Finally, we provide evidence that C. elegans PBAF subunits and hnd-1/dHand are important for the cell fate decision between SGPs and their differentiated sisters, the head mesodermal cells.
PMCID: PMC3962486  PMID: 24402584
SWI/SNF; chromatin remodeling; ehn-3; hnd-1; C. elegans
10.  Corrigendum 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(1):197.
PMCID: PMC3887536
11.  Whole-Genome DNA Methylation Profile of the Jewel Wasp (Nasonia vitripennis) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):383-388.
The epigenetic mark of DNA methylation, the addition of a methyl (CH3) group to a cytosine residue, has been extensively studied in many mammalian genomes and, although it is commonly found at the promoter regions of genes, it is also involved in a number of different biological functions. In other complex animals, such as social insects, DNA methylation has been determined to be involved in caste differentiation and to occur primarily in gene bodies. The role of methylation in nonsocial insects, however, has not yet been explored thoroughly. Here, we present the whole-genome DNA methylation profile of the nonsocial hymenopteran, the jewel wasp (Nasonia vitripennis). From high-throughput sequencing of bisulfite-converted gDNA extracted from male Nasonia thoraces, we were able to determine which cytosine residues are methylated in the entire genome. We found that an overwhelming majority of methylated sites (99.7%) occur at cytosines followed by a guanine in the 3′ direction (CpG sites). Additionally, we found that a majority of methylation in Nasonia occurs within exonic regions of the genome (more than 62%). Overall, methylation is sparse in Nasonia, occurring only at 0.18% of all sites and at 0.63% of CpGs. Our analysis of the Nasonia methylome revealed that in contrast to the methylation profile typically seen in mammals, methylation is sparse and is constrained primarily to exons. This methylation profile is more similar to that of the social hymenopteran species, the honey bee (Apis mellifera). In presenting the Nasonia methylome, we hope to promote future investigation of the regulatory function of DNA methylation in both social and nonsocial hymenoptera.
PMCID: PMC3962478  PMID: 24381191
DNA methylation; Nasonia; epigenetics
12.  A Dense Linkage Map for Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Reveals Variable Chromosomal Divergence After an Ancestral Whole Genome Duplication Event 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):447-460.
Comparisons between the genomes of salmon species reveal that they underwent extensive chromosomal rearrangements following whole genome duplication that occurred in their lineage 58−63 million years ago. Extant salmonids are diploid, but occasional pairing between homeologous chromosomes exists in males. The consequences of re-diploidization can be characterized by mapping the position of duplicated loci in such species. Linkage maps are also a valuable tool for genome-wide applications such as genome-wide association studies, quantitative trait loci mapping or genome scans. Here, we investigated chromosomal evolution in Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) after genome duplication by mapping 7146 restriction-site associated DNA loci in gynogenetic haploid, gynogenetic diploid, and diploid crosses. In the process, we developed a reference database of restriction-site associated DNA loci for Chinook salmon comprising 48528 non-duplicated loci and 6409 known duplicated loci, which will facilitate locus identification and data sharing. We created a very dense linkage map anchored to all 34 chromosomes for the species, and all arms were identified through centromere mapping. The map positions of 799 duplicated loci revealed that homeologous pairs have diverged at different rates following whole genome duplication, and that degree of differentiation along arms was variable. Many of the homeologous pairs with high numbers of duplicated markers appear conserved with other salmon species, suggesting that retention of conserved homeologous pairing in some arms preceded species divergence. As chromosome arms are highly conserved across species, the major resources developed for Chinook salmon in this study are also relevant for other related species.
PMCID: PMC3962484  PMID: 24381192
whole genome duplication; chromosome homeologies; linkage map; Chinook salmon; RAD sequencing
13.  The Reference Genome Sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Then and Now 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):389-398.
The genome of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was the first completely sequenced from a eukaryote. It was released in 1996 as the work of a worldwide effort of hundreds of researchers. In the time since, the yeast genome has been intensively studied by geneticists, molecular biologists, and computational scientists all over the world. Maintenance and annotation of the genome sequence have long been provided by the Saccharomyces Genome Database, one of the original model organism databases. To deepen our understanding of the eukaryotic genome, the S. cerevisiae strain S288C reference genome sequence was updated recently in its first major update since 1996. The new version, called “S288C 2010,” was determined from a single yeast colony using modern sequencing technologies and serves as the anchor for further innovations in yeast genomic science.
PMCID: PMC3962479  PMID: 24374639
Saccharomyces cerevisiae; model organism; reference sequence; genome release; S288C
14.  Metabolic and Environmental Conditions Determine Nuclear Genomic Instability in Budding Yeast Lacking Mitochondrial DNA 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):411-423.
Mitochondrial dysfunctions are an internal cause of nuclear genome instability. Because mitochondria are key regulators of cellular metabolism, we have investigated a potential link between external growth conditions and nuclear chromosome instability in cells with mitochondrial defects. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we found that cells lacking mitochondrial DNA (rho0 cells) have a unique feature, with nuclear chromosome instability that occurs in nondividing cells and strongly fluctuates depending on the cellular environment. Calorie restriction, lower growth temperatures, growth at alkaline pH, antioxidants (NAC, Tiron), or presence of nearby wild-type cells all efficiently stabilize nuclear genomes of rho0 cells, whereas high glucose and ethanol boost instability. In contrast, other respiratory mutants that still possess mitochondrial DNA (RHO+) keep fairly constant instability rates under the same growth conditions, like wild-type or other RHO+ controls. Our data identify mitochondrial defects as an important driver of nuclear genome instability influenced by environmental factors.
PMCID: PMC3962481  PMID: 24374640
mitochondrial DNA; nuclear genome instability; metabolism; membrane potential; calorie restriction
15.  Extensive Differences in Gene Expression Between Symbiotic and Aposymbiotic Cnidarians 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):277-295.
Coral reefs provide habitats for a disproportionate number of marine species relative to the small area of the oceans that they occupy. The mutualism between the cnidarian animal hosts and their intracellular dinoflagellate symbionts provides the nutritional foundation for coral growth and formation of reef structures, because algal photosynthesis can provide >90% of the total energy of the host. Disruption of this symbiosis (“coral bleaching”) is occurring on a large scale due primarily to anthropogenic factors and poses a major threat to the future of coral reefs. Despite the importance of this symbiosis, the cellular mechanisms involved in its establishment, maintenance, and breakdown remain largely unknown. We report our continued development of genomic tools to study these mechanisms in Aiptasia, a small sea anemone with great promise as a model system for studies of cnidarian–dinoflagellate symbiosis. Specifically, we have generated de novo assemblies of the transcriptomes of both a clonal line of symbiotic anemones and their endogenous dinoflagellate symbionts. We then compared transcript abundances in animals with and without dinoflagellates. This analysis identified >900 differentially expressed genes and allowed us to generate testable hypotheses about the cellular functions affected by symbiosis establishment. The differentially regulated transcripts include >60 encoding proteins that may play roles in transporting various nutrients between the symbiotic partners; many more encoding proteins functioning in several metabolic pathways, providing clues regarding how the transported nutrients may be used by the partners; and several encoding proteins that may be involved in host recognition and tolerance of the dinoflagellate.
PMCID: PMC3931562  PMID: 24368779
anemone; dinoflagellate; innate immunity; metabolic compartmentation; symbiosis
16.  The Dynamics of Diverse Segmental Amplifications in Populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Adapting to Strong Selection 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):399-409.
Population adaptation to strong selection can occur through the sequential or parallel accumulation of competing beneficial mutations. The dynamics, diversity, and rate of fixation of beneficial mutations within and between populations are still poorly understood. To study how the mutational landscape varies across populations during adaptation, we performed experimental evolution on seven parallel populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae continuously cultured in limiting sulfate medium. By combining quantitative polymerase chain reaction, array comparative genomic hybridization, restriction digestion and contour-clamped homogeneous electric field gel electrophoresis, and whole-genome sequencing, we followed the trajectory of evolution to determine the identity and fate of beneficial mutations. During a period of 200 generations, the yeast populations displayed parallel evolutionary dynamics that were driven by the coexistence of independent beneficial mutations. Selective amplifications rapidly evolved under this selection pressure, in particular common inverted amplifications containing the sulfate transporter gene SUL1. Compared with single clones, detailed analysis of the populations uncovers a greater complexity whereby multiple subpopulations arise and compete despite a strong selection. The most common evolutionary adaptation to strong selection in these populations grown in sulfate limitation is determined by clonal interference, with adaptive variants both persisting and replacing one another.
PMCID: PMC3962480  PMID: 24368781
evolutionary genomics; experimental evolution; clonal interference; whole genome sequencing; gene amplification; inverted triplication
17.  Double-Strand Break Repair Assays Determine Pathway Choice and Structure of Gene Conversion Events in Drosophila melanogaster 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(3):425-432.
Double-strand breaks (DSBs) must be accurately and efficiently repaired to maintain genome integrity. Depending on the organism receiving the break, the genomic location of the DSB, and the cell-cycle phase in which it occurs, a DSB can be repaired by homologous recombination (HR), nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ), or single-strand annealing (SSA). Two novel DSB repair assays were developed to determine the contributions of these repair pathways and to finely resolve repair event structures in Drosophila melanogaster. Rad51-dependent homologous recombination is the preferred DSB repair pathway in mitotically dividing cells, and the pathway choice between HR and SSA occurs after end resection and before Rad51-dependent strand invasion. HR events are associated with long gene conversion tracts and are both bidirectional and unidirectional, consistent with repair via the synthesis-dependent strand annealing pathway. Additionally, HR between diverged sequences is suppressed in Drosophila, similar to levels reported in human cells. Junction analyses of rare NHEJ events reveal that canonical NHEJ is utilized in this system.
PMCID: PMC3962482  PMID: 24368780
homologous recombination; nonhomologous end joining; gene conversion; double-strand break repair; Drosophila
18.  Why Breeding Values Estimated Using Familial Data Should Not Be Used for Genome-Wide Association Studies 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):341-347.
In animal breeding, the genetic potential of an animal is summarized as its estimated breeding value, which is derived from its own performance as well as the performance of related individuals. Here, we illustrate why estimated breeding values are not suitable as a phenotype for genome-wide association studies. We simulated human-type and pig-type pedigrees with a range of quantitative trait loci (QTL) effects (0.5–3% of phenotypic variance) and heritabilities (0.3−0.8). We analyzed 1000 replicates of each scenario with four models: (a) a full mixed model including a polygenic effect, (b) a regression analysis using the residual of a mixed model as a trait score (so called GRAMMAR approach), (c) a regression analysis using the estimated breeding value as a trait score, and (d) a regression analysis that uses the raw phenotype as a trait score. We show that using breeding values as a trait score gives very high false-positive rates (up 14% in human pedigrees and >60% in pig pedigrees). Simulations based on a real pedigree show that additional generations of pedigree increase the type I error. Including the family relationship as a random effect provides the greatest power to detect QTL while controlling for type I error at the desired level and providing the most accurate estimates of the QTL effect. Both the use of residuals and the use of breeding values result in deflated estimates of the QTL effect. We derive the contributions of QTL effects to the breeding value and residual and show how this affects the estimates.
PMCID: PMC3931567  PMID: 24362310
genome-wide association; family structure; type I error; statistical power
19.  IQ Motif-Containing G (Iqcg) Is Required for Mouse Spermiogenesis 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):367-372.
Spermiogenesis in mammals is the process by which the newly formed products of meiosis, haploid spermatids, undergo a dramatic morphological transformation from round cells into flagellated spermatozoa. The underlying genetic control of spermiogenesis is complicated and not well-characterized. We have used forward genetic screens in mice to illuminate the mechanisms of spermatozoon development. Here, we report that the oligoasthenoteratospermia in a male-specific infertility mutant (esgd12d) is attributable to disruption of a gene called Iqcg (IQ motif-containing G). The causality of the mutation was confirmed with a targeted null allele. Loss of Iqcg disrupts spermiogenesis such that tail formation either occurs incompletely or breaks apart from the sperm heads. Orthologs are present in diverse species as distant as hemichordates, mollusks, and green algae. Consistent with a conserved role in flagellar formation and/or function, the orthologous Chlamydomonas protein is present in that organism’s flagella. Because IQ motif-containing genes typically regulate calmodulin (CaM), which in turn can impact the actin cytoskeleton, these findings suggest a potential role for localized calcium signaling in sperm flagellum morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3931569  PMID: 24362311
forward genetics; reproductive biology; flagellum; spermatogenesis; mouse
20.  A Genetic Screen for Functional Partners of Condensin in Fission Yeast 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):373-381.
Mitotic chromosome condensation is a prerequisite for the accurate segregation of chromosomes during cell division, and the conserved condensin complex a central player of this process. However, how condensin binds chromatin and shapes mitotic chromosomes remain poorly understood. Recent genome-wide binding studies showing that in most species condensin is enriched near highly expressed genes suggest a conserved link between condensin occupancy and high transcription rates. To gain insight into the mechanisms of condensin binding and mitotic chromosome condensation, we searched for factors that collaborate with condensin through a synthetic lethal genetic screen in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We isolated novel mutations affecting condensin, as well as mutations in four genes not previously implicated in mitotic chromosome condensation in fission yeast. These mutations cause chromosome segregation defects similar to those provoked by defects in condensation. We also identified a suppressor of the cut3-477 condensin mutation, which largely rescued chromosome segregation during anaphase. Remarkably, of the five genes identified in this study, four encode transcription co-factors. Our results therefore provide strong additional evidence for a functional connection between chromosome condensation and transcription.
PMCID: PMC3931570  PMID: 24362309
condensin; fission yeast; synthetic lethality; mitotic chromosome condensation
21.  Large-Scale Quality Analysis of Published ChIP-seq Data 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):209-223.
ChIP-seq has become the primary method for identifying in vivo protein–DNA interactions on a genome-wide scale, with nearly 800 publications involving the technique appearing in PubMed as of December 2012. Individually and in aggregate, these data are an important and information-rich resource. However, uncertainties about data quality confound their use by the wider research community. Recently, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project developed and applied metrics to objectively measure ChIP-seq data quality. The ENCODE quality analysis was useful for flagging datasets for closer inspection, eliminating or replacing poor data, and for driving changes in experimental pipelines. There had been no similarly systematic quality analysis of the large and disparate body of published ChIP-seq profiles. Here, we report a uniform analysis of vertebrate transcription factor ChIP-seq datasets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository as of April 1, 2012. The majority (55%) of datasets scored as being highly successful, but a substantial minority (20%) were of apparently poor quality, and another ∼25% were of intermediate quality. We discuss how different uses of ChIP-seq data are affected by specific aspects of data quality, and we highlight exceptional instances for which the metric values should not be taken at face value. Unexpectedly, we discovered that a significant subset of control datasets (i.e., no immunoprecipitation and mock immunoprecipitation samples) display an enrichment structure similar to successful ChIP-seq data. This can, in turn, affect peak calling and data interpretation. Published datasets identified here as high-quality comprise a large group that users can draw on for large-scale integrated analysis. In the future, ChIP-seq quality assessment similar to that used here could guide experimentalists at early stages in a study, provide useful input in the publication process, and be used to stratify ChIP-seq data for different community-wide uses.
PMCID: PMC3931556  PMID: 24347632
ChIP-seq; chromatin immunoprecipitation; cross-correlation; quality assessment; transcription factor
22.  Homogeneous Nuclear Background for Mitochondrial Cline in Northern Range of Notochthamalus scabrosus 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):225-230.
A mitochondrial cline along the Chilean coast in the barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus suggests a species history of transient allopatry and secondary contact. However, previous studies of nuclear sequence divergence suggested population genetic homogeneity across northern and central Chile. Here, we collect single-nucleotide polymorphism data from pooled population samples sequenced with restriction site−associated DNA sequencing procedures, confirm these data with the use of a GoldenGate array, and identify a discordance between population genetic patterns in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. This discordance was noted in previous work on this species, but here it is confirmed that the nuclear genome exhibits only slight phylogeographic variation across 3000 km of coastline, in the presence of a strong and statistically significant mitochondrial cline. There are nevertheless markers (approximately 5% of nuclear single-nucleotide polymorphisms) exhibiting cytonuclear disequilibrium relative to mitotype. Although these data confirm our previous explorations of this species, it is likely that some of the nuclear genomic diversity of this species has yet to be explored, as comparison with other barnacle phylogeography studies suggest that a divergence of similar magnitude should be found in the nuclear genome somewhere else in the species range.
PMCID: PMC3931557  PMID: 24347623
RAD-seq; SNP; cytonuclear disequilibrium; barnacle; Chile
23.  Identification of Suppressors of mbk-2/DYRK by Whole-Genome Sequencing 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):231-241.
Screening for suppressor mutations is a powerful method to isolate genes that function in a common pathway or process. Because suppressor mutations often do not have phenotypes on their own, cloning of suppressor loci can be challenging. A method combining whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mapping (WGS/SNP mapping) was developed to identify mutations with visible phenotypes in C. elegans. We show here that WGS/SNP mapping is an efficient method to map suppressor mutations without the need for previous phenotypic characterization. Using RNA-mediated interference to test candidate loci identified by WGS/SNP mapping, we identified 10 extragenic and six intragenic suppressors of mbk-2, a DYRK family kinase required for the transition from oocyte to zygote. Remarkably, seven suppressors are mutations in cell-cycle regulators that extend the timing of the oocyte-to-zygote transition.
PMCID: PMC3931558  PMID: 24347622
whole-genome sequencing; single nucleotide polymorphism mapping; suppressors; DYRK kinase; MBK-2; C. elegans
24.  Genomic Characterization of the Mouse Ribosomal DNA Locus 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):243-254.
The transcription of rRNA is critical to all living cells and is tightly controlled at the level of chromatin structure. Although the widespread adoption of genomic technologies including chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel short-read sequencing (ChIP-seq) has allowed for the interrogation of chromatin structure on a genome-wide scale, until recently rDNA has not been analyzed by this technique. We extended genomic analysis of rDNA to mouse (Mus musculus), in which rDNA is similar in structure but highly divergent in sequence compared with human rDNA. Comparison of rDNA histone marks between mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and more differentiated mouse cell types revealed differences between pluripotent and differentiated states. We also observed substantial divergence in rDNA histone modification patterns between mESCs and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Surprisingly, we found that the pluripotency factor OCT4 was bound to rDNA in similar patterns in mESCs and hESCs. Extending this analysis, we found that an additional 17 pluripotency-associated factors were bound to rDNA in mESCs, suggesting novel modes of rDNA regulation in pluripotent cells. Taken together, our results provide a detailed view of rDNA chromatin structure in an important model system and enable high-resolution comparison of rDNA regulation between mouse and human.
PMCID: PMC3931559  PMID: 24347625
rDNA; rRNA; ChIP-seq; Oct4; polycomb
25.  Genetic Architecture of Contemporary Adaptation to Biotic Invasions: Quantitative Trait Locus Mapping of Beak Reduction in Soapberry Bugs 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):255-264.
Biological invasions can result in new selection pressures driven by the establishment of new biotic interactions. The response of exotic and native species to selection depends critically on the genetic architecture of ecologically relevant traits. In the Florida peninsula, the soapberry bug (Jadera haematoloma) has colonized the recently introduced Chinese flametree, Koelreuteria elegans, as a host plant. Driven by feeding efficiency, the populations associated with this new host have differentiated into a new bug ecomorph characterized by short beaks more appropriate for feeding on the flattened pods of the Chinese flametree. In this study, we have generated a three-generation pedigree from crossing the long-beaked and short-beaked ecomorphs to construct a de novo linkage map and to locate putative quantitative trait locus (QTL) controlling beak length and body size in J. haematoloma. Using amplified fragment-length polymorphism markers and a two-way pseudo-testcross design, we have produced two parental maps in six linkage groups, covering the known number of chromosomes. QTL analysis revealed one significant QTL for beak length on a maternal linkage group and the corresponding paternal linkage group. Three QTL were found for body size. Through single marker regression analysis, nine single markers that could not be placed on the map were also found to be significantly associated with one or both of the two traits. Interestingly, the most significant body size QTL co-localized with the beak length QTL, suggesting linkage disequilibrium or pleiotropic effects of related traits. Our results suggest an oligogenic control of beak length.
PMCID: PMC3931560  PMID: 24347624
quantitative genetics; rapid evolution; diversification; host association; hemiptera

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