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1.  Sex-Determination System in the Diploid Yeast Zygosaccharomyces sapae 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1011-1025.
Sexual reproduction and breeding systems are driving forces for genetic diversity. The mating-type (MAT) locus represents a mutation and chromosome rearrangement hotspot in yeasts. Zygosaccharomyces rouxii complex yeasts are naturally faced with hostile low water activity (aw) environments and are characterized by gene copy number variation, genome instability, and aneuploidy/allodiploidy. Here, we investigated sex-determination system in Zygosaccharomyces sapae diploid strain ABT301T, a member of the Z. rouxii complex. We cloned three divergent mating type-like (MTL) α-idiomorph sequences and designated them as ZsMTLα copies 1, 2, and 3. They encode homologs of Z. rouxii CBS 732T MATα2 (amino acid sequence identities spanning from 67.0 to 99.5%) and MATα1 (identity range 81.5–99.5%). ABT301T possesses two divergent HO genes encoding distinct endonucleases 100% and 92.3% identical to Z. rouxii HO. Cloning of MATa-idiomorph resulted in a single ZsMTLa locus encoding two Z. rouxii-like proteins MATa1 and MATa2. To assign the cloned ZsMTLα and ZsMTLa idiomorphs as MAT, HML, and HMR cassettes, we analyzed their flanking regions. Three ZsMTLα loci exhibited the DIC1-MAT-SLA2 gene order canonical for MAT expression loci. Furthermore, four putative HML cassettes were identified, two containing the ZsMTLα copy 1 and the remaining harboring ZsMTLα copies 2 and 3. Finally, the ZsMTLa locus was 3′-flanked by SLA2, suggesting the status of MAT expression locus. In conclusion, Z. sapae ABT301T displays an aααα genotype missing of the HMR silent cassette. Our results demonstrated that mating-type switching is a hypermutagenic process in Z. rouxii complex that generates genetic diversity de novo. This error-prone mechanism could be suitable to generate progenies more rapidly adaptable to hostile environments.
PMCID: PMC4065246  PMID: 24939186
homothallism; mating-type evolution; chromosomal rearrangement; HO endonuclease; genetics of sex; sex chromosome
2.  The Genetics of Immunity 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):943-945.
In this commentary, Brian P. Lazzaro and David S. Schneider examine the topic of the Genetics of Immunity as explored in this month's issues of GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. These inaugural articles are part of a joint Genetics of Immunity collection (ongoing) in the GSA journals.
PMCID: PMC4065262  PMID: 24939182
innate immunity; complex genetics; tolerance; complex immunity; infection; resistance
3.  Inducible Defenses Stay Up Late: Temporal Patterns of Immune Gene Expression in Tenebrio molitor 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):947-955.
The course of microbial infection in insects is shaped by a two-stage process of immune defense. Constitutive defenses, such as engulfment and melanization, act immediately and are followed by inducible defenses, archetypically the production of antimicrobial peptides, which eliminate or suppress the remaining microbes. By applying RNAseq across a 7-day time course, we sought to characterize the long-lasting immune response to bacterial challenge in the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor, a model for the biochemistry of insect immunity and persistent bacterial infection. By annotating a hybrid de novo assembly of RNAseq data, we were able to identify putative orthologs for the majority of components of the conserved insect immune system. Compared with Tribolium castaneum, the most closely related species with a reference genome sequence and a manually curated immune system annotation, the T. molitor immune gene count was lower, with lineage-specific expansions of genes encoding serine proteases and their countervailing inhibitors accounting for the majority of the deficit. Quantitative mapping of RNAseq reads to the reference assembly showed that expression of genes with predicted functions in cellular immunity, wound healing, melanization, and the production of reactive oxygen species was transiently induced immediately after immune challenge. In contrast, expression of genes encoding antimicrobial peptides or components of the Toll signaling pathway and iron sequestration response remained elevated for at least 7 days. Numerous genes involved in metabolism and nutrient storage were repressed, indicating a possible cost of immune induction. Strikingly, the expression of almost all antibacterial peptides followed the same pattern of long-lasting induction, regardless of their spectra of activity, signaling possible interactive roles in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4065263  PMID: 24318927
RNAseq time course; costs of immunity; insect immunity; persistent infection; innate immunity; complex genetics; tolerance; complex immunity; infection; resistance
4.  The Genetics of Sex: Exploring Differences 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):979-981.
In this commentary, Michelle Arbeitman et al., examine the topic of the Genetics of Sex as explored in this month's issues of GENETICS and G3: Genes |Genomes |Genetics. These inaugural articles are part of a joint Genetics of Sex collection (ongoing) in the GSA journals.
PMCID: PMC4065266  PMID: 24939183
genetics of sex; sex determination; sex chromosome; meiosis; gametogenesis; sex; mating type
5.  Transcriptomes and Proteomes Define Gene Expression Progression in Pre-meiotic Maize Anthers 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):993-1010.
Plants lack a germ line; consequently, during reproduction adult somatic cells within flowers must switch from mitotic proliferation to meiosis. In maize (Zea mays L.) anthers, hypoxic conditions in the developing tassel trigger pre-meiotic competence in the column of pluripotent progenitor cells in the center of anther lobes, and within 24 hr these newly specified germinal cells have patterned their surrounding neighbors to differentiate as the first somatic niche cells. Transcriptomes were analyzed by microarray hybridization in carefully staged whole anthers during initial specification events, after the separation of germinal and somatic lineages, during the subsequent rapid mitotic proliferation phase, and during final pre-meiotic germinal and somatic cell differentiation. Maize anthers exhibit a highly complex transcriptome constituting nearly three-quarters of annotated maize genes, and expression patterns are dynamic. Laser microdissection was applied to begin assigning transcripts to tissue and cell types and for comparison to transcriptomes of mutants defective in cell fate specification. Whole anther proteomes were analyzed at three developmental stages by mass spectrometric peptide sequencing using size-fractionated proteins to evaluate the timing of protein accumulation relative to transcript abundance. New insights include early and sustained expression of meiosis-associated genes (77.5% of well-annotated meiosis genes are constitutively active in 0.15 mm anthers), an extremely large change in transcript abundances and types a few days before meiosis (including a class of 1340 transcripts absent specifically at 0.4 mm), and the relative disparity between transcript abundance and protein abundance at any one developmental stage (based on 1303 protein-to-transcript comparisons).
PMCID: PMC4065268  PMID: 24939185
archesporial cell; cell fate specification; Multiple archesporial cells 1; mac1; pre-meiotic development; genetics of sex
6.  Corrigendum 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(5):941.
PMCID: PMC4025493
7.  Genomic Organization and Evolution of the Trace Amine-Associated Receptor (TAAR) Repertoire in Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1135-1141.
There is strong evidence that olfaction plays a key role in the homing of salmonids to their natal spawning grounds, particularly in the freshwater phase. However, the physiological and genetic mechanisms behind this biological phenomenon are largely unknown. It has been shown that Pacific salmon respond to dissolved free amino acids from their natal streams. This indicates that amino acids comprise part of the olfcatory cues for imprinting and homing in salmonids. As trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs), a class of olfactory receptors that are close relatives of the G protein-coupled aminergic neurotransmitter receptors, recognize amino acid metabolites, we hypothesize that TAARs play an important role in salmon homing by recognizing olfactory cues. Therefore, to better understand homing in Atlantic salmon, we set out to characterize the TAAR genes in this species. We searched the first assembly of the Atlantic salmon genome for sequences resembling TAARs previously characterized in other teleosts. We identified 27 putatively functional TAAR genes and 25 putative TAAR pseudogenes, which cluster primarily on chromosome 21 (Ssa21). Phylogenetic analysis of TAAR amino acid sequences from 15 vertebrate species revealed the TAAR gene family arose after the divergence of jawed and jawless vertebrates. The TAARs group into three classes with salmon possessing class I and class III TAARs. Within each class, evolution is characterized by species-specific gene expansions, which is in contrast to what is observed in other olfactory receptor families (e.g., OlfCs and oras).
PMCID: PMC4065256  PMID: 24760389
salmonid fishes; homing; olfaction; olfactory receptors; trace amine
8.  Genome-Wide Linkage Analysis and Association Study Identifies Loci for Polydactyly in Chickens 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1167-1172.
Polydactyly occurs in some chicken breeds, but the molecular mechanism remains incompletely understood. Combined genome-wide linkage analysis and association study (GWAS) for chicken polydactyly helps identify loci or candidate genes for the trait and potentially provides further mechanistic understanding of this phenotype in chickens and perhaps other species. The linkage analysis and GWAS for polydactyly was conducted using an F2 population derived from Beijing-You chickens and commercial broilers. The results identified two QTLs through linkage analysis and seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) through GWAS, associated with the polydactyly trait. One QTL located at 35 cM on the GGA2 was significant at the 1% genome-wise level and another QTL at the 1% chromosome-wide significance level was detected at 39 cM on GGA19. A total of seven SNPs, four of 5% genome-wide significance (P < 2.98 × 10−6) and three of suggestive significance (5.96 × 10−5) were identified, including two SNPs (GGaluGA132178 and Gga_rs14135036) in the QTL on GGA2. Of the identified SNPs, the eight nearest genes were sonic hedgehog (SHH), limb region 1 homolog (mouse) (LMBR1), dipeptidyl-peptidase 6, transcript variant 3 (DPP6), thyroid-stimulating hormone, beta (TSHB), sal-like 4 (Drosophila) (SALL4), par-6 partitioning defective 6 homolog beta (Caenorhabditis elegans) (PARD6B), coenzyme Q5 (COQ5), and tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, etapolypeptide (YWHAH). The GWAS supports earlier reports of the importance of SHH and LMBR1 as regulating genes for polydactyly in chickens and other species, and identified others, most of which have not previously been associated with limb development. The genes and associated SNPs revealed here provide detailed information for further exploring the molecular and developmental mechanisms underlying polydactyly.
PMCID: PMC4065260  PMID: 24752238
chicken; polydactyly; linkage analysis; GWAS; candidate genes
9.  A Strategy to Identify Dominant Point Mutant Modifiers of a Quantitative Trait 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1113-1121.
A central goal in the analysis of complex traits is to identify genes that modify a phenotype. Modifiers of a cancer phenotype may act either intrinsically or extrinsically on the salient cell lineage. Germline point mutagenesis by ethylnitrosourea can provide alleles for a gene of interest that include loss-, gain-, or alteration-of-function. Unlike strain polymorphisms, point mutations with heterozygous quantitative phenotypes are detectable in both essential and nonessential genes and are unlinked from other variants that might confound their identification and analysis. This report analyzes strategies seeking quantitative mutational modifiers of ApcMin in the mouse. To identify a quantitative modifier of a phenotype of interest, a cluster of test progeny is needed. The cluster size can be increased as necessary for statistical significance if the founder is a male whose sperm is cryopreserved. A second critical element in this identification is a mapping panel free of polymorphic modifiers of the phenotype, to enable low-resolution mapping followed by targeted resequencing to identify the causative mutation. Here, we describe the development of a panel of six “isogenic mapping partner lines” for C57BL/6J, carrying single-nucleotide markers introduced by mutagenesis. One such derivative, B6.SNVg, shown to be phenotypically neutral in combination with ApcMin, is an appropriate mapping partner to locate induced mutant modifiers of the ApcMin phenotype. The evolved strategy can complement four current major initiatives in the genetic analysis of complex systems: the Genome-wide Association Study; the Collaborative Cross; the Knockout Mouse Project; and The Cancer Genome Atlas.
PMCID: PMC4065254  PMID: 24747760
intestinal neoplasia; genetic modifiers; ENU mutagenesis; isogenicity
10.  Efficient Molecular Marker Design Using the MaizeGDB Mo17 SNPs and Indels Track 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1143-1145.
Positional cloning in maize (Zea mays) requires development of markers in the region of interest. We found that primers designed to amplify annotated insertion–deletion polymorphisms of seven base pairs or greater between B73 and Mo17 produce polymorphic markers at a 97% frequency with 49% of the products showing co-dominant fragment length polymorphisms. When the same polymorphisms are used to develop markers for B73 and W22 or Mo17 and W22 mapping populations, 22% and 31% of markers are co-dominant, respectively. There are 38,223 Indel polymorphisms that can be converted to markers providing high-density coverage throughout the maize genome. This strategy significantly increases the efficiency of marker development for fine-mapping in maize.
PMCID: PMC4065257  PMID: 24747759
Zea mays; insertion–deletion polymorphism; genetic mapping; molecular marker; positional cloning
11.  The I-TevI Nuclease and Linker Domains Contribute to the Specificity of Monomeric TALENs 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1155-1165.
Precise genome editing in complex genomes is enabled by engineered nucleases that can be programmed to cleave in a site-specific manner. Here, we fused the small, sequence-tolerant monomeric nuclease domain from the homing endonuclease I-TevI to transcription-like activator effectors (TALEs) to create monomeric Tev-TALE nucleases (Tev-mTALENs). Using the PthXo1 TALE scaffold to optimize the Tev-mTALEN architecture, we found that choice of the N-terminal fusion point on the TALE greatly influenced activity in yeast-based assays, and that the length of the linker used affected the optimal spacing of the TALE binding site from the I-TevI cleavage site, specified by the motif 5′-CNNNG-3′. By assaying activity on all 64 possible sequence variants of this motif, we discovered that in the Tev-mTALEN context, I-TevI prefers A/T-rich triplets over G/C-rich ones at the cleavage site. Profiling of nucleotide requirements in the DNA spacer that separates the CNNNG motif from the TALE binding site revealed substantial, but not complete, tolerance to sequence variation. Tev-mTALENs showed robust mutagenic activity on an episomal target in HEK 293T cells consistent with specific cleavage followed by nonhomologous end-joining repair. Our data substantiate the applicability of Tev-mTALENs as genome-editing tools but highlight DNA spacer and cleavage site nucleotide preferences that, while enhancing specificity, do confer moderate targeting constraints.
PMCID: PMC4065259  PMID: 24739648
monomeric TALEN; GIY-YIG nuclease; I-TevI; TAL effector; genome editing
12.  A Nutritional Conditional Lethal Mutant Due to Pyridoxine 5′-Phosphate Oxidase Deficiency in Drosophila melanogaster 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1147-1154.
The concept of auxotrophic complementation has been proposed as an approach to identify genes in essential metabolic pathways in Drosophila melanogaster. However, it has achieved limited success to date, possibly due to the low probability of finding mutations fit with the chemically defined profile. Instead of using the chemically defined culture media lacking specific nutrients, we used bare minimum culture medium, i.e., 4% sucrose, for adult Drosophila. We identified a nutritional conditional lethal mutant and localized a c.95C > A mutation in the Drosophila pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase gene [dPNPO or sugarlethal (sgll)] using meiotic recombination mapping, deficiency mapping, and whole genome sequencing. PNPO converts dietary vitamin B6 such as pyridoxine to its active form pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP). The missense mutation (sgll95) results in the substitution of alanine to aspartate (p.Ala32Asp). The sgll95 flies survive well on complete medium but all die within 6 d on 4% sucrose only diet, which can be rescued by pyridoxine or PLP supplement, suggesting that the mutation does not cause the complete loss of PNPO activity. The sgll knockdown further confirms its function as the Drosophila PNPO. Because better tools for positional cloning and cheaper whole genome sequencing have made the identification of point mutations much easier than before, alleviating the necessity to pinpoint specific metabolic pathways before gene identification, we propose that nutritional conditional screens based on bare minimum growth media like ours represent promising approaches for discovering important genes and mutations in metabolic pathways, thereby accelerating the establishment of in vivo models that recapitulate human metabolic diseases.
PMCID: PMC4065258  PMID: 24739647
nutritional conditional lethal; auxotrophs; pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase; vitamin B6; congenital metabolic diseases
13.  Genetics and Evolution: An iOS Application to Supplement Introductory Courses in Transmission and Evolutionary Genetics 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(5):779-781.
Students in college courses struggle to understand many concepts fundamental to transmission and evolutionary genetics, including multilocus inheritance, recombination, Hardy-Weinberg, and genetic drift. These students consistently ask for more demonstrations and more practice problems. With this demand in mind, the “Genetics and Evolution” app was designed to help students (and their instructors) by providing a suite of tools granting them the ability to: (1) simulate genetic crosses with varying numbers of genes and patterns of inheritance, (2) simulate allele frequency changes under natural selection and/ or genetic drift, (3) quiz themselves to reinforce terminology (customizable by any instructor for their whole classroom), *4) solve various problems (recombination fractions, Hardy-Weinberg, heritability, population growth), and (5) generate literally an infinite number of practice problems in all of these areas to try on their own. Although some of these functions are available elsewhere, the alternatives do not have the ability to instantly generate new practice problems or achieve these diverse functions in devices that students carry in their pockets every day.
PMCID: PMC4025476  PMID: 24727286
app; education; terminology; simulations
14.  Rapid Evolution of Phenotypic Plasticity and Shifting Thresholds of Genetic Assimilation in the Nematode Caenorhabditis remanei 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1103-1112.
Many organisms can acclimate to new environments through phenotypic plasticity, a complex trait that can be heritable, subject to selection, and evolve. However, the rate and genetic basis of plasticity evolution remain largely unknown. We experimentally evolved outbred populations of the nematode Caenorhabditis remanei under an acute heat shock during early larval development. When raised in a nonstressful environment, ancestral populations were highly sensitive to a 36.8° heat shock and exhibited high mortality. However, initial exposure to a nonlethal high temperature environment resulted in significantly reduced mortality during heat shock (hormesis). Lines selected for heat shock resistance rapidly evolved the capacity to withstand heat shock in the native environment without any initial exposure to high temperatures, and early exposure to high temperatures did not lead to further increases in heat resistance. This loss of plasticity would appear to have resulted from the genetic assimilation of the heat induction response in the noninducing environment. However, analyses of transcriptional variation via RNA-sequencing from the selected populations revealed no global changes in gene regulation correlated with the observed changes in heat stress resistance. Instead, assays of the phenotypic response across a broader range of temperatures revealed that the induced plasticity was not fixed across environments, but rather the threshold for the response was shifted to higher temperatures over evolutionary time. These results demonstrate that apparent genetic assimilation can result from shifting thresholds of induction across environments and that analysis of the broader environmental context is critically important for understanding the evolution of phenotypic plasticity.
PMCID: PMC4065253  PMID: 24727288
genetic assimilation; experimental evolution; natural selection; heat shock proteins; heat stress; hormesis
15.  A Recent Global Selective Sweep on the age-1 Phosphatidylinositol 3-OH Kinase Regulator of the Insulin-Like Signaling Pathway Within Caenorhabditis remanei 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1123-1133.
The discovery that genetic pathways can be manipulated to extend lifespan has revolutionized our understanding of aging, yet their function within natural populations remains poorly characterized. In particular, evolutionary theories of aging predict tradeoffs in resource investment toward somatic maintenance vs. reproductive output that should impose strong natural selection on genetic components that influence this balance. To explore such selective pressure at the molecular level, we examine population genetic variation in the insulin-like signaling pathway of the nematode Caenorhabditis remanei. We document a recent global selective sweep on the phosphoinositide-3-kinase pathway regulator, age-1, the first life-extension gene to have been identified. In particular, we find that age-1 has 5−20 times less genetic variation than any other insulin-like signaling pathway components and that evolutionary signatures of selection center on the age-1 locus within its genomic environment. These results demonstrate that critical components of aging-related pathways can be subject to shifting patterns of strong selection, as predicted by theory. This highly polymorphic outcrossing species offers high-resolution, population-level analyses of molecular variation as a complement to functional genetic studies within the self-reproducing C. elegans model system.
PMCID: PMC4065255  PMID: 24727287
selective sweep; insulin pathway; Caenorhabditis; aging; molecular evolution
16.  Parametric and Nonparametric Statistical Methods for Genomic Selection of Traits with Additive and Epistatic Genetic Architectures 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1027-1046.
Parametric and nonparametric methods have been developed for purposes of predicting phenotypes. These methods are based on retrospective analyses of empirical data consisting of genotypic and phenotypic scores. Recent reports have indicated that parametric methods are unable to predict phenotypes of traits with known epistatic genetic architectures. Herein, we review parametric methods including least squares regression, ridge regression, Bayesian ridge regression, least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO), Bayesian LASSO, best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP), Bayes A, Bayes B, Bayes C, and Bayes Cπ. We also review nonparametric methods including Nadaraya-Watson estimator, reproducing kernel Hilbert space, support vector machine regression, and neural networks. We assess the relative merits of these 14 methods in terms of accuracy and mean squared error (MSE) using simulated genetic architectures consisting of completely additive or two-way epistatic interactions in an F2 population derived from crosses of inbred lines. Each simulated genetic architecture explained either 30% or 70% of the phenotypic variability. The greatest impact on estimates of accuracy and MSE was due to genetic architecture. Parametric methods were unable to predict phenotypic values when the underlying genetic architecture was based entirely on epistasis. Parametric methods were slightly better than nonparametric methods for additive genetic architectures. Distinctions among parametric methods for additive genetic architectures were incremental. Heritability, i.e., proportion of phenotypic variability, had the second greatest impact on estimates of accuracy and MSE.
PMCID: PMC4065247  PMID: 24727289
parametric; nonparametric; genomic selection; epistasis; prediction; GenPred; Shared data resources
17.  In Aspergillus nidulans the Suppressors suaA and suaC Code for Release Factors eRF1 and eRF3 and suaD Codes for a Glutamine tRNA 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1047-1057.
In Aspergillus nidulans, after extensive mutagenesis, a collection of mutants was obtained and four suppressor loci were identified genetically that could suppress mutations in putative chain termination mutations in different genes. Suppressor mutations in suaB and suaD have a similar restricted spectrum of suppression and suaB111 was previously shown to be an alteration in the anticodon of a gln tRNA. We have shown that like suaB, a suaD suppressor has a mutation in the anticodon of another gln tRNA allowing suppression of UAG mutations. Mutations in suaA and suaC had a broad spectrum of suppression. Four suaA mutations result in alterations in the coding region of the eukaryotic release factor, eRF1, and another suaA mutation has a mutation in the upstream region of eRF1 that prevents splicing of the first intron within the 5′UTR. Epitope tagging of eRF1 in this mutant results in 20% of the level of eRF1 compared to the wild-type. Two mutations in suaC result in alterations in the eukaryotic release factor, eRF3. This is the first description in Aspergillus nidulans of an alteration in eRF3 leading to suppression of chain termination mutations.
PMCID: PMC4065248  PMID: 24727290
suppression of nonsense mutations in A. nidulans; suaD codes for a glutamine tRNA; suaA codes for eRF1; suaC codes for eRF3
18.  A Genome-Wide Screen for Sporulation-Defective Mutants in Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1173-1182.
Yeast sporulation is a highly regulated developmental program by which diploid cells generate haploid gametes, termed spores. To better define the genetic pathways regulating sporulation, a systematic screen of the set of ~3300 nonessential Schizosaccharomyces pombe gene deletion mutants was performed to identify genes required for spore formation. A high-throughput genetic method was used to introduce each mutant into an h90 background, and iodine staining was used to identify sporulation-defective mutants. The screen identified 34 genes whose deletion reduces sporulation, including 15 that are defective in forespore membrane morphogenesis. In S. pombe, the total number of sporulation-defective mutants is a significantly smaller fraction of coding genes than in S. cerevisiae, which reflects the different evolutionary histories and biology of the two yeasts.
PMCID: PMC4065261  PMID: 24727291
knockout collection; erp2; erp5; forespore membrane
19.  CZT-1 Is a Novel Transcription Factor Controlling Cell Death and Natural Drug Resistance in Neurospora crassa 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1091-1102.
We pinpoint CZT-1 (cell death–activated zinc cluster transcription factor) as a novel transcription factor involved in tolerance to cell death induced by the protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine in Neurospora crassa. Transcriptional profiling of staurosporine-treated wild-type cells by RNA-sequencing showed that genes encoding the machinery for protein synthesis are enriched among the genes repressed by the drug. Functional category enrichment analyses also show that genes encoding components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain are downregulated by staurosporine, whereas genes involved in endoplasmic reticulum activities are upregulated. In contrast, a staurosporine-treated Δczt-1 deletion strain is unable to repress the genes for the respiratory chain and to induce the genes related to the endoplasmic reticulum, indicating a role for CZT-1 in the regulation of activity of these organelles. The Δczt-1 mutant strain displays increased reactive oxygen species accumulation on insult with staurosporine. A genome-wide association study of a wild population of N. crassa isolates pointed out genes associated with a cell death role of CZT-1, including catalase-1 (cat-1) and apoptosis-inducing factor–homologous mitochondrion-associated inducer of death 2 (amid-2). Importantly, differences in the expression of czt-1 correlates with resistance to staurosporine among wild isolate strains. Our results reveal a novel transcription factor that regulates drug resistance and cell death in response to staurosporine in laboratory strains as well as in wild isolates of N. crassa.
PMCID: PMC4065252  PMID: 24717808
cell death; multidrug resistance; zinc cluster transcription factor; genome-wide association study; RNA-seq
20.  Dopamine Signaling in C. elegans Is Mediated in Part by HLH-17-Dependent Regulation of Extracellular Dopamine Levels 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1081-1089.
In Caenorhabditis elegans, the dopamine transporter DAT-1 regulates synaptic dopamine (DA) signaling by controlling extracellular DA levels. In dat-1(ok157) animals, DA is not taken back up presynaptically but instead reaches extrasynpatic sites, where it activates the dopamine receptor DOP-3 on choligeneric motor neurons and causes animals to become paralyzed in water. This phenotype is called swimming-induced paralysis (SWIP) and is dependent on dat-1 and dop-3. Upstream regulators of dat-1 and dop-3 have yet to be described in C. elegans. In our previous studies, we defined a role for HLH-17 during dopamine response through its regulation of the dopamine receptors. Here we continue our characterization of the effects of HLH-17 on dopamine signaling. Our results suggest that HLH-17 acts downstream of dopamine synthesis to regulate the expression of dop-3 and dat-1. First, we show that hlh-17 animals display a SWIP phenotype that is consistent with its regulation of dop-3 and dat-1. Second, we show that this behavior is enhanced by treatment with the dopamine reuptake inhibitor, bupropion, in both hlh-17 and dat-1 animals, a result suggesting that SWIP behavior is regulated via a mechanism that is both dependent on and independent of DAT-1. Third, and finally, we show that although the SWIP phenotype of hlh-17 animals is unresponsive to the dopamine agonist, reserpine, and to the antidepressant, fluoxetine, hlh-17 animals are not defective in acetylcholine signaling. Taken together, our work suggests that HLH-17 is required to maintain normal levels of dopamine in the synaptic cleft through its regulation of dop-3 and dat-1.
PMCID: PMC4065251  PMID: 24709946
reserpine; bupropion; fluoxetine; dopamine receptor; acetylcholine signaling
21.  Fine Mapping Reveals That Promotion Susceptibility Locus 1 (Psl1) Is a Compound Locus With Multiple Genes That Modify Susceptibility to Skin Tumor Development 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1071-1079.
Although it is well known that the majority of human cancers occur as the result of exposure to environmental carcinogens, it is clear that not all individuals exposed to a specific environmental carcinogen have the same risk of developing cancer. Considerable evidence indicates that common allelic variants of low-penetrance, tumor susceptibility genes are responsible for this interindividual variation in risk. We previously reported a skin tumor promotion susceptibility locus, Psl1, which maps to the distal portion of chromosome 9, that modified skin tumor promotion susceptibility in the mouse. Furthermore, Psl1 was shown to consist of at least two subloci (i.e., Psl1.1 and Psl1.2) and that glutathione S-transferase alpha 4 (Gsta4), which maps to Psl1.2, is a skin tumor promotion susceptibility gene. Finally, variants of human GSTA4 were found to be associated with risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. In the current study, a combination of nested and contiguous C57BL/6 congenic mouse strains, each inheriting a different portion of the Psl1 locus from DBA/2, were tested for susceptibility to skin tumor promotion with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. These analyses indicate that Psl1 is a compound locus with at least six genes, including Gsta4, that modify skin tumor promotion susceptibility. More than 550 protein-coding genes map within the Psl1 locus. Fine mapping of the Psl1 locus, along with two-strain haplotype analysis, gene expression analysis, and the identification of genes with amino acid variants, has produced a list of fewer than 25 candidate skin tumor promotion susceptibility genes.
PMCID: PMC4065250  PMID: 24700353
Psl1; skin tumor promotion susceptibility locus; tetradecanoylphorbol acetate; complex trait genetics; compound locus
22.  Conditional Genetic Interactions of RTT107, SLX4, and HRQ1 Reveal Dynamic Networks upon DNA Damage in S. cerevisiae 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(6):1059-1069.
The DNA damage response (DDR) is a dynamic process that is crucial for protecting the cell from challenges to genome integrity. Although many genome-wide studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have identified genes that contribute to resistance to DNA-damaging agents, more work is needed to elucidate the changes in genetic interaction networks in response to DNA lesions. Here we used conditional epistatic miniarray profiling to analyze the genetic interaction networks of the DDR genes RTT107, SLX4, and HRQ1 under three DNA-damaging conditions: camptothecin, hydroxyurea, and methyl methanesulfonate. Rtt107 and its interaction partner Slx4 are targets of the checkpoint kinase Mec1, which is central to the DDR-signaling cascades. Hrq1 recently was identified as a novel member of the RecQ helicase family in S. cerevisiae but is still poorly characterized. The conditional genetic networks that we generated revealed functional insights into all three genes and showed that there were varied responses to different DNA damaging agents. We observed that RTT107 had more genetic interactions under camptothecin conditions than SLX4 or HRQ1, suggesting that Rtt107 has an important role in response to this type of DNA lesion. Although RTT107 and SLX4 function together, they also had many distinct genetic interactions. In particular, RTT107 and SLX4 showed contrasting genetic interactions for a few genes, which we validated with independently constructed strains. Interestingly, HRQ1 had a genetic interaction profile that correlated with that of SLX4 and both were enriched for very similar gene ontology terms, suggesting that they function together in the DDR.
PMCID: PMC4065249  PMID: 24700328
genetic interaction profiles; DNA damage response; helicase; conditional interactions
23.  Genomics of CpG Methylation in Developing and Developed Zebrafish 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(5):861-869.
DNA methylation is a dynamic process through which specific chromatin modifications can be stably transmitted from parent to daughter cells. A large body of work has suggested that DNA methylation influences gene expression by silencing gene promoters. However, these conclusions were drawn from data focused mostly on promoter regions. Regarding the entire genome, it is unclear how methylation and gene transcription patterns are related during vertebrate development. To identify the genome-wide distribution of CpG methylation, we created series of high-resolution methylome maps of Danio rerio embryos during development and in mature, differentiated tissues. We found that embryonic and terminal tissues have unique methylation signatures in CpG islands and repetitive sequences. Fully differentiated tissues have increased CpG and LTR methylation and decreased SINE methylation relative to embryonic tissues. Unsupervised clustering analyses reveal that the embryonic and terminal tissues can be classified solely by their methylation patterning. Novel analyses also identify a previously undescribed genome-wide exon methylation signature. We also compared whole genome methylation with genome-wide mRNA expression levels using publicly available RNA-seq datasets. These comparisons revealed previously unrecognized relationships between gene expression, alternative splicing, and exon methylation. Surprisingly, we found that exonic methylation is a better predictor of mRNA expression level than promoter methylation. We also found that transcriptionally skipped exons have significantly less methylation than retained exons. Our integrative analyses reveal highly complex interplay between gene expression, alternative splicing, development, and methylation patterning in zebrafish.
PMCID: PMC4025485  PMID: 24657902
methylation; epigenetics; zebrafish; development; one-carbon metabolism
24.  Efficient Gene Knock-out and Knock-in with Transgenic Cas9 in Drosophila 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(5):925-929.
Bacterial Cas9 nuclease induces site-specific DNA breaks using small gRNA as guides. Cas9 has been successfully introduced into Drosophila for genome editing. Here, we improve the versatility of this method by developing a transgenic system that expresses Cas9 in the Drosophila germline. Using this system, we induced inheritable knock-out mutations by injecting only the gRNA into embryos, achieved highly efficient mutagenesis by expressing gRNA from the promoter of a novel non-coding RNA gene, and recovered homologous recombination-based knock-in of a fluorescent marker at a rate of 4.5% by co-injecting gRNA with a circular DNA donor.
PMCID: PMC4025491  PMID: 24657904
knock-out; knock-in; Cas9; gRNA; Drosophila
25.  Phenotypic Analysis of a Family of Transcriptional Regulators, the Zinc Cluster Proteins, in the Human Fungal Pathogen Candida glabrata 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(5):931-940.
Candida glabrata is the second most important human fungal pathogen. Despite its formal name, C. glabrata is in fact more closely related to the nonpathogenic budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, less is known about the biology of this pathogen. Zinc cluster proteins form a large family of transcriptional regulators involved in the regulation of numerous processes such as the control of the metabolism of sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, as well as drug resistance. The C. glabrata genome encodes 41 known or putative zinc cluster proteins, and the majority of them are uncharacterized. We have generated a panel of strains carrying individual deletions of zinc cluster genes. Using a novel approach relying on tetracycline for conditional expression in C. glabrata at the translational level, we show that only two zinc cluster genes are essential. We have performed phenotypic analysis of nonessential zinc cluster genes. Our results show that two deletion strains are thermosensitive whereas two strains are sensitive to caffeine, an inhibitor of the target of rapamycin pathway. Increased salt tolerance has been observed for eight deletion strains, whereas one strain showed reduced tolerance to salt. We have also identified a number of strains with increased susceptibility to the antifungal drugs fluconazole and ketoconazole. Interestingly, one deletion strain showed decreased susceptibility to the antifungal micafungin. In summary, we have assigned phenotypes to more than half of the zinc cluster genes in C. glabrata. Our study provides a resource that will be useful to better understand the biological role of these transcription factors.
PMCID: PMC4025492  PMID: 24657903
transcriptional regulators; Candida glabrata; zinc cluster proteins; phenotypic analysis; drug resistance

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