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1.  Fine mapping of a large-effect QTL conferring Fusarium crown rot resistance on the long arm of chromosome 3B in hexaploid wheat 
BMC Genomics  2015;16:850.
Fusarium crown rot (FCR) is a major cereal disease in semi-arid areas worldwide. Of the various QTL reported, the one on chromosome arm 3BL (Qcrs.cpi-3B) has the largest effect that can be consistently detected in different genetic backgrounds. Nine sets of near isogenic lines (NILs) for this locus were made available in a previous study. To identify markers that could be reliably used in tagging the Qcrs.cpi-3B locus, a NIL-derived population consisting of 774 F10 lines were generated and exploited to assess markers selected from the existing linkage map and generated from sequences of the 3B pseudomolecule.
This is the first report on fine mapping a QTL conferring FCR resistance in wheat. By three rounds of linkage mapping using the NILs and the NIL-derived population, the Qcrs.cpi-3B locus was mapped to an interval of 0.7 cM covering a physical distance of about 1.5 Mb. Seven markers co-segregating with the locus were developed. This interval contains a total of 63 gene-coding sequences based on the 3B pseudomolecule, and six of them were known to encode disease resistance proteins. Several of the genes in this interval were among those responsive to FCR infection detected in an earlier study.
The accurate localization of the Qcrs.cpi-3B locus and the development of the markers co-segregating with it should facilitate the incorporation of this large-effect QTL conferring FCR resistance into breeding programs as well as the cloning of the gene(s) underlying the QTL.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-2105-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4618961  PMID: 26493707
Fusarium crown rot; Fine mapping; Hexaploid wheat; Co-segregating; SSR marker
2.  Small-scale gene duplications played a major role in the recent evolution of wheat chromosome 3B 
Genome Biology  2015;16(1):188.
Bread wheat is not only an important crop, but its large (17 Gb), highly repetitive, and hexaploid genome makes it a good model to study the organization and evolution of complex genomes. Recently, we produced a high quality reference sequence of wheat chromosome 3B (774 Mb), which provides an excellent opportunity to study the evolutionary dynamics of a large and polyploid genome, specifically the impact of single gene duplications.
We find that 27 % of the 3B predicted genes are non-syntenic with the orthologous chromosomes of Brachypodium distachyon, Oryza sativa, and Sorghum bicolor, whereas, by applying the same criteria, non-syntenic genes represent on average only 10 % of the predicted genes in these three model grasses. These non-syntenic genes on 3B have high sequence similarity to at least one other gene in the wheat genome, indicating that hexaploid wheat has undergone massive small-scale interchromosomal gene duplications compared to other grasses. Insertions of non-syntenic genes occurred at a similar rate along the chromosome, but these genes tend to be retained at a higher frequency in the distal, recombinogenic regions. The ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates showed a more relaxed selection pressure for non-syntenic genes compared to syntenic genes, and gene ontology analysis indicated that non-syntenic genes may be enriched in functions involved in disease resistance.
Our results highlight the major impact of single gene duplications on the wheat gene complement and confirm the accelerated evolution of the Triticeae lineage among grasses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0754-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4563886  PMID: 26353816
3.  Deep transcriptome sequencing provides new insights into the structural and functional organization of the wheat genome 
Genome Biology  2015;16(1):29.
Because of its size, allohexaploid nature, and high repeat content, the bread wheat genome is a good model to study the impact of the genome structure on gene organization, function, and regulation. However, because of the lack of a reference genome sequence, such studies have long been hampered and our knowledge of the wheat gene space is still limited. The access to the reference sequence of the wheat chromosome 3B provided us with an opportunity to study the wheat transcriptome and its relationships to genome and gene structure at a level that has never been reached before.
By combining this sequence with RNA-seq data, we construct a fine transcriptome map of the chromosome 3B. More than 8,800 transcription sites are identified, that are distributed throughout the entire chromosome. Expression level, expression breadth, alternative splicing as well as several structural features of genes, including transcript length, number of exons, and cumulative intron length are investigated. Our analysis reveals a non-monotonic relationship between gene expression and structure and leads to the hypothesis that gene structure is determined by its function, whereas gene expression is subject to energetic cost. Moreover, we observe a recombination-based partitioning at the gene structure and function level.
Our analysis provides new insights into the relationships between gene and genome structure and function. It reveals mechanisms conserved with other plant species as well as superimposed evolutionary forces that shaped the wheat gene space, likely participating in wheat adaptation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0601-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4355351  PMID: 25853487
4.  Transcriptome and Allele Specificity Associated with a 3BL Locus for Fusarium Crown Rot Resistance in Bread Wheat 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113309.
Fusarium pathogens cause two major diseases in cereals, Fusarium crown rot (FCR) and head blight (FHB). A large-effect locus conferring resistance to FCR disease was previously located to chromosome arm 3BL (designated as Qcrs-3B) and several independent sets of near isogenic lines (NILs) have been developed for this locus. In this study, five sets of the NILs were used to examine transcriptional changes associated with the Qcrs-3B locus and to identify genes linked to the resistance locus as a step towards the isolation of the causative gene(s). Of the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) detected between the NILs, 12.7% was located on the single chromosome 3B. Of the expressed genes containing SNP (SNP-EGs) detected, 23.5% was mapped to this chromosome. Several of the DEGs and SNP-EGs are known to be involved in host-pathogen interactions, and a large number of the DEGs were among those detected for FHB in previous studies. Of the DEGs detected, 22 were mapped in the Qcrs-3B interval and they included eight which were detected in the resistant isolines only. The enrichment of DEG, and not necessarily those containing SNPs between the resistant and susceptible isolines, around the Qcrs-3B locus is suggestive of local regulation of this region by the resistance allele. Functions for 13 of these DEGs are known. Of the SNP-EGs, 28 were mapped in the Qcrs-3B interval and biological functions for 16 of them are known. These results provide insights into responses regulated by the 3BL locus and identify a tractable number of target genes for fine mapping and functional testing to identify the causative gene(s) at this QTL.
PMCID: PMC4236173  PMID: 25405461
5.  QTug.sau-3B Is a Major Quantitative Trait Locus for Wheat Hexaploidization 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(10):1943-1953.
Meiotic nonreduction resulting in unreduced gametes is thought to be the predominant mechanism underlying allopolyploid formation in plants. Until now, however, its genetic base was largely unknown. The allohexaploid crop common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), which originated from hybrids of T. turgidum L. with Aegilops tauschii Cosson, provides a model to address this issue. Our observations of meiosis in pollen mother cells from T. turgidum×Ae. tauschii hybrids indicated that first division restitution, which exhibited prolonged cell division during meiosis I, was responsible for unreduced gamete formation. A major quantitative trait locus (QTL) for this trait, named QTug.sau-3B, was detected on chromosome 3B in two T. turgidum×Ae. tauschii haploid populations. This QTL is situated between markers Xgwm285 and Xcfp1012 and covered a genetic distance of 1 cM in one population. QTug.sau-3B is a haploid-dependent QTL because it was not detected in doubled haploid populations. Comparative genome analysis indicated that this QTL was close to Ttam-3B, a collinear homolog of tam in wheat. Although the relationship between QTug.sau-3B and Ttam requires further study, high frequencies of unreduced gametes may be related to reduced expression of Ttam in wheat.
PMCID: PMC4199700  PMID: 25128436
allopolyploidy; CYCA1;2/TAM; first division restitution; unreduced gametes; Triticum aestivum
6.  dbWFA: a web-based database for functional annotation of Triticum aestivum transcripts 
The functional annotation of genes based on sequence homology with genes from model species genomes is time-consuming because it is necessary to mine several unrelated databases. The aim of the present work was to develop a functional annotation database for common wheat Triticum aestivum (L.). The database, named dbWFA, is based on the reference NCBI UniGene set, an expressed gene catalogue built by expressed sequence tag clustering, and on full-length coding sequences retrieved from the TriFLDB database. Information from good-quality heterogeneous sources, including annotations for model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. and Oryza sativa L., was gathered and linked to T. aestivum sequences through BLAST-based homology searches. Even though the complexity of the transcriptome cannot yet be fully appreciated, we developed a tool to easily and promptly obtain information from multiple functional annotation systems (Gene Ontology, MapMan bin codes, MIPS Functional Categories, PlantCyc pathway reactions and TAIR gene families). The use of dbWFA is illustrated here with several query examples. We were able to assign a putative function to 45% of the UniGenes and 81% of the full-length coding sequences from TriFLDB. Moreover, comparison of the annotation of the whole T. aestivum UniGene set along with curated annotations of the two model species assessed the accuracy of the annotation provided by dbWFA. To further illustrate the use of dbWFA, genes specifically expressed during the early cell division or late storage polymer accumulation phases of T. aestivum grain development were identified using a clustering analysis and then annotated using dbWFA. The annotation of these two sets of genes was consistent with previous analyses of T. aestivum grain transcriptomes and proteomes.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3649639  PMID: 23660284
7.  Intraspecific sequence comparisons reveal similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in the B and D genomes of bread wheat 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:155.
Polyploidization is considered one of the main mechanisms of plant genome evolution. The presence of multiple copies of the same gene reduces selection pressure and permits sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization leading to plant diversification, adaptation and speciation. In bread wheat, polyploidization and the prevalence of transposable elements resulted in massive gene duplication and movement. As a result, the number of genes which are non-collinear to genomes of related species seems markedly increased in wheat.
We used new-generation sequencing (NGS) to generate sequence of a Mb-sized region from wheat chromosome arm 3DS. Sequence assembly of 24 BAC clones resulted in two scaffolds of 1,264,820 and 333,768 bases. The sequence was annotated and compared to the homoeologous region on wheat chromosome 3B and orthologous loci of Brachypodium distachyon and rice. Among 39 coding sequences in the 3DS scaffolds, 32 have a homoeolog on chromosome 3B. In contrast, only fifteen and fourteen orthologs were identified in the corresponding regions in rice and Brachypodium, respectively. Interestingly, five pseudogenes were identified among the non-collinear coding sequences at the 3B locus, while none was found at the 3DS locus.
Direct comparison of two Mb-sized regions of the B and D genomes of bread wheat revealed similar rates of non-collinear gene insertion in both genomes with a majority of gene duplications occurring before their divergence. Relatively low proportion of pseudogenes was identified among non-collinear coding sequences. Our data suggest that the pseudogenes did not originate from insertion of non-functional copies, but were formed later during the evolution of hexaploid wheat. Some evidence was found for gene erosion along the B genome locus.
PMCID: PMC3445842  PMID: 22935214
Wheat; BAC sequencing; Homoeologous genomes; Gene duplication; Non-collinear genes; Allopolyploidy
8.  Whole Genome Profiling provides a robust framework for physical mapping and sequencing in the highly complex and repetitive wheat genome 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:47.
Sequencing projects using a clone-by-clone approach require the availability of a robust physical map. The SNaPshot technology, based on pair-wise comparisons of restriction fragments sizes, has been used recently to build the first physical map of a wheat chromosome and to complete the maize physical map. However, restriction fragments sizes shared randomly between two non-overlapping BACs often lead to chimerical contigs and mis-assembled BACs in such large and repetitive genomes. Whole Genome Profiling (WGP™) was developed recently as a new sequence-based physical mapping technology and has the potential to limit this problem.
A subset of the wheat 3B chromosome BAC library covering 230 Mb was used to establish a WGP physical map and to compare it to a map obtained with the SNaPshot technology. We first adapted the WGP-based assembly methodology to cope with the complexity of the wheat genome. Then, the results showed that the WGP map covers the same length than the SNaPshot map but with 30% less contigs and, more importantly with 3.5 times less mis-assembled BACs. Finally, we evaluated the benefit of integrating WGP tags in different sequence assemblies obtained after Roche/454 sequencing of BAC pools. We showed that while WGP tag integration improves assemblies performed with unpaired reads and with paired-end reads at low coverage, it does not significantly improve sequence assemblies performed at high coverage (25x) with paired-end reads.
Our results demonstrate that, with a suitable assembly methodology, WGP builds more robust physical maps than the SNaPshot technology in wheat and that WGP can be adapted to any genome. Moreover, WGP tag integration in sequence assemblies improves low quality assembly. However, to achieve a high quality draft sequence assembly, a sequencing depth of 25x paired-end reads is required, at which point WGP tag integration does not provide additional scaffolding value. Finally, we suggest that WGP tags can support the efficient sequencing of BAC pools by enabling reliable assignment of sequence scaffolds to their BAC of origin, a feature that is of great interest when using BAC pooling strategies to reduce the cost of sequencing large genomes.
PMCID: PMC3311077  PMID: 22289472
9.  TriAnnot: A Versatile and High Performance Pipeline for the Automated Annotation of Plant Genomes 
In support of the international effort to obtain a reference sequence of the bread wheat genome and to provide plant communities dealing with large and complex genomes with a versatile, easy-to-use online automated tool for annotation, we have developed the TriAnnot pipeline. Its modular architecture allows for the annotation and masking of transposable elements, the structural, and functional annotation of protein-coding genes with an evidence-based quality indexing, and the identification of conserved non-coding sequences and molecular markers. The TriAnnot pipeline is parallelized on a 712 CPU computing cluster that can run a 1-Gb sequence annotation in less than 5 days. It is accessible through a web interface for small scale analyses or through a server for large scale annotations. The performance of TriAnnot was evaluated in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and general fitness using curated reference sequence sets from rice and wheat. In less than 8 h, TriAnnot was able to predict more than 83% of the 3,748 CDS from rice chromosome 1 with a fitness of 67.4%. On a set of 12 reference Mb-sized contigs from wheat chromosome 3B, TriAnnot predicted and annotated 93.3% of the genes among which 54% were perfectly identified in accordance with the reference annotation. It also allowed the curation of 12 genes based on new biological evidences, increasing the percentage of perfect gene prediction to 63%. TriAnnot systematically showed a higher fitness than other annotation pipelines that are not improved for wheat. As it is easily adaptable to the annotation of other plant genomes, TriAnnot should become a useful resource for the annotation of large and complex genomes in the future.
PMCID: PMC3355818  PMID: 22645565
cluster; gene models; pipeline; plant genome; structural and functional annotation; transposable elements; wheat
10.  Specific patterns of gene space organisation revealed in wheat by using the combination of barley and wheat genomic resources 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:714.
Because of its size, allohexaploid nature and high repeat content, the wheat genome has always been perceived as too complex for efficient molecular studies. We recently constructed the first physical map of a wheat chromosome (3B). However gene mapping is still laborious in wheat because of high redundancy between the three homoeologous genomes. In contrast, in the closely related diploid species, barley, numerous gene-based markers have been developed. This study aims at combining the unique genomic resources developed in wheat and barley to decipher the organisation of gene space on wheat chromosome 3B.
Three dimensional pools of the minimal tiling path of wheat chromosome 3B physical map were hybridised to a barley Agilent 15K expression microarray. This led to the fine mapping of 738 barley orthologous genes on wheat chromosome 3B. In addition, comparative analyses revealed that 68% of the genes identified were syntenic between the wheat chromosome 3B and barley chromosome 3 H and 59% between wheat chromosome 3B and rice chromosome 1, together with some wheat-specific rearrangements. Finally, it indicated an increasing gradient of gene density from the centromere to the telomeres positively correlated with the number of genes clustered in islands on wheat chromosome 3B.
Our study shows that novel structural genomics resources now available in wheat and barley can be combined efficiently to overcome specific problems of genetic anchoring of physical contigs in wheat and to perform high-resolution comparative analyses with rice for deciphering the organisation of the wheat gene space.
PMCID: PMC3019236  PMID: 21167071
11.  Conjugative Transfer of the Integrative Conjugative Elements ICESt1 and ICESt3 from Streptococcus thermophilus▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(8):2764-2775.
Integrative and conjugative elements (ICEs), also called conjugative transposons, are genomic islands that excise, self-transfer by conjugation, and integrate in the genome of the recipient bacterium. The current investigation shows the intraspecies conjugative transfer of the first described ICEs in Streptococcus thermophilus, ICESt1 and ICESt3. Mitomycin C, a DNA-damaging agent, derepresses ICESt3 conjugative transfer almost 25-fold. The ICESt3 host range was determined using various members of the Firmicutes as recipients. Whereas numerous ICESt3 transconjugants of Streptococcus pyogenes and Enterococcus faecalis were recovered, only one transconjugant of Lactococcus lactis was obtained. The newly incoming ICEs, except the one from L. lactis, are site-specifically integrated into the 3′ end of the fda gene and are still able to excise in these transconjugants. Furthermore, ICESt3 was retransferred from E. faecalis to S. thermophilus. Recombinant plasmids carrying different parts of the ICESt1 recombination module were used to show that the integrase gene is required for the site-specific integration and excision of the ICEs, whereas the excisionase gene is required for the site-specific excision only.
PMCID: PMC2668402  PMID: 19181800
12.  Intraspecific Variability of the Terminal Inverted Repeats of the Linear Chromosome of Streptomyces ambofaciens 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(18):6599-6610.
The sequences of the terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) ending the linear chromosomal DNA of two Streptomyces ambofaciens strains, ATCC23877 and DSM40697 (198 kb and 213 kb, respectively), were determined from two sets of recombinant cosmids. Among the 215 coding DNA sequences (CDSs) predicted in the TIRs of strain DSM40697, 65 are absent in the TIRs of strain ATCC23877. Reciprocally, 45 of the 194 predicted CDSs are specific to the ATCC23877 strain. The strain-specific CDSs are located mainly at the terminal end of the TIRs. Indeed, although TIRs appear almost identical over 150 kb (99% nucleotide identity), large regions of DNA of 60 kb (DSM40697) and 48 kb (ATCC23877), mostly spanning the ends of the chromosome, are strain specific. These regions are rich in plasmid-associated genes, including genes encoding putative conjugal transfer functions. The strain-specific regions also share a G+C content (68%) lower than that of the rest of the genome (from 71% to 73%), a percentage that is more typical of Streptomyces plasmids and mobile elements. These data suggest that exchanges of replicon extremities have occurred, thereby contributing to the terminal variability observed at the intraspecific level. In addition, the terminal regions include many mobile genetic element-related genes, pseudogenes, and genes related to adaptation. The results give insight into the mechanisms of evolution of the TIRs: integration of new information and/or loss of DNA fragments and subsequent homogenization of the two chromosomal extremities.
PMCID: PMC1595491  PMID: 16952952

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