The potato psyllid (PoP) Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc) and Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) Diaphorina citri Kuwayama are the insect vectors of the fastidious plant pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) and Ca. L. asiaticus (CLas), respectively. CLso causes Zebra chip disease of potato and vein-greening in solanaceous species, whereas, CLas causes citrus greening disease. The reliance on insecticides for vector management to reduce pathogen transmission has increased interest in alternative approaches, including RNA interference to abate expression of genes essential for psyllid-mediated Ca. Liberibacter transmission. To identify genes with significantly altered expression at different life stages and conditions of CLso/CLas infection, cDNA libraries were constructed for CLso-infected and -uninfected PoP adults and nymphal instars. Illumina sequencing produced 199,081,451 reads that were assembled into 82,224 unique transcripts. PoP and the analogous transcripts from ACP adult and nymphs reported elsewhere were annotated, organized into functional gene groups using the Gene Ontology classification system, and analyzed for differential in silico expression. Expression profiles revealed vector life stage differences and differential gene expression associated with Liberibacter infection of the psyllid host, including invasion, immune system modulation, nutrition, and development.
circulative-propagative transmission; fastidious plant bacteria; psyllid vector; transcriptome
Galanthamine is an Amaryllidaceae alkaloid used to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. This compound is primarily isolated from daffodil (Narcissus spp.), snowdrop (Galanthus spp.), and summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum). Despite its importance as a medicine, no genes involved in the biosynthetic pathway of galanthamine have been identified. This absence of genetic information on biosynthetic pathways is a limiting factor in the development of synthetic biology platforms for many important botanical medicines. The paucity of information is largely due to the limitations of traditional methods for finding biochemical pathway enzymes and genes in non-model organisms. A new bioinformatic approach using several recent technological improvements was applied to search for genes in the proposed galanthamine biosynthetic pathway, first targeting methyltransferases due to strong signature amino acid sequences in the proteins. Using Illumina sequencing, a de novo transcriptome assembly was constructed for daffodil. BLAST was used to identify sequences that contain signatures for plant O-methyltransferases in this transcriptome. The program HAYSTACK was then used to identify methyltransferases that fit a model for galanthamine biosynthesis in leaf, bulb and inflorescence tissues. One candidate gene for the methylation of norbelladine to 4′-O-methylnorbelladine in the proposed galanthamine biosynthetic pathway was identified. This methyltransferase cDNA was expressed in E. coli and the protein purified by affinity chromatography. The resulting protein was found to be a norbelladine 4′-O-methyltransferase (NpN4OMT) of the proposed galanthamine biosynthetic pathway.
The rhizome, the original stem of land plants, enables species to invade new territory and is a critical component of perenniality, especially in grasses. Red rice (Oryza longistaminata) is a perennial wild rice species with many valuable traits that could be used to improve cultivated rice cultivars, including rhizomatousness, disease resistance and drought tolerance. Despite these features, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that contribute to rhizome growth, development and function in this plant.
We used an integrated approach to compare the transcriptome, proteome and metabolome of the rhizome to other tissues of red rice. 116 Gb of transcriptome sequence was obtained from various tissues and used to identify rhizome-specific and preferentially expressed genes, including transcription factors and hormone metabolism and stress response-related genes. Proteomics and metabolomics approaches identified 41 proteins and more than 100 primary metabolites and plant hormones with rhizome preferential accumulation. Of particular interest was the identification of a large number of gene transcripts from Magnaportha oryzae, the fungus that causes rice blast disease in cultivated rice, even though the red rice plants showed no sign of disease.
A significant set of genes, proteins and metabolites appear to be specifically or preferentially expressed in the rhizome of O. longistaminata. The presence of M. oryzae gene transcripts at a high level in apparently healthy plants suggests that red rice is resistant to this pathogen, and may be able to provide genes to cultivated rice that will enable resistance to rice blast disease.
Transcriptomics; Proteomics; Metabolomics; Rhizome; Invasive species; Disease resistance; Rice blast; Rice
Development of a vaccine against congenital infection with human cytomegalovirus is complicated by the issue of re-infection, with subsequent vertical transmission, in women with pre-conception immunity to the virus. The study of experimental therapeutic prevention of re-infection would ideally be undertaken in a small animal model, such as the guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV) model, prior to human clinical trials. However, the ability to model re-infection in the GPCMV model has been limited by availability of only one strain of virus, the 22122 strain, isolated in 1957. In this report, we describe the isolation of a new GPCMV strain, the CIDMTR strain. This strain demonstrated morphological characteristics of a typical Herpesvirinae by electron microscopy. Illumina and PacBio sequencing demonstrated a genome of 232,778 nt. Novel open reading frames ORFs not found in reference strain 22122 included an additional MHC Class I homolog near the right genome terminus. The CIDMTR strain was capable of dissemination in immune compromised guinea pigs, and was found to be capable of congenital transmission in GPCMV-immune dams previously infected with salivary gland‑adapted strain 22122 virus. The availability of a new GPCMV strain should facilitate study of re-infection in this small animal model.
guinea pig cytomegalovirus; cytomegalovirus strain variation; CMV immune evasion; congenital cytomegalovirus infection; congenital CMV vaccines
The sequence of a newly discovered isolate of guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), the CIDMTR strain, was determined. The 232,778-nucleotide genome was generally well conserved with that of the 22122 reference strain, although some regions of substantial sequence divergence allowed annotation of strain-specific open reading frames encoding putative immune modulation gene products.
D-serine is an endogenous neurotransmitter that binds to the NMDA receptor, thereby increasing the affinity for glutamate, and the potential for excitotoxicity. The primary source of D-serine in vivo is enzymatic racemization by serine racemase (SR). Regulation of D-serine in vivo is poorly understood, but is thought to involve a combination of controlled production, synaptic reuptake by transporters, and intracellular degradation by D-amino acid oxidase (DAO). However, SR itself possesses a well-characterized eliminase activity which effectively degrades D-serine as well. D-serine is increased two-fold in spinal cords of G93A SOD1 mice – the standard model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS mice with SR disruption show earlier symptom onset, but survive longer (progression phase is slowed), in an SR-dependent manner. Paradoxically, administration of D-serine to ALS mice dramatically lowers cord levels of D-serine, leading to changes in onset and survival very similar to SR deletion. D-serine treatment also increases cord levels of the transporter Asc-1. Although the mechanism by which SOD1 mutations increases D-serine is not known, these results strongly suggest that SR and D-serine are fundamentally involved in both the presymptomatic and progression phases of disease, and offer a direct link between mutant SOD1 and a glial-derived toxic mediator.
ALS; D-serine; serine racemase; excitotoxicity; SOD1; DAO; ASC-1
Alfalfa, a perennial, outcrossing species, is a widely planted forage legume producing highly nutritious biomass. Currently, improvement of cultivated alfalfa mainly relies on recurrent phenotypic selection. Marker assisted breeding strategies can enhance alfalfa improvement efforts, particularly if many genome-wide markers are available. Transcriptome sequencing enables efficient high-throughput discovery of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers for a complex polyploid species.
The transcriptomes of 27 alfalfa genotypes, including elite breeding genotypes, parents of mapping populations, and unimproved wild genotypes, were sequenced using an Illumina Genome Analyzer IIx. De novo assembly of quality-filtered 72-bp reads generated 25,183 contigs with a total length of 26.8 Mbp and an average length of 1,065 bp, with an average read depth of 55.9-fold for each genotype. Overall, 21,954 (87.2%) of the 25,183 contigs represented 14,878 unique protein accessions. Gene ontology (GO) analysis suggested that a broad diversity of genes was represented in the resulting sequences. The realignment of individual reads to the contigs enabled the detection of 872,384 SNPs and 31,760 InDels. High resolution melting (HRM) analysis was used to validate 91% of 192 putative SNPs identified by sequencing. Both allelic variants at about 95% of SNP sites identified among five wild, unimproved genotypes are still present in cultivated alfalfa, and all four US breeding programs also contain a high proportion of these SNPs. Thus, little evidence exists among this dataset for loss of significant DNA sequence diversity from either domestication or breeding of alfalfa. Structure analysis indicated that individuals from the subspecies falcata, the diploid subspecies caerulea, and the tetraploid subspecies sativa (cultivated tetraploid alfalfa) were clearly separated.
We used transcriptome sequencing to discover large numbers of SNPs segregating in elite breeding populations of alfalfa. Little loss of SNP diversity was evident between unimproved and elite alfalfa germplasm. The EST and SNP markers generated from this study are publicly available at the Legume Information System (
http://medsa.comparative-legumes.org/) and can contribute to future alfalfa research and breeding applications.
In mammalian systems, D-serine is perhaps the most biologically active D-amino acid described to date. D-serine is a coagonist at the NMDA-receptor, and receptor activation is dependent on D-serine binding. Because D-serine binding dramatically increases receptor affinity for glutamate, it can produce excitotoxicity without any change in glutamate per se. D-serine is twofold higher in the spinal cords of mSOD1 (G93A) ALS mice, and the deletion of serine racemase (SR), the enzyme that produces D-serine, results in an earlier onset of symptoms, but with a much slower rate of disease progression. Localization studies within the brain suggest that mSOD1 and subsequent glial activation could contribute to the alterations in SR and D-serine seen in ALS. By also degrading both D-serine and L-serine, SR appears to be a prime bidirectional regulator of free serine levels in vivo. Therefore, accurate and reproducible measurements of D-serine are critical to understanding its regulation by SR. Several methods for measuring D-serine have been employed, and significant issues related to validation and standardization remain unresolved. Further insights into the intracellular transport and tissue-specific compartmentalization of D-serine within the CNS will aid in the understanding of the role of D-serine in the pathogenesis of ALS.
A comprehensive transcriptome assembly for pigeonpea has been developed by analyzing 128.9 million short Illumina GA IIx single end reads, 2.19 million single end FLX/454 reads, and 18 353 Sanger expressed sequenced tags from more than 16 genotypes. The resultant transcriptome assembly, referred to as CcTA v2, comprised 21 434 transcript assembly contigs (TACs) with an N50 of 1510 bp, the largest one being ∼8 kb. Of the 21 434 TACs, 16 622 (77.5%) could be mapped on to the soybean genome build 1.0.9 under fairly stringent alignment parameters. Based on knowledge of intron junctions, 10 009 primer pairs were designed from 5033 TACs for amplifying intron spanning regions (ISRs). By using in silico mapping of BAC-end-derived SSR loci of pigeonpea on the soybean genome as a reference, putative mapping positions at the chromosome level were predicted for 6284 ISR markers, covering all 11 pigeonpea chromosomes. A subset of 128 ISR markers were analyzed on a set of eight genotypes. While 116 markers were validated, 70 markers showed one to three alleles, with an average of 0.16 polymorphism information content (PIC) value. In summary, the CcTA v2 transcript assembly and ISR markers will serve as a useful resource to accelerate genetic research and breeding applications in pigeonpea.
Cajanus cajan (L.); second-generation sequencing; transcriptome assembly; intron spanning region (ISR) markers
Initial research supports the use of propranolol to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); research has not examined pharmacological prevention for children. Twenty-nine injury patients (ages 10–18 years old) at risk for PTSD were randomized to a double-blind 10-day trial of propranolol or placebo initiated within 12 hours post admission. Six-week PTSD symptoms and heart rate were assessed. Although intent-to-treat analyses revealed no group differences, findings supported a significant interaction between gender and treatment in medication-adherent participants, ΔR2 = .21. Whereas girls receiving propranolol reported more PTSD symptoms relative to girls receiving placebo, ΔR2 = .44, boys receiving propranolol showed a nonsignificant trend toward fewer PTSD symptoms than boys receiving placebo, ΔR2 = .32. Findings inform gender differences regarding pharmacological PTSD prevention in youth.
PTSD; pediatric trauma; propranolol
Meiosis is a critical process in the reproduction and life cycle of flowering plants in which homologous chromosomes pair, synapse, recombine and segregate. Understanding meiosis will not only advance our knowledge of the mechanisms of genetic recombination, but also has substantial applications in crop improvement. Despite the tremendous progress in the past decade in other model organisms (e.g., Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Drosophila melanogaster), the global identification of meiotic genes in flowering plants has remained a challenge due to the lack of efficient methods to collect pure meiocytes for analyzing the temporal and spatial gene expression patterns during meiosis, and for the sensitive identification and quantitation of novel genes.
A high-throughput approach to identify meiosis-specific genes by combining isolated meiocytes, RNA-Seq, bioinformatic and statistical analysis pipelines was developed. By analyzing the studied genes that have a meiosis function, a pipeline for identifying meiosis-specific genes has been defined. More than 1,000 genes that are specifically or preferentially expressed in meiocytes have been identified as candidate meiosis-specific genes. A group of 55 genes that have mitochondrial genome origins and a significant number of transposable element (TE) genes (1,036) were also found to have up-regulated expression levels in meiocytes.
These findings advance our understanding of meiotic genes, gene expression and regulation, especially the transcript profiles of MGI genes and TE genes, and provide a framework for functional analysis of genes in meiosis.
Catalytic antioxidants are comprised of specialised classes of organometallic complexes that can catalyse the decomposition of injurious biological oxidants. These complexes have been shown to prevent the formation of several oxidative markers in spinal cord of G93A amyotropic lateral sclerosis mice and markedly extend survival, even when administered at symptom onset; however, it is now clear that some complexes lacking in antioxidant activity are also protective. New proteomics data suggest that these complexes also induce a broad spectrum of endogenous cellular defense mechanisms. The combination of antioxidant and adaptive resistance effects may explain the remarkable potency of these compounds and may also suggest wide applicability for them in a number of neurodegenerative diseases.
adaptive resistance; AEOL10150; G9; G93A mice; gadolinium texaphyrin; malondialdehyde; manganese porphyrin; metalloporphyrin; motexafin gadolinium; nitrotyrosine; onset administration paradigm; peroxynitrite; preconditioning; redox cycling
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive motor neuron loss, paralysis and death within 2–5 years of diagnosis. Currently, no effective pharmacological agents exist for the treatment of this devastating disease. Neuroinflammation may accelerate the progression of ALS. Cannabinoids produce anti-inflammatory actions via cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), and delay the progression of neuroinflammatory diseases. Additionally, CB2 receptors, which normally exist primarily in the periphery, are dramatically up-regulated in inflamed neural tissues associated with CNS disorders. In G93A-SOD1 mutant mice, the most well-characterized animal model of ALS, endogenous cannabinoids are elevated in spinal cords of symptomatic mice. Furthermore, treatment with non-selective cannabinoid partial agonists prior to, or upon, symptom appearance minimally delays disease onset and prolongs survival through undefined mechanisms. We demonstrate that mRNA, receptor binding and function of CB2, but not CB1, receptors are dramatically and selectively up-regulated in spinal cords of G93A-SOD1 mice in a temporal pattern paralleling disease progression. More importantly, daily injections of the selective CB2 agonist AM-1241, initiated at symptom onset, increase the survival interval after disease onset by 56%. Therefore, CB2 agonists may slow motor neuron degeneration and preserve motor function, and represent a novel therapeutic modality for treatment of ALS.
AM-1241; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; CB1 cannabinoid receptor; CB2 cannabinoid receptor; G93A-SOD1 transgenic mice; WIN-55,212
High-throughput DNA sequencing has enabled systems biology to begin to address areas in health, agricultural and basic biological research. Concomitant with the opportunities is an absolute necessity to manage significant volumes of high-dimensional and inter-related data and analysis. Alpheus is an analysis pipeline, database and visualization software for use with massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies that feature multi-gigabase throughput characterized by relatively short reads, such as Illumina-Solexa (sequencing-by-synthesis), Roche-454 (pyrosequencing) and Applied Biosystem’s SOLiD (sequencing-by-ligation). Alpheus enables alignment to reference sequence(s), detection of variants and enumeration of sequence abundance, including expression levels in transcriptome sequence. Alpheus is able to detect several types of variants, including non-synonymous and synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), insertions/deletions (indels), premature stop codons, and splice isoforms. Variant detection is aided by the ability to filter variant calls based on consistency, expected allele frequency, sequence quality, coverage, and variant type in order to minimize false positives while maximizing the identification of true positives. Alpheus also enables comparisons of genes with variants between cases and controls or bulk segregant pools. Sequence-based differential expression comparisons can be developed, with data export to SAS JMP Genomics for statistical analysis.
Alpheus; sequencing-by-synthesis; pyrosequencing; GMAP; GSNAP; resequencing; transcriptome sequencing
ForestTreeDB is intended as a resource that centralizes large-scale expressed sequence tag (EST) sequencing results from several tree species (). It currently encompasses 344 878 quality sequences from 68 libraries, from diverse organs of conifer and hybrid poplar trees. It utilizes the Nimbus data model to provide a hosting system for multiple projects, and uses object-relational mapping APIs in Java and Perl for data accesses within an Oracle database designed to be scalable, maintainable and extendable. Transcriptome builds or unigene sets occupy the focal point of the system. Several of the five current species-specific unigenes were used to design microarrays and SNP resources. The ForestTreeDB web application provides the means for multiple combination database queries. It presents the user with a list of discrete queries to retrieve and download large EST datasets or sequences from precompiled unigene assemblies. Functional annotation assignment is not trivial in conifers which are distantly related to angiosperm model plants. Optimal annotations are achieved through database queries that integrate results from several procedures based open-source tools. ForestTreeDB aims to facilitate sequence mining of coherent annotations in multiple species to support comparative genomic approaches. We plan to continuously enrich ForestTreeDB with other resources through collaborations with other genomic projects.
The sequencing and analysis of ESTs is for now the only practical approach for large-scale gene discovery and annotation in conifers because their very large genomes are unlikely to be sequenced in the near future. Our objective was to produce extensive collections of ESTs and cDNA clones to support manufacture of cDNA microarrays and gene discovery in white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss).
We produced 16 cDNA libraries from different tissues and a variety of treatments, and partially sequenced 50,000 cDNA clones. High quality 3' and 5' reads were assembled into 16,578 consensus sequences, 45% of which represented full length inserts. Consensus sequences derived from 5' and 3' reads of the same cDNA clone were linked to define 14,471 transcripts. A large proportion (84%) of the spruce sequences matched a pine sequence, but only 68% of the spruce transcripts had homologs in Arabidopsis or rice. Nearly all the sequences that matched the Populus trichocarpa genome (the only sequenced tree genome) also matched rice or Arabidopsis genomes. We used several sequence similarity search approaches for assignment of putative functions, including blast searches against general and specialized databases (transcription factors, cell wall related proteins), Gene Ontology term assignation and Hidden Markov Model searches against PFAM protein families and domains. In total, 70% of the spruce transcripts displayed matches to proteins of known or unknown function in the Uniref100 database (blastx e-value < 1e-10). We identified multigenic families that appeared larger in spruce than in the Arabidopsis or rice genomes. Detailed analysis of translationally controlled tumour proteins and S-adenosylmethionine synthetase families confirmed a twofold size difference. Sequences and annotations were organized in a dedicated database, SpruceDB. Several search tools were developed to mine the data either based on their occurrence in the cDNA libraries or on functional annotations.
This report illustrates specific approaches for large-scale gene discovery and annotation in an organism that is very distantly related to any of the fully sequenced genomes. The ArboreaSet sequences and cDNA clones represent a valuable resource for investigations ranging from plant comparative genomics to applied conifer genetics.
In order to identify the genes and gene functions that underlie key aspects of legume biology, researchers have selected the cool season legume Medicago truncatula (Mt) as a model system for legume research. A set of >170 000 Mt ESTs has been assembled based on in-depth sampling from various developmental stages and pathogen-challenged tissues. MtDB is a relational database that integrates Mt transcriptome data and provides a wide range of user-defined data mining options. The database is interrogated through a series of interfaces with 58 options grouped into two filters. In addition, the user can select and compare unigene sets generated by different assemblers: Phrap, Cap3 and Cap4. Sequence identifiers from all public Mt sites (e.g. IDs from GenBank, CCGB, TIGR, NCGR, INRA) are fully cross-referenced to facilitate comparisons between different sites, and hypertext links to the appropriate database records are provided for all queries' results. MtDB's goal is to provide researchers with the means to quickly and independently identify sequences that match specific research interests based on user-defined criteria. The underlying database and query software have been designed for ease of updates and portability to other model organisms. Public access to the database is at http://www.medicago.org/MtDB.
Although echinococcal disease of the liver is common in some parts of the world, it is rarely seen in the
United States. Even from endemic areas, few reports deal with its treatment during pregnancy. A 25 year old
18 week pregnant Italian woman presented with pruritis and right upper quadrant pain. Ultrasound
revealed a cystic lesion in the left lobe of the liver. The cyst was treated by operative insertion of hypertonic
saline and capsulorrhaphy. The patient and her fetus had no postoperative complications. We believe that
the pregnant patient with symptomatic hepatic echinococcal disease should be treated operatively and that
insertion of hypertonic saline and capsulorrhaphy is the safest and most effective technique for both the
mother and fetus.