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1.  MC64-ClustalWP2: A Highly-Parallel Hybrid Strategy to Align Multiple Sequences in Many-Core Architectures 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94044.
We have developed the MC64-ClustalWP2 as a new implementation of the Clustal W algorithm, integrating a novel parallelization strategy and significantly increasing the performance when aligning long sequences in architectures with many cores. It must be stressed that in such a process, the detailed analysis of both the software and hardware features and peculiarities is of paramount importance to reveal key points to exploit and optimize the full potential of parallelism in many-core CPU systems. The new parallelization approach has focused into the most time-consuming stages of this algorithm. In particular, the so-called progressive alignment has drastically improved the performance, due to a fine-grained approach where the forward and backward loops were unrolled and parallelized. Another key approach has been the implementation of the new algorithm in a hybrid-computing system, integrating both an Intel Xeon multi-core CPU and a Tilera Tile64 many-core card. A comparison with other Clustal W implementations reveals the high-performance of the new algorithm and strategy in many-core CPU architectures, in a scenario where the sequences to align are relatively long (more than 10 kb) and, hence, a many-core GPU hardware cannot be used. Thus, the MC64-ClustalWP2 runs multiple alignments more than 18x than the original Clustal W algorithm, and more than 7x than the best x86 parallel implementation to date, being publicly available through a web service. Besides, these developments have been deployed in cost-effective personal computers and should be useful for life-science researchers, including the identification of identities and differences for mutation/polymorphism analyses, biodiversity and evolutionary studies and for the development of molecular markers for paternity testing, germplasm management and protection, to assist breeding, illegal traffic control, fraud prevention and for the protection of the intellectual property (identification/traceability), including the protected designation of origin, among other applications.
PMCID: PMC3977933  PMID: 24710354
2.  Effects of arachidonic acid on the concentration of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids in culture media of mesenchymal stromal cells differentiating into adipocytes or osteoblasts 
Genes & Nutrition  2013;9(1):375.
Metabolites derived from the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may modulate the mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) differentiation. Such cells can differentiate into different cellular types, including adipocytes and osteoblasts. Aging favors the bone marrow MSC differentiation toward the former, causing a loss of bone density associated with pathologies like osteoporosis. The omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) favors MSC adipogenesis to a greater extent than omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In this work, we study the joint action of both PUFA. Thus, not induced and induced to adipocyte or osteoblast MSC were treated with 20 μM of each PUFA (either AA, AA + DHA or AA + EPA). The expression of osteogenic and adipogenic molecular markers, the alox15b lipoxygenase gene expression and the 5-, 8-, 11-, 12- and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETE) derived from the AA metabolism in the culture media were determined. The results show that the adipogenesis induction of AA is not suppressed by the joint presence of EPA and DHA. In fact, both increased the adipogenic effect of AA on MSC differentiated into osteoblasts. The different HETE concentrations increased in cultures supplemented with AA, albeit such concentrations were lower in the cultures induced to differentiate, mainly at day 21 after the induction. Furthermore, the reduction in the HETE concentration was correlated with a higher expression of the alox15b gene. These results highlight the PUFA metabolism differences between uninduced and induced MSC to differentiate into adipocytes and osteoblasts, besides the relevant role of the lipoxygenase gene expression in adipogenesis induction.
PMCID: PMC3896622  PMID: 24338342
Omega-6; Omega-3; Lipoxygenase; Osteogenesis; Adipogenesis; Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid
3.  Varietal Tracing of Virgin Olive Oils Based on Plastid DNA Variation Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70507.
Olive oil traceability remains a challenge nowadays. DNA analysis is the preferred approach to an effective varietal identification, without any environmental influence. Specifically, olive organelle genomics is the most promising approach for setting up a suitable set of markers as they would not interfere with the pollinator variety DNA traces. Unfortunately, plastid DNA (cpDNA) variation of the cultivated olive has been reported to be low. This feature could be a limitation for the use of cpDNA polymorphisms in forensic analyses or oil traceability, but rare cpDNA haplotypes may be useful as they can help to efficiently discriminate some varieties. Recently, the sequencing of olive plastid genomes has allowed the generation of novel markers. In this study, the performance of cpDNA markers on olive oil matrices, and their applicability on commercial Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) oils were assessed. By using a combination of nine plastid loci (including multi-state microsatellites and short indels), it is possible to fingerprint six haplotypes (in 17 Spanish olive varieties), which can discriminate high-value commercialized cultivars with PDO. In particular, a rare haplotype was detected in genotypes used to produce a regional high-value commercial oil. We conclude that plastid haplotypes can help oil traceability in commercial PDO oils and set up an experimental methodology suitable for organelle polymorphism detection in the complex olive oil matrices.
PMCID: PMC3737381  PMID: 23950947
4.  Nutrition Metabolism Plays an Important Role in the Alternate Bearing of the Olive Tree (Olea europaea L.) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59876.
The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is widely known for its strong tendency for alternate bearing, which severely affects the fruit yield from year to year. Microarray based gene expression analysis using RNA from olive samples (on-off years leaves and ripe-unripe fruits) are particularly useful to understand the molecular mechanisms influencing the periodicity in the olive tree. Thus, we carried out genome wide transcriptome analyses involving different organs and temporal stages of the olive tree using the NimbleGen Array containing 136,628 oligonucleotide probe sets. Cluster analyses of the genes showed that cDNAs originated from different organs could be sorted into separate groups. The nutritional control had a particularly remarkable impact on the alternate bearing of olive, as shown by the differential expression of transcripts under different temporal phases and organs. Additionally, hormonal control and flowering processes also played important roles in this phenomenon. Our analyses provide further insights into the transcript changes between ”on year” and “off year” leaves along with the changes from unrpipe to ripe fruits, which shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying the olive tree alternate bearing. These findings have important implications for the breeding and agriculture of the olive tree and other crops showing periodicity. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the development and use of an olive array to document the gene expression profiling associated with the alternate bearing in olive tree.
PMCID: PMC3610735  PMID: 23555820
5.  Genome-wide identification of alternate bearing-associated microRNAs (miRNAs) in olive (Olea europaea L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:10.
Alternate bearing is a widespread phenomenon among crop plants, defined as the tendency of certain fruit trees to produce a high-yield crop one year ("on-year"), followed by a low-yield or even no crop the following year ("off-year"). Several factors may affect the balance between such developmental phase-transition processes. Among them are the microRNA (miRNA), being gene-expression regulators that have been found to be involved as key determinants in several physiological processes.
Six olive (Olea europaea L. cv. Ayvalik variety) small RNA libraries were constructed from fruits (ripe and unripe) and leaves (”on year” and ”off year” leaves in July and in November, respectively) and sequenced by high-throughput Illumina sequencing. The RNA was retrotranscribed and sequenced using the high-throughput Illumina platform. Bioinformatics analyses of 93,526,915 reads identified 135 conserved miRNA, belonging to 22 miRNA families in the olive. In addition, 38 putative novel miRNAs were discovered in the datasets. Expression of olive tree miRNAs varied greatly among the six libraries, indicating the contribution of diverse miRNA in balancing between reproductive and vegetative phases. Predicted targets of miRNA were categorized into 108 process ontology groups with significance abundance. Among those, potential alternate bearing-associated processes were found, such as development, hormone-mediated signaling and organ morphogenesis. The KEGG analyses revealed that the miRNA-targeted genes are involved in seven main pathways, belonging to carbohydrate metabolism and hormone signal-transduction pathways.
A comprehensive study on olive miRNA related to alternate bearing was performed. Regulation of miRNA under different developmental phases and tissues indicated that control of nutrition and hormone, together with flowering processes had a noteworthy impact on the olive tree alternate bearing. Our results also provide significant data on the miRNA-fruit development interaction and advance perspectives in the miRNA profile of the olive tree.
PMCID: PMC3564680  PMID: 23320600
High-throughput small RNA sequencing; MicroRNA; Olive; Periodicity
6.  Genomic profiling of plastid DNA variation in the Mediterranean olive tree 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:80.
Characterisation of plastid genome (or cpDNA) polymorphisms is commonly used for phylogeographic, population genetic and forensic analyses in plants, but detecting cpDNA variation is sometimes challenging, limiting the applications of such an approach. In the present study, we screened cpDNA polymorphism in the olive tree (Olea europaea L.) by sequencing the complete plastid genome of trees with a distinct cpDNA lineage. Our objective was to develop new markers for a rapid genomic profiling (by Multiplex PCRs) of cpDNA haplotypes in the Mediterranean olive tree.
Eight complete cpDNA genomes of Olea were sequenced de novo. The nucleotide divergence between olive cpDNA lineages was low and not exceeding 0.07%. Based on these sequences, markers were developed for studying two single nucleotide substitutions and length polymorphism of 62 regions (with variable microsatellite motifs or other indels). They were then used to genotype the cpDNA variation in cultivated and wild Mediterranean olive trees (315 individuals). Forty polymorphic loci were detected on this sample, allowing the distinction of 22 haplotypes belonging to the three Mediterranean cpDNA lineages known as E1, E2 and E3. The discriminating power of cpDNA variation was particularly low for the cultivated olive tree with one predominating haplotype, but more diversity was detected in wild populations.
We propose a method for a rapid characterisation of the Mediterranean olive germplasm. The low variation in the cultivated olive tree indicated that the utility of cpDNA variation for forensic analyses is limited to rare haplotypes. In contrast, the high cpDNA variation in wild populations demonstrated that our markers may be useful for phylogeographic and populations genetic studies in O. europaea.
PMCID: PMC3115843  PMID: 21569271
7.  Genetic structure and ecogeographical adaptation in wild barley (Hordeum chilense Roemer et Schultes) as revealed by microsatellite markers 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:266.
Multi-allelic microsatellite markers have become the markers of choice for the determination of genetic structure in plants. Synteny across cereals has allowed the cross-species and cross-genera transferability of SSR markers, which constitute a valuable and cost-effective tool for the genetic analysis and marker-assisted introgression of wild related species. Hordeum chilense is one of the wild relatives with a high potential for cereal breeding, due to its high crossability (both interspecies and intergenera) and polymorphism for adaptation traits. In order to analyze the genetic structure and ecogeographical adaptation of this wild species, it is necessary to increase the number of polymorphic markers currently available for the species. In this work, the possibility of using syntenic wheat SSRs as a new source of markers for this purpose has been explored.
From the 98 wheat EST-SSR markers tested for transferability and polymorphism in the wild barley genome, 53 primer pairs (54.0%) gave cross-species transferability and 20 primer pairs (20.4%) showed polymorphism. The latter were used for further analysis in the H. chilense germplasm. The H. chilense-Triticum aestivum addition lines were used to test the chromosomal location of the new polymorphic microsatellite markers. The genetic structure and diversity was investigated in a collection of 94 H. chilense accessions, using a set of 49 SSR markers distributed across the seven chromosomes. Microsatellite markers showed a total of 351 alleles over all loci. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to 27, with a mean of 7.2 alleles per locus and a mean Polymorphic Information Content (PIC) of 0.5.
According to the results, the germplasm can be divided into two groups, with morphological and ecophysiological characteristics being key determinants of the population structure. Geographic and ecological structuring was also revealed in the analyzed germplasm. A significant correlation between geographical and genetic distance was detected in the Central Chilean region for the first time in the species. In addition, significant ecological influence in genetic distance has been detected for one of the population structure groups (group II) in the Central Chilean region. Finally, the association of the SSR markers with ecogeographical variables was investigated and one marker was found significantly associated with precipitation. These findings have a potential application in cereal breeding.
PMCID: PMC3014967  PMID: 21118494
8.  Transferability and polymorphism of barley EST-SSR markers used for phylogenetic analysis in Hordeum chilense 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:97.
Hordeum chilense, a native South American diploid wild barley, is a potential source of useful genes for cereal breeding. The use of this wild species to increase genetic variation in cereals will be greatly facilitated by marker-assisted selection. Different economically feasible approaches have been undertaken for this wild species with limited direct agricultural use in a search for suitable and cost-effective markers. The availability of Expressed Sequence Tags (EST) derived microsatellites or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, commonly called as EST-SSRs, for barley (Hordeum vulgare) represents a promising source to increase the number of genetic markers available for the H. chilense genome.
All of the 82 barley EST-derived SSR primer pairs tested for transferability to H. chilense amplified products of correct size from this species. Of these 82 barley EST-SSRs, 21 (26%) showed polymorphism among H. chilense lines. Identified polymorphic markers were used to test the transferability and polymorphism in other Poaceae family species with the aim of establishing H. chilense phylogenetic relationships. Triticum aestivum-H. chilense addition lines allowed us to determine the chromosomal localizations of EST-SSR markers and confirm conservation of the linkage group.
From the present study a set of 21 polymorphic EST-SSR markers have been identified to be useful for diversity analysis of H. chilense, related wild barleys like H. murinum, and for wheat marker-assisted introgression breeding. Across-genera transferability of the barley EST-SSR markers has allowed phylogenetic inference within the Triticeae complex.
PMCID: PMC2569940  PMID: 18822176
9.  In Vivo Transcription of the Escherichia coli oxyR Regulon as a Function of Growth Phase and in Response to Oxidative Stress 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(9):2759-2764.
Simultaneous expression of seven genes in Escherichia coli was measured by a reverse transcription-multiplex PCR fluorescence procedure. Genes studied were (i) oxyR (transcriptional regulator); (ii) katG, dps, gorA, and ahpCF (controlled by OxyR); (iii) sodA (controlled by SoxRS); and (iv) trxA (not related to OxyR or SoxRS). Except for trxA, transcription of all genes was activated during the course of growth of wild-type bacteria, though notable variations were observed with respect to both the time and extent of activation. Whereas oxyR, katG, dps, and gorA were activated during exponential growth, ahpCF and sodA were stimulated in stationary phase. Maximal induction ranged from 4.6- to 86.5-fold, for gorA and dps, respectively. Treatment with H2O2 stimulated expression of the genes (katG, dps, ahpCF, and gorA) previously identified as members of the OxyR regulon, except for oxyR itself. Induction by H2O2 was a remarkably rapid and reversible process that took place in an OxyR-dependent and ςS-independent manner. NaCl induced expression of the genes controlled by OxyR, including the oxyR locus. This transcriptional up-regulation was preserved in a strain with the ΔoxyR::kan mutation, but it was abolished (ahpCF) or significantly reduced (oxyR and dps) in a strain with the rpoS::Tn10 mutation, potentially reflecting positive transcriptional regulation of the oxyR regulon by ςS. Expression of trxA was not increased either by H2O2 stress or by a shift to high-osmolarity conditions.
PMCID: PMC93716  PMID: 10217765

Results 1-9 (9)