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1.  Evolution of the eukaryotic ARP2/3 activators of the WASP family: WASP, WAVE, WASH, and WHAMM, and the proposed new family members WAWH and WAML 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:88.
WASP family proteins stimulate the actin-nucleating activity of the ARP2/3 complex. They include members of the well-known WASP and WAVE/Scar proteins, and the recently identified WASH and WHAMM proteins. WASP family proteins contain family specific N-terminal domains followed by proline-rich regions and C-terminal VCA domains that harbour the ARP2/3-activating regions.
To reveal the evolution of ARP2/3 activation by WASP family proteins we performed a "holistic" analysis by manually assembling and annotating all homologs in most of the eukaryotic genomes available. We have identified two new families: the WAML proteins (WASP and MIM like), which combine the membrane-deforming and actin bundling functions of the IMD domains with the ARP2/3-activating VCA regions, and the WAWH protein (WASP without WH1 domain) that have been identified in amoebae, Apusozoa, and the anole lizard. Surprisingly, with one exception we did not identify any alternative splice forms for WASP family proteins, which is in strong contrast to other actin-binding proteins like Ena/VASP, MIM, or NHS proteins that share domains with WASP proteins.
Our analysis showed that the last common ancestor of the eukaryotes must have contained a homolog of WASP, WAVE, and WASH. Specific families have subsequently been lost in many taxa like the WASPs in plants, algae, Stramenopiles, and Euglenozoa, and the WASH proteins in fungi. The WHAMM proteins are metazoa specific and have most probably been invented by the Eumetazoa. The diversity of WASP family proteins has strongly been increased by many species- and taxon-specific gene duplications and multimerisations. All data is freely accessible via
PMCID: PMC3298513  PMID: 22316129
ARP2/3 activation; WASP family proteins; WASP; WAVE; WASH; WHAMM
2.  diArk 2.0 provides detailed analyses of the ever increasing eukaryotic genome sequencing data 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:338.
Nowadays, the sequencing of even the largest mammalian genomes has become a question of days with current next-generation sequencing methods. It comes as no surprise that dozens of genome assemblies are released per months now. Since the number of next-generation sequencing machines increases worldwide and new major sequencing plans are announced, a further increase in the speed of releasing genome assemblies is expected. Thus it becomes increasingly important to get an overview as well as detailed information about available sequenced genomes. The different sequencing and assembly methods have specific characteristics that need to be known to evaluate the various genome assemblies before performing subsequent analyses.
diArk has been developed to provide fast and easy access to all sequenced eukaryotic genomes worldwide. Currently, diArk 2.0 contains information about more than 880 species and more than 2350 genome assembly files. Many meta-data like sequencing and read-assembly methods, sequencing coverage, GC-content, extended lists of alternatively used scientific names and common species names, and various kinds of statistics are provided. To intuitively approach the data the web interface makes extensive usage of modern web techniques. A number of search modules and result views facilitate finding and judging the data of interest. Subscribing to the RSS feed is the easiest way to stay up-to-date with the latest genome data.
diArk 2.0 is the most up-to-date database of sequenced eukaryotic genomes compared to databases like GOLD, NCBI Genome, NHGRI, and ISC. It is different in that only those projects are stored for which genome assembly data or considerable amounts of cDNA data are available. Projects in planning stage or in the process of being sequenced are not included. The user can easily search through the provided data and directly access the genome assembly files of the sequenced genome of interest. diArk 2.0 is available at
PMCID: PMC3180467  PMID: 21906294
3.  Cross-species protein sequence and gene structure prediction with fine-tuned Webscipio 2.0 and Scipio 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:265.
Obtaining transcripts of homologs of closely related organisms and retrieving the reconstructed exon-intron patterns of the genes is a very important process during the analysis of the evolution of a protein family and the comparative analysis of the exon-intron structure of a certain gene from different species. Due to the ever-increasing speed of genome sequencing, the gap to genome annotation is growing. Thus, tools for the correct prediction and reconstruction of genes in related organisms become more and more important. The tool Scipio, which can also be used via the graphical interface WebScipio, performs significant hit processing of the output of the Blat program to account for sequencing errors, missing sequence, and fragmented genome assemblies. However, Scipio has so far been limited to high sequence similarity and unable to reconstruct short exons.
Scipio and WebScipio have fundamentally been extended to better reconstruct very short exons and intron splice sites and to be better suited for cross-species gene structure predictions. The Needleman-Wunsch algorithm has been implemented for the search for short parts of the query sequence that were not recognized by Blat. Those regions might either be short exons, divergent sequence at intron splice sites, or very divergent exons. We have shown the benefit and use of new parameters with several protein examples from completely different protein families in searches against species from several kingdoms of the eukaryotes. The performance of the new Scipio version has been tested in comparison with several similar tools.
With the new version of Scipio very short exons, terminal and internal, of even just one amino acid can correctly be reconstructed. Scipio is also able to correctly predict almost all genes in cross-species searches even if the ancestors of the species separated more than 100 Myr ago and if the protein sequence identity is below 80%. For our test cases Scipio outperforms all other software tested. WebScipio has been restructured and provides easy access to the genome assemblies of about 640 eukaryotic species. Scipio and WebScipio are freely accessible at
PMCID: PMC3162530  PMID: 21798037

Results 1-3 (3)