SMBE Council

Laura Landweber, President

Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics and Biological Sciences

Columbia University, New York, NY 10032

Laura.Landweber@columbia.edu

 

Bill Martin, President-Elect (& Editor-in-chief, Genome Biology and Evolution)

Institut for Molecular Evolution

Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Universitätsstr.1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

bill@hhu.de

 

George Zhang, Past-President

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

University of Michigan, Natural Science Bldg, 830 N University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

jianzhi@umich.edu

 

David Pollock, Secretary

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Building 500, 13001 E. 17th Place, Campus Box C290, Aurora, CO 80045

secretary.smbe@gmail.com

 

Juliette de Meaux, Treasurer

Institute of Botany

University of Cologne, Zulpicher str. 47b, D-50674 Cologne, Germany

treasurer.smbe@gmail.com

 

Kateryna Makova, Councillor (2015-2017)

Department of Biology

Director, Center for Medical Genomics, Pennsylvania State University

310 Wartik Lab, University Park, PA 16802

kmakova@bx.psu.edu

 

Emma Teeling, Councillor (2015-2017)

School Of Biology & Environment Science

Science Centre – West, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland

emma.teeling@ucd.ie

 

Maud Tenaillon, Councillor (2016–2018)

Quantitative Genetics and Evolution - Le Moulon INRA

University of Paris-Sud, CNRS, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay F-91190, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

tenaillon@moulon.inra.fr

 

Adam Eyre-Walker, Councillor (2016–2018)

School of Life Sciences

University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, United Kingdom

a.c.eyre-walker@sussex.ac.uk

 

Joanna Masel, Councillor (2017-2019)

Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721

masel@u.arizona.edu

 

Jay Storz, Councillor (2017-2019)

School of Biological Sciences

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588

jstorz2@unl.edu

 

Sudhir Kumar, ex officio (Editor-in-chief, Molecular Biology and Evolution)

Intitute for Genomics & Evolutionary Medicine (iGEM)

Department of Biology, Temple Univeristy, 1925 N. 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

s.kumar@asu.edu


SMBE Past Councils

Year President President-Elect Past-President Secretary Treasurer Councillors Ex Officio Councillors 
 2016 George Zhang Laura Landweber Joe Felsenstein
James McInerney
Juliette de Meaux
  • Maud Tenaillon
  • Adam Eyre-Walker
  • Sandra Baldauf
  • David Liberles
  • Emma Teeling
  • Kateryna Makova

  • Sudhir Kumar
  • Bill Martin

2015 Joe Felsenstein George Zhang Brandon Gaut James McInerney  Juliette de Meaux  

  • Marta Wayne
  • Harmit Malik
  • Sandra Baldauf
  • David Liberles
  • Emma Teeling
  • Kateryna Makova


Marta Wayne
Harmit Malik
Sandra Baldauf
David Liberles
Emma Teeling 
Katerina Makova
Marta Wayne
Harmit Malik
Sandra Baldauf
David Liberles
Emma Teeling 
Katerina Makova

  • Sudhir Kumar
  • Bill Martin


2014 Brandon Gaut Joe Felsenstein Sudhir Kumar James McInerney Aoife McLysaght
  • Laurent Duret
  • Yoko Satta
  • Marta Wayne
  • Harmit Malik
  • Sandra Baldauf
  • David Liberles
 
2013 Sudhir Kumar Brandon Gaut Charles Aquadro James McInerney Aoife McLysaght
  • Soojin Yi
  • Laurent Duret
  • Yoko Satta
  • Marta Wayne
  • Harmit Malik
 
2012 Charles Aquadro Sudhir Kumar Ken Wolfe Manyuan Long Aoife McLysaght
  • Robin Bush
  • Soojin Yi
  • Laurent Duret
  • Yoko Satta
 
2011 Ken Wolfe Charles Aquadro Jody Hey Manyuan Long John Archibald
  • Dan Graur
  • Robin Bush
  • Soojin Yi
 
2010 Jody Hey Ken Wolfe Michael Lynch Manyuan Long John Archibald
  • Ziheng Yang
  • Dan Graur
  • Robin Bush
 
2009 Michael Lynch Jody Hey Paul Sharp George Zhang John Archibald
  • Laura Landweber
  • Ziheng Yang
  • Dan Graur
 
2008 Paul Sharp Michael Lynch Deborah Charlesworth George Zhang Marta L. Wayne
  • Charles Aquadro
  • Laura Landweber
  • Ziheng Yang
 
2007 Deborah Charlesworth Paul Sharp Montserrat Aguade George Zhang Marta L. Wayne
  • Michael Lynch
  • Charles Aquadro
  • Laura Landweber
 
2006 Montserrat Aguade Deborah Charlesworth Jeffrey R. Powell Sudhir Kumar Marta L. Wayne
  • Laura Katz
  • Michael Lynch
  • Charles Aquadro
 
2005 Jeffrey R. Powell Montserrat Aguade John C. Avise Sudhir Kumar Marta L. Wayne
  • Jody Hey
  • Laura Katz
  • Michael Lynch
 
2004 John C. Avise Jeffrey R. Powell Naoyuki Takahata Sudhir Kumar Marta L. Wayne
  • Brian Golding
  • Jody Hey
  • Laura Katz
 
2003 Naoyuki Takahata John C. Avise Michael T. Clegg Marcy K. Uyenoyama Marta L. Wayne
  • Howard Ochman
  • Brian Golding
  • Jody Hey
 
2002 Michael T. Clegg Naoyuki Takahata Daniel L. Hartl Marcy K. Uyenoyama Richard C. Hudson
  • Montserrat Aguade
  • Howard Ochman
  • Brian Golding
 
2001 Daniel L. Hartl Michael T. Clegg Wen-Hsiung Li Marcy K. Uyenoyama Richard C. Hudson
  • Tomoko Ohta
  • Montserrat Aguade
  • Howard Ochman
 
2000 Wen-Hsiung Li Daniel L. Hartl Andrew G. Clark Marcy K. Uyenoyama Richard C. Hudson
  • Pekka Pamilo
  • Tomoko Ohta
  • Montserrat Aguade
 
1999 Andrew G. Clark Wen-Hsiung Li Richard C. Lewontin Marcy K. Uyenoyama Richard C. Hudson
  • Wilfred W. de Jong
  • Pekka Pamilo
  • Tomoko Ohta
 
1998 Richard C. Lewontin Andrew G. Clark David Penny Linda D. Strausbaugh Richard C. Hudson
  • W. Ford Doolittle
  • Wilfred W. de Jong
  • Pekka Pamilo
 
1997 David Penny Richard C. Lewontin Margaret G. Kidwell Linda D. Strausbaugh Richard C. Hudson
  • Maryellen Ruvolo
  • W. Ford Doolittle
  • Wilfred W. de Jong
 
1996 Margaret G. Kidwell David Penny Wesley M. Brown Linda D. Strausbaugh Richard C. Hudson
  • Ross A. Crozier
  • Maryellen Ruvolo
  • W. Ford Doolittle
 
1995 Wesley M. Brown Margaret G. Kidwell Masatoshi Nei Linda Maxson Richard C. Hudson
  • Ross A. Crozier
  • Maryellen Ruvolo
 
1994 Masatoshi Nei Wesley M. Brown Walter M. Fitch Linda Maxson Linda Maxson Ross A. Crozier  
1993 Walter M. Fitch Masatoshi Nei Linda Maxson Linda Maxson Caro-Beth Stewart  

@OfficialSMBE Feed

MBE | Most Read

Molecular Biology and Evolution

GBE | Most Read

Genome Biology & Evolution

Similar Evolutionary Trajectories for Retrotransposon Accumulation in Mammals

2017-09-04

Abstract
The factors guiding retrotransposon insertion site preference are not well understood. Different types of retrotransposons share common replication machinery and yet occupy distinct genomic domains. Autonomous long interspersed elements accumulate in gene-poor domains and their nonautonomous short interspersed elements accumulate in gene-rich domains. To determine genomic factors that contribute to this discrepancy we analyzed the distribution of retrotransposons within the framework of chromosomal domains and regulatory elements. Using comparative genomics, we identified large-scale conserved patterns of retrotransposon accumulation across several mammalian genomes. Importantly, retrotransposons that were active after our sample-species diverged accumulated in orthologous regions. This suggested a similar evolutionary interaction between retrotransposon activity and conserved genome architecture across our species. In addition, we found that retrotransposons accumulated at regulatory element boundaries in open chromatin, where accumulation of particular retrotransposon types depended on insertion size and local regulatory element density. From our results, we propose a model where density and distribution of genes and regulatory elements canalize retrotransposon accumulation. Through conservation of synteny, gene regulation and nuclear organization, mammalian genomes with dissimilar retrotransposons follow similar evolutionary trajectories.

Into the Wild: Parallel Transcriptomics of the Tsetse- Wigglesworthia Mutualism within Kenyan Populations

2017-09-01

Abstract
Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) have medical significance as the obligate vectors of African trypanosomes. In addition, tsetse harbor a simple gut microbiota. A predominant gut microbiota member, the Gammaproteobacterium Wigglesworthia spp., has coevolved with tsetse for a significant portion of Glossina radiation proving critical to tsetse fitness. Although multiple roles have been described for Wigglesworthia within colony flies, little research has been dedicated towards functional characterization within wild tsetse. Here, dual RNA-Seq was performed to characterize the tsetse-Wigglesworthia symbiosis within flies captured in Nguruman, Kenya. A significant correlation in Gene Ontology (GO) distribution between tsetse and Wigglesworthia was observed, with homogeneous enrichment in metabolic and transport categories, likely supporting a hallmark of the symbiosis-bidirectional metabolic exchange. Within field flies, highly transcribed Wigglesworthia loci included those involved in B vitamin synthesis and in substrate translocation, including amino acid transporters and multidrug efflux pumps, providing a molecular means for interaction. The universal expression of several Wigglesworthia and G. pallidipes orthologs, putatively involved in nutrient provisioning and resource allocation, was confirmed in sister tsetse species. These transcriptional profiles varied through host age and mating status likely addressing varying symbiont demands and also confirming their global importance within Glossina. This study, not only supports symbiont nutrient provisioning roles, but also serves as a foundation for insight into novel roles and molecular mechanisms associated with vector–microbiota interactions. The role of symbiont B vitamin provisioning towards impacting host epigenetics is discussed. Knowledge of vector–microbiota interactions may lead to the discovery of novel targets in pest control.

Extensive Genetic Differentiation between Homomorphic Sex Chromosomes in the Mosquito Vector, Aedes aegypti

2017-09-01

Abstract
Mechanisms and evolutionary dynamics of sex-determination systems are of particular interest in insect vectors of human pathogens like mosquitoes because novel control strategies aim to convert pathogen-transmitting females into nonbiting males, or rely on accurate sexing for the release of sterile males. In Aedes aegypti, the main vector of dengue and Zika viruses, sex determination is governed by a dominant male-determining locus, previously thought to reside within a small, nonrecombining, sex-determining region (SDR) of an otherwise homomorphic sex chromosome. Here, we provide evidence that sex chromosomes in Ae. aegypti are genetically differentiated between males and females over a region much larger than the SDR. Our linkage mapping intercrosses failed to detect recombination between X and Y chromosomes over a 123-Mbp region (40% of their physical length) containing the SDR. This region of reduced male recombination overlapped with a smaller 63-Mbp region (20% of the physical length of the sex chromosomes) displaying high male–female genetic differentiation in unrelated wild populations from Brazil and Australia and in a reference laboratory strain originating from Africa. In addition, the sex-differentiated genomic region was associated with a significant excess of male-to-female heterozygosity and contained a small cluster of loci consistent with Y-specific null alleles. We demonstrate that genetic differentiation between sex chromosomes is sufficient to assign individuals to their correct sex with high accuracy. We also show how data on allele frequency differences between sexes can be used to estimate linkage disequilibrium between loci and the sex-determining locus. Our discovery of large-scale genetic differentiation between sex chromosomes in Ae. aegypti lays a new foundation for mapping and population genomic studies, as well as for mosquito control strategies targeting the sex-determination pathway.

The Environmental Acinetobacter baumannii Isolate DSM30011 Reveals Clues into the Preantibiotic Era Genome Diversity, Virulence Potential, and Niche Range of a Predominant Nosocomial Pathogen

2017-08-26

Abstract
Acinetobacter baumannii represents nowadays an important nosocomial opportunistic pathogen whose reservoirs outside the clinical setting are obscure. Here, we traced the origins of the collection strain A. baumannii DSM30011 to an isolate first reported in 1944, obtained from the enriched microbiota responsible of the aerobic decomposition of the resinous desert shrub guayule. Whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis based on core genes confirmed DSM30011 affiliation to A. baumannii. Comparative studies with 32 complete A. baumannii genomes revealed the presence of 12 unique accessory chromosomal regions in DSM30011 including five encompassing phage-related genes, five containing toxin genes of the type-6 secretion system, and one with an atypical CRISPRs/cas cluster. No antimicrobial resistance islands were identified in DSM30011 agreeing with a general antimicrobial susceptibility phenotype including folate synthesis inhibitors. The marginal ampicillin resistance of DSM30011 most likely derived from chromosomal ADC-type ampC and blaOXA-51-type genes. Searching for catabolic pathways genes revealed several clusters involved in the degradation of plant defenses including woody tissues and a previously unreported atu locus responsible of aliphatic terpenes degradation, thus suggesting that resinous plants may provide an effective niche for this organism. DSM30011 also harbored most genes and regulatory mechanisms linked to persistence and virulence in pathogenic Acinetobacter species. This strain thus revealed important clues into the genomic diversity, virulence potential, and niche ranges of the preantibiotic era A. baumannii population, and may provide an useful tool for our understanding of the processes that led to the recent evolution of this species toward an opportunistic pathogen of humans.

Investigating Difficult Nodes in the Placental Mammal Tree with Expanded Taxon Sampling and Thousands of Ultraconserved Elements

2017-08-26

Abstract
The phylogeny of eutherian mammals contains some of the most recalcitrant nodes in the tetrapod tree of life. We combined comprehensive taxon and character sampling to explore three of the most debated interordinal relationships among placental mammals. We performed in silico extraction of ultraconserved element loci from 72 published genomes and invitro enrichment and sequencing of ultraconserved elements from 28 additional mammals, resulting in alignments of 3,787 loci. We analyzed these data using concatenated and multispecies coalescent phylogenetic approaches, topological tests, and exploration of support among individual loci to identify the root of Eutheria and the sister groups of tree shrews (Scandentia) and horses (Perissodactyla). Individual loci provided weak, but often consistent support for topological hypotheses. Although many gene trees lacked accepted species-tree relationships, summary coalescent topologies were largely consistent with inferences from concatenation. At the root of Eutheria, we identified consistent support for a sister relationship between Xenarthra and Afrotheria (i.e., Atlantogenata). At the other nodes of interest, support was less consistent. We suggest Scandentia is the sister of Primatomorpha (Euarchonta), but we failed to reject a sister relationship between Scandentia and Glires. Similarly, we suggest Perissodactyla is sister to Cetartiodactyla (Euungulata), but a sister relationship between Perissodactyla and Chiroptera remains plausible.

Genome-Wide Variation Patterns Uncover the Origin and Selection in Cultivated Ginseng ( Panax ginseng Meyer)

2017-08-24

Abstract
Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) is a medicinally important herb and plays crucial roles in traditional Chinese medicine. Pharmacological analyses identified diverse bioactive components from Chinese ginseng. However, basic biological attributes including domestication and selection of the ginseng plant remain under-investigated. Here, we presented a genome-wide view of the domestication and selection of cultivated ginseng based on the whole genome data. A total of 8,660 protein-coding genes were selected for genome-wide scanning of the 30 wild and cultivated ginseng accessions. In complement, the 45s rDNA, chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes were included to perform phylogenetic and population genetic analyses. The observed spatial genetic structure between northern cultivated ginseng (NCG) and southern cultivated ginseng (SCG) accessions suggested multiple independent origins of cultivated ginseng. Genome-wide scanning further demonstrated that NCG and SCG have undergone distinct selection pressures during the domestication process, with more genes identified in the NCG (97 genes) than in the SCG group (5 genes). Functional analyses revealed that these genes are involved in diverse pathways, including DNA methylation, lignin biosynthesis, and cell differentiation. These findings suggested that the SCG and NCG groups have distinct demographic histories. Candidate genes identified are useful for future molecular breeding of cultivated ginseng.

Candidatus Dactylopiibacterium carminicum, a Nitrogen-Fixing Symbiont of Dactylopius Cochineal Insects (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Dactylopiidae)

2017-08-23

Abstract
The domesticated carmine cochineal Dactylopius coccus (scale insect) has commercial value and has been used for more than 500 years for natural red pigment production. Besides the domesticated cochineal, other wild Dactylopius species such as Dactylopius opuntiae are found in the Americas, all feeding on nutrient poor sap from native cacti. To compensate nutritional deficiencies, many insects harbor symbiotic bacteria which provide essential amino acids or vitamins to their hosts. Here, we characterized a symbiont from the carmine cochineal insects, Candidatus Dactylopiibacterium carminicum (betaproteobacterium, Rhodocyclaceae family) and found it in D. coccus and in D. opuntiae ovaries by fluorescent in situ hybridization, suggesting maternal inheritance. Bacterial genomes recovered from metagenomic data derived from whole insects or tissues both from D. coccus and from D. opuntiae were around 3.6 Mb in size. Phylogenomics showed that dactylopiibacteria constituted a closely related clade neighbor to nitrogen fixing bacteria from soil or from various plants including rice and other grass endophytes. Metabolic capabilities were inferred from genomic analyses, showing a complete operon for nitrogen fixation, biosynthesis of amino acids and vitamins and putative traits of anaerobic or microoxic metabolism as well as genes for plant interaction. Dactylopiibacterium nif gene expression and acetylene reduction activity detecting nitrogen fixation were evidenced in D. coccus hemolymph and ovaries, in congruence with the endosymbiont fluorescent in situ hybridization location. Dactylopiibacterium symbionts may compensate for the nitrogen deficiency in the cochineal diet. In addition, this symbiont may provide essential amino acids, recycle uric acid, and increase the cochineal life span.

Diurnal Cycling Transcription Factors of Pineapple Revealed by Genome-Wide Annotation and Global Transcriptomic Analysis

2017-08-23

Abstract
Circadian clock provides fitness advantage by coordinating internal metabolic and physiological processes to external cyclic environments. Core clock components exhibit daily rhythmic changes in gene expression, and the majority of them are transcription factors (TFs) and transcription coregulators (TCs). We annotated 1,398 TFs from 67 TF families and 80 TCs from 20 TC families in pineapple, and analyzed their tissue-specific and diurnal expression patterns. Approximately 42% of TFs and 45% of TCs displayed diel rhythmic expression, including 177 TF/TCs cycling only in the nonphotosynthetic leaf tissue, 247 cycling only in the photosynthetic leaf tissue, and 201 cycling in both. We identified 68 TF/TCs whose cycling expression was tightly coupled between the photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic leaf tissues. These TF/TCs likely coordinate key biological processes in pineapple as we demonstrated that this group is enriched in homologous genes that form the core circadian clock in Arabidopsis and includes a STOP1 homolog. Two lines of evidence support the important role of the STOP1 homolog in regulating CAM photosynthesis in pineapple. First, STOP1 responds to acidic pH and regulates a malate channel in multiple plant species. Second, the cycling expression pattern of the pineapple STOP1 and the diurnal pattern of malate accumulation in pineapple leaf are correlated. We further examined duplicate-gene retention and loss in major known circadian genes and refined their evolutionary relationships between pineapple and other plants. Significant variations in duplicate-gene retention and loss were observed for most clock genes in both monocots and dicots.

Ancient Occasional Host Switching of Maternally Transmitted Bacterial Symbionts of Chemosynthetic Vesicomyid Clams

2017-08-23

Abstract
Vesicomyid clams in deep-sea chemosynthetic ecosystems harbor sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in their gill epithelial cells. These symbionts, which are vertically transmitted, are species-specific and thought to have cospeciated with their hosts. However, recent studies indicate incongruent phylogenies between some vesicomyid clams and their symbionts, suggesting that symbionts are horizontally transmitted. To more precisely understand the evolution of vesicomyid clams and their symbionts, we compared the evolution of vesicomyid clams and their symbionts through phylogenetic analyses using multi-gene data sets. Many clades in the phylogenetic trees of 13 host species (Abyssogena mariana, Ab. phaseoliformis, Akebiconcha kawamurai, Calyptogena fausta, C. laubieri, C. magnifica, C. nautilei, C. pacifica, Isorropodon fossajaponicum, Phreagena kilmeri, Ph. okutanii, Ph. soyoae, and Pliocardia stearnsii) and their symbionts were well resolved. Six of the 13 host-symbiont pairs (C. fausta, C. magnifica, C. pacifica, Ph. kilmeri, Ph. okutanii, and Ph. soyoae, and their respective symbionts) showed topological congruence. However, the remaining seven pairs (Ak. kawamurai, Ab mariana, Ab. phaseoliformis, C. laubieri, C. nautilei, I. fossajaponicum, and Pl. stearnsii and their corresponding symbionts) showed incongruent topologies, which were supported by the approximately unbiased and Bayes factor tests. Coevolution analyses indicated that six pairs cospeciated, whereas host switching events occurred in the remaining seven pairs. Markedly, multiple host switching events may have occurred in the lineages from the common ancestral symbiont of C. pacifica and C. fausta. Our phylogenetic and coevolution analyses provide additional evidence for host switching during the evolution of vesicomyids.

Male Mutation Bias Is the Main Force Shaping Chromosomal Substitution Rates in Monotreme Mammals

2017-08-23

Abstract
In many species, spermatogenesis involves more cell divisions than oogenesis, and the male germline, therefore, accumulates more DNA replication errors, a phenomenon known as male mutation bias. The extent of male mutation bias (α) is estimated by comparing substitution rates of the X, Y, and autosomal chromosomes, as these chromosomes spend different proportions of their time in the germlines of the two sexes. Male mutation bias has been characterized in placental and marsupial mammals as well as birds, but analyses in monotremes failed to detect any such bias. Monotremes are an ancient lineage of egg-laying mammals with distinct biological properties, which include unique germline features. Here, we sought to assess the presence and potential characteristics of male mutation bias in platypus and the short-beaked echidna based on substitution rate analyses of X, Y, and autosomes. We established the presence of moderate male mutation bias in monotremes, corresponding to an α value of 2.12–3.69. Given that it has been unclear what proportion of the variation in substitution rates on the different chromosomal classes is really due to differential number of replications, we analyzed the influence of other confounding forces (selection, replication-timing, etc.) and found that male mutation bias is the main force explaining the between-chromosome classes differences in substitution rates. Finally, we estimated the proportion of variation at the gene level in substitution rates that is owing to replication effects and found that this phenomenon can explain >68% of these variations in monotremes, and in control species, rodents, and primates.

Divergence of the Venom Exogene Repertoire in Two Sister Species of Turriconus

2017-08-23

Abstract
The genus Conus comprises approximately 700 species of venomous marine cone snails that are highly efficient predators of worms, snails, and fish. In evolutionary terms, cone snails are relatively young with the earliest fossil records occurring in the Lower Eocene, 55 Ma. The rapid radiation of cone snail species has been accompanied by remarkably high rates of toxin diversification. To shed light on the molecular mechanisms that accompany speciation, we investigated the toxin repertoire of two sister species, Conus andremenezi and Conus praecellens, that were until recently considered a single variable species. A total of 196 and 250 toxin sequences were identified in the venom gland transcriptomes of C. andremenezi and C. praecellens belonging to 25 and 29 putative toxin gene superfamilies, respectively. Comparative analysis with closely (Conus tribblei and Conus lenavati) and more distantly related species (Conus geographus) suggests that speciation is associated with significant diversification of individual toxin genes (exogenes) whereas the expression pattern of toxin gene superfamilies within lineages remains largely conserved. Thus, changes within individual toxin sequences can serve as a sensitive indicator for recent speciation whereas changes in the expression pattern of gene superfamilies are likely to reflect more dramatic differences in a species’ interaction with its prey, predators, and competitors.

Genetic Environment of cry1 Genes Indicates Their Common Origin

2017-08-23

Abstract
Although in Bacillus thuringiensis the cry genes coding for the insecticidal crystal proteins are plasmid-borne and are usually associated with mobile genetic elements, several aspects related to their genomic organization, diversification, and transmission remain to be elucidated. Plasmids of B. thuringiensis and other members of the Bacillus cereus group (n = 364) deposited in GenBank were screened for the presence of cry1 genes, and their genetic environment was analyzed using a comparative bioinformatic approach. The cry1 genes were identified in 27 B. thuringiensis plasmids ranging from 64 to 761 kb, and were predominantly associated with the ori44, ori60, or double orf156/orf157 and pXO1-16/pXO1-14 replication systems. In general, the cry1 genes occur individually or as a part of an insecticidal pathogenicity island (PAI), and are preceded by genes coding for an N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase and a putative K+(Na+)/H+ antiporter. However, except in the case of the PAI, the latter gene is disrupted by the insertion of IS231B. Similarly, numerous mobile elements were recognized in the region downstream of cry1, except for cry1I that follows cry1A in the PAI. Therefore, the cassette involving cry1 and these two genes, flanked by transposable elements, named as the cry1 cassette, was the smallest cry1-carrying genetic unit recognized in the plasmids. Conservation of the genomic environment of the cry1 genes carried by various plasmids strongly suggests a common origin, possibly from an insecticidal PAI carried by B. thuringiensis megaplasmids.

A Dramatic Difference in Global Gene Expression between TCDD-Treated Atlantic Tomcod Larvae from the Resistant Hudson River and a Nearby Sensitive Population

2017-08-23

Abstract
Atlantic tomcod in the Hudson River Estuary bioaccumulate high hepatic burdens of environmental toxicants. Previously, we demonstrated that Hudson River tomcod developed resistance to TCDD and PCB toxicity probably through strong natural selection during their early life-stages for a variant of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor2 (AHR2). Here, we evaluated the genomic consequences of the resistant genotype by comparing global gene expression in larval tomcod from the Hudson River with expression in larvae from a nearby sensitive population (Shinnecock Bay). We developed an annotated draft tomcod genome to explore the effects of multigenerational exposure to toxicants and a functionally impaired AHR2 on the transcriptome. We used the tomcod genome as a reference in RNA-Seq to compare global gene expression in tomcod larvae from the Hudson River and Shinnecock Bay after experimental exposure of larvae to graded doses of TCDD. We found dramatic differences between offspring from the two populations in the number of genes that were differentially expressed at all doses (0.01, 0.1, and 1 ppb) and even in the vehicle controls. At the two lowest TCDD doses, 250 and 1,141 genes were differentially expressed in Shinnecock Bay larvae compared with 14 and 12, respectively, in Hudson River larvae. At the highest dose (1.0 ppb), 934 genes were differentially expressed in Shinnecock Bay larvae and 173 in Hudson River larvae, but only 28 (16%) of affected genes were shared among both populations. Given the large difference between the two populations in the number and identity of differentially expressed genes, it is likely that the AHR2 pathway interacts directly or indirectly with many genes beyond those known in the AHR2 battery and that other regulatory systems may also respond to TCDD exposure. The effects of chronic multi-generational exposure to environmental toxicants on the genome of Hudson River tomcod are much greater than previously expected.

Genome Organization of Sphingobium indicum B90A: An Archetypal Hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) Degrading Genotype

2017-07-21

Abstract
Among sphingomonads, Sphingobium indicum B90A is widely investigated for its ability to degrade a manmade pesticide, γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (γ-HCH) and its isomers (α-, β-, δ-, and ε-HCH). In this study, complete genome of strain B90A was constructed using Single Molecule Real Time Sequencing (SMRT) and Illumina platform. The complete genome revealed that strain B90A harbors four replicons: one chromosome (3,654,322 bp) and three plasmids designated as pSRL1 (139,218 bp), pSRL2 (108,430 bp) and pSRL3 (43,761 bp). The study determined the precise location of lin genes (genes associated with the degradation of HCH isomers), for example, linA2, linB, linDER, linF, linGHIJ, and linKLMN on the chromosome; linA1, linC, and linF on pSRL1 and linDEbR on pSRL3. Strain B90A contained 26 copies of IS6100 element and most of them (15 copies) was found to be associated with lin genes. Duplication of several lin genes including linA, linDER, linGHIJ, and linF along with two variants of linE, that is, linEa (hydroquinone 1,2-dioxygenase) and linEb (chlorohydroquinone/hydroquinone 1,2-dioxygenase) were identified. This suggests that strain B90A not only possess efficient machinery for upper and lower HCH degradation pathways but it can also act on both hydroquinone and chlorohydroquinone metabolites produced during γ-HCH degradation. Synteny analysis revealed the duplication and transposition of linA gene (HCH dehydrochlorinase) between the chromosome and pSRL1, possibly through homologous recombination between adjacent IS6100 elements. Further, in silico analysis and laboratory experiments revealed that incomplete tyrosine metabolism was responsible for the production of extracellular brown pigment which distinguished strain B90A from other HCH degrading sphingomonads. The precise localization of lin genes, and transposable elements (IS6100) on different replicons now opens up several experimental avenues to elucidate the functions and regulatory mechanism of lin genes acquisition and transfer that were not completely known among the bacterial population inhabiting the HCH contaminated environment.