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Genes, Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2017)

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Open AccessCommunication RNA-Seq Analysis of Plant Maturity in Crested Wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum L.)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 291; doi:10.3390/genes8110291
Received: 27 August 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum L.) breeding programs aim to develop later maturing cultivars for extending early spring grazing in Western Canada. Plant maturity is a complex genetic trait, and little is known about genes associated with late maturity in this species. An
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Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum L.) breeding programs aim to develop later maturing cultivars for extending early spring grazing in Western Canada. Plant maturity is a complex genetic trait, and little is known about genes associated with late maturity in this species. An attempt was made using RNA-Seq to profile the transcriptome of crested wheatgrass maturity and to analyze differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between early and late maturing lines. Three cDNA libraries for each line were generated by sampling leaves at the stem elongation stage, spikes at the boot and anthesis stages. A total of 75,218,230 and 74,015,092 clean sequence reads were obtained for early and late maturing lines, respectively. De novo assembly of all sequence reads generated 401,587 transcripts with a mean length of 546 bp and N50 length of 691 bp. Out of 13,133 DEGs detected, 22, 17, and eight flowering related DEGs were identified for the three stages, respectively. Twelve DEGs, including nine flowering related DEGs at the stem elongation stage were further confirmed by qRT-PCR. The analysis of homologous genes of the photoperiod pathway revealed their lower expression in the late maturing line at the stem elongation stage, suggesting that their differential expression contributed to late maturity in crested wheatgrass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Prokaryotic Expression and Serodiagnostic Potential of Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase and Thioredoxin Peroxidase from Baylisascaris schroederi
Genes 2017, 8(11), 293; doi:10.3390/genes8110293
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 25 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Baylisascaris schroederi, a roundworm parasite of giant pandas, badly affects the health of its hosts. Diagnosis of this disease currently depends mainly on sedimentation floatation and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to detect the eggs. However, neither of these methods is suitable
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Baylisascaris schroederi, a roundworm parasite of giant pandas, badly affects the health of its hosts. Diagnosis of this disease currently depends mainly on sedimentation floatation and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to detect the eggs. However, neither of these methods is suitable for diagnosis of early-stage panda baylisascariasis and no information on early diagnosis of this disease is available so far. Therefore, to develop an effective serologic diagnostic method, this study produced recombinant glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and thioredoxin peroxidase (Tpx) proteins from B. schroederi using a prokaryotic expression system. We determined the immunological characteristics of these proteins and their location in the parasite. Indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were established to detect B. schroederi infection in giant pandas based on GAPDH and Tpx respectively. The open reading frame of the GAPDH gene (1083 bp) encoded a 39 kDa protein, while the predicted molecular weight of Tpx (588 bp) was 21.6 kDa. Western-blotting analysis revealed that both recombinant proteins could be recognized with positive serum of pandas infected with B. schroederi. Immunohistochemical staining showed that the endogenous GAPDH of B. schroederi was widely distributed in the worm while Tpx was mainly localized in the muscle, eggs, gut wall, uterus wall and hypodermis. Serological tests showed that the GAPDH-based indirect ELISA had a sensitivity of 95.83% and specificity of 100%, while the test using Tpx as the antigen had sensitivity of 75% and specificity of 91.7%. Thus, B. schroederi Tpx is unsuitable as a diagnostic antigen for baylisascariasis, but B. schroederi GAPDH is a good candidate diagnostic antigen for B. schroederi in pandas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle 5-Fluorouracil Treatment Alters the Efficiency of Translational Recoding
Genes 2017, 8(11), 295; doi:10.3390/genes8110295
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic agent that has been extensively studied since its initial development in the 1950s. It has been suggested that the mechanism of action of 5-FU involves both DNA- and RNA-directed processes, but this has remained controversial. In this study,
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5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is a chemotherapeutic agent that has been extensively studied since its initial development in the 1950s. It has been suggested that the mechanism of action of 5-FU involves both DNA- and RNA-directed processes, but this has remained controversial. In this study, using a series of in vivo reporter constructs capable of measuring translational recoding, we demonstrate that cells exposed to 5-FU display a reduced capacity to engage in a variety of translational recoding events, including +1 programmed frameshifting (PRF) and −1 PRF. In addition, 5-FU-treated cells are much less accurate at stop codon recognition, resulting in a significant increase in stop codon-readthrough. Remarkably, while the efficiency of cap-dependent translation appears to be unaffected by 5-FU, 5-FU-treated cells display a decreased ability to initiate cap-independent translation. We further show that knockdown of thymidylate synthase, an enzyme believed to be at the center of 5-FU-induced DNA damage, has no effect on the observed alterations in translational recoding. On the other hand, ribosomal RNA (rRNA) pseudouridylation, which plays an important role in translational recoding, is significantly inhibited. Taken together, our results suggest that the observed effect of 5-FU on recoding is an RNA-directed effect. Our results are the first to show definitely and quantitatively that translational recoding is affected by exposure to 5-FU. Thus, it is possible that a substantial portion of 5-FU cytotoxicity might possibly be the result of alterations in translational recoding efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Modification)
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Open AccessArticle The Pattern of microRNA Binding Site Distribution
Genes 2017, 8(11), 296; doi:10.3390/genes8110296
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
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Abstract
Micro-RNA (miRNA or miR) regulates at least 60% of the genes in the human genome through their target sites at mRNA 3’-untranslated regions (UTR), and defects in miRNA expression regulation and target sites are frequently observed in cancers. We report here a systematic
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Micro-RNA (miRNA or miR) regulates at least 60% of the genes in the human genome through their target sites at mRNA 3’-untranslated regions (UTR), and defects in miRNA expression regulation and target sites are frequently observed in cancers. We report here a systematic analysis of the distribution of miRNA target sites. Using the evolutionarily conserved miRNA binding sites in the TargetScan database (release 7.1), we constructed a miRNA co-regulation network by connecting genes sharing common miRNA target sites. The network possesses characteristics of the ubiquitous small-world network. Non-hub genes in the network—those sharing miRNA target sites with small numbers of genes—tend to form small cliques with their neighboring genes, while hub genes exhibit high levels of promiscuousness in their neighboring genes. Additionally, miRNA target site distribution is extremely uneven. Among the miRNAs, the distribution concentrates on a small number of miRNAs, in that their target sites occur in an extraordinarily large number of genes, that is, they have large numbers of target genes. The distribution across the genes follows a similar pattern; the mRNAs of a small proportion of the genes contain extraordinarily large numbers of miRNA binding sites. Quantitatively, the patterns fit into the P(K) ∝ Kα relationship (P(K): the number of miRNAs with K target genes or genes with K miRNA sites; α: a positive constant), the mathematical description of connection distribution among the nodes and a defining characteristic of the so-called scale-free networks—a subset of small-world networks. Notably, well-known tumor-suppressive miRNAs (Let-7, miR-15/16, 26, 29, 31, 34, 145, 200, 203–205, 223, and 375) collectively have more than expected target genes, and well-known cancer genes contain more than expected miRNA binding sites. In summary, miRNA target site distribution exhibits characteristics of the small-world network. The potential to use this pattern to better understand miRNA function and their oncological roles is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Chromosome Evolution in the Free-Living Flatworms: First Evidence of Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Karyotype Evolution of Macrostomum lignano (Platyhelminthes, Macrostomida)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 298; doi:10.3390/genes8110298
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
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Abstract
The free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a hidden tetraploid. Its genome was formed by a recent whole genome duplication followed by chromosome fusions. Its karyotype (2n = 8) consists of a pair of large chromosomes (MLI1), which contain regions of all other chromosomes,
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The free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a hidden tetraploid. Its genome was formed by a recent whole genome duplication followed by chromosome fusions. Its karyotype (2n = 8) consists of a pair of large chromosomes (MLI1), which contain regions of all other chromosomes, and three pairs of small metacentric chromosomes. Comparison of MLI1 with metacentrics was performed by painting with microdissected DNA probes and fluorescent in situ hybridization of unique DNA fragments. Regions of MLI1 homologous to small metacentrics appeared to be contiguous. Besides the loss of DNA repeat clusters (pericentromeric and telomeric repeats and the 5S rDNA cluster) from MLI1, the difference between small metacentrics MLI2 and MLI4 and regions homologous to them in MLI1 were revealed. Abnormal karyotypes found in the inbred DV1/10 subline were analyzed, and structurally rearranged chromosomes were described with the painting technique, suggesting the mechanism of their origin. The revealed chromosomal rearrangements generate additional diversity, opening the way toward massive loss of duplicated genes from a duplicated genome. Our findings suggest that the karyotype of M. lignano is in the early stage of genome diploidization after whole genome duplication, and further studies on M. lignano and closely related species can address many questions about karyotype evolution in animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle Functional Analysis of Two Flavanone-3-Hydroxylase Genes from Camellia sinensis: A Critical Role in Flavonoid Accumulation
Genes 2017, 8(11), 300; doi:10.3390/genes8110300
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 31 October 2017
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Abstract
Flavonoids are major secondary metabolites in Camellia sinensis. Flavanone-3-hydroxylase (F3H) is a key enzyme in flavonoid biosynthesis in plants. However, its role in the flavonoid metabolism in C. sinensis has not been well studied. In this study, we cloned two F3Hs
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Flavonoids are major secondary metabolites in Camellia sinensis. Flavanone-3-hydroxylase (F3H) is a key enzyme in flavonoid biosynthesis in plants. However, its role in the flavonoid metabolism in C. sinensis has not been well studied. In this study, we cloned two F3Hs from C. sinensis, named CsF3Ha and CsF3Hb, where CsF3Ha containing 1107 bases encoded 368 amino acids, and CsF3Hb containing 1071 bases encoded 357 amino acids. Enzymatic activity analysis showed both recombinant CsF3H enzymes in Escherichia coli could convert naringenin and eriodictyol into dihydrokaempferol (DHK) and dihydroquercetin (DHQ), respectively. The expression profiles showed that CsF3Ha and CsF3Hb were highly expressed in the tender leaves of tea plants. Under different abiotic stresses, the two CsF3Hs were induced remarkably by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, sucrose, and abscisic acid (ABA). In the seeds of CsF3Hs transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana, the concentration of most flavonol glycosides and oligomeric proanthocyanidins increased significantly, while the content of monocatechin derivatives decreased. The present study revealed that CsF3Hs played critical roles in flavonoid biosynthesis in tea plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle RNAi-Mediated Specific Gene Silencing as a Tool for the Discovery of New Drug Targets in Giardia lamblia; Evaluation Using the NADH Oxidase Gene
Genes 2017, 8(11), 303; doi:10.3390/genes8110303
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 3 November 2017
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Abstract
The microaerophilic protozoan Giardia lamblia is the agent causing giardiasis, an intestinal parasitosis of worldwide distribution. Different pharmacotherapies have been employed against giardiasis; however, side effects in the host and reports of drug resistant strains generate the need to develop new strategies that
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The microaerophilic protozoan Giardia lamblia is the agent causing giardiasis, an intestinal parasitosis of worldwide distribution. Different pharmacotherapies have been employed against giardiasis; however, side effects in the host and reports of drug resistant strains generate the need to develop new strategies that identify novel biological targets for drug design. To support this requirement, we have designed and evaluated a vector containing a cassette for the synthesis of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which can silence expression of a target gene through the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. Small silencing RNAs were detected and quantified in transformants expressing dsRNA by a stem-loop RT-qPCR approach. The results showed that, in transformants expressing dsRNA of 100–200 base pairs, the level of NADHox mRNA was reduced by around 30%, concomitant with a decrease in enzyme activity and a reduction in the number of trophozoites with respect to the wild type strain, indicating that NADHox is indeed an important enzyme for Giardia viability. These results suggest that it is possible to induce the G. lamblia RNAi machinery for attenuating the expression of genes encoding proteins of interest. We propose that our silencing strategy can be used to identify new potential drug targets, knocking down genes encoding different structural proteins and enzymes from a wide variety of metabolic pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle Target 5000: Target Capture Sequencing for Inherited Retinal Degenerations
Genes 2017, 8(11), 304; doi:10.3390/genes8110304
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 3 November 2017
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Abstract
There are an estimated 5000 people in Ireland who currently have an inherited retinal degeneration (IRD). It is the goal of this study, through genetic diagnosis, to better enable these 5000 individuals to obtain a clearer understanding of their condition and improved access
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There are an estimated 5000 people in Ireland who currently have an inherited retinal degeneration (IRD). It is the goal of this study, through genetic diagnosis, to better enable these 5000 individuals to obtain a clearer understanding of their condition and improved access to potentially applicable therapies. Here we show the current findings of a target capture next-generation sequencing study of over 750 patients from over 520 pedigrees currently situated in Ireland. We also demonstrate how processes can be implemented to retrospectively analyse patient datasets for the detection of structural variants in previously obtained sequencing reads. Pathogenic or likely pathogenic mutations were detected in 68% of pedigrees tested. We report nearly 30 novel mutations including three large structural variants. The population statistics related to our findings are presented by condition and credited to their respective candidate gene mutations. Rediagnosis rates of clinical phenotypes after genotyping are discussed. Possible causes of failure to detect a candidate mutation are evaluated. Future elements of this project, with a specific emphasis on structural variants and non-coding pathogenic variants, are expected to increase detection rates further and thereby produce an even more comprehensive representation of the genetic landscape of IRDs in Ireland. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication The Tyrosyl-DNA Phosphodiesterase 1β (Tdp1β) Gene Discloses an Early Response to Abiotic Stresses
Genes 2017, 8(11), 305; doi:10.3390/genes8110305
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 3 November 2017
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Abstract
Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (Tdp1) is involved in DNA repair pathways as it mends the topoisomerase I—DNA covalent complexes. In plants, a small Tdp1 gene family, composed by Tdp1α and Tdp1β genes, was identified, but the roles of these genes in abiotic stress responses
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Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (Tdp1) is involved in DNA repair pathways as it mends the topoisomerase I—DNA covalent complexes. In plants, a small Tdp1 gene family, composed by Tdp1α and Tdp1β genes, was identified, but the roles of these genes in abiotic stress responses are not fully understood. To investigate their specific stress response patterns, the present study made use of bioinformatic and molecular tools to look into the Tdp1β gene function, so far described only in the plant kingdom, and compare it with Tdp1α gene coding for the canonical, highly conserved α isoform. The expression profiles of Tdp1α and Tdp1β genes were examined under abiotic stress conditions (cold, heat, high osmolarity, salt, and UV-B) in two model species, Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula. The two isoforms of topoisomerase I (TOP1α and TOP1β) were also taken into consideration in view of their known roles in DNA metabolism and cell proliferation. Data relative to gene expression in Arabidopsis were retrieved from the AtGenExpress microarray dataset, while quantitative Real-Time PCR was carried out to evaluate the stress response in M. truncatula cell cultures. These analyses revealed that Tdp1β gene expression was enhanced during the first hour of treatment, whereas Tdp1α enhanced expression succeeded at subsequent timepoints. In agreement with the gene-specific responses to abiotic stress conditions, the promoter regions of Tdp1α and Tdp1β genes are well equipped with stress-related cis-elements. An in-depth bioinformatic characterization of the HIRAN motif, a distinctive feature of the Tdp1β protein, showed its wide distribution in chromatin remodeling and DNA repair proteins. The reported data suggests that Tdp1β functions in the early response to abiotic stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Chromosomal Evolution in Mole Voles Ellobius (Cricetidae, Rodentia): Bizarre Sex Chromosomes, Variable Autosomes and Meiosis
Genes 2017, 8(11), 306; doi:10.3390/genes8110306
Received: 4 September 2017 / Revised: 27 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 3 November 2017
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Abstract
This study reports on extensive experimental material covering more than 30 years of studying the genetics of mole voles. Sex chromosomes of Ellobius demonstrate an extraordinary case of mammalian sex chromosomes evolution. Five species of mole voles own three types of sex chromosomes;
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This study reports on extensive experimental material covering more than 30 years of studying the genetics of mole voles. Sex chromosomes of Ellobius demonstrate an extraordinary case of mammalian sex chromosomes evolution. Five species of mole voles own three types of sex chromosomes; typical for placentals: XY♂/XX♀; and atypical X0♂/X0♀; or XX♂/XX♀. Mechanisms of sex determination in all Ellobius species remain enigmatic. It was supposed that the Y chromosome was lost twice and independently in subgenera Bramus and Ellobius. Previous to the Y being lost, the X chromosome in distinct species obtained some parts of the Y chromosome, with or without Sry, and accumulated one or several copies of the Eif2s3y gene. Along with enormous variations of sex chromosomes, genes of sex determination pathway and autosomes, and five mole vole species demonstrate ability to establish different meiotic mechanisms, which stabilize their genetic systems and make it possible to overcome the evolutionary deadlocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle The MXL-3/SBP-1 Axis Is Responsible for Glucose-Dependent Fat Accumulation in C. elegans
Genes 2017, 8(11), 307; doi:10.3390/genes8110307
Received: 6 October 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 6 November 2017
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Abstract
Chronic exposure to elevated glucose levels leads to fatty acid accumulation, which promotes the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. MXL-3 is a conserved transcriptional factor that modulates the inhibition of lipolysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the
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Chronic exposure to elevated glucose levels leads to fatty acid accumulation, which promotes the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. MXL-3 is a conserved transcriptional factor that modulates the inhibition of lipolysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the role of MXL-3 in lipid metabolism during nutrient excess remains unknown. We hypothesized that inhibition of MXL-3 prevents glucose-dependent fat accumulation. Nematodes from wild-type N2, MXL-3::GFP and sbp-1 or mxl-3 null strains were grown on standard, high glucose or high glucose plus metformin plates for 24 h. Using laser-scanning confocal microscopy, we monitored the glucose-induced activation of MXL-3 labeled with GFP (MXL-3::GFP). Lipid levels were determined by Oil Red O (ORO) staining and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and gene expression was assessed by qRT-PCR. We found that high glucose activated MXL-3 by increasing its rate of nuclear entry, which in turn increased lipid levels via sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SBP-1). This activated critical genes that synthesize long chain unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs) and repress lipolytic genes. Interestingly, the anti-diabetic drug metformin inhibited MXL-3 activation and subsequently prevented glucose-dependent fat accumulation. These findings highlight the importance of the MXL-3/SBP-1 axis in the regulation of lipid metabolism during nutritional excess and provide new insight into the mechanism by which metformin prevents lipid accumulation. This study also suggests that inhibition of MXL-3 may serve as a potential target for the treatment of chronic metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle Gene Regulatory Network Rewiring in the Immune Cells Associated with Cancer
Genes 2017, 8(11), 308; doi:10.3390/genes8110308
Received: 4 October 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
The gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of immune cells not only indicate cell identity but also reveal the dynamic changes of immune cells when comparing their GRNs. Cancer immunotherapy has advanced in the past few years. Immune-checkpoint blockades (i.e., blocking PD-1, PD-L1, or CTLA-4)
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The gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of immune cells not only indicate cell identity but also reveal the dynamic changes of immune cells when comparing their GRNs. Cancer immunotherapy has advanced in the past few years. Immune-checkpoint blockades (i.e., blocking PD-1, PD-L1, or CTLA-4) have shown durable clinical effects on some patients with various advanced cancers. However, major gaps in our knowledge of immunotherapy have been recognized. To fill these gaps, we conducted a systematic analysis of the GRNs of key immune cell subsets (i.e., B cell, CD4, CD8, CD8 naïve, CD8 Effector memory, CD8 Central Memory, regulatory T, Thelper1, Thelper2, Thelp17, and NK (Nature killer) and DC (Dendritic cell) cells associated with cancer immunologic therapies. We showed that most of the GRNs of these cells in blood share key important hub regulators, but their subnetworks for controlling cell type-specific receptors are different, suggesting that transformation between these immune cell subsets could be fast so that they can rapidly respond to environmental cues. To understand how cancer cells send molecular signals to immune cells to make them more cancer-cell friendly, we compared the GRNs of the tumor-infiltrating immune T cells and their corresponding immune cells in blood. We showed that the network size of the tumor-infiltrating immune T cells’ GRNs was reduced when compared to the GRNs of their corresponding immune cells in blood. These results suggest that the shutting down certain cellular activities of the immune cells by cancer cells is one of the key molecular mechanisms for helping cancer cells to escape the defense of the host immune system. These results highlight the possibility of genetic engineering of T cells for turning on the identified subnetworks that have been shut down by cancer cells to combat tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Juvenile-Onset Diabetes and Congenital Cataract: “Double-Gene” Mutations Mimicking a Syndromic Diabetes Presentation
Genes 2017, 8(11), 309; doi:10.3390/genes8110309
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Monogenic forms of diabetes may account for 1–5% of all cases of diabetes, and may occur in the context of syndromic presentations. We investigated the case of a girl affected by insulin-dependent diabetes, diagnosed at 6 years old, associated with congenital cataract. Her
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Monogenic forms of diabetes may account for 1–5% of all cases of diabetes, and may occur in the context of syndromic presentations. We investigated the case of a girl affected by insulin-dependent diabetes, diagnosed at 6 years old, associated with congenital cataract. Her consanguineous parents and her four other siblings did not have diabetes or cataract, suggesting a recessive syndrome. Using whole exome sequencing of the affected proband, we identified a heterozygous p.R825Q ABCC8 mutation, located at the exact same amino-acid position as the p.R825W recurring diabetes mutation, hence likely responsible for the diabetes condition, and a homozygous p.G71S mutation in CRYBB1, a gene known to be responsible for congenital cataract. Both mutations were predicted to be damaging and were absent or extremely rare in public databases. Unexpectedly, we found that the mother was also homozygous for the CRYBB1 mutation, and both the mother and one unaffected sibling were heterozygous for the ABCC8 mutation, suggesting incomplete penetrance of both mutations. Incomplete penetrance of ABCC8 mutations is well documented, but this is the first report of an incomplete penetrance of a CRYBB1 mutation, manifesting between susceptible subjects (unaffected mother vs. affected child) and to some extent within the patient herself, who had distinct cataract severities in both eyes. Our finding illustrates the importance of family studies to unmask the role of confounding factors such as double-gene mutations and incomplete penetrance that may mimic monogenic syndromes including in the case of strongly evocative family structure with consanguinity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Functional Genomics of Diabetes Mellitus)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Gut Microbiome and Putative Resistome of Inca and Italian Nobility Mummies
Genes 2017, 8(11), 310; doi:10.3390/genes8110310
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 20 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Little is still known about the microbiome resulting from the process of mummification of the human gut. In the present study, the gut microbiota, genes associated with metabolism, and putative resistome of Inca and Italian nobility mummies were characterized by using high-throughput sequencing.
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Little is still known about the microbiome resulting from the process of mummification of the human gut. In the present study, the gut microbiota, genes associated with metabolism, and putative resistome of Inca and Italian nobility mummies were characterized by using high-throughput sequencing. The Italian nobility mummies exhibited a higher bacterial diversity as compared to the Inca mummies when using 16S ribosomal (rRNA) gene amplicon sequencing, but both groups showed bacterial and fungal taxa when using shotgun metagenomic sequencing that may resemble both the thanatomicrobiome and extant human gut microbiomes. Identification of sequences associated with plants, animals, and carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) may provide further insights into the dietary habits of Inca and Italian nobility mummies. Putative antibiotic-resistance genes in the Inca and Italian nobility mummies support a human gut resistome prior to the antibiotic therapy era. The higher proportion of putative antibiotic-resistance genes in the Inca compared to Italian nobility mummies may support the hypotheses that a greater exposure to the environment may result in a greater acquisition of antibiotic-resistance genes. The present study adds knowledge of the microbiome resulting from the process of mummification of the human gut, insights of ancient dietary habits, and the preserved putative human gut resistome prior the antibiotic therapy era. Full article
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Open AccessArticle High Quality Unigenes and Microsatellite Markers from Tissue Specific Transcriptome and Development of a Database in Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, L. Taub)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 313; doi:10.3390/genes8110313
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L. Taub), is an important industrial, vegetable and forage crop. This crop owes its commercial importance to the presence of guar gum (galactomannans) in its endosperm which is used as a lubricant in a range of industries. Despite its
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Clusterbean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L. Taub), is an important industrial, vegetable and forage crop. This crop owes its commercial importance to the presence of guar gum (galactomannans) in its endosperm which is used as a lubricant in a range of industries. Despite its relevance to agriculture and industry, genomic resources available in this crop are limited. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to generate RNA-Seq based transcriptome from leaf, shoot, and flower tissues. A total of 145 million high quality Illumina reads were assembled using Trinity into 127,706 transcripts and 48,007 non-redundant high quality (HQ) unigenes. We annotated 79% unigenes against Plant Genes from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Swiss-Prot, Pfam, gene ontology (GO) and KEGG databases. Among the annotated unigenes, 30,020 were assigned with 116,964 GO terms, 9984 with EC and 6111 with 137 KEGG pathways. At different fragments per kilobase of transcript per millions fragments sequenced (FPKM) levels, genes were found expressed higher in flower tissue followed by shoot and leaf. Additionally, we identified 8687 potential simple sequence repeats (SSRs) with an average frequency of one SSR per 8.75 kb. A total of 28 amplified SSRs in 21 clusterbean genotypes resulted in polymorphism in 13 markers with average polymorphic information content (PIC) of 0.21. We also constructed a database named ‘ClustergeneDB’ for easy retrieval of unigenes and the microsatellite markers. The tissue specific genes identified and the molecular marker resources developed in this study is expected to aid in genetic improvement of clusterbean for its end use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genomics and Epigenomics for Trait Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle A Microbiomic Analysis in African Americans with Colonic Lesions Reveals Streptococcus sp.VT162 as a Marker of Neoplastic Transformation
Genes 2017, 8(11), 314; doi:10.3390/genes8110314
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Increasing evidence suggests a role of the gut microbiota in colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC). To detect bacterial markers of colorectal cancer in African Americans a metabolomic analysis was performed on fecal water extracts. DNA from stool samples of adenoma and healthy subjects and from
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Increasing evidence suggests a role of the gut microbiota in colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC). To detect bacterial markers of colorectal cancer in African Americans a metabolomic analysis was performed on fecal water extracts. DNA from stool samples of adenoma and healthy subjects and from colon cancer and matched normal tissues was analyzed to determine the microbiota composition (using 16S rDNA) and genomic content (metagenomics). Metagenomic functions with discriminative power between healthy and neoplastic specimens were established. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (q-PCR) using primers and probes specific to Streptococcus sp. VT_162 were used to validate this bacterium association with neoplastic transformation in stool samples from two independent cohorts of African Americans and Chinese patients with colorectal lesions. The metabolomic analysis of adenomas revealed low amino acids content. The microbiota in both cancer vs. normal tissues and adenoma vs. normal stool samples were different at the 16S rRNA gene level. Cross-mapping of metagenomic data led to 9 markers with significant discriminative power between normal and diseased specimens. These markers identified with Streptococcus sp. VT_162. Q-PCR data showed a statistically significant presence of this bacterium in advanced adenoma and cancer samples in an independent cohort of CRC patients. We defined metagenomic functions from Streptococcus sp. VT_162 with discriminative power among cancers vs. matched normal and adenomas vs. healthy subjects’ stools. Streptococcus sp. VT_162 specific 16S rDNA was validated in an independent cohort. These findings might facilitate non-invasive screening for colorectal cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intestinal Microbes and Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Sequencing and De Novo Assembly of the Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy) Transcriptome
Genes 2017, 8(11), 317; doi:10.3390/genes8110317
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Contact with poison ivy plants is widely dreaded because they produce a natural product called urushiol that is responsible for allergenic contact delayed-dermatitis symptoms lasting for weeks. For this reason, the catchphrase most associated with poison ivy is “leaves of three, let it
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Contact with poison ivy plants is widely dreaded because they produce a natural product called urushiol that is responsible for allergenic contact delayed-dermatitis symptoms lasting for weeks. For this reason, the catchphrase most associated with poison ivy is “leaves of three, let it be”, which serves the purpose of both identification and an appeal for avoidance. Ironically, despite this notoriety, there is a dearth of specific knowledge about nearly all other aspects of poison ivy physiology and ecology. As a means of gaining a more molecular-oriented understanding of poison ivy physiology and ecology, Next Generation DNA sequencing technology was used to develop poison ivy root and leaf RNA-seq transcriptome resources. De novo assembled transcriptomes were analyzed to generate a core set of high quality expressed transcripts present in poison ivy tissue. The predicted protein sequences were evaluated for similarity to SwissProt homologs and InterProScan domains, as well as assigned both GO terms and KEGG annotations. Over 23,000 simple sequence repeats were identified in the transcriptome, and corresponding oligo nucleotide primer pairs were designed. A pan-transcriptome analysis of existing Anacardiaceae transcriptomes revealed conserved and unique transcripts among these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Next Generation Sequencing of Chromosome-Specific Libraries Sheds Light on Genome Evolution in Paleotetraploid Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 318; doi:10.3390/genes8110318
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Several whole genome duplication (WGD) events followed by rediploidization took place in the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Acipenserids represent a convenient model group for investigation of the consequences of WGD as their representatives underwent additional WGD events in different lineages resulting in ploidy
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Several whole genome duplication (WGD) events followed by rediploidization took place in the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Acipenserids represent a convenient model group for investigation of the consequences of WGD as their representatives underwent additional WGD events in different lineages resulting in ploidy level variation between species, and these processes are still ongoing. Earlier, we obtained a set of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) chromosome-specific libraries by microdissection and revealed that they painted two or four pairs of whole sterlet chromosomes, as well as additional chromosomal regions, depending on rediploidization status and chromosomal rearrangements after genome duplication. In this study, we employed next generation sequencing to estimate the content of libraries derived from different paralogous chromosomes of sterlet. For this purpose, we aligned the obtained reads to the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) reference genome to reveal syntenic regions between these two species having diverged 360 Mya. We also showed that the approach is effective for synteny prediction at various evolutionary distances and allows one to clearly distinguish paralogous chromosomes in polyploid genomes. We postulated that after the acipenserid-specific WGD sterlet karyotype underwent multiple interchromosomal rearrangements, but different chromosomes were involved in this process unequally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle Human Organ Tissue Identification by Targeted RNA Deep Sequencing to Aid the Investigation of Traumatic Injury
Genes 2017, 8(11), 319; doi:10.3390/genes8110319
Received: 17 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
Molecular analysis of the RNA transcriptome from a putative tissue fragment should permit the assignment of its source to a specific organ, since each will exhibit a unique pattern of gene expression. Determination of the organ source of tissues from crime scenes may
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Molecular analysis of the RNA transcriptome from a putative tissue fragment should permit the assignment of its source to a specific organ, since each will exhibit a unique pattern of gene expression. Determination of the organ source of tissues from crime scenes may aid in shootings and other investigations. We have developed a prototype massively parallel sequencing (MPS) mRNA profiling assay for organ tissue identification that is designed to definitively identify 10 organ/tissue types using a targeted panel of 46 mRNA biomarkers. The identifiable organs and tissues include brain, lung, liver, heart, kidney, intestine, stomach, skeletal muscle, adipose, and trachea. The biomarkers were chosen after iterative specificity testing of numerous candidate genes in various tissue types. The assay is very specific, with little cross-reactivity with non-targeted tissue, and can detect RNA mixtures from different tissues. We also demonstrate the ability of the assay to successful identify the tissue source of origin using a single blind study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Novel Insights into Antiviral Gene Regulation of Red Swamp Crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, Infected with White Spot Syndrome Virus
Genes 2017, 8(11), 320; doi:10.3390/genes8110320
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), one of the major pathogens of Procambarus clarkii, has caused severe disruption to the aquaculture industry of P. clarkii in China. To reveal the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying WSSV infection, a comparative transcriptome analysis was performed among
[...] Read more.
White spot syndrome virus (WSSV), one of the major pathogens of Procambarus clarkii, has caused severe disruption to the aquaculture industry of P. clarkii in China. To reveal the gene regulatory mechanisms underlying WSSV infection, a comparative transcriptome analysis was performed among WSSV-infected susceptible individuals (GS), viral resistant individuals (GR), and a non-infected control group (GC). A total of 61,349 unigenes were assembled from nine libraries. Subsequently, 515 and 1033 unigenes exhibited significant differential expression in sensitive and resistant crayfish individuals compared to the control group (GC). Many differentially expressed genes (e.g., C-type lectin 4, Peroxinectin, Prophenoloxidase, and Serine/threonine-protein kinase) observed in GR and GS play critical roles in pathogen recognition and viral defense reactions after WSSV infection. Importantly, the glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis-chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate pathway was identified to play critical roles in defense to WSSV infection for resistant crayfish individuals by upregulating the chondroitin sulfate related genes for the synthesis of WSSV-sensitive, functional chondroitin sulfate chains containing E units. Numerous genes and the key pathways identified between resistant and susceptible P. clarkii individuals provide valuable insights regarding antiviral response mechanisms of decapoda species and may help to improve the selective breeding of P. clarkii WSSV-resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Profiling of lincRNAs in Lung Adenocarcinoma of Never Smokers Reveals Their Roles in Cancer Development and Prognosis
Genes 2017, 8(11), 321; doi:10.3390/genes8110321
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
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Abstract
Long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) is a family of gene transcripts, the functions of which are largely unknown. Although cigarette smoking is the main cause for lung cancer, lung cancer in non-smokers is a separate entity and its underlying cause is little known.
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Long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) is a family of gene transcripts, the functions of which are largely unknown. Although cigarette smoking is the main cause for lung cancer, lung cancer in non-smokers is a separate entity and its underlying cause is little known. Growing evidence suggests lincRNAs play a significant role in cancer development and progression; however, such data is lacking for lung cancer in non-smokers, or those who have never smoked. This study conducted comprehensive profiling of lincRNAs from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data of non-smoker patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Both known and novel lincRNAs distinctly segregated tumors from normal tissues. Approximately one third of lincRNAs were differentially expressed between tumors and normal samples and most of them were coordinated with their putative protein gene targets. More importantly, lincRNAs defined two clusters of tumors that were associated with tumor aggressiveness and patient survival. We identified a subset of lincRNAs that were differentially expressed and also associated with patient survival. Very high concordance (R2 = 0.9) was observed for the differentially expressed lincRNAs in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) validation set of 85 transcriptomes and the lincRNAs associated with survival from the discovery set were similarly predictive in the validation set. These lincRNAs warrant further investigation as potential diagnostic and prognostic markers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Transmission Dynamics of HIV-1 Drug Resistance among Treatment-Naïve Individuals in Greece: The Added Value of Molecular Epidemiology to Public Health
Genes 2017, 8(11), 322; doi:10.3390/genes8110322
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
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Abstract
The presence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance among drug-naïve patients remains stable, although the proportion of patients with virological failure to therapy is decreasing. The dynamics of transmitted resistance among drug-naïve patients remains largely unknown. The prevalence of non-nucleoside
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The presence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance among drug-naïve patients remains stable, although the proportion of patients with virological failure to therapy is decreasing. The dynamics of transmitted resistance among drug-naïve patients remains largely unknown. The prevalence of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) resistance was 16.9% among treatment-naïve individuals in Greece. We aimed to investigate the transmission dynamics and the effective reproductive number (Re) of the locally transmitted NNRTI resistance. We analyzed sequences with dominant NNRTI resistance mutations (E138A and K103N) found within monophyletic clusters (local transmission networks (LTNs)) from patients in Greece. For the K103N LTN, the Re was >1 between 2008 and the first half of 2013. For all E138A LTNs, the Re was >1 between 1998 and 2015, except the most recent one (E138A_4), where the Re was >1 between 2006 and 2011 and approximately equal to 1 thereafter. K103N and E138A_4 showed similar characteristics with a more recent origin, higher Re during the first years of the sub-epidemics, and a declining trend in the number of transmissions during the last two years. In the remaining LTNs the epidemic was still expanding. Our study highlights the added value of molecular epidemiology to public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Origin and Evolution of the Neo-Sex Chromosomes in Pamphagidae Grasshoppers through Chromosome Fusion and Following Heteromorphization
Genes 2017, 8(11), 323; doi:10.3390/genes8110323
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 13 November 2017
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Abstract
In most phylogenetic lineages, the evolution of sex chromosomes is accompanied by their heteromorphization and degradation of one of them. The neo-sex chromosomes are useful model for studying early stages of these processes. Recently two lineages of the neo-sex chromosomes on different stages
[...] Read more.
In most phylogenetic lineages, the evolution of sex chromosomes is accompanied by their heteromorphization and degradation of one of them. The neo-sex chromosomes are useful model for studying early stages of these processes. Recently two lineages of the neo-sex chromosomes on different stages of heteromorphization was discovered in Pamphagidae family. The neo-sex chromosome heteromorphization was analyzed by generation of DNA probes derived from the neo-Xs and neo-Ys followed with chromosome painting in nineteen species of Pamphagidae family. The homologous regions of the neo-sex chromosomes were determined in closely related species with the painting procedure and image analysis with application of the Visualization of the Specific Signal in Silico software package. Results of these analyses and distribution of C-positive regions in the neo-sex chromosomes revealed details of the heteromorphization of the neo-sex chromosomes in species from both phylogenetic lineages of Pamphagidae grasshoppers. The hypothetical mechanism of the neo-Y degradation was suggested. It includes expansion of different repeats from the proximal neo-Y chromosome region by inversions, spreading them towards distal region. Amplification of these repeats leads to formation of C-positive regions and elimination of the C-negative regions located between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle The Chloroplast Genome of Symplocarpus renifolius: A Comparison of Chloroplast Genome Structure in Araceae
Genes 2017, 8(11), 324; doi:10.3390/genes8110324
Received: 5 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
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Abstract
Symplocarpus renifolius is a member of Araceae family that is extraordinarily diverse in appearance. Previous studies on chloroplast genomes in Araceae were focused on duckweeds (Lemnoideae) and root crops (Colocasia, commonly known as taro). Here, we determined the chloroplast genome of
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Symplocarpus renifolius is a member of Araceae family that is extraordinarily diverse in appearance. Previous studies on chloroplast genomes in Araceae were focused on duckweeds (Lemnoideae) and root crops (Colocasia, commonly known as taro). Here, we determined the chloroplast genome of Symplocarpus renifolius and compared the factors, such as genes and inverted repeat (IR) junctions and performed phylogenetic analysis using other Araceae species. The chloroplast genome of S. renifolius is 158,521 bp and includes 113 genes. A comparison among the Araceae chloroplast genomes showed that infA in Lemna, Spirodela, Wolffiella, Wolffia, Dieffenbachia and Colocasia has been lost or has become a pseudogene and has only been retained in Symplocarpus. In the Araceae chloroplast DNA (cpDNA), psbZ is retained. However, psbZ duplication occurred in Wolffia species and tandem repeats were noted around the duplication regions. A comparison of the IR junction in Araceae species revealed the presence of ycf1 and rps15 in the small single copy region, whereas duckweed species contained ycf1 and rps15 in the IR region. The phylogenetic analyses of the chloroplast genomes revealed that Symplocarpus are a basal group and are sister to the other Araceae species. Consequently, infA deletion or pseudogene events in Araceae occurred after the divergence of Symplocarpus and aquatic plants (duckweeds) in Araceae and duplication events of rps15 and ycf1 occurred in the IR region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Development of Novel Polymorphic EST-SSR Markers in Bailinggu (Pleurotus tuoliensis) for Crossbreeding
Genes 2017, 8(11), 325; doi:10.3390/genes8110325 (registering DOI)
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Identification of monokaryons and their mating types and discrimination of hybrid offspring are key steps for the crossbreeding of Pleurotus tuoliensis (Bailinggu). However, conventional crossbreeding methods are troublesome and time consuming. Using RNA-seq technology, we developed new expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR)
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Identification of monokaryons and their mating types and discrimination of hybrid offspring are key steps for the crossbreeding of Pleurotus tuoliensis (Bailinggu). However, conventional crossbreeding methods are troublesome and time consuming. Using RNA-seq technology, we developed new expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers for Bailinggu to easily and rapidly identify monokaryons and their mating types, genetic diversity and hybrid offspring. We identified 1110 potential EST-based SSR loci from a newly-sequenced Bailinggu transcriptome and then randomly selected 100 EST-SSRs for further validation. Results showed that 39, 43 and 34 novel EST-SSR markers successfully identified monokaryons from their parent dikaryons, differentiated two different mating types and discriminated F1 and F2 hybrid offspring, respectively. Furthermore, a total of 86 alleles were detected in 37 monokaryons using 18 highly informative EST-SSRs. The observed number of alleles per locus ranged from three to seven. Cluster analysis revealed that these monokaryons have a relatively high level of genetic diversity. Transfer rates of the EST-SSRs in the monokaryons of closely-related species Pleurotus eryngii var. ferulae and Pleurotus ostreatus were 72% and 64%, respectively. Therefore, our study provides new SSR markers and an efficient method to enhance the crossbreeding of Bailinggu and closely-related species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Taxonomic Classification for Living Organisms Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Genes 2017, 8(11), 326; doi:10.3390/genes8110326 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Taxonomic classification has a wide-range of applications such as finding out more about evolutionary history. Compared to the estimated number of organisms that nature harbors, humanity does not have a thorough comprehension of to which specific classes they belong. The classification of living
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Taxonomic classification has a wide-range of applications such as finding out more about evolutionary history. Compared to the estimated number of organisms that nature harbors, humanity does not have a thorough comprehension of to which specific classes they belong. The classification of living organisms can be done in many machine learning techniques. However, in this study, this is performed using convolutional neural networks. Moreover, a DNA encoding technique is incorporated in the algorithm to increase performance and avoid misclassifications. The algorithm proposed outperformed the state of the art algorithms in terms of accuracy and sensitivity, which illustrates a high potential for using it in many other applications in genome analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle New Insights into Phasmatodea Chromosomes
Genes 2017, 8(11), 327; doi:10.3390/genes8110327 (registering DOI)
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Currently, approximately 3000 species of stick insects are known; however, chromosome numbers, which range between 21 and 88, are known for only a few of these insects. Also, centromere banding staining (C-banding) patterns were described for fewer than 10 species, and fluorescence in
[...] Read more.
Currently, approximately 3000 species of stick insects are known; however, chromosome numbers, which range between 21 and 88, are known for only a few of these insects. Also, centromere banding staining (C-banding) patterns were described for fewer than 10 species, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was applied exclusively in two Leptynia species. Interestingly, 10–25% of stick insects (Phasmatodea) are obligatory or facultative parthenogenetic. As clonal and/or bisexual reproduction can affect chromosomal evolution, stick insect karyotypes need to be studied more intensely. Chromosome preparation from embryos of five Phasmatodea species (Medauroidea extradentata, Sungaya inexpectata, Sipyloidea sipylus, Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis, and Peruphasma schultei) from four families were studied here by C-banding and FISH applying ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) and telomeric repeat probes. For three species, data on chromosome numbers and structure were obtained here for the first time, i.e., S. inexpectata, P. khaoyaiensis, and P. schultei. Large C-positive regions enriched with rDNA were identified in all five studied, distantly related species. Some of these C-positive blocks were enriched for telomeric repeats, as well. Chromosomal evolution of stick insects is characterized by variations in chromosome numbers as well as transposition and amplification of repetitive DNA sequences. Here, the first steps were made towards identification of individual chromosomes in Phasmatodea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of the Caprine Keratin-Associated Protein 20-2 (KAP20-2) Gene and Its Effect on Cashmere Traits
Genes 2017, 8(11), 328; doi:10.3390/genes8110328 (registering DOI)
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 9 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
The gene encoding the high glycine/tyrosine keratin-associated protein 20-2 (KAP20-2) gene has been described in humans, but has not been identified in any livestock species. A search for similar sequences in the caprine genome using the human KAP20-2 gene (KRTAP20-2) revealed
[...] Read more.
The gene encoding the high glycine/tyrosine keratin-associated protein 20-2 (KAP20-2) gene has been described in humans, but has not been identified in any livestock species. A search for similar sequences in the caprine genome using the human KAP20-2 gene (KRTAP20-2) revealed a homologous sequence on chromosome 1. Three different banding patterns representing distinct sequences (AC) in Longdong cashmere goats were identified using polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis. These sequences shared high sequence similarity with the human and mouse KRTAP20-2 sequences, suggesting that AC are caprine variants of the human and mouse genes. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified, and three of them were non-synonymous. KRTAP20-2 was found to be expressed in secondary hair follicles, but not in heart, liver, lung, kidney, spleen, or longissimus dorsi muscle. The presence of A was associated with increased cashmere fibre weight, while the presence of B was associated with a decrease in cashmere fibre weight and curly fibre length. Goats with genotype AA had a higher cashmere fibre weight and a higher curly fibre length than those with genotypes AB or BB. These results indicate that caprine KRTAP20-2 variation may have value as a genetic marker for improving cashmere fibre weight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle Flanking Variation Influences Rates of Stutter in Simple Repeats
Genes 2017, 8(11), 329; doi:10.3390/genes8110329 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 7 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
It has been posited that the longest uninterrupted stretch (LUS) of tandem repeats, as defined by the number of exactly matching repeating motif units, is a better predictor of rates of stutter than the parental allele length (PAL). While there are cases where
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It has been posited that the longest uninterrupted stretch (LUS) of tandem repeats, as defined by the number of exactly matching repeating motif units, is a better predictor of rates of stutter than the parental allele length (PAL). While there are cases where this hypothesis is likely correct, such as the 9.3 allele in the TH01 locus, there can be situations where it may not apply as well. For example, the PAL may capture flanking indel variations while remaining insensitive to polymorphisms in the repeat, and these haplotypic changes may impact the stutter rate. To address this, rates of stutter were contrasted against the LUS as well as the PAL on different flanking haplotypic backgrounds. This study shows that rates of stutter can vary substantially depending on the flanking haplotype, and while there are cases where the LUS is a better predictor of stutter than the PAL, examples to the contrary are apparent in commonly assayed forensic markers. Further, flanking variation that is 7 bp from the repeat region can impact rates of stutter. These findings suggest that non-proximal effects, such as DNA secondary structure, may be impacting the rates of stutter in common forensic short tandem repeat markers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle The HMGA1 Pseudogene 7 Induces miR-483 and miR-675 Upregulation by Activating Egr1 through a ceRNA Mechanism
Genes 2017, 8(11), 330; doi:10.3390/genes8110330 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 9 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
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Abstract
Several studies have established that pseudogene mRNAs can work as competing endogenous RNAs and, when deregulated, play a key role in the onset of human neoplasias. Recently, we have isolated two HMGA1 pseudogenes, HMGA1P6 and HMGA1P7. These pseudogenes have a critical role
[...] Read more.
Several studies have established that pseudogene mRNAs can work as competing endogenous RNAs and, when deregulated, play a key role in the onset of human neoplasias. Recently, we have isolated two HMGA1 pseudogenes, HMGA1P6 and HMGA1P7. These pseudogenes have a critical role in cancer progression, acting as micro RNA (miRNA) sponges for HMGA1 and other cancer-related genes. HMGA1 pseudogenes were found overexpressed in several human carcinomas, and their expression levels positively correlate with an advanced cancer stage and a poor prognosis. In order to investigate the molecular alterations following HMGA1 pseudogene 7 overexpression, we carried out miRNA sequencing analysis on HMGA1P7 overexpressing mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Intriguingly, the most upregulated miRNAs were miR-483 and miR-675 that have been described as key regulators in cancer progression. Here, we report that HMGA1P7 upregulates miR-483 and miR-675 through a competing endogenous RNA mechanism with Egr1, a transcriptional factor that positively regulates miR-483 and miR-675 expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs)
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Open AccessArticle Evolutionarily Distant Streptophyta Respond Differently to Genotoxic Stress
Genes 2017, 8(11), 331; doi:10.3390/genes8110331 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 10 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 17 November 2017
PDF Full-text (1030 KB)
Abstract
Research in algae usually focuses on the description and characterization of morpho—and phenotype as a result of adaptation to a particular habitat and its conditions. To better understand the evolution of lineages we characterized responses of filamentous streptophyte green algae of the genera
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Research in algae usually focuses on the description and characterization of morpho—and phenotype as a result of adaptation to a particular habitat and its conditions. To better understand the evolution of lineages we characterized responses of filamentous streptophyte green algae of the genera Klebsormidium and Zygnema, and of a land plant—the moss Physcomitrella patens—to genotoxic stress that might be relevant to their environment. We studied the induction and repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) elicited by the radiomimetic drug bleomycin, DNA single strand breaks (SSB) as consequence of base modification by the alkylation agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) and of ultra violet (UV)-induced photo-dimers, because the mode of action of these three genotoxic agents is well understood. We show that the Klebsormidium and Physcomitrella are similarly sensitive to introduced DNA lesions and have similar rates of DSBs repair. In contrast, less DNA damage and higher repair rate of DSBs was detected in Zygnema, suggesting different mechanisms of maintaining genome integrity in response to genotoxic stress. Nevertheless, contrary to fewer detected lesions is Zygnema more sensitive to genotoxic treatment than Klebsormidium and Physcomitrella Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Damage Responses in Plants)

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Open AccessReview Exceptional Chromosomal Evolution and Cryptic Speciation of Blind Mole Rats Nannospalax leucodon (Spalacinae, Rodentia) from South-Eastern Europe
Genes 2017, 8(11), 292; doi:10.3390/genes8110292
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Mole rats are exclusively subterranean and highly specialized rodents. Their long lifespans, remarkable anti-cancer mechanisms, and various distinctive adaptive features make them a useful research model. Moreover, opposing convergence of morphological traits, they have developed extremely high karyotype variability. Thus, 74 chromosomal forms
[...] Read more.
Mole rats are exclusively subterranean and highly specialized rodents. Their long lifespans, remarkable anti-cancer mechanisms, and various distinctive adaptive features make them a useful research model. Moreover, opposing convergence of morphological traits, they have developed extremely high karyotype variability. Thus, 74 chromosomal forms have been described so far and new ones are being revealed continuously. These evolved during the process of rapid radiation and occur in different biogeographical regions. During research into their reproductive biology we have already provided substantial evidence for species-level separation of these taxa. Here, we review diverse chromosomal forms of the lesser blind mole rat, Mediterranean Nannospalax leucodon, distributed in South-eastern Europe, their karyotype records, biogeography, origin, and phylogeny from our extensive research. In the light of new data from molecular genetic studies, we question some former valuations and propose a cryptospecies rank for seven reproductively isolated chromosomal forms with sympatric and parapatric distribution and clear ecogeographical discrepances in their habitats, as well as new experimental and theoretical methods for understanding the courses of speciation of these unique fossorial mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview How Next-Generation Sequencing Has Aided Our Understanding of the Sequence Composition and Origin of B Chromosomes
Genes 2017, 8(11), 294; doi:10.3390/genes8110294
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
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Abstract
Accessory, supernumerary, or—most simply—B chromosomes, are found in many eukaryotic karyotypes. These small chromosomes do not follow the usual pattern of segregation, but rather are transmitted in a higher than expected frequency. As increasingly being demonstrated by next-generation sequencing (NGS), their structure comprises
[...] Read more.
Accessory, supernumerary, or—most simply—B chromosomes, are found in many eukaryotic karyotypes. These small chromosomes do not follow the usual pattern of segregation, but rather are transmitted in a higher than expected frequency. As increasingly being demonstrated by next-generation sequencing (NGS), their structure comprises fragments of standard (A) chromosomes, although in some plant species, their sequence also includes contributions from organellar genomes. Transcriptomic analyses of various animal and plant species have revealed that, contrary to what used to be the common belief, some of the B chromosome DNA is protein-encoding. This review summarizes the progress in understanding B chromosome biology enabled by the application of next-generation sequencing technology and state-of-the-art bioinformatics. In particular, a contrast is drawn between a direct sequencing approach and a strategy based on a comparative genomics as alternative routes that can be taken towards the identification of B chromosome sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview A Narrowing of the Phenotypic Diversity Range after Large Rearrangements of the Karyotype in Salmonidae: The Relationship between Saltational Genome Rearrangements and Gradual Adaptive Evolution
Genes 2017, 8(11), 297; doi:10.3390/genes8110297
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 24 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
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Abstract
The problem of how a gradual development of ecological and morphological adaptations combines with large genome rearrangements, which have been found to occur in the phylogeny of many groups of organisms, is a matter of discussion in the literature. The objective of this
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The problem of how a gradual development of ecological and morphological adaptations combines with large genome rearrangements, which have been found to occur in the phylogeny of many groups of organisms, is a matter of discussion in the literature. The objective of this work was to study the problem with the example of salmonids, whose evolution included at least six events of multiple chromosome fusions. Large karyotype rearrangements are associated with a decrease in ecological and morphological diversity in salmonids. In the above example, genome rearrangements seem to distort the function of the genetic systems that are responsible for the occurrence of certain ecological forms in salmonids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
Open AccessReview DNA Damage Repair System in Plants: A Worldwide Research Update
Genes 2017, 8(11), 299; doi:10.3390/genes8110299
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 30 October 2017
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Abstract
Living organisms are usually exposed to various DNA damaging agents so the mechanisms to detect and repair diverse DNA lesions have developed in all organisms with the result of maintaining genome integrity. Defects in DNA repair machinery contribute to cancer, certain diseases, and
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Living organisms are usually exposed to various DNA damaging agents so the mechanisms to detect and repair diverse DNA lesions have developed in all organisms with the result of maintaining genome integrity. Defects in DNA repair machinery contribute to cancer, certain diseases, and aging. Therefore, conserving the genomic sequence in organisms is key for the perpetuation of life. The machinery of DNA damage repair (DDR) in prokaryotes and eukaryotes is similar. Plants also share mechanisms for DNA repair with animals, although they differ in other important details. Plants have, surprisingly, been less investigated than other living organisms in this context, despite the fact that numerous lethal mutations in animals are viable in plants. In this manuscript, a worldwide bibliometric analysis of DDR systems and DDR research in plants was made. A comparison between both subjects was accomplished. The bibliometric analyses prove that the first study about DDR systems in plants (1987) was published thirteen years later than that for other living organisms (1975). Despite the increase in the number of papers about DDR mechanisms in plants in recent decades, nowadays the number of articles published each year about DDR systems in plants only represents 10% of the total number of articles about DDR. The DDR research field was done by 74 countries while the number of countries involved in the DDR & Plant field is 44. This indicates the great influence that DDR research in the plant field currently has, worldwide. As expected, the percentage of studies published about DDR systems in plants has increased in the subject area of agricultural and biological sciences and has diminished in medicine with respect to DDR studies in other living organisms. In short, bibliometric results highlight the current interest in DDR research in plants among DDR studies and can open new perspectives in the research field of DNA damage repair. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Damage Responses in Plants)
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Open AccessReview RNA Pseudouridylation in Physiology and Medicine: For Better and for Worse
Genes 2017, 8(11), 301; doi:10.3390/genes8110301
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract
Pseudouridine is the most abundant modification found in RNA. Today, thanks to next-generation sequencing techniques used in the detection of RNA modifications, pseudouridylation sites have been described in most eukaryotic RNA classes. In the present review, we will first consider the available information
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Pseudouridine is the most abundant modification found in RNA. Today, thanks to next-generation sequencing techniques used in the detection of RNA modifications, pseudouridylation sites have been described in most eukaryotic RNA classes. In the present review, we will first consider the available information on the functional roles of pseudouridine(s) in different RNA species. We will then focus on how alterations in the pseudouridylation process may be connected with a series of human pathologies, including inherited disorders, cancer, diabetes, and viral infections. Finally, we will discuss how the availability of novel technical approaches are likely to increase the knowledge in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNA Modification)
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Open AccessReview Impact of Repetitive Elements on the Y Chromosome Formation in Plants
Genes 2017, 8(11), 302; doi:10.3390/genes8110302
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract
In contrast to animals, separate sexes and sex chromosomes in plants are very rare. Although the evolution of sex chromosomes has been the subject of numerous studies, the impact of repetitive sequences on sex chromosome architecture is not fully understood. New genomic approaches
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In contrast to animals, separate sexes and sex chromosomes in plants are very rare. Although the evolution of sex chromosomes has been the subject of numerous studies, the impact of repetitive sequences on sex chromosome architecture is not fully understood. New genomic approaches shed light on the role of satellites and transposable elements in the process of Y chromosome evolution. We discuss the impact of repetitive sequences on the structure and dynamics of sex chromosomes with specific focus on Rumex acetosa and Silene latifolia. Recent papers showed that both the expansion and shrinkage of the Y chromosome is influenced by sex-specific regulation of repetitive DNA spread. We present a view that the dynamics of Y chromosome formation is an interplay of genetic and epigenetic processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview Amphibian and Avian Karyotype Evolution: Insights from Lampbrush Chromosome Studies
Genes 2017, 8(11), 311; doi:10.3390/genes8110311
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 29 October 2017 / Accepted: 31 October 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
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Abstract
Amphibian and bird karyotypes typically have a complex organization, which makes them difficult for standard cytogenetic analysis. That is, amphibian chromosomes are generally large, enriched with repetitive elements, and characterized by the absence of informative banding patterns. The majority of avian karyotypes comprise
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Amphibian and bird karyotypes typically have a complex organization, which makes them difficult for standard cytogenetic analysis. That is, amphibian chromosomes are generally large, enriched with repetitive elements, and characterized by the absence of informative banding patterns. The majority of avian karyotypes comprise a small number of relatively large macrochromosomes and numerous tiny morphologically undistinguishable microchromosomes. A good progress in investigation of amphibian and avian chromosome evolution became possible with the usage of giant lampbrush chromosomes typical for growing oocytes. Due to the giant size, peculiarities of organization and enrichment with cytological markers, lampbrush chromosomes can serve as an opportune model for comprehensive high-resolution cytogenetic and cytological investigations. Here, we review the main findings on chromosome evolution in amphibians and birds that were obtained using lampbrush chromosomes. In particular, we discuss the data on evolutionary chromosomal rearrangements, accumulation of polymorphisms, evolution of sex chromosomes as well as chromosomal changes during clonal reproduction of interspecies hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview The Small and the Dead: A Review of Ancient DNA Studies Analysing Micromammal Species
Genes 2017, 8(11), 312; doi:10.3390/genes8110312
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 8 November 2017
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Abstract
The field of ancient DNA (aDNA) has recently been in a state of exponential growth, largely driven by the uptake of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques. Much of this work has focused on the mammalian megafauna and ancient humans, with comparatively less studies
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The field of ancient DNA (aDNA) has recently been in a state of exponential growth, largely driven by the uptake of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques. Much of this work has focused on the mammalian megafauna and ancient humans, with comparatively less studies looking at micromammal fauna, despite the potential of these species in testing evolutionary, environmental and taxonomic theories. Several factors make micromammal fauna ideally suited for aDNA extraction and sequencing. Micromammal subfossil assemblages often include the large number of individuals appropriate for population level analyses, and, furthermore, the assemblages are frequently found in cave sites where the constant temperature and sheltered environment provide favourable conditions for DNA preservation. This review looks at studies that include the use of aDNA in molecular analysis of micromammal fauna, in order to examine the wide array of questions that can be answered in the study of small mammals using new palaeogenetic techniques. This study highlights the bias in current aDNA studies and assesses the future use of aDNA as a tool for the study of micromammal fauna. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
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Open AccessReview Impact of Lateral Transfers on the Genomes of Lepidoptera
Genes 2017, 8(11), 315; doi:10.3390/genes8110315
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 1 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Transfer of DNA sequences between species regardless of their evolutionary distance is very common in bacteria, but evidence that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) also occurs in multicellular organisms has been accumulating in the past few years. The actual extent of this phenomenon is
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Transfer of DNA sequences between species regardless of their evolutionary distance is very common in bacteria, but evidence that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) also occurs in multicellular organisms has been accumulating in the past few years. The actual extent of this phenomenon is underestimated due to frequent sequence filtering of “alien” DNA before genome assembly. However, recent studies based on genome sequencing have revealed, and experimentally verified, the presence of foreign DNA sequences in the genetic material of several species of Lepidoptera. Large DNA viruses, such as baculoviruses and the symbiotic viruses of parasitic wasps (bracoviruses), have the potential to mediate these transfers in Lepidoptera. In particular, using ultra-deep sequencing, newly integrated transposons have been identified within baculovirus genomes. Bacterial genes have also been acquired by genomes of Lepidoptera, as in other insects and nematodes. In addition, insertions of bracovirus sequences were present in the genomes of certain moth and butterfly lineages, that were likely corresponding to rearrangements of ancient integrations. The viral genes present in these sequences, sometimes of hymenopteran origin, have been co-opted by lepidopteran species to confer some protection against pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horizontal Gene Transfer)
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Open AccessReview Genome and Epigenome Surveillance Processes Underlying UV Exposure in Plants
Genes 2017, 8(11), 316; doi:10.3390/genes8110316
Received: 20 October 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Land plants and other photosynthetic organisms (algae, bacteria) use the beneficial effect of sunlight as a source of energy for the photosynthesis and as a major source of information from the environment. However, the ultraviolet component of sunlight also produces several types of
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Land plants and other photosynthetic organisms (algae, bacteria) use the beneficial effect of sunlight as a source of energy for the photosynthesis and as a major source of information from the environment. However, the ultraviolet component of sunlight also produces several types of damage, which can affect cellular and integrity, interfering with growth and development. In order to reduce the deleterious effects of UV, photosynthetic organisms combine physiological adaptation and several types of DNA repair pathways to avoid dramatic changes in the structure. Therefore, plants may have obtained an evolutionary benefit from combining genome and surveillance processes, to efficiently deal with the deleterious effects of UV radiation. This review will present the different mechanisms activated upon UV exposure that contribute to maintain genome and integrity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Damage Responses in Plants)
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