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Genes, Volume 8, Issue 7 (July 2017)

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Cover Story Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a group of disorders leading to degeneration of the eye’s retina, is [...] Read more.
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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Special Issue Introduction: Role of Epigenetic Gene Regulation in Brain Function
Genes 2017, 8(7), 181; doi:10.3390/genes8070181
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
In 1957, Conrad H. Waddington published a paper in which he demonstrated the inheritance of an acquired characteristic in a population in response to an environmental stimulus [1].[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Epigenetic Gene Regulation in Brain Function)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Mutations in the Genes for Interphotoreceptor Matrix Proteoglycans, IMPG1 and IMPG2, in Patients with Vitelliform Macular Lesions
Genes 2017, 8(7), 170; doi:10.3390/genes8070170
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 20 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 23 June 2017
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Abstract
A significant portion of patients diagnosed with vitelliform macular dystrophy (VMD) do not carry causative mutations in the classic VMD genes BEST1 or PRPH2. We therefore performed a mutational screen in a cohort of 106 BEST1/PRPH2-negative VMD patients in two genes
[...] Read more.
A significant portion of patients diagnosed with vitelliform macular dystrophy (VMD) do not carry causative mutations in the classic VMD genes BEST1 or PRPH2. We therefore performed a mutational screen in a cohort of 106 BEST1/PRPH2-negative VMD patients in two genes encoding secreted interphotoreceptor matrix proteoglycans-1 and -2 (IMPG1 and IMPG2). We identified two novel mutations in IMPG1 in two simplex VMD cases with disease onset in their early childhood, a heterozygous p.(Leu238Pro) missense mutation and a homozygous c.807 + 5G > A splice site mutation. The latter induced partial skipping of exon 7 of IMPG1 in an in vitro splicing assay. Furthermore, we found heterozygous mutations including three stop [p.(Glu226*), p.(Ser522*), p.(Gln856*)] and five missense mutations [p.(Ala243Pro), p.(Gly1008Asp), p.(Phe1016Ser), p.(Tyr1042Cys), p.(Cys1077Phe)] in the IMPG2 gene, one of them, p.(Cys1077Phe), previously associated with VMD. Asymptomatic carriers of the p.(Ala243Pro) and p.(Cys1077Phe) mutations show subtle foveal irregularities that could characterize a subclinical stage of disease. Taken together, our results provide further evidence for an involvement of dominant and recessive mutations in IMPG1 and IMPG2 in VMD pathology. There is a remarkable similarity in the clinical appearance of mutation carriers, presenting with bilateral, central, dome-shaped foveal accumulation of yellowish material with preserved integrity of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Clinical symptoms tend to be more severe for IMPG1 mutations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Identification, Characterization and Expression Profiling of Stress-Related Genes in Easter Lily (Lilium formolongi)
Genes 2017, 8(7), 172; doi:10.3390/genes8070172
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
Biotic and abiotic stresses are the major causes of crop loss in lily worldwide. In this study, we retrieved 12 defense-related expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the NCBI database and cloned, characterized, and established seven of these genes as stress-induced genes in Lilium
[...] Read more.
Biotic and abiotic stresses are the major causes of crop loss in lily worldwide. In this study, we retrieved 12 defense-related expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the NCBI database and cloned, characterized, and established seven of these genes as stress-induced genes in Lilium formolongi. Using rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR (RACE-PCR), we successfully cloned seven full-length mRNA sequences from L. formolongi line Sinnapal lily. Based on the presence of highly conserved characteristic domains and phylogenetic analysis using reference protein sequences, we provided new nomenclature for the seven nucleotide and protein sequences and submitted them to GenBank. The real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) relative expression analysis of these seven genes, including LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfUb, LfCyt-b5, and LfRab, demonstrated that they were differentially expressed in all organs examined, possibly indicating functional redundancy. We also investigated the qPCR relative expression levels under two biotic and four abiotic stress conditions. All seven genes were induced by Botrytis cinerea treatment, and all genes except LfHsp70-3 and LfHsp90 were induced by Botrytis elliptica treatment; these genes might be associated with disease tolerance mechanisms in L. formolongi. In addition, LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfUb, and LfCyt-b5 were induced by heat treatment, LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, and LfCyt-b5 were induced by cold treatment, and LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfCy-b5, and LfRab were induced by drought and salt stress, indicating their likely association with tolerance to these stress conditions. The stress-induced candidate genes identified in this study provide a basis for further functional analysis and the development of stress-resistant L. formolongi cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessArticle Bacillus amyloliquefaciens SAY09 Increases Cadmium Resistance in Plants by Activation of Auxin-Mediated Signaling Pathways
Genes 2017, 8(7), 173; doi:10.3390/genes8070173
Received: 11 May 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
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Abstract
Without physical contact with plants, certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to regulate nutrient acquisition and induce systemic immunity in plants. However, whether the PGPR-emitted VOCs can induce cadmium (Cd) tolerance of plants and the underlying mechanisms remain
[...] Read more.
Without physical contact with plants, certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to regulate nutrient acquisition and induce systemic immunity in plants. However, whether the PGPR-emitted VOCs can induce cadmium (Cd) tolerance of plants and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, we probed the effects of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (strain SAY09)-emitted VOCs on the growth of Arabidopsis plants under Cd stress. SAY09 exposure alleviates Cd toxicity in plants with increased auxin biosynthesis. RNA-Seq analyses revealed that SAY09 exposure provoked iron (Fe) uptake- and cell wall-associated pathways in the Cd-treated plants. However, SAY09 exposure failed to increase Cd resistance of plants after treatment with 1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) or 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (c-PTIO). Under Cd stress, SAY09 exposure markedly promoted Fe absorption in plants with the increased hemicellulose 1 (HC1) content and Cd deposition in root cell wall, whereas these effects were almost abrogated by treatment with NPA or c-PTIO. Moreover, exogenous NPA remarkably repressed the accumulation of nitric oxide (NO) in the SAY09-exposed roots under Cd stress. Taken together, the findings indicated that NO acted as downstream signals of SAY09-induced auxin to regulate Fe acquisition and augment Cd fixation in roots, thereby ameliorating Cd toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Regulation of Abiotic Stress Responses)
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Open AccessCommunication Development and Evaluation of a Novel Set of EST-SSR Markers Based on Transcriptome Sequences of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.)
Genes 2017, 8(7), 177; doi:10.3390/genes8070177
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L. of the family Fabaceae) is an ecologically and economically important deciduous tree. However, few genomic resources are available for this forest species, and few effective expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers have been developed to
[...] Read more.
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L. of the family Fabaceae) is an ecologically and economically important deciduous tree. However, few genomic resources are available for this forest species, and few effective expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers have been developed to date. In this study, paired-end sequencing was used to sequence transcriptomes of R. pseudoacacia by the Illumina HiSeq TM2000 platform, and EST-SSR loci were identified by de novo assembly. Furthermore, a total of 1697 primer pairs were successfully designed, from which 286 primers met the selection screening criteria; 94 pairs were randomly selected and tested for validation using polymerase chain reaction amplification. Forty-five primers were verified as polymorphic, with clear bands. The polymorphism information content values were 0.033–0.765, the number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 10, and the observed and expected heterozygosities were 0.000–0.931 and 0.035–0.810, respectively, indicating a high level of informativeness. Subsequently, 45 polymorphic EST-SSR loci were tested for amplification efficiency, using the verified primers, in an additional nine species of Leguminosae, 23 loci were amplified in more than three species, of which two loci were amplified successfully in all species. These EST-SSR markers provide a valuable tool for investigating the genetic diversity and population structure of R. pseudoacacia, constructing a DNA fingerprint database, performing quantitative trait locus mapping, and preserving genetic information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
Open AccessArticle EYS Mutations Causing Autosomal Recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa: Changes of Retinal Structure and Function with Disease Progression
Genes 2017, 8(7), 178; doi:10.3390/genes8070178
Received: 6 May 2017 / Revised: 6 July 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
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Abstract
Mutations in the EYS (eyes shut homolog) gene are a common cause of autosomal recessive (ar) retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Without a mammalian model of human EYS disease, there is limited understanding of details of disease expression and rates of progression of the retinal
[...] Read more.
Mutations in the EYS (eyes shut homolog) gene are a common cause of autosomal recessive (ar) retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Without a mammalian model of human EYS disease, there is limited understanding of details of disease expression and rates of progression of the retinal degeneration. We studied clinically and with chromatic static perimetry, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), and en face autofluoresence imaging, a cohort of 15 patients (ages 12–51 at first visit), some of whom had longitudinal data of function and structure. Rod sensitivity was able to be measured by chromatic perimetry in most patients at their earliest visits and some patients retained patchy rod function into the fifth decade of life. As expected from RP, cone sensitivity persisted after rod function was no longer measurable. The photoreceptor nuclear layer of the central retina was abnormal except at the fovea in most patients at first visit. Perifoveal disease measured over a period of years indicated that photoreceptor structural loss was followed by dysmorphology of the inner retina and loss of retinal pigment epithelial integrity. Although there could be variability in severity, preliminary analyses of the rates of vision loss suggested that EYS is a more rapidly progressive disease than other ciliopathies causing arRP, such as USH2A and MAK. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Overexpression of the OsIMP Gene Increases the Accumulation of Inositol and Confers Enhanced Cold Tolerance in Tobacco through Modulation of the Antioxidant Enzymes’ Activities
Genes 2017, 8(7), 179; doi:10.3390/genes8070179
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
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Abstract
Inositol is a cyclic polyol that is involved in various physiological processes, including signal transduction and stress adaptation in plants. l-myo-inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) is one of the metal-dependent phosphatase family members and catalyzes the last reaction step of biosynthesis of
[...] Read more.
Inositol is a cyclic polyol that is involved in various physiological processes, including signal transduction and stress adaptation in plants. l-myo-inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) is one of the metal-dependent phosphatase family members and catalyzes the last reaction step of biosynthesis of inositol. Although increased IMPase activity induced by abiotic stress has been reported in chickpea plants, the role and regulation of the IMP gene in rice (Oryza sativa L.) remains poorly understood. In the present work, we obtained a full-length cDNA sequence coding IMPase in the cold tolerant rice landraces in Gaogonggui, which is named as OsIMP. Multiple alignment results have displayed that this sequence has characteristic signature motifs and conserved enzyme active sites of the phosphatase super family. Phylogenetic analysis showed that IMPase is most closely related to that of the wild rice Oryza brachyantha, while transcript analysis revealed that the expression of the OsIMP is significantly induced by cold stress and exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Meanwhile, we cloned the 5’ flanking promoter sequence of the OsIMP gene and identified several important cis-acting elements, such as LTR (low-temperature responsiveness), TCA-element (salicylic acid responsiveness), ABRE-element (abscisic acid responsiveness), GARE-motif (gibberellin responsive), MBS (MYB Binding Site) and other cis-acting elements related to defense and stress responsiveness. To further investigate the potential function of the OsIMP gene, we generated transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing the OsIMP gene and the cold tolerance test indicated that these transgenic tobacco plants exhibit improved cold tolerance. Furthermore, transgenic tobacco plants have a lower level of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA), and a higher content of total chlorophyll as well as increased antioxidant enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD), when compared to wild type (WT) tobacco plants under normal and cold stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessCommunication Evolutionary Origins of Cancer Driver Genes and Implications for Cancer Prognosis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 182; doi:10.3390/genes8070182
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
The cancer atavistic theory suggests that carcinogenesis is a reverse evolution process. It is thus of great interest to explore the evolutionary origins of cancer driver genes and the relevant mechanisms underlying the carcinogenesis. Moreover, the evolutionary features of cancer driver genes could
[...] Read more.
The cancer atavistic theory suggests that carcinogenesis is a reverse evolution process. It is thus of great interest to explore the evolutionary origins of cancer driver genes and the relevant mechanisms underlying the carcinogenesis. Moreover, the evolutionary features of cancer driver genes could be helpful in selecting cancer biomarkers from high-throughput data. In this study, through analyzing the cancer endogenous molecular networks, we revealed that the subnetwork originating from eukaryota could control the unlimited proliferation of cancer cells, and the subnetwork originating from eumetazoa could recapitulate the other hallmarks of cancer. In addition, investigations based on multiple datasets revealed that cancer driver genes were enriched in genes originating from eukaryota, opisthokonta, and eumetazoa. These results have important implications for enhancing the robustness of cancer prognosis models through selecting the gene signatures by the gene age information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrative Genomics and Systems Medicine in Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle Genetic Contribution to Alcohol Dependence: Investigation of a Heterogeneous German Sample of Individuals with Alcohol Dependence, Chronic Alcoholic Pancreatitis, and Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 183; doi:10.3390/genes8070183
Received: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Abstract
The present study investigated the genetic contribution to alcohol dependence (AD) using genome-wide association data from three German samples. These comprised patients with: (i) AD; (ii) chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (ACP); and (iii) alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses were
[...] Read more.
The present study investigated the genetic contribution to alcohol dependence (AD) using genome-wide association data from three German samples. These comprised patients with: (i) AD; (ii) chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (ACP); and (iii) alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses were conducted. A significant association was detected for the ADH1B locus in a gene-based approach (puncorrected = 1.2 × 10−6; pcorrected = 0.020). This was driven by the AD subsample. No association with ADH1B was found in the combined ACP + ALC sample. On first inspection, this seems surprising, since ADH1B is a robustly replicated risk gene for AD and may therefore be expected to be associated also with subgroups of AD patients. The negative finding in the ACP + ALC sample, however, may reflect genetic stratification as well as random fluctuation of allele frequencies in the cases and controls, demonstrating the importance of large samples in which the phenotype is well assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genetics and Genomics)
Open AccessArticle Cloning and Characterization of ThSHRs and ThSCR Transcription Factors in Taxodium Hybrid ‘Zhongshanshan 406’
Genes 2017, 8(7), 185; doi:10.3390/genes8070185
Received: 27 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
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Abstract
Among the GRAS family of transcription factors, SHORT ROOT (SHR) and SCARECROW (SCR) are key regulators of the formation of root tissues. In this study, we isolated and characterized two genes encoding SHR proteins and one gene encoding an SCR protein: ThSHR1 (Accession
[...] Read more.
Among the GRAS family of transcription factors, SHORT ROOT (SHR) and SCARECROW (SCR) are key regulators of the formation of root tissues. In this study, we isolated and characterized two genes encoding SHR proteins and one gene encoding an SCR protein: ThSHR1 (Accession Number MF045148), ThSHR2 (Accession Number MF045149) and ThSCR (Accession Number MF045152) in the adventitious roots of Taxodium hybrid ‘Zhongshanshan’. Gene structure analysis indicated that ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR are all intron free. Multiple protein sequence alignments showed that each of the corresponding proteins, ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR, contained five well-conserved domains: leucine heptad repeat I (LHRI), the VHIID motif, leucine heptad repeat II (LHR II), the PFYRE motif, and the SAW motif. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that ThSCR was positioned in the SCR clade with the SCR proteins from eight other species, while ThSHR1 and ThSHR2 were positioned in the SHR clade with the SHR proteins from six other species. Temporal expression patterns of these genes were profiled during the process of adventitious root development on stem cuttings. Whereas expression of both ThSHR2 and ThSCR increased up to primary root formation before declining, that of ThSHR1 increased steadily throughout adventitious root formation. Subcellular localization studies in transgenic poplar protoplasts revealed that ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR were localized in the nucleus. Collectively, these results suggest that the three genes encode Taxodium GRAS family transcription factors, and the findings contribute to improving our understanding of the expression and function of SHR and SCR during adventitious root production, which may then be manipulated to achieve high rates of asexual propagation of valuable tree species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Boron Tolerance in Aspergillus nidulans Is Sustained by the SltA Pathway Through the SLC-Family Transporters SbtA and SbtB
Genes 2017, 8(7), 188; doi:10.3390/genes8070188
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
Microbial cells interact with the environment by adapting to external changes. Signal transduction pathways participate in both sensing and responding in the form of modification of gene expression patterns, enabling cell survival. The filamentous fungal-specific SltA pathway regulates tolerance to alkalinity, elevated cation
[...] Read more.
Microbial cells interact with the environment by adapting to external changes. Signal transduction pathways participate in both sensing and responding in the form of modification of gene expression patterns, enabling cell survival. The filamentous fungal-specific SltA pathway regulates tolerance to alkalinity, elevated cation concentrations and, as shown in this work, also stress conditions induced by borates. Growth of sltA mutants is inhibited by increasing millimolar concentrations of boric acid or borax (sodium tetraborate). In an attempt to identify genes required for boron-stress response, we determined the boric acid or borax-dependent expression of sbtA and sbtB, orthologs of Saccharomyces cerevisiae bor1, and a reduction in their transcript levels in a ΔsltA mutant. Deletion of sbtA, but mainly that of sbtB, decreased the tolerance to boric acid or borax. In contrast, null mutants of genes coding for additional transporters of the Solute Carrier (SLC) family, sB, sbtD or sbtE, showed an unaltered growth pattern under the same stress conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that the SltA pathway induces, through SbtA and SbtB, the export of toxic concentrations of borates, which have largely recognized antimicrobial properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Developmental Expression of HSP60 and HSP10 in the Coilia nasus Testis during Upstream Spawning Migration
Genes 2017, 8(7), 189; doi:10.3390/genes8070189
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
Heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and heat shock protein 10 (HSP10) are important chaperones, which have been proven to have essential roles in mediating the correct folding of nuclear encoded proteins imported to mitochondria. Mitochondria are known as the power house of the
[...] Read more.
Heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and heat shock protein 10 (HSP10) are important chaperones, which have been proven to have essential roles in mediating the correct folding of nuclear encoded proteins imported to mitochondria. Mitochondria are known as the power house of the cell, with which it produces energy and respires aerobically. In this regard, the obtained HSP60 and HSP10 have typical characteristics of the HSP60/10 family signature. Their mRNA transcripts detected were highest during the developmental phase (in April), while the lowest levels were found in the resting phase (after spawning in late July). Additionally, the strongest immunolabeling positive signals were found in the primary spermatocyte, with lower positive staining in secondary sperm cells, and a weak or absent level in the mature sperm. At the electron microscopic level, immunogold particles were localized in the mitochondrial matrix. Data indicated that HSP10 and HSP60 were inducible and functional in the Coilia nasus testis development and migration process, suggesting their essential roles in this process. The results also indicated that HSP60 may be one indicator of properly working mitochondrial import and refolding in the fish testis. This study also provides an expanded perspective on the role of heat shock protein families in spawning migration biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Role of Replication-Associated Repair Factors on R-Loops
Genes 2017, 8(7), 171; doi:10.3390/genes8070171
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
The nascent RNA can reinvade the DNA double helix to form a structure termed the R-loop, where a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is accompanied by a DNA-RNA hybrid. Unresolved R-loops can impede transcription and replication processes and lead to genomic instability by a mechanism
[...] Read more.
The nascent RNA can reinvade the DNA double helix to form a structure termed the R-loop, where a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is accompanied by a DNA-RNA hybrid. Unresolved R-loops can impede transcription and replication processes and lead to genomic instability by a mechanism still not fully understood. In this sense, a connection between R-loops and certain chromatin markers has been reported that might play a key role in R-loop homeostasis and genome instability. To counteract the potential harmful effect of R-loops, different conserved messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) biogenesis and nuclear export factors prevent R-loop formation, while ubiquitously-expressed specific ribonucleases and DNA-RNA helicases resolve DNA-RNA hybrids. However, the molecular events associated with R-loop sensing and processing are not yet known. Given that R-loops hinder replication progression, it is plausible that some DNA replication-associated factors contribute to dissolve R-loops or prevent R-loop mediated genome instability. In support of this, R-loops accumulate in cells depleted of the BRCA1, BRCA2 or the Fanconi anemia (FA) DNA repair factors, indicating that they play an active role in R-loop dissolution. In light of these results, we review our current view of the role of replication-associated DNA repair pathways in preventing the harmful consequences of R-loops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue R-loop Biology in Eukaryotes)
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Open AccessReview MYC Modulation around the CDK2/p27/SKP2 Axis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 174; doi:10.3390/genes8070174
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 24 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
MYC is a pleiotropic transcription factor that controls a number of fundamental cellular processes required for the proliferation and survival of normal and malignant cells, including the cell cycle. MYC interacts with several central cell cycle regulators that control the balance between cell
[...] Read more.
MYC is a pleiotropic transcription factor that controls a number of fundamental cellular processes required for the proliferation and survival of normal and malignant cells, including the cell cycle. MYC interacts with several central cell cycle regulators that control the balance between cell cycle progression and temporary or permanent cell cycle arrest (cellular senescence). Among these are the cyclin E/A/cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) complexes, the CDK inhibitor p27KIP1 (p27) and the E3 ubiquitin ligase component S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2), which control each other by forming a triangular network. MYC is engaged in bidirectional crosstalk with each of these players; while MYC regulates their expression and/or activity, these factors in turn modulate MYC through protein interactions and post-translational modifications including phosphorylation and ubiquitylation, impacting on MYC’s transcriptional output on genes involved in cell cycle progression and senescence. Here we elaborate on these network interactions with MYC and their impact on transcription, cell cycle, replication and stress signaling, and on the role of other players interconnected to this network, such as CDK1, the retinoblastoma protein (pRB), protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), the F-box proteins FBXW7 and FBXO28, the RAS oncoprotein and the ubiquitin/proteasome system. Finally, we describe how the MYC/CDK2/p27/SKP2 axis impacts on tumor development and discuss possible ways to interfere therapeutically with this system to improve cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MYC Networks)
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Open AccessReview The Telomeric Complex and Metabolic Disease
Genes 2017, 8(7), 176; doi:10.3390/genes8070176
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 7 July 2017
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Abstract
The attrition of telomeres is believed to be a key event not only in mammalian aging, but also in disturbed nutrient sensing, which could lead to numerous metabolic dysfunctions. The current debate focuses mainly on the question whether telomere shortening, e.g., as a
[...] Read more.
The attrition of telomeres is believed to be a key event not only in mammalian aging, but also in disturbed nutrient sensing, which could lead to numerous metabolic dysfunctions. The current debate focuses mainly on the question whether telomere shortening, e.g., as a heritable trait, may act as a cause or rather represents a consequence of such chronic diseases. This review discusses the damaging events that ultimately may lead or contribute to telomere shortening and can be associated with metabolic diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessReview Novel Substrates as Sources of Ancient DNA: Prospects and Hurdles
Genes 2017, 8(7), 180; doi:10.3390/genes8070180
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 22 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 13 July 2017
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Abstract
Following the discovery in the late 1980s that hard tissues such as bones and teeth preserve genetic information, the field of ancient DNA analysis has typically concentrated upon these substrates. The onset of high-throughput sequencing, combined with optimized DNA recovery methods, has enabled
[...] Read more.
Following the discovery in the late 1980s that hard tissues such as bones and teeth preserve genetic information, the field of ancient DNA analysis has typically concentrated upon these substrates. The onset of high-throughput sequencing, combined with optimized DNA recovery methods, has enabled the analysis of a myriad of ancient species and specimens worldwide, dating back to the Middle Pleistocene. Despite the growing sophistication of analytical techniques, the genetic analysis of substrates other than bone and dentine remain comparatively “novel”. Here, we review analyses of other biological substrates which offer great potential for elucidating phylogenetic relationships, paleoenvironments, and microbial ecosystems including (1) archaeological artifacts and ecofacts; (2) calcified and/or mineralized biological deposits; and (3) biological and cultural archives. We conclude that there is a pressing need for more refined models of DNA preservation and bespoke tools for DNA extraction and analysis to authenticate and maximize the utility of the data obtained. With such tools in place the potential for neglected or underexploited substrates to provide a unique insight into phylogenetics, microbial evolution and evolutionary processes will be realized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
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Open AccessReview Time to Spread Your Wings: A Review of the Avian Ancient DNA Field
Genes 2017, 8(7), 184; doi:10.3390/genes8070184
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 27 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ancient DNA (aDNA) has the ability to inform the evolutionary history of both extant and extinct taxa; however, the use of aDNA in the study of avian evolution is lacking in comparison to other vertebrates, despite birds being one of the most species-rich
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Ancient DNA (aDNA) has the ability to inform the evolutionary history of both extant and extinct taxa; however, the use of aDNA in the study of avian evolution is lacking in comparison to other vertebrates, despite birds being one of the most species-rich vertebrate classes. Here, we review the field of “avian ancient DNA” by summarising the past three decades of literature on this topic. Most studies over this time have used avian aDNA to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and clarify taxonomy based on the sequencing of a few mitochondrial loci, but recent studies are moving toward using a comparative genomics approach to address developmental and functional questions. Applying aDNA analysis with more practical outcomes in mind (such as managing conservation) is another increasingly popular trend among studies that utilise avian aDNA, but the majority of these have yet to influence management policy. We find that while there have been advances in extracting aDNA from a variety of avian substrates including eggshell, feathers, and coprolites, there is a bias in the temporal focus; the majority of the ca. 150 studies reviewed here obtained aDNA from late Holocene (100–1000 yBP) material, with few studies investigating Pleistocene-aged material. In addition, we identify and discuss several other issues within the field that require future attention. With more than one quarter of Holocene bird extinctions occurring in the last several hundred years, it is more important than ever to understand the mechanisms driving the evolution and extinction of bird species through the use of aDNA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Neglected Areas of Ancient DNA Research)
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Open AccessReview Evolutionary Significance of Wolbachia-to-Animal Horizontal Gene Transfer: Female Sex Determination and the f Element in the Isopod Armadillidium vulgare
Genes 2017, 8(7), 186; doi:10.3390/genes8070186
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
An increasing number of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events from bacteria to animals have been reported in the past years, many of which involve Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts and their invertebrate hosts. Most transferred Wolbachia genes are neutrally-evolving fossils embedded in host genomes. A
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An increasing number of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events from bacteria to animals have been reported in the past years, many of which involve Wolbachia bacterial endosymbionts and their invertebrate hosts. Most transferred Wolbachia genes are neutrally-evolving fossils embedded in host genomes. A remarkable case of Wolbachia HGT for which a clear evolutionary significance has been demonstrated is the “f element”, a nuclear Wolbachia insert involved in female sex determination in the terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare. The f element represents an instance of bacteria-to-animal HGT that has occurred so recently that it was possible to infer the donor (feminizing Wolbachia closely related to the wVulC Wolbachia strain of A. vulgare) and the mechanism of integration (a nearly complete genome inserted by micro-homology-mediated recombination). In this review, we summarize our current knowledge of the f element and discuss arising perspectives regarding female sex determination, unstable inheritance, population dynamics and the molecular evolution of the f element. Overall, the f element unifies three major areas in evolutionary biology: symbiosis, HGT and sex determination. Its characterization highlights the tremendous impact sex ratio distorters can have on the evolution of sex determination mechanisms and sex chromosomes in animals and plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horizontal Gene Transfer)
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Open AccessReview Regulation and Modulation of Human DNA Polymerase δ Activity and Function
Genes 2017, 8(7), 190; doi:10.3390/genes8070190
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 24 July 2017
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Abstract
This review focuses on the regulation and modulation of human DNA polymerase δ (Pol δ). The emphasis is on the mechanisms that regulate the activity and properties of Pol δ in DNA repair and replication. The areas covered are the degradation of the
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This review focuses on the regulation and modulation of human DNA polymerase δ (Pol δ). The emphasis is on the mechanisms that regulate the activity and properties of Pol δ in DNA repair and replication. The areas covered are the degradation of the p12 subunit of Pol δ, which converts it from a heterotetramer (Pol δ4) to a heterotrimer (Pol δ3), in response to DNA damage and also during the cell cycle. The biochemical mechanisms that lead to degradation of p12 are reviewed, as well as the properties of Pol δ4 and Pol δ3 that provide insights into their functions in DNA replication and repair. The second focus of the review involves the functions of two Pol δ binding proteins, polymerase delta interaction protein 46 (PDIP46) and polymerase delta interaction protein 38 (PDIP38), both of which are multi-functional proteins. PDIP46 is a novel activator of Pol δ4, and the impact of this function is discussed in relation to its potential roles in DNA replication. Several new models for the roles of Pol δ3 and Pol δ4 in leading and lagging strand DNA synthesis that integrate a role for PDIP46 are presented. PDIP38 has multiple cellular localizations including the mitochondria, the spliceosomes and the nucleus. It has been implicated in a number of cellular functions, including the regulation of specialized DNA polymerases, mitosis, the DNA damage response, mouse double minute 2 homolog (Mdm2) alternative splicing and the regulation of the NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Replication Controls)
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Open AccessCommentary Pre-Replicative Repair of Oxidized Bases Maintains Fidelity in Mammalian Genomes: The Cowcatcher Role of NEIL1 DNA Glycosylase
Genes 2017, 8(7), 175; doi:10.3390/genes8070175
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 24 June 2017 / Published: 30 June 2017
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Abstract
Genomic fidelity in the humans is continuously challenged by genotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated both endogenously during metabolic processes, and by exogenous agents. Mispairing of most ROS-induced oxidized base lesions during DNA replication induces mutations. Although bulky base adducts induced by ultraviolet
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Genomic fidelity in the humans is continuously challenged by genotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated both endogenously during metabolic processes, and by exogenous agents. Mispairing of most ROS-induced oxidized base lesions during DNA replication induces mutations. Although bulky base adducts induced by ultraviolet light and other environmental mutagens block replicative DNA polymerases, most oxidized base lesions do not block DNA synthesis. In 8-oxo-G:A mispairs generated by the incorporation of A opposite unrepaired 8-oxo-G, A is removed by MutYH (MYH) for post-replicative repair, and other oxidized base lesions must be repaired prior to replication in order to prevent mutation fixation. Our earlier studies documented S phase-specific overexpression of endonuclease VIII-like 1 (NEIL1) DNA glycosylase (DG), one of five oxidized base excision repair (BER)-initiating enzymes in mammalian cells, and its high affinity for replication fork-mimicking single-stranded (ss)DNA substrates. We recently provided experimental evidence for the role of NEIL1 in replicating-strand repair, and proposed the “cowcatcher” model of pre-replicative BER, where NEIL1’s nonproductive binding to the lesion base in ssDNA template blocks DNA chain elongation, causing fork regression. Repair of the lesion in the then re-annealed duplex is carried out by NEIL1 in association with the DNA replication proteins. In this commentary, we highlight the critical role of pre-replicative BER in preventing mutagenesis, and discuss the distinction between pre-replicative vs. post-replicative BER. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Replication and Transcription Associated DNA Repair)
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Open AccessCase Report Outcome of Full-Thickness Macular Hole Surgery in Choroideremia
Genes 2017, 8(7), 187; doi:10.3390/genes8070187
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 21 July 2017
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Abstract
The development of a macular hole is relatively common in retinal dystrophies eligible for gene therapy such as choroideremia. However, the subretinal delivery of gene therapy requires an uninterrupted retina to allow dispersion of the viral vector. A macular hole may thus hinder
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The development of a macular hole is relatively common in retinal dystrophies eligible for gene therapy such as choroideremia. However, the subretinal delivery of gene therapy requires an uninterrupted retina to allow dispersion of the viral vector. A macular hole may thus hinder effective gene therapy. Little is known about the outcome of macular hole surgery and its possible beneficial and/or adverse effects on retinal function in patients with choroideremia. We describe a case of a unilateral full-thickness macular hole (FTMH) in a 45year-old choroideremia patient (c.1349_1349+2dup mutation in CHM gene) and its management. Pars plana vitrectomy with internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling and 20% SF6 gas tamponade was performed, and subsequent FTMH closure was confirmed at 4 weeks, 3 months and 5 months postoperatively. No postoperative adverse events occurred, and fixation stability improved on microperimetry from respectively 11% and 44% of fixation points located within a 1° and 2° radius, preoperatively, to 94% and 100% postoperatively. This case underlines that pars plana vitrectomy with ILM peeling and gas tamponade can successfully close a FTMH in choroideremia patients, with subsequent structural and functional improvement. Macular hole closure may be important for patients to be eligible for future submacular gene therapy. Full article
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