SciCombinator

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Journal: Functional & integrative genomics

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Since the first two complete bacterial genome sequences were published in 1995, the science of bacteria has dramatically changed. Using third-generation DNA sequencing, it is possible to completely sequence a bacterial genome in a few hours and identify some types of methylation sites along the genome as well. Sequencing of bacterial genome sequences is now a standard procedure, and the information from tens of thousands of bacterial genomes has had a major impact on our views of the bacterial world. In this review, we explore a series of questions to highlight some insights that comparative genomics has produced. To date, there are genome sequences available from 50 different bacterial phyla and 11 different archaeal phyla. However, the distribution is quite skewed towards a few phyla that contain model organisms. But the breadth is continuing to improve, with projects dedicated to filling in less characterized taxonomic groups. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas system provides bacteria with immunity against viruses, which outnumber bacteria by tenfold. How fast can we go? Second-generation sequencing has produced a large number of draft genomes (close to 90 % of bacterial genomes in GenBank are currently not complete); third-generation sequencing can potentially produce a finished genome in a few hours, and at the same time provide methlylation sites along the entire chromosome. The diversity of bacterial communities is extensive as is evident from the genome sequences available from 50 different bacterial phyla and 11 different archaeal phyla. Genome sequencing can help in classifying an organism, and in the case where multiple genomes of the same species are available, it is possible to calculate the pan- and core genomes; comparison of more than 2000 Escherichia coli genomes finds an E. coli core genome of about 3100 gene families and a total of about 89,000 different gene families. Why do we care about bacterial genome sequencing? There are many practical applications, such as genome-scale metabolic modeling, biosurveillance, bioforensics, and infectious disease epidemiology. In the near future, high-throughput sequencing of patient metagenomic samples could revolutionize medicine in terms of speed and accuracy of finding pathogens and knowing how to treat them.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Organism, Virus, Genome, Escherichia coli

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The homeobox gene family, a large family represented by transcription factors, has been implicated in secondary growth, early embryo patterning, and hormone response pathways in plants. However, reports about the information and evolutionary history of the homeobox gene family in carrot are limited. In the present study, a total of 130 homeobox family genes were identified in the carrot genome. Specific codomain and phylogenetic analyses revealed that the genes were classified into 14 subgroups. Whole genome and proximal duplication participated in the homeobox gene family expansion in carrot. Purifying selection also contributed to the evolution of carrot homeobox genes. In Gene Ontology (GO) analysis, most members of the HD-ZIP III and IV subfamilies were found to have a lipid binding (GO:0008289) term. Most HD-ZIP III and IV genes also harbored a steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid transfer (START) domain. These results suggested that the HD-ZIP III and IV subfamilies might be related to lipid transfer. Transcriptome and quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) data indicated that members of the WOX and KNOX subfamilies were likely implicated in carrot root development. Our study provided a useful basis for further studies on the complexity and function of the homeobox gene family in carrot.

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Low temperature is a major factor limiting rice growth and yield, and seedling is one of the developmental stages at which sensitivity to chilling stress is higher. Tolerance to chilling is a complex quantitative trait, so one of the most effective approaches to identify genes and pathways involved is to compare the stress-induced expression changes between tolerant and sensitive genotypes. Phenotypic responses to chilling of 13 Japonica cultivars were evaluated, and Thaibonnet and Volano were selected as sensitive and tolerant genotypes, respectively. To thoroughly profile the short-term response of the two cultivars to chilling, RNA-Seq was performed on Thaibonnet and Volano seedlings after 0 (not stressed), 2, and 10 h at 10 °C. Differential expression analysis revealed that the ICE-DREB1/CBF pathway plays a primary role in chilling tolerance, mainly due to some important transcription factors involved (some of which had never been reported before). Moreover, the expression trends of some genes that were radically different between Thaibonnet and Volano (i.e., calcium-dependent protein kinases OsCDPK21 and OsCDPK23, cytochrome P450 monooxygenase CYP76M8, etc.) suggest their involvement in low temperature tolerance too. Density of differentially expressed genes along rice genome was determined and linked to the position of known QTLs: remarkable co-locations were reported, delivering an overview of genomic regions determinant for low temperature response at seedling stage. Our study contributes to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying rice response to chilling and provides a solid background for development of low temperature-tolerant germplasm.

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Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) is one of the most important root crops in the world. Initial formation and development of storage roots (SRs) are key factors affecting its yields. In order to study the molecular mechanism and regulatory networks of the SRs development process, we have analyzed root transcriptomes between the high and low starch content sweet potato accessions at three different developmental stages. In this study, we assembled 46,840 unigenes using Illumina paired-end sequencing reads and identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between two accessions. The numbers of DEGs were increased with the development of SRs, indicating that the difference between two accessions is enlarging with the maturation. DEGs were mainly enriched in starch biosynthesis, plant hormones regulatory, and genetic information processing pathways. Then, expression patterns of DEGs that are most significant and starch biosynthesis related were validated using qRT-PCR. Our results provide valuable resources to future study on molecular mechanisms of SRs development and candidate genes for starch content improvement in sweet potato.

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Biochemical tests are traditionally used for bacterial identification at the species level in clinical microbiology laboratories. While biochemical profiles are generally efficient for the identification of the most important corynebacterial pathogen Corynebacterium diphtheriae, their ability to differentiate between biovars of this bacterium is still controversial. Besides, the unambiguous identification of emerging human pathogenic species of the genus Corynebacterium may be hampered by highly variable biochemical profiles commonly reported for these species, including Corynebacterium striatum, Corynebacterium amycolatum, Corynebacterium minutissimum, and Corynebacterium xerosis. In order to identify the genomic basis contributing for the biochemical variabilities observed in phenotypic identification methods of these bacteria, we combined a comprehensive literature review with a bioinformatics approach based on reconstruction of six specific biochemical reactions/pathways in 33 recently released whole genome sequences. We used data retrieved from curated databases (MetaCyc, PathoSystems Resource Integration Center (PATRIC), The SEED, TransportDB, UniProtKB) associated with homology searches by BLAST and profile Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) to detect enzymes participating in the various pathways and performed ab initio protein structure modeling and molecular docking to confirm specific results. We found a differential distribution among the various strains of genes that code for some important enzymes, such as beta-phosphoglucomutase and fructokinase, and also for individual components of carbohydrate transport systems, including the fructose-specific phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent sugar phosphotransferase (PTS) and the ribose-specific ATP-binging cassette (ABC) transporter. Horizontal gene transfer plays a role in the biochemical variability of the isolates, as some genes needed for sucrose fermentation were seen to be present in genomic islands. Noteworthy, using profile HMMs, we identified an enzyme with putative alpha-1,6-glycosidase activity only in some specific strains of C. diphtheriae and this may aid to understanding of the differential abilities to utilize glycogen and starch between the biovars.

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Leaf veins play a critical role in resource supplication and photosynthate translocation; thus, it is considered as an important agricultural trait for crop breeding. The rice minor veins are parallelly grown along all the parts of the leaf from base to tip. To understand the process of minor vein development, anatomy analysis was performed to reveal the initiation and development of minor veins in rice leaf. The frequency of minor vein initiation follows a decreased tendency from leaf base to tip. An iTRAQ-based proteomics analysis was performed in rice leaf sections. Photosynthesis- and carbon fixation-related proteins accumulated a high level in the middle part of leaves. Furthermore, marker proteins involved in sucrose degradation and starch synthesis were accumulated into initiation and mature parts of minor veins, respectively. It suggests a different source-sink activity in the initiation and mature parts of minor veins in terms of photosynthate translocation. The identified proteins are candidate markers for small vein initiation in rice leaves.

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Annexins are multifunctional proteins with roles in plant development and alleviation of stress tolerance. In the present communication, we report on the effect of heterologous expression of Brassica juncea annexin, AnnBj2 in tobacco. Transgenic tobacco plants expressing AnnBj2 exhibited salt-tolerant and abscisic acid (ABA)-insensitive phenotype at the seedling stage. Biochemical analysis showed that AnnBj2 transgenic plants retained higher chlorophyll and proline content, and lower malondialdehyde (MDA) levels compared to the null line under salt stress. They exhibited better water retention capacity compared to the null segregant (NS) line. AnnBj2 overexpression altered the transcript levels of several stress-related marker genes involved in reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging and abiotic stress signaling. Taken together, these results suggest a positive role for AnnBj2 in salt stress response upon heterologous expression in tobacco.

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Copy number variation (CNV) of DNA sequences, functionally significant but yet fully ascertained, is believed to confer considerable increments in unexplained heritability of quantitative traits. Identification of phenotype-associated CNVs (paCNVs) therefore is a pressing need in CNV studies to speed up their exploitation in cattle breeding programs. Here, we provided a new avenue to achieve this goal that is to project the published CNV data onto meta-quantitative trait loci (meta-QTL) map which connects causal genes with phenotypes. Any CNVs overlapping meta-QTL therefore will be potential paCNVs. This study reported potential paCNVs in Bos taurus autosome 3 (BTA3). Notably, overview indexes and CNVs both highlighted a narrower region (BTA3 54,500,000-55,000,000 bp, named BTA3_INQTL_6) within one constructed meta-QTL. Then, we ascertained guanylate-binding protein 4 (GBP4) among the nine positional candidate genes was significantly associated with adult cattle stature, including body weight (BW, P < 0.05) and withers height (WHT, P < 0.05), fitting GBP4 CNV either with three levels or with six levels in the model. Although higher copy number downregulated the mRNA levels of GBP2 (P < 0.05) and GBP4 (P < 0.05) in 1-Mb window (54.0-55.0 Mb) in muscle and adipose, additional analyses will be needed to clarify the causality behind the ascertained association.

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One of the main challenges in elimination of oil contamination from polluted environments is improvement of biodegradation by highly efficient microorganisms. Bacillus subtilis MJ01 has been evaluated as a new resource for producing biosurfactant compounds. This bacterium, which produces surfactin, is able to enhance bio-accessibility to oil hydrocarbons in contaminated soils. The genome of B. subtilis MJ01 was sequenced and assembled by PacBio RS sequencing technology. One big contig with a length of 4,108,293 bp without any gap was assembled. Genome annotation and prediction of gene showed that MJ01 genome is very similar to B. subtilis spizizenii TU-B-10 (95% similarity). The comparison and analysis of orthologous genes carried out between B. subtilis MJ01, reference strain B. subtilis subsp. subtilis str. 168, and close relative spizizenii TU-B-10 by microscope platform and various bioinformatics tools. More than 88% of 4269 predicted coding sequences in MJ01 had at least one similar sequence in genome of reference strain and spizizenii TU-B-10. Despite this high similarity, some differences were detected among encoding sequences of non-ribosome protein and bacteriocins in MJ01 and spizizenii TU-B-10. MJ01 has unique nucleotide sequences and a novel predicted lasso-peptide bacteriocin; it also has not any similar nucleotide sequence in non-redundant nucleotide data base.

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Rhizoctonia solani causes rice sheath blight, an important disease affecting the growth of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Attempts to control the disease have met with little success. Based on transcriptional profiling, we previously identified more than 11,947 common differentially expressed genes (TPM > 10) between the rice genotypes TeQing and Lemont. In the current study, we extended these findings by focusing on an analysis of gene co-expression in response to R. solani AG1 IA and identified gene modules within the networks through weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). We compared the different genes assigned to each module and the biological interpretations of gene co-expression networks at early and later modules in the two rice genotypes to reveal differential responses to AG1 IA. Our results show that different changes occurred in the two rice genotypes and that the modules in the two groups contain a number of candidate genes possibly involved in pathogenesis, such as the VQ protein. Furthermore, these gene co-expression networks provide comprehensive transcriptional information regarding gene expression in rice in response to AG1 IA. The co-expression networks derived from our data offer ideas for follow-up experimentation that will help advance our understanding of the translational regulation of rice gene expression changes in response to AG1 IA.