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Makarova O.,Free University of Berlin | Rodriguez-Rojas A.,Free University of Berlin | Eravci M.,Free University of Berlin | Weise C.,Free University of Berlin | And 5 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2016

Insects show long-lasting antimicrobial immune responses that follow the initial fast-acting cellular processes. These immune responses are discussed to provide a form of phrophylaxis and/or to serve as a safety measure against persisting infections. The duration and components of such longlasting responses have rarely been studied in detail, a necessary prerequisite to understand their adaptive value. Here, we present a 21 day proteomic time course of the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor immune-challenged with heat-killed Staphylococcus aureus. The most upregulated peptides are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), many of which are still highly abundant 21 days after infection. The identified AMPs included toll and imd-mediated AMPs, a significant number of which have no known function against S. aureus or other Gram-positive bacteria. The proteome reflects the selective arena for bacterial infections. The results also corroborate the notion of synergistic interactions in vivo that are difficult to model in vitro. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Evolutionary ecology of arthropod antimicrobial peptides’. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Yang I.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Yang I.,University of Exeter | John U.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Beszteri S.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | And 6 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2010

Background: The dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum typically produces paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins, which are known only from cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates. While a PSP toxin gene cluster has recently been characterized in cyanobacteria, the genetic background of PSP toxin production in dinoflagellates remains elusive.Results: We constructed and analysed an expressed sequence tag (EST) library of A. minutum, which contained 15,703 read sequences yielding a total of 4,320 unique expressed clusters. Of these clusters, 72% combined the forward-and reverse reads of at least one bacterial clone. This sequence resource was then used to construct an oligonucleotide microarray. We analysed the expression of all clusters in three different strains. While the cyanobacterial PSP toxin genes were not found among the A. minutum sequences, 192 genes were differentially expressed between toxic and non-toxic strains.Conclusions: Based on this study and on the lack of identified PSP synthesis genes in the two existent Alexandrium tamarense EST libraries, we propose that the PSP toxin genes in dinoflagellates might be more different from their cyanobacterial counterparts than would be expected in the case of a recent gene transfer. As a starting point to identify possible PSP toxin-associated genes in dinoflagellates without relying on a priori sequence information, the sequences only present in mRNA pools of the toxic strain can be seen as putative candidates involved in toxin synthesis and regulation, or acclimation to intracellular PSP toxins. © 2010 Yang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Sommer S.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Courtiol A.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Mazzoni C.J.,Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research | Mazzoni C.J.,Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research
BMC Genomics | Year: 2013

Background: The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is the most important genetic marker to study patterns of adaptive genetic variation determining pathogen resistance and associated life history decisions. It is used in many different research fields ranging from human medical, molecular evolutionary to functional biodiversity studies. Correct assessment of the individual allelic diversity pattern and the underlying structural sequence variation is the basic requirement to address the functional importance of MHC variability. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are likely to replace traditional genotyping methods to a great extent in the near future but first empirical studies strongly indicate the need for a rigorous quality control pipeline. Strict approaches for data validation and allele calling to distinguish true alleles from artefacts are required.Results: We developed the analytical methodology and validated a data processing procedure which can be applied to any organism. It allows the separation of true alleles from artefacts and the evaluation of genotyping reliability, which in addition to artefacts considers for the first time the possibility of allelic dropout due to unbalanced amplification efficiencies across alleles. Finally, we developed a method to assess the confidence level per genotype a-posteriori, which helps to decide which alleles and individuals should be included in any further downstream analyses. The latter method could also be used for optimizing experiment designs in the future.Conclusions: Combining our workflow with the study of amplification efficiency offers the chance for researchers to evaluate enormous amounts of NGS-generated data in great detail, improving confidence over the downstream analyses and subsequent applications. © 2013 Sommer et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Jaeckisch N.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Yang I.,Institute For Medizinische Mikrobiologie Und Krankenhaushygiene | Wohlrab S.,Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research | Glockner G.,Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Many dinoflagellate species are notorious for the toxins they produce and ecological and human health consequences associated with harmful algal blooms (HABs). Dinoflagellates are particularly refractory to genomic analysis due to the enormous genome size, lack of knowledge about their DNA composition and structure, and peculiarities of gene regulation, such as spliced leader (SL) trans-splicing and mRNA transposition mechanisms. Alexandrium ostenfeldii is known to produce macrocyclic imine toxins, described as spirolides. We characterized the genome of A. ostenfeldii using a combination of transcriptomic data and random genomic clones for comparison with other dinoflagellates, particularly Alexandrium species. Examination of SL sequences revealed similar features as in other dinoflagellates, including Alexandrium species. SL sequences in decay indicate frequent retro-transposition of mRNA species. This probably contributes to overall genome complexity by generating additional gene copies. Sequencing of several thousand fosmid and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) ends yielded a wealth of simple repeats and tandemly repeated longer sequence stretches which we estimated to comprise more than half of the whole genome. Surprisingly, the repeats comprise a very limited set of 79-97 bp sequences; in part the genome is thus a relatively uniform sequence space interrupted by coding sequences. Our genomic sequence survey (GSS) represents the largest genomic data set of a dinoflagellate to date. Alexandrium ostenfeldii is a typical dinoflagellate with respect to its transcriptome and mRNA transposition but demonstrates Alexandrium-like stop codon usage. The large portion of repetitive sequences and the organization within the genome is in agreement with several other studies on dinoflagellates using different approaches. It remains to be determined whether this unusual composition is directly correlated to the exceptionally genome organization of dinoflagellates with a low amount of histones and histone-like proteins. © 2011 Jaeckisch et al.

Morelli G.,Max Planck Institute For Infektionsbiologie | Morelli G.,Max Planck Institute For Molekulare Genetik | Song Y.,Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology | Song Y.,University College Cork | And 28 more authors.
Nature Genetics | Year: 2010

Plague is a pandemic human invasive disease caused by the bacterial agent Yersinia pestis. We here report a comparison of 17 whole genomes of Y. pestis isolates from global sources. We also screened a global collection of 286 Y. pestis isolates for 933 SNPs using Sequenom MassArray SNP typing. We conducted phylogenetic analyses on this sequence variation dataset, assigned isolates to populations based on maximum parsimony and, from these results, made inferences regarding historical transmission routes. Our phylogenetic analysis suggests that Y. pestis evolved in or near China and spread through multiple radiations to Europe, South America, Africa and Southeast Asia, leading to country-specific lineages that can be traced by lineage-specific SNPs. All 626 current isolates from the United States reflect one radiation, and 82 isolates from Madagascar represent a second radiation. Subsequent local microevolution of Y. pestis is marked by sequential, geographically specific SNPs. © 2010 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

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