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Foerster A.M.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology | Dinh H.Q.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology | Dinh H.Q.,Center for Integrative Bioinformatics Vienna | Sedman L.,Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2011

Analogous to genetically distinct alleles, epialleles represent heritable states of different gene expression from sequence-identical genes. Alleles and epialleles both contribute to phenotypic heterogeneity. While alleles originate from mutation and recombination, the source of epialleles is less well understood. We analyze active and inactive epialleles that were found at a transgenic insert with a selectable marker gene in Arabidopsis. Both converse expression states are stably transmitted to progeny. The silent epiallele was previously shown to change its state upon loss-of-function of trans-acting regulators and drug treatments. We analyzed the composition of the epialleles, their chromatin features, their nuclear localization, transcripts, and homologous small RNA. After mutagenesis by T-DNA transformation of plants carrying the silent epiallele, we found new active alleles. These switches were associated with different, larger or smaller, and non-overlapping deletions or rearrangements in the 3′ regions of the epiallele. These cis-mutations caused different degrees of gene expression stability depending on the nature of the sequence alteration, the consequences for transcription and transcripts, and the resulting chromatin organization upstream. This illustrates a tight dependence of epigenetic regulation on local structures and indicates that sequence alterations can cause epigenetic changes at some distance in regions not directly affected by the mutation. Similar effects may also be involved in gene expression and chromatin changes in the vicinity of transposon insertions or excisions, recombination events, or DNA repair processes and could contribute to the origin of new epialleles. © 2011 Foerster et al.

Loidl J.,University of Vienna | Lukaszewicz A.,University of Vienna | Howard-Till R.A.,University of Vienna | Koestler T.,Center for Integrative Bioinformatics Vienna
Journal of Cell Science | Year: 2012

In order to form crossovers and to undergo reductional segregation during meiosis, homologous chromosomes must pair. In Tetrahymena, meiotic prophase nuclei elongate immensely, and, within the elongated nucleus, chromosomes are arranged with telomeres assembled at one pole and centromeres at the opposite pole. This organisation is an exaggerated form of the bouquet, a meiotic chromosome arrangement that is widely conserved among eukaryotes. We show that centromere function is crucial for the formation of Tetrahymena's stretched bouquet and, thereby, for homologue pairing. This finding adds to previous reports of the importance of centromeres in chromosome pairing in budding yeast and in Drosophila. Tetrahymena's bouquet is an ataxia telangiectasia- and RAD3-related (ATR)-dependent meiotic DNA damage response that is triggered by meiotic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), suggesting that the bouquet is needed for DSB repair. However, in the present study we show that although homologous pairing is impeded in the absence of the bouquet, DSB repair takes place nevertheless. Moreover, recombinational DSB repair, as monitored by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, takes place only after exit from the bouquet stage. Therefore, we conclude that the bouquet is not required for DSB repair per se, but may be necessary for the alignment of homologous loci in order to promote homologous crossovers over alternative repair pathways. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Lorenz R.,University of Vienna | Lorenz R.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Luntzer D.,University of Vienna | Hofacker I.L.,University of Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2015

Summary: Chemical mapping experiments allow for nucleotide resolution assessment of RNA structure. We demonstrate that different strategies of integrating probing data with thermodynamics-based RNA secondary structure prediction algorithms can be implemented by means of soft constraints. This amounts to incorporating suitable pseudo-energies into the standard energy model for RNA secondary structures. As a showcase application for this new feature of the ViennaRNA Package we compare three distinct, previously published strategies to utilize SHAPE reactivities for structure prediction. The new tool is benchmarked on a set of RNAs with known reference structure. Availability and implementation: The capability for SHAPE directed RNA folding is part of the upcoming release of the ViennaRNA Package 2.2, for which a preliminary release is already freely available at http://www.tbi.univie.ac.at/RNA. © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.

Laubach T.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf | von Haeseler A.,Center for Integrative Bioinformatics Vienna | von Haeseler A.,University of Vienna | von Haeseler A.,Medical University of Vienna | Lercher M.J.,Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2012

Background: Figures of phylogenetic trees are widely used to illustrate the result of evolutionary analyses. However, one cannot easily extract a machine-readable representation from such images. Therefore, new software emerges that helps to preserve phylogenies digitally for future research.Results: TreeSnatcher Plus is a GUI-driven JAVA application that semi-automatically generates a Newick format for multifurcating, arbitrarily shaped, phylogenetic trees contained in pixel images. It offers a range of image pre-processing methods and detects the topology of a depicted tree with adequate user assistance. The user supervises the recognition process, makes corrections to the image and to the topology and repeats steps if necessary. At the end TreeSnatcher Plus produces a Newick tree code optionally including branch lengths for rectangular and freeform trees.Conclusions: Although illustrations of phylogenies exist in a vast number of styles, TreeSnatcher Plus imposes no limitations on the images it can process with adequate user assistance. Given that a fully automated digitization of all figures of phylogenetic trees is desirable but currently unrealistic, TreeSnatcher Plus is the only program that reliably facilitates at least a semi-automatic conversion from such figures into a machine-readable format. © 2012 Laubach et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Cyran N.,University of Vienna | Klepal W.,University of Vienna | Stadler Y.,University of Vienna | Schonenberger J.,University of Vienna | And 2 more authors.
Mechanisms of Development | Year: 2015

Epithelial gland systems play an important role in marine molluscs in fabricating lubricants, repellents, fragrances, adhesives or enzymes. In cephalopods the typically single layered epithelium provides a highly dynamic variability and affords a rapid rebuilding of gland cells. While the digestive hatching gland (also named Hoyle organ) is obligatory for most cephalopods, only four genera (. Nautilus, Sepia, Euprymna and Idiosepius) produce adhesive secretions by means of glandular cells in an adhesive area on the mantle or tentacles. In Idiosepius this adhesive organ is restricted to the posterior part of the fin region on the dorsal mantle side and well developed in the adult stage. Two gland cell types could be distinguished, which produce different contents of the adhesive. During the embryonic development the same body area is occupied by the temporary hatching gland. The question arises, in which way the hatching gland degrades and is replaced by the adhesive gland.Ultrastructural analyses as well as computer tomography scans were performed to monitor the successive post hatching transformation in the mantle epithelium from hatching gland degradation to the formation of the adhesive organ. According to our investigations the hatching gland cells degrade within about 1 day after hatching by a type of programmed cell death and leave behind a temporary cellular gap in this area. First glandular cells of the adhesive gland arise 7 days after hatching and proceed evenly over the posterior mantle epithelium. In contrast, the accompanying reduction of a part of the dorsal mantle musculature is already established before hatching. The results demonstrate a distinct independence between the two gland systems and illustrate the early development of the adhesive organ as well as the corresponding modifications within the mantle. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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