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Bourgeois Y.,University of Basel | Roulin A.C.,University of Basel | Roulin A.C.,Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology | Muller K.,University of Basel | Ebert D.,University of Basel
Evolution | Year: 2017

Because parasitism is thought to play a major role in shaping host genomes, it has been predicted that genomic regions associated with resistance to parasites should stand out in genome scans, revealing signals of selection above the genomic background. To test whether parasitism is indeed such a major factor in host evolution and to better understand host–parasite interaction at the molecular level, we studied genome-wide polymorphisms in 97 genotypes of the planktonic crustacean Daphnia magna originating from three localities across Europe. Daphnia magna is known to coevolve with the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa for which host genotypes (clonal lines) are either resistant or susceptible. Using association mapping, we identified two genomic regions involved in resistance to P. ramosa, one of which was already known from a previous QTL analysis. We then performed a naïve genome scan to test for signatures of positive selection and found that the two regions identified with the association mapping further stood out as outliers. Several other regions with evidence for selection were also found, but no link between these regions and phenotypic variation could be established. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that parasitism is driving host genome evolution. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.


Sasaki T.,Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology | Sasaki T.,National Institute of Genetics | Kanno T.,Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology | Liang S.-C.,Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology | And 5 more authors.
Genetics | Year: 2015

Alternative splicing is prevalent in plants, but little is known about its regulation in the context of developmental and signaling pathways. We describe here a newfactor that influences pre-messengerRNA (mRNA) splicing and is essential for embryonic development in Arabidopsis thaliana. This factor was retrieved in a genetic screen that identified mutants impaired in expression of an alternatively spliced GFP reporter gene. In addition to the known spliceosomal component PRP8, the screen recovered Arabidopsis RTF2 (AtRTF2), a previously uncharacterized, evolutionarily conserved protein containing a replication termination factor 2 (Rtf2) domain. A homozygous null mutation in AtRTF2 is embryo lethal, indicating that AtRTF2 is an essential protein. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that impaired expression of GFP in atrtf2 and prp8 mutants is due to inefficient splicing of the GFP pre-mRNA. A genome-wide analysis using RNA sequencing indicated that 13–16% of total introns are retained to a significant degree in atrtf2 mutants. Considering these results and previous suggestions that Rtf2 represents an ubiquitin-related domain, we discuss the possible role of AtRTF2 in ubiquitin-based regulation of pre-mRNA splicing. © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.


Lovell J.T.,University of Texas at Austin | Lovell J.T.,Colorado State University | Mullen J.L.,Colorado State University | Lowry D.B.,Michigan State University | And 6 more authors.
Plant Cell | Year: 2015

Soil water availability represents one of the most important selective agents for plants in nature and the single greatest abiotic determinant of agricultural productivity, yet the genetic bases of drought acclimation responses remain poorly understood. Here, we developed a systems-genetic approach to characterize quantitative trait loci (QTLs), physiological traits and genes that affect responses to soil moisture deficit in the TSUxKAS mapping population of Arabidopsis thaliana. To determine the effects of candidate genes underlying QTLs, we analyzed gene expression as a covariate within the QTL model in an effort to mechanistically link markers, RNA expression, and the phenotype. This strategy produced ranked lists of candidate genes for several drought-associated traits, including water use efficiency, growth, abscisic acid concentration (ABA), and proline concentration. As a proof of concept, we recovered known causal loci for several QTLs. For other traits, including ABA, we identified novel loci not previously associated with drought. Furthermore, we documented natural variation at two key steps in proline metabolism and demonstrated that the mitochondrial genome differentially affects genomic QTLs to influence proline accumulation. These findings demonstrate that linking genome, transcriptome, and phenotype data holds great promise to extend the utility of genetic mapping, even when QTL effects are modest or complex. © 2015 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


Lin L.-C.,Academia Sinica, Taiwan | Chueh C.-M.,Academia Sinica, Taiwan | Wang L.-C.,Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2014

Conventional mutant screening in forward genetics research is indispensible to understand the biological operation behind any given phenotype. However, several issues, such as functional redundancy and lethality or sterility resulting from null mutations, frequently impede the functional characterization of genetic mutants. As an alternative approach, chemical screening with natural products or synthetic small molecules that act as conditional mutagens allows for identifying bioactive compounds as bioprobes to overcome the above-mentioned issues. Ethylene is the simplest olefin and is one of the major phytohormones playing crucial roles in plant physiology. Most of the current information on how ethylene works in plants came primarily from genetic studies of ethylene mutants identified by conventional genetic screening two decades ago. However, we lack a complete picture of functional interaction among components in the ethylene pathway and cross talk of ethylene with other phytohormones. Here, we describe our methodology for using chemical genetics to identify small molecules that interfere with the ethylene response. We set up a phenotype-based screening platform and a reporter gene-based system for verification of the hit compounds identified by chemical screening. We have successfully identified small molecules affecting the ethylene phenotype in etiolated seedlings and showed that a group of structurally similar compounds are novel inhibitors of ACC synthase, a rate-limiting enzyme in the ethylene biosynthesis pathway. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014.


Chen P.T.,Biotechnology Center | Shaw J.-F.,50 Kuo Kuang Road | Shaw J.-F.,National Chung Hsing University | Chao Y.-P.,Feng Chia University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2010

Bacillus subtilis is most commonly employed for secretion of recombinant proteins. To circumvent the problems caused by using plasmids, the T7 expression system known for its high efficiency was rebuilt in B. subtilis. Accordingly, a markerless and replicon-free method was developed for genomic insertion of DNAs. By the act of homologous recombination via the guide DNA, a suicidal vector carrying the gene of interest was integrated into genomic loci of bacteria. Removal of the inserted selection marker and replicon flanked by FRT sites was mediated by the FLP recombinase. By using the mentioned system, B. subtilis strain PT5 was constructed to harbor a genomic copy of the spac promoter-regulated T7 gene 1 located at wprA (encoding the cell wall-associated protease). Similarly, the T7 promoter-driven nattokinase or endoglucanase E1 of Thermomonospora fusca genes were also integrated into mpr (encoding an extracellular protease) of strain PT5. Consequently, the integrant PT5/Mmp-T7N or PT5/MT1-E1 resulted in a "clean" producer strain deprived of six proteases. After 24 h, the strain receiving induction was able to secret nattokinase and endoglucanase E1 with the volumetric activity reaching 10860 CU/mL and 8.4 U/mL, respectively. This result clearly indicates the great promise of the proposed approach for high secretion of recombinant proteins in B. subtilis. © 2010 American Chemical Society.


PubMed | University of Bonn, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology
Type: | Journal: Plant signaling & behavior | Year: 2014

Glycerolipid composition in plant membranes oscillates in response to diurnal change. However, its functional significance remained unclear. A recent discovery that Arabidopsis florigen FT binds diurnally oscillating phosphatidylcholine molecules to promote flowering suggests that diurnal oscillation of glycerolipid composition is an important input in flowering time control. Taking advantage of public microarray data, we globally analyzed the expression pattern of glycerolipid biosynthetic genes in Arabidopsis under long-day, short-day, and continuous light conditions. The results revealed that 12 genes associated with glycerolipid metabolism showed significant oscillatory profiles. Interestingly, expression of most of these genes followed circadian profiles, suggesting that glycerolipid biosynthesis is partially under clock regulation. The oscillating expression profile of one representative gene, PECT1, was analyzed in detail. Expression of PECT1 showed a circadian pattern highly correlated with that of the clock-regulated gene GIGANTEA. Thus, our study suggests that a considerable number of glycerolipid biosynthetic genes are under circadian control.


PubMed | Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Mobile genetic elements | Year: 2013

Phytoplasmas are uncultivated phytopathogenic bacteria that cause diseases in a wide range of economically important plants. Through secretion of effector proteins, they are able to manipulate their plant hosts to facilitate their multiplication and dispersal by insect vectors. The genome sequences of several phytoplasmas have been characterized to date and a group of putative composite transposons called potential mobile units (PMUs) are found in these highly reduced genomes. Recently, our team reported the genome sequence and comparative analysis of a peanut witches broom (PnWB) phytoplasma, the first representative of the phytoplasma 16SrII group. Comparisons between the species phylogeny and the phylogenies of the PMU genes revealed that the PnWB PMU is likely to have been transferred from the 16SrI group. This indicates that PMUs are not only the DNA unit for transposition within a genome, but also for horizontal transfer among divergent phytoplasma lineages. Given the association of PMUs with effector genes, the mobility of PMUs across genomes has important implications for phytoplasma ecology and evolution.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology and University of Alabama at Birmingham
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

The insulin/insulin-like signaling and target of rapamycin (IIS/TOR) network regulates lifespan and reproduction, as well as metabolic diseases, cancer, and aging. Despite its vital role in health, comparative analyses of IIS/TOR have been limited to invertebrates and mammals. We conducted an extensive evolutionary analysis of the IIS/TOR network across 66 amniotes with 18 newly generated transcriptomes from nonavian reptiles and additional available genomes/transcriptomes. We uncovered rapid and extensive molecular evolution between reptiles (including birds) and mammals: (i) the IIS/TOR network, including the critical nodes insulin receptor substrate (IRS) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), exhibit divergent evolutionary rates between reptiles and mammals; (ii) compared with a proxy for the rest of the genome, genes of the IIS/TOR extracellular network exhibit exceptionally fast evolutionary rates; and (iii) signatures of positive selection and coevolution of the extracellular network suggest reptile- and mammal-specific interactions between members of the network. In reptiles, positively selected sites cluster on the binding surfaces of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptor (IGF1R), and insulin receptor (INSR); whereas in mammals, positively selected sites clustered on the IGF2 binding surface, suggesting that these hormone-receptor binding affinities are targets of positive selection. Further, contrary to reports that IGF2R binds IGF2 only in marsupial and placental mammals, we found positively selected sites clustered on the hormone binding surface of reptile IGF2R that suggest that IGF2R binds to IGF hormones in diverse taxa and may have evolved in reptiles. These data suggest that key IIS/TOR paralogs have sub- or neofunctionalized between mammals and reptiles and that this network may underlie fundamental life history and physiological differences between these amniote sister clades.


PubMed | Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology and National Chung Hsing University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2016

Type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a macromolecular machine used by many Gram-negative bacteria to inject effectors/toxins into eukaryotic hosts or prokaryotic competitors for survival and fitness. To date, our knowledge of the molecular determinants and mechanisms underlying the transport of these effectors remains limited. Here, we report that two T6SS encoded valine-glycine repeat protein G (VgrG) paralogs in Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 specifically control the secretion and interbacterial competition activity of the type VI DNase toxins Tde1 and Tde2. Deletion and domain-swapping analysis identified that the C-terminal extension of VgrG1 specifically confers Tde1 secretion and Tde1-dependent interbacterial competition activity in planta, and the C-terminal variable region of VgrG2 governs this specificity for Tde2. Functional studies of VgrG1 and VgrG2 variants with stepwise deletion of the C terminus revealed that the C-terminal 31 aa (C31) of VgrG1 and 8 aa (C8) of VgrG2 are the molecular determinants specifically required for delivery of each cognate Tde toxin. Further in-depth studies on Tde toxin delivery mechanisms revealed that VgrG1 interacts with the adaptor/chaperone-effector complex (Tap-1-Tde1) in the absence of proline-alanine-alanine-arginine (PAAR) and the VgrG1-PAAR complex forms independent of Tap-1 and Tde1. Importantly, we identified the regions involved in these interactions. Although the entire C31 segment is required for binding with the Tap-1-Tde1 complex, only the first 15 aa of this region are necessary for PAAR binding. These results suggest that the VgrG1 C terminus interacts sequentially or simultaneously with the Tap-1-Tde1 complex and PAAR to govern Tde1 translocation across bacterial membranes and delivery into target cells for antibacterial activity.


PubMed | Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology and Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Genetics | Year: 2015

Alternative splicing is prevalent in plants, but little is known about its regulation in the context of developmental and signaling pathways. We describe here a new factor that influences pre-messengerRNA (mRNA) splicing and is essential for embryonic development in Arabidopsis thaliana. This factor was retrieved in a genetic screen that identified mutants impaired in expression of an alternatively spliced GFP reporter gene. In addition to the known spliceosomal component PRP8, the screen recovered Arabidopsis RTF2 (AtRTF2), a previously uncharacterized, evolutionarily conserved protein containing a replication termination factor 2 (Rtf2) domain. A homozygous null mutation in AtRTF2 is embryo lethal, indicating that AtRTF2 is an essential protein. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated that impaired expression of GFP in atrtf2 and prp8 mutants is due to inefficient splicing of the GFP pre-mRNA. A genome-wide analysis using RNA sequencing indicated that 13-16% of total introns are retained to a significant degree in atrtf2 mutants. Considering these results and previous suggestions that Rtf2 represents an ubiquitin-related domain, we discuss the possible role of AtRTF2 in ubiquitin-based regulation of pre-mRNA splicing.

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