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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-08-31
    Description: In most mammals, the X and Y chromosomes synapse and recombine along a conserved region of homology known as the pseudoautosomal region (PAR). These homology-driven interactions are required for meiotic progression and are essential for male fertility. Although the PAR fulfills key meiotic functions in most mammals, several exceptional species lack PAR-mediated sex chromosome associations at meiosis. Here, we leveraged the natural variation in meiotic sex chromosome programs present in North American voles ( Microtus ) to investigate the relationship between meiotic sex chromosome dynamics and X/Y sequence homology. To this end, we developed a novel, reference-blind computational method to analyze sparse sequencing data from flow-sorted X and Y chromosomes isolated from vole species with sex chromosomes that always ( Microtus montanus ), never ( Microtus mogollonensis ), and occasionally synapse ( Microtus ochrogaster ) at meiosis. Unexpectedly, we find more shared X/Y homology in the two vole species with no and sporadic X/Y synapsis compared to the species with obligate synapsis. Sex chromosome homology in the asynaptic and occasionally synaptic species is interspersed along chromosomes and largely restricted to low-complexity sequences, including a striking enrichment for the telomeric repeat sequence, TTAGGG. In contrast, homology is concentrated in high complexity, and presumably euchromatic, sequence on the X and Y chromosomes of the synaptic vole species, M. montanus . Taken together, our findings suggest key conditions required to sustain the standard program of X/Y synapsis at meiosis and reveal an intriguing connection between heterochromatic repeat architecture and noncanonical, asynaptic mechanisms of sex chromosome segregation in voles.
    Print ISSN: 0016-6731
    Topics: Biology
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-05-05
    Description: Endocytosis is a fundamental process for internalizing material from the plasma membrane, including many transmembrane proteins that are selectively internalized depending on environmental conditions. In most cells, the main route of entry is clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME), a process that involves the coordinated activity of over 60 proteins; however, there are likely as-yet unidentified proteins involved in cargo selection and/or regulation of endocytosis. We performed a mutagenic screen to identify novel endocytic genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing the methionine permease Mup1 tagged with pHluorin (pHl), a pH-sensitive GFP variant whose fluorescence is quenched upon delivery to the acidic vacuole lumen. We used fluorescence-activated cell sorting to isolate mutagenized cells with elevated fluorescence, resulting from failure to traffic Mup1 -pHl cargo to the vacuole, and further assessed subcellular localization of Mup1 -pHl to characterize the endocytic defects in 256 mutants. A subset of mutant strains was classified as having general endocytic defects based on mislocalization of additional cargo proteins. Within this group, we identified mutations in four genes encoding proteins with known roles in endocytosis: the endocytic coat components SLA2 , SLA1 , and EDE1 , and the ARP3 gene, whose product is involved in nucleating actin filaments to form branched networks. All four mutants demonstrated aberrant dynamics of the endocytic machinery at sites of CME; moreover, the arp3 R346H mutation showed reduced actin nucleation activity in vitro . Finally, whole genome sequencing of two general endocytic mutants identified mutations in conserved genes not previously implicated in endocytosis, KRE33 and IQG1 , demonstrating that our screening approach can be used to identify new components involved in endocytosis.
    Electronic ISSN: 2160-1836
    Topics: Biology
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-02-28
    Description: During antifungal drug treatment and hypoxia, genetic and epigenetic changes occur to maintain sterol homeostasis and cellular function. In this study, we show that SET domain-containing epigenetic factors govern drug efficacy to the medically relevant azole class of antifungal drugs. Upon this discovery, we determined that Set4 is induced when Saccharomyces cerevisiae are treated with azole drugs or grown under hypoxic conditions; two conditions that deplete cellular ergosterol and increase sterol precursors. Interestingly, Set4 induction is controlled by the sterol-sensing transcription factors, Upc2 and Ecm22 . To determine the role of Set4 on gene expression under hypoxic conditions, we performed RNA-sequencing analysis and showed that Set4 is required for global changes in gene expression. Specifically, loss of Set4 led to an upregulation of nearly all ergosterol genes, including ERG11 and ERG3 , suggesting that Set4 functions in gene repression. Furthermore, mass spectrometry analysis revealed that Set4 interacts with the hypoxic-specific transcriptional repressor, Hap1 , where this interaction is necessary for Set4 recruitment to ergosterol gene promoters under hypoxia. Finally, an erg3 strain, which produces precursor sterols but lacks ergosterol, expresses Set4 under untreated aerobic conditions. Together, our data suggest that sterol precursors are needed for Set4 induction through an Upc2 -mediated mechanism. Overall, this new sterol-signaling pathway governs azole antifungal drug resistance and mediates repression of sterol genes under hypoxic conditions.
    Print ISSN: 0016-6731
    Topics: Biology
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Vector-borne diseases are responsible for 〉 1 million deaths every year but genomic resources for most species responsible for their transmission are limited. This is true for neglected diseases such as sleeping sickness (Human African Trypanosomiasis), a disease caused by Trypanosoma parasites vectored by several species of tseste flies within the genus Glossina . We describe an integrative approach that identifies statistical associations between trypanosome infection status of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes ( Gff ) flies from Uganda, for which functional studies are complicated because the species cannot be easily maintained in laboratory colonies, and ~73,000 polymorphic sites distributed across the genome. Then, we identify candidate genes involved in Gff trypanosome susceptibility by taking advantage of genomic resources from a closely related species, G. morsitans morsitans ( Gmm ). We compiled a comprehensive transcript library from 72 published and unpublished RNAseq experiments of trypanosome-infected and uninfected Gmm flies, and improved the current Gmm transcriptome assembly. This new assembly was then used to enhance the functional annotations on the Gff genome. As a consequence, we identified 56 candidate genes in the vicinity of the 18 regions associated with Trypanosoma infection status in Gff . Twenty-nine of these genes were differentially expressed (DE) among parasite-infected and uninfected Gmm , suggesting that their orthologs in Gff may correlate with disease transmission. These genes were involved in DNA regulation, neurophysiological functions, and immune responses. We highlight the power of integrating population and functional genomics from related species to enhance our understanding of the genetic basis of physiological traits, particularly in nonmodel organisms.
    Electronic ISSN: 2160-1836
    Topics: Biology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: One in five people with Down syndrome (DS) are born with an atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), an incidence 2000 times higher than in the euploid population. The genetic loci that contribute to this risk are poorly understood. In this study, we tested two hypotheses: (1) individuals with DS carrying chromosome 21 copy number variants (CNVs) that interrupt exons may be protected from AVSD, because these CNVs return AVSD susceptibility loci back to disomy, and (2) individuals with DS carrying chromosome 21 genes spanned by microduplications are at greater risk for AVSD because these microduplications boost the dosage of AVSD susceptibility loci beyond a tolerable threshold. We tested 198 case individuals with DS+AVSD, and 211 control individuals with DS and a normal heart, using a custom microarray with dense probes tiled on chromosome 21 for array CGH (aCGH). We found that neither an individual chromosome 21 CNV nor any individual gene intersected by a CNV was associated with AVSD in DS. Burden analyses revealed that African American controls had more bases covered by rare deletions than did African American cases. Inversely, we found that Caucasian cases had more genes intersected by rare duplications than did Caucasian controls. We also showed that previously DS+AVSD (DS and a complete AVSD)-associated common CNVs on chromosome 21 failed to replicate. This research adds to the swell of evidence indicating that DS-associated AVSD is similarly heterogeneous, as is AVSD in the euploid population.
    Electronic ISSN: 2160-1836
    Topics: Biology
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-08-31
    Description: Crohn’s disease is a complex genetic trait characterized by chronic relapsing intestinal inflammation. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 170 loci associated with the disease, accounting for ~14% of the disease variance. We hypothesized that rare genetic variation in GWAS positional candidates also contribute to disease pathogenesis. We performed targeted, massively-parallel sequencing of 101 genes in 205 children with Crohn’s disease, including 179 parent-child trios and 200 controls, both of European ancestry. We used the gene burden test implemented in VAAST and estimated effect sizes using logistic regression and meta-analyses. We identified three genes with nominally significant p-values: NOD2 , RTKN2 , and MGAT3 . Only NOD2 was significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. We identified eight novel rare variants in NOD2 that are likely disease-associated. Incorporation of rare variation and compound heterozygosity nominally increased the proportion of variance explained from 0.074 to 0.089. We estimated the population attributable risk and total heritability of variation in NOD2 to be 32.9% and 3.4%, respectively, with 3.7% and 0.25% accounted for by rare putatively functional variants. Sequencing probands (as opposed to genotyping) to identify rare variants and incorporating phase by sequencing parents can recover a portion of the missing heritability of Crohn’s disease.
    Electronic ISSN: 2160-1836
    Topics: Biology
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Meiotic drive describes a process whereby selfish genetic elements are transmitted at levels greater than Mendelian expectations. Maize abnormal chromosome 10 (Ab10) encodes a meiotic drive system that exhibits strong preferential segregation through female gametes. We performed transmission assays on nine Ab10 chromosomes from landraces and teosinte lines and found a transmission advantage of 62–79% in heterozygotes. Despite this transmission advantage, Ab10 is present at low frequencies in natural populations, suggesting that it carries large negative fitness consequences. We measured pollen transmission, the percentage of live pollen, seed production, and seed size to estimate several of the possible fitness effects of Ab10. We found no evidence that Ab10 affects pollen transmission, i.e. , Ab10 and N10 pollen are transmitted equally from heterozygous fathers. However, at the diploid (sporophyte) level, both heterozygous and homozygous Ab10-I-MMR individuals show decreased pollen viability, decreased seed set, and decreased seed weight. The observed fitness costs can nearly but not entirely account for the observed frequencies of Ab10. Sequence analysis shows a surprising amount of molecular variation among Ab10 haplotypes, suggesting that there may be other phenotypic variables that contribute to the low but stable equilibrium frequencies.
    Print ISSN: 0016-6731
    Topics: Biology
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