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Genes, Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Xenopus laevis is an established model for studying kidney disease and development. Pathways that [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Guided Analysis of Clostridium ultunense and Comparative Genomics Reveal Different Strategies for Acetate Oxidation and Energy Conservation in Syntrophic Acetate-Oxidising Bacteria
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 15 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
Syntrophic acetate oxidation operates close to the thermodynamic equilibrium and very little is known about the participating organisms and their metabolism. Clostridium ultunense is one of the most abundant syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacteria (SAOB) that are found in engineered biogas processes operating with high
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Syntrophic acetate oxidation operates close to the thermodynamic equilibrium and very little is known about the participating organisms and their metabolism. Clostridium ultunense is one of the most abundant syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacteria (SAOB) that are found in engineered biogas processes operating with high ammonia concentrations. It has been proven to oxidise acetate in cooperation with hydrogenotrophic methanogens. There is evidence that the Wood-Ljungdahl (WL) pathway plays an important role in acetate oxidation. In this study, we analysed the physiological and metabolic capacities of C. ultunense strain Esp and strain BST on genome scale and conducted a comparative study of all the known characterised SAOB, namely Syntrophaceticus schinkii, Thermacetogenium phaeum, Tepidanaerobacter acetatoxydans, and Pseudothermotoga lettingae. The results clearly indicated physiological robustness to be beneficial for anaerobic digestion environments and revealed unexpected metabolic diversity with respect to acetate oxidation and energy conservation systems. Unlike S. schinkii and Th. phaeum, C. ultunense clearly does not employ the oxidative WL pathway for acetate oxidation, as its genome (and that of P. lettingae) lack important key genes. In both of those species, a proton motive force is likely formed by chemical protons involving putative electron-bifurcating [Fe-Fe] hydrogenases rather than proton pumps. No genes encoding a respiratory Ech (energy-converting hydrogenase), as involved in energy conservation in Th. phaeum and S. schinkii, were identified in C. ultunense and P. lettingae. Moreover, two respiratory complexes sharing similarities to the proton-translocating ferredoxin:NAD+ oxidoreductase (Rnf) and the Na+ pumping NADH:quinone hydrogenase (NQR) were predicted. These might form a respiratory chain that is involved in the reduction of electron acceptors rather than protons. However, involvement of these complexes in acetate oxidation in C. ultunense and P. lettingae needs further study. This genome-based comparison provides a solid platform for future meta-proteomics and meta-transcriptomics studies and for metabolic engineering, control, and monitoring of SAOB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Metabolic Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Genome Wide Identification, Evolutionary, and Expression Analysis of VQ Genes from Two Pyrus Species
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
The VQ motif-containing gene, a member of the plant-specific genes, is involved in the plant developmental process and various stress responses. The VQ motif-containing gene family has been studied in several plants, such as rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays
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The VQ motif-containing gene, a member of the plant-specific genes, is involved in the plant developmental process and various stress responses. The VQ motif-containing gene family has been studied in several plants, such as rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays), and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). However, no systematic study has been performed in Pyrus species, which have important economic value. In our study, we identified 41 and 28 VQ motif-containing genes in Pyrus bretschneideri and Pyrus communis, respectively. Phylogenetic trees were calculated using A. thaliana and O. sativa VQ motif-containing genes as a template, allowing us to categorize these genes into nine subfamilies. Thirty-two and eight paralogous of VQ motif-containing genes were found in P. bretschneideri and P. communis, respectively, showing that the VQ motif-containing genes had a more remarkable expansion in P. bretschneideri than in P. communis. A total of 31 orthologous pairs were identified from the P. bretschneideri and P. communis VQ motif-containing genes. Additionally, among the paralogs, we found that these duplication gene pairs probably derived from segmental duplication/whole-genome duplication (WGD) events in the genomes of P. bretschneideri and P. communis, respectively. The gene expression profiles in both P. bretschneideri and P. communis fruits suggested functional redundancy for some orthologous gene pairs derived from a common ancestry, and sub-functionalization or neo-functionalization for some of them. Our study provided the first systematic evolutionary analysis of the VQ motif-containing genes in Pyrus, and highlighted the diversification and duplication of VQ motif-containing genes in both P. bretschneideri and P. communis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Divergent Roles of RPA Homologs of the Model Archaeon Halobacterium salinarum in Survival of DNA Damage
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
The haloarchaea are unusual in possessing genes for multiple homologs to the ubiquitous single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB or replication protein A, RPA) found in all three domains of life. Halobacterium salinarum contains five homologs: two are eukaryotic in organization, two are prokaryotic
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The haloarchaea are unusual in possessing genes for multiple homologs to the ubiquitous single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB or replication protein A, RPA) found in all three domains of life. Halobacterium salinarum contains five homologs: two are eukaryotic in organization, two are prokaryotic and are encoded on the minichromosomes, and one is uniquely euryarchaeal. Radiation-resistant mutants previously isolated show upregulation of one of the eukaryotic-type RPA genes. Here, we have created deletions in the five RPA operons. These deletion mutants were exposed to DNA-damaging conditions: ionizing radiation, UV radiation, and mitomycin C. Deletion of the euryarchaeal homolog, although not lethal as in Haloferax volcanii, causes severe sensitivity to all of these agents. Deletion of the other RPA/SSB homologs imparts a variable sensitivity to these DNA-damaging agents, suggesting that the different RPA homologs have specialized roles depending on the type of genomic insult encountered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Extremophiles)
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Jimena Soledad Cadona, et al.; Pathogenicity Islands Distribution in Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Genes 2018, 9, 81
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
We wish to make the following correction to the paper by Soledad-Cadona et al.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Foodborne Pathogens)
Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Analyses of Calcium Sensors Reveal Their Involvement in Drought Stress Response and Storage Roots Deterioration after Harvest in Cassava
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 1 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
Calcium (Ca2+) plays a crucial role in plant development and responses to environmental stimuli. Currently, calmodulins (CaMs), calmodulin-like proteins (CMLs), and calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs), such as Ca2+ sensors, are not well understood in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), an
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Calcium (Ca2+) plays a crucial role in plant development and responses to environmental stimuli. Currently, calmodulins (CaMs), calmodulin-like proteins (CMLs), and calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs), such as Ca2+ sensors, are not well understood in cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), an important tropical crop. In the present study, 8 CaMs, 48 CMLs, and 9 CBLs were genome-wide identified in cassava, which were divided into two, four, and four groups, respectively, based on evolutionary relationship, protein motif, and gene structure analyses. Transcriptomic analysis revealed the expression diversity of cassava CaMs-CMLs-CBLs in distinct tissues and in response to drought stress in different genotypes. Generally, cassava CaMs-CMLs-CBLs showed different expression profiles between cultivated varieties (Arg7 and SC124) and wild ancestor (W14) after drought treatment. In addition, numerous CaMs-CMLs-CBLs were significantly upregulated at 6 h, 12 h, and 48 h after harvest, suggesting their possible role during storage roots (SR) deterioration. Further interaction network and co-expression analyses suggested that a CBL-mediated interaction network was widely involved in SR deterioration. Taken together, this study provides new insights into CaMs-CMLs-CBLs-mediated drought adaption and SR deterioration at the transcription level in cassava, and identifies some candidates for the genetic improvement of cassava. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Full Mitogenomes in the Critically Endangered Kākāpō Reveal Major Post-Glacial and Anthropogenic Effects on Neutral Genetic Diversity
Received: 17 March 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
Understanding how species respond to population declines is a central question in conservation and evolutionary biology. Population declines are often associated with loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding and accumulation of deleterious mutations, which can lead to a reduction in fitness and subsequently contribute
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Understanding how species respond to population declines is a central question in conservation and evolutionary biology. Population declines are often associated with loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding and accumulation of deleterious mutations, which can lead to a reduction in fitness and subsequently contribute to extinction. Using temporal approaches can help us understand the effects of population declines on genetic diversity in real time. Sequencing pre-decline as well as post-decline mitogenomes representing all the remaining mitochondrial diversity, we estimated the loss of genetic diversity in the critically endangered kākāpō (Strigops habroptilus). We detected a signal of population expansion coinciding with the end of the Pleistocene last glacial maximum (LGM). Also, we found some evidence for northern and southern lineages, supporting the hypothesis that the species may have been restricted to isolated northern and southern refugia during the LGM. We observed an important loss of neutral genetic diversity associated with European settlement in New Zealand but we could not exclude a population decline associated with Polynesian settlement in New Zealand. However, we did not find evidence for fixation of deleterious mutations. We argue that despite high pre-decline genetic diversity, a rapid and range-wide decline combined with the lek mating system, and life-history traits of kākāpō contributed to a rapid loss of genetic diversity following severe population declines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Patchoulol Production with Metabolically Engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 16 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Patchoulol is a sesquiterpene alcohol and an important natural product for the perfume industry. Corynebacterium glutamicum is the prominent host for the fermentative production of amino acids with an average annual production volume of ~6 million tons. Due to its robustness and well
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Patchoulol is a sesquiterpene alcohol and an important natural product for the perfume industry. Corynebacterium glutamicum is the prominent host for the fermentative production of amino acids with an average annual production volume of ~6 million tons. Due to its robustness and well established large-scale fermentation, C. glutamicum has been engineered for the production of a number of value-added compounds including terpenoids. Both C40 and C50 carotenoids, including the industrially relevant astaxanthin, and short-chain terpenes such as the sesquiterpene valencene can be produced with this organism. In this study, systematic metabolic engineering enabled construction of a patchoulol producing C. glutamicum strain by applying the following strategies: (i) construction of a farnesyl pyrophosphate-producing platform strain by combining genomic deletions with heterologous expression of ispA from Escherichia coli; (ii) prevention of carotenoid-like byproduct formation; (iii) overproduction of limiting enzymes from the 2-c-methyl-d-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP)-pathway to increase precursor supply; and (iv) heterologous expression of the plant patchoulol synthase gene PcPS from Pogostemon cablin. Additionally, a proof of principle liter-scale fermentation with a two-phase organic overlay-culture medium system for terpenoid capture was performed. To the best of our knowledge, the patchoulol titers demonstrated here are the highest reported to date with up to 60 mg L−1 and volumetric productivities of up to 18 mg L−1 d−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Metabolic Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Genetic Evaluation of Natural Populations of the Endangered Conifer Thuja koraiensis Using Microsatellite Markers by Restriction-Associated DNA Sequencing
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Thuja koraiensis Nakai is an endangered conifer of high economic and ecological value in Jilin Province, China. However, studies on its population structure and conservation genetics have been limited by the lack of genomic data. Here, 37,761 microsatellites (simple sequence repeat, SSR) were
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Thuja koraiensis Nakai is an endangered conifer of high economic and ecological value in Jilin Province, China. However, studies on its population structure and conservation genetics have been limited by the lack of genomic data. Here, 37,761 microsatellites (simple sequence repeat, SSR) were detected based on 875,792 de novo-assembled contigs using a restriction-associated DNA (RAD) approach. Among these SSRs, 300 were randomly selected to test for polymorphisms and 96 obtained loci were able to amplify a fragment of expected size. Twelve polymorphic SSR markers were developed to analyze the genetic diversity and population structure of three natural populations. High genetic diversity (mean NA = 5.481, HE = 0.548) and moderate population differentiation (pairwise Fst = 0.048–0.078, Nm = 2.940–4.958) were found in this species. Molecular variance analysis suggested that most of the variation (83%) existed within populations. Combining the results of STRUCTURE, principal coordinate, and neighbor-joining analysis, the 232 individuals were divided into three genetic clusters that generally correlated with their geographical distributions. Finally, appropriate conservation strategies were proposed to protect this species. This study provides genetic information for the natural resource conservation and utilization of T. koraiensis and will facilitate further studies of the evolution and phylogeography of the species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects on Parapatric Divergence of Linkage between Preference and Trait Loci versus Pleiotropy
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 6 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Attempts to uncover the genetic basis of female mating preferences and male signals involved in reproductive isolation have discovered intriguing cases in which loci contributing to these traits co-localize in their chromosomal positions. Such discoveries raise the question of whether alleles at certain
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Attempts to uncover the genetic basis of female mating preferences and male signals involved in reproductive isolation have discovered intriguing cases in which loci contributing to these traits co-localize in their chromosomal positions. Such discoveries raise the question of whether alleles at certain loci contribute pleiotropically to male and female components of premating reproductive isolation, versus whether these loci are merely tightly linked. Here we use population genetic models to assess the degree to which these alternatives affect both short term and equilibrium patterns of trait (signal) and preference divergence. We take advantage of the fact that in the case of secondary contact between populations exchanging migrants, patterns of divergence across the range of preference strengths differ markedly when preferences and traits are controlled by the same locus (the case of phenotype matching) versus when they are on separate chromosomes. We find that tight linkage between preference and trait loci can mimic the pleiotropic pattern for many generations (roughly the reciprocal of the recombination rate), but that any recombination ultimately results in equilibrium patterns of divergence far more similar to those found when preferences and traits are on separate chromosomes. In general, our finding that pleiotropy results in quite different long-term patterns from tight linkage highlights the importance of distinguishing between these possibilities in empirical systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Open AccessArticle Accurate Classification of NF1 Gene Variants in 84 Italian Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common autosomal dominant genetic diseases. It is caused by mutations in the NF1 gene encoding for the large protein, neurofibromin. Genetic testing of NF1 is cumbersome because 50% of cases are sporadic, and there
[...] Read more.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common autosomal dominant genetic diseases. It is caused by mutations in the NF1 gene encoding for the large protein, neurofibromin. Genetic testing of NF1 is cumbersome because 50% of cases are sporadic, and there are no mutation hot spots. In addition, the most recognizable NF1 clinical features—café-au-lait (CALs) spots and axillary and/or inguinal freckling—appear early in childhood but are rather non-specific. Thus, the identification of causative variants is extremely important for early diagnosis, especially in paediatric patients. Here, we aimed to identify the underlying genetic defects in 72 index patients referred to our centre for NF1. Causative mutations were identified in 58 subjects, with 29 being novel changes. We evaluated missense and non-canonical splicing mutations with both protein and splicing prediction algorithms. The ratio of splicing mutations detected was higher than that reported in recent patients’ series and in the Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). After applying in silico predictive tools to 41 previously reported missense variants, we demonstrated that 46.3% of these putatively missense mutations were forecasted to alter splicing instead. Our data suggest that mutations affecting splicing can be frequently underscored if not analysed in depth. We confirm that hamartomas can be useful for diagnosing NF1 in children. Lisch nodules and cutaneous neurofibromas were more frequent in patients with frameshifting mutations. In conclusion, we demonstrated that comprehensive in silico analysis can be a highly specific method for predicting the nature of NF1 mutations and may help in assuring proper patient care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue Introduction: Inherited Retinal Disease: Novel Candidate Genes, Genotype–Phenotype Correlations, and Inheritance Models
Received: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are genetically and clinically heterogeneous disorders.[...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Major Rhizobacterial Taxa Affected by a Glyphosate-Tolerant Soybean Line via Shotgun Metagenomic Approach
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
The worldwide commercial cultivation of transgenic crops, including glyphosate-tolerant (GT) soybeans, has increased widely during the past 20 years. However, it is accompanied with a growing concern about potential effects of transgenic crops on the soil microbial communities, especially on rhizosphere bacterial communities.
[...] Read more.
The worldwide commercial cultivation of transgenic crops, including glyphosate-tolerant (GT) soybeans, has increased widely during the past 20 years. However, it is accompanied with a growing concern about potential effects of transgenic crops on the soil microbial communities, especially on rhizosphere bacterial communities. Our previous study found that the GT soybean line NZL06-698 (N698) significantly affected rhizosphere bacteria, including some unidentified taxa, through 16S rRNA gene (16S rDNA) V4 region amplicon deep sequencing via Illumina MiSeq. In this study, we performed 16S rDNA V5–V7 region amplicon deep sequencing via Illumina MiSeq and shotgun metagenomic approaches to identify those major taxa. Results of these processes revealed that the species richness and evenness increased in the rhizosphere bacterial communities of N698, the beta diversity of the rhizosphere bacterial communities of N698 was affected, and that certain dominant bacterial phyla and genera were related to N698 compared with its control cultivar Mengdou12. Consistent with our previous findings, this study showed that N698 affects the rhizosphere bacterial communities. In specific, N698 negatively affects Rahnella, Janthinobacterium, Stenotrophomonas, Sphingomonas and Luteibacter while positively affecting Arthrobacter, Bradyrhizobium, Ramlibacter and Nitrospira. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Applications for Next Generation Sequencing)
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Open AccessArticle Genome Sequence of the Freshwater Yangtze Finless Porpoise
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalis) is a subspecies of the narrow-ridged finless porpoise (N. asiaeorientalis). In total, 714.28 gigabases (Gb) of raw reads were generated by whole-genome sequencing of the Yangtze finless porpoise, using an Illumina
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The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalis) is a subspecies of the narrow-ridged finless porpoise (N. asiaeorientalis). In total, 714.28 gigabases (Gb) of raw reads were generated by whole-genome sequencing of the Yangtze finless porpoise, using an Illumina HiSeq 2000 platform. After filtering the low-quality and duplicated reads, we assembled a draft genome of 2.22 Gb, with contig N50 and scaffold N50 values of 46.69 kilobases (kb) and 1.71 megabases (Mb), respectively. We identified 887.63 Mb of repetitive sequences and predicted 18,479 protein-coding genes in the assembled genome. The phylogenetic tree showed a relationship between the Yangtze finless porpoise and the Yangtze River dolphin, which diverged approximately 20.84 million years ago. In comparisons with the genomes of 10 other mammals, we detected 44 species-specific gene families, 164 expanded gene families, and 313 positively selected genes in the Yangtze finless porpoise genome. The assembled genome sequence and underlying sequence data are available at the National Center for Biotechnology Information under BioProject accession number PRJNA433603. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Transcriptomic Analysis of Flower Bud Differentiation in Magnolia sinostellata
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 8 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
Magnolias are widely cultivated for their beautiful flowers, but despite their popularity, the molecular mechanisms regulating flower bud differentiation have not been elucidated. Here, we used paraffin sections and RNA-seq to study the process of flower bud differentiation in Magnolia sinostellata. Flower
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Magnolias are widely cultivated for their beautiful flowers, but despite their popularity, the molecular mechanisms regulating flower bud differentiation have not been elucidated. Here, we used paraffin sections and RNA-seq to study the process of flower bud differentiation in Magnolia sinostellata. Flower bud development occurred between 28 April and 30 May 2017 and was divided into five stages: undifferentiated, early flower bud differentiation, petal primordium differentiation, stamen primordium differentiation, and pistil primordium differentiation. A total of 52,441 expressed genes were identified, of which 11,592 were significantly differentially expressed in the five bud development stages. Of these, 82 genes were involved in the flowering. In addition, MADS-box and AP2 family genes play critical roles in the formation of flower organs and 20 differentially expressed genes associated with flower bud differentiation were identified in M. sinostellata. A qRT-PCR analysis verified that the MADS-box and AP2 family genes were expressed at high levels during flower bud differentiation. Consequently, this study provides a theoretical basis for the genetic regulation of flowering in M. sinostellata, which lays a foundation for further research into flowering genes and may facilitate the development of new cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessReview Chromatin Architectural Changes during Cellular Senescence and Aging
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
Chromatin 3D structure is highly dynamic and associated with many biological processes, such as cell cycle progression, cellular differentiation, cell fate reprogramming, cancer development, cellular senescence, and aging. Recently, by using chromosome conformation capture technologies, tremendous findings have been reported about the dynamics
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Chromatin 3D structure is highly dynamic and associated with many biological processes, such as cell cycle progression, cellular differentiation, cell fate reprogramming, cancer development, cellular senescence, and aging. Recently, by using chromosome conformation capture technologies, tremendous findings have been reported about the dynamics of genome architecture, their associated proteins, and the underlying mechanisms involved in regulating chromatin spatial organization and gene expression. Cellular senescence and aging, which involve multiple cellular and molecular functional declines, also undergo significant chromatin structural changes, including alternations of heterochromatin and disruption of higher-order chromatin structure. In this review, we summarize recent findings related to genome architecture, factors regulating chromatin spatial organization, and how they change during cellular senescence and aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Epigenetics of Aging and Longevity)
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