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Genes, Volume 9, Issue 5 (May 2018)

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Open AccessArticle BSG and MCT1 Genetic Variants Influence Survival in Multiple Myeloma Patients
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 17 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
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Abstract
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a haematologic malignancy characterized by the presence of atypical plasma cells. Basigin (BSG, CD147) controls lactate export through the monocarboxylic acid transporter 1 (MCT1, SLC16A1) and supports MM survival and proliferation. Additionally, BSG is implicated in response to treatment
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Multiple myeloma (MM) is a haematologic malignancy characterized by the presence of atypical plasma cells. Basigin (BSG, CD147) controls lactate export through the monocarboxylic acid transporter 1 (MCT1, SLC16A1) and supports MM survival and proliferation. Additionally, BSG is implicated in response to treatment with immunomodulatory drugs (thalidomide and its derivatives). We investigated the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene coding for BSG and SLC16A1 in MM. Following an in silico analysis, eight SNPs (four in BSG and four in SLC16A1) predicted to have a functional effect were selected and analyzed in 135 MM patients and 135 healthy individuals. Alleles rs4919859 C, rs8637 G, and haplotype CG were associated with worse progression-free survival (p = 0.006, p = 0.017, p = 0.002, respectively), while rs7556664 A, rs7169 T and rs1049434 A (all in linkage disequilibrium (LD), r2 > 0.98) were associated with better overall survival (p = 0.021). Similar relationships were observed in thalidomide-treated patients. Moreover, rs4919859 C, rs8637 G, rs8259 A and the CG haplotype were more common in patients in stages II–III of the International Staging System (p < 0.05), while rs8259 A correlated with higher levels of β-2-microglobulin and creatinine (p < 0.05). Taken together, our results show that BSG and SLC16A1 variants affect survival, and may play an important role in MM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Variations in Evolution and Human Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle Chromosome Synapsis and Recombination in Male-Sterile and Female-Fertile Interspecies Hybrids of the Dwarf Hamsters (Phodopus, Cricetidae)
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 25 April 2018
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Abstract
Hybrid sterility is an important step in the speciation process. Hybrids between dwarf hamsters Phodopus sungorus and P. campbelli provide a good model for studies in cytological and genetic mechanisms of hybrid sterility. Previous studies in hybrids detected multiple abnormalities of spermatogenesis and
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Hybrid sterility is an important step in the speciation process. Hybrids between dwarf hamsters Phodopus sungorus and P. campbelli provide a good model for studies in cytological and genetic mechanisms of hybrid sterility. Previous studies in hybrids detected multiple abnormalities of spermatogenesis and a high frequency of dissociation between the X and Y chromosomes at the meiotic prophase. In this study, we found that the autosomes of the hybrid males and females underwent paring and recombination as normally as their parental forms did. The male hybrids showed a significantly higher frequency of asynapsis and recombination failure between the heterochromatic arms of the X and Y chromosomes than the males of the parental species. Female hybrids as well as the females of the parental species demonstrated a high incidence of centromere misalignment at the XX bivalent and partial asynapsis of the ends of its heterochromatic arms. In all three karyotypes, recombination was completely suppressed in the heterochromatic arm of the X chromosome, where the pseudoautosomal region is located. We propose that this recombination pattern speeds up divergence of the X- and Y-linked pseudoautosomal regions between the parental species and results in their incompatibility in the male hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Open AccessArticle Structure-Function Mutational Analysis and Prediction of the Potential Impact of High Risk Non-Synonymous Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism on Poliovirus 2A Protease Stability Using Comprehensive Informatics Approaches
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 26 April 2018
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Abstract
Polio viral proteinase 2A performs several essential functions in genome replication. Its inhibition prevents viral replication, thus making it an excellent substrate for drug development. In this study, the three-dimensional structure of 2A protease was determined and optimized by homology modelling. To predict
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Polio viral proteinase 2A performs several essential functions in genome replication. Its inhibition prevents viral replication, thus making it an excellent substrate for drug development. In this study, the three-dimensional structure of 2A protease was determined and optimized by homology modelling. To predict the molecular basis of the interaction of small molecular agonists, docking simulations were performed on a structurally diverse dataset of poliovirus 2A protease (PV2Apr°) inhibitors. Docking results were employed to identify high risk missense mutations that are highly damaging to the structure, as well as the function, of the protease. Intrinsic disorder regions (IDRs), drug binding sites (DBS), and protein stability changes upon mutations were also identified among them. Our results demonstrated dominant roles for Lys 15, His 20, Cys 55, Cys 57, Cys 64, Asp 108, Cys 109 and Gly 110, indicating the presence of various important drug binding sites of the protein. Upon subjecting these sites to single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, we observed that out of 155 high risk SNPs, 139 residues decrease the protein stability. We conclude that these missense mutations can affect the functionality of the 2A protease, and that identified protein binding sites can be directed for the attachment and inhibition of the target proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Technologies and Resources for Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle Overexpression of a Novel Apple NAC Transcription Factor Gene, MdNAC1, Confers the Dwarf Phenotype in Transgenic Apple (Malus domestica)
Received: 3 March 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
Plant height is an important trait for fruit trees. The dwarf characteristic is commonly associated with highly efficient fruit production, a major objective when breeding for apple (Malus domestica). We studied the function of MdNAC1, a novel NAC transcription factor
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Plant height is an important trait for fruit trees. The dwarf characteristic is commonly associated with highly efficient fruit production, a major objective when breeding for apple (Malus domestica). We studied the function of MdNAC1, a novel NAC transcription factor (TF) gene in apple related to plant dwarfing. Localized primarily to the nucleus, MdNAC1 has transcriptional activity in yeast cells. Overexpression of the gene results in a dwarf phenotype in transgenic apple plants. Their reduction in size is manifested by shorter, thinner stems and roots, and a smaller leaf area. The transgenics also have shorter internodes and fewer cells in the stems. Levels of endogenous abscisic acid (ABA) and brassinosteroid (BR) are lower in the transgenic plants, and expression is decreased for genes involved in the biosynthesis of those phytohormones. All of these findings demonstrate that MdNAC1 has a role in plants dwarfism, probably by regulating ABA and BR production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Low Maternal Microbiota Sharing across Gut, Breast Milk and Vagina, as Revealed by 16S rRNA Gene and Reduced Metagenomic Sequencing
Received: 7 April 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
The maternal microbiota plays an important role in infant gut colonization. In this work we have investigated which bacterial species are shared across the breast milk, vaginal and stool microbiotas of 109 women shortly before and after giving birth using 16S rRNA gene
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The maternal microbiota plays an important role in infant gut colonization. In this work we have investigated which bacterial species are shared across the breast milk, vaginal and stool microbiotas of 109 women shortly before and after giving birth using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a novel reduced metagenomic sequencing (RMS) approach in a subgroup of 16 women. All the species predicted by the 16S rRNA gene sequencing were also detected by RMS analysis and there was good correspondence between their relative abundances estimated by both approaches. Both approaches also demonstrate a low level of maternal microbiota sharing across the population and RMS analysis identified only two species common to most women and in all sample types (Bifidobacterium longum and Enterococcus faecalis). Breast milk was the only sample type that had significantly higher intra- than inter- individual similarity towards both vaginal and stool samples. We also searched our RMS dataset against an in silico generated reference database derived from bacterial isolates in the Human Microbiome Project. The use of this reference-based search enabled further separation of Bifidobacterium longum into Bifidobacterium longum ssp. longum and Bifidobacterium longum ssp. infantis. We also detected the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG strain, which was used as a probiotic supplement by some women, demonstrating the potential of RMS approach for deeper taxonomic delineation and estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Female Choice Undermines the Emergence of Strong Sexual Isolation between Locally Adapted Populations of Atlantic Mollies (Poecilia mexicana)
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
Divergent selection between ecologically dissimilar habitats promotes local adaptation, which can lead to reproductive isolation (RI). Populations in the Poecilia mexicana species complex have independently adapted to toxic hydrogen sulfide and show varying degrees of RI. Here, we examined the variation in the
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Divergent selection between ecologically dissimilar habitats promotes local adaptation, which can lead to reproductive isolation (RI). Populations in the Poecilia mexicana species complex have independently adapted to toxic hydrogen sulfide and show varying degrees of RI. Here, we examined the variation in the mate choice component of prezygotic RI. Mate choice tests across drainages (with stimulus males from another drainage) suggest that specific features of the males coupled with a general female preference for yellow color patterns explain the observed variation. Analyses of male body coloration identified the intensity of yellow fin coloration as a strong candidate to explain this pattern, and common-garden rearing suggested heritable population differences. Male sexual ornamentation apparently evolved differently across sulfide-adapted populations, for example because of differences in natural counterselection via predation. The ubiquitous preference for yellow color ornaments in poeciliid females likely undermines the emergence of strong RI, as female discrimination in favor of own males becomes weaker when yellow fin coloration in the respective sulfide ecotype increases. Our study illustrates the complexity of the (partly non-parallel) pathways to divergence among replicated ecological gradients. We suggest that future work should identify the genomic loci involved in the pattern reported here, making use of the increasing genomic and transcriptomic datasets available for our study system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Selective Pressures in Plant X-Linked and Autosomal Genes
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Selection is expected to work differently in autosomal and X-linked genes because of their ploidy difference and the exposure of recessive X-linked mutations to haploid selection in males. However, it is not clear whether these expectations apply to recently evolved sex chromosomes, where
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Selection is expected to work differently in autosomal and X-linked genes because of their ploidy difference and the exposure of recessive X-linked mutations to haploid selection in males. However, it is not clear whether these expectations apply to recently evolved sex chromosomes, where many genes retain functional X- and Y-linked gametologs. We took advantage of the recently evolved sex chromosomes in the plant Silene latifolia and its closely related species to compare the selective pressures between hemizygous and non-hemizygous X-linked genes as well as between X-linked genes and autosomal genes. Our analysis, based on over 1000 genes, demonstrated that, similar to animals, X-linked genes in Silene evolve significantly faster than autosomal genes—the so-called faster-X effect. Contrary to expectations, faster-X divergence was detectable only for non-hemizygous X-linked genes. Our phylogeny-based analyses of selection revealed no evidence for faster adaptation in X-linked genes compared to autosomal genes. On the other hand, partial relaxation of purifying selection was apparent on the X-chromosome compared to the autosomes, consistent with a smaller genetic diversity in S. latifolia X-linked genes (πx = 0.016; πaut = 0.023). Thus, the faster-X divergence in S. latifolia appears to be a consequence of the smaller effective population size rather than of a faster adaptive evolution on the X-chromosome. We argue that this may be a general feature of “young” sex chromosomes, where the majority of X-linked genes are not hemizygous, preventing haploid selection in heterogametic sex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of Arabidopsis Sodium Proton Antiporter (NHX) and Human Sodium Proton Exchanger (NHE) Homologs in Sorghum bicolor
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Na+ transporters play an important role during salt stress and development. The present study is aimed at genome-wide identification, in silico analysis of sodium-proton antiporter (NHX) and sodium-proton exchanger (NHE)-type transporters in Sorghum bicolor and their expression patterns under varied abiotic stress
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Na+ transporters play an important role during salt stress and development. The present study is aimed at genome-wide identification, in silico analysis of sodium-proton antiporter (NHX) and sodium-proton exchanger (NHE)-type transporters in Sorghum bicolor and their expression patterns under varied abiotic stress conditions. In Sorghum, seven NHX and nine NHE homologs were identified. Amiloride (a known inhibitor of Na+/H+ exchanger activity) binding motif was noticed in both types of the transporters. Chromosome 2 was found to be a hotspot region with five sodium transporters. Phylogenetic analysis inferred six ortholog and three paralog groups. To gain an insight into functional divergence of SbNHX/NHE transporters, real-time gene expression was performed under salt, drought, heat, and cold stresses in embryo, root, stem, and leaf tissues. Expression patterns revealed that both SbNHXs and SbNHEs are responsive either to single or multiple abiotic stresses. The predicted protein–protein interaction networks revealed that only SbNHX7 is involved in the calcineurin B-like proteins (CBL)- CBL interacting protein kinases (CIPK) pathway. The study provides insights into the functional divergence of SbNHX/NHE transporter genes with tissue specific expressions in Sorghum under different abiotic stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Shared and Species-Specific Patterns of Nascent Y Chromosome Evolution in Two Guppy Species
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Sex chromosomes form once recombination is halted around the sex-determining locus between a homologous pair of chromosomes, resulting in a male-limited Y chromosome. We recently characterized the nascent sex chromosome system in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata). The guppy Y is
[...] Read more.
Sex chromosomes form once recombination is halted around the sex-determining locus between a homologous pair of chromosomes, resulting in a male-limited Y chromosome. We recently characterized the nascent sex chromosome system in the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata). The guppy Y is one of the youngest animal sex chromosomes yet identified, and therefore offers a unique window into the early evolutionary forces shaping sex chromosome formation, particularly the rate of accumulation of repetitive elements and Y-specific sequence. We used comparisons between male and female genomes in P. reticulata and its sister species, Endler’s guppy (P. wingei), which share an ancestral sex chromosome, to identify male-specific sequences and to characterize the degree of differentiation between the X and Y chromosomes. We identified male-specific sequence shared between P. reticulata and P. wingei consistent with a small ancestral non-recombining region. Our assembly of this Y-specific sequence shows substantial homology to the X chromosome, and appears to be significantly enriched for genes implicated in pigmentation. We also found two plausible candidates that may be involved in sex determination. Furthermore, we found that the P. wingei Y chromosome exhibits a greater signature of repetitive element accumulation than the P. reticulata Y chromosome. This suggests that Y chromosome divergence does not necessarily correlate with the time since recombination suppression. Overall, our results reveal the early stages of Y chromosome divergence in the guppy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessArticle Whole Exome Sequencing Identifies New Host Genomic Susceptibility Factors in Empyema Caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in Children: A Pilot Study
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death amongst infectious diseases. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for about 25% of pneumonia cases worldwide, and it is a major cause of childhood mortality. We carried out a whole exome sequencing (WES) study in eight patients with
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Pneumonia is the leading cause of death amongst infectious diseases. Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for about 25% of pneumonia cases worldwide, and it is a major cause of childhood mortality. We carried out a whole exome sequencing (WES) study in eight patients with complicated cases of pneumococcal pneumonia (empyema). An initial assessment of statistical association of WES variation with pneumonia was carried out using data from the 1000 Genomes Project (1000G) for the Iberian Peninsula (IBS) as reference controls. Pseudo-replication statistical analyses were carried out using different European control groups. Association tests pointed to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs201967957 (gene MEIS1; chromosome 2; p-valueIBS = 3.71 × 10−13) and rs576099063 (gene TSPAN15; chromosome 10; p-valueIBS = 2.36 × 10−8) as the best candidate variants associated to pneumococcal pneumonia. A burden gene test of pathogenicity signaled four genes, namely, OR9G9, MUC6, MUC3A and APOB, which carry significantly increased pathogenic variation when compared to controls. By analyzing various transcriptomic data repositories, we found strong supportive evidence for the role of MEIS1, TSPAN15 and APOBR (encoding the receptor of the APOB protein) in pneumonia in mouse and human models. Furthermore, the association of the olfactory receptor gene OR9G9 has recently been related to some viral infectious diseases, while the role of mucin genes (MUC6 and MUC3A), encoding mucin glycoproteins, are well-known factors related to chronic obstructive airway disease. WES emerges as a promising technique to disentangle the genetic basis of host genome susceptibility to infectious respiratory diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Genetic Loci)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Regulation of the X Chromosome in the Germline and Soma of Drosophila melanogaster Males
Received: 20 March 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
During the evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the sex-specific Y chromosome degenerates, while the X chromosome evolves new mechanisms of regulation. Using bioinformatic and experimental approaches, we investigate the expression of the X chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster. We observe nearly complete X
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During the evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the sex-specific Y chromosome degenerates, while the X chromosome evolves new mechanisms of regulation. Using bioinformatic and experimental approaches, we investigate the expression of the X chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster. We observe nearly complete X chromosome dosage compensation in male somatic tissues, but not in testis. The X chromosome contains disproportionately fewer genes with high expression in testis than the autosomes, even after accounting for the lack of dosage compensation, which suggests that another mechanism suppresses their expression in the male germline. This is consistent with studies of reporter genes and transposed genes, which find that the same gene has higher expression when autosomal than when X-linked. Using a new reporter gene that is expressed in both testis and somatic tissues, we find that the suppression of X-linked gene expression is limited to genes with high expression in testis and that the extent of the suppression is positively correlated with expression level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessArticle Chitinase mRNA Levels Determined by QPCR in Crab-Eating Monkey (Macaca fascicularis) Tissues: Species-Specific Expression of Acidic Mammalian Chitinase and Chitotriosidase
Received: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract
Mice and humans express two active chitinases: acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) and chitotriosidase (CHIT1). Both chitinases are thought to play important roles in specific pathophysiological conditions. The crab-eating monkey (Macaca fascicularis) is one of the most frequently used nonhuman primate models
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Mice and humans express two active chitinases: acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) and chitotriosidase (CHIT1). Both chitinases are thought to play important roles in specific pathophysiological conditions. The crab-eating monkey (Macaca fascicularis) is one of the most frequently used nonhuman primate models in basic and applied biomedical research. Here, we performed gene expression analysis of two chitinases in normal crab-eating monkey tissues by way of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using a single standard DNA molecule. Levels of AMCase and CHIT1 messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were highest in the stomach and the lung, respectively, when compared to other tissues. Comparative gene expression analysis of mouse, monkey, and human using monkey–mouse–human hybrid standard DNA showed that the AMCase mRNA levels were exceptionally high in mouse and monkey stomachs while very low in the human stomach. As for the CHIT1 mRNA, we detected higher levels in the monkey lung when compared with those of mouse and human. The differences of mRNA expression between the species in the stomach tissues were basically reflecting the levels of the chitinolytic activities. These results indicate that gene expression of AMCase and CHIT1 differs between mammalian species and requiring special attention in handling data in chitinase-related studies in particular organisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Transcription Factor Binding Site Enrichment Analysis in Co-Expression Modules in Celiac Disease
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to construct celiac co-expression patterns at a whole genome level and to identify transcription factors (TFs) that could drive the gliadin-related changes in coordination of gene expression observed in celiac disease (CD). Differential co-expression modules were identified
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The aim of this study was to construct celiac co-expression patterns at a whole genome level and to identify transcription factors (TFs) that could drive the gliadin-related changes in coordination of gene expression observed in celiac disease (CD). Differential co-expression modules were identified in the acute and chronic responses to gliadin using expression data from a previous microarray study in duodenal biopsies. Transcription factor binding site (TFBS) and Gene Ontology (GO) annotation enrichment analyses were performed in differentially co-expressed genes (DCGs) and selection of candidate regulators was performed. Expression of candidates was measured in clinical samples and the activation of the TFs was further characterized in C2BBe1 cells upon gliadin challenge. Enrichment analyses of the DCGs identified 10 TFs and five were selected for further investigation. Expression changes related to active CD were detected in four TFs, as well as in several of their in silico predicted targets. The activation of TFs was further characterized in C2BBe1 cells upon gliadin challenge, and an increase in nuclear translocation of CAMP Responsive Element Binding Protein 1 (CREB1) and IFN regulatory factor-1 (IRF1) in response to gliadin was observed. Using transcriptome-wide co-expression analyses we are able to propose novel genes involved in CD pathogenesis that respond upon gliadin stimulation, also in non-celiac models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping Grain Iron and Zinc Content Quantitative Trait Loci in an Iniadi-Derived Immortal Population of Pearl Millet
Received: 3 March 2018 / Revised: 23 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
Pearl millet is a climate-resilient nutritious crop requiring low inputs and is capable of giving economic returns in marginal agro-ecologies. In this study, we report large-effect iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) content quantitative trait loci (QTLs) using diversity array technology (DArT) and
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Pearl millet is a climate-resilient nutritious crop requiring low inputs and is capable of giving economic returns in marginal agro-ecologies. In this study, we report large-effect iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) content quantitative trait loci (QTLs) using diversity array technology (DArT) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) markers to generate a genetic linkage map using 317 recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from the (ICMS 8511-S1-17-2-1-1-B-P03 × AIMP 92901-S1-183-2-2-B-08) cross. The base map [seven linkage groups (LGs)] of 196 loci was 964.2 cM in length (Haldane). AIMP 92901-S1-183-2-2-B-08 is an Iniadi line with high grain Fe and Zn, tracing its origin to the Togolese Republic, West Africa. The content of grain Fe in the RIL population ranged between 20 and 131 ppm (parts per million), and that of Zn from 18 to 110 ppm. QTL analysis revealed a large number of QTLs for high grain iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) content. A total of 19 QTLs for Fe and Zn were detected, of which 11 were for Fe and eight were for Zn. The portion of the observed phenotypic variance explained by different QTLs for grain Fe and Zn content varied from 9.0 to 31.9% (cumulative 74%) and from 9.4 to 30.4% (cumulative 65%), respectively. Three large-effect QTLs for both minerals were co-mapped in this population, one on LG1 and two on LG7. The favorable QTL alleles of both mineral micronutrients were contributed by the male parent (AIMP 92901-deriv-08). Three putative epistasis interactions were observed for Fe content, while a single digenic interaction was found for Zn content. The reported QTLs may be useful in marker-assisted selection (MAS) programs, in genomic selection (GS) breeding pipelines for seed and restorer parents, and in population improvement programs for pearl millet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Investigating the Epigenetic Discrimination of Identical Twins Using Buccal Swabs, Saliva, and Cigarette Butts in the Forensic Setting
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
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Abstract
Monozygotic (MZ) twins are typically indistinguishable via forensic DNA profiling. Recently, we demonstrated that epigenetic differentiation of MZ twins is feasible; however, proportions of twin differentially methylated CpG sites (tDMSs) identified in reference-type blood DNA were not replicated in trace-type blood DNA. Here
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Monozygotic (MZ) twins are typically indistinguishable via forensic DNA profiling. Recently, we demonstrated that epigenetic differentiation of MZ twins is feasible; however, proportions of twin differentially methylated CpG sites (tDMSs) identified in reference-type blood DNA were not replicated in trace-type blood DNA. Here we investigated buccal swabs as typical forensic reference material, and saliva and cigarette butts as commonly encountered forensic trace materials. As an analog to a forensic case, we analyzed one MZ twin pair. Epigenome-wide microarray analysis in reference-type buccal DNA revealed 25 candidate tDMSs with >0.5 twin-to-twin differences. MethyLight quantitative PCR (qPCR) of 22 selected tDMSs in trace-type DNA revealed in saliva DNA that six tDMSs (27.3%) had >0.1 twin-to-twin differences, seven (31.8%) had smaller (<0.1) but robustly detected differences, whereas for nine (40.9%) the differences were in the opposite direction relative to the microarray data; for cigarette butt DNA, results were 50%, 22.7%, and 27.3%, respectively. The discrepancies between reference-type and trace-type DNA outcomes can be explained by cell composition differences, method-to-method variation, and other technical reasons including bisulfite conversion inefficiency. Our study highlights the importance of the DNA source and that careful characterization of biological and technical effects is needed before epigenetic MZ twin differentiation is applicable in forensic casework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forensic Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Role of SdiA on Biofilm Formation by Atypical Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
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Abstract
Atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli are capable to form biofilm on biotic and abiotic surfaces, regardless of the adherence pattern displayed. Several E. coli mechanisms are regulated by Quorum sensing (QS), including virulence factors and biofilm formation. Quorum sensing is a signaling system that
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Atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coli are capable to form biofilm on biotic and abiotic surfaces, regardless of the adherence pattern displayed. Several E. coli mechanisms are regulated by Quorum sensing (QS), including virulence factors and biofilm formation. Quorum sensing is a signaling system that confers bacteria with the ability to respond to chemical molecules known as autoinducers. Suppressor of division inhibitor (SdiA) is a QS receptor present in atypical enteropathogenic E. coli (aEPEC) that detects acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) type autoinducers. However, these bacteria do not encode an AHL synthase, but they are capable of sensing AHL molecules produced by other species, establishing an inter-species bacterial communication. In this study, we performed experiments to evaluate pellicle, ring-like structure and biofilm formation on wild type, sdiA mutants and complemented strains. We also evaluated the transcription of genes involved in different stages of biofilm formation, such as bcsA, csgA, csgD, fliC and fimA. The sdiA mutants were capable of forming thicker biofilm structures and showed increased motility when compared to wild type and complemented strains. Moreover, they also showed denser pellicles and ring-like structures. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis demonstrated increased csgA, csgD and fliC transcription on mutant strains. Biofilm formation, as well as csgD, csgA and fimA transcription decreased on wild type strains by the addition of AHL. These results indicate that SdiA participates on the regulation of these phenotypes in aEPEC and that AHL addition enhances the repressor effect of this receptor on the transcription of biofilm and motility related genes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Antimicrobial Resistance Determinants and Class 1 and Class 2 Integrons in Salmonella enterica spp., Multidrug-Resistant Isolates from Pigs
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Salmonella spp., are primary concerns in public health. The present study characterizes the AMR determinants of 62 multi-drug resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica spp., isolates from swine, which were obtained between 2004–2006, a major source of human salmonellosis. The AMR
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Salmonella spp., are primary concerns in public health. The present study characterizes the AMR determinants of 62 multi-drug resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica spp., isolates from swine, which were obtained between 2004–2006, a major source of human salmonellosis. The AMR determinants were investigated by PCR, checking the presence of class 1 and class 2 integrons and 29 resistance genes. Genes sul1, blaTEM1-like, aadA2, tet(A), and dfrA12 were more prevalent (p < 0.05) within the determinants that were checked for each of these antimicrobials. Co-existence of different genes conferring resistance to the same antimicrobial was common. No differences in AMR determinants prevalence were observed between Salmonella Typhimurium and other serovars from the study. Class 1 integrons were detected in 48 of 62 isolates, again with no differences being linked to any serovar. Nine different variable regions were observed, 1000 bp/aadA2-1200 bp/blaPSE-1 (13 isolates) and blaOXA-like/aadA1 (eight isolates) were the most common. Four isolates, including S. Typhimurium (2), Salmonella Bredeney (1), and Salmonella Kapemba (1) harboured a class 2 integron 2300 bp estX-sat2-aadA1. Results from the study highlight the importance of class 1 integrons and certain genes in MDR swine Salmonella isolates. The information is of relevance for monitoring in the forthcoming scope of reduction of antibiotic usage in swine production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Foodborne Pathogens)
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Open AccessCommunication AtPAP2, a Unique Member of the PAP Family, Functions in the Plasma Membrane
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
Purple acid phosphatases (PAPs) play various physiological roles in plants. AtPAP2 was previously shown to localize to both chloroplasts and mitochondria and to modulate carbon metabolism in Arabidopsis. Over-expression of AtPAP2 resulted in faster growth and increased biomass in several plant species,
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Purple acid phosphatases (PAPs) play various physiological roles in plants. AtPAP2 was previously shown to localize to both chloroplasts and mitochondria and to modulate carbon metabolism in Arabidopsis. Over-expression of AtPAP2 resulted in faster growth and increased biomass in several plant species, indicating its great potential for crop improvement of phosphate use and yield. Here, we studied the localization of AtPAP2 by transient expression in tobacco leaves. The results showed AtPAP2 was localized to the plasma membrane through the secretory pathway, which is different from previous studies. We also found that AtPAP2 had a close relationship with fungal PAP2-like proteins based on phylogenetic analysis. In addition, the C-terminal transmembrane domain conserved in land plants is unique among other AtPAPs except AtPAP9, which is a close homolog of AtPAP2. Taken together, our results provide information for further study of AtPAP2 in understanding its special function in crop improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genomics and Epigenomics for Trait Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle The Cross-Entropy Based Multi-Filter Ensemble Method for Gene Selection
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
The gene expression profile has the characteristics of a high dimension, low sample, and continuous type, and it is a great challenge to use gene expression profile data for the classification of tumor samples. This paper proposes a cross-entropy based multi-filter ensemble (CEMFE)
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The gene expression profile has the characteristics of a high dimension, low sample, and continuous type, and it is a great challenge to use gene expression profile data for the classification of tumor samples. This paper proposes a cross-entropy based multi-filter ensemble (CEMFE) method for microarray data classification. Firstly, multiple filters are used to select the microarray data in order to obtain a plurality of the pre-selected feature subsets with a different classification ability. The top N genes with the highest rank of each subset are integrated so as to form a new data set. Secondly, the cross-entropy algorithm is used to remove the redundant data in the data set. Finally, the wrapper method, which is based on forward feature selection, is used to select the best feature subset. The experimental results show that the proposed method is more efficient than other gene selection methods and that it can achieve a higher classification accuracy under fewer characteristic genes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Chronic and Occult Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Botswana
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a global problem; however, the burden of HBV infection in pregnant women in Botswana is unknown. We sought to determine the prevalence of chronic and occult HBV infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and -uninfected pregnant women
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The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a global problem; however, the burden of HBV infection in pregnant women in Botswana is unknown. We sought to determine the prevalence of chronic and occult HBV infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and -uninfected pregnant women in Botswana. Samples from 752 pregnant women were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and HBsAg-positive samples were tested for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and HBV DNA load. Samples that were HBsAg negative were screened for occult HBV infection by determining the HBV DNA load. HBV genotypes were determined based on a 415-base-pair fragment of the surface gene. Among the 752 women tested during pregnancy or early postpartum, 16 (2.1%) (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0–2.2) were HBsAg-positive. The prevalence of chronic HBV infection was higher (3.1%) among HIV-infected (95% CI: 3.0–3.2) compared with HIV-uninfected women (1.1%) (95% CI: 1.07–1.1, p = 0.057). Among the 622 HBsAg-negative women, the prevalence of occult HBV infection was 6.6% (95% CI: 6.5–6.7). Three of thirteen HBsAg-positive participants were HBeAg-positive, and all were HIV-negative. Of the 11 maternal samples successfully genotyped, five (45.5%) were genotype D3, five (45.5%) were genotype A1, and one was genotype E (9%). Low and similar proportions of HIV-infected and -uninfected pregnant women in Botswana had occult or chronic HBV infection. We identified a subset of HIV-negative pregnant women who had high HBV DNA levels and were HBeAg-positive, and thus likely to transmit HBV to their infants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Identification and Characterization of the WOX Family Genes in Five Solanaceae Species Reveal Their Conserved Roles in Peptide Signaling
Received: 21 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
Members of the plant-specific WOX (WUSCHEL-related homeobox) transcription factor family have been reported to play important roles in peptide signaling that regulates stem cell maintenance and cell fate specification in various developmental processes. Even though remarkable advances have been made in studying WOX
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Members of the plant-specific WOX (WUSCHEL-related homeobox) transcription factor family have been reported to play important roles in peptide signaling that regulates stem cell maintenance and cell fate specification in various developmental processes. Even though remarkable advances have been made in studying WOX genes in Arabidopsis, little is known about this family in Solanaceae species. A total of 45 WOX members from five Solanaceae species were identified, including eight members from Solanum tuberosum, eight from Nicotiana tomentosiformis, 10 from Solanum lycopersicum, 10 from Nicotiana sylvestris and nine from Nicotiana tabacum. The newly identified WOX members were classified into three clades and nine subgroups based on phylogenetic analysis using three different methods. The patterns of exon-intron structure and motif organization of the WOX proteins agreed with the phylogenetic results. Gene duplication events and ongoing evolution were revealed by additional branches on the phylogenetic tree and the presence of a partial WUS-box in some non-WUS clade members. Gene expression with or without CLE (clavata3 (clv3)/embryo surrounding region-related) peptide treatments revealed that tobacco WOX genes showed similar or distinct expression patterns compared with their Arabidopsis homologues, suggesting either functional conservation or divergence. Expression of Nicotiana tabacum WUSCHEL (NtabWUS) in the organizing center could rescue the wus-1 mutant phenotypes in Arabidopsis, implying conserved roles of the Solanaceae WOX proteins in peptide-mediated regulation of plant development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Conventional Pathology Versus Gene Signatures for Assessing Luminal A and B Type Breast Cancers: Results of a Prospective Cohort Study
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 17 May 2018
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Abstract
In this study, in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) early stage breast cancer patients who were considered candidates for 70-gene signature (70-GS, “MammaPrint”) use, we compared molecular subtyping (MS) based on the previously validated 80-gene signature (80-GS, “BluePrint”) versus surrogate pathological subtyping (PS). Between
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In this study, in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) early stage breast cancer patients who were considered candidates for 70-gene signature (70-GS, “MammaPrint”) use, we compared molecular subtyping (MS) based on the previously validated 80-gene signature (80-GS, “BluePrint”) versus surrogate pathological subtyping (PS). Between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015, 595 clinical intermediate risk ER+ early stage breast cancer patients were enrolled. Hormone receptor (HR) and HER2 receptor status were determined by conventional pathology using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Ki67 was assessed in a subset of patients. The overall concordance between PS and MS for luminal type cancers (A and B together) was 98%. The concordance between PS and MS for luminal A and luminal B type cancers based on the Bloom Richardson histological grade (BR) (n = 586) or Ki67 (n = 185) was low: 64% (Kappa 0.20 [95% CI 0.11–0.28]) and 65% (Kappa 0.22 [95% CI 0.062–0.37]), respectively. In this prospective study (NCT02209857) of a selection of ER+ and predominantly HER2− early-stage breast cancer patients, the additional ability of the 80-GS to distinguish between luminal, HER2-type and basal-like cancers was inherently very limited. The distinction of luminal-type tumors into A and B according to Ki67 status or BR grade versus the 70-GS revealed poor concordance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
Open AccessArticle Genomic Differentiation during Speciation-with-Gene-Flow: Comparing Geographic and Host-Related Variation in Divergent Life History Adaptation in Rhagoletis pomonella
Received: 25 February 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
A major goal of evolutionary biology is to understand how variation within populations gets partitioned into differences between reproductively isolated species. Here, we examine the degree to which diapause life history timing, a critical adaptation promoting population divergence, explains geographic and host-related genetic
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A major goal of evolutionary biology is to understand how variation within populations gets partitioned into differences between reproductively isolated species. Here, we examine the degree to which diapause life history timing, a critical adaptation promoting population divergence, explains geographic and host-related genetic variation in ancestral hawthorn and recently derived apple-infesting races of Rhagoletis pomonella. Our strategy involved combining experiments on two different aspects of diapause (initial diapause intensity and adult eclosion time) with a geographic survey of genomic variation across four sites where apple and hawthorn flies co-occur from north to south in the Midwestern USA. The results demonstrated that the majority of the genome showing significant geographic and host-related variation can be accounted for by initial diapause intensity and eclosion time. Local genomic differences between sympatric apple and hawthorn flies were subsumed within broader geographic clines; allele frequency differences within the races across the Midwest were two to three-fold greater than those between the races in sympatry. As a result, sympatric apple and hawthorn populations displayed more limited genomic clustering compared to geographic populations within the races. The findings suggest that with reduced gene flow and increased selection on diapause equivalent to that seen between geographic sites, the host races may be recognized as different genotypic entities in sympatry, and perhaps species, a hypothesis requiring future genomic analysis of related sibling species to R. pomonella to test. Our findings concerning the way selection and geography interplay could be of broad significance for many cases of earlier stages of divergence-with-gene flow, including (1) where only modest increases in geographic isolation and the strength of selection may greatly impact genetic coupling and (2) the dynamics of how spatial and temporal standing variation is extracted by selection to generate differences between new and discrete units of biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of DNA Methylation Reveals Specific Regulations on Ethylene Pathway in Tomato Fruit
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
DNA methylation is an essential feature of epigenetic regulation and plays a role in various physiological and biochemical processes at CG, CHG, and CHH sites in plants. LeERF1 is an ethylene response factor (ERF) found in tomatoes which plays an important role in
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DNA methylation is an essential feature of epigenetic regulation and plays a role in various physiological and biochemical processes at CG, CHG, and CHH sites in plants. LeERF1 is an ethylene response factor (ERF) found in tomatoes which plays an important role in ethylene signal transduction. To explore the characteristics of DNA methylation in the ethylene pathway, sense-/antisense-LeERF1 transgenic tomato fruit were chosen for deep sequencing and bioinformatics parsing. The methylation type with the greatest distribution was CG, (71.60–72.80%) and CHH was found least frequently (10.70–12.50%). The level of DNA methylation was different among different tomato genomic regions. The differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were conjointly analyzed and 3030 different expressed genes were found, of which several are involved in ethylene synthesis and signaling transduction (such as ACS, ACO, MADS-Box, ERFs, and F-box). Furthermore, the relationships between DNA methylation and microRNAs (miRNAs) were also deciphered, providing basic information for the further study of DNA methylation and small RNAs involved in the ethylene pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle Validation of Ion TorrentTM Inherited Disease Panel with the PGMTM Sequencing Platform for Rapid and Comprehensive Mutation Detection
Genes 2018, 9(5), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9050267 (registering DOI)
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Quick and accurate molecular testing is necessary for the better management of many inherited diseases. Recent technological advances in various next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, such as target panel-based sequencing, has enabled comprehensive, quick, and precise interrogation of many genetic variations. As a
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Quick and accurate molecular testing is necessary for the better management of many inherited diseases. Recent technological advances in various next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, such as target panel-based sequencing, has enabled comprehensive, quick, and precise interrogation of many genetic variations. As a result, these technologies have become a valuable tool for gene discovery and for clinical diagnostics. The AmpliSeq Inherited Disease Panel (IDP) consists of 328 genes underlying more than 700 inherited diseases. Here, we aimed to assess the performance of the IDP as a sensitive and rapid comprehensive gene panel testing. A total of 88 patients with inherited diseases and causal mutations that were previously identified by Sanger sequencing were randomly selected for assessing the performance of the IDP. The IDP successfully detected 93.1% of the mutations in our validation cohort, achieving high overall gene coverage (98%). The sensitivity for detecting single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and short Indels was 97.3% and 69.2%, respectively. IDP, when coupled with Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM), delivers comprehensive and rapid sequencing for genes that are responsible for various inherited diseases. Our validation results suggest the suitability of this panel for use as a first-line screening test after applying the necessary clinical validation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Applications for Next Generation Sequencing)
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Open AccessReview The Methylome of Vertebrate Sex Chromosomes
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
DNA methylation is a key epigenetic modification in vertebrate genomes known to be involved in the regulation of gene expression, X chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, chromatin structure, and control of transposable elements. DNA methylation is common to all eukaryote genomes, but we still
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DNA methylation is a key epigenetic modification in vertebrate genomes known to be involved in the regulation of gene expression, X chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, chromatin structure, and control of transposable elements. DNA methylation is common to all eukaryote genomes, but we still lack a complete understanding of the variation in DNA methylation patterns on sex chromosomes and between the sexes in diverse species. To better understand sex chromosome DNA methylation patterns between different amniote vertebrates, we review literature that has analyzed the genome-wide distribution of DNA methylation in mammals and birds. In each system, we focus on DNA methylation patterns on the autosomes versus the sex chromosomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessReview The Colorful Sex Chromosomes of Teleost Fish
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Teleost fish provide some of the most intriguing examples of sexually dimorphic coloration, which is often advantageous for only one of the sexes. Mapping studies demonstrated that the genetic loci underlying such color patterns are frequently in tight linkage to the sex-determining locus
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Teleost fish provide some of the most intriguing examples of sexually dimorphic coloration, which is often advantageous for only one of the sexes. Mapping studies demonstrated that the genetic loci underlying such color patterns are frequently in tight linkage to the sex-determining locus of a species, ensuring sex-specific expression of the corresponding trait. Several genes affecting color synthesis and pigment cell development have been previously described, but the color loci on the sex chromosomes have mostly remained elusive as yet. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about the genetics of such color loci in teleosts, mainly from studies on poeciliids and cichlids. Further studies on these color loci will certainly provide important insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessReview The Most Important Virulence Markers of Yersinia enterocolitica and Their Role during Infection
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Yersinia enterocolitica is the causative agent of yersiniosis, a zoonotic disease of growing epidemiological importance with significant consequences for public health. This pathogenic species has been intensively studied for many years. Six biotypes (1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5) and more than 70
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Yersinia enterocolitica is the causative agent of yersiniosis, a zoonotic disease of growing epidemiological importance with significant consequences for public health. This pathogenic species has been intensively studied for many years. Six biotypes (1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5) and more than 70 serotypes of Y. enterocolitica have been identified to date. The biotypes of Y. enterocolitica are divided according to their pathogenic properties: the non-pathogenic biotype 1A, weakly pathogenic biotypes 2–5, and the highly pathogenic biotype 1B. Due to the complex pathogenesis of yersiniosis, further research is needed to expand our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the infection process and the clinical course of the disease. Many factors, both plasmid and chromosomal, significantly influence these processes. The aim of this study was to present the most important virulence markers of Y. enterocolitica and their role during infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Foodborne Pathogens)
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Open AccessReview Genetic Mechanisms of Asthma and the Implications for Drug Repositioning
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 21 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Asthma is a chronic disease that is caused by airway inflammation. The main features of asthma are airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and reversible airway obstruction. The disease is mainly managed using drug therapy. The current asthma drug treatments are divided into two categories, namely,
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Asthma is a chronic disease that is caused by airway inflammation. The main features of asthma are airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and reversible airway obstruction. The disease is mainly managed using drug therapy. The current asthma drug treatments are divided into two categories, namely, anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilators. However, disease control in asthma patients is not very efficient because the pathogenesis of asthma is complicated, inducing factors that are varied, such as the differences between individual patients. In this paper, we delineate the genetic mechanisms of asthma, and present asthma-susceptible genes and genetic pharmacology in an attempt to find a diagnosis, early prevention, and treatment methods for asthma. Finally, we reposition some clinical drugs for asthma therapy, based on asthma genetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Variations in Evolution and Human Diseases)
Open AccessReview Did Lizards Follow Unique Pathways in Sex Chromosome Evolution?
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Reptiles show remarkable diversity in modes of reproduction and sex determination, including high variation in the morphology of sex chromosomes, ranging from homomorphic to highly heteromorphic. Additionally, the co-existence of genotypic sex determination (GSD) and temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) within and among sister
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Reptiles show remarkable diversity in modes of reproduction and sex determination, including high variation in the morphology of sex chromosomes, ranging from homomorphic to highly heteromorphic. Additionally, the co-existence of genotypic sex determination (GSD) and temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) within and among sister clades makes this group an attractive model to study and understand the evolution of sex chromosomes. This is particularly so with Lizards (Order Squamata) which, among reptiles, show extraordinary morphological diversity. They also show no particular pattern of sex chromosome degeneration of the kind observed in mammals, birds and or even in snakes. We therefore speculate that sex determination sensu sex chromosome evolution is labile and rapid and largely follows independent trajectories within lizards. Here, we review the current knowledge on the evolution of sex chromosomes in lizards and discuss how sex chromosome evolution within that group differs from other amniote taxa, facilitating unique evolutionary pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms in Cancer
Received: 14 March 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
Tumour cells can adopt telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) to avoid telomere shortening, an inevitable process due to successive cell divisions. In most tumour cells, telomere length (TL) is maintained by reactivation of telomerase, while a small part acquires immortality through the telomerase-independent alternative
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Tumour cells can adopt telomere maintenance mechanisms (TMMs) to avoid telomere shortening, an inevitable process due to successive cell divisions. In most tumour cells, telomere length (TL) is maintained by reactivation of telomerase, while a small part acquires immortality through the telomerase-independent alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) mechanism. In the last years, a great amount of data was generated, and different TMMs were reported and explained in detail, benefiting from genome-scale studies of major importance. In this review, we address seven different TMMs in tumour cells: mutations of the TERT promoter (TERTp), amplification of the genes TERT and TERC, polymorphic variants of the TERT gene and of its promoter, rearrangements of the TERT gene, epigenetic changes, ALT, and non-defined TMM (NDTMM). We gathered information from over fifty thousand patients reported in 288 papers in the last years. This wide data collection enabled us to portray, by organ/system and histotypes, the prevalence of TERTp mutations, TERT and TERC amplifications, and ALT in human tumours. Based on this information, we discuss the putative future clinical impact of the aforementioned mechanisms on the malignant transformation process in different setups, and provide insights for screening, prognosis, and patient management stratification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Open AccessReview The Oncojanus Paradigm of Respiratory Complex I
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
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Abstract
Mitochondrial respiratory function is now recognized as a pivotal player in all the aspects of cancer biology, from tumorigenesis to aggressiveness and chemotherapy resistance. Among the enzymes that compose the respiratory chain, by contributing to energy production, redox equilibrium and oxidative stress, complex
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Mitochondrial respiratory function is now recognized as a pivotal player in all the aspects of cancer biology, from tumorigenesis to aggressiveness and chemotherapy resistance. Among the enzymes that compose the respiratory chain, by contributing to energy production, redox equilibrium and oxidative stress, complex I assumes a central role. Complex I defects may arise from mutations in mitochondrial or nuclear DNA, in both structural genes or assembly factors, from alteration of the expression levels of its subunits, or from drug exposure. Since cancer cells have a high-energy demand and require macromolecules for proliferation, it is not surprising that severe complex I defects, caused either by mutations or treatment with specific inhibitors, prevent tumor progression, while contributing to resistance to certain chemotherapeutic agents. On the other hand, enhanced oxidative stress due to mild complex I dysfunction drives an opposite phenotype, as it stimulates cancer cell proliferation and invasiveness. We here review the current knowledge on the contribution of respiratory complex I to cancer biology, highlighting the double-edged role of this metabolic enzyme in tumor progression, metastasis formation, and response to chemotherapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview tRNA-Derived Small RNA: A Novel Regulatory Small Non-Coding RNA
Received: 22 April 2018 / Revised: 6 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
Deep analysis of next-generation sequencing data unveils numerous small non-coding RNAs with distinct functions. Recently, fragments derived from tRNA, named as tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA), have attracted broad attention. There are mainly two types of tsRNAs, including tRNA-derived stress-induced RNA (tiRNA) and tRNA-derived
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Deep analysis of next-generation sequencing data unveils numerous small non-coding RNAs with distinct functions. Recently, fragments derived from tRNA, named as tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA), have attracted broad attention. There are mainly two types of tsRNAs, including tRNA-derived stress-induced RNA (tiRNA) and tRNA-derived fragment (tRF), which differ in the cleavage position of the precursor or mature tRNA transcript. Emerging evidence has shown that tsRNAs are not merely tRNA degradation debris but have been recognized to play regulatory roles in many specific physiological and pathological processes. In this review, we summarize the biogeneses of various tsRNAs, present the emerging concepts regarding functions and mechanisms of action of tsRNAs, highlight the potential application of tsRNAs in human diseases, and put forward the current problems and future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics)
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Open AccessReview Journey into Bone Models: A Review
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
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Abstract
Bone is a complex tissue with a variety of functions, such as providing mechanical stability for locomotion, protection of the inner organs, mineral homeostasis and haematopoiesis. To fulfil these diverse roles in the human body, bone consists of a multitude of different cells
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Bone is a complex tissue with a variety of functions, such as providing mechanical stability for locomotion, protection of the inner organs, mineral homeostasis and haematopoiesis. To fulfil these diverse roles in the human body, bone consists of a multitude of different cells and an extracellular matrix that is mechanically stable, yet flexible at the same time. Unlike most tissues, bone is under constant renewal facilitated by a coordinated interaction of bone-forming and bone-resorbing cells. It is thus challenging to recreate bone in its complexity in vitro and most current models rather focus on certain aspects of bone biology that are of relevance for the research question addressed. In addition, animal models are still regarded as the gold-standard in the context of bone biology and pathology, especially for the development of novel treatment strategies. However, species-specific differences impede the translation of findings from animal models to humans. The current review summarizes and discusses the latest developments in bone tissue engineering and organoid culture including suitable cell sources, extracellular matrices and microfluidic bioreactor systems. With available technology in mind, a best possible bone model will be hypothesized. Furthermore, the future need and application of such a complex model will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From the Lab-on-a-Chip to the Organ-on-a-Chip)
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Open AccessReview Selecting the Best: Evolutionary Engineering of Chemical Production in Microbes
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
Microbial cell factories have proven to be an economical means of production for many bulk, specialty, and fine chemical products. However, we still lack both a holistic understanding of organism physiology and the ability to predictively tune enzyme activities in vivo, thus slowing
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Microbial cell factories have proven to be an economical means of production for many bulk, specialty, and fine chemical products. However, we still lack both a holistic understanding of organism physiology and the ability to predictively tune enzyme activities in vivo, thus slowing down rational engineering of industrially relevant strains. An alternative concept to rational engineering is to use evolution as the driving force to select for desired changes, an approach often described as evolutionary engineering. In evolutionary engineering, in vivo selections for a desired phenotype are combined with either generation of spontaneous mutations or some form of targeted or random mutagenesis. Evolutionary engineering has been used to successfully engineer easily selectable phenotypes, such as utilization of a suboptimal nutrient source or tolerance to inhibitory substrates or products. In this review, we focus primarily on a more challenging problem—the use of evolutionary engineering for improving the production of chemicals in microbes directly. We describe recent developments in evolutionary engineering strategies, in general, and discuss, in detail, case studies where production of a chemical has been successfully achieved through evolutionary engineering by coupling production to cellular growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Metabolic Engineering)
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Open AccessReview Brain Mitochondria, Aging, and Parkinson’s Disease
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper reconsiders the role of mitochondria in aging and in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The most important risk factor for PD is aging. Alterations in mitochondrial activity are typical of aging. Mitochondrial aging is characterized by decreased oxidative phosphorylation, proteasome activity decrease, altered
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This paper reconsiders the role of mitochondria in aging and in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The most important risk factor for PD is aging. Alterations in mitochondrial activity are typical of aging. Mitochondrial aging is characterized by decreased oxidative phosphorylation, proteasome activity decrease, altered autophagy, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Beyond declined oxidative phosphorylation, mitochondrial dysfunction consists of a decline of beta-oxidation as well as of the Krebs cycle. Not inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are acquired over time and parallel the decrease in oxidative phosphorylation. Many of these mitochondrial alterations are also found in the PD brain specifically in the substantia nigra (SN). mtDNA deletions and development of respiratory chain deficiency in SN neurons of aged individuals as well as of individuals with PD converge towards a shared pathway, which leads to neuronal dysfunction and death. Finally, several nuclear genes that are mutated in hereditary PD are usually implicated in mitochondrial functioning to a various extent and their mutation may cause mitochondrial impairment. In conclusion, a tight link exists between mitochondria, aging, and PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria and Aging)
Open AccessReview The Role of Transposable Elements in Speciation
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
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Abstract
Understanding the phenotypic and molecular mechanisms that contribute to genetic diversity between and within species is fundamental in studying the evolution of species. In particular, identifying the interspecific differences that lead to the reduction or even cessation of gene flow between nascent species
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Understanding the phenotypic and molecular mechanisms that contribute to genetic diversity between and within species is fundamental in studying the evolution of species. In particular, identifying the interspecific differences that lead to the reduction or even cessation of gene flow between nascent species is one of the main goals of speciation genetic research. Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences with the ability to move within genomes. TEs are ubiquitous throughout eukaryotic genomes and have been shown to alter regulatory networks, gene expression, and to rearrange genomes as a result of their transposition. However, no systematic effort has evaluated the role of TEs in speciation. We compiled the evidence for TEs as potential causes of reproductive isolation across a diversity of taxa. We find that TEs are often associated with hybrid defects that might preclude the fusion between species, but that the involvement of TEs in other barriers to gene flow different from postzygotic isolation is still relatively unknown. Finally, we list a series of guides and research avenues to disentangle the effects of TEs on the origin of new species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics of Reproductive Isolation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Changing Landscape in the Genetic Etiology of Human Tooth Agenesis
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
Despite much progress in understanding the genetics of syndromic tooth agenesis (TA), the causes of the most common, isolated TA remain elusive. Recent studies have identified novel genes and variants contributing to the etiology of TA, and revealed new pathways in which tooth
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Despite much progress in understanding the genetics of syndromic tooth agenesis (TA), the causes of the most common, isolated TA remain elusive. Recent studies have identified novel genes and variants contributing to the etiology of TA, and revealed new pathways in which tooth development genes belong. Further, the use of new research approaches including next-generation sequencing has provided increased evidence supporting an oligogenic inheritance model for TA, and may explain the phenotypic variability of the condition. In this review, we present current knowledge about the genetic mechanisms underlying syndromic and isolated TA in humans, and highlight the value of incorporating next-generation sequencing approaches to identify causative and/or modifier genes that contribute to the etiology of TA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Variations in Evolution and Human Diseases)
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Open AccessReview Regulation Mediated by N-Acyl Homoserine Lactone Quorum Sensing Signals in the Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 15 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
Soil-dwelling bacteria collectively referred to as rhizobia synthesize and perceive N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) signals to regulate gene expression in a population density-dependent manner. AHL-mediated signaling in these bacteria regulates several functions which are important for the establishment of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with legume
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Soil-dwelling bacteria collectively referred to as rhizobia synthesize and perceive N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) signals to regulate gene expression in a population density-dependent manner. AHL-mediated signaling in these bacteria regulates several functions which are important for the establishment of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with legume plants. Moreover, rhizobial AHL act as interkingdom signals triggering plant responses that impact the plant-bacteria interaction. Both the regulatory mechanisms that control AHL synthesis in rhizobia and the set of bacterial genes and associated traits under quorum sensing (QS) control vary greatly among the rhizobial species. In this article, we focus on the well-known QS system of the alfalfa symbiont Sinorhizobium (Ensifer) meliloti. Bacterial genes, environmental factors and transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms that control AHL production in this Rhizobium, as well as the effects of the signaling molecule on bacterial phenotypes and plant responses will be reviewed. Current knowledge of S. meliloti QS will be compared with that of other rhizobia. Finally, participation of the legume host in QS by interfering with rhizobial AHL perception through the production of molecular mimics will also be addressed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Guppy Sex Chromosome System and the Sexually Antagonistic Polymorphism Hypothesis for Y Chromosome Recombination Suppression
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
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Abstract
Sex chromosomes regularly evolve suppressed recombination, distinguishing them from other chromosomes, and the reason for this has been debated for many years. It is now clear that non-recombining sex-linked regions have arisen in different ways in different organisms. A major hypothesis is that
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Sex chromosomes regularly evolve suppressed recombination, distinguishing them from other chromosomes, and the reason for this has been debated for many years. It is now clear that non-recombining sex-linked regions have arisen in different ways in different organisms. A major hypothesis is that a sex-determining gene arises on a chromosome and that sexually antagonistic (SA) selection (sometimes called intra-locus sexual conflict) acting at a linked gene has led to the evolution of recombination suppression in the region, to reduce the frequency of low fitness recombinant genotypes produced. The sex chromosome system of the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) is often cited as supporting this hypothesis because SA selection has been demonstrated to act on male coloration in natural populations of this fish, and probably contributes to maintaining polymorphisms for the genetic factors involved. I review classical genetic and new molecular genetic results from the guppy, and other fish, including approaches for identifying the genome regions carrying sex-determining loci, and suggest that the guppy may exemplify a recently proposed route to sex chromosome evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Evolutionary Life Cycle of Sex Chromosomes)
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Open AccessReview Influence of Maternal Aging on Mitochondrial Heterogeneity, Inheritance, and Function in Oocytes and Preimplantation Embryos
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 11 May 2018 / Accepted: 14 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
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Abstract
Contrasting the equal contribution of nuclear genetic material from maternal and paternal sources to offspring, passage of mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), is uniparental through the egg. Since mitochondria in eggs are ancestral to all somatic mitochondria of the next generation and
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Contrasting the equal contribution of nuclear genetic material from maternal and paternal sources to offspring, passage of mitochondria, and thus mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), is uniparental through the egg. Since mitochondria in eggs are ancestral to all somatic mitochondria of the next generation and to all cells of future generations, oocytes must prepare for the high energetic demands of maturation, fertilization and embryogenesis while simultaneously ensuring that their mitochondrial genomes are inherited in an undamaged state. Although significant effort has been made to understand how the mtDNA bottleneck and purifying selection act coordinately to prevent silent and unchecked spreading of invisible mtDNA mutations through the female germ line across successive generations, it is unknown if and how somatic cells of the immediate next generation are spared from inheritance of detrimental mtDNA molecules. Here, we review unique aspects of mitochondrial activity and segregation in eggs and early embryos, and how these events play into embryonic developmental competency in the face of advancing maternal age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria and Aging)
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Open AccessReview The Present and Future of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and Whole Metagenome Sequencing (WMS) for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistant Microorganisms and Antimicrobial Resistance Genes across the Food Chain
Genes 2018, 9(5), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9050268 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
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Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance is a critical step within risk assessment schemes, as it is the basis for informing global strategies, monitoring the effectiveness of public health interventions, and detecting new trends and emerging threats linked to food. Surveillance of AMR is currently
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance is a critical step within risk assessment schemes, as it is the basis for informing global strategies, monitoring the effectiveness of public health interventions, and detecting new trends and emerging threats linked to food. Surveillance of AMR is currently based on the isolation of indicator microorganisms and the phenotypic characterization of clinical, environmental and food strains isolated. However, this approach provides very limited information on the mechanisms driving AMR or on the presence or spread of AMR genes throughout the food chain. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of bacterial pathogens has shown potential for epidemiological surveillance, outbreak detection, and infection control. In addition, whole metagenome sequencing (WMS) allows for the culture-independent analysis of complex microbial communities, providing useful information on AMR genes occurrence. Both technologies can assist the tracking of AMR genes and mobile genetic elements, providing the necessary information for the implementation of quantitative risk assessments and allowing for the identification of hotspots and routes of transmission of AMR across the food chain. This review article summarizes the information currently available on the use of WGS and WMS for surveillance of AMR in foodborne pathogenic bacteria and food-related samples and discusses future needs that will have to be considered for the routine implementation of these next-generation sequencing methodologies with this aim. In particular, methodological constraints that impede the use at a global scale of these high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies are identified, and the standardization of methods and protocols is suggested as a measure to upgrade HTS-based AMR surveillance schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Foodborne Pathogens)
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Dan Li et al.; Transcription Factor and lncRNA Regulatory Networks Identify Key Elements in Lung Adenocarcinoma. Genes 2018, 9, 12
Received: 3 May 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
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The authors wish to make the following change to their paper [...] Full article
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