Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of the OsIMP Gene Increases the Accumulation of Inositol and Confers Enhanced Cold Tolerance in Tobacco through Modulation of the Antioxidant Enzymes’ Activities
Genes 2017, 8(7), 179; doi:10.3390/genes8070179 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Inositol is a cyclic polyol that is involved in various physiological processes, including signal transduction and stress adaptation in plants. l-myo-inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) is one of the metal-dependent phosphatase family members and catalyzes the last reaction step of biosynthesis of
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Inositol is a cyclic polyol that is involved in various physiological processes, including signal transduction and stress adaptation in plants. l-myo-inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) is one of the metal-dependent phosphatase family members and catalyzes the last reaction step of biosynthesis of inositol. Although increased IMPase activity induced by abiotic stress has been reported in chickpea plants, the role and regulation of the IMP gene in rice (Oryza sativa L.) remains poorly understood. In the present work, we obtained a full-length cDNA sequence coding IMPase in the cold tolerant rice landraces in Gaogonggui, which is named as OsIMP. Multiple alignment results have displayed that this sequence has characteristic signature motifs and conserved enzyme active sites of the phosphatase super family. Phylogenetic analysis showed that IMPase is most closely related to that of the wild rice Oryza brachyantha, while transcript analysis revealed that the expression of the OsIMP is significantly induced by cold stress and exogenous abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Meanwhile, we cloned the 5’ flanking promoter sequence of the OsIMP gene and identified several important cis-acting elements, such as LTR (low-temperature responsiveness), TCA-element (salicylic acid responsiveness), ABRE-element (abscisic acid responsiveness), GARE-motif (gibberellin responsive), MBS (MYB Binding Site) and other cis-acting elements related to defense and stress responsiveness. To further investigate the potential function of the OsIMP gene, we generated transgenic tobacco plants overexpressing the OsIMP gene and the cold tolerance test indicated that these transgenic tobacco plants exhibit improved cold tolerance. Furthermore, transgenic tobacco plants have a lower level of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA), and a higher content of total chlorophyll as well as increased antioxidant enzyme activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and peroxidase (POD), when compared to wild type (WT) tobacco plants under normal and cold stress conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cloning and Characterization of ThSHRs and ThSCR Transcription Factors in Taxodium Hybrid ‘Zhongshanshan 406’
Genes 2017, 8(7), 185; doi:10.3390/genes8070185 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Among the GRAS family of transcription factors, SHORT ROOT (SHR) and SCARECROW (SCR) are key regulators of the formation of root tissues. In this study, we isolated and characterized two genes encoding SHR proteins and one gene encoding an SCR protein: ThSHR1 (Accession
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Among the GRAS family of transcription factors, SHORT ROOT (SHR) and SCARECROW (SCR) are key regulators of the formation of root tissues. In this study, we isolated and characterized two genes encoding SHR proteins and one gene encoding an SCR protein: ThSHR1 (Accession Number MF045148), ThSHR2 (Accession Number MF045149) and ThSCR (Accession Number MF045152) in the adventitious roots of Taxodium hybrid ‘Zhongshanshan’. Gene structure analysis indicated that ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR are all intron free. Multiple protein sequence alignments showed that each of the corresponding proteins, ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR, contained five well-conserved domains: leucine heptad repeat I (LHRI), the VHIID motif, leucine heptad repeat II (LHR II), the PFYRE motif, and the SAW motif. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that ThSCR was positioned in the SCR clade with the SCR proteins from eight other species, while ThSHR1 and ThSHR2 were positioned in the SHR clade with the SHR proteins from six other species. Temporal expression patterns of these genes were profiled during the process of adventitious root development on stem cuttings. Whereas expression of both ThSHR2 and ThSCR increased up to primary root formation before declining, that of ThSHR1 increased steadily throughout adventitious root formation. Subcellular localization studies in transgenic poplar protoplasts revealed that ThSHR1, ThSHR2 and ThSCR were localized in the nucleus. Collectively, these results suggest that the three genes encode Taxodium GRAS family transcription factors, and the findings contribute to improving our understanding of the expression and function of SHR and SCR during adventitious root production, which may then be manipulated to achieve high rates of asexual propagation of valuable tree species. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Time to Spread Your Wings: A Review of the Avian Ancient DNA Field
Genes 2017, 8(7), 184; doi:10.3390/genes8070184 -
Abstract
Ancient DNA (aDNA) has the ability to inform the evolutionary history of both extant and extinct taxa; however, the use of aDNA in the study of avian evolution is lacking in comparison to other vertebrates, despite birds being one of the most species-rich
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Ancient DNA (aDNA) has the ability to inform the evolutionary history of both extant and extinct taxa; however, the use of aDNA in the study of avian evolution is lacking in comparison to other vertebrates, despite birds being one of the most species-rich vertebrate classes. Here, we review the field of “avian ancient DNA” by summarising the past three decades of literature on this topic. Most studies over this time have used avian aDNA to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships and clarify taxonomy based on the sequencing of a few mitochondrial loci, but recent studies are moving toward using a comparative genomics approach to address developmental and functional questions. Applying aDNA analysis with more practical outcomes in mind (such as managing conservation) is another increasingly popular trend among studies that utilise avian aDNA, but the majority of these have yet to influence management policy. We find that while there have been advances in extracting aDNA from a variety of avian substrates including eggshell, feathers, and coprolites, there is a bias in the temporal focus; the majority of the ca. 150 studies reviewed here obtained aDNA from late Holocene (100–1000 yBP) material, with few studies investigating Pleistocene-aged material. In addition, we identify and discuss several other issues within the field that require future attention. With more than one quarter of Holocene bird extinctions occurring in the last several hundred years, it is more important than ever to understand the mechanisms driving the evolution and extinction of bird species through the use of aDNA. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genetic Contribution to Alcohol Dependence: Investigation of a Heterogeneous German Sample of Individuals with Alcohol Dependence, Chronic Alcoholic Pancreatitis, and Alcohol-Related Cirrhosis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 183; doi:10.3390/genes8070183 -
Abstract
The present study investigated the genetic contribution to alcohol dependence (AD) using genome-wide association data from three German samples. These comprised patients with: (i) AD; (ii) chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (ACP); and (iii) alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses were
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The present study investigated the genetic contribution to alcohol dependence (AD) using genome-wide association data from three German samples. These comprised patients with: (i) AD; (ii) chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (ACP); and (iii) alcohol-related liver cirrhosis (ALC). Single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses were conducted. A significant association was detected for the ADH1B locus in a gene-based approach (puncorrected = 1.2 × 10−6; pcorrected = 0.020). This was driven by the AD subsample. No association with ADH1B was found in the combined ACP + ALC sample. On first inspection, this seems surprising, since ADH1B is a robustly replicated risk gene for AD and may therefore be expected to be associated also with subgroups of AD patients. The negative finding in the ACP + ALC sample, however, may reflect genetic stratification as well as random fluctuation of allele frequencies in the cases and controls, demonstrating the importance of large samples in which the phenotype is well assessed. Full article
Open AccessCommunication
Evolutionary Origins of Cancer Driver Genes and Implications for Cancer Prognosis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 182; doi:10.3390/genes8070182 -
Abstract
The cancer atavistic theory suggests that carcinogenesis is a reverse evolution process. It is thus of great interest to explore the evolutionary origins of cancer driver genes and the relevant mechanisms underlying the carcinogenesis. Moreover, the evolutionary features of cancer driver genes could
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The cancer atavistic theory suggests that carcinogenesis is a reverse evolution process. It is thus of great interest to explore the evolutionary origins of cancer driver genes and the relevant mechanisms underlying the carcinogenesis. Moreover, the evolutionary features of cancer driver genes could be helpful in selecting cancer biomarkers from high-throughput data. In this study, through analyzing the cancer endogenous molecular networks, we revealed that the subnetwork originating from eukaryota could control the unlimited proliferation of cancer cells, and the subnetwork originating from eumetazoa could recapitulate the other hallmarks of cancer. In addition, investigations based on multiple datasets revealed that cancer driver genes were enriched in genes originating from eukaryota, opisthokonta, and eumetazoa. These results have important implications for enhancing the robustness of cancer prognosis models through selecting the gene signatures by the gene age information. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue Introduction: Role of Epigenetic Gene Regulation in Brain Function
Genes 2017, 8(7), 181; doi:10.3390/genes8070181 -
Abstract In 1957, Conrad H. Waddington published a paper in which he demonstrated the inheritance of an acquired characteristic in a population in response to an environmental stimulus [1].[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Novel Substrates as Sources of Ancient DNA: Prospects and Hurdles
Genes 2017, 8(7), 180; doi:10.3390/genes8070180 -
Abstract
Following the discovery in the late 1980s that hard tissues such as bones and teeth preserve genetic information, the field of ancient DNA analysis has typically concentrated upon these substrates. The onset of high-throughput sequencing, combined with optimized DNA recovery methods, has enabled
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Following the discovery in the late 1980s that hard tissues such as bones and teeth preserve genetic information, the field of ancient DNA analysis has typically concentrated upon these substrates. The onset of high-throughput sequencing, combined with optimized DNA recovery methods, has enabled the analysis of a myriad of ancient species and specimens worldwide, dating back to the Middle Pleistocene. Despite the growing sophistication of analytical techniques, the genetic analysis of substrates other than bone and dentine remain comparatively “novel”. Here, we review analyses of other biological substrates which offer great potential for elucidating phylogenetic relationships, paleoenvironments, and microbial ecosystems including (1) archaeological artifacts and ecofacts; (2) calcified and/or mineralized biological deposits; and (3) biological and cultural archives. We conclude that there is a pressing need for more refined models of DNA preservation and bespoke tools for DNA extraction and analysis to authenticate and maximize the utility of the data obtained. With such tools in place the potential for neglected or underexploited substrates to provide a unique insight into phylogenetics, microbial evolution and evolutionary processes will be realized. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
EYS Mutations Causing Autosomal Recessive Retinitis Pigmentosa: Changes of Retinal Structure and Function with Disease Progression
Genes 2017, 8(7), 178; doi:10.3390/genes8070178 -
Abstract
Mutations in the EYS (eyes shut homolog) gene are a common cause of autosomal recessive (ar) retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Without a mammalian model of human EYS disease, there is limited understanding of details of disease expression and rates of progression of the retinal
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Mutations in the EYS (eyes shut homolog) gene are a common cause of autosomal recessive (ar) retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Without a mammalian model of human EYS disease, there is limited understanding of details of disease expression and rates of progression of the retinal degeneration. We studied clinically and with chromatic static perimetry, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), and en face autofluoresence imaging, a cohort of 15 patients (ages 12–51 at first visit), some of whom had longitudinal data of function and structure. Rod sensitivity was able to be measured by chromatic perimetry in most patients at their earliest visits and some patients retained patchy rod function into the fifth decade of life. As expected from RP, cone sensitivity persisted after rod function was no longer measurable. The photoreceptor nuclear layer of the central retina was abnormal except at the fovea in most patients at first visit. Perifoveal disease measured over a period of years indicated that photoreceptor structural loss was followed by dysmorphology of the inner retina and loss of retinal pigment epithelial integrity. Although there could be variability in severity, preliminary analyses of the rates of vision loss suggested that EYS is a more rapidly progressive disease than other ciliopathies causing arRP, such as USH2A and MAK. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Telomeric Complex and Metabolic Disease
Genes 2017, 8(7), 176; doi:10.3390/genes8070176 -
Abstract
The attrition of telomeres is believed to be a key event not only in mammalian aging, but also in disturbed nutrient sensing, which could lead to numerous metabolic dysfunctions. The current debate focuses mainly on the question whether telomere shortening, e.g., as a
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The attrition of telomeres is believed to be a key event not only in mammalian aging, but also in disturbed nutrient sensing, which could lead to numerous metabolic dysfunctions. The current debate focuses mainly on the question whether telomere shortening, e.g., as a heritable trait, may act as a cause or rather represents a consequence of such chronic diseases. This review discusses the damaging events that ultimately may lead or contribute to telomere shortening and can be associated with metabolic diseases. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Development and Evaluation of a Novel Set of EST-SSR Markers Based on Transcriptome Sequences of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.)
Genes 2017, 8(7), 177; doi:10.3390/genes8070177 -
Abstract
Black locust(Robinia pseudoacacia L.of the family Fabaceae) is an ecologically and economically important deciduous tree. However, few genomic resources are available for this forest species, and few effective expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers have been developed to
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Black locust(Robinia pseudoacacia L.of the family Fabaceae) is an ecologically and economically important deciduous tree. However, few genomic resources are available for this forest species, and few effective expressed sequence tag-derived simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers have been developed to date. In this study, paired-end sequencing was used to sequence transcriptomes of R. pseudoacacia by the Illumina HiSeq TM2000 platform, and EST-SSR loci were identified by de novo assembly. Furthermore, a total of 1697 primer pairs were successfully designed, from which 286 primers met the selection screening criteria; 94 pairs were randomly selected and tested for validation using polymerase chain reaction amplification. Forty-five primers were verified as polymorphic, with clear bands. The polymorphism information content values were 0.033–0.765, the number of alleles per locus ranged from 2 to 10, and the observed and expected heterozygosities were 0.000–0.931 and 0.035–0.810, respectively, indicating a high level of informativeness. Subsequently, 45 polymorphic EST-SSR loci were tested for amplification efficiency, using the verified primers, in an additional nine species of Leguminosae, 23 loci were amplified in more than three species, of which two loci were amplified successfully in all species. These EST-SSR markers provide a valuable tool for investigating the genetic diversity and population structure of R. pseudoacacia, constructing a DNA fingerprint database, performing quantitative trait locus mapping, and preserving genetic information. Full article
Open AccessReview
MYC Modulation around the CDK2/p27/SKP2 Axis
Genes 2017, 8(7), 174; doi:10.3390/genes8070174 -
Abstract
MYC is a pleiotropic transcription factor that controls a number of fundamental cellular processes required for the proliferation and survival of normal and malignant cells, including the cell cycle. MYC interacts with several central cell cycle regulators that control the balance between cell
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MYC is a pleiotropic transcription factor that controls a number of fundamental cellular processes required for the proliferation and survival of normal and malignant cells, including the cell cycle. MYC interacts with several central cell cycle regulators that control the balance between cell cycle progression and temporary or permanent cell cycle arrest (cellular senescence). Among these are the cyclin E/A/cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) complexes, the CDK inhibitor p27KIP1 (p27) and the E3 ubiquitin ligase component S-phase kinase-associated protein 2 (SKP2), which control each other by forming a triangular network. MYC is engaged in bidirectional crosstalk with each of these players; while MYC regulates their expression and/or activity, these factors in turn modulate MYC through protein interactions and post-translational modifications including phosphorylation and ubiquitylation, impacting on MYC’s transcriptional output on genes involved in cell cycle progression and senescence. Here we elaborate on these network interactions with MYC and their impact on transcription, cell cycle, replication and stress signaling, and on the role of other players interconnected to this network, such as CDK1, the retinoblastoma protein (pRB), protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), the F-box proteins FBXW7 and FBXO28, the RAS oncoprotein and the ubiquitin/proteasome system. Finally, we describe how the MYC/CDK2/p27/SKP2 axis impacts on tumor development and discuss possible ways to interfere therapeutically with this system to improve cancer treatment. Full article
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Open AccessCommentary
Pre-Replicative Repair of Oxidized Bases Maintains Fidelity in Mammalian Genomes: The Cowcatcher Role of NEIL1 DNA Glycosylase
Genes 2017, 8(7), 175; doi:10.3390/genes8070175 -
Abstract
Genomic fidelity in the humans is continuously challenged by genotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated both endogenously during metabolic processes, and by exogenous agents. Mispairing of most ROS-induced oxidized base lesions during DNA replication induces mutations. Although bulky base adducts induced by ultraviolet
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Genomic fidelity in the humans is continuously challenged by genotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated both endogenously during metabolic processes, and by exogenous agents. Mispairing of most ROS-induced oxidized base lesions during DNA replication induces mutations. Although bulky base adducts induced by ultraviolet light and other environmental mutagens block replicative DNA polymerases, most oxidized base lesions do not block DNA synthesis. In 8-oxo-G:A mispairs generated by the incorporation of A opposite unrepaired 8-oxo-G, A is removed by MutYH (MYH) for post-replicative repair, and other oxidized base lesions must be repaired prior to replication in order to prevent mutation fixation. Our earlier studies documented S phase-specific overexpression of endonuclease VIII-like 1 (NEIL1) DNA glycosylase (DG), one of five oxidized base excision repair (BER)-initiating enzymes in mammalian cells, and its high affinity for replication fork-mimicking single-stranded (ss)DNA substrates. We recently provided experimental evidence for the role of NEIL1 in replicating-strand repair, and proposed the “cowcatcher” model of pre-replicative BER, where NEIL1’s nonproductive binding to the lesion base in ssDNA template blocks DNA chain elongation, causing fork regression. Repair of the lesion in the then re-annealed duplex is carried out by NEIL1 in association with the DNA replication proteins. In this commentary, we highlight the critical role of pre-replicative BER in preventing mutagenesis, and discuss the distinction between pre-replicative vs. post-replicative BER. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens SAY09 Increases Cadmium Resistance in Plants by Activation of Auxin-Mediated Signaling Pathways
Genes 2017, 8(7), 173; doi:10.3390/genes8070173 -
Abstract
Without physical contact with plants, certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to regulate nutrient acquisition and induce systemic immunity in plants. However, whether the PGPR-emitted VOCs can induce cadmium (Cd) tolerance of plants and the underlying mechanisms remain
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Without physical contact with plants, certain plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to regulate nutrient acquisition and induce systemic immunity in plants. However, whether the PGPR-emitted VOCs can induce cadmium (Cd) tolerance of plants and the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study, we probed the effects of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (strain SAY09)-emitted VOCs on the growth of Arabidopsis plants under Cd stress. SAY09 exposure alleviates Cd toxicity in plants with increased auxin biosynthesis. RNA-Seq analyses revealed that SAY09 exposure provoked iron (Fe) uptake- and cell wall-associated pathways in the Cd-treated plants. However, SAY09 exposure failed to increase Cd resistance of plants after treatment with 1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) or 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (c-PTIO). Under Cd stress, SAY09 exposure markedly promoted Fe absorption in plants with the increased hemicellulose 1 (HC1) content and Cd deposition in root cell wall, whereas these effects were almost abrogated by treatment with NPA or c-PTIO. Moreover, exogenous NPA remarkably repressed the accumulation of nitric oxide (NO) in the SAY09-exposed roots under Cd stress. Taken together, the findings indicated that NO acted as downstream signals of SAY09-induced auxin to regulate Fe acquisition and augment Cd fixation in roots, thereby ameliorating Cd toxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Role of Replication-Associated Repair Factors on R-Loops
Genes 2017, 8(7), 171; doi:10.3390/genes8070171 -
Abstract
The nascent RNA can reinvade the DNA double helix to form a structure termed the R-loop, where a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is accompanied by a DNA-RNA hybrid. Unresolved R-loops can impede transcription and replication processes and lead to genomic instability by a mechanism
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The nascent RNA can reinvade the DNA double helix to form a structure termed the R-loop, where a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is accompanied by a DNA-RNA hybrid. Unresolved R-loops can impede transcription and replication processes and lead to genomic instability by a mechanism still not fully understood. In this sense, a connection between R-loops and certain chromatin markers has been reported that might play a key role in R-loop homeostasis and genome instability. To counteract the potential harmful effect of R-loops, different conserved messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) biogenesis and nuclear export factors prevent R-loop formation, while ubiquitously-expressed specific ribonucleases and DNA-RNA helicases resolve DNA-RNA hybrids. However, the molecular events associated with R-loop sensing and processing are not yet known. Given that R-loops hinder replication progression, it is plausible that some DNA replication-associated factors contribute to dissolve R-loops or prevent R-loop mediated genome instability. In support of this, R-loops accumulate in cells depleted of the BRCA1, BRCA2 or the Fanconi anemia (FA) DNA repair factors, indicating that they play an active role in R-loop dissolution. In light of these results, we review our current view of the role of replication-associated DNA repair pathways in preventing the harmful consequences of R-loops. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification, Characterization and Expression Profiling of Stress-Related Genes in Easter Lily (Lilium formolongi)
Genes 2017, 8(7), 172; doi:10.3390/genes8070172 -
Abstract
Biotic and abiotic stresses are the major causes of crop loss in lily worldwide. In this study, we retrieved 12 defense-related expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the NCBI database and cloned, characterized, and established seven of these genes as stress-induced genes in Lilium
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Biotic and abiotic stresses are the major causes of crop loss in lily worldwide. In this study, we retrieved 12 defense-related expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the NCBI database and cloned, characterized, and established seven of these genes as stress-induced genes in Lilium formolongi. Using rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR (RACE-PCR), we successfully cloned seven full-length mRNA sequences from L. formolongi line Sinnapal lily. Based on the presence of highly conserved characteristic domains and phylogenetic analysis using reference protein sequences, we provided new nomenclature for the seven nucleotide and protein sequences and submitted them to GenBank. The real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) relative expression analysis of these seven genes, including LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfUb, LfCyt-b5, and LfRab, demonstrated that they were differentially expressed in all organs examined, possibly indicating functional redundancy. We also investigated the qPCR relative expression levels under two biotic and four abiotic stress conditions. All seven genes were induced by Botrytis cinerea treatment, and all genes except LfHsp70-3 and LfHsp90 were induced by Botrytis elliptica treatment; these genes might be associated with disease tolerance mechanisms in L. formolongi. In addition, LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfUb, and LfCyt-b5 were induced by heat treatment, LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, and LfCyt-b5 were induced by cold treatment, and LfHsp70-1, LfHsp70-2, LfHsp70-3, LfHsp90, LfCy-b5, and LfRab were induced by drought and salt stress, indicating their likely association with tolerance to these stress conditions. The stress-induced candidate genes identified in this study provide a basis for further functional analysis and the development of stress-resistant L. formolongi cultivars. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mutations in the Genes for Interphotoreceptor Matrix Proteoglycans, IMPG1 and IMPG2, in Patients with Vitelliform Macular Lesions
Genes 2017, 8(7), 170; doi:10.3390/genes8070170 -
Abstract
A significant portion of patients diagnosed with vitelliform macular dystrophy (VMD) do not carry causative mutations in the classic VMD genes BEST1 or PRPH2. We therefore performed a mutational screen in a cohort of 106 BEST1/PRPH2-negative VMD patients in two genes
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A significant portion of patients diagnosed with vitelliform macular dystrophy (VMD) do not carry causative mutations in the classic VMD genes BEST1 or PRPH2. We therefore performed a mutational screen in a cohort of 106 BEST1/PRPH2-negative VMD patients in two genes encoding secreted interphotoreceptor matrix proteoglycans-1 and -2 (IMPG1 and IMPG2). We identified two novel mutations in IMPG1 in two simplex VMD cases with disease onset in their early childhood, a heterozygous p.(Leu238Pro) missense mutation and a homozygous c.807 + 5G > A splice site mutation. The latter induced partial skipping of exon 7 of IMPG1 in an in vitro splicing assay. Furthermore, we found heterozygous mutations including three stop [p.(Glu226*), p.(Ser522*), p.(Gln856*)] and five missense mutations [p.(Ala243Pro), p.(Gly1008Asp), p.(Phe1016Ser), p.(Tyr1042Cys), p.(Cys1077Phe)] in the IMPG2 gene, one of them, p.(Cys1077Phe), previously associated with VMD. Asymptomatic carriers of the p.(Ala243Pro) and p.(Cys1077Phe) mutations show subtle foveal irregularities that could characterize a subclinical stage of disease. Taken together, our results provide further evidence for an involvement of dominant and recessive mutations in IMPG1 and IMPG2 in VMD pathology. There is a remarkable similarity in the clinical appearance of mutation carriers, presenting with bilateral, central, dome-shaped foveal accumulation of yellowish material with preserved integrity of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Clinical symptoms tend to be more severe for IMPG1 mutations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation of Colored Calla Lily (Zantedeschia Hybrid) for an Efficient Breeding Program
Genes 2017, 8(6), 168; doi:10.3390/genes8060168 -
Abstract
Plastome-genome incompatibility (PGI) is prevalent in several plants including the Zantedeschia species, a worldwide commercial flower crop native to South Africa. Generally, hybrids suffering from PGI appear less vigorous and more susceptible than normal plants. Previous reports revealed that the PGI level in
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Plastome-genome incompatibility (PGI) is prevalent in several plants including the Zantedeschia species, a worldwide commercial flower crop native to South Africa. Generally, hybrids suffering from PGI appear less vigorous and more susceptible than normal plants. Previous reports revealed that the PGI level in interspecific hybrids is correlated with the relatedness of the parental species in the genus Zantedeschia. To provide a basis for utilizing and improving resources in breeding programs, a total of 117 accessions of colored calla lily (Zantedeschia hybrid), collected from New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States, were genotyped using 31 transferable expressed sequence tags-simple sequence repeats (EST-SSR) markers from the white calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). A moderately high level of genetic diversity was observed, with 111 alleles in total, an observed/expected heterozygosity (Ho/He) of 0.453/0.478, and polymorphism information content (PIC) of 0.26. Genetic distance and STRUCTURE-based analysis further clustered all accessions into four subgroups (G-Ia, G-Ib, G-IIa and G-IIb), which mostly consisted of Zantedeschia pentlandii, Zantedeschia elliotiana, Zantedeschia albomaculata and Zantedeschia rehmannii, respectively. Significant genetic differentiation was observed between all inferred subgroup pairs, with the Fst ranging from 0.142 to 0.281. Finally, the accessions assigned into G-IIb (Z. rehmannii) were recommended as top priority parents in efficient Zantedeschia breeding program designs. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Type 1 Diabetes Risk Alleles on Immune Cell Gene Expression
Genes 2017, 8(6), 167; doi:10.3390/genes8060167 -
Abstract
Genetic studies have identified 61 variants associated with the risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The functions of most of the non-HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) genetic variants remain unknown. We found that only 16 of these risk variants could potentially be linked
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Genetic studies have identified 61 variants associated with the risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The functions of most of the non-HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) genetic variants remain unknown. We found that only 16 of these risk variants could potentially be linked to a protein-coding change. Therefore, we investigated whether these variants affected susceptibility by regulating changes in gene expression. To do so, we examined whole transcriptome profiles of 600 samples from the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC). These comprised four different immune cell types (Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B cells, either basal or after stimulation; and cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ and CD8+ T cells). Many of the T1D-associated risk variants regulated expression of either neighboring (cis-) or distant (trans-) genes. In brief, 24 of the non-HLA T1D variants affected the expression of 31 nearby genes (cis) while 25 affected 38 distant genes (trans). The effects were highly significant (False Discovery Rate p < 0.001). In addition, we searched in public databases for expression effects of T1D single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in other immune cell types such as CD14+ monocytes, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated monocytes, and CD19+ B cells. In this paper, we review the (expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) associated with each of the 60 T1D variants and provide a summary of the genes impacted by T1D risk alleles in various immune cells. We then review the methodological steps involved in analyzing the function of genome wide association studies (GWAS)-identified variants, with emphasis on those affecting gene expression. We also discuss recent advancements in the methodologies and their advantages. We conclude by suggesting future study designs that will aid in the study of T1D risk variants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Bird Remains Using Ancient DNA Barcoding
Genes 2017, 8(6), 169; doi:10.3390/genes8060169 -
Abstract
Bird remains that are difficult to identify taxonomically using morphological methods, are common in the palaeontological record. Other types of challenging avian material include artefacts and food items from endangered taxa, as well as remains from aircraft strikes. We here present a DNA-based
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Bird remains that are difficult to identify taxonomically using morphological methods, are common in the palaeontological record. Other types of challenging avian material include artefacts and food items from endangered taxa, as well as remains from aircraft strikes. We here present a DNA-based method that enables taxonomic identification of bird remains, even from material where the DNA is heavily degraded. The method is based on the amplification and sequencing of two short variable parts of the 16S region in the mitochondrial genome. To demonstrate the applicability of this approach, we evaluated the method on a set of Holocene and Late Pleistocene postcranial bird bones from several palaeontological and archaeological sites in Europe with good success. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Endogenous Retroviral Insertions Indicate a Secondary Introduction of Domestic Sheep Lineages to the Caucasus and Central Asia between the Bronze and Iron Age
Genes 2017, 8(6), 165; doi:10.3390/genes8060165 -
Abstract
Sheep were one of the first livestock species domesticated by humans. After initial domestication in the Middle East they were spread across Eurasia. The modern distribution of endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus insertions in domestic sheep breeds suggests that over the course of millennia,
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Sheep were one of the first livestock species domesticated by humans. After initial domestication in the Middle East they were spread across Eurasia. The modern distribution of endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus insertions in domestic sheep breeds suggests that over the course of millennia, successive introductions of improved lineages and selection for wool quality occurred in the Mediterranean region and most of Asia. Here we present a novel ancient DNA approach using data of endogenous retroviral insertions in Bronze and Iron Age domestic sheep from the Caucasus and Pamir mountain areas. Our findings support a secondary introduction of wool sheep from the Middle East between the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age into most areas of Eurasia. Full article
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