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Genes, Volume 11, Issue 9 (September 2020) – 159 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The beetle–fungus symbioses of drugstore and cigarette beetles with their symbiont Symbiotaphrina are a forgotten system of animal–fungus interactions. Several features make them unique research organisms, including 1) the symbiont is both extracellular and intracellular during the life cycle of the host, and 2) both beetle and fungus can be cultured in isolation. Fungal symbionts intracellularly infect cells in the larval and adult beetle gut, while accessory glands in adult females harbor extracellular fungi that are passed to the next generation. Modern methods provide incredible opportunities for these systems to emerge as model organisms for research spanning the microbiota, pathogenesis/infection, and mutualism. View this paper
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Perspective
Beyond Back Splicing, a Still Poorly Explored World: Non-Canonical Circular RNAs
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1111; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091111 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 915
Abstract
Most of the circRNAs reported to date originate from back splicing of a pre-mRNA, and these exonic circRNAs are termed canonical circRNAs. Our objective was to provide an overview of all other (non-canonical) circRNAs that do not originate from the junction of two [...] Read more.
Most of the circRNAs reported to date originate from back splicing of a pre-mRNA, and these exonic circRNAs are termed canonical circRNAs. Our objective was to provide an overview of all other (non-canonical) circRNAs that do not originate from the junction of two exons and to characterize their common properties. Those generated through a failure of intron lariat debranching are the best known, even though studies on them are rare. These circRNAs retain the 2′–5′ bond derived from the intron lariat, and this feature probably explains the difficulties in obtaining efficient reverse transcription through the circular junction. Here, we provide an unprecedented overview of non-canonical circRNAs (lariat-derived intronic circRNAs, sub-exonic circRNAs, intron circles, tricRNAs), which all derive from non-coding sequences. As there are few data suggesting their involvement in cellular regulatory processes, we believe that it is early to propose a general function for circRNAs, even for lariat-derived circRNAs. We suggest that their small size and probably strong secondary structures could be major obstacles to their reliable detection. Nevertheless, we believe there are still several possible ways to advance our knowledge of this class of non-coding RNA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Survey and Diversity of Grapevine Pinot gris virus in Algeria and Comprehensive High-Throughput Small RNA Sequencing Analysis of Two Isolates from Vitis vinifera cv. Sabel Revealing High Viral Diversity
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1110; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091110 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 883
Abstract
Grapevine Pinot gris virus (GPGV) is a putative causal agent of grapevine leaf mottling and deformation disease that has been reported worldwide throughout the grapevine-growing regions. Fifty-four grapevines collected from five Algerian grapevine-growing regions were tested for the presence of GPGV in phloem [...] Read more.
Grapevine Pinot gris virus (GPGV) is a putative causal agent of grapevine leaf mottling and deformation disease that has been reported worldwide throughout the grapevine-growing regions. Fifty-four grapevines collected from five Algerian grapevine-growing regions were tested for the presence of GPGV in phloem tissues. Eight of the tested grapevines were infected by GPGV. Viromes of two selected Vitis vinifera cv. Sabel grapevines infected by GPGV and showing virus-like symptoms were analyzed by small RNA sequencing. Phylogenetic analyses of the partial coding sequence (cds) of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domain showed that all Algerian GPGV isolates were grouped with some already-described asymptomatic isolates. This study provides the first survey of the occurrence of GPGV in Algeria. Moreover, Grapevine fleck virus, Grapevine rupestris stem pitting-associated virus, Grapevine virus B, Grapevine rupestris vein feathering virus, Hop stunt viroid and Grapevine yellow speckle viroid 1 were detected in Algeria for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
An Overview of Alternative Splicing Defects Implicated in Myotonic Dystrophy Type I
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1109; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091109 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1866
Abstract
Myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1) is the most common form of adult muscular dystrophy, caused by expansion of a CTG triplet repeat in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of the myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) gene. The pathological CTG repeats result [...] Read more.
Myotonic dystrophy type I (DM1) is the most common form of adult muscular dystrophy, caused by expansion of a CTG triplet repeat in the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of the myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) gene. The pathological CTG repeats result in protein trapping by expanded transcripts, a decreased DMPK translation and the disruption of the chromatin structure, affecting neighboring genes expression. The muscleblind-like (MBNL) and CUG-BP and ETR-3-like factors (CELF) are two families of tissue-specific regulators of developmentally programmed alternative splicing that act as antagonist regulators of several pre-mRNA targets, including troponin 2 (TNNT2), insulin receptor (INSR), chloride channel 1 (CLCN1) and MBNL2. Sequestration of MBNL proteins and up-regulation of CELF1 are key to DM1 pathology, inducing a spliceopathy that leads to a developmental remodelling of the transcriptome due to an adult-to-foetal splicing switch, which results in the loss of cell function and viability. Moreover, recent studies indicate that additional pathogenic mechanisms may also contribute to disease pathology, including a misregulation of cellular mRNA translation, localization and stability. This review focuses on the cause and effects of MBNL and CELF1 deregulation in DM1, describing the molecular mechanisms underlying alternative splicing misregulation for a deeper understanding of DM1 complexity. To contribute to this analysis, we have prepared a comprehensive list of transcript alterations involved in DM1 pathogenesis, as well as other deregulated mRNA processing pathways implications. Full article
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Article
Transcriptomic Analysis Revealed an Emerging Role of Alternative Splicing in Embryonal Tumor with Multilayered Rosettes
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1108; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091108 - 22 Sep 2020
Viewed by 999
Abstract
Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) is an aggressive and rare pediatric embryonal brain tumor. Amplification of C19MC microRNA cluster and expression of LIN28 are distinctive features of ETMR. Despite the increasing efforts to decipher ETMR, the biology remains poorly understood. To date, [...] Read more.
Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) is an aggressive and rare pediatric embryonal brain tumor. Amplification of C19MC microRNA cluster and expression of LIN28 are distinctive features of ETMR. Despite the increasing efforts to decipher ETMR, the biology remains poorly understood. To date, the role of aberrant alternative splicing in ETMR has not been thoroughly investigated. In the current study, a comprehensive analysis was performed on published unprocessed RNA-seq reads of tissue-matched ETMR and fetal controls datasets. Gene expression was quantified in samples using Kallisto/sleuth pipeline. For the alternative splicing analysis, STAR, SplAdder and rMATS were used. Functional enrichment analysis was subsequently performed using Metascape. The expression analysis identified a total of 3622 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between ETMR and fetal controls while 1627 genes showed differential alternative splicing patterns. Interestingly, genes with significant alternative splicing events in ETMR were identified to be involved in signaling pathways such as ErbB, mTOR and MAPK pathways as well as ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis, cell cycle and autophagy. Moreover, up-regulated DEGs with alternative splicing events were involved in important biological processes including nuclear transport, regulation of cell cycle and regulation of Wnt signaling pathway. These findings highlight the role of aberrant alternative splicing in shaping the ETMR tumor landscape, and the identified pathways constitute potential therapeutic targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Article
Integrated Analysis of Gene Expression, SNP, InDel, and CNV Identifies Candidate Avirulence Genes in Australian Isolates of the Wheat Leaf Rust Pathogen Puccinia triticina
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091107 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
The leaf rust pathogen, Puccinia triticina (Pt), threatens global wheat production. The deployment of leaf rust (Lr) resistance (R) genes in wheat varieties is often followed by the development of matching virulence in Pt due to presumed changes in [...] Read more.
The leaf rust pathogen, Puccinia triticina (Pt), threatens global wheat production. The deployment of leaf rust (Lr) resistance (R) genes in wheat varieties is often followed by the development of matching virulence in Pt due to presumed changes in avirulence (Avr) genes in Pt. Identifying such Avr genes is a crucial step to understand the mechanisms of wheat-rust interactions. This study is the first to develop and apply an integrated framework of gene expression, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), insertion/deletion (InDel), and copy number variation (CNV) analysis in a rust fungus and identify candidate avirulence genes. Using a long-read based de novo genome assembly of an isolate of Pt (‘Pt104’) as the reference, whole-genome resequencing data of 12 Pt pathotypes derived from three lineages Pt104, Pt53, and Pt76 were analyzed. Candidate avirulence genes were identified by correlating virulence profiles with small variants (SNP and InDel) and CNV, and RNA-seq data of an additional three Pt isolates to validate expression of genes encoding secreted proteins (SPs). Out of the annotated 29,043 genes, 2392 genes were selected as SP genes with detectable expression levels. Small variant comparisons between the isolates identified 27–40 candidates and CNV analysis identified 14–31 candidates for each Avr gene, which when combined, yielded the final 40, 64, and 69 candidates for AvrLr1, AvrLr15, and AvrLr24, respectively. Taken together, our results will facilitate future work on experimental validation and cloning of Avr genes. In addition, the integrated framework of data analysis that we have developed and reported provides a more comprehensive approach for Avr gene mining than is currently available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Genomics and Evolution)
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Article
Unveiling Sex-Based Differences in the Effects of Alcohol Abuse: A Comprehensive Functional Meta-Analysis of Transcriptomic Studies
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091106 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
The abuse of alcohol, one of the most popular psychoactive substances, can cause several pathological and psychological consequences, including alcohol use disorder (AUD). An impaired ability to stop or control alcohol intake despite adverse health or social consequences characterize AUD. While AUDs predominantly [...] Read more.
The abuse of alcohol, one of the most popular psychoactive substances, can cause several pathological and psychological consequences, including alcohol use disorder (AUD). An impaired ability to stop or control alcohol intake despite adverse health or social consequences characterize AUD. While AUDs predominantly occur in men, growing evidence suggests the existence of distinct cognitive and biological consequences of alcohol dependence in women. The molecular and physiological mechanisms participating in these differential effects remain unknown. Transcriptomic technology permits the detection of the biological mechanisms responsible for such sex-based differences, which supports the subsequent development of novel personalized therapeutics to treat AUD. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of transcriptomics studies regarding alcohol dependence in humans with representation from both sexes. For each study, we processed and analyzed transcriptomic data to obtain a functional profile of pathways and biological functions and then integrated the resulting data by meta-analysis to characterize any sex-based transcriptomic differences associated with AUD. Global results of the transcriptomic analysis revealed the association of decreased tissue regeneration, embryo malformations, altered intracellular transport, and increased rate of RNA and protein replacement with female AUD patients. Meanwhile, our analysis indicated that increased inflammatory response and blood pressure and a reduction in DNA repair capabilities are associated with male AUD patients. In summary, our functional meta-analysis of transcriptomic studies provides evidence for differential biological mechanisms of AUD patients of differing sex. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sex/Gender Differences in Health from Omics Approaches)
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Article
Comparison of Illumina versus Nanopore 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing of the Human Nasal Microbiota
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1105; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091105 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2357
Abstract
Illumina and nanopore sequencing technologies are powerful tools that can be used to determine the bacterial composition of complex microbial communities. In this study, we compared nasal microbiota results at genus level using both Illumina and nanopore 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We also [...] Read more.
Illumina and nanopore sequencing technologies are powerful tools that can be used to determine the bacterial composition of complex microbial communities. In this study, we compared nasal microbiota results at genus level using both Illumina and nanopore 16S rRNA gene sequencing. We also monitored the progression of nanopore sequencing in the accurate identification of species, using pure, single species cultures, and evaluated the performance of the nanopore EPI2ME 16S data analysis pipeline. Fifty-nine nasal swabs were sequenced using Illumina MiSeq and Oxford Nanopore 16S rRNA gene sequencing technologies. In addition, five pure cultures of relevant bacterial species were sequenced with the nanopore sequencing technology. The Illumina MiSeq sequence data were processed using bioinformatics modules present in the Mothur software package. Albacore and Guppy base calling, a workflow in nanopore EPI2ME (Oxford Nanopore Technologies—ONT, Oxford, UK) and an in-house developed bioinformatics script were used to analyze the nanopore data. At genus level, similar bacterial diversity profiles were found, and five main and established genera were identified by both platforms. However, probably due to mismatching of the nanopore sequence primers, the nanopore sequencing platform identified Corynebacterium in much lower abundance compared to Illumina sequencing. Further, when using default settings in the EPI2ME workflow, almost all sequence reads that seem to belong to the bacterial genus Dolosigranulum and a considerable part to the genus Haemophilus were only identified at family level. Nanopore sequencing of single species cultures demonstrated at least 88% accurate identification of the species at genus and species level for 4/5 strains tested, including improvements in accurate sequence read identification when the basecaller Guppy and Albacore, and when flowcell versions R9.4 (Oxford Nanopore Technologies—ONT, Oxford, UK) and R9.2 (Oxford Nanopore Technologies—ONT, Oxford, UK) were compared. In conclusion, the current study shows that the nanopore sequencing platform is comparable with the Illumina platform in detection bacterial genera of the nasal microbiota, but the nanopore platform does have problems in detecting bacteria within the genus Corynebacterium. Although advances are being made, thorough validation of the nanopore platform is still recommendable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Omics Research of Pathogenic Microorganisms)
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Article
Aliarcobacter butzleri from Water Poultry: Insights into Antimicrobial Resistance, Virulence and Heavy Metal Resistance
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091104 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
Aliarcobacter butzleri is the most prevalent Aliarcobacter species and has been isolated from a wide variety of sources. This species is an emerging foodborne and zoonotic pathogen because the bacteria can be transmitted by contaminated food or water and can cause acute enteritis [...] Read more.
Aliarcobacter butzleri is the most prevalent Aliarcobacter species and has been isolated from a wide variety of sources. This species is an emerging foodborne and zoonotic pathogen because the bacteria can be transmitted by contaminated food or water and can cause acute enteritis in humans. Currently, there is no database to identify antimicrobial/heavy metal resistance and virulence-associated genes specific for A. butzleri. The aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial susceptibility and resistance profile of two A. butzleri isolates from Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata) reared on a water poultry farm in Thuringia, Germany, and to create a database to fill this capability gap. The taxonomic classification revealed that the isolates belong to the Aliarcobacter gen. nov. as A. butzleri comb. nov. The antibiotic susceptibility was determined using the gradient strip method. While one of the isolates was resistant to five antibiotics, the other isolate was resistant to only two antibiotics. The presence of antimicrobial/heavy metal resistance genes and virulence determinants was determined using two custom-made databases. The custom-made databases identified a large repertoire of potential resistance and virulence-associated genes. This study provides the first resistance and virulence determinants database for A. butzleri. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
Exploring Eimeria Genomes to Understand Population Biology: Recent Progress and Future Opportunities
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1103; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091103 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
Eimeria, protozoan parasites from the phylum Apicomplexa, can cause the enteric disease coccidiosis in all farmed animals. Coccidiosis is commonly considered to be most significant in poultry; due in part to the vast number of chickens produced in the World each year, [...] Read more.
Eimeria, protozoan parasites from the phylum Apicomplexa, can cause the enteric disease coccidiosis in all farmed animals. Coccidiosis is commonly considered to be most significant in poultry; due in part to the vast number of chickens produced in the World each year, their short generation time, and the narrow profit margins associated with their production. Control of Eimeria has long been dominated by routine chemoprophylaxis, but has been supplemented or replaced by live parasite vaccination in a minority of production sectors. However, public and legislative demands for reduced drug use in food production is now driving dramatic change, replacing reliance on relatively indiscriminate anticoccidial drugs with vaccines that are Eimeria species-, and in some examples, strain-specific. Unfortunately, the consequences of deleterious selection on Eimeria population structure and genome evolution incurred by exposure to anticoccidial drugs or vaccines are unclear. Genome sequence assemblies were published in 2014 for all seven Eimeria species that infect chickens, stimulating the first population genetics studies for these economically important parasites. Here, we review current knowledge of eimerian genomes and highlight challenges posed by the discovery of new, genetically cryptic Eimeria operational taxonomic units (OTUs) circulating in chicken populations. As sequencing technologies evolve understanding of eimerian genomes will improve, with notable utility for studies of Eimeria biology, diversity and opportunities for control. Full article
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Article
An Ensemble Approach to Predict the Pathogenicity of Synonymous Variants
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1102; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091102 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) are a major form of genetic variation in the human genome that contribute to various disorders. There are two types of SNVs, namely non-synonymous (missense) variants (nsSNVs) and synonymous variants (sSNVs), predominantly involved in RNA processing or gene regulation. sSNVs, [...] Read more.
Single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) are a major form of genetic variation in the human genome that contribute to various disorders. There are two types of SNVs, namely non-synonymous (missense) variants (nsSNVs) and synonymous variants (sSNVs), predominantly involved in RNA processing or gene regulation. sSNVs, unlike missense or nsSNVs, do not alter the amino acid sequences, thereby making challenging candidates for downstream functional studies. Numerous computational methods have been developed to evaluate the clinical impact of nsSNVs, but very few methods are available for understanding the effects of sSNVs. For this analysis, we have downloaded sSNVs from the ClinVar database with various features such as conservation, DNA-RNA, and splicing properties. We performed feature selection and implemented an ensemble random forest (RF) classification algorithm to build a classifier to predict the pathogenicity of the sSNVs. We demonstrate that the ensemble predictor with selected features (20 features) enhances the classification of sSNVs into two categories, pathogenic and benign, with high accuracy (87%), precision (79%), and recall (91%). Furthermore, we used this prediction model to reclassify sSNVs with unknown clinical significance. Finally, the method is very robust and can be used to predict the effect of other unknown sSNVs. Full article
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Review
Origin of Genome Instability and Determinants of Mutational Landscape in Cancer Cells
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091101 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
Genome instability is a crucial and early event associated with an increased predisposition to tumor formation. In the absence of any exogenous agent, a single human cell is subjected to about 70,000 DNA lesions each day. It has now been shown that physiological [...] Read more.
Genome instability is a crucial and early event associated with an increased predisposition to tumor formation. In the absence of any exogenous agent, a single human cell is subjected to about 70,000 DNA lesions each day. It has now been shown that physiological cellular processes including DNA transactions during DNA replication and transcription contribute to DNA damage and induce DNA damage responses in the cell. These processes are also influenced by the three dimensional-chromatin architecture and epigenetic regulation which are altered during the malignant transformation of cells. In this review, we have discussed recent insights about how replication stress, oncogene activation, chromatin dynamics, and the illegitimate recombination of cell-free chromatin particles deregulate cellular processes in cancer cells and contribute to their evolution. The characterization of such endogenous sources of genome instability in cancer cells can be exploited for the development of new biomarkers and more effective therapies for cancer treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers From the Advanced Genetics Conference 2019)
Article
Identifying Risk Genes and Interpreting Pathogenesis for Parkinson’s Disease by a Multiomics Analysis
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091100 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 884
Abstract
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified tens of genetic variants associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Nevertheless, the genes or DNA elements that affect traits through these genetic variations are usually undiscovered. This study was the first to combine meta-analysis GWAS data and expression [...] Read more.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified tens of genetic variants associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Nevertheless, the genes or DNA elements that affect traits through these genetic variations are usually undiscovered. This study was the first to combine meta-analysis GWAS data and expression data to identify PD risk genes. Four known genes, CRHR1, KANSL1, NSF and LRRC37A, and two new risk genes, STX4 and BST1, were identified. Among them, CRHR1 is a known drug target, indicating that hydrocortisone may become a potential drug for the treatment of PD. Furthermore, the potential pathogenesis of CRHR1 and LRRC37A was explored by applying DNA methylation (DNAm) data, indicating a pathogenesis whereby the effect of a genetic variant on PD is mediated by genetic regulation of transcription through DNAm. Overall, this research identified the risk genes and pathogenesis that affect PD through genetic variants, which has significance for the diagnosis and treatment of PD. Full article
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Article
Gene Polymorphisms of TLR4 and TLR9 and Haemophilus influenzae Meningitis in Angolan Children
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091099 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 723
Abstract
Bacterial meningitis (BM) is a severe disease caused by various bacterial pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) protect humans from invading pathogens. In this study, we determined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TLR4 and TLR9 are associated with susceptibility to and outcome of BM [...] Read more.
Bacterial meningitis (BM) is a severe disease caused by various bacterial pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) protect humans from invading pathogens. In this study, we determined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TLR4 and TLR9 are associated with susceptibility to and outcome of BM in Angolan children. Samples were taken from 241 patients and 265 age-matched ethnic controls. The SNPs TLR4 rs4986790 (896A > G) and TLR9 rs187084 (−1486T > C) were determined by high-resolution melting analysis (HRMA). The frequency of variant genotypes in TLR4 was significantly higher in patients with Haemophilus influenzae meningitis than controls (odds ratio (OR), 2.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–5.4; p = 0.021), whereas the frequency of variant genotypes in TLR9 was significantly lower in patients with H. influenzae meningitis than controls (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.2–0.9; p = 0.036). No such differences were found with other causative pathogens, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis. At the time of discharge, patients with meningitis caused by Gram-negative bacteria who were carriers of variant TLR4 genotypes had a higher risk of ataxia (OR, 12.91; 95% CI, 1.52–109.80; p = 0.019) and other neurological sequelae (OR, 11.85; 95% CI, 1.07–131.49; p = 0.044) than those with the wild-type TLR4 genotype. Our study suggests an association between H. influenzae meningitis and genetic variation between TLR4 and TLR9 in Angolan children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Genetics in Susceptibility to Infectious Diseases)
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Review
Building towards Precision Oncology for Pancreatic Cancer: Real-World Challenges and Opportunities
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091098 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has provided unprecedented insight into the molecular complexity of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This has led to the emergence of biomarker-driven treatment paradigms that challenge empiric treatment approaches. However, the growth of sequencing technologies is outpacing the [...] Read more.
The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has provided unprecedented insight into the molecular complexity of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This has led to the emergence of biomarker-driven treatment paradigms that challenge empiric treatment approaches. However, the growth of sequencing technologies is outpacing the development of the infrastructure required to implement precision oncology as routine clinical practice. Addressing these logistical barriers is imperative to maximize the clinical impact of molecular profiling initiatives. In this review, we examine the evolution of precision oncology in PDAC, spanning from germline testing for cancer susceptibility genes to multi-omic tumor profiling. Furthermore, we highlight real-world challenges to delivering precision oncology for PDAC, and propose strategies to improve the generation, interpretation, and clinical translation of molecular profiling data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Markers in Pancreatic Cancer)
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Article
Differential Gene Expression with an Emphasis on Floral Organ Size Differences in Natural and Synthetic Polyploids of Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae)
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091097 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1172
Abstract
Floral organ size, especially the size of the corolla, plays an important role in plant reproduction by facilitating pollination efficiency. Previous studies have outlined a hypothesized organ size pathway. However, the expression and function of many of the genes in the pathway have [...] Read more.
Floral organ size, especially the size of the corolla, plays an important role in plant reproduction by facilitating pollination efficiency. Previous studies have outlined a hypothesized organ size pathway. However, the expression and function of many of the genes in the pathway have only been investigated in model diploid species; therefore, it is unknown how these genes interact in polyploid species. Although correlations between ploidy and cell size have been shown in many systems, it is unclear whether there is a difference in cell size between naturally occurring and synthetic polyploids. To address these questions comparing floral organ size and cell size across ploidy, we use natural and synthetic polyploids of Nicotiana tabacum (Solanaceae) as well as their known diploid progenitors. We employ a comparative transcriptomics approach to perform analyses of differential gene expression, focusing on candidate genes that may be involved in floral organ size, both across developmental stages and across accessions. We see differential expression of several known floral organ candidate genes including ARF2, BIG BROTHER, and GASA/GAST1. Results from linear models show that ploidy, cell width, and cell number positively influence corolla tube circumference; however, the effect of cell width varies by ploidy, and diploids have a significantly steeper slope than both natural and synthetic polyploids. These results demonstrate that polyploids have wider cells and that polyploidy significantly increases corolla tube circumference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
Export of Rgg Quorum Sensing Peptides is Mediated by the PptAB ABC Transporter in Streptococcus Thermophilus Strain LMD-9
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091096 - 19 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1025
Abstract
In streptococci, intracellular quorum sensing pathways are based on quorum-sensing systems that are responsible for peptide secretion, maturation, and reimport. These peptides then interact with Rgg or ComR transcriptional regulators in the Rap, Rgg, NprR, PlcR, and PrgX (RRNPP) family, whose members are [...] Read more.
In streptococci, intracellular quorum sensing pathways are based on quorum-sensing systems that are responsible for peptide secretion, maturation, and reimport. These peptides then interact with Rgg or ComR transcriptional regulators in the Rap, Rgg, NprR, PlcR, and PrgX (RRNPP) family, whose members are found in Gram-positive bacteria. Short hydrophobic peptides (SHP) interact with Rgg whereas ComS peptides interact with ComR regulators. To date, in Streptococcus thermophilus, peptide secretion, maturation, and extracellular fate have received little attention, even though this species has several (at least five) genes encoding Rgg regulators and one encoding a ComR regulator. We studied pheromone export in this species, focusing our attention on PptAB, which is an exporter of signaling peptides previously identified in Enterococcus faecalis, pathogenic streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus. In the S. thermophilus strain LMD-9, we showed that PptAB controlled three regulation systems, two SHP/Rgg systems (SHP/Rgg1358 and SHP/Rgg1299), and the ComS/ComR system, while using transcriptional fusions and that PptAB helped to produce and export at least three different mature SHPs (SHP1358, SHP1299, and SHP279) peptides while using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Using a deep sequencing approach (RNAseq), we showed that the exporter PptAB, the membrane protease Eep, and the oligopeptide importer Ami controlled the transcription of the genes that were located downstream from the five non-truncated rgg genes as well as few distal genes. This led us to propose that the five non-truncated shp/rgg loci were functional. Only three shp genes were expressed in our experimental condition. Thus, this transcriptome analysis also highlighted the complex interconnected network that exists between SHP/Rgg systems, where a few homologous signaling peptides likely interact with different regulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell–Cell Communication in Streptococci)
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Article
Population Divergence along a Genetic Line of Least Resistance in the Tree Species Eucalyptus globulus
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091095 - 18 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
The evolutionary response to selection depends on the distribution of genetic variation in traits under selection within populations, as defined by the additive genetic variance-covariance matrix (G). The structure and evolutionary stability of G will thus influence the course of phenotypic [...] Read more.
The evolutionary response to selection depends on the distribution of genetic variation in traits under selection within populations, as defined by the additive genetic variance-covariance matrix (G). The structure and evolutionary stability of G will thus influence the course of phenotypic evolution. However, there are few studies assessing the stability of G and its relationship with population divergence within foundation tree species. We compared the G-matrices of Mainland and Island population groups of the forest tree Eucalyptus globulus, and determined the extent to which population divergence aligned with within-population genetic (co)variation. Four key wood property traits exhibiting signals of divergent selection were studied—wood density, extractive content, and lignin content and composition. The comparison of G-matrices of the mainland and island populations indicated that the G-eigenstructure was relatively well preserved at an intra-specific level. Population divergence tended to occur along a major direction of genetic variation in G. The observed conservatism of G, the moderate evolutionary timescale, and close relationship between genetic architecture and population trajectories suggest that genetic constraints may have influenced the evolution and diversification of the E. globulus populations for the traits studied. However, alternative scenarios, including selection aligning genetic architecture and population divergence, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
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Review
The Epigenetic Link between Polyphenols, Aging and Age-Related Diseases
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1094; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091094 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2117
Abstract
Aging is a complex process mainly categorized by a decline in tissue, cells and organ function and an increased risk of mortality. Recent studies have provided evidence that suggests a strong association between epigenetic mechanisms throughout an organism’s lifespan and age-related disease progression. [...] Read more.
Aging is a complex process mainly categorized by a decline in tissue, cells and organ function and an increased risk of mortality. Recent studies have provided evidence that suggests a strong association between epigenetic mechanisms throughout an organism’s lifespan and age-related disease progression. Epigenetics is considered an evolving field and regulates the genetic code at several levels. Among these are DNA changes, which include modifications to DNA methylation state, histone changes, which include modifications of methylation, acetylation, ubiquitination and phosphorylation of histones, and non-coding RNA changes. As a result, these epigenetic modifications are vital targets for potential therapeutic interventions against age-related deterioration and disease progression. Dietary polyphenols play a key role in modulating these modifications thereby delaying aging and extending longevity. In this review, we summarize recent advancements linking epigenetics, polyphenols and aging as well as critical findings related to the various dietary polyphenols in different fruits and vegetables. In addition, we cover studies that relate polyphenols and their epigenetic effects to various aging-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Article
The Impact of Chronic Mild Stress and Agomelatine Treatment on the Expression Level and Methylation Status of Genes Involved in Tryptophan Catabolic Pathway in PBMCs and Brain Structures
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091093 - 18 Sep 2020
Viewed by 854
Abstract
Depression is the serious mental disorder. Previous studies suggest that the development mechanism of depression may be associated with disorders of the tryptophan catabolic pathway (TRYCAT). Thus, this study investigates the effect of agomelatine treatment on the expression and methylation status of genes [...] Read more.
Depression is the serious mental disorder. Previous studies suggest that the development mechanism of depression may be associated with disorders of the tryptophan catabolic pathway (TRYCAT). Thus, this study investigates the effect of agomelatine treatment on the expression and methylation status of genes involved in TRYCAT in the brain and blood of rats exposed to a chronic mild stress (CMS). Separate groups of rats were exposed to CMS for two or seven weeks; the second group received vehicle or agomelatine for five weeks. After completion of both stress conditions and treatment, the expression levels of messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein, as well as the methylation status of promoters, were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and in brain structures with the use of TaqMan Gene Expression Assay, Western blot, and methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting techniques. In PBMCs, Kmo mRNA expression increased in the group after CMS, while this effect was normalized by agomelatine therapy. In brain, KatI and KatII expression changed following CMS exposure. Moreover, CMS decreased the methylation status of the second Tdo2 promoter in the amygdala. Protein expression of Tph1, Tph2, Ido1, and KatII changed in the group after CMS and agomelatine administration, most prominently in the basal ganglia, cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala. The results indicate that CMS and agomelatine affect the mRNA and protein expression, as well as the methylation of promoters of genes involved in the tryptophan catabolic pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Article
Metabolic Differences between Subcutaneous and Visceral Adipocytes Differentiated with an Excess of Saturated and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091092 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 999
Abstract
Obesity is a major health problem in highly industrialized countries. High-fat diet (HFD) is one of the most common causes of obesity and obesity-related disorders. There are considerable differences between fat depots and the corresponding risks of metabolic disorders. We investigated the various [...] Read more.
Obesity is a major health problem in highly industrialized countries. High-fat diet (HFD) is one of the most common causes of obesity and obesity-related disorders. There are considerable differences between fat depots and the corresponding risks of metabolic disorders. We investigated the various effects of an excess of fatty acids (palmitic 16:0, stearic 18:0, and oleic acids 18:1n−9) on adipogenesis of subcutaneous- and visceral-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and phenotypes of mature adipocytes. MSCs of white adipose tissue were acquired from adipose tissue biopsies obtained from subcutaneous and visceral fat depots from patients undergoing abdominal surgery. The MSCs were extracted and differentiated in vitro with the addition of fatty acids. Oleic acid stimulated adipogenesis, resulting in higher lipid content and larger adipocytes. Furthermore, oleic acid stimulated adipogenesis by increasing the expression of CCAAT enhancer binding protein β (CEBPB) and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARG). All of the examined fatty acids attenuated the insulin-signaling pathway and radically reduced glucose uptake following insulin stimulation. Visceral adipose tissue was shown to be more prone to generate inflammatory stages. The subcutaneous adipose tissue secreted a greater quantity of adipokines. To summarize, oleic acid showed the strongest effect on adipogenesis. Furthermore, all of the examined fatty acids attenuated insulin signaling and secretion of cytokines and adipokines. Full article
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Review
Biomarkers of Fabry Nephropathy: Review and Future Perspective
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091091 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Progressive nephropathy is one of the main features of Fabry disease, which largely contributes to the overall morbidity and mortality burden of the disease. Due to the lack of specific biomarkers, the heterogeneity of the disease, and unspecific symptoms, diagnosis is often delayed. [...] Read more.
Progressive nephropathy is one of the main features of Fabry disease, which largely contributes to the overall morbidity and mortality burden of the disease. Due to the lack of specific biomarkers, the heterogeneity of the disease, and unspecific symptoms, diagnosis is often delayed. Clinical presentation in individual patients varies widely, even in patients from the same family carrying the same pathogenic GLA variant. Therefore, it is reasonable to anticipate that additional genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomics factors influence the manifestation and progression of the disease. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of nephropathy in Fabry patients and the biomarkers currently used in the diagnosis and follow-up. Current biomarkers are associated with late signs of kidney damage. Therefore, there is a need to identify biomarkers associated with early stages of kidney damage that would enable early diagnosis, which is crucial for effective treatment and prevention of severe irreversible complications. Recent advances in sequencing and -omics technologies have led to several studies investigating new biomarkers. We will provide an overview of the novel biomarkers, critically evaluate their clinical utility, and propose future perspectives, which we believe might be in their integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Genomics of Inherited Metabolic Diseases)
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Article
Deletion in the Bardet–Biedl Syndrome Gene TTC8 Results in a Syndromic Retinal Degeneration in Dogs
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1090; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091090 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2402
Abstract
In golden retriever dogs, a 1 bp deletion in the canine TTC8 gene has been shown to cause progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), the canine equivalent of retinitis pigmentosa. In humans, TTC8 is also implicated in Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS). To investigate if the affected [...] Read more.
In golden retriever dogs, a 1 bp deletion in the canine TTC8 gene has been shown to cause progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), the canine equivalent of retinitis pigmentosa. In humans, TTC8 is also implicated in Bardet–Biedl syndrome (BBS). To investigate if the affected dogs only exhibit a non-syndromic PRA or develop a syndromic ciliopathy similar to human BBS, we recruited 10 affected dogs to the study. The progression of PRA for two of the dogs was followed for 2 years, and a rigorous clinical characterization allowed a careful comparison with primary and secondary characteristics of human BBS. In addition to PRA, the dogs showed a spectrum of clinical and morphological signs similar to primary and secondary characteristics of human BBS patients, such as obesity, renal anomalies, sperm defects, and anosmia. We used Oxford Nanopore long-read cDNA sequencing to characterize retinal full-length TTC8 transcripts in affected and non-affected dogs, the results of which suggest that three isoforms are transcribed in the retina, and the 1 bp deletion is a loss-of-function mutation, resulting in a canine form of Bardet–Biedl syndrome with heterogeneous clinical signs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Basis of Inherited Diseases in Companion Animals)
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Review
Blues in the Brain and Beyond: Molecular Bases of Major Depressive Disorder and Relative Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Treatments
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091089 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1475
Abstract
Despite the extensive research conducted in recent decades, the molecular mechanisms underlying major depressive disorder (MDD) and relative evidence-based treatments remain unclear. Various hypotheses have been successively proposed, involving different biological systems. This narrative review aims to critically illustrate the main pathogenic hypotheses [...] Read more.
Despite the extensive research conducted in recent decades, the molecular mechanisms underlying major depressive disorder (MDD) and relative evidence-based treatments remain unclear. Various hypotheses have been successively proposed, involving different biological systems. This narrative review aims to critically illustrate the main pathogenic hypotheses of MDD, ranging from the historical ones based on the monoaminergic and neurotrophic theories, through the subsequent neurodevelopmental, glutamatergic, GABAergic, inflammatory/immune and endocrine explanations, until the most recent evidence postulating a role for fatty acids and the gut microbiota. Moreover, the molecular effects of established both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches for MDD are also reviewed. Overall, the existing literature indicates that the molecular mechanisms described in the context of these different hypotheses, rather than representing alternative ones to each other, are likely to contribute together, often with reciprocal interactions, to the development of MDD and to the effectiveness of treatments, and points at the need for further research efforts in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes and Biomarkers of Mood and Anxiety Disorders)
Article
Distribution of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Saliva of Healthy Omnivores, Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarians, and Vegans
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091088 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 956
Abstract
Food consumption allows the entrance of bacteria and their antibiotic resistance (AR) genes into the human oral cavity. To date, very few studies have examined the influence of diet on the composition of the salivary microbiota, and even fewer investigations have specifically aimed [...] Read more.
Food consumption allows the entrance of bacteria and their antibiotic resistance (AR) genes into the human oral cavity. To date, very few studies have examined the influence of diet on the composition of the salivary microbiota, and even fewer investigations have specifically aimed to assess the impact of different long-term diets on the salivary resistome. In this study, the saliva of 144 healthy omnivores, ovo-lacto-vegetarians, and vegans were screened by nested PCR for the occurrence of 12 genes conferring resistance to tetracyclines, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B, vancomycin, and β-lactams. The tet(W), tet(M), and erm(B) genes occurred with the highest frequencies. Overall, no effect of diet on AR gene distribution was seen. Some differences emerged at the recruiting site level, such as the higher frequency of erm(C) in the saliva of the ovo-lacto-vegetarians and omnivores from Bologna and Turin, respectively, and the higher occurrence of tet(K) in the saliva of the omnivores from Bologna. A correlation of the intake of milk and cheese with the abundance of tet(K) and erm(C) genes was seen. Finally, when the occurrence of the 12 AR genes was evaluated along with geographical location, age, and sex as sources of variability, high similarity among the 144 volunteers was seen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbial Genetics and Genomics)
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Article
3′quant mRNA-Seq of Porcine Liver Reveals Alterations in UPR, Acute Phase Response, and Cholesterol and Bile Acid Metabolism in Response to Different Dietary Fats
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091087 - 18 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Animal fats are considered to be unhealthy, in contrast to vegetable fats, which are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. However, the use of some fats, such as coconut oil, is still controversial. In our experiment, we divided experimental animals (domestic pigs) into three [...] Read more.
Animal fats are considered to be unhealthy, in contrast to vegetable fats, which are rich in unsaturated fatty acids. However, the use of some fats, such as coconut oil, is still controversial. In our experiment, we divided experimental animals (domestic pigs) into three groups differing only in the type of fat used in the diet: group R: rapeseed oil (n = 5); group B: beef tallow (n = 5); group C: coconut oil (n = 6). After transcriptomic analysis of liver samples, we identified 188, 93, and 53 DEGs (differentially expressed genes) in R vs. B, R vs. C, and B vs. C comparisons, respectively. Next, we performed a functional analysis of identified DEGs with String and IPA software. We observed the enrichment of genes engaged in the unfolded protein response (UPR) and the acute phase response among genes upregulated in B compared to R. In contrast, cholesterol biosynthesis and cholesterol efflux enrichments were observed among genes downregulated in B when compared to R. Moreover, activation of the UPR and inhibition of the sirtuin signaling pathway were noted in C when compared to R. The most striking difference in liver transcriptomic response between C and B was the activation of the acute phase response and inhibition of bile acid synthesis in the latest group. Our results suggest that excessive consumption of animal fats leads to the activation of a cascade of mutually propelling processes harmful to the liver: inflammation, UPR, and imbalances in the biosynthesis of cholesterol and bile acids via altered organelle membrane composition. Nevertheless, these studies should be extended with analysis at the level of proteins and their function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pig Genomics and Genetics)
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Review
Ultrasound Therapy: Experiences and Perspectives for Regenerative Medicine
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091086 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Ultrasound has emerged as a novel tool for clinical applications, particularly in the context of regenerative medicine. Due to its unique physico-mechanical properties, low-intensity ultrasound (LIUS) has been approved for accelerated fracture healing and for the treatment of established non-union, but its utility [...] Read more.
Ultrasound has emerged as a novel tool for clinical applications, particularly in the context of regenerative medicine. Due to its unique physico-mechanical properties, low-intensity ultrasound (LIUS) has been approved for accelerated fracture healing and for the treatment of established non-union, but its utility has extended beyond tissue engineering to other fields, including cell regeneration. Cells and tissues respond to acoustic ultrasound by switching on genetic repair circuits, triggering a cascade of molecular signals that promote cell proliferation, adhesion, migration, differentiation, and extracellular matrix production. LIUS also induces angiogenesis and tissue regeneration and has anti-inflammatory and anti-degenerative effects. Accordingly, the potential application of ultrasound for tissue repair/regeneration has been tested in several studies as a stand-alone treatment and, more recently, as an adjunct to cell-based therapies. For example, ultrasound has been proposed to improve stem cell homing to target tissues due to its ability to create a transitional and local gradient of cytokines and chemokines. In this review, we provide an overview of the many applications of ultrasound in clinical medicine, with a focus on its value as an adjunct to cell-based interventions. Finally, we discuss the various preclinical and clinical studies that have investigated the potential of ultrasound for regenerative medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application Status and Development Prospects of Stem Cells)
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Article
Genomic Organization and Generation of Genetic Variability in the RHS (Retrotransposon Hot Spot) Protein Multigene Family in Trypanosoma cruzi
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091085 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1029
Abstract
Retrotransposon Hot Spot (RHS) is the most abundant gene family in Trypanosoma cruzi, with unknown function in this parasite. The aim of this work was to shed light on the organization and expression of RHS in T. cruzi. The diversity of the RHS [...] Read more.
Retrotransposon Hot Spot (RHS) is the most abundant gene family in Trypanosoma cruzi, with unknown function in this parasite. The aim of this work was to shed light on the organization and expression of RHS in T. cruzi. The diversity of the RHS protein family in T. cruzi was demonstrated by phylogenetic and recombination analyses. Transcribed sequences carrying the RHS domain were classified into ten distinct groups of monophyletic origin. We identified numerous recombination events among the RHS and traced the origins of the donors and target sequences. The transcribed RHS genes have a mosaic structure that may contain fragments of different RHS inserted in the target sequence. About 30% of RHS sequences are located in the subtelomere, a region very susceptible to recombination. The evolution of the RHS family has been marked by many events, including gene duplication by unequal mitotic crossing-over, homologous, as well as ectopic recombination, and gene conversion. The expression of RHS was analyzed by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting using anti-RHS antibodies. RHS proteins are evenly distributed in the nuclear region of T. cruzi replicative forms (amastigote and epimastigote), suggesting that they could be involved in the control of the chromatin structure and gene expression, as has been proposed for T. brucei. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kinetoplastid Genomics and Beyond)
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Review
Aneuploidy and DNA Methylation as Mirrored Features of Early Human Embryo Development
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091084 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Genome stability is an integral feature of all living organisms. Aneuploidy is the most common cause of fetal death in humans. The timing of bursts in increased aneuploidy frequency coincides with the waves of global epigenetic reprogramming in mammals. During gametogenesis and early [...] Read more.
Genome stability is an integral feature of all living organisms. Aneuploidy is the most common cause of fetal death in humans. The timing of bursts in increased aneuploidy frequency coincides with the waves of global epigenetic reprogramming in mammals. During gametogenesis and early embryogenesis, parental genomes undergo two waves of DNA methylation reprogramming. Failure of these processes can critically affect genome stability, including chromosome segregation during cell division. Abnormal methylation due to errors in the reprogramming process can potentially lead to aneuploidy. On the other hand, the presence of an entire additional chromosome, or chromosome loss, can affect the global genome methylation level. The associations of these two phenomena are well studied in the context of carcinogenesis, but here, we consider the relationship of DNA methylation and aneuploidy in early human and mammalian ontogenesis. In this review, we link these two phenomena and highlight the critical ontogenesis periods and genome regions that play a significant role in human reproduction and in the formation of pathological phenotypes in newborns with chromosomal aneuploidy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosome-Centric View of the Genome Organization and Evolution)
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Article
Micronuclei Formation upon Radioiodine Therapy for Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: The Influence of DNA Repair Genes Variants
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091083 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Radioiodine therapy with 131I remains the mainstay of standard treatment for well-differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Prognosis is good but concern exists that 131I-emitted ionizing radiation may induce double-strand breaks in extra-thyroidal tissues, increasing the risk of secondary malignancies. We, therefore, sought [...] Read more.
Radioiodine therapy with 131I remains the mainstay of standard treatment for well-differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Prognosis is good but concern exists that 131I-emitted ionizing radiation may induce double-strand breaks in extra-thyroidal tissues, increasing the risk of secondary malignancies. We, therefore, sought to evaluate the induction and 2-year persistence of micronuclei (MN) in lymphocytes from 26 131I-treated DTC patients and the potential impact of nine homologous recombination (HR), non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), and mismatch repair (MMR) polymorphisms on MN levels. MN frequency was determined by the cytokinesis-blocked micronucleus assay while genotyping was performed through pre-designed TaqMan® Assays or conventional PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). MN levels increased significantly one month after therapy and remained persistently higher than baseline for 2 years. A marked reduction in lymphocyte proliferation capacity was also apparent 2 years after therapy. MLH1 rs1799977 was associated with MN frequency (absolute or net variation) one month after therapy, in two independent groups. Significant associations were also observed for MSH3 rs26279, MSH4 rs5745325, NBN rs1805794, and tumor histotype. Overall, our results suggest that 131I therapy may pose a long-term challenge to cells other than thyrocytes and that the individual genetic profile may influence 131I sensitivity, hence its risk-benefit ratio. Further studies are warranted to confirm the potential utility of these single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as radiogenomic biomarkers in the personalization of radioiodine therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Perspectives in Thyroid Cancer)
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Article
The Study of the Expression of CGB1 and CGB2 in Human Cancer Tissues
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091082 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a well-known hormone produced by the trophoblast during pregnancy as well as by both trophoblastic and non-trophoblastic tumors. hCG is built from two subunits: α (hCGα) and β (hCGβ). The hormone-specific β subunit is encoded by six allelic [...] Read more.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a well-known hormone produced by the trophoblast during pregnancy as well as by both trophoblastic and non-trophoblastic tumors. hCG is built from two subunits: α (hCGα) and β (hCGβ). The hormone-specific β subunit is encoded by six allelic genes: CGB3, CGB5, CGB6, CGB7, CGB8, and CGB9, mapped to the 19q13.32 locus. This gene cluster also encompasses the CGB1 and CGB2 genes, which were originally considered to be pseudogenes, but as documented by several studies are transcriptionally active. Even though the protein products of these genes have not yet been identified, based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database analysis we showed that the mutual presence of CGB1 and CGB2 transcripts is a characteristic feature of cancers of different origin, including bladder urothelial carcinoma, cervical squamous cell carcinoma, esophageal carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, rectum adenocacinoma, testis germ cell tumors, thymoma, uterine corpus endometrial carcinoma and uterine carcinosarcoma. Full article
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