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Genes, Volume 7, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Open AccessCommunication
The R-Operon: A Model of Repetitive DNA-Organized Transcriptional Compartmentation of Eukaryotic Chromosomes for Coordinated Gene Expression
Genes 2016, 7(4), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7040016 - 22 Apr 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1814
Abstract
In eukaryotic genomes, it is essential to coordinate the activity of genes that function together to fulfill the same biological processes. Genomic organization likely plays a key role in coordinating transcription of different genes. However, little is known about how co-regulated genes are [...] Read more.
In eukaryotic genomes, it is essential to coordinate the activity of genes that function together to fulfill the same biological processes. Genomic organization likely plays a key role in coordinating transcription of different genes. However, little is known about how co-regulated genes are organized in the cell nucleus and how the chromosomal organization facilitates the co-regulation of different genes. I propose that eukaryotic genomes are organized into repeat assembly (RA)-based structural domains (“R-operons”) in the nuclear space. R-operons result from the interaction of homologous DNA repeats. In an R-operon, genes in different loci of the linear genome are brought into spatial vicinity and co-regulated by the same pool of transcription factors. This type of large-scale chromosomal organization may provide a mechanism for functional compartmentation of chromosomes to facilitate the transcriptional coordination of gene expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessReview
Epigenetic Biomarkers of Preterm Birth and Its Risk Factors
Genes 2016, 7(4), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7040015 - 13 Apr 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2862
Abstract
A biomarker is a biological measure predictive of a normal or pathogenic process or response. Biomarkers are often useful for making clinical decisions and determining treatment course. One area where such biomarkers would be particularly useful is in identifying women at risk for [...] Read more.
A biomarker is a biological measure predictive of a normal or pathogenic process or response. Biomarkers are often useful for making clinical decisions and determining treatment course. One area where such biomarkers would be particularly useful is in identifying women at risk for preterm delivery and related pregnancy complications. Neonates born preterm have significant morbidity and mortality, both in the perinatal period and throughout the life course, and identifying women at risk of delivering preterm may allow for targeted interventions to prevent or delay preterm birth (PTB). In addition to identifying those at increased risk for preterm birth, biomarkers may be able to distinguish neonates at particular risk for future complications due to modifiable environmental factors, such as maternal smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy. Currently, there are no such biomarkers available, though candidate gene and epigenome-wide association studies have identified DNA methylation differences associated with PTB, its risk factors and its long-term outcomes. Further biomarker development is crucial to reducing the health burden associated with adverse intrauterine conditions and preterm birth, and the results of recent DNA methylation studies may advance that goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenetic Biomarkers)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Sesame Accessions from Africa and Asia as Major Centers of Its Cultivation
Genes 2016, 7(4), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7040014 - 12 Apr 2016
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2746
Abstract
Sesame is an important oil crop widely cultivated in Africa and Asia. Understanding the genetic diversity of accessions from these continents is critical to designing breeding methods and for additional collection of sesame germplasm. To determine the genetic diversity in relation to geographical [...] Read more.
Sesame is an important oil crop widely cultivated in Africa and Asia. Understanding the genetic diversity of accessions from these continents is critical to designing breeding methods and for additional collection of sesame germplasm. To determine the genetic diversity in relation to geographical regions, 96 sesame accessions collected from 22 countries distributed over six geographic regions in Africa and Asia were genotyped using 33 polymorphic SSR markers. Large genetic variability was found within the germplasm collection. The total number of alleles was 137, averaging 4.15 alleles per locus. The accessions from Asia displayed more diversity than those from Africa. Accessions from Southern Asia (SAs), Eastern Asia (EAs), and Western Africa (WAf) were highly diversified, while those from Western Asia (WAs), Northern Africa (NAf), and Southeastern Africa (SAf) had the lowest diversity. The analysis of molecular variance revealed that more than 44% of the genetic variance was due to diversity among geographic regions. Five subpopulations, including three in Asia and two in Africa, were cross-identified through phylogenetic, PCA, and STRUCTURE analyses. Most accessions clustered in the same population based on their geographical origins. Our results provide technical guidance for efficient management of sesame genetic resources in breeding programs and further collection of sesame germplasm from these different regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity for Crop Improvement)
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Open AccessArticle
Bioinformatics Analysis of MAPKKK Family Genes in Medicago truncatula
Genes 2016, 7(4), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7040013 - 04 Apr 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2787
Abstract
Mitogen‐activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) is a component of the MAPK cascade pathway that plays an important role in plant growth, development, and response to abiotic stress, the functions of which have been well characterized in several plant species, such as Arabidopsis, [...] Read more.
Mitogen‐activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) is a component of the MAPK cascade pathway that plays an important role in plant growth, development, and response to abiotic stress, the functions of which have been well characterized in several plant species, such as Arabidopsis, rice, and maize. In this study, we performed genome‐wide and systemic bioinformatics analysis of MAPKKK family genes in Medicago truncatula. In total, there were 73 MAPKKK family members identified by search of homologs, and they were classified into three subfamilies, MEKK, ZIK, and RAF. Based on the genomic duplication function, 72 MtMAPKKK genes were located throughout all chromosomes, but they cluster in different chromosomes. Using microarray data and high‐throughput sequencing‐data, we assessed their expression profiles in growth and development processes; these results provided evidence for exploring their important functions in developmental regulation, especially in the nodulation process. Furthermore, we investigated their expression in abiotic stresses by RNA‐seq, which confirmed their critical roles in signal transduction and regulation processes under stress. In summary, our genome‐wide, systemic characterization and expressional analysis of MtMAPKKK genes will provide insights that will be useful for characterizing the molecular functions of these genes in M. truncatula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessArticle
De Novo Transcriptome Sequencing of Desert Herbaceous Achnatherum splendens (Achnatherum) Seedlings and Identification of Salt Tolerance Genes
Genes 2016, 7(4), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7040012 - 23 Mar 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2308
Abstract
Achnatherum splendens is an important forage herb in Northwestern China. It has a high tolerance to salinity and is, thus, considered one of the most important constructive plants in saline and alkaline areas of land in Northwest China. However, the mechanisms of salt [...] Read more.
Achnatherum splendens is an important forage herb in Northwestern China. It has a high tolerance to salinity and is, thus, considered one of the most important constructive plants in saline and alkaline areas of land in Northwest China. However, the mechanisms of salt stress tolerance in A. splendens remain unknown. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies can be used for global gene expression profiling. In this study, we examined sequence and transcript abundance data for the root/leaf transcriptome of A. splendens obtained using an Illumina HiSeq 2500. Over 35 million clean reads were obtained from the leaf and root libraries. All of the RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) reads were assembled de novo into a total of 126,235 unigenes and 36,511 coding DNA sequences (CDS). We further identified 1663 differentially-expressed genes (DEGs) between the salt stress treatment and control. Functional annotation of the DEGs by gene ontology (GO), using Arabidopsis and rice as references, revealed enrichment of salt stress-related GO categories, including “oxidation reduction”, “transcription factor activity”, and “ion channel transporter”. Thus, this global transcriptome analysis of A. splendens has provided an important genetic resource for the study of salt tolerance in this halophyte. The identified sequences and their putative functional data will facilitate future investigations of the tolerance of Achnatherum species to various types of abiotic stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics)
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