Special Issue "Genes at Ten"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. J. Peter W. Young
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK
Interests: bacterial genomes; population genetics; phylogenomics; phylogenetics; genome projects; genetic diversity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Paolo Cinelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Clinical Research, Clinic for Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Sternwartstrasse 14, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: transcriptomics; microarrays; gene expression analysis; genotyping; molecular genetics; mouse genetics; transgenic technologies; embryonic stem cells; pluripotency
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Montserrat Corominas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, School of Biology, University of Barcelona, Diagonal, 643, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: development; regeneration epigenetics; chromatin; Drosophila; transcription
Dr. Elaine Ostrander
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Interests: dog breeds; canine genetics; prostate cancer; domestic dog
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Selvarangan Ponnazhagan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1825 University Blvd., SHEL 814 Birmingham, AL 35294-2182, USA
Interests: adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene therapy for cancer; AAV-mediated gene therapy for metabolic diseases; development of targeted-AAV for human gene therapy; biology, life cycle and molecular virology of adeno-associated virus
Prof. Dr. Roberto Tuberosa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna Viale Fanin, 44 40127-Bologna Italy
Interests: Quantitative Trait Loci mapping; drought resistance; root system architecture; phenotyping; maize; durum wheat; barley
Prof. Dr. Nico M. Van Straalen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Ecological Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: evolution; molecular ecology; ecological genomics; zoology; toxicology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Thierry Wirth
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle - EPHE, Department of Systematics and Evolution, UMR-CNRS 7205, 16, rue Buffon, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France
Interests: evolution; population genetics and genomics; evolutionary microbiology; molecular epidemiology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2020, we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of Genes, and we would be happy if you join us on this wonderful occasion.

The very first issue of Genes was released in June 2010. Since those early days, the journal has established a solid reputation and has recently attracted a remarkable increase in the number of publications as well as citations, while maintaining good quality, which is reflected in each year’s Impact Factor. The continuing success of the journal would not have been possible without the work of the journal’s professional staff, the oversight of the editors, and the quality of the authors who have chosen to publish with us.

Ten years later, we are editing this Special Issue commemorating this remarkable milestone. We will include invited articles related to the field and within the scope of each of the journal sections. We have invited those who have contributed to Genes and its prosperity over these 10 years: our top authors, but also our Editorial Board Members. In other words, the people who have made the journal successful.

Please consider submitting an article for this very Special Issue. I hope that you will agree that this is a good way to celebrate our first decade and start the next.

Thank you all for the work you are doing to keep our journal vigorous.

Prof. Dr. J. Peter W. Young
Dr. Paolo Cinelli
Prof. Dr. Montserrat Corominas
Dr. Elaine Ostrander
Prof. Dr. Selvarangan Ponnazhagan
Prof. Roberto Tuberosa
Prof. Dr. Nico M. Van Straalen
Prof. Dr. Thierry Wirth
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Research

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Article
Defining the Rhizobium leguminosarum Species Complex
Genes 2021, 12(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12010111 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
Bacteria currently included in Rhizobium leguminosarum are too diverse to be considered a single species, so we can refer to this as a species complex (the Rlc). We have found 429 publicly available genome sequences that fall within the Rlc and these show [...] Read more.
Bacteria currently included in Rhizobium leguminosarum are too diverse to be considered a single species, so we can refer to this as a species complex (the Rlc). We have found 429 publicly available genome sequences that fall within the Rlc and these show that the Rlc is a distinct entity, well separated from other species in the genus. Its sister taxon is R. anhuiense. We constructed a phylogeny based on concatenated sequences of 120 universal (core) genes, and calculated pairwise average nucleotide identity (ANI) between all genomes. From these analyses, we concluded that the Rlc includes 18 distinct genospecies, plus 7 unique strains that are not placed in these genospecies. Each genospecies is separated by a distinct gap in ANI values, usually at approximately 96% ANI, implying that it is a ‘natural’ unit. Five of the genospecies include the type strains of named species: R. laguerreae, R. sophorae, R. ruizarguesonis, “R. indicum” and R. leguminosarum itself. The 16S ribosomal RNA sequence is remarkably diverse within the Rlc, but does not distinguish the genospecies. Partial sequences of housekeeping genes, which have frequently been used to characterize isolate collections, can mostly be assigned unambiguously to a genospecies, but alleles within a genospecies do not always form a clade, so single genes are not a reliable guide to the true phylogeny of the strains. We conclude that access to a large number of genome sequences is a powerful tool for characterizing the diversity of bacteria, and that taxonomic conclusions should be based on all available genome sequences, not just those of type strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Elevated Expression of SLC6A4 Encoding the Serotonin Transporter (SERT) in Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome
Genes 2021, 12(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12010086 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Most of the GTS individuals have comorbid diagnoses, of which obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are the most common. Several neurotransmitter systems have [...] Read more.
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Most of the GTS individuals have comorbid diagnoses, of which obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are the most common. Several neurotransmitter systems have been implicated in disease pathogenesis, and amongst these, the dopaminergic and the serotonergic pathways are the most widely studied. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether the serotonin transporter (SERT) gene (SLC6A4) was differentially expressed among GTS individuals compared to healthy controls, and whether DNA variants (the SERT-linked polymorphic region 5-HTTLPR, together with the associated rs25531 and rs25532 variants, and the rare Ile425Val variant) or promoter methylation of SLC6A4 were associated with gene expression levels or with the presence of OCD as comorbidity. We observed that SLC6A4 expression is upregulated in GTS individuals compared to controls. Although no specific genotype, allele or haplotype was overrepresented in GTS individuals compared to controls, we observed that the LAC/LAC genotype of the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531/rs25532 three-locus haplotype was associated with higher SLC6A4 mRNA expression levels in GTS individuals, but not in the control group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Plasmodium vivax Cysteine-Rich Protective Antigen Polymorphism at Exon-1 Shows Recombination and Signatures of Balancing Selection
Genes 2021, 12(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12010029 - 28 Dec 2020
Viewed by 560
Abstract
Plasmodium vivax Cysteine-Rich Protective Antigen (CyRPA) is a merozoite protein participating in the parasite invasion of human reticulocytes. During natural P. vivax infection, antibody responses against PvCyRPA have been detected. In children, low anti-CyRPA antibody titers correlated with clinical protection, which suggests this [...] Read more.
Plasmodium vivax Cysteine-Rich Protective Antigen (CyRPA) is a merozoite protein participating in the parasite invasion of human reticulocytes. During natural P. vivax infection, antibody responses against PvCyRPA have been detected. In children, low anti-CyRPA antibody titers correlated with clinical protection, which suggests this protein as a potential vaccine candidate. This work analyzed the genetic and amino acid diversity of pvcyrpa in Mexican and global parasites. Consensus coding sequences of pvcyrpa were obtained from seven isolates. Other sequences were extracted from a repository. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees, genetic diversity parameters, linkage disequilibrium (LD), and neutrality tests were analyzed, and the potential amino acid polymorphism participation in B-cell epitopes was investigated. In 22 sequences from Southern Mexico, two synonymous and 21 nonsynonymous mutations defined nine private haplotypes. These parasites had the highest LD-R2 index and the lowest nucleotide diversity compared to isolates from South America or Asia. The nucleotide diversity and Tajima’s D values varied across the coding gene. The exon-1 sequence had greater diversity and Rm values than those of exon-2. Exon-1 had significant positive values for Tajima’s D, β-α values, and for the Z (HA: dN > dS) and MK tests. These patterns were similar for parasites of different origin. The polymorphic amino acid residues at PvCyRPA resembled the conformational B-cell peptides reported in PfCyRPA. Diversity at pvcyrpa exon-1 is caused by mutation and recombination. This seems to be maintained by balancing selection, likely due to selective immune pressure, all of which merit further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Establishment and Preliminary Characterization of Three Astrocytic Cells Lines Obtained from Primary Rat Astrocytes by Sub-Cloning
Genes 2020, 11(12), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11121502 - 13 Dec 2020
Viewed by 513
Abstract
Gliomas are complex and heterogeneous tumors that originate from the glial cells of the brain. The malignant cells undergo deep modifications of their metabolism, and acquire the capacity to invade the brain parenchyma and to induce epigenetic modifications in the other brain cell [...] Read more.
Gliomas are complex and heterogeneous tumors that originate from the glial cells of the brain. The malignant cells undergo deep modifications of their metabolism, and acquire the capacity to invade the brain parenchyma and to induce epigenetic modifications in the other brain cell types. In spite of the efforts made to define the pathology at the molecular level, and to set novel approaches to reach the infiltrating cells, gliomas are still fatal. In order to gain a better knowledge of the cellular events that accompany astrocyte transformation, we developed three increasingly transformed astrocyte cell lines, starting from primary rat cortical astrocytes, and analyzed them at the cytogenetic and epigenetic level. In parallel, we also studied the expression of the differentiation-related H1.0 linker histone variant to evaluate its possible modification in relation with transformation. We found that the most modified astrocytes (A-FC6) have epigenetic and chromosomal alterations typical of cancer, and that the other two clones (A-GS1 and A-VV5) have intermediate properties. Surprisingly, the differentiation-specific somatic histone H1.0 steadily increases from the normal astrocytes to the most transformed ones. As a whole, our results suggest that these three cell lines, together with the starting primary cells, constitute a potential model for studying glioma development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Plant TDP1 (Tyrosyl-DNA Phosphodiesterase 1): A Phylogenetic Perspective and Gene Expression Data Mining
Genes 2020, 11(12), 1465; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11121465 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 869
Abstract
The TDP1 (tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1) enzyme removes the non-specific covalent intermediates between topoisomerase I and DNA, thus playing a crucial role in preventing DNA damage. While mammals possess only one TDP1 gene, in plants two genes (TDP1α and TDP1β) are present [...] Read more.
The TDP1 (tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1) enzyme removes the non-specific covalent intermediates between topoisomerase I and DNA, thus playing a crucial role in preventing DNA damage. While mammals possess only one TDP1 gene, in plants two genes (TDP1α and TDP1β) are present constituting a small gene subfamily. These display a different domain structure and appear to perform non-overlapping functions in the maintenance of genome integrity. Namely, the HIRAN domain identified in TDP1β is involved in the interaction with DNA during the recognition of stalled replication forks. The availability of transcriptomic databases in a growing variety of experimental systems provides new opportunities to fill the current gaps of knowledge concerning the evolutionary origin and the specialized roles of TDP1 genes in plants. Whereas a phylogenetic approach has been used to track the evolution of plant TDP1 protein, transcriptomic data from a selection of representative lycophyte, eudicots, and monocots have been implemented to explore the transcriptomic dynamics in different tissues and a variety of biotic and abiotic stress conditions. While the phylogenetic analysis indicates that TDP1α is of non-plant origin and TDP1β is plant-specific originating in ancient vascular plants, the gene expression data mining comparative analysis pinpoints for tissue- and stress-specific responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Novel Regulators of Sugar-Mediated Lateral Root Development in Arabidopsis thaliana
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111257 - 25 Oct 2020
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Lateral root development is a complex process regulated by numerous factors. An important role for sugar in lateral root development has been known for a while, but the underlying molecular basis still remains unclear. In this study, we first showed that WOX7, a [...] Read more.
Lateral root development is a complex process regulated by numerous factors. An important role for sugar in lateral root development has been known for a while, but the underlying molecular basis still remains unclear. In this study, we first showed that WOX7, a sugar-inducible negative regulator of lateral root development, acts downstream of the glucose sensor HXK1. Using a transgenic line homozygous for a transgene expressing GFP under the control of the WOX7 promoter, we next performed a genetic screen to identify additional genes in this development pathway. A number of mutants with altered level of WOX7 expression were recovered, and two with increased WOX7 expression, named ewe-1 and ewe-2 (for Enhanced WOX7 Expression), were further characterized. Both mutants manifest delayed lateral root development, and genetic analysis indicates that single recessive mutations are responsible for the observed phenotypes. The mutations were then located to similar regions on chromosome 2 by marker-assisted analyses, and candidate genes were identified through whole genome sequencing. The significance and limitations of this work are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Diverse Horizontally-Acquired Gene Clusters Confer Sucrose Utilization to Different Lineages of the Marine Pathogen Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111244 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
The ability to metabolize sucrose is a variable trait within the family Vibrionaceae. The marine bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae (Pdd), pathogenic for marine animals and humans, is generally described as negative for sucrose utilization (Scr). Previous studies [...] Read more.
The ability to metabolize sucrose is a variable trait within the family Vibrionaceae. The marine bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae (Pdd), pathogenic for marine animals and humans, is generally described as negative for sucrose utilization (Scr). Previous studies have reported sucrose-utilizing isolates (Scr+), but the genetic basis of this variable phenotype remains uncharacterized. Here, we carried out the genome sequencing of five Scr+ and two ScrPdd isolates and conducted a comparative genomics analysis with sixteen additional Pdd genomes sequenced in previous studies. We identified two different versions of a four-gene cluster (scr cluster) exclusive of Scr+ isolates encoding a PTS system sucrose-specific IIBC component (scrA), a fructokinase (scrK), a sucrose-6-phosphate hydrolase (scrB), and a sucrose operon repressor (scrR). A scrA deletion mutant did not ferment sucrose and was impaired for growth with sucrose as carbon source. Comparative genomics analyses suggested that scr clusters were acquired by horizontal transfer by different lineages of Pdd and were inserted into a recombination hot-spot in the Pdd genome. The incongruence of phylogenies based on housekeeping genes and on scr genes revealed that phylogenetically diverse gene clusters for sucrose utilization have undergone extensive horizontal transfer among species of Vibrio and Photobacterium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
The Diversity of Genetic Outcomes from CRISPR/Cas Gene Editing is Regulated by the Length of the Symmetrical Donor DNA Template
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101160 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1072
Abstract
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas gene editing systems have enabled molecular geneticists to manipulate prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes with greater efficiency and precision. CRISPR/Cas provides adaptive immunity in bacterial cells by degrading invading viral genomes. By democratizing this activity into human [...] Read more.
Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas gene editing systems have enabled molecular geneticists to manipulate prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes with greater efficiency and precision. CRISPR/Cas provides adaptive immunity in bacterial cells by degrading invading viral genomes. By democratizing this activity into human cells, it is possible to knock out specific genes to disable their function and repair errors. The latter of these activities requires the participation of a single-stranded donor DNA template that provides the genetic information to execute correction in a process referred to as homology directed repair (HDR). Here, we utilized an established cell-free extract system to determine the influence that the donor DNA template length has on the diversity of products from CRISPR-directed gene editing. This model system enables us to view all outcomes of this reaction and reveals that donor template length can influence the efficiency of the reaction and the categories of error-prone products that accompany it. A careful measurement of the products revealed a category of error-prone events that contained the corrected template along with insertions and deletions (indels). Our data provides foundational information for those whose aim is to translate CRISPR/Cas from bench to bedside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
The Transcriptomic Landscape of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 Acutely Exposed to Copper
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091049 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Bacteria are increasingly used for biotechnological applications such as bioremediation, biorecovery, bioproduction, and biosensing. The development of strains suited for such applications requires a thorough understanding of their behavior, with a key role for their transcriptomic landscape. We present a thorough analysis of [...] Read more.
Bacteria are increasingly used for biotechnological applications such as bioremediation, biorecovery, bioproduction, and biosensing. The development of strains suited for such applications requires a thorough understanding of their behavior, with a key role for their transcriptomic landscape. We present a thorough analysis of the transcriptome of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 cells acutely exposed to copper by tagRNA-sequencing. C. metallidurans CH34 is a model organism for metal resistance, and its potential as a biosensor and candidate for metal bioremediation has been demonstrated in multiple studies. Several metabolic pathways were impacted by Cu exposure, and a broad spectrum of metal resistance mechanisms, not limited to copper-specific clusters, was overexpressed. In addition, several gene clusters involved in the oxidative stress response and the cysteine-sulfur metabolism were induced. In total, 7500 transcription start sites (TSSs) were annotated and classified with respect to their location relative to coding sequences (CDSs). Predicted TSSs were used to re-annotate 182 CDSs. The TSSs of 2422 CDSs were detected, and consensus promotor logos were derived. Interestingly, many leaderless messenger RNAs (mRNAs) were found. In addition, many mRNAs were transcribed from multiple alternative TSSs. We observed pervasive intragenic TSSs both in sense and antisense to CDSs. Antisense transcripts were enriched near the 5′ end of mRNAs, indicating a functional role in post-transcriptional regulation. In total, 578 TSSs were detected in intergenic regions, of which 35 were identified as putative small regulatory RNAs. Finally, we provide a detailed analysis of the main copper resistance clusters in CH34, which include many intragenic and antisense transcripts. These results clearly highlight the ubiquity of noncoding transcripts in the CH34 transcriptome, many of which are putatively involved in the regulation of metal resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Accurately Predicting Glutarylation Sites Using Sequential Bi-Peptide-Based Evolutionary Features
Genes 2020, 11(9), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11091023 - 31 Aug 2020
Viewed by 944
Abstract
Post Translational Modification (PTM) is defined as the alteration of protein sequence upon interaction with different macromolecules after the translation process. Glutarylation is considered one of the most important PTMs, which is associated with a wide range of cellular functioning, including metabolism, translation, [...] Read more.
Post Translational Modification (PTM) is defined as the alteration of protein sequence upon interaction with different macromolecules after the translation process. Glutarylation is considered one of the most important PTMs, which is associated with a wide range of cellular functioning, including metabolism, translation, and specified separate subcellular localizations. During the past few years, a wide range of computational approaches has been proposed to predict Glutarylation sites. However, despite all the efforts that have been made so far, the prediction performance of the Glutarylation sites has remained limited. One of the main challenges to tackle this problem is to extract features with significant discriminatory information. To address this issue, we propose a new machine learning method called BiPepGlut using the concept of a bi-peptide-based evolutionary method for feature extraction. To build this model, we also use the Extra-Trees (ET) classifier for the classification purpose, which, to the best of our knowledge, has never been used for this task. Our results demonstrate BiPepGlut is able to significantly outperform previously proposed models to tackle this problem. BiPepGlut achieves 92.0%, 84.8%, 95.6%, 0.82, and 0.88 in accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, Matthew’s Correlation Coefficient, and F1-score, respectively. BiPepGlut is implemented as a publicly available online predictor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Genome-Wide DNA Methylation and Gene Expression Profiles in Cows Subjected to Different Stress Level as Assessed by Cortisol in Milk
Genes 2020, 11(8), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080850 - 25 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Dairy cattle health, wellbeing and productivity are deeply affected by stress. Its influence on metabolism and immune response is well known, but the underlying epigenetic mechanisms require further investigation. In this study, we compared DNA methylation and gene expression signatures between two dairy [...] Read more.
Dairy cattle health, wellbeing and productivity are deeply affected by stress. Its influence on metabolism and immune response is well known, but the underlying epigenetic mechanisms require further investigation. In this study, we compared DNA methylation and gene expression signatures between two dairy cattle populations falling in the high- and low-variant tails of the distribution of milk cortisol concentration (MC), a neuroendocrine marker of stress in dairy cows. Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing was used to obtain a methylation map from blood samples of these animals. The high and low groups exhibited similar amounts of methylated CpGs, while we found differences among non-CpG sites. Significant methylation changes were detected in 248 genes. We also identified significant fold differences in the expression of 324 genes. KEGG and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis showed that genes of both groups act together in several pathways, such as nervous system activity, immune regulatory functions and glucocorticoid metabolism. These preliminary results suggest that, in livestock, cortisol secretion could act as a trigger for epigenetic regulation and that peripheral changes in methylation can provide an insight into central nervous system functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Satellitome Analysis in the Ladybird Beetle Hippodamia variegata (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae)
Genes 2020, 11(7), 783; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070783 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
Hippodamia variegata is one of the most commercialized ladybirds used for the biological control of aphid pest species in many economically important crops. This species is the first Coccinellidae whose satellitome has been studied by applying new sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools. We [...] Read more.
Hippodamia variegata is one of the most commercialized ladybirds used for the biological control of aphid pest species in many economically important crops. This species is the first Coccinellidae whose satellitome has been studied by applying new sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools. We found that 47% of the H. variegata genome is composed of repeated sequences. We identified 30 satellite DNA (satDNA) families with a median intragenomic divergence of 5.75% and A+T content between 45.6% and 74.7%. This species shows satDNA families with highly variable sizes although the most common size is 100–200 bp. However, we highlight the existence of a satDNA family with a repeat unit of 2 kb, the largest repeat unit described in Coleoptera. PCR amplifications for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probe generation were performed for the four most abundant satDNA families. FISH with the most abundant satDNA family as a probe shows its pericentromeric location on all chromosomes. This location is coincident with the heterochromatin revealed by C-banding and DAPI staining, also analyzed in this work. Hybridization signals for other satDNA families were located only on certain bivalents and the X chromosome. These satDNAs could be very useful as chromosomal markers due to their reduced location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Evaluation of the VISAGE Basic Tool for Appearance and Ancestry Prediction Using PowerSeq Chemistry on the MiSeq FGx System
Genes 2020, 11(6), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060708 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
The study of DNA to predict externally visible characteristics (EVCs) and the biogeographical ancestry (BGA) from unknown samples is gaining relevance in forensic genetics. Technical developments in Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) enable the simultaneous analysis of hundreds of DNA markers, which improves successful [...] Read more.
The study of DNA to predict externally visible characteristics (EVCs) and the biogeographical ancestry (BGA) from unknown samples is gaining relevance in forensic genetics. Technical developments in Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) enable the simultaneous analysis of hundreds of DNA markers, which improves successful Forensic DNA Phenotyping (FDP). The EU-funded VISAGE (VISible Attributes through GEnomics) Consortium has developed various targeted MPS-based lab tools to apply FDP in routine forensic analyses. Here, we present an evaluation of the VISAGE Basic tool for appearance and ancestry prediction based on PowerSeq chemistry (Promega) on a MiSeq FGx System (Illumina). The panel consists of 153 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that provide information about EVCs (41 SNPs for eye, hair and skin color from HIrisPlex-S) and continental BGA (115 SNPs; three overlap with the EVCs SNP set). The assay was evaluated for sensitivity, repeatability and genotyping concordance, as well as its performance with casework-type samples. This targeted MPS assay provided complete genotypes at all 153 SNPs down to 125 pg of input DNA and 99.67% correct genotypes at 50 pg. It was robust in terms of repeatability and concordance and provided useful results with casework-type samples. The results suggest that this MPS assay is a useful tool for basic appearance and ancestry prediction in forensic genetics for users interested in applying PowerSeq chemistry and MiSeq for this purpose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Communication
Senescence and Longevity of Sea Urchins
Genes 2020, 11(5), 573; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11050573 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 1966
Abstract
Sea urchins are a minor class of marine invertebrates that share genetic similarities with humans. For example, the sea urchin species Strongylocentrotus purpuratus is estimated to have 23,300 genes in which the majority of vertebrate gene families are enveloped. Some of the sea [...] Read more.
Sea urchins are a minor class of marine invertebrates that share genetic similarities with humans. For example, the sea urchin species Strongylocentrotus purpuratus is estimated to have 23,300 genes in which the majority of vertebrate gene families are enveloped. Some of the sea urchin species can demonstrate extreme longevity, such as Mesocentrotus franciscanus, living for well over 100 years. Comparing human to sea urchin aging suggests that the latter do not fit within the classic understanding of biological aging, as both long- and short-lived sea urchin species demonstrate negligible senescence. Sea urchins are highly regenerative organisms. Adults can regenerate external appendages and can maintain their regenerative abilities throughout life. They grow indeterminately and reproduce throughout their entire adult life. Both long- and short-lived species do not exhibit age-associated telomere shortening and display telomerase activity in somatic tissues regardless of age. Aging S. purpuratus urchins show changes in expression patterns of protein coding genes that are involved in several fundamental cellular functions such as the ubiquitin-proteasome system, signaling pathways, translational regulation, and electron transport chain. Sea urchin longevity and senescence research is a new and promising field that holds promise for the understanding of aging in vertebrates and can increase our understanding of human longevity and of healthy aging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
Article
Efficient Generation and Correction of Mutations in Human iPS Cells Utilizing mRNAs of CRISPR Base Editors and Prime Editors
Genes 2020, 11(5), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11050511 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3898
Abstract
In contrast to CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases, CRISPR base editors (BE) and prime editors (PE) enable predefined nucleotide exchanges in genomic sequences without generating DNA double strand breaks. Here, we employed BE and PE mRNAs in conjunction with chemically synthesized sgRNAs and pegRNAs for efficient [...] Read more.
In contrast to CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases, CRISPR base editors (BE) and prime editors (PE) enable predefined nucleotide exchanges in genomic sequences without generating DNA double strand breaks. Here, we employed BE and PE mRNAs in conjunction with chemically synthesized sgRNAs and pegRNAs for efficient editing of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Whereas we were unable to correct a disease-causing mutation in patient derived iPSCs using a CRISPR/Cas9 nuclease approach, we corrected the mutation back to wild type with high efficiency utilizing an adenine BE. We also used adenine and cytosine BEs to introduce nine different cancer associated TP53 mutations into human iPSCs with up to 90% efficiency, generating a panel of cell lines to investigate the biology of these mutations in an isogenic background. Finally, we pioneered the use of prime editing in human iPSCs, opening this important cell type for the precise modification of nucleotides not addressable by BEs and to multiple nucleotide exchanges. These approaches eliminate the necessity of deriving disease specific iPSCs from human donors and allows the comparison of different disease-causing mutations in isogenic genetic backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Ecological Processes Affecting Long-Term Eukaryote and Prokaryote Biofilm Persistence in Nitrogen Removal from Sewage
Genes 2020, 11(4), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040449 - 20 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 909
Abstract
The factors affecting long-term biofilm stability in sewage treatment remain largely unexplored. We therefore analyzed moving bed bioreactors (MBBRs) biofilm composition and function two years apart from four reactors in a nitrogen-removal sewage treatment plant. Multivariate ANOVA revealed a similar prokaryote microbiota composition [...] Read more.
The factors affecting long-term biofilm stability in sewage treatment remain largely unexplored. We therefore analyzed moving bed bioreactors (MBBRs) biofilm composition and function two years apart from four reactors in a nitrogen-removal sewage treatment plant. Multivariate ANOVA revealed a similar prokaryote microbiota composition on biofilm carriers from the same reactors, where reactor explained 84.6% of the variance, and year only explained 1.5%. Eukaryotes showed a less similar composition with reactor explaining 56.8% of the variance and year 9.4%. Downstream effects were also more pronounced for eukaryotes than prokaryotes. For prokaryotes, carbon source emerged as a potential factor for deterministic assembly. In the two reactors with methanol as a carbon source, the bacterial genus Methylotenera dominated, with M. versatilis as the most abundant species. M. versatilis showed large lineage diversity. The lineages mainly differed with respect to potential terminal electron acceptor usage (nitrogen oxides and oxygen). Searches in the Sequence Read Archive (SRA) database indicate a global distribution of the M. versatilis strains, with methane-containing sediments as the main habitat. Taken together, our results support long-term prokaryote biofilm persistence, while eukaryotes were less persistent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
A New Census of Protein Tandem Repeats and Their Relationship with Intrinsic Disorder
Genes 2020, 11(4), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040407 - 09 Apr 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Protein tandem repeats (TRs) are often associated with immunity-related functions and diseases. Since that last census of protein TRs in 1999, the number of curated proteins increased more than seven-fold and new TR prediction methods were published. TRs appear to be enriched with [...] Read more.
Protein tandem repeats (TRs) are often associated with immunity-related functions and diseases. Since that last census of protein TRs in 1999, the number of curated proteins increased more than seven-fold and new TR prediction methods were published. TRs appear to be enriched with intrinsic disorder and vice versa. The significance and the biological reasons for this association are unknown. Here, we characterize protein TRs across all kingdoms of life and their overlap with intrinsic disorder in unprecedented detail. Using state-of-the-art prediction methods, we estimate that 50.9% of proteins contain at least one TR, often located at the sequence flanks. Positive linear correlation between the proportion of TRs and the protein length was observed universally, with Eukaryotes in general having more TRs, but when the difference in length is taken into account the difference is quite small. TRs were enriched with disorder-promoting amino acids and were inside intrinsically disordered regions. Many such TRs were homorepeats. Our results support that TRs mostly originate by duplication and are involved in essential functions such as transcription processes, structural organization, electron transport and iron-binding. In viruses, TRs are found in proteins essential for virulence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Fetal Hypoxia Impacts on Proliferation and Differentiation of Sca-1+ Cardiac Progenitor Cells and Maturation of Cardiomyocytes: A Role of MicroRNA-210
Genes 2020, 11(3), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030328 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
Hypoxia is one of the most frequent and severe stresses to an organism’s homeostatic mechanisms, and hypoxia during gestation has profound adverse effects on the heart development increasing the occurrence of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) are responsible for early [...] Read more.
Hypoxia is one of the most frequent and severe stresses to an organism’s homeostatic mechanisms, and hypoxia during gestation has profound adverse effects on the heart development increasing the occurrence of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) are responsible for early heart development and the later occurrence of heart disease. However, the mechanism of how hypoxic stress affects CPC fate decisions and contributes to CHDs remains a topic of debate. Here we examined the effect of hypoxic stress on the regulations of CPC fate decisions and the potential mechanism. We found that experimental induction of hypoxic responses compromised CPC function by regulating CPC proliferation and differentiation and restraining cardiomyocyte maturation. In addition, echocardiography indicated that fetal hypoxia reduced interventricular septum thickness at diastole and the ejection time, but increased the heart rate, in mouse young adult offspring with a gender-related difference. Further study revealed that hypoxia upregulated microRNA-210 expression in Sca-1+ CPCs and impeded the cell differentiation. Blockage of microRNA-210 with LNA-anti-microRNA-210 significantly promoted differentiation of Sca-1+ CPCs into cardiomyocytes. Thus, the present findings provide clear evidence that hypoxia alters CPC fate decisions and reveal a novel mechanism of microRNA-210 in the hypoxic effect, raising the possibility of microRNA-210 as a potential therapeutic target for heart disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
YARS2 Missense Variant in Belgian Shepherd Dogs with Cardiomyopathy and Juvenile Mortality
Genes 2020, 11(3), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030313 - 14 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2225
Abstract
Dog puppy loss by the age of six to eight weeks after normal development is relatively uncommon. Necropsy findings in two spontaneously deceased Belgian Shepherd puppies indicated an abnormal accumulation of material in several organs. A third deceased puppy exhibited mild signs of [...] Read more.
Dog puppy loss by the age of six to eight weeks after normal development is relatively uncommon. Necropsy findings in two spontaneously deceased Belgian Shepherd puppies indicated an abnormal accumulation of material in several organs. A third deceased puppy exhibited mild signs of an inflammation in the central nervous system and an enteritis. The puppies were closely related, raising the suspicion of a genetic cause. Pedigree analysis suggested a monogenic autosomal recessive inheritance. Combined linkage and homozygosity mapping assigned the most likely position of a potential genetic defect to 13 genome segments totaling 82 Mb. The genome of an affected puppy was sequenced and compared to 645 control genomes. Three private protein changing variants were found in the linked and homozygous regions. Targeted genotyping in 96 Belgian Shepherd dogs excluded two of these variants. The remaining variant, YARS2:1054G>A or p.Glu352Lys, was perfectly associated with the phenotype in a cohort of 474 Belgian Shepherd dogs. YARS2 encodes the mitochondrial tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase 2 and the predicted amino acid change replaces a negatively charged and evolutionary conserved glutamate at the surface of the tRNA binding domain of YARS2 with a positively charged lysine. Human patients with loss-of-function variants in YARS2 suffer from myopathy, lactic acidosis, and sideroblastic anemia 2, a disease with clinical similarities to the phenotype of the studied dogs. The carrier frequency was 27.2% in the tested Belgian Shepherd dogs. Our data suggest YARS2:1054G>A as the candidate causative variant for the observed juvenile mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Article
Shared Molecular Genetic Mechanisms Underlie Endometriosis and Migraine Comorbidity
Genes 2020, 11(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030268 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2975
Abstract
Observational epidemiological studies indicate that endometriosis and migraine co-occur within individuals more than expected by chance. However, the aetiology and biological mechanisms underlying their comorbidity remain unknown. Here we examined the relationship between endometriosis and migraine using genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. Single [...] Read more.
Observational epidemiological studies indicate that endometriosis and migraine co-occur within individuals more than expected by chance. However, the aetiology and biological mechanisms underlying their comorbidity remain unknown. Here we examined the relationship between endometriosis and migraine using genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) effect concordance analysis found a significant concordance of SNP risk effects across endometriosis and migraine GWAS. Linkage disequilibrium score regression analysis found a positive and highly significant genetic correlation (rG = 0.38, P = 2.30 × 10−25) between endometriosis and migraine. A meta-analysis of endometriosis and migraine GWAS data did not reveal novel genome-wide significant SNPs, and Mendelian randomisation analysis found no evidence for a causal relationship between the two traits. However, gene-based analyses identified two novel loci for migraine. Also, we found significant enrichment of genes nominally associated (Pgene < 0.05) with both traits (Pbinomial-test = 9.83 × 10−6). Combining gene-based p-values across endometriosis and migraine, three genes, two (TRIM32 and SLC35G6) of which are at novel loci, were genome-wide significant. Genes having Pgene < 0.1 for both endometriosis and migraine (Pbinomial-test = 1.85 ×10°3) were significantly enriched for biological pathways, including interleukin-1 receptor binding, focal adhesion-PI3K-Akt-mTOR-signaling, MAPK and TNF-α signalling. Our findings further confirm the comorbidity of endometriosis and migraine and indicate a non-causal relationship between the two traits, with shared genetically-controlled biological mechanisms underlying the co-occurrence of the two disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Linear Skin Defects with Multiple Congenital Anomalies (LSDMCA): An Unconventional Mitochondrial Disorder
Genes 2021, 12(2), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020263 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Mitochondrial disorders, although heterogeneous, are traditionally described as conditions characterized by encephalomyopathy, hypotonia, and progressive postnatal organ failure. Here, we provide a systematic review of Linear Skin Defects with Multiple Congenital Anomalies (LSDMCA), a rare, unconventional mitochondrial disorder which presents as a developmental [...] Read more.
Mitochondrial disorders, although heterogeneous, are traditionally described as conditions characterized by encephalomyopathy, hypotonia, and progressive postnatal organ failure. Here, we provide a systematic review of Linear Skin Defects with Multiple Congenital Anomalies (LSDMCA), a rare, unconventional mitochondrial disorder which presents as a developmental disease; its main clinical features include microphthalmia with different degrees of severity, linear skin lesions, and central nervous system malformations. The molecular basis of this disorder has been elusive for several years. Mutations were eventually identified in three X-linked genes, i.e., HCCS, COX7B, and NDUFB11, which are all endowed with defined roles in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. A peculiar feature of this condition is its inheritance pattern: X-linked dominant male-lethal. Only female or XX male individuals can be observed, implying that nullisomy for these genes is incompatible with normal embryonic development in mammals. All three genes undergo X-inactivation that, according to our hypothesis, may contribute to the extreme variable expressivity observed in this condition. We propose that mitochondrial dysfunction should be considered as an underlying cause in developmental disorders. Moreover, LSDMCA should be taken into consideration by clinicians when dealing with patients with microphthalmia with or without associated skin phenotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
How Hormones and MADS-Box Transcription Factors Are Involved in Controlling Fruit Set and Parthenocarpy in Tomato
Genes 2020, 11(12), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11121441 - 30 Nov 2020
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Fruit set is the earliest phase of fruit growth and represents the onset of ovary growth after successful fertilization. In parthenocarpy, fruit formation is less affected by environmental factors because it occurs in the absence of pollination and fertilization, making parthenocarpy a highly [...] Read more.
Fruit set is the earliest phase of fruit growth and represents the onset of ovary growth after successful fertilization. In parthenocarpy, fruit formation is less affected by environmental factors because it occurs in the absence of pollination and fertilization, making parthenocarpy a highly desired agronomic trait. Elucidating the genetic program controlling parthenocarpy, and more generally fruit set, may have important implications in agriculture, considering the need for crops to be adaptable to climate changes. Several phytohormones play an important role in the transition from flower to fruit. Further complexity emerges from functional analysis of floral homeotic genes. Some homeotic MADS-box genes are implicated in fruit growth and development, displaying an expression pattern commonly observed for ovary growth repressors. Here, we provide an overview of recent discoveries on the molecular regulatory gene network underlying fruit set in tomato, the model organism for fleshy fruit development due to the many genetic and genomic resources available. We describe how the genetic modification of components of this network can cause parthenocarpy, discussing the contribution of hormonal signals and MADS-box transcription factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
Carrier-Mediated Drug Uptake in Fungal Pathogens
Genes 2020, 11(11), 1324; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11111324 - 09 Nov 2020
Viewed by 672
Abstract
Candida, Aspergillus, and Cryptococcus species are the most frequent cause of severe human fungal infections. Clinically relevant antifungal drugs are scarce, and their effectiveness are hampered by the ability of fungal cells to develop drug resistance mechanisms. Drug effectiveness and drug [...] Read more.
Candida, Aspergillus, and Cryptococcus species are the most frequent cause of severe human fungal infections. Clinically relevant antifungal drugs are scarce, and their effectiveness are hampered by the ability of fungal cells to develop drug resistance mechanisms. Drug effectiveness and drug resistance in human pathogens is very often affected by their “transportome”. Many studies have covered a panoply of drug resistance mechanisms that depend on drug efflux pumps belonging to the ATP-Binding Cassette and Major Facilitator Superfamily. However, the study of drug uptake mechanisms has been, to some extent, overlooked in pathogenic fungi. This review focuses on discussing current knowledge on drug uptake systems in fungal pathogens, highlighting the need for further studies on this topic of great importance. The following subjects are covered: (i) drugs imported by known transporter(s) in pathogenic fungi; and (ii) drugs imported by known transporter(s) in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae or in human parasites, aimed at the identification of their homologs in pathogenic fungi. Besides its contribution to increase the understanding of drug-pathogen interactions, the practical implications of identifying drug importers in human pathogens are discussed, particularly focusing on drug development strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
Lights and Shadows of TORCH Infection Proteomics
Genes 2020, 11(8), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080894 - 05 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1504
Abstract
Congenital abnormalities cause serious fetal consequences. The term TORCH is used to designate the most common perinatal infections, where: (T) refers to toxoplasmosis, (O) means “others” and includes syphilis, varicella-zoster, parvovirus B19, zika virus (ZIKV), and malaria among others, (R) refers to rubella, [...] Read more.
Congenital abnormalities cause serious fetal consequences. The term TORCH is used to designate the most common perinatal infections, where: (T) refers to toxoplasmosis, (O) means “others” and includes syphilis, varicella-zoster, parvovirus B19, zika virus (ZIKV), and malaria among others, (R) refers to rubella, (C) relates to cytomegalovirus infection, and (H) to herpes simplex virus infections. Among the main abnormalities identified in neonates exposed to congenital infections are central nervous system (CNS) damage, microcephaly, hearing loss, and ophthalmological impairment, all requiring regular follow-up to monitor its progression. Protein changes such as mutations, post-translational modifications, abundance, structure, and function may indicate a pathological condition before the onset of the first symptoms, allowing early diagnosis and understanding of a particular disease or infection. The term “proteomics” is defined as the science that studies the proteome, which consists of the total protein content of a cell, tissue or organism in a given space and time, including post-translational modifications (PTMs) and interactions between proteins. Currently, quantitative bottom-up proteomic strategies allow rapid and high throughput characterization of complex biological mixtures. Investigating proteome modulation during host–pathogen interaction helps in elucidating the mechanisms of infection and in predicting disease progression. This “molecular battle” between host and pathogen is a key to identify drug targets and diagnostic markers. Here, we conducted a survey on proteomic techniques applied to congenital diseases classified in the terminology “TORCH”, including toxoplasmosis, ZIKV, malaria, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), herpes simplex virus (HSV) and human cytomegalovirus (HCVM). We have highlighted proteins and/or protein complexes actively involved in the infection. Most of the proteomic studies reported have been performed in cell line models, and the evaluation of tissues (brain, muscle, and placenta) and biofluids (plasma, serum and urine) in animal models is still underexplored. Moreover, there are a plethora of studies focusing on the pathogen or the host without considering the triad mother-fetus-pathogen as a dynamic and interconnected system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
Knee Osteoarthritis: A Review of Pathogenesis and State-Of-The-Art Non-Operative Therapeutic Considerations
Genes 2020, 11(8), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11080854 - 26 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2536
Abstract
Being the most common musculoskeletal progressive condition, osteoarthritis is an interesting target for research. It is estimated that the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) among adults 60 years of age or older is approximately 10% in men and 13% in women, making knee [...] Read more.
Being the most common musculoskeletal progressive condition, osteoarthritis is an interesting target for research. It is estimated that the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) among adults 60 years of age or older is approximately 10% in men and 13% in women, making knee OA one of the leading causes of disability in elderly population. Today, we know that osteoarthritis is not a disease characterized by loss of cartilage due to mechanical loading only, but a condition that affects all of the tissues in the joint, causing detectable changes in tissue architecture, its metabolism and function. All of these changes are mediated by a complex and not yet fully researched interplay of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and adipokines, all of which can be measured in the serum, synovium and histological samples, potentially serving as biomarkers of disease stage and progression. Another key aspect of disease progression is the epigenome that regulates all the genetic expression through DNA methylation, histone modifications, and mRNA interference. A lot of work has been put into developing non-surgical treatment options to slow down the natural course of osteoarthritis to postpone, or maybe even replace extensive surgeries such as total knee arthroplasty. At the moment, biological treatments such as platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and autologous microfragmented adipose tissue containing stromal vascular fraction are ordinarily used. Furthermore, the latter two mentioned cell-based treatment options seem to be the only methods so far that increase the quality of cartilage in osteoarthritis patients. Yet, in the future, gene therapy could potentially become an option for orthopedic patients. In the following review, we summarized all of the latest and most important research in basic sciences, pathogenesis, and non-operative treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
Regulation of Ergosterol Biosynthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Genes 2020, 11(7), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070795 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1753
Abstract
Ergosterol is an essential component of fungal cell membranes that determines the fluidity, permeability and activity of membrane-associated proteins. Ergosterol biosynthesis is a complex and highly energy-consuming pathway that involves the participation of many enzymes. Deficiencies in sterol biosynthesis cause pleiotropic defects that [...] Read more.
Ergosterol is an essential component of fungal cell membranes that determines the fluidity, permeability and activity of membrane-associated proteins. Ergosterol biosynthesis is a complex and highly energy-consuming pathway that involves the participation of many enzymes. Deficiencies in sterol biosynthesis cause pleiotropic defects that limit cellular proliferation and adaptation to stress. Thereby, fungal ergosterol levels are tightly controlled by the bioavailability of particular metabolites (e.g., sterols, oxygen and iron) and environmental conditions. The regulation of ergosterol synthesis is achieved by overlapping mechanisms that include transcriptional expression, feedback inhibition of enzymes and changes in their subcellular localization. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the sterol regulatory element (SRE)-binding proteins Upc2 and Ecm22, the heme-binding protein Hap1 and the repressor factors Rox1 and Mot3 coordinate ergosterol biosynthesis (ERG) gene expression. Here, we summarize the sterol biosynthesis, transport and detoxification systems of S. cerevisiae, as well as its adaptive response to sterol depletion, low oxygen, hyperosmotic stress and iron deficiency. Because of the large number of ERG genes and the crosstalk between different environmental signals and pathways, many aspects of ergosterol regulation are still unknown. The study of sterol metabolism and its regulation is highly relevant due to its wide applications in antifungal treatments, as well as in food and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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Review
Utility of Common Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) Embryonic Stem Cells in Liver Disease Modeling, Tissue Engineering and Drug Metabolism
Genes 2020, 11(7), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11070729 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 931
Abstract
The incidence of liver disease is increasing significantly worldwide and, as a result, there is a pressing need to develop new technologies and applications for end-stage liver diseases. For many of them, orthotopic liver transplantation is the only viable therapeutic option. Stem cells [...] Read more.
The incidence of liver disease is increasing significantly worldwide and, as a result, there is a pressing need to develop new technologies and applications for end-stage liver diseases. For many of them, orthotopic liver transplantation is the only viable therapeutic option. Stem cells that are capable of differentiating into all liver cell types and could closely mimic human liver disease are extremely valuable for disease modeling, tissue regeneration and repair, and for drug metabolism studies to develop novel therapeutic treatments. Despite the extensive research efforts, positive results from rodent models have not translated meaningfully into realistic preclinical models and therapies. The common marmoset Callithrix jacchus has emerged as a viable non-human primate model to study various human diseases because of its distinct features and close physiologic, genetic and metabolic similarities to humans. C. jacchus embryonic stem cells (cjESC) and recently generated cjESC-derived hepatocyte-like cells (cjESC-HLCs) could fill the gaps in disease modeling, liver regeneration and metabolic studies. They are extremely useful for cell therapy to regenerate and repair damaged liver tissues in vivo as they could efficiently engraft into the liver parenchyma. For in vitro studies, they would be advantageous for drug design and metabolism in developing novel drugs and cell-based therapies. Specifically, they express both phase I and II metabolic enzymes that share similar substrate specificities, inhibition and induction characteristics, and drug metabolism as their human counterparts. In addition, cjESCs and cjESC-HLCs are advantageous for investigations on emerging research areas, including blastocyst complementation to generate entire livers, and bioengineering of discarded livers to regenerate whole livers for transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genes at Ten)
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