Molecular Evolution and Functional Bioinformatics of Arthropods

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2023) | Viewed by 5428

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Developmental Biology, GZMB,Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg-August-University Goettingen, 37077 Goettingen, Germany
Interests: evolutionary developmental biology; comparative functional genomics; evolution of gene regulation; morphological evolution

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Guest Editor
Division of Evolutionary Biology, Faculty of Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, 80539 Munich, Germany
Interests: molecular evolution; mechanisms of gene regulation; functional genomics; bioinformatics; evolution of sex

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Gene expression represents an important link between the information stored in the genome sequence and organismal phenotypes, such as physiology, development, or behaviour. Regulation of this process relies on a complex interplay of different mechanisms, such as genome architecture, chromatin accessibility, epigenetic DNA and histone modifications, transcription factor-DNA interactions and post-transcriptional regulation. Therefore, mechanisms of gene regulation can be studied using various experimental and computational approaches. Many studies focus on one aspect of gene regulation, for example differential gene expression or methylation between different sexes or developmental stages. However, the increasing accessibility of genome wide datasets and the constant development of bioinformatic tools now facilitate investigating different gene regulatory mechanisms simultaneously.

In this Special Issue, we aim to compile review and perspective articles, as well as original research that highlight the power of data integration to address timely questions in arthropod biology. We encourage submissions that report or discuss the application of multiple methods and datasets, such as comparative and functional genomics, functional bioinformatics, molecular evolution, and quantitative and population genetics. While pure theoretical population or phylogenetic approaches are out of scope for this special issue, we welcome submissions that integrate such theoretical methods to study the evolution of gene regulation and function in arthropods.

Dr. Nico Posnien
Dr. Sonja Grath
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • molecular evolution
  • functional genomics
  • functional bioinformatics
  • multi-omics data integration
  • gene expression
  • gene regulation

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 6353 KiB  
Article
Eusocial Transition in Blattodea: Transposable Elements and Shifts of Gene Expression
by Juliette Berger, Frédéric Legendre, Kevin-Markus Zelosko, Mark C. Harrison, Philippe Grandcolas, Erich Bornberg-Bauer and Bertrand Fouks
Genes 2022, 13(11), 1948; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13111948 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1733
Abstract
(1) Unravelling the molecular basis underlying major evolutionary transitions can shed light on how complex phenotypes arise. The evolution of eusociality, a major evolutionary transition, has been demonstrated to be accompanied by enhanced gene regulation. Numerous pieces of evidence suggest the major impact [...] Read more.
(1) Unravelling the molecular basis underlying major evolutionary transitions can shed light on how complex phenotypes arise. The evolution of eusociality, a major evolutionary transition, has been demonstrated to be accompanied by enhanced gene regulation. Numerous pieces of evidence suggest the major impact of transposon insertion on gene regulation and its role in adaptive evolution. Transposons have been shown to be play a role in gene duplication involved in the eusocial transition in termites. However, evidence of the molecular basis underlying the eusocial transition in Blattodea remains scarce. Could transposons have facilitated the eusocial transition in termites through shifts of gene expression? (2) Using available cockroach and termite genomes and transcriptomes, we investigated if transposons insert more frequently in genes with differential expression in queens and workers and if those genes could be linked to specific functions essential for eusocial transition. (3) The insertion rate of transposons differs among differentially expressed genes and displays opposite trends between termites and cockroaches. The functions of termite transposon-rich queen- and worker-biased genes are related to reproduction and ageing and behaviour and gene expression, respectively. (4) Our study provides further evidence on the role of transposons in the evolution of eusociality, potentially through shifts in gene expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Evolution and Functional Bioinformatics of Arthropods)
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16 pages, 1671 KiB  
Article
Annotation and Analysis of 3902 Odorant Receptor Protein Sequences from 21 Insect Species Provide Insights into the Evolution of Odorant Receptor Gene Families in Solitary and Social Insects
by Pablo Mier, Jean-Fred Fontaine, Marah Stoldt, Romain Libbrecht, Carlotta Martelli, Susanne Foitzik and Miguel A. Andrade-Navarro
Genes 2022, 13(5), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13050919 - 20 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2765
Abstract
The gene family of insect olfactory receptors (ORs) has expanded greatly over the course of evolution. ORs enable insects to detect volatile chemicals and therefore play an important role in social interactions, enemy and prey recognition, and foraging. The sequences of several thousand [...] Read more.
The gene family of insect olfactory receptors (ORs) has expanded greatly over the course of evolution. ORs enable insects to detect volatile chemicals and therefore play an important role in social interactions, enemy and prey recognition, and foraging. The sequences of several thousand ORs are known, but their specific function or their ligands have only been identified for very few of them. To advance the functional characterization of ORs, we have assembled, curated, and aligned the sequences of 3902 ORs from 21 insect species, which we provide as an annotated online resource. Using functionally characterized proteins from the fly Drosophila melanogaster, the mosquito Anopheles gambiae and the ant Harpegnathos saltator, we identified amino acid positions that best predict response to ligands. We examined the conservation of these predicted relevant residues in all OR subfamilies; the results showed that the subfamilies that expanded strongly in social insects had a high degree of conservation in their binding sites. This suggests that the ORs of social insect families are typically finely tuned and exhibit sensitivity to very similar odorants. Our novel approach provides a powerful tool to exploit functional information from a limited number of genes to study the functional evolution of large gene families. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Evolution and Functional Bioinformatics of Arthropods)
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