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PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009493
Author(s):  
Anthony S. Findley ◽  
Xinjun Zhang ◽  
Carly Boye ◽  
Yen Lung Lin ◽  
Cynthia A. Kalita ◽  
...  

Ancient human migrations led to the settlement of population groups in varied environmental contexts worldwide. The extent to which adaptation to local environments has shaped human genetic diversity is a longstanding question in human evolution. Recent studies have suggested that introgression of archaic alleles in the genome of modern humans may have contributed to adaptation to environmental pressures such as pathogen exposure. Functional genomic studies have demonstrated that variation in gene expression across individuals and in response to environmental perturbations is a main mechanism underlying complex trait variation. We considered gene expression response to in vitro treatments as a molecular phenotype to identify genes and regulatory variants that may have played an important role in adaptations to local environments. We investigated if Neanderthal introgression in the human genome may contribute to the transcriptional response to environmental perturbations. To this end we used eQTLs for genes differentially expressed in a panel of 52 cellular environments, resulting from 5 cell types and 26 treatments, including hormones, vitamins, drugs, and environmental contaminants. We found that SNPs with introgressed Neanderthal alleles (N-SNPs) disrupt binding of transcription factors important for environmental responses, including ionizing radiation and hypoxia, and for glucose metabolism. We identified an enrichment for N-SNPs among eQTLs for genes differentially expressed in response to 8 treatments, including glucocorticoids, caffeine, and vitamin D. Using Massively Parallel Reporter Assays (MPRA) data, we validated the regulatory function of 21 introgressed Neanderthal variants in the human genome, corresponding to 8 eQTLs regulating 15 genes that respond to environmental perturbations. These findings expand the set of environments where archaic introgression may have contributed to adaptations to local environments in modern humans and provide experimental validation for the regulatory function of introgressed variants.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009821
Author(s):  
Donghui Choe ◽  
Richard Szubin ◽  
Saugat Poudel ◽  
Anand Sastry ◽  
Yoseb Song ◽  
...  

RNA sequencing techniques have enabled the systematic elucidation of gene expression (RNA-Seq), transcription start sites (differential RNA-Seq), transcript 3′ ends (Term-Seq), and post-transcriptional processes (ribosome profiling). The main challenge of transcriptomic studies is to remove ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), which comprise more than 90% of the total RNA in a cell. Here, we report a low-cost and robust bacterial rRNA depletion method, RiboRid, based on the enzymatic degradation of rRNA by thermostable RNase H. This method implemented experimental considerations to minimize nonspecific degradation of mRNA and is capable of depleting pre-rRNAs that often comprise a large portion of RNA, even after rRNA depletion. We demonstrated the highly efficient removal of rRNA up to a removal efficiency of 99.99% for various transcriptome studies, including RNA-Seq, Term-Seq, and ribosome profiling, with a cost of approximately $10 per sample. This method is expected to be a robust method for large-scale high-throughput bacterial transcriptomic studies.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009823
Author(s):  
Mandar Phatak ◽  
Shruti Kulkarni ◽  
Lee B. Miles ◽  
Nazma Anjum ◽  
Sebastian Dworkin ◽  
...  

Epithelia such as epidermis cover large surfaces and are crucial for survival. Maintenance of tissue homeostasis by balancing cell proliferation, cell size, and cell extrusion ensures epidermal integrity. Although the mechanisms of cell extrusion are better understood, how epithelial cells that round up under developmental or perturbed genetic conditions are reintegrated in the epithelium to maintain homeostasis remains unclear. Here, we performed live imaging in zebrafish embryos to show that epidermal cells that round up due to membrane homeostasis defects in the absence of goosepimples/myosinVb (myoVb) function, are reintegrated into the epithelium. Transcriptome analysis and genetic interaction studies suggest that the transcription factor Grainyhead-like 3 (Grhl3) induces the retention of rounded cells by regulating E-cadherin levels. Moreover, Grhl3 facilitates the survival of MyoVb deficient embryos by regulating cell adhesion, cell retention and epidermal architecture. Our analyses have unraveled a mechanism of retention of rounded cells and its importance in epithelial homeostasis.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009822
Author(s):  
Roberta Filograna ◽  
Seungmin Lee ◽  
Katarina Tiklova ◽  
Mara Mennuni ◽  
Viktor Jonsson ◽  
...  

Dopamine (DA) neurons of the midbrain are at risk to become affected by mitochondrial damage over time and mitochondrial defects have been frequently reported in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. However, the causal contribution of adult-onset mitochondrial dysfunction to PD remains uncertain. Here, we developed a mouse model lacking Mitofusin 2 (MFN2), a key regulator of mitochondrial network homeostasis, in adult midbrain DA neurons. The knockout mice develop severe and progressive DA neuron-specific mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in neurodegeneration and parkinsonism. To gain further insights into pathophysiological events, we performed transcriptomic analyses of isolated DA neurons and found that mitochondrial dysfunction triggers an early onset immune response, which precedes mitochondrial swelling, mtDNA depletion, respiratory chain deficiency and cell death. Our experiments show that the immune response is an early pathological event when mitochondrial dysfunction is induced in adult midbrain DA neurons and that neuronal death may be promoted non-cell autonomously by the cross-talk and activation of surrounding glial cells.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009820
Author(s):  
Mark Achtman ◽  
Frederik Van den Broeck ◽  
Kerry K. Cooper ◽  
Philippe Lemey ◽  
Craig T. Parker ◽  
...  

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain ATCC14028s is commercially available from multiple national type culture collections, and has been widely used since 1960 for quality control of growth media and experiments on fitness (“laboratory evolution”). ATCC14028s has been implicated in multiple cross-contaminations in the laboratory, and has also caused multiple laboratory infections and one known attempt at bioterrorism. According to hierarchical clustering of 3002 core gene sequences, ATCC14028s belongs to HierCC cluster HC20_373 in which most internal branch lengths are only one to three SNPs long. Many natural Typhimurium isolates from humans, domesticated animals and the environment also belong to HC20_373, and their core genomes are almost indistinguishable from those of laboratory strains. These natural isolates have infected humans in Ireland and Taiwan for decades, and are common in the British Isles as well as the Americas. The isolation history of some of the natural isolates confirms the conclusion that they do not represent recent contamination by the laboratory strain, and 10% carry plasmids or bacteriophages which have been acquired in nature by HGT from unrelated bacteria. We propose that ATCC14028s has repeatedly escaped from the laboratory environment into nature via laboratory accidents or infections, but the escaped micro-lineages have only a limited life span. As a result, there is a genetic gap separating HC20_373 from its closest natural relatives due to a divergence between them in the late 19th century followed by repeated extinction events of escaped HC20_373.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009824
Author(s):  
Abigail L. LaBella ◽  
Dana A. Opulente ◽  
Jacob L. Steenwyk ◽  
Chris Todd Hittinger ◽  
Antonis Rokas

PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009791
Author(s):  
Carolina Alves Feliciano ◽  
Brian E. Eckenroth ◽  
Oscar R. Diaz ◽  
Sylvie Doublié ◽  
Aimee Shen

Spore-forming pathogens like Clostridioides difficile depend on germination to initiate infection. During gemination, spores must degrade their cortex layer, which is a thick, protective layer of modified peptidoglycan. Cortex degradation depends on the presence of the spore-specific peptidoglycan modification, muramic-∂-lactam (MAL), which is specifically recognized by cortex lytic enzymes. In C. difficile, MAL production depends on the CwlD amidase and its binding partner, the GerS lipoprotein. To gain insight into how GerS regulates CwlD activity, we solved the crystal structure of the CwlD:GerS complex. In this structure, a GerS homodimer is bound to two CwlD monomers such that the CwlD active sites are exposed. Although CwlD structurally resembles amidase_3 family members, we found that CwlD does not bind Zn2+ stably on its own, unlike previously characterized amidase_3 enzymes. Instead, GerS binding to CwlD promotes CwlD binding to Zn2+, which is required for its catalytic mechanism. Thus, in determining the first structure of an amidase bound to its regulator, we reveal stabilization of Zn2+ co-factor binding as a novel mechanism for regulating bacterial amidase activity. Our results further suggest that allosteric regulation by binding partners may be a more widespread mode for regulating bacterial amidase activity than previously thought.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009805
Author(s):  
Dvir Schirman ◽  
Zohar Yakhini ◽  
Yitzhak Pilpel ◽  
Orna Dahan

RNA splicing is a key process in eukaryotic gene expression, in which an intron is spliced out of a pre-mRNA molecule to eventually produce a mature mRNA. Most intron-containing genes are constitutively spliced, hence efficient splicing of an intron is crucial for efficient regulation of gene expression. Here we use a large synthetic oligo library of ~20,000 variants to explore how different intronic sequence features affect splicing efficiency and mRNA expression levels in S. cerevisiae. Introns are defined by three functional sites, the 5’ donor site, the branch site, and the 3’ acceptor site. Using a combinatorial design of synthetic introns, we demonstrate how non-consensus splice site sequences in each of these sites affect splicing efficiency. We then show that S. cerevisiae splicing machinery tends to select alternative 3’ splice sites downstream of the original site, and we suggest that this tendency created a selective pressure, leading to the avoidance of cryptic splice site motifs near introns’ 3’ ends. We further use natural intronic sequences from other yeast species, whose splicing machineries have diverged to various extents, to show how intron architectures in the various species have been adapted to the organism’s splicing machinery. We suggest that the observed tendency for cryptic splicing is a result of a loss of a specific splicing factor, U2AF1. Lastly, we show that synthetic sequences containing two introns give rise to alternative RNA isoforms in S. cerevisiae, demonstrating that merely a synthetic fusion of two introns might be suffice to facilitate alternative splicing in yeast. Our study reveals novel mechanisms by which introns are shaped in evolution to allow cells to regulate their transcriptome. In addition, it provides a valuable resource to study the regulation of constitutive and alternative splicing in a model organism.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009039
Author(s):  
Yi Kuang ◽  
Anna Pyo ◽  
Natanel Eafergan ◽  
Brittany Cain ◽  
Lisa M. Gutzwiller ◽  
...  

Notch signaling controls many developmental processes by regulating gene expression. Notch-dependent enhancers recruit activation complexes consisting of the Notch intracellular domain, the Cbf/Su(H)/Lag1 (CSL) transcription factor (TF), and the Mastermind co-factor via two types of DNA sites: monomeric CSL sites and cooperative dimer sites called Su(H) paired sites (SPS). Intriguingly, the CSL TF can also bind co-repressors to negatively regulate transcription via these same sites. Here, we tested how synthetic enhancers with monomeric CSL sites versus dimeric SPSs bind Drosophila Su(H) complexes in vitro and mediate transcriptional outcomes in vivo. Our findings reveal that while the Su(H)/Hairless co-repressor complex similarly binds SPS and CSL sites in an additive manner, the Notch activation complex binds SPSs, but not CSL sites, in a cooperative manner. Moreover, transgenic reporters with SPSs mediate stronger, more consistent transcription and are more resistant to increased Hairless co-repressor expression compared to reporters with the same number of CSL sites. These findings support a model in which SPS containing enhancers preferentially recruit cooperative Notch activation complexes over Hairless repression complexes to ensure consistent target gene activation.


PLoS Genetics ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 17 (9) ◽  
pp. e1009687
Author(s):  
Ramya Singh ◽  
Ryan B. Smit ◽  
Xin Wang ◽  
Chris Wang ◽  
Hilary Racher ◽  
...  

Regulating the balance between self-renewal (proliferation) and differentiation is key to the long-term functioning of all stem cell pools. In the Caenorhabditis elegans germline, the primary signal controlling this balance is the conserved Notch signaling pathway. Gain-of-function mutations in the GLP-1/Notch receptor cause increased stem cell self-renewal, resulting in a tumor of proliferating germline stem cells. Notch gain-of-function mutations activate the receptor, even in the presence of little or no ligand, and have been associated with many human diseases, including cancers. We demonstrate that reduction in CUP-2 and DER-2 function, which are Derlin family proteins that function in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD), suppresses the C. elegans germline over-proliferation phenotype associated with glp-1(gain-of-function) mutations. We further demonstrate that their reduction does not suppress other mutations that cause over-proliferation, suggesting that over-proliferation suppression due to loss of Derlin activity is specific to glp-1/Notch (gain-of-function) mutations. Reduction of CUP-2 Derlin activity reduces the expression of a read-out of GLP-1/Notch signaling, suggesting that the suppression of over-proliferation in Derlin loss-of-function mutants is due to a reduction in the activity of the mutated GLP-1/Notch(GF) receptor. Over-proliferation suppression in cup-2 mutants is only seen when the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) is functioning properly, suggesting that the suppression, and reduction in GLP-1/Notch signaling levels, observed in Derlin mutants may be the result of activation of the UPR. Chemically inducing ER stress also suppress glp-1(gf) over-proliferation but not other mutations that cause over-proliferation. Therefore, ER stress and activation of the UPR may help correct for increased GLP-1/Notch signaling levels, and associated over-proliferation, in the C. elegans germline.


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