Comparative analysis of multiple genomes in a phylogenetic framework dramatically improves the precision and sensitivity of evolutionary inference, producing more robust results than single-genome analyses can provide. The genomes of 12 Drosophila species, ten of which are presented here for the first time (sechellia, simulans, yakuba, erecta, ananassae, persimilis, willistoni, mojavensis, virilis and grimshawi), illustrate how rates and patterns of sequence divergence across taxa can illuminate evolutionary processes on a genomic scale. These genome sequences augment the formidable genetic tools that have made Drosophila melanogaster a pre-eminent model for animal genetics, and will further catalyse fundamental research on mechanisms of development, cell biology, genetics, disease, neurobiology, behaviour, physiology and evolution. Despite remarkable similarities among these Drosophila species, we identified many putatively non-neutral changes in protein-coding genes, non-coding RNA genes, and cis-regulatory regions. These may prove to underlie differences in the ecology and behaviour of these diverse species.Read more
Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most well studied genetic model organisms; nonetheless, its genome still contains unannotated coding and non-coding genes, transcripts, exons and RNA editing sites. Full discovery and annotation are pre-requisites for understanding how the regulation of transcription, splicing and RNA editing directs the development of this complex organism. Here we used RNA-Seq, tiling microarrays and cDNA sequencing to explore the transcriptome in 30 distinct developmental stages. We identified 111,195 new elements, including thousands of genes, coding and non-coding transcripts, exons, splicing and editing events, and inferred protein isoforms that previously eluded discovery using established experimental, prediction and conservation-based approaches. These data substantially expand the number of known transcribed elements in the Drosophila genome and provide a high-resolution view of transcriptome dynamics throughout development.Read more
Heightened surveillance of acute febrile illness in China since 2009 has led to the identification of a severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) with an unknown cause. Infection with Anaplasma phagocytophilum has been suggested as a cause, but the pathogen has not been detected in most patients on laboratory testing.
We obtained blood samples from patients with the case definition of SFTS in six provinces in China. The blood samples were used to isolate the causal pathogen by inoculation of cell culture and for detection of viral RNA on polymerase-chain-reaction assay. The pathogen was characterized on electron microscopy and nucleic acid sequencing. We used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, indirect immunofluorescence assay, and neutralization testing to analyze the level of virus-specific antibody in patients' serum samples.
We isolated a novel virus, designated SFTS bunyavirus, from patients who presented with fever, thrombocytopenia, leukocytopenia, and multiorgan dysfunction. RNA sequence analysis revealed that the virus was a newly identified member of the genus phlebovirus in the Bunyaviridae family. Electron-microscopical examination revealed virions with the morphologic characteristics of a bunyavirus. The presence of the virus was confirmed in 171 patients with SFTS from six provinces by detection of viral RNA, specific antibodies to the virus in blood, or both. Serologic assays showed a virus-specific immune response in all 35 pairs of serum samples collected from patients during the acute and convalescent phases of the illness.
A novel phlebovirus was identified in patients with a life-threatening illness associated with fever and thrombocytopenia in China. (Funded by the China Mega-Project for Infectious Diseases and others.).Read more
In vitro studies indicate a role for the LIM kinase family in the regulation of cofilin phosphorylation and actin dynamics. In addition, abnormal expression of LIMK-1 is associated with Williams syndrome, a mental disorder with profound deficits in visuospatial cognition. However, the in vivo function of this family of kinases remains elusive. Using LIMK-1 knockout mice, we demonstrate a significant role for LIMK-1 in vivo in regulating cofilin and the actin cytoskeleton. Furthermore, we show that the knockout mice exhibited significant abnormalities in spine morphology and in synaptic function, including enhanced hippocampal long-term potentiation. The knockout mice also showed altered fear responses and spatial learning. These results indicate that LIMK-1 plays a critical role in dendritic spine morphogenesis and brain function.Read more
Microtubules are cylindrical cytoskeletal structures found in almost all eukaryotic cell types which are involved in a great variety of cellular processes. Reversible acetylation on the epsilon-amino group of alpha-tubulin Lys40 marks stabilized microtubule structures and may contribute to regulating microtubule dynamics. Yet, the enzymes catalysing this acetylation/deacetylation have remained unidentified until recently. Here we report that beta-tubulin interacts with histone deacetylase-6 (HDAC-6) in a yeast two-hybrid assay and in vitro. We find that HDAC-6 is a micro tubule-associated protein capable of deacetylating alpha-tubulin in vivo and in vitro. HDAC-6's microtubule binding and deacetylation functions both depend on the hdac domains. Overexpression of HDAC-6 in mammalian cells leads to tubulin hypoacetylation. In contrast, inhibition of HDAC-6 function by two independent mechanisms--pharmacological (HDAC inhibitors) or genetic (targeted inactivation of HDAC-6 in embryonic stem cells)--leads to hyperacetylation of tubulin and microtubules. Taken together, our data provide evidence that HDAC-6 might act as a dual deacetylase for tubulin and histones, and suggest the possibility that acetylated non-histone proteins might represent novel targets for pharmacological therapy by HDAC inhibitors.Read more
Lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1) exerts pathway-specific activity in animal development and has been linked to several high-risk cancers. Here, we report that LSD1 is an integral component of the Mi-2/nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase (NuRD) complex. Transcriptional target analysis revealed that the LSD1/NuRD complexes regulate several cellular signaling pathways including TGFbeta1 signaling pathway that are critically involved in cell proliferation, survival, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. We demonstrated that LSD1 inhibits the invasion of breast cancer cells in vitro and suppresses breast cancer metastatic potential in vivo. We found that LSD1 is downregulated in breast carcinomas and that its level of expression is negatively correlated with that of TGFbeta1. Our data provide a molecular basis for the interplay of histone demethylation and deacetylation in chromatin remodeling. By enlisting LSD1, the NuRD complex expands its chromatin remodeling capacity to include ATPase, histone deacetylase, and histone demethylase.Read more
The extent to which the three-dimensional organization of the genome contributes to chromosomal translocations is an important question in cancer genomics. We generated a high-resolution Hi-C spatial organization map of the G1-arrested mouse pro-B cell genome and used high-throughput genome-wide translocation sequencing to map translocations from target DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) within it. RAG endonuclease-cleaved antigen-receptor loci are dominant translocation partners for target DSBs regardless of genomic position, reflecting high-frequency DSBs at these loci and their colocalization in a fraction of cells. To directly assess spatial proximity contributions, we normalized genomic DSBs via ionizing radiation. Under these conditions, translocations were highly enriched in cis along single chromosomes containing target DSBs and within other chromosomes and subchromosomal domains in a manner directly related to pre-existing spatial proximity. By combining two high-throughput genomic methods in a genetically tractable system, we provide a new lens for viewing cancer genomes.Read more
RNA structure has critical roles in processes ranging from ligand sensing to the regulation of translation, polyadenylation and splicing. However, a lack of genome-wide in vivo RNA structural data has limited our understanding of how RNA structure regulates gene expression in living cells. Here we present a high-throughput, genome-wide in vivo RNA structure probing method, structure-seq, in which dimethyl sulphate methylation of unprotected adenines and cytosines is identified by next-generation sequencing. Application of this method to Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings yielded the first in vivo genome-wide RNA structure map at nucleotide resolution for any organism, with quantitative structural information across more than 10,000 transcripts. Our analysis reveals a three-nucleotide periodic repeat pattern in the structure of coding regions, as well as a less-structured region immediately upstream of the start codon, and shows that these features are strongly correlated with translation efficiency. We also find patterns of strong and weak secondary structure at sites of alternative polyadenylation, as well as strong secondary structure at 5' splice sites that correlates with unspliced events. Notably, in vivo structures of messenger RNAs annotated for stress responses are poorly predicted in silico, whereas mRNA structures of genes related to cell function maintenance are well predicted. Global comparison of several structural features between these two categories shows that the mRNAs associated with stress responses tend to have more single-strandedness, longer maximal loop length and higher free energy per nucleotide, features that may allow these RNAs to undergo conformational changes in response to environmental conditions. Structure-seq allows the RNA structurome and its biological roles to be interrogated on a genome-wide scale and should be applicable to any organism.Read more
Rice is the principal food for over half of the population of the world. With its genome size of 430 megabase pairs (Mb), the cultivated rice species Oryza sativa is a model plant for genome research. Here we report the sequence analysis of chromosome 4 of O. sativa, one of the first two rice chromosomes to be sequenced completely. The finished sequence spans 34.6 Mb and represents 97.3% of the chromosome. In addition, we report the longest known sequence for a plant centromere, a completely sequenced contig of 1.16 Mb corresponding to the centromeric region of chromosome 4. We predict 4,658 protein coding genes and 70 transfer RNA genes. A total of 1,681 predicted genes match available unique rice expressed sequence tags. Transposable elements have a pronounced bias towards the euchromatic regions, indicating a close correlation of their distributions to genes along the chromosome. Comparative genome analysis between cultivated rice subspecies shows that there is an overall syntenic relationship between the chromosomes and divergence at the level of single-nucleotide polymorphisms and insertions and deletions. By contrast, there is little conservation in gene order between rice and Arabidopsis.Read more
The genetic structure of the indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa, the oldest known lineage of modern human, is important for understanding human diversity. Studies based on mitochondrial and small sets of nuclear markers have shown that these hunter-gatherers, known as Khoisan, San, or Bushmen, are genetically divergent from other humans. However, until now, fully sequenced human genomes have been limited to recently diverged populations. Here we present the complete genome sequences of an indigenous hunter-gatherer from the Kalahari Desert and a Bantu from southern Africa, as well as protein-coding regions from an additional three hunter-gatherers from disparate regions of the Kalahari. We characterize the extent of whole-genome and exome diversity among the five men, reporting 1.3 million novel DNA differences genome-wide, including 13,146 novel amino acid variants. In terms of nucleotide substitutions, the Bushmen seem to be, on average, more different from each other than, for example, a European and an Asian. Observed genomic differences between the hunter-gatherers and others may help to pinpoint genetic adaptations to an agricultural lifestyle. Adding the described variants to current databases will facilitate inclusion of southern Africans in medical research efforts, particularly when family and medical histories can be correlated with genome-wide data.Read more