BMC Evol Biol [journal]
- Unravelling population genetic structure with mitochondrial DNA in a notional panmictic coastal crab species: sample size makes the difference. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016.:150.
The extent of genetic structure of a species is determined by the amount of current gene flow and the impact of historical and demographic factors. Most marine invertebrates have planktonic larvae and consequently wide potential dispersal, so that genetic uniformity should be common. However, phylogeographic investigations reveal that panmixia is rare in the marine realm. Phylogeographic patterns commonly coincide with geographic transitions acting as barriers to gene flow. In the Mediterranean Sea and adjoining areas, the best known barriers are the Atlantic-Mediterranean transition, the Siculo-Tunisian Strait and the boundary between Aegean and Black seas. Here, we perform the so far broadest phylogeographic analysis of the crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus, common across the north-eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean and Black seas. Previous studies revealed no or weak genetic structuring at meso-geographic scale based on mtDNA, while genetic heterogeneity at local scale was recorded with microsatellites, even if without clear geographic patterns. Continuing the search for phylogeographic signal, we here enlarge the mtDNA dataset including 51 populations and covering most of the species' distribution range.This enlarged dataset provides new evidence of three genetically separable groups, corresponding to the Portuguese Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea plus Canary Islands, and Black Sea. Surprisingly, hierarchical AMOVA and Principal Coordinates Analysis agree that our Canary Islands population is closer to western Mediterranean populations than to mainland Portugal and Azores populations. Within the Mediterranean Sea, we record genetic homogeneity, suggesting that population connectivity is unaffected by the transition between the western and eastern Mediterranean. The Mediterranean metapopulation seems to have experienced a relatively recent expansion around 100,000 years ago.Our results suggest that the phylogeographic pattern of P. marmoratus is shaped by the geological history of Mediterranean and adjacent seas, restricted current gene flow among different marginal seas, and incomplete lineage sorting. However, they also caution from exclusively testing well-known biogeographic barriers, thereby neglecting other possible phylogeographic patterns. Mostly, this study provides evidence that a geographically exhaustive dataset is necessary to detect shallow phylogeographic structure within widespread marine species with larval dispersal, questioning all studies where species have been categorized as panmictic based on numerically and geographically limited datasets.
- Founder events and pre-glacial divergences shape the genetic structure of European Collembola species. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):148.
Climate oscillations in the Cenozoic reduced species richness and genetic diversity of terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants in central and northern Europe. The most abundant arthropods in temperate soils are Collembola that live in almost any soil-related habitat. Extant species show little morphological variation to Eocene fossils, suggesting persistence of species in stable habitats for millions of years. Collembola are able to evade adverse climatic conditions by moving into deeper soil layers and are tolerant to frost and draught. If these adaptations sufficed for surviving glacial periods remains open and needs to be investigated in a phylogeographic context, i.e. investigating spatial structure on molecular level. We investigated the molecular variation of three common species of Collembola at a pan-European scale to identify glacial refuges and post-glacial colonization patterns with three genetic markers.All genes revealed remarkable genetic structure between but not within populations, suggesting density dependent processes for establishment of populations (founder-takes-all principle), which is common for European animals and plants. In contrast to the post-glacial recolonization patterns of many aboveground organisms, divergence times of most geographic lineages indicate preservation of genetic structure since the Miocene.Collembola survived severe climatic changes including those during Quatenary glaciation and kept high genetic variance across Europe. Likely the buffering of temperature oscilliations in soil and the ability to evade adverse climatic conditions due to cold-tolerance and horizontal migration enabled Collembola to evade strong selective pressure of abiotic forces.
- Subfunctionalization of peroxisome proliferator response elements accounts for retention of duplicated fabp1 genes in zebrafish. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):147.
In the duplication-degeneration-complementation (DDC) model, a duplicated gene has three possible fates: it may lose functionality through the accumulation of mutations (nonfunctionalization), acquire a new function (neofunctionalization), or each duplicate gene may retain a subset of functions of the ancestral gene (subfunctionalization). The role that promoter evolution plays in retention of duplicated genes in eukaryotic genomes is not well understood. Fatty acid-binding proteins (Fabp) belong to a multigene family that are highly conserved in sequence and function, but differ in their gene regulation, suggesting selective pressure is exerted via regulatory elements in the promoter.In this study, we describe the PPAR regulation of zebrafish fabp1a, fabp1b.1, and fabp1b.2 promoters and compare them to the PPAR regulation of the spotted gar fabp1 promoter, representative of the ancestral fabp1 gene. Evolution of the fabp1 promoter was inferred by sequence analysis, and differential PPAR-agonist activation of fabp1 promoter activity in zebrafish liver and intestine explant cells, and in HEK293A cells transiently transfected with wild-type and mutated fabp1promoter-reporter gene constructs. The promoter activity of spotted gar fabp1, representative of the ancestral fabp1, was induced by both PPARα- and PPARγ-specific agonists, but displayed a biphasic response to PPARα activation. Zebrafish fabp1a was PPARα-selective, fabp1b.1 was PPARγ-selective, and fabp1b.2 was not regulated by PPAR.The zebrafish fabp1 promoters underwent two successive rounds of subfunctionalization with respect to PPAR regulation leading to retention of three zebrafish fabp1 genes with stimuli-specific regulation. Using a pharmacological approach, we demonstrated here the divergent regulation of the zebrafish fabp1a, fabp1b.1, and fabp1b.2 with regard to subfunctionalization of PPAR regulation following two rounds of gene duplication.
- A pleiotropic interaction between vision loss and hypermelanism in Astyanax mexicanus cave x surface hybrids. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):145.
Cave-dwelling animals evolve various traits as a consequence of life in darkness. Constructive traits (e.g., enhanced non-visual sensory systems) presumably arise under strong selective pressures. The mechanism(s) driving regression of features, however, are not well understood. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses in Astyanax mexicanus Pachón cave x surface hybrids revealed phenotypic effects associated with vision and pigmentation loss. Vision QTL were uniformly associated with reductions in the homozygous cave condition, however pigmentation QTL demonstrated mixed phenotypic effects. This implied pigmentation might be lost through both selective and neutral forces. Alternatively, in this report, we examined if a pleiotropic interaction may exist between vision and pigmentation since vision loss has been shown to result in darker skin in other fish and amphibian model systems.We discovered that certain members of Pachón x surface pedigrees are significantly darker than surface-dwelling fish. All of these "hypermelanic" individuals demonstrated severe visual system malformations suggesting they may be blind. A vision-mediated behavioral assay revealed that these fish, in stark contrast to surface fish, behaved the same as blind cavefish. Further, hypermelanic melanophores were larger and more dendritic in morphology compared to surface fish melanophores. However, hypermelanic melanophores responded normally to melanin-concentrating hormone suggesting darkening stemmed from vision loss, rather than a defect in pigment cell function. Finally, a number of genomic regions were coordinately associated with both reduced vision and increased pigmentation.This work suggests hypermelanism in hybrid Astyanax results from blindness. This finding provides an alternative explanation for phenotypic effect studies of pigmentation QTL as stemming (at least in part) from environmental, rather than exclusively genetic, interactions between two regressive phenotypes. Further, this analysis reveals persistence of background adaptation in Astyanax. As the eye was lost in cave-dwelling forms, enhanced pigmentation resulted. Given the extreme cave environment, which is often devoid of nutrition, enhanced pigmentation may impose an energetic cost. Such an energetic cost would be selected against, as a means of energy conservation. Thus, the pleiotropic interaction between vision loss and pigmentation may reveal an additional selective pressure favoring the loss of pigmentation in cave-dwelling animals.
- Deciphering the recent phylogenetic expansion of the originally deeply rooted Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage 7. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):146.
A deeply rooted phylogenetic lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) termed lineage 7 was discovered in Ethiopia. Whole genome sequencing of 30 lineage 7 strains from patients in Ethiopia was performed. Intra-lineage genome variation was defined and unique characteristics identified with a focus on genes involved in DNA repair, recombination and replication (3R genes).More than 800 mutations specific to M. tuberculosis lineage 7 strains were identified. The proportion of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) in 3R genes was higher after the recent expansion of M. tuberculosis lineage 7 strain started. The proportion of nsSNPs in genes involved in inorganic ion transport and metabolism was significantly higher before the expansion began. A total of 22346 bp deletions were observed. Lineage 7 strains also exhibited a high number of mutations in genes involved in carbohydrate transport and metabolism, transcription, energy production and conversion.We have identified unique genomic signatures of the lineage 7 strains. The high frequency of nsSNP in 3R genes after the phylogenetic expansion may have contributed to recent variability and adaptation. The abundance of mutations in genes involved in inorganic ion transport and metabolism before the expansion period may indicate an adaptive response of lineage 7 strains to enable survival, potentially under environmental stress exposure. As lineage 7 strains originally were phylogenetically deeply rooted, this may indicate fundamental adaptive genomic pathways affecting the fitness of M. tuberculosis as a species.
- Anchored enrichment dataset for true flies (order Diptera) reveals insights into the phylogeny of flower flies (family Syrphidae). [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):143.
Anchored hybrid enrichment is a form of next-generation sequencing that uses oligonucleotide probes to target conserved regions of the genome flanked by less conserved regions in order to acquire data useful for phylogenetic inference from a broad range of taxa. Once a probe kit is developed, anchored hybrid enrichment is superior to traditional PCR-based Sanger sequencing in terms of both the amount of genomic data that can be recovered and effective cost. Due to their incredibly diverse nature, importance as pollinators, and historical instability with regard to subfamilial and tribal classification, Syrphidae (flower flies or hoverflies) are an ideal candidate for anchored hybrid enrichment-based phylogenetics, especially since recent molecular phylogenies of the syrphids using only a few markers have resulted in highly unresolved topologies. Over 6200 syrphids are currently known and uncovering their phylogeny will help us to understand how these species have diversified, providing insight into an array of ecological processes, from the development of adult mimicry, the origin of adult migration, to pollination patterns and the evolution of larval resource utilization.We present the first use of anchored hybrid enrichment in insect phylogenetics on a dataset containing 30 flower fly species from across all four subfamilies and 11 tribes out of 15. To produce a phylogenetic hypothesis, 559 loci were sampled to produce a final dataset containing 217,702 sites. We recovered a well resolved topology with bootstrap support values that were almost universally >95 %. The subfamily Eristalinae is recovered as paraphyletic, with the strongest support for this hypothesis to date. The ant predators in the Microdontinae are sister to all other syrphids. Syrphinae and Pipizinae are monophyletic and sister to each other. Larval predation on soft-bodied hemipterans evolved only once in this family.Anchored hybrid enrichment was successful in producing a robustly supported phylogenetic hypothesis for the syrphids. Subfamilial reconstruction is concordant with recent phylogenetic hypotheses, but with much higher support values. With the newly designed probe kit this analysis could be rapidly expanded with further sampling, opening the door to more comprehensive analyses targeting problem areas in syrphid phylogenetics and ecology.
- Evolution of RLSB, a nuclear-encoded S1 domain RNA binding protein associated with post-transcriptional regulation of plastid-encoded rbcL mRNA in vascular plants. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):141.
RLSB, an S-1 domain RNA binding protein of Arabidopsis, selectively binds rbcL mRNA and co-localizes with Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) within chloroplasts of C3 and C4 plants. Previous studies using both Arabidopsis (C3) and maize (C4) suggest RLSB homologs are post-transcriptional regulators of plastid-encoded rbcL mRNA. While RLSB accumulates in all Arabidopsis leaf chlorenchyma cells, in C4 leaves RLSB-like proteins accumulate only within Rubisco-containing bundle sheath chloroplasts of Kranz-type species, and only within central compartment chloroplasts in the single cell C4 plant Bienertia. Our recent evidence implicates this mRNA binding protein as a primary determinant of rbcL expression, cellular localization/compartmentalization, and photosynthetic function in all multicellular green plants. This study addresses the hypothesis that RLSB is a highly conserved Rubisco regulatory factor that occurs in the chloroplasts all higher plants.Phylogenetic analysis has identified RLSB orthologs and paralogs in all major plant groups, from ancient liverworts to recent angiosperms. RLSB homologs were also identified in algae of the division Charophyta, a lineage closely related to land plants. RLSB-like sequences were not identified in any other algae, suggesting that it may be specific to the evolutionary line leading to land plants. The RLSB family occurs in single copy across most angiosperms, although a few species with two copies were identified, seemingly randomly distributed throughout the various taxa, although perhaps correlating in some cases with known ancient whole genome duplications. Monocots of the order Poales (Poaceae and Cyperaceae) were found to contain two copies, designated here as RLSB-a and RLSB-b, with only RLSB-a implicated in the regulation of rbcL across the maize developmental gradient. Analysis of microsynteny in angiosperms revealed high levels of conservation across eudicot species and for both paralogs in grasses, highlighting the possible importance of maintaining this gene and its surrounding genomic regions.Findings presented here indicate that the RLSB family originated as a unique gene in land plant evolution, perhaps in the common ancestor of charophytes and higher plants. Purifying selection has maintained this as a highly conserved single- or two-copy gene across most extant species, with several conserved gene duplications. Together with previous findings, this study suggests that RLSB has been sustained as an important regulatory protein throughout the course of land plant evolution. While only RLSB-a has been directly implicated in rbcL regulation in maize, RLSB-b could have an overlapping function in the co-regulation of rbcL, or may have diverged as a regulator of one or more other plastid-encoded mRNAs. This analysis confirms that RLSB is an important and unique photosynthetic regulatory protein that has been continuously expressed in land plants as they emerged and diversified from their ancient common ancestor.
- Why stay in a bad relationship? The effect of local host phenology on a generalist butterfly feeding on a low-ranked host. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):144.
In plant-feeding insects, the evolutionary retention of polyphagy remains puzzling. A better understanding of the relationship between these organisms and changes in the metabolome of their host plants is likely to suggest functional links between them, and may provide insights into how polyphagy is maintained.We investigated the phenological change of Cynoglossum officinale, and how a generalist butterfly species, Vanessa cardui, responded to this change. We used untargeted metabolite profiling to map plant seasonal changes in both primary and secondary metabolites. We compared these data to differences in larval performance on vegetative plants early and late in the season. We also performed two oviposition preference experiments to test females' ability to choose between plant developmental stages (vegetative and reproductive) early and late in the season. We found clear seasonal changes in plant primary and secondary metabolites that correlated with larval performance. The seasonal change in plant metabolome reflected changes in both nutrition and toxicity and resulted in zero survival in the late period. However, large differences among families in larval ability to feed on C. officinale suggest that there is genetic variation for performance on this host. Moreover, females accepted all plants for oviposition, and were not able to discriminate between plant developmental stages, in spite of the observed overall differences in metabolite profile potentially associated with differences in suitability as larval food.In V. cardui, migratory behavior, and thus larval feeding times, are not synchronized with plant phenology at the reproductive site. This lack of synchronization, coupled with the observed lack of discriminatory oviposition, obviously has potential fitness costs. However, this "opportunistic" behavior may as well function as a source of potential host plant evolution, promoting for example the acceptance of new plants.
- Evolution in an extreme environment: developmental biases and phenotypic integration in the adaptive radiation of antarctic notothenioids. [Journal Article]
- BMC Evol Biol 2016; 16(1):142.
Over the past 40 million years water temperatures have dramatically dropped in the Southern Ocean, which has led to the local extinction of most nearshore fish lineages. The evolution of antifreeze glycoproteins in notothenioids, however, enabled these ancestrally benthic fishes to survive and adapt as temperatures reached the freezing point of seawater (-1.86 °C). Antarctic notothenioids now represent the primary teleost lineage in the Southern Ocean and are of fundamental importance to the local ecosystem. The radiation of notothenioids has been fostered by the evolution of "secondary pelagicism", the invasion of pelagic habitats, as the group diversified to fill newly available foraging niches in the water column. While elaborate craniofacial modifications have accompanied this adaptive radiation, little is known about how these morphological changes have contributed to the evolutionary success of notothenioids.We used a 3D-morphometrics approach to investigate patterns of morphological variation in the craniofacial skeleton among notothenioids, and show that variation in head shape is best explained by divergent selection with respect to foraging niche. We document further an accelerated rate of morphological evolution in the icefish family Channichthyidae, and show that their rapid diversification was accompanied by the evolution of relatively high levels of morphological integration. Whereas most studies suggest that extensive integration should constrain phenotypic evolution, icefish stand out as a rare example of increased integration possibly facilitating evolutionary potential. Finally, we show that the unique feeding apparatus in notothenioids in general, and icefish in particular, can be traced to shifts in early developmental patterning mechanisms and ongoing growth of the pharyngeal skeleton.Our work suggests that ecological opportunity is a major factor driving craniofacial variation in this group. Further, the observation that closely related lineages can differ dramatically in integration suggests that this trait can evolve quickly. We propose that the evolution of high levels of phenotypic integration in icefishes may be considered a key innovation that facilitated their morphological evolution and subsequent ecological expansion.