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Molecular biology and evolution [journal]
- Independent birth of a novel TRIMCyp in Tupaia belangeri with a divergent function from its paralog TRIM5. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 18.
The origin of novel genes and their evolutionary fates are long-standing questions in evolutionary biology. These questions become more complicated for genes conserved across various lineages, such as TRIM5, an antiretroviral restriction factor and a retrovirus capsid sensor in immune signalling. TRIM5 has been subjected to numerous pathogenic challenges and undergone dynamic evolution, making it an excellent example for studying gene diversification. Previous studies among several species showed that TRIM5 gained genetic and functional novelty in a lineage-specific manner, either via gene duplication or a cyclophilin A (CypA) retrotransposing into the TRIM5 locus, creating the gene fusion known as TRIM5-Cyclophilin A (TRIMCyp). To date, the general pattern of TRIM5 across the mammalian lineage remains elusive. In this study, we surveyed 36 mammalian genomes to verify a potentially novel TRIM5 pattern that uniquely seems to have occurred in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), and found that both gene duplication and retrotransposition worked jointly to form a specific TRIM5/TRIMCyp cluster not found among other mammals. Evolutionary analyses showed that the tree shrew TRIMCyp (tsTRIMCyp) originated independently in comparison with previously reported TRIMCyp and underwent strong positive selection, while no signal of positive selection was detected for other tree shrew TRIM5 (tsTRIM5) genes. Functional assay results suggest a functional divergence between tsTRIMCyp and its closest paralog TRIM5-4, likely reflecting different fates under diverse evolutionary forces. These findings present a rare example of novel gene origination resulting from a combination of gene duplication, retrotransposition and exon shuffling processes, providing a new paradigm to study genetic innovations and evolutionary fates of duplicated genes.
- Adaptive Functional Diversification of Lysozyme in Insectivorous Bats. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 18.
The role of gene duplication in generating new genes and novel functions is well recognized and is exemplified by the digestion-related protein lysozyme. In ruminants, duplicated chicken-type lysozymes facilitate the degradation of symbiotic bacteria in the foregut. Chicken-type lysozyme has also been reported to show chitinase-like activity, yet no study has examined the molecular evolution of lysozymes in species that specialize on eating insects. Insectivorous bats number over 900 species, and lysozyme expression in the mouths of some of these species is associated with the ingestion of insect cuticle, suggesting a chitinase role. Here we show that chicken-type lysozyme has undergone multiple duplication events in a major family of insect-eating bats (Vespertilionidae) and that new duplicates have undergone molecular adaptation. Examination of duplicates from two insectivorous bats - Pipistrellus abramus and Scotophilus kuhlii - indicated that the new copy was highly expressed in the tongue, whereas the other one was less tissue-specific. Functional assays applied to pipistrelle lysozymes confirmed that, of the two copies, the tongue duplicate was more efficient at breaking down glycol chitin, a chitin derivative. These results suggest that the evolution of lysozymes in vespertilionid bats has likely been driven in part by natural selection for insectivory.
- Integrating evolutionary and functional tests of adaptive hypotheses: A case study of altitudinal differentiation in hemoglobin function in an Andean sparrow, Zonotrichia capensis. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 18.
In air-breathing vertebrates, the physiologically optimal blood-O2 affinity is jointly determined by the prevailing partial pressure of atmospheric O2, the efficacy of pulmonary O2 transfer, and internal metabolic demands. Consequently, genetic variation in the oxygenation properties of hemoglobin (Hb) may be subject to spatially varying selection in species with broad elevational distributions. Here we report the results of a combined functional and evolutionary analysis of Hb polymorphism in the rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), a species that is continuously distributed across a steep elevational gradient on the Pacific slope of the Peruvian Andes. We integrated a population genomic analysis that included all postnatally expressed Hb genes with functional studies of naturally occurring Hb variants, as well as recombinant Hb (rHb) mutants that were engineered via site-directed mutagenesis. We identified three clinally varying amino acid polymorphisms: two in the α(A)-globin gene, which encodes the α-chain subunits of the major HbA isoform, and one in the α(D)-globin gene, which encodes the α-chain subunits of the minor HbD isoform. We then constructed and experimentally tested single- and double-mutant rHbs representing each of the alternative α(A)-globin genotypes that predominate at different elevations. Although the locus-specific patterns of altitudinal differentiation suggested a history of spatially-varying selection acting on Hb polymorphism, the experimental tests demonstrated that the observed amino acid mutations have no discernible effect on respiratory properties of the HbA or HbD isoforms. These results highlight the importance of experimentally validating the hypothesized effects of genetic changes in protein function to avoid the pitfalls of adaptive storytelling.
- ExaBayes: Massively Parallel Bayesian Tree Inference for the Whole-Genome Era. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 18.
Modern sequencing technology now allows biologists to collect the entirety of molecular evidence for reconstructing evolutionary trees. We introduce a novel, user-friendly software package engineered for conducting state-of-the-art Bayesian tree inferences on datasets of arbitrary size. Our software introduces a non-blocking parallelization of Metropolis-coupled chains, modifications for efficient analyses of datasets comprising thousands of partitions and memory saving techniques. We report on first experiences with Bayesian inferences at the whole-genome level using the SuperMUC supercomputer and simulated data.
- Largest Genetic Survey to Date Shows Major Success for Giant Panda Breeding Programs. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 13.
- Evolution of a Genome Encoded Bias in Amino Acid Biosynthetic Pathways is a Potential Indicator of Amino Acid Dynamics in the Environment. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 12.
Overcoming the stress of starvation is one of an organism's most challenging phenotypic responses. Those organisms that frequently survive the challenge, by virtue of their fitness, will have evolved genomes that are shaped by their specific environments. Understanding this genotype-environment-phenotype relationship at a deep level will require quantitative predictive models of the complex molecular systems that link these aspects of an organism's existence. Here we treat one of the most fundamental molecular systems, protein synthesis, and the amino acid biosynthetic pathways involved in the stringent response to starvation. These systems face an inherent logical dilemma: building an amino acid biosynthetic pathway to synthesize its product-the cognate amino acid of the pathway-may require that very amino acid when it is no longer available. To study this potential 'catch-22', we have created a generic model of amino acid biosynthesis in response to sudden starvation. Our mathematical analysis and computational results indicate there are two distinctly different outcomes: partial recovery to a new steady state, or full system failure. Moreover, the cell's fate is dictated by the cognate bias, the number of cognate amino acids in the corresponding biosynthetic pathway relative to the average number of that amino acid in the proteome. We test these implications by analyzing the proteomes of over 1800 sequenced microbes, which reveals statistically significant evidence of low cognate bias, a genetic trait that would avoid the biosynthetic quandary. Furthermore, these results suggest that the pattern of cognate bias, which is readily derived by genome sequencing, may provide evolutionary clues to an organism's natural environment.
- Phylogenomic interrogation of Arachnida reveals systemic conflicts in phylogenetic signal. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 8.
Chelicerata represents one of the oldest groups of arthropods, with a fossil record extending to the Cambrian, and is sister to the remaining extant arthropods, the mandibulates. Attempts to resolve the internal phylogeny of chelicerates have achieved little consensus, due to marked discord in both morphological and molecular hypotheses of chelicerate phylogeny. The monophyly of Arachnida, the terrestrial chelicerates, is generally accepted, but has garnered little support from molecular data, which have been limited either in breadth of taxonomic sampling or depth of sequencing. To address the internal phylogeny of this group, we employed a phylogenomic approach, generating transcriptomic data for 17 species in combination with existing data, including two complete genomes. We analyzed multiple datasets containing up to 1,235,912 sites across 3,644 loci, using alternative approaches to optimization of matrix composition. Here we show that phylogenetic signal for the monophyly of Arachnida is restricted to the 500 slowest-evolving genes in the dataset. Accelerated evolutionary rates in the orders Acariformes, Pseudoscorpiones, and Parasitiformes potentially engender long-branch attraction artifacts, yielding non-monophyly of Arachnida with increasing support upon incrementing the number of concatenated genes. Mutually exclusive hypotheses are supported by locus groups of variable evolutionary rate, revealing significant conflicts in phylogenetic signal. Analyses of gene-tree discordance indicate marked incongruence in relationships among chelicerate orders, whereas derived relationships are demonstrably robust. Consistently recovered and supported relationships include the monophyly of Chelicerata, Euchelicerata, Tetrapulmonata, and all orders represented by multiple terminals. Relationships supported by subsets of slow-evolving genes include Ricinulei + Solifugae; a clade comprised of Ricinulei, Opiliones, and Solifugae; and a clade comprised of Tetrapulmonata, Scorpiones, and Pseudoscorpiones. We demonstrate that outgroup selection without regard for branch length distribution exacerbates long branch attraction artifacts and does not mitigate gene-tree discordance, regardless of high gene representation for outgroups that are model organisms. Arachnopulmonata (new name) is proposed for the clade comprising Scorpiones + Tetrapulmonata (previously named Pulmonata).
- Improved Calibration of the Human Mitochondrial Clock Using Ancient Genomes. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 5.
Reliable estimates of the rate at which DNA accumulates mutations (the substitution rate) are crucial for our understanding of the evolution and past demography of virtually any species. In humans, there are considerable uncertainties around these rates, with substantial variation among recent published estimates. Substitution rates have traditionally been estimated by associating dated events to the root (e.g., the divergence between humans and chimpanzees) or to internal nodes in a phylogenetic tree (e.g., first entry into the Americas). The recent availability of ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences allows for a more direct calibration by assigning the age of the sequenced samples to the tips within the human phylogenetic tree. But studies also vary greatly in the methodology employed and in the sequence panels analyzed, making it difficult to tease apart the causes for the differences between previous estimates. To clarify this issue, we compiled a comprehensive data set of 350 ancient and modern human complete mitochondrial DNA genomes, among which 146 were generated for the purpose of this study and estimated substitution rates using calibrations based both on dated nodes and tips. Our results demonstrate that, for the same data set, estimates based on individual dated tips are far more consistent with each other than those based on nodes and should thus be considered as more reliable.
- Multihost Experimental Evolution of the Pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum Unveils Genes Involved in Adaptation to Plants. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 1.
Ralstonia solanacearum, the causal agent of a lethal bacterial wilt plant disease, infects an unusually wide range of hosts. These hosts can further be split into plants where R. solanacearum is known to cause disease (original hosts) and those where this bacterium can grow asymptomatically (distant hosts). Moreover, this pathogen is able to adapt to many plants as supported by field observations reporting emergence of strains with enlarged pathogenic properties. To investigate the genetic bases of host adaptation, we conducted evolution experiments by serial passages of a single clone of the pathogen on three original and two distant hosts over 300 bacterial generations and then analyzed the whole-genome of nine evolved clones. Phenotypic analysis of the evolved clones showed that the pathogen can increase its fitness on both original and distant hosts although the magnitude of fitness increase was greater on distant hosts. Only few genomic modifications were detected in evolved clones compared with the ancestor but parallel evolutionary changes in two genes were observed in independent evolved populations. Independent mutations in the regulatory gene efpR were selected for in three populations evolved on beans, a distant host. Reverse genetic approaches confirmed that these mutations were associated with fitness gain on bean plants. This work provides a first step toward understanding the within-host evolutionary dynamics of R. solanacearum during infection and identifying bacterial genes subjected to in planta selection. The discovery of EfpR as a determinant conditioning host adaptation of the pathogen illustrates how experimental evolution coupled with whole-genome sequencing is a potent tool to identify novel molecular players involved in central life-history traits.
- Genome-wide SNP analysis reveals population structure and demographic history of the Ryukyu Islanders in the southern part of the Japanese Archipelago. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Biol Evol 2014 Aug 1.
The Ryukyu Islands are located to the southwest of the Japanese archipelago. Archaeological evidence has revealed the existence of prehistoric cultural differentiation between the northern Ryukyu islands of Amami and Okinawa, and the southern Ryukyu islands of Miyako and Yaeyama. To examine a genetic subdivision in the Ryukyu Islands, we conducted genome-wide SNP typing of inhabitants from the Okinawa Islands, the Miyako Islands, and the Yaeyama Islands. Principal component and cluster analyses revealed genetic differentiation among the island groups, especially between Okinawa and Miyako. No genetic affinity was observed between aboriginal Taiwanese and any of the Ryukyu populations. The genetic differentiation observed between the inhabitants of the Okinawa Islands and the Miyako Islands is likely to have arisen due to genetic drift rather than admixture with people from neighboring regions. Based on the observed genetic differences, the divergence time between the inhabitants of Okinawa and Miyako islands was dated to the Holocene. These findings suggest that the Pleistocene inhabitants, whose bones have been found on the southern Ryukyu Islands, did not make a major genetic contribution, if any, to the present-day inhabitants of the southern Ryukyu Islands.