PLoS Genetics

Publisher: Public Library of Science, Public Library of Science

Description

Genetics and genomics research has grown at a bewildering pace in the past 15 years. The techniques of these fields are being applied to a wealth of biological questions and experimental systems. PLoS Genetics reflects the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of this research by publishing outstanding original contributions in all areas of biology. PLoS Genetics publishes human studies, as well as research on model organisms - from mice and flies, to plants and bacteria. Topics include (but are not limited to) gene discovery and function, population genetics, genome projects, comparative and functional genomics, medical genetics, cancer biology, evolution, gene expression, complex traits, chromosome biology, and epigenetics.

  • Impact factor
    8.52
  • 5-year impact
    9.44
  • Cited half-life
    3.40
  • Immediacy index
    1.20
  • Eigenfactor
    0.17
  • Article influence
    4.97
  • Website
    PLoS Genetics website
  • Other titles
    PLOS genetics (Online), PLOS genetics, Public Library of Science genetics
  • ISSN
    1553-7404
  • OCLC
    57175810
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Public Library of Science

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Creative Commons Attribution License
    • Eligible UK authors may deposit in OpenDepot
    • Publisher's version/PDF may be used
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The replication time of Saccharomyces cerevisiae telomeres responds to TG1-3 repeat length, with telomeres of normal length replicating late during S phase and short telomeres replicating early. Here we show that Tel1 kinase, which is recruited to short telomeres, specifies their early replication, because we find a tel1Δ mutant has short telomeres that nonetheless replicate late. Consistent with a role for Tel1 in driving early telomere replication, initiation at a replication origin close to an induced short telomere was reduced in tel1Δ cells, in an S phase blocked by hydroxyurea. The telomeric chromatin component Rif1 mediates late replication of normal telomeres and is a potential substrate of Tel1 phosphorylation, so we tested whether Tel1 directs early replication of short telomeres by inactivating Rif1. A strain lacking both Rif1 and Tel1 behaves like a rif1Δ mutant by replicating its telomeres early, implying that Tel1 can counteract the delaying effect of Rif1 to control telomere replication time. Proteomic analyses reveals that in yku70Δ cells that have short telomeres, Rif1 is phosphorylated at Tel1 consensus sequences (S/TQ sites), with phosphorylation of Serine-1308 being completely dependent on Tel1. Replication timing analysis of a strain mutated at these phosphorylation sites, however, suggested that Tel1-mediated phosphorylation of Rif1 is not the sole mechanism of replication timing control at telomeres. Overall, our results reveal two new functions of Tel1 at shortened telomeres: phosphorylation of Rif1, and specification of early replication by counteracting the Rif1-mediated delay in initiation at nearby replication origins.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004691.
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    ABSTRACT: Ethylene and abscisic acid (ABA) have a complicated interplay in many developmental processes. Their interaction in rice is largely unclear. Here, we characterized a rice ethylene-response mutant mhz4, which exhibited reduced ethylene-response in roots but enhanced ethylene-response in coleoptiles of etiolated seedlings. MHZ4 was identified through map-based cloning and encoded a chloroplast-localized membrane protein homologous to Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) ABA4, which is responsible for a branch of ABA biosynthesis. MHZ4 mutation reduced ABA level, but promoted ethylene production. Ethylene induced MHZ4 expression and promoted ABA accumulation in roots. MHZ4 overexpression resulted in enhanced and reduced ethylene response in roots and coleoptiles, respectively. In root, MHZ4-dependent ABA pathway acts at or downstream of ethylene receptors and positively regulates root ethylene response. This ethylene-ABA interaction mode is different from that reported in Arabidopsis, where ethylene-mediated root inhibition is independent of ABA function. In coleoptile, MHZ4-dependent ABA pathway acts at or upstream of OsEIN2 to negatively regulate coleoptile ethylene response, possibly by affecting OsEIN2 expression. At mature stage, mhz4 mutation affects branching and adventitious root formation on stem nodes of higher positions, as well as yield-related traits. Together, our findings reveal a novel mode of interplay between ethylene and ABA in control of rice growth and development.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004701.
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    ABSTRACT: The cohesin complex, which is essential for sister chromatid cohesion and chromosome segregation, also inhibits resolution of sister chromatid intertwinings (SCIs) by the topoisomerase Top2. The cohesin-related Smc5/6 complex (Smc5/6) instead accumulates on chromosomes after Top2 inactivation, known to lead to a buildup of unresolved SCIs. This suggests that cohesin can influence the chromosomal association of Smc5/6 via its role in SCI protection. Using high-resolution ChIP-sequencing, we show that the localization of budding yeast Smc5/6 to duplicated chromosomes indeed depends on sister chromatid cohesion in wild-type and top2-4 cells. Smc5/6 is found to be enriched at cohesin binding sites in the centromere-proximal regions in both cell types, but also along chromosome arms when replication has occurred under Top2-inhibiting conditions. Reactivation of Top2 after replication causes Smc5/6 to dissociate from chromosome arms, supporting the assumption that Smc5/6 associates with a Top2 substrate. It is also demonstrated that the amount of Smc5/6 on chromosomes positively correlates with the level of missegregation in top2-4, and that Smc5/6 promotes segregation of short chromosomes in the mutant. Altogether, this shows that the chromosomal localization of Smc5/6 predicts the presence of the chromatid segregation-inhibiting entities which accumulate in top2-4 mutated cells. These are most likely SCIs, and our results thus indicate that, at least when Top2 is inhibited, Smc5/6 facilitates their resolution.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004680.
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    ABSTRACT: Crossovers (COs) play a critical role in ensuring proper alignment and segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis. How the cell balances recombination between CO vs. noncrossover (NCO) outcomes is not completely understood. Further lacking is what constrains the extent of DNA repair such that multiple events do not arise from a single double-strand break (DSB). Here, by interpreting signatures that result from recombination genome-wide, we find that synaptonemal complex proteins promote crossing over in distinct ways. Our results suggest that Zip3 (RNF212) promotes biased cutting of the double Holliday-junction (dHJ) intermediate whereas surprisingly Msh4 does not. Moreover, detailed examination of conversion tracts in sgs1 and mms4-md mutants reveal distinct aberrant recombination events involving multiple chromatid invasions. In sgs1 mutants, these multiple invasions are generally multichromatid involving 3-4 chromatids; in mms4-md mutants the multiple invasions preferentially resolve into one or two chromatids. Our analysis suggests that Mus81/Mms4 (Eme1), rather than just being a minor resolvase for COs is crucial for both COs and NCOs in preventing chromosome entanglements by removing 3'- flaps to promote second-end capture. Together our results force a reevaluation of how key recombination enzymes collaborate to specify the outcome of meiotic DNA repair.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004690.
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    ABSTRACT: Protection of Telomeres 1 (POT1) is a conserved nucleic acid binding protein implicated in both telomere replication and chromosome end protection. We previously showed that Arabidopsis thaliana POT1a associates with the TER1 telomerase RNP, and is required for telomere length maintenance in vivo. Here we further dissect the function of POT1a and explore its interplay with the CST (CTC1/STN1/TEN1) telomere complex. Analysis of pot1a null mutants revealed that POT1a is not required for telomerase recruitment to telomeres, but is required for telomerase to maintain telomere tracts. We show that POT1a stimulates the synthesis of long telomere repeat arrays by telomerase, likely by enhancing repeat addition processivity. We demonstrate that POT1a binds STN1 and CTC1 in vitro, and further STN1 and CTC1, like POT1a, associate with enzymatically active telomerase in vivo. Unexpectedly, the in vitro interaction of STN1 with TEN1 and POT1a was mutually exclusive, indicating that POT1a and TEN1 may compete for the same binding site on STN1 in vivo. Finally, unlike CTC1 and STN1, TEN1 was not associated with active telomerase in vivo, consistent with our previous data showing that TEN1 negatively regulates telomerase enzyme activity. Altogether, our data support a two-state model in which POT1a promotes an extendable telomere state via contacts with the telomerase RNP as well as STN1 and CTC1, while TEN1 opposes these functions.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004738.
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of mono-ubiquitylation of histone H2B (H2Bub) on transcription via nucleosome reassembly has been widely documented. Recently, it has also been shown that H2Bub promotes recovery from replication stress; however, the underling molecular mechanism remains unclear. Here, we show that H2B ubiquitylation coordinates activation of the intra-S replication checkpoint and chromatin re-assembly, in order to limit fork progression and DNA damage in the presence of replication stress. In particular, we show that the absence of H2Bub affects replication dynamics (enhanced fork progression and reduced origin firing), leading to γH2A accumulation and increased hydroxyurea sensitivity. Further genetic analysis indicates a role for H2Bub in transducing Rad53 phosphorylation. Concomitantly, we found that a change in replication dynamics is not due to a change in dNTP level, but is mediated by reduced Rad53 activation and destabilization of the RecQ helicase Sgs1 at the fork. Furthermore, we demonstrate that H2Bub facilitates the dissociation of the histone chaperone Asf1 from Rad53, and nucleosome reassembly behind the fork is compromised in cells lacking H2Bub. Taken together, these results indicate that the regulation of H2B ubiquitylation is a key event in the maintenance of genome stability, through coordination of intra-S checkpoint activation, chromatin assembly and replication fork progression.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004667.
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    ABSTRACT: The regulatory logic underlying global transcriptional programs controlling development of visceral organs like the pancreas remains undiscovered. Here, we profiled gene expression in 12 purified populations of fetal and adult pancreatic epithelial cells representing crucial progenitor cell subsets, and their endocrine or exocrine progeny. Using probabilistic models to decode the general programs organizing gene expression, we identified co-expressed gene sets in cell subsets that revealed patterns and processes governing progenitor cell development, lineage specification, and endocrine cell maturation. Purification of Neurog3 mutant cells and module network analysis linked established regulators such as Neurog3 to unrecognized gene targets and roles in pancreas development. Iterative module network analysis nominated and prioritized transcriptional regulators, including diabetes risk genes. Functional validation of a subset of candidate regulators with corresponding mutant mice revealed that the transcription factors Etv1, Prdm16, Runx1t1 and Bcl11a are essential for pancreas development. Our integrated approach provides a unique framework for identifying regulatory genes and functional gene sets underlying pancreas development and associated diseases such as diabetes mellitus.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004645.
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    ABSTRACT: The Caenorhabditis elegans dauer larva is a facultative state of diapause. Mutations affecting dauer signal transduction and morphogenesis have been reported. Of these, most that result in constitutive formation of dauer larvae are temperature-sensitive (ts). The daf-31 mutant was isolated in genetic screens looking for novel and underrepresented classes of mutants that form dauer and dauer-like larvae non-conditionally. Dauer-like larvae are arrested in development and have some, but not all, of the normal dauer characteristics. We show here that daf-31 mutants form dauer-like larvae under starvation conditions but are sensitive to SDS treatment. Moreover, metabolism is shifted to fat accumulation in daf-31 mutants. We cloned the daf-31 gene and it encodes an ortholog of the arrest-defective-1 protein (ARD1) that is the catalytic subunit of the major N alpha-acetyltransferase (NatA). A daf-31 promoter::GFP reporter gene indicates daf-31 is expressed in multiple tissues including neurons, pharynx, intestine and hypodermal cells. Interestingly, overexpression of daf-31 enhances the longevity phenotype of daf-2 mutants, which is dependent on the forkhead transcription factor (FOXO) DAF-16. We demonstrate that overexpression of daf-31 stimulates the transcriptional activity of DAF-16 without influencing its subcellular localization. These data reveal an essential role of NatA in controlling C. elegans life history and also a novel interaction between ARD1 and FOXO transcription factors, which may contribute to understanding the function of ARD1 in mammals.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004699.
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    ABSTRACT: Epidermal stratification of the mammalian skin requires proliferative basal progenitors to generate intermediate cells that separate from the basal layer and are replaced by post-mitotic cells. Although Wnt signaling has been implicated in this developmental process, the mechanism underlying Wnt-mediated regulation of basal progenitors remains elusive. Here we show that Wnt secreted from proliferative basal cells is not required for their differentiation. However, epidermal production of Wnts is essential for the formation of the spinous layer through modulation of a BMP-FGF signaling cascade in the dermis. The spinous layer defects caused by disruption of Wnt secretion can be restored by transgenically expressed Bmp4. Non-cell autonomous BMP4 promotes activation of FGF7 and FGF10 signaling, leading to an increase in proliferative basal cell population. Our findings identify an essential BMP-FGF signaling axis in the dermis that responds to the epidermal Wnts and feedbacks to regulate basal progenitors during epidermal stratification.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004687.
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    ABSTRACT: A characteristic of all arthropods is the presence of flexible structures called joints that connect all leg segments. Drosophila legs include two types of joints: the proximal or "true" joints that are motile due to the presence of muscle attachment and the distal joints that lack musculature. These joints are not only morphologically, functionally and evolutionarily different, but also the morphogenetic program that forms them is distinct. Development of both proximal and distal joints requires Notch activity; however, it is still unknown how this pathway can control the development of such homologous although distinct structures. Here we show that the bHLH-PAS transcription factor encoded by the gene dysfusion (dys), is expressed and absolutely required for tarsal joint development while it is dispensable for proximal joints. In the presumptive tarsal joints, Dys regulates the expression of the pro-apoptotic genes reaper and head involution defective and the expression of the RhoGTPases modulators, RhoGEf2 and RhoGap71E, thus directing key morphogenetic events required for tarsal joint development. When ectopically expressed, dys is able to induce some aspects of the morphogenetic program necessary for distal joint development such as fold formation and programmed cell death. This novel Dys function depends on its obligated partner Tango to activate the transcription of target genes. We also identified a dedicated dys cis-regulatory module that regulates dys expression in the tarsal presumptive leg joints through direct Su(H) binding. All these data place dys as a key player downstream of Notch, directing distal versus proximal joint morphogenesis.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004621.
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    ABSTRACT: Although a defect in the DNA polymerase POLQ leads to ionizing radiation sensitivity in mammalian cells, the relevant enzymatic pathway has not been identified. Here we define the specific mechanism by which POLQ restricts harmful DNA instability. Our experiments show that Polq-null murine cells are selectively hypersensitive to DNA strand breaking agents, and that damage resistance requires the DNA polymerase activity of POLQ. Using a DNA break end joining assay in cells, we monitored repair of DNA ends with long 3' single-stranded overhangs. End joining events retaining much of the overhang were dependent on POLQ, and independent of Ku70. To analyze the repair function in more detail, we examined immunoglobulin class switch joining between DNA segments in antibody genes. POLQ participates in end joining of a DNA break during immunoglobulin class-switching, producing insertions of base pairs at the joins with homology to IgH switch-region sequences. Biochemical experiments with purified human POLQ protein revealed the mechanism generating the insertions during DNA end joining, relying on the unique ability of POLQ to extend DNA from minimally paired primers. DNA breaks at the IgH locus can sometimes join with breaks in Myc, creating a chromosome translocation. We found a marked increase in Myc/IgH translocations in Polq-defective mice, showing that POLQ suppresses genomic instability and genome rearrangements originating at DNA double-strand breaks. This work clearly defines a role and mechanism for mammalian POLQ in an alternative end joining pathway that suppresses the formation of chromosomal translocations. Our findings depart from the prevailing view that alternative end joining processes are generically translocation-prone.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004654.
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    ABSTRACT: Deficiency of autophagy protein beclin 1 is implicated in tumorigenesis and neurodegenerative diseases, but the molecular mechanism remains elusive. Previous studies showed that Beclin 1 coordinates the assembly of multiple VPS34 complexes whose distinct phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase III (PI3K-III) lipid kinase activities regulate autophagy at different steps. Recent evidence suggests a function of beclin 1 in regulating multiple VPS34-mediated trafficking pathways beyond autophagy; however, the precise role of beclin 1 in autophagy-independent cellular functions remains poorly understood. Herein we report that beclin 1 regulates endocytosis, in addition to autophagy, and is required for neuron viability in vivo. We find that neuronal beclin 1 associates with endosomes and regulates EEA1/early endosome localization and late endosome formation. Beclin 1 maintains proper cellular phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI(3)P) distribution and total levels, and loss of beclin 1 causes a disruption of active Rab5 GTPase-associated endosome formation and impairment of endosome maturation, likely due to a failure of Rab5 to recruit VPS34. Furthermore, we find that Beclin 1 deficiency causes complete loss of the UVRAG-VPS34 complex and associated lipid kinase activity. Interestingly, beclin 1 deficiency impairs p40phox-linked endosome formation, which is rescued by overexpressed UVRAG or beclin 1, but not by a coiled-coil domain-truncated beclin 1 (a UVRAG-binding mutant), Atg14L or RUBICON. Thus, our study reveals the essential role for beclin 1 in neuron survival involving multiple membrane trafficking pathways including endocytosis and autophagy, and suggests that the UVRAG-beclin 1 interaction underlies beclin 1's function in endocytosis.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2014; 10(10):e1004626.