[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pine processionary moth Thaumetopoea pityocampa is a Mediterranean lepidopteran defoliator that experiences a rapid range expansion towards higher latitudes and altitudes due to the current climate warming. Its phenology - the time of sexual reproduction - is certainly a key trait for the local adaptation of the processionary moth to climatic conditions. Moreover, an exceptional case of allochronic differentiation was discovered ca. 15 years ago in this species. A population with a shifted phenology (the summer population, SP) co-exists near Leiria, Portugal, with a population following the classical cycle (the winter population, WP). The existence of this population is an outstanding opportunity to decipher the genetic bases of phenology. No genomic resources were so far available for T. pityocampa. We developed a high-throughput sequencing approach to build a first reference transcriptome, and to proceed with comparative analyses of the sympatric SP and WP. We pooled RNA extracted from whole individuals of various developmental stages, and performed a transcriptome characterisation for both populations combining Roche 454-FLX and traditional Sanger data. The obtained sequences were clustered into ca. 12,000 transcripts corresponding to 9,265 unigenes. The mean transcript coverage was 21.9 reads per bp. Almost 70% of the de novo assembled transcripts displayed significant similarity to previously published proteins and around 50% of the transcripts contained a full-length coding region. Comparative analyses of the population transcriptomes allowed to investigate genes specifically expressed in one of the studied populations only, and to identify the most divergent homologous SP/WP transcripts. The most divergent pairs of transcripts did not correspond to obvious phenology-related candidate genes, and 43% could not be functionally annotated. This study provides the first comprehensive genome-wide resource for the target species T. pityocampa. Many of the assembled genes are orthologs of published Lepidoptera genes, which allows carrying out gene-specific re-sequencing. Data mining has allowed the identification of SNP loci that will be useful for population genomic approaches and genome-wide scans of population differentiation to identify signatures of selection.
Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 01/2014; · 3.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study aimed at enhancing the transcriptomic resources for two sibling species of moths, Ostrinia scapulalis and Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer), as a foundation for future researches on their divergence history. Previous works on these species had shown that their genetic divergence was low, while they were reproductively isolated in natura and specialized on different host plants. Comparative genomic resources will help facilitate the understanding of the mechanisms involved in this isolation and adaptation to the host plants. Despite their fundamental interest, these species still lack the genomic resources to thoroughly identify candidate genes for functions of interest. We present here a high throughput sequencing and de novo transcriptome assembly for these two sibling species in line with this objective of comparative genomics. RESULTS: Based on 322,504 and 307,622 reads of 454 sequencing for O. scapulalis and O. nubilalis respectively, we reconstructed 11,231 and 10,773 transcripts, of which 40% were functionally annotated by BLAST analyzes. We determined the level of completeness of both assemblies as well as the recovery level of published Ostrinia genomic resources. Gene ontology (GO) of common and species-specific de novo transcripts did not reveal GO terms significantly enriched in one or the other species. By applying stringent homology searches on transcripts common to O. scapulalis and O. nubilalis, we identified a set of homologous transcripts, with a mean nucleotide identity value of 98.1%. In this set, the most divergent transcripts revealed candidate genes involved in developmental, sensorial and pathogen defense processes. CONCLUSIONS: This data greatly increases the genomic resources of Ostrinia species and constitute a solid skeleton for future comparative analyzes of expression or diversity, despite we show that the transcriptomes for both species have not been assembled at full completion. In addition, we provide a set of homologous transcripts together with their annotation as a source of candidate genes for comparative analyzes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum is the infective agent responsible for malaria tropica. The glycogen synthase kinase-3 of the parasite (PfGSK-3) was suggested as a potential biological target for novel antimalarial drugs. Starting from hit structures identified in a HTS campaign, 3,6-diamino-4-(2-halophenyl)-2-benzoylthieno[2,3-b]pyridine-5-carbonitriles were discovered as a new class of PfGSK-3 inhibitors. Being less active on GSK-3 homologues of other species, the title compounds showed selectivity in favor of PfGSK-3. Taking into account the X-ray structure of a related molecule in complex with human GSK-3 (HsGSK-3), a model was computed for the comparison of inhibitor complexes with the plasmodial and the human enzyme. It was found that subtle differences in the ATP binding pockets are responsible for the observed PfGSK-3 vs. HsGSK-3 selectivity. Representatives of the title compound class exhibited micromolar IC50 values against Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte stage parasites. These results suggest that inhibitors of PfGSK-3 could be developed as potential antimalarial drugs.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 12/2012; · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brown algae are important organisms both because of their key ecological roles in
coastal ecosystems and because of the remarkable biological features that they have
acquired during their unusual evolutionary history. The recent sequencing of the
complete genome of the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus has provided unprecedented
access to the molecular processes that underlie brown algal biology. Analysis of
the genome sequence, which exhibits several unusual structural features, identified
genes that are predicted to play key roles in several aspects of brown algal metabolism,
in the construction of the multicellular bodyplan and in resistance to biotic and abiotic
stresses. Information from the genome sequence is currently being used in combination
with other genomic, genetic and biochemical tools to further investigate these
and other aspects of brown algal biology at the molecular level. Here, we review some
of the major discoveries that emerged from the analysis of the Ectocarpus genome
sequence, with a particular focus on the unusual genome structure, inferences about
brown algal evolution and novel aspects of brown algal metabolism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The acquisition of mitochondria was a key event in eukaryote evolution. The aim of this study was to identify homologues of the components of the mitochondrial protein import machinery in the brown alga Ectocarpus and to use this information to investigate the evolutionary history of this fundamental cellular process. Detailed searches were carried out both for components of the protein import system and for related peptidases. Comparative and phylogenetic analyses were used to investigate the evolution of mitochondrial proteins during eukaryote diversification. Key observations include phylogenetic evidence for very ancient origins for many protein import components (Tim21, Tim50, for example) and indications of differences between the outer membrane receptors that recognize the mitochondrial targeting signals, suggesting replacement, rearrangement and/or emergence of new components across the major eukaryotic lineages. Overall, the mitochondrial protein import components analysed in this study confirmed a high level of conservation during evolution, indicating that most are derived from very ancient, ancestral proteins. Several of the protein import components identified in Ectocarpus, such as Tim21, Tim50 and metaxin, have also been found in other stramenopiles and this study suggests an early origin during the evolution of the eukaryotes.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(5):e19540. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brown algae (Phaeophyceae) are complex photosynthetic organisms with a very different evolutionary history to green plants, to which they are only distantly related. These seaweeds are the dominant species in rocky coastal ecosystems and they exhibit many interesting adaptations to these, often harsh, environments. Brown algae are also one of only a small number of eukaryotic lineages that have evolved complex multicellularity (Fig. 1). We report the 214 million base pair (Mbp) genome sequence of the filamentous seaweed Ectocarpus siliculosus (Dillwyn) Lyngbye, a model organism for brown algae, closely related to the kelps (Fig. 1). Genome features such as the presence of an extended set of light-harvesting and pigment biosynthesis genes and new metabolic processes such as halide metabolism help explain the ability of this organism to cope with the highly variable tidal environment. The evolution of multicellularity in this lineage is correlated with the presence of a rich array of signal transduction genes. Of particular interest is the presence of a family of receptor kinases, as the independent evolution of related molecules has been linked with the emergence of multicellularity in both the animal and green plant lineages. The Ectocarpus genome sequence represents an important step towards developing this organism as a model species, providing the possibility to combine genomic and genetic approaches to explore these and other aspects of brown algal biology further.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CUGBP1 is an RNA-binding protein controlling alternative splicing, mRNA translation and stability. In this work we used a motif scoring approach to identify putative CUGBP1 binding sites for genes located on the human chromosome 12. This allowed us to identify the gene CD9 as a presumptive target for CUGBP1-mediated regulation. In a number of cancers, the tetraspanin CD9 is down-regulated, an event correlated with a bad prognostic. Using a combination of biochemical approaches and CUGBP1 knockdown, we showed that CUGBP1 directly controls CD9 expression.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2010; 394(4):884-9. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterokont algae, together with cryptophytes, haptophytes and some alveolates, possess red-algal derived plastids. The chromalveolate hypothesis proposes that the red-algal derived plastids of all four groups have a monophyletic origin resulting from a single secondary endosymbiotic event. However, due to incongruence between nuclear and plastid phylogenies, this controversial hypothesis remains under debate. Large-scale genomic analyses have shown to be a powerful tool for phylogenetic reconstruction but insufficient sequence data have been available for red-algal derived plastid genomes.
The chloroplast genomes of two brown algae, Ectocarpus siliculosus and Fucus vesiculosus, have been fully sequenced. These species represent two distinct orders of the Phaeophyceae, which is a major group within the heterokont lineage. The sizes of the circular plastid genomes are 139,954 and 124,986 base pairs, respectively, the size difference being due principally to the presence of longer inverted repeat and intergenic regions in E. siliculosus. Gene contents of the two plastids are similar with 139-148 protein-coding genes, 28-31 tRNA genes, and 3 ribosomal RNA genes. The two genomes also exhibit very similar rearrangements compared to other sequenced plastid genomes. The tRNA-Leu gene of E. siliculosus lacks an intron, in contrast to the F. vesiculosus and other heterokont plastid homologues, suggesting its recent loss in the Ectocarpales. Most of the brown algal plastid genes are shared with other red-algal derived plastid genomes, but a few are absent from raphidophyte or diatom plastid genomes. One of these regions is most similar to an apicomplexan nuclear sequence. The phylogenetic relationship between heterokonts, cryptophytes and haptophytes (collectively referred to as chromists) plastids was investigated using several datasets of concatenated proteins from two cyanobacterial genomes and 18 plastid genomes, including most of the available red algal and chromist plastid genomes.
The phylogenetic studies using concatenated plastid proteins still do not resolve the question of the monophyly of all chromist plastids. However, these results support both the monophyly of heterokont plastids and that of cryptophyte and haptophyte plastids, in agreement with nuclear phylogenies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The heterokonts are a particularly interesting group of eukaryotic organisms; they include many key species of planktonic and coastal algae and several important pathogens. To understand the biology of these organisms, it is necessary to be able to predict the subcellular localisation of their proteins but this is not straightforward, particularly in photosynthetic heterokonts which possess a complex chloroplast, acquired as the result of a secondary endosymbiosis. This is because the bipartite target peptides that deliver proteins to these chloroplasts can be easily confused with the signal peptides of secreted proteins, causing currently available algorithms to make erroneous predictions. HECTAR, a subcellular targeting prediction method which takes into account the specific properties of heterokont proteins, has been developed to address this problem.
HECTAR is a statistical prediction method designed to assign proteins to five different categories of subcellular targeting: Signal peptides, type II signal anchors, chloroplast transit peptides, mitochondrion transit peptides and proteins which do not possess any N-terminal target peptide. The recognition rate of HECTAR is 96.3%, with Matthews correlation coefficients ranging from 0.67 to 0.95. The method is based on a hierarchical architecture which implements the divide and conquer approach to identify the different possible target peptides one at a time. At each node of the hierarchy, the most relevant outputs of various existing subcellular prediction methods are combined by a Support Vector Machine.
The HECTAR method is able to predict the subcellular localisation of heterokont proteins with high accuracy. It also efficiently predicts the subcellular localisation of proteins from cryptophytes, a group that is phylogenetically close to the heterokonts. A variant of HECTAR, called HECTARSEC, can be used to identify signal peptide and type II signal anchor sequences in proteins from any eukaryotic organism. Both HECTAR and HECTARSEC are available as a web application at the following address: http://www.sb-roscoff.fr/hectar/.