[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lobosphaera incisa, formerly known as Myrmecia incisa and then Parietochloris incisa, is an oleaginous unicellular green alga belonging to the class Trebouxiophyceae (Chlorophyta). It is the richest known plant source of arachidonic acid, an ω-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid valued by the pharmaceutical and baby-food industries. It is therefore an organism of high biotechnological interest, and we recently reported the sequence of its chloroplast genome.
We now report the complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of L. incisa from high-throughput Illumina short-read sequencing. The circular chromosome of 69,997 bp is predicted to encode a total of 64 genes, some harboring specific self-splicing group I and group II introns. Overall, the gene content is highly similar to that of the mitochondrial genomes of other Trebouxiophyceae, with 34 protein-coding, 3 rRNA, and 27 tRNA genes. Genes are distributed in two clusters located on different DNA strands, a bipartite arrangement that suggests expression from two divergent promoters yielding polycistronic primary transcripts. The L. incisa mitochondrial genome contains families of intergenic dispersed DNA repeat sequences that are not shared with other known mitochondrial genomes of Trebouxiophyceae. The most peculiar feature of the genome is a repetitive palindromic repeat, the LIMP (L. Incisa Mitochondrial Palindrome), found 19 times in the genome. It is formed by repetitions of an AACCA pentanucleotide, followed by an invariant 7-nt loop and a complementary repeat of the TGGTT motif. Analysis of the genome sequencing reads indicates that the LIMP can be a substrate for large-scale genomic rearrangements. We speculate that LIMPs can act as origins of replication. Deep sequencing of the L. incisa transcriptome also suggests that the LIMPs with long stems are sites of transcript processing. The genome also contains five copies of a related palindromic repeat, the HyLIMP, with a 10-nt motif related to that of the LIMP.
The mitochondrial genome of L. incisa encodes a unique type of repetitive palindromic repeat sequence, the LIMP, which can mediate genome rearrangements and play a role in mitochondrial gene expression. Experimental studies are needed to confirm and further characterize the functional role(s) of the LIMP.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterised two spontaneous and dominant nuclear mutations in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, ncc1 and ncc2, which affect two octotricopeptide repeat (OPR) proteins encoded in a cluster of paralogous genes on chromosome 15. Both mutations cause a single amino acid substitution in one OPR repeat and target the mutated NCC1 and NCC2 proteins to the coding sequence of the atpA and petA chloroplast transcripts respectively, promoting their decay. At variance with the ncc1 mutation, the ncc2 mutation requires on-going petA mRNA translation to induce its degradation. Using new clues on nucleotide recognition by OPR repeats, we identified the target of the mutated proteins within the atpA and petA mRNAs. Thus, these mutants undergo a new type of nuclear control on chloroplast mRNAs. The two mutations illustrate how diversifying selection can allow cells to adapt the nuclear control of organelle gene expression to environmental changes. We discuss these data in the wider context of the evolution of the helical repeat proteins-mediated control.
Gordon Research Conference on "Chloroplast Biotechnology", Ventura, CA, USA; 01/2015
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plastids have retained from their cyanobacterial ancestor a fragment of the respiratory electron chain comprising an NADPH dehydrogenase and a diiron oxidase, which sustain the so-called chlororespiration pathway. Despite its very low turnover rates compared with photosynthetic electron flow, knocking out the plastid terminal oxidase (PTOX) in plants or microalgae leads to severe phenotypes that encompass developmental and growth defects together with increased photosensitivity. On the basis of a phylogenetic and structural analysis of the enzyme, we discuss its physiological contribution to chloroplast metabolism, with an emphasis on its critical function in setting the redox poise of the chloroplast stroma in darkness. The emerging picture of PTOX is that of an enzyme at the crossroads of a variety of metabolic processes, such as, among others, the regulation of cyclic electron transfer and carotenoid biosynthesis, which have in common their dependence on the redox state of the plastoquinone pool, set largely by the activity of PTOX in darkness. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology Volume 66 is April 29, 2015. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract We hereby report the complete chloroplast genome sequence of the green unicellular alga Lobosphaera (Parietochloris) incisa (strain SAG 2468). The genome consists of a circular chromosome of 156,028 bp, which is 72% A-T rich and does not contain a large rRNA-encoding inverted repeat. It is predicted to encode a total of 111 genes including 78 protein-coding, three rRNA, and 30 tRNA genes. The genome sequence also carries a self-splicing group I intron and a group II intron remnant. Overall, the gene and intron content of the L. incisa chloroplast genome is highly similar to that of other species of Trebouxiophyceae. In contrast, the L. incisa chloroplast genome harbors 88 copies of various intergenic dispersed DNA repeat sequences that are all unique to L. incisa.
Mitochondrial DNA 11/2014; DOI:10.3109/19401736.2014.982562 · 1.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IStrons are chimeric genetic elements composed of a group I intron associated with an insertion sequence (IS). The group I
intron is a catalytic RNA providing the IStron with self-splicing ability, which renders IStron insertions harmless to the
host genome. The IS element is a DNA transposon conferring mobility, and thus allowing the IStron to spread in genomes. IStrons
are therefore a striking example of a molecular symbiosis between unrelated genetic elements endowed with different functions.
In this study, we have conducted the first comprehensive survey of IStrons in sequenced genomes that provides insights into
the distribution, diversity, origin and evolution of IStrons. We show that IStrons have a restricted phylogenetic distribution
limited to two bacterial phyla, the Firmicutes and the Fusobacteria. Nevertheless, diverse IStrons representing two major
groups targeting different insertion site motifs were identified. This taken with the finding that while the intron components
of all IStrons belong to the same structural class, they are fused to different IS families, indicates that multiple intron–IS
symbioses have occurred during evolution. In addition, introns and IS elements related to those that were at the origin of
IStrons were also identified.
Nucleic Acids Research 10/2014; 42(20). DOI:10.1093/nar/gku939 · 9.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microalgae are considered a promising source for various high value products, such as carotenoids, ω-3 and ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The unicellular green alga Lobosphaera (Parietochloris) incisa is an outstanding candidate for the efficient phototrophic production of arachidonic acid (AA), an essential ω-6 PUFA for infant brain development and a widely used ingredient in the baby formula industry. Although phototrophic production of such algal products has not yet been established, estimated costs are considered to be 2-5 times higher than competing heterotrophic production costs. This alga accumulates unprecedented amounts of AA within triacylglycerols and the molecular pathway of AA biosynthesis in L. incisa has been previously elucidated. Thus, progress in transformation and metabolic engineering of this high value alga could be exploited for increasing the efficient production of AA at competitive prices. We describe here the first successful transformation of L. incisa using the ble gene as a selection marker, under the control of the endogenous RBCS promoter. Furthermore, we have succeeded in the functional complementation of the L. incisa mutant strain P127, containing a mutated, inactive version of the delta-5 (Δ5) fatty acid desaturase gene. A copy of the functional Δ5 desaturase gene, linked to the ble selection marker, was transformed into the P127 mutant. The resulting transformants selected for zeocine resistant, had AA biosynthesis partially restored, indicating the functional complementation of the mutant strain with the wild-type gene. The results of this study present a platform for the successful genetic engineering of L. incisa and its long-chain PUFA metabolism.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105223. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105223 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a popular unicellular organism for studying photosynthesis, cilia biogenesis, and micronutrient homeostasis. Ten years since its genome project was initiated an iterative process of improvements to the genome and gene predictions has propelled this organism to the forefront of the omics era. Housed at Phytozome, the plant genomics portal of the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the most up-to-date genomic data include a genome arranged on chromosomes and high-quality gene models with alternative splice forms supported by an abundance of whole transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) data. We present here the past, present, and future of Chlamydomonas genomics. Specifically, we detail progress on genome assembly and gene model refinement, discuss resources for gene annotations, functional predictions, and locus ID mapping between versions and, importantly, outline a standardized framework for naming genes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using the repeat finding algorithm FT-Rep, we have identified 154 pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins in nine fully sequenced genomes from green algae (with a total of 1201 repeats) and grouped them in 47 orthologous groups. All data are available in a database, PPRdb, accessible online at http://giavap-genomes.ibpc.fr/ppr. Based on phylogenetic trees generated from the repeats, we propose evolutionary scenarios for PPR proteins. Two PPRs are clearly conserved in the entire green lineage: MRL1 is a stabilization factor for the rbcL mRNA, while HCF152 binds in plants to the psbH-petB intergenic region. MCA1 (the stabilization factor for petA) and PPR7 (a short PPR also acting on chloroplast mRNAs) are conserved across the entire Chlorophyta. The other PPRs are clade-specific, with evidence for gene losses, duplications, and horizontal transfer. In some PPR proteins, an additional domain found at the C terminus provides clues as to possible functions. PPR19 and PPR26 possess a methyltransferase_4 domain suggesting involvement in RNA guanosine methylation. PPR18 contains a C-terminal CBS domain, similar to the CBSPPR1 protein found in nucleoids. PPR16, PPR29, PPR37, and PPR38 harbor a SmR (MutS-related) domain similar to that found in land plants pTAC2, GUN1, and SVR7. The PPR-cyclins PPR3, PPR4, and PPR6, in addition, contain a cyclin domain C-terminal to their SmR domain. PPR31 is an unusual PPR-cyclin containing at its N terminus an OctotricoPeptide Repeat (OPR) and a RAP domain. We consider the possibility that PPR proteins with a SmR domain can introduce single-stranded nicks in the plastid chromosome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent years have shown a marked increase in the use of next-generation sequencing technologies for quantification of gene expression (RNA sequencing, RNA-Seq). The expression level of a gene is a function of both its rate of transcription and RNA decay, and the influence of mRNA decay rates on gene expression in genome-wide studies of Gram-positive bacteria is under-investigated.
In this work, we employed RNA-Seq in a genome-wide determination of mRNA half-lives in the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus cereus. By utilizing a newly developed normalization protocol, RNA-Seq was used successfully to determine global mRNA decay rates at the single nucleotide level. The analysis revealed positional degradation patterns, with mRNAs being degraded from both ends of the molecule, indicating that both 5' to 3' and 3' to 5' directions of RNA decay are present in B. cereus. Other operons showed segmental degradation patterns where specific ORFs within polycistrons were degraded at variable rates, underlining the importance of RNA processing in gene regulation. We determined the half-lives for more than 2,700 ORFs in B. cereus ATCC 10987, ranging from less than one minute to more than fifteen minutes, and showed that mRNA decay rate correlates globally with mRNA expression level, GC content, and functional class of the ORF.
To our knowledge, this study presents the first global analysis of mRNA decay in a bacterium at single nucleotide resolution. We provide a proof of principle for using RNA-Seq in bacterial mRNA decay analysis, revealing RNA processing patterns at the single nucleotide level.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group II introns are widespread genetic elements endowed with a dual functionality. They are catalytic RNAs (ribozymes) that are able of self-splicing and they are also mobile retroelements that can invade genomic DNA. The group II intron RNA secondary structure is typically made up of six domains. However, a number of unusual group II introns carrying a unique extension of 53-56 nucleotides at the 3' end have been identified previously in bacteria of the Bacillus cereus group.
In the present study, we conducted combined sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses of introns, host gene, plasmid and chromosome of host strains in order to gain insights into mobility, dispersal, and evolution of the unusual introns and their extension. We also performed in vitro mutational and kinetic experiments to investigate possible functional features related to the extension.
We report the identification of novel copies of group II introns carrying a 3' extension including the first two copies in bacteria not belonging to the B. cereus group, Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 and Bacillus sp. 2_A_57_CT2, an uncharacterized species phylogenetically close to B. firmus. Interestingly, the B. pseudofirmus intron has a longer extension of 70 bases. From sequence comparisons and phylogenetic analyses, several possible separate events of mobility involving the atypical introns could be identified, including both retrohoming and retrotransposition events. In addition, identical extensions were found in introns that otherwise exhibit little sequence conservation in the rest of their structures, with the exception of the conserved and catalytically critical domains V and VI, suggesting either separate acquisition of the extra segment by different group II introns or a strong selection pressure acting on the extension. Furthermore, we show by in vitro splicing experiments that the 3' extension affects the splicing properties differently in introns belonging to separate evolutionary branches.
Altogether this study provides additional insights into the structural and functional evolution of unusual introns harboring a 3' extension and lends further evidence that these introns are mobile with their extension.
BMC Research Notes 12/2011; 4:564. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-4-564
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacillus pseudofirmus OF4 is an extreme but facultative alkaliphile that grows non-fermentatively in a pH range from 7.5 to above 11.4 and can withstand large sudden increases in external pH. It is a model organism for studies of bioenergetics at high pH, at which energy demands are higher than at neutral pH because both cytoplasmic pH homeostasis and ATP synthesis require more energy. The alkaliphile also tolerates a cytoplasmic pH > 9.0 at external pH values at which the pH homeostasis capacity is exceeded, and manages other stresses that are exacerbated at alkaline pH, e.g. sodium, oxidative and cell wall stresses. The genome of B. pseudofirmus OF4 includes two plasmids that are lost from some mutants without viability loss. The plasmids may provide a reservoir of mobile elements that promote adaptive chromosomal rearrangements under particular environmental conditions. The genome also reveals a more acidic pI profile for proteins exposed on the outer surface than found in neutralophiles. A large array of transporters and regulatory genes are predicted to protect the alkaliphile from its overlapping stresses. In addition, unanticipated metabolic versatility was observed, which could ensure requisite energy for alkaliphily under diverse conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria is a group of closely related species that are of medical and economic relevance, including B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis. Bacteria from the Bacillus cereus group encode three large, highly conserved genes of unknown function (named crdA, crdB, and crdC) that are composed of 16 to 35 copies of a repeated domain of 132 amino acids at the protein level. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that there is a phylogenetic bias in the genomic distribution of these genes and that strains harboring all three large genes mainly belong to cluster III of the B. cereus group phylogenetic tree. The evolutionary history of the three large genes implicates gain, loss, duplication, internal deletion, and lateral transfer. Furthermore, we show that the transcription of previously identified antisense open reading frames in crdB is simultaneously regulated with its host gene throughout the life cycle in vitro, with the highest expression being at the onset of sporulation. In B. anthracis, different combinations of double- and triple-knockout mutants of the three large genes displayed slower and less efficient sporulation processes than the parental strain. Altogether, the functional studies suggest an involvement of these three large genes in the sporulation process.
Journal of bacteriology 08/2011; 193(19):5420-30. DOI:10.1128/JB.05309-11 · 2.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria includes species that can cause food-poisoning or spoilage, such as B. cereus, as well as Bacillus anthracis, the cause of anthrax. In the present report we have conducted a multi-datatype analysis using tools from the HyperCAT database (http://mlstoslo.uio.no/) that we recently developed, combining data from multilocus sequence typing (Tourasse et al., 2010), amplified fragment length polymorphism, and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis typing techniques. We provide a comprehensive snapshot of the B. cereus group population, incorporating 2213 isolates including 450 from food and dairy products, in the form of both phylogenetic supertrees and superclusters of genetically closely related isolates. Our main findings include the detection of phylogenetically separated groups of isolates possibly representing novel evolutionary lineages within the B. cereus group, a putative new branch of B. anthracis, as well as new groups of related strains containing both environmental and clinical isolates. In addition, the multi-datatype analysis revealed to a larger extent than previously recognized that food-borne isolates can share identical genotyping profiles with strains from various other origins. Altogether, the global analysis confirms and extends the results underlining the opportunistic nature of B. cereus group organisms, and the fact that isolates responsible for disease outbreaks and contamination of foodstuffs can originate from various genetic backgrounds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many short (<400 bp) interspersed sequence repeats exist in bacteria, yet little is known about their origins, mode of generation, or possible function. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of 18 different previously identified repeated DNA elements, bcr1-bcr18 (Økstad OA, Hegna I, Lindback T, Rishovd AL, Kolstø AB. 1999. Genome organization is not conserved between Bacillus cereus and Bacillus subtilis. Microbiology. 145:621-631.; Tourasse NJ, Helgason E, Økstad OA, Hegna IK, Kolstø AB. 2006. The Bacillus cereus group: novel aspects of population structure and genome dynamics. J Appl Microbiol. 101:579-593.), in 36 sequenced genomes from the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria. This group consists of genetically closely related species with variable pathogenic specificity toward different hosts and includes among others B. anthracis, B. cereus, and B. thuringiensis. The B. cereus group repeat elements could be classified into three categories with different properties: Group A elements (bcr1-bcr3) exhibited highly variable copy numbers ranging from 4 to 116 copies per strain, showed a nonconserved chromosomal distribution pattern between strains, and displayed several features characteristic of mobile elements. Group B repeats (bcr4-bcr6) were present in 0-10 copies per strain and were associated with strain-specific genes and disruptions of genome synteny, implying a possible contribution to genome rearrangements and/or horizontal gene transfer events. bcr5, in particular, was associated with large gene clusters showing resemblance to integrons. In agreement with their potentially mobile nature or involvement in horizontal transfers, the sequences of the repeats from Groups A and B (bcr1-bcr6) followed a phylogeny different from that of the host strains. Conversely, repeats from Group C (bcr7-bcr18) had a conserved chromosomal location and orthologous gene neighbors in the investigated B. cereus group genomes, and their phylogeny matched that of the host chromosome. Several of the group C repeats exhibited a conserved secondary structure or had parts of the structure conserved, possibly indicating functional RNAs. Accordingly, five of the repeats in group C overlapped regions encoding previously characterized riboswitches. Similarly, other group C repeats could represent novel riboswitches, encode small RNAs, and/or constitute other types of regulatory elements with specific biological functions. The current analysis suggests that the multitude of repeat elements identified in the B. cereus group promote genome dynamics and plasticity and could contribute to the flexible and adaptive life style of these bacteria.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group II introns are large RNA elements that interrupt genes. They are self-splicing ribozymes that catalyze their own excision and mobile retroelements that can invade new genomic DNA sites. While group II introns typically consist of six structural domains, a number of elements containing an unusual 3' extension of 53-56 nucleotides have recently been identified. Bioinformatic and functional analyses of these introns have revealed that they belong to two evolutionary subgroups and that the 3' extension has a differential effect on the splicing reactions for introns of the two subgroups, a functional difference that may be related to structural differences between the introns. In addition, there is phylogenetic evidence that some introns are mobile with their extension. The unusual introns have provided dramatic examples of the structural and functional evolution of group II ribozymes that have been able to accommodate an extra segment into their compact structure while maintaining functionality.
New Biotechnology 02/2010; 27(3):204-11. DOI:10.1016/j.nbt.2010.02.014 · 2.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bacillus cereus group of bacteria includes species that are of significant medical and economic importance. We previously developed the SuperCAT database, which integrates data from all five multilocus sequence typing (MLST) schemes available to infer the genetic relatedness within this group. Since large numbers of isolates have been typed by other techniques, these should be incorporated in order to provide the most comprehensive and truly global view of the B. cereus group population. The SuperCAT system has been extended into a new database, HyperCAT, with two main additions. First, an extended supertree approach was applied to combine the phylogenetic information available from MLST, amplified fragment length polymorphism and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Secondly, a tree-independent clustering algorithm was designed to build superclusters of genetically closely related isolates sharing identical genotyping data. The superclusters were then mapped onto the supertree to generate an integrative genetic and phylogenetic snapshot of the B. cereus group population currently incorporating 2143 isolates. HyperCAT is freely accessible at the University of Oslo’s typing website, which has also been upgraded with TNT software, allowing improved and ultra-fast supertree reconstructions. In addition, novel and advanced tools have been included for interactive viewing and navigation of trees, clusters and networks.
Database URL: http://mlstoslo.uio.no/
Database The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation 01/2010; 2010:baq017. DOI:10.1093/database/baq017 · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacillus anthracis is the cause of anthrax, and two large plasmids are essential for toxicity: pXO1, which contains the toxin genes, and pXO2, which encodes a capsule. B. anthracis forms a highly monomorphic lineage within the B. cereus group, but strains of Bacillus thuringiensis and B. cereus exist that are genetically closely related to the B. anthracis cluster. During the past five years B. cereus strains that contain the pXO1 virulence plasmid were discovered, and strains with both pXO1 and pXO2 have been isolated from great apes in Africa. Therefore, the presence of pXO1 and pXO2 no longer principally separates B. anthracis from other Bacilli. The B. anthracis lineage carries a specific mutation in the global regulator PlcR, which controls the transcription of secreted virulence factors in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Coevolution of the B. anthracis chromosome with its plasmids may be the basis for the successful development and uniqueness of the B. anthracis lineage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The B.c.I4 group II intron from Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987 harbors an unusual 3' extension. Here, we report the discovery of four additional group II introns with a similar 3' extension in Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki 4D1 that splice at analogous positions 53/56 nt downstream of domain VI in vivo. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the introns are only 47-61% identical to each other. Strikingly, they do not form a single evolutionary lineage even though they belong to the same Bacterial B class. The extension of these introns is predicted to form a conserved two-stem-loop structure. Mutational analysis in vitro showed that the smaller stem S1 is not critical for self-splicing, whereas the larger stem S2 is important for efficient exon ligation and lariat release in presence of the extension. This study clearly demonstrates that previously reported B.c.I4 is not a single example of a specialized intron, but forms a new functional class with an unusual mode that ensures proper positioning of the 3' splice site.
Nucleic Acids Research 04/2009; 37(10):3202-14. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkp186 · 9.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Group I and group II introns are different catalytic self-splicing and mobile RNA elements that contribute to genome dynamics. In this study, we have analyzed their distribution and evolution in 29 sequenced genomes from the Bacillus cereus group of bacteria. Introns were of different structural classes and evolutionary origins, and a large number of nearly identical elements are shared between multiple strains of different sources, suggesting recent lateral transfers and/or that introns are under a strong selection pressure. Altogether, 73 group I introns were identified, inserted in essential genes from the chromosome or newly described prophages, including the first elements found within phages in bacterial plasmids. Notably, bacteriophages are an important source for spreading group I introns between strains. Furthermore, 77 group II introns were found within a diverse set of chromosomal and plasmidic genes. Unusual findings include elements located within conserved DNA metabolism and repair genes and one intron inserted within a novel retroelement. Group II introns are mainly disseminated via plasmids and can subsequently invade the host genome, in particular by coupling mobility with host cell replication. This study reveals a very high diversity and variability of mobile introns in B. cereus group strains.
Nucleic Acids Research 07/2008; 36(14):4529-48. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkn372 · 9.11 Impact Factor