[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leptin is an adiposity-secreted hormone that is pivotal in regulating feeding behavior, energy metabolism and body mass. The study of leptin has been of crucial importance for public health and pharmaceutical intervention given its role in obesity. Generally, leptin is highly conserved due to its functional importance. However, episodes of rapid sequence evolution and positive selection have been observed in some mammalian species, indicating that the leptin functions in these animals may have undergone adaptive modification to their environments. In this article, we review the adaptive evolution of leptin and its potential functional consequences. This review is expected to guide future research of molecular evolution and functional assays of this gene, and also to provide a theoretical foundation for the use of leptin in therapeutic applications.
Chinese Science Bulletin 08/2013; 58(18). · 1.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phylogeny of the colobine monkeys has a complex evolutionary history, evolving several distinct radiations and owned a wide range of forest and woodland habits in tropical Africa and in southern and eastern Asia. Understanding the true evolutionary history of the colobine monkeys becomes an important field and has received special attention. In this article, we review phylogeny of Colobinae based on previous fossil, cytological, morphological and molecular evidence and indicate the phylogenetic controversies. This review is expected to guide the future research of Colobinae phylogeny, and also provide theoretic evidence for the conservation of these highly endangered and unique primates.
Chinese Science Bulletin 08/2013; 58(18). · 1.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Laurasiatheria is one of the richest and most diverse superorders of placental mammals. Because this group had a rapid evolutionary radiation, the phylogenetic relationships among the six orders of Laurasiatheria remain a subject of heated debate and several issues related to its phylogeny remain open. Reconstructing the true phylogenetic relationships of Laurasiatheria is a significant case study in evolutionary biology due to the diversity of this suborder and such research will have significant implications for biodiversity conservation. We review the higher-level (inter-ordinal) phylogenies of Laurasiatheria based on previous cytogenetic, morphological and molecular data, and discuss the controversies of its phylogenetic relationship. This review aims to outline future researches on Laurasiatheria phylogeny and adaptive evolution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insertion and deletion events (indels) provide a suite of markers with enormous potential for molecular phylogenetics. Using many more indel characters than those in previous studies, we here for the first time address the impact of indel inclusion on the phylogenetic inferences of Arctoidea (Mammalia: Carnivora). Based on 6843 indel characters from 22 nuclear intron loci of 16 species of Arctoidea, our analyses demonstrate that when the indels were not taken into consideration, the monophyly of Ursidae and Pinnipedia tree and the monophyly of Pinnipedia and Musteloidea tree were both recovered, whereas inclusion of indels by using three different indel coding schemes give identical phylogenetic tree topologies supporting the monophyly of Ursidae and Pinnipedia. Our work brings new perspectives on the previously controversial placements among Arctoidea families, and provides another example demonstrating the importance of identifying and incorporating indels in the phylogenetic analyses of introns. In addition, comparison of indel incorporation methods revealed that the three indel coding methods are all advantageous over treating indels as missing data, given that incorporating indels produces consistent results across methods. This is the first report of the impact of different indel coding schemes on phylogenetic reconstruction at the family level in Carnivora, which indicates that indels should be taken into account in the future phylogenetic analyses.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 11/2012; · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Felidae (cats) is one of the strict carnivorous groups in the order Carnivora, many of which are most familiar and spectacular to us. They are the top predators in the world. Thirty-six of 37 living cat species are considered as either "endangered" or "threatened". The relationships among species of the family Felidae, which evolved recently and rapidly, are difficult to resolve, and have been the subject of debate. Construction of a reliable Felidae phylogeny will be of evolu-tionarily significance and conservation value. In this paper, we summarized phylogeny of Felidae, including cytological, morphological and molecular evidence, and pointed out the existing phylogenetic problems. This review is expected to guide future researches of Felidae phylogeny, and to lay a theoretic foundation for the protection of this animal group.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adaptation is one of the most fundamental issues in the studies of organismal evolution. Pancreatic ribonuclease is a very
important digestive enzyme and secreted by the pancreas. Numerous studies have suggested that RNASE1 gene duplication is closely related to the functional adaptation of the digestive system in the intestinal fermentation herbivores.
RNASE1 gene thus becomes one of the most important candidate genetic markers to study the molecular mechanism of adaptation of organisms
to the feeding habit. Interestingly, RNASE1 gene duplication has also been found in some non-intestinal fermentation mammals, suggesting that RNASE1 gene may have produced novel tissue specificity or functions in these species. In this review, RNASE1 gene and its implications in adaptive evolution, especially in association with the feeding habit of organisms, are summarized.
Chinese Science Bulletin 04/2012; 55(1):2-6. · 1.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chinese snub-nosed monkeys (genus Rhinopithecus, subfamily Colobinae), including R. bieti, R. brelichi and R. roxellana, are well-known as the non-human primates with the highest known altitudinal distribution. They represent an interesting
model organism of adaptation to the extreme environmental stresses. However, no study at the molecular level has yet been
reported for the high-altitude adaptation in Chinese snub-nosed monkeys. Leptin, as an adipocyte-derived hormone, is believed
to play an important role in energy homeostasis in adaptation to high altitude environments. In the present study, we sequenced
and compared leptin sequences of the Chinese snub-nosed monkeys (R. bieti and R. roxellana) with their lowland close relative R. avunculus and other Colobines. Unexpectedly, no amino acid changes were observed in the 7 Colobinae species examined, including the
2 Chinese snub-nosed monkeys, indicating no difference in the evolutionary pattern of the Leptin gene between high-altitude monkeys and their lowland counterparts. In contrast to a previous finding of adaptive evolution
of Leptin gene in plateau pikas, our study suggests that this gene may not have an important role in high-altitude adaptation of Chinese
snub-nosed monkeys. Other nuclear genes associated with energy metabolism, or mitochondrial genes, are most likely to be involved
the molecular mechanism underlying adaptation of these monkeys to cold and hypoxia associated with the highland environment.
-Chinese snub-nosed monkeys-high-altitude-adaptation
Chinese Science Bulletin 04/2012; 55(36):4132-4135. · 1.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Orogenesis of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which occurred in a stepwise manner, contributed to the extreme aridity of the
Tarim Basin, resulting in vulnerable and unstable ecosystems. Quaternary climatic oscillations may have affected the ecosystems
and, consequently, the distributions and genetic structuring of the Tarim Basin’s biota. We used nucleotide sequence data
from 2 mitochondrial (mt) DNA genes (Cyt b and the D-loop) to test hypotheses associated with the matrilineal and demographical histories of the Tarim Basin’s endemic
Yarkand hare (Lepus yarkandensis). Range-wide sampling involving 20 populations and 224 individuals detected 126 haplotypes that clustered into 5 major lineages
in both the phylogenetic tree and median-joining network. Populations from the northern and eastern Tarim Basin shared a similar
history, as did those from the western and southern regions. Demographical analysis and genetic diversity estimations suggested
that the western and southern regions might have served as glacial refugia for the Yarkand hare during Quaternary climatic
oscillations. The distribution of the Yarkand hare, especially in the northern and eastern parts, probably represented 3 postglacial
colonization events, dated to 0.21, 0.090 and 0.054 MYA, which corresponded to known interglacial periods. Given the relatively
complete geographic isolation between the eastern and southern populations, the Yarkand hare likely dispersed during postglacial
periods from the southwest to the north, and then onward to the east. The absence of water likely forced the species into
refugia, and this differed from other Pleistocene biogeographical drivers. The demographical and historical patterns have
important implications for conservation.
KeywordsmtDNA–glacial refugia–Quaternary–Pleistocene–Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau–conservation–Lagomorpha–Leporidae
Chinese Science Bulletin 04/2012; 56(13):1370-1382. · 1.32 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coccidioides is a primary fungal pathogen of humans, causing life-threatening respiratory disease known as coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) in immunocompromised individuals. Recently, Sharpton et al (2009) found that the deuterolysin (M35) family genes were significantly expanded in both the Coccidioides genus and in U. reesii, and that Coccidioides has acquired three more M35 family genes than U. reesii. In the present work, phylogenetic analyses based on a total of 28 M35 family genes using different alignments and tree-building methods consistently revealed five clades with high nodal supports. Interestingly, likelihood ratio tests suggested significant differences in selective pressure on the ancestral lineage of three additional duplicated M35 family genes from Coccidioides species compared to the other lineages in the phylogeny, which may be associated with novel functional adaptations of M35 family genes in the Coccidioides species, e.g., recent pathogenesis acquisition. Our study adds to the expanding view of M35 family gene evolution and functions as well as establishes a theoretical foundation for future experimental investigations.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31536. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic relationships among Asian and African colobine genera have been disputed and are not yet well established. In the present study, we revisit the contentious relationships within the Asian and African Colobinae by analyzing 44 nuclear non-coding genes (>23 kb) and mitochondrial (mt) genome sequences from 14 colobine and 4 non-colobine primates.
The combined nuclear gene and the mt genome as well as the combined nuclear and mt gene analyses yielded different phylogenetic relationships among colobine genera with the exception of a monophyletic 'odd-nosed' group consisting of Rhinopithecus, Pygathrix and Nasalis, and a monophyletic African group consisting of Colobus and Piliocolobus. The combined nuclear data analyses supported a sister-grouping between Semnopithecus and Trachypithecus, and between Presbytis and the odd-nosed monkey group, as well as a sister-taxon association of Pygathrix and Rhinopithecus within the odd-nosed monkey group. In contrast, mt genome data analyses revealed that Semnopithecus diverged earliest among the Asian colobines and that the odd-nosed monkey group is sister to a Presbytis and Trachypithecus clade, as well as a close association of Pygathrix with Nasalis. The relationships among these genera inferred from the analyses of combined nuclear and mt genes, however, varied with the tree-building methods used. Another remarkable finding of the present study is that all of our analyses rejected the recently proposed African colobine paraphyly and hybridization hypothesis and supported reciprocal monophyly of the African and Asian groups.
The phylogenetic utility of large-scale new non-coding genes was assessed using the Colobinae as a model, We found that these markers were useful for distinguishing nodes resulting from rapid radiation episodes such as the Asian colobine radiation. None of these markers here have previously been used for colobine phylogenetic reconstruction, increasing the spectrum of molecular markers available to mammalian systematics.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e36274. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The monophyletic group Caniformia (dog-like carnivores) in the order Carnivora comprises 9 families. Except for the general consensus for the earliest divergence of Canidae and the grouping of Procyonidae and Mustelidae, conflicting phylogenetic hypotheses exist for the other caniformian families. In the present study, a data set comprising > 22 kb of 22 nuclear intron loci from 16 caniformian species is used to investigate the phylogenetic utility of nuclear introns in resolving the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia. Our phylogenetic analyses support Ailuridae as the sister taxon to a clade containing Procyonidae and Mustelidae, with Mephitinae being the sister taxon to all of them. The unresolved placements of Ursidae and Pinnipeds here emphasize a need to add more data and include more taxa to resolve this problem. The present study not only resolves some of the ambiguous relationships in Caniformia phylogeny but also shows that the noncoding nuclear markers can offer powerful complementary data for estimating the species tree. None of the newly developed introns here have previously been used for phylogeny reconstruction, thus increasing the spectrum of molecular markers available to mammalian systematics. Interestingly, all the newly developed intron data partitions exhibit intraindividual allele heterozygotes (IIAHs). There are 115 cases of IIAHs in total. The incorporation of IIAHs into phylogenetic analysis not only provides insights into the interfamilial relationships of Caniformia but also identifies two potential hybridization events occurred within Ursidae and Otariidae, respectively. Finally, the powers and pitfalls of phylogenetics using nuclear introns as markers are discussed in the context of Caniformia phylogeny.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chinese snub-nosed monkeys belong to the genus Rhinopithecus and are limited in distribution to six isolated mountainous areas in the temperate regions of Central and Southwest China. Compared to the other members of the subfamily Colobinae (or leaf-eating monkeys), these endangered primates are unique in being adapted to a high altitude environment and display a remarkable ability to tolerate low temperatures and hypoxia. They thus offer an interesting organismal model of adaptation to extreme environmental stress. Mitochondria generate energy by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and play important roles in oxygen usage and energy metabolism. We analyzed the mitochondrial genomes of two Chinese snub-nosed monkey species and eight other colobines in the first attempt to understand the genetic basis of high altitude adaptation in non-human primates. We found significant evidence of positive selection in one Chinese snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus roxellana, which is suggestive of adaptive change related to high altitude and cold weather stress. In addition, our study identified two potentially important adaptive amino acid residues (533 and 3307) in the NADH2 and NADH6 genes, respectively. Surprisingly, no evidence for positive selection was found in Rhinopithecus bieti (the other Chinese snub-nosed monkey analyzed). This finding is intriguing, especially considering that R. bieti inhabits a higher altitudinal distribution than R. roxellana. We hypothesize that a different adaptive genetic basis to high altitude survival exists in R. bieti from those seen in other mammals, and that positive selection and functionally associated mutations in this species may be detected in nuclear genes related to energy and oxygen metabolism. More information on the structure, function, and evolution of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes in Chinese snub-nosed monkeys is required to reveal the molecular mechanisms that underlie adaptations to high altitude survival in non-human primates.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mustelidae, as the largest and most-diverse family of order Carnivora, comprises eight subfamilies. Phylogenetic relationships among these Mustelidae subfamilies remain argumentative subjects in recent years. One of the main reasons is that the mustelids represent a typical example of rapid evolutionary radiation and recent speciation event. Prior investigation has been concentrated on the application of different mitochondrial (mt) sequence and nuclear protein-coding data, herein we employ 17 nuclear non-coding loci (>15 kb), in conjunction with mt complete genome data (>16 kb), to clarify these enigmatic problems.
The combined nuclear intron and mt genome analyses both robustly support that Taxidiinae diverged first, followed by Melinae. Lutrinae and Mustelinae are grouped together in all analyses with strong supports. The position of Helictidinae, however, is enigmatic because the mt genome analysis places it to the clade uniting Lutrinae and Mustelinae, whereas the nuclear intron analysis favors a novel view supporting a closer relationship of Helictidinae to Martinae. This finding emphasizes a need to add more data and include more taxa to resolve this problem. In addition, the molecular dating provides insights into the time scale of the origin and diversification of the Mustelidae subfamilies. Finally, the phylogenetic performances and limits of nuclear introns and mt genes are discussed in the context of Mustelidae phylogeny.
Our study not only brings new perspectives on the previously obscured phylogenetic relationships among Mustelidae subfamilies, but also provides another example demonstrating the effectiveness of nuclear non-coding loci for reconstructing evolutionary histories in a group that has undergone rapid bursts of speciation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are important in the food industry for the production of fermented food products and in human health as commensals in the gut. However, the phylogenetic relationships among LAB species remain under intensive debate owing to disagreements among different data sets.
We performed a phylogenetic analysis of LAB species based on 232 genes from 28 LAB genome sequences. Regardless of the tree-building methods used, combined analyses yielded an identical, well-resolved tree topology with strong supports for all nodes. The LAB species examined were divided into two groups. Group 1 included families Enterococcaceae and Streptococcaceae. Group 2 included families Lactobacillaceae and Leuconostocaceae. Within Group 2, the LAB species were divided into two clades. One clade comprised of the acidophilus complex of genus Lactobacillus and two other species, Lb. sakei and Lb. casei. In the acidophilus complex, Lb. delbrueckii separated first, while Lb. acidophilus/Lb. helveticus and Lb. gasseri/Lb. johnsonii were clustered into a sister group. The other clade within Group 2 consisted of the salivarius subgroup, including five species, Lb. salivarius, Lb. plantarum, Lb. brevis, Lb. reuteri, Lb. fermentum, and the genera Pediococcus, Oenococcus, and Leuconostoc. In this clade, Lb. salivarius was positioned most basally, followed by two clusters, one corresponding to Lb. plantarum/Lb. brevis pair and Pediococcus, and the other including Oenococcus/Leuconostoc pair and Lb. reuteri/Lb. fermentum pair. In addition, phylogenetic utility of the 232 genes was analyzed to identify those that may be more useful than others. The genes identified as useful were related to translation and ribosomal structure and biogenesis (TRSB), and a three-gene set comprising genes encoding ultra-violet resistance protein B (uvrB), DNA polymerase III (polC) and penicillin binding protein 2B (pbpB).
Our phylogenomic analyses provide important insights into the evolution and diversification of LAB species, and also revealed the phylogenetic utility of several genes. We infer that the occurrence of multiple, independent adaptation events in LAB species, have resulted in their occupation of various habitats. Further analyses of more genes from additional, representative LAB species are needed to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying adaptation of LAB species to various environmental niches.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interspecific hybridization may lead to the introgression of genes and genomes across species barriers and contribute to a reticulate evolutionary pattern and thus taxonomic uncertainties. Since several previous studies have demonstrated that introgressive hybridization has occurred among some species within Lepus, therefore it is possible that introgressive hybridization events also occur among Chinese Lepus species and contribute to the current taxonomic confusion.
Data from four mtDNA genes, from 116 individuals, and one nuclear gene, from 119 individuals, provides the first evidence of frequent introgression events via historical and recent interspecific hybridizations among six Chinese Lepus species. Remarkably, the mtDNA of L. mandshuricus was completely replaced by mtDNA from L. timidus and L. sinensis. Analysis of the nuclear DNA sequence revealed a high proportion of heterozygous genotypes containing alleles from two divergent clades and that several haplotypes were shared among species, suggesting repeated and recent introgression. Furthermore, results from the present analyses suggest that Chinese hares belong to eight species.
This study provides a framework for understanding the patterns of speciation and the taxonomy of this clade. The existence of morphological intermediates and atypical mitochondrial gene genealogies resulting from frequent hybridization events likely contribute to the current taxonomic confusion of Chinese hares. The present study also demonstrated that nuclear gene sequence could offer a powerful complementary data set with mtDNA in tracing a complete evolutionary history of recently diverged species.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The leptin gene has received intensive attention and scientific investigation for its importance in energy homeostasis and reproductive regulation in mammals. Furthermore, study of the leptin gene is of crucial importance for public health, particularly for its role in obesity, as well as for other numerous physiological roles that it plays in mammals. In the present work, we report the identification of novel leptin genes in 4 species of Cetacea, and a comparison with 55 publicly available leptin sequences from mammalian genome assemblies and previous studies. Our study provides evidence for positive selection in the suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales) of the Cetacea and the family Phocidae (earless seals) of the Pinnipedia. We also detected positive selection in several leptin gene residues in these two lineages. To test whether leptin and its receptor evolved in a coordinated manner, we analyzed 24 leptin receptor gene (LPR) sequences from available mammalian genome assemblies and other published data. Unlike the case of leptin, our analyses did not find evidence of positive selection for LPR across the Cetacea and Pinnipedia lineages. In line with this, positively selected sites identified in the leptin genes of these two lineages were located outside of leptin receptor binding sites, which at least partially explains why co-evolution of leptin and its receptor was not observed in the present study. Our study provides interesting insights into current understanding of the evolution of mammalian leptin genes in response to selective pressures from life in an aquatic environment, and leads to a hypothesis that new tissue specificity or novel physiologic functions of leptin genes may have arisen in both odontocetes and phocids. Additional data from other species encompassing varying life histories and functional tests of the adaptive role of the amino acid changes identified in this study will help determine the factors that promote the adaptive evolution of the leptin genes in marine mammals.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(10):e26579. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Subtilisin-like serine proteases play an important role in pathogenic fungi during the penetration and colonization of their hosts. In this study, we perform an evolutionary analysis of the subtilisin-like serine protease genes of subphylum Pezizomycotina to find if there are similar pathogenic mechanisms among the pathogenic fungi with different life styles, which utilize subtilisin-like serine proteases as virulence factors. Within Pezizomycotina, nematode-trapping fungi are unique because they capture soil nematodes using specialized trapping devices. Increasing evidence suggests subtilisin-like serine proteases from nematode-trapping fungi are involved in the penetration and digestion of nematode cuticles. Here we also conduct positive selection analysis on the subtilisin-like serine protease genes from nematode-trapping fungi.
Phylogenetic analysis of 189 subtilisin-like serine protease genes from Pezizomycotina suggests five strongly-supported monophyletic clades. The subtilisin-like serine protease genes previously identified or presumed as endocellular proteases were clustered into one clade and diverged the earliest in the phylogeny. In addition, the cuticle-degrading protease genes from entomopathogenic and nematode-parasitic fungi were clustered together, indicating that they might have overlapping pathogenic mechanisms against insects and nematodes. Our experimental bioassays supported this conclusion. Interestingly, although they both function as cuticle-degrading proteases, the subtilisin-like serine protease genes from nematode-trapping fungi and nematode-parasitic fungi were not grouped together in the phylogenetic tree. Our evolutionary analysis revealed evidence for positive selection on the subtilisin-like serine protease genes of the nematode-trapping fungi.
Our study provides new insights into the evolution of subtilisin-like serine protease genes in Pezizomycotina. Pezizomycotina subtilisins most likely evolved from endocellular to extracellular proteases. The entomopathogenic and nematode-parasitic fungi likely share similar properties in parasitism. In addition, our data provided better understanding about the duplications and subsequent functional divergence of subtilisin-like serine protease genes in Pezizomycotina. The evidence of positive selection detected in the subtilisin-like serine protease genes of nematode-trapping fungi in the present study suggests that the subtilisin-like serine proteases may have played important roles during the evolution of pathogenicity of nematode-trapping fungi against nematodes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pheromones are chemical cues released and sensed by individuals of the same species, which are of major importance in regulating reproductive and social behaviors of mammals. Generally, they are detected by the vomeronasal system (VNS). Here, we first investigated and compared an essential genetic component of vomeronasal chemoreception, that is, TRPC2 gene, of four marine mammals varying the degree of aquatic specialization and related terrestrial species in order to provide insights into the evolution of pheromonal olfaction in the mammalian transition from land to water. Our results based on sequence characterizations and evolutionary analyses, for the first time, show the evidence for the ancestral impairment of vomeronasal pheromone signal transduction pathway in fully aquatic cetaceans, supporting a reduced or absent dependence on olfaction as a result of the complete adaptation to the marine habitat, whereas the amphibious California sea lion was found to have a putatively functional TRPC2 gene, which is still under strong selective pressures, reflecting the reliance of terrestrial environment on chemical recognition among the semiadapted marine mammals. Interestingly, our study found that, unlike that of the California sea lion, TRPC2 genes of the harbor seal and the river otter, both of which are also semiaquatic, are pseudogenes. Our data suggest that other unknown selective pressures or sensory modalities might have promoted the independent absence of a functional VNS in these two species. In this respect, the evolution of pheromonal olfaction in marine mammals appears to be more complex and confusing than has been previously thought. Our study makes a useful contribution to the current understanding of the evolution of pheromone perception of mammals in response to selective pressures from an aquatic environment.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 02/2010; 27(7):1467-77. · 10.35 Impact Factor