Takashi Tsuchimatsu

University of Zurich, Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland

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Publications (12)135.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: With the increased availability of high-resolution sequence information, genome-wide association (GWA) studies have become feasible in a number of species. The vast majority of these studies are conducted in human populations, where it is difficult to provide strong evidence for the functional involvement of unknown genes that are identified using GWA. Here we used the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana to combine high-throughput confocal microscopy imaging of traits at the cellular level, GWA and expression analyses to identify genomic regions that are associated with developmental cell-type traits. We identify and characterize a new F-box gene, KUK, that regulates meristem and cell length. We further show that polymorphisms in the coding sequence are the major causes of KUK allele-dependent natural variation in root development. This work demonstrates the feasibility of GWA using cellular traits to identify causal genes for basic biological processes such as development.
    Nature Genetics 11/2013; · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: With the increased availability of high-resolution sequence information, genome-wide association (GWA) studies have become feasible in a number of species. The vast majority of these studies are conducted in human populations, where it is difficult to provide strong evidence for the functional involvement of unknown genes that are identified using GWA. Here we used the model organism Arabidopsis thalianato combine high-throughput confocal microscopy imaging of traits at the cellular level, GWA and expression analyses to identify genomic regions that are associated with developmental cell–type traits. We identify and characterize a new F-box gene, KUK, that regulates meristem and cell length. We further show that polymorphisms in the coding sequence are the major causes of KUK allele–dependent natural variation in root development. This work demonstrates the feasibility of GWA using cellular traits to identify causal genes for basic biological processes such as development.
    Nature Genetics 11/2013; advance online publication. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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  • T Tsuchimatsu, K K Shimizu
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    ABSTRACT: The evolution of self-compatibility (SC) by the loss of self-incompatibility (SI) is regarded as one of the most frequent transitions in flowering plants. SI systems are generally characterized by specific interactions between the male and female specificity genes encoded at the S-locus. Recent empirical studies have revealed that the evolution of SC is often driven by male SC-conferring mutations at the S-locus rather than by female mutations. In this study, using a forward simulation model, we compared the fixation probabilities of male vs. female SC-conferring mutations at the S-locus. We explicitly considered the effects of pollen availability in the population and bias in the occurrence of SC-conferring mutations on the male and female specificity genes. We found that male SC-conferring mutations were indeed more likely to be fixed than were female SC-conferring mutations in a wide range of parameters. This pattern was particularly strong when pollen availability was relatively high. Under such a condition, even if the occurrence of mutations was biased strongly towards the female specificity gene, male SC-conferring mutations were much more often fixed. Our study demonstrates that fixation probabilities of those two types of mutation vary strongly depending on ecological and genetic conditions, although both types result in the same evolutionary consequence-the loss of SI.
    Journal of Evolutionary Biology 08/2013; · 3.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Plant parasitism represents an extraordinary interaction among flowering plants: parasitic plants use a specialized organ, the haustorium, to invade the host vascular system to deprive host plants of water and nutrients. Various compounds present in exudates of host plants trigger haustorium development. The two most effective haustorium inducing factors (HIFs) known for the parasitic plant Triphysaria versicolor (T. versicolor) are peonidin, an antioxidant flavonoid, and 2,6-dimethoxybenzoquinone (DMBQ), an oxidative stress agent. To date, two genes involved in haustorium initiation in T. versicolor have been identified: TvQR1, a quinone oxidoreductase that generates the active HIF from DMBQ, and TvPirin, a transcription co-factor that regulates several other DMBQ- responsive and --non-responsive genes. While the expression of these genes in response to DMBQ is well characterized, their expression in response to peonidin is not. In addition, the pattern of polymorphisms in these genes is unknown, even though nucleotide changes in TvQR1 and TvPirin may have contributed to the ability of T. versicolor to develop haustoria. To gain insights into these aspects, we investigated their transcriptional responses to HIFs and non-HIF and their natural nucleotide diversity. RESULTS: Here we show that TvQR1 and TvPirin are transcriptionally upregulated by both DMBQ and peonidin in T. versicolor roots. Yet, while TvQR1 also responded to juglone, a non-HIF quinone with toxicity comparable to that of DMBQ, TvPirin did not. We further demonstrate that TvPirin encodes a protein shorter than the one previously reported. In the T. versicolor natural population of Northern California, TvQR1 exhibited remarkably higher molecular diversity and more recombination events than TvPirin, with the highest non-synonymous substitution rate in the substrate recognition and catalytic domain of the TvQR1 protein. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that TvQR1 and TvPirin have most likely evolved highly distinct roles for haustorium formation. Unlike TvPirin, TvQR1 might have been under diversifying selection to maintain a diverse collection of polymorphisms, which might be related to the recognition of an assortment of HIF and non-HIF quinones as substrates for successful haustorial establishment in a wide range of host plants.
    BMC Plant Biology 02/2013; 13(1):28. · 4.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evolutionary transition from outcrossing to self-fertilization (selfing) through the loss of self-incompatibility (SI) is one of the most prevalent events in flowering plants, and its genetic basis has been a major focus in evolutionary biology. In the Brassicaceae, the SI system consists of male and female specificity genes at the S-locus and of genes involved in the female downstream signaling pathway. During recent decades, much attention has been paid in particular to clarifying the genes responsible for the loss of SI. Here, we investigated the pattern of polymorphism and functionality of the female specificity gene, the S-locus receptor kinase (SRK), in allotetraploid Arabidopsis kamchatica. While its parental species, A. lyrata and A. halleri, are reported to be diploid and mainly self-incompatible, A. kamchatica is self-compatible. We identified five highly diverged SRK haplogroups, found their disomic inheritance and, for the first time in a wild allotetraploid species, surveyed the geographic distribution of SRK at the two homeologous S-loci across the species range. We found intact full-length SRK sequences in many accessions. Through interspecific crosses with the self-incompatible and diploid congener A. halleri, we found that the female components of the SI system, including SRK and the female downstream signaling pathway, are still functional in these accessions. Given the tight linkage and very rare recombination of the male and female components on the S-locus, this result suggests that the degradation of male components was responsible for the loss of SI in A. kamchatica. Recent extensive studies in multiple Brassicaceae species demonstrate that the loss of SI is often derived from mutations in the male component in wild populations, in contrast to cultivated populations. This is consistent with theoretical predictions that mutations disabling male specificity are expected to be more strongly selected than mutations disabling female specificity, or the female downstream signaling pathway.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2012; 8(7):e1002838. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differences in gene expression are termed expression level polymorphisms (ELPs). Here, we propose a new ELP class, bimodal ELPs (bELPs), as a criterion to screen for genes that are responsible for natural phenotypic variation and/or that are targeted by balancing selection. bELP genes are characterized by two expression level modes. Genomic scans based on nucleotide sequences are not ideal for identifying genes targeted for selection. A critical concern is that several genes can be present in the selection-targeted regions identified by such scans. This situation indicates the importance of integrating genomic sequence data and other information, such as gene expression data. Comparative transcriptomics is useful for determining evolutionarily and ecologically important polymorphisms. In a genome-wide expression screen of 34 accessions, we identified 344 Arabidopsis thaliana genes exhibiting bELPs. Population genetic analysis revealed that bELP genes had high nucleotide diversities and long linkage disequilibriums. The highest nucleotide diversity (11-fold greater than the genomic mean) was found in the At1g23780 gene, which encodes a putative F-box protein. We observed a clear association between the expression mode and sequence type of the At1g23780 gene. Our results suggest that bELPs will be useful for the screening and functional analysis of genes responsible for phenotypic polymorphisms. Such a "multi-omics" approach has the potential to facilitate the scanning of genes relevant to balanced polymorphisms not only in A. thaliana, but also in other model and non-model organisms.
    Plant signaling & behavior 07/2012; 7(7):864-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Transposable elements (TEs) are major contributors to genome evolution. One factor that influences their evolutionary dynamics is whether their host reproduces through selfing or through outcrossing. According to the recombinational spreading hypothesis, for instance, TEs can spread more easily in outcrossing species through recombination, and should thus be less abundant in selfing species. We here studied the distribution and evolutionary dynamics of TE families in the predominantly selfing plant Arabidopsis thaliana and its close outcrossing relative Arabidopsis lyrata on a genome-wide scale. We characterized differences in TE abundance between them and asked which, if any, existing hypotheses about TE abundances may explain these differences. We identified 1,819 TE families representing all known classes of TEs in both species, and found three times more copies in the outcrossing A. lyrata than in the predominantly selfing A. thaliana, as well as ten times more TE families unique to A. lyrata. On average, elements in A. lyrata are younger than elements in A. thaliana. In particular, A. thaliana shows a marked decrease in element number that occurred during the most recent 10% of the time interval since A. thaliana split from A. lyrata. This most recent period in the evolution of A. thaliana started approximately 500,000 years ago, assuming a splitting time of 5 million years ago, and coincides with the time at which predominant selfing originated. Our results indicate that the mating system may be important for determining TE copy number, and that selfing species are likely to have fewer TEs.
    Mobile DNA. 01/2012; 3(1):2.
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    ABSTRACT: Ever since Darwin's pioneering research, the evolution of self-fertilisation (selfing) has been regarded as one of the most prevalent evolutionary transitions in flowering plants. A major mechanism to prevent selfing is the self-incompatibility (SI) recognition system, which consists of male and female specificity genes at the S-locus and SI modifier genes. Under conditions that favour selfing, mutations disabling the male recognition component are predicted to enjoy a relative advantage over those disabling the female component, because male mutations would increase through both pollen and seeds whereas female mutations would increase only through seeds. Despite many studies on the genetic basis of loss of SI in the predominantly selfing plant Arabidopsis thaliana, it remains unknown whether selfing arose through mutations in the female specificity gene (S-receptor kinase, SRK), male specificity gene (S-locus cysteine-rich protein, SCR; also known as S-locus protein 11, SP11) or modifier genes, and whether any of them rose to high frequency across large geographic regions. Here we report that a disruptive 213-base-pair (bp) inversion in the SCR gene (or its derivative haplotypes with deletions encompassing the entire SCR-A and a large portion of SRK-A) is found in 95% of European accessions, which contrasts with the genome-wide pattern of polymorphism in European A. thaliana. Importantly, interspecific crossings using Arabidopsis halleri as a pollen donor reveal that some A. thaliana accessions, including Wei-1, retain the female SI reaction, suggesting that all female components including SRK are still functional. Moreover, when the 213-bp inversion in SCR was inverted and expressed in transgenic Wei-1 plants, the functional SCR restored the SI reaction. The inversion within SCR is the first mutation disrupting SI shown to be nearly fixed in geographically wide samples, and its prevalence is consistent with theoretical predictions regarding the evolutionary advantage of mutations in male components.
    Nature 04/2010; 464(7293):1342-6. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Mla locus in barley (Hordeum vulgare) conditions isolate-specific immunity to the powdery mildew fungus (Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei) and encodes intracellular coiled-coil (CC) domain, nucleotide-binding (NB) site, and leucine-rich repeat (LRR)-containing receptor proteins. Over the last decades, genetic studies in breeding material have identified a large number of functional resistance genes at the Mla locus. To study the structural and functional diversity of this locus at the molecular level, we isolated 23 candidate MLA cDNAs from barley accessions that were previously shown by genetic studies to harbor different Mla resistance specificities. Resistance activity was detected for 13 candidate MLA cDNAs in a transient gene-expression assay. Sequence alignment of the deduced MLA proteins improved secondary structure predictions, revealing four additional, previously overlooked LRR. Analysis of nucleotide diversity of the candidate and validated MLA cDNAs revealed 34 sites of positive selection. Recombination or gene conversion events were frequent in the first half of the gene but positive selection was also found when this region was excluded. The positively selected sites are all, except two, located in the LRR domain and cluster in predicted solvent-exposed residues of the repeats 7 to 15 and adjacent turns on the concave side of the predicted solenoid protein structure. This domain-restricted pattern of positively selected sites, together with the length conservation of individual LRR, suggests direct binding of effectors to MLA receptors.
    Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 04/2010; 23(4):497-509. · 4.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evolution from outcrossing based on self-incompatibility (SI) to a selfing system is one of the most prevalent transitions in flowering plants. It has been suggested that the loss of SI in Arabidopsis thaliana is associated with pseudogene formation at the SCR male component of the S locus. Recent work, however, suggests that alternative alleles with large deletions at the S locus are also present and may be responsible for the evolution of self-compatibility in this species. We demonstrate that most of these deletion alleles are evolutionarily derived from an S haplotype (haplogroups A) that already possessed the SCR pseudogene. This haplotype and its deletion variants are nearly fixed in Europe. Together with previous transgenic data, these results suggest that the pseudogenization of PsiSCR1 gene changed the SI phenotype in the majority of A. thaliana accessions, and was a critical step in the evolution of selfing in this species. Two other haplogroups (B and C) were also identified, the former of which contains a novel and possibly functional SCR allele. In contrast to haplogroups A, these two haplogroups are found primarily in Africa and Asia. These results suggest that self-compatibility, which appears to be fixed in this species, arose multiple times with different genetic bases, and indicates that a species-specific trait is associated with parallel evolution at the molecular level.
    Molecular Ecology 02/2008; 17(2):704-14. · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, v.23, 497-509 (2010).