PLoS Genetics

Publisher: Public Library of Science, Public Library of Science

Journal 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.

Current impact factor: 7.53

Impact Factor Rankings

2016 Impact Factor Available summer 2017
2014 / 2015 Impact Factor 7.528
2013 Impact Factor 8.167
2012 Impact Factor 8.517
2011 Impact Factor 8.694
2010 Impact Factor 9.543
2009 Impact Factor 9.532
2008 Impact Factor 8.883

Impact factor over time

Impact factor
Year

Additional details

5-year impact 8.56
Cited half-life 3.80
Immediacy index 1.37
Eigenfactor 0.20
Article influence 4.18
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
    • All titles are open access journals
  • Classification
    green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plants have evolved a considerable number of intrinsic tolerance strategies to acclimate to ambient temperature increase. However, their molecular mechanisms remain largely obscure. Here we report a DEAD-box RNA helicase, TOGR1 (Thermotolerant Growth Required1), prerequisite for rice growth themotolerance. Regulated by both temperature and the circadian clock, its expression is tightly coupled to daily temperature fluctuations and its helicase activities directly promoted by temperature increase. Located in the nucleolus and associated with the small subunit (SSU) pre-rRNA processome, TOGR1 maintains a normal rRNA homeostasis at high temperature. Natural variation in its transcript level is positively correlated with plant height and its overexpression significantly improves rice growth under hot conditions. Our findings reveal a novel molecular mechanism of RNA helicase as a key chaperone for rRNA homeostasis required for rice thermotolerant growth and provide a potential strategy to breed heat-tolerant crops by modulating the expression of TOGR1 and its orthologs.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Faithful DNA replication and repair requires the activity of cullin 4-based E3 ubiquitin ligases (CRL4), but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. The budding yeast Cul4 homologue, Rtt101, in complex with the linker Mms1 and the putative substrate adaptor Mms22 promotes progression of replication forks through damaged DNA. Here we characterized the interactome of Mms22 and found that the Rtt101Mms22 ligase associates with the replisome progression complex during S-phase via the amino-terminal WD40 domain of Ctf4. Moreover, genetic screening for suppressors of the genotoxic sensitivity of rtt101Δ cells identified a cluster of replication proteins, among them a component of the fork protection complex, Mrc1. In contrast to rtt101Δ and mms22Δ cells, mrc1Δ rtt101Δ and mrc1Δ mms22Δ double mutants complete DNA replication upon replication stress by facilitating the repair/restart of stalled replication forks using a Rad52-dependent mechanism. Our results suggest that the Rtt101Mms22 E3 ligase does not induce Mrc1 degradation, but specifically counteracts Mrc1's replicative function, possibly by modulating its interaction with the CMG (Cdc45-MCM-GINS) complex at stalled forks.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Post-transcriptional control of protein abundance is a highly important, underexplored regulatory process by which organisms respond to their environments. Here we describe an important and previously unidentified regulatory pathway involving the ribosomal modification protein RimK, its regulator proteins RimA and RimB, and the widespread bacterial second messenger cyclic-di-GMP (cdG). Disruption of rimK affects motility and surface attachment in pathogenic and commensal Pseudomonas species, with rimK deletion significantly compromising rhizosphere colonisation by the commensal soil bacterium P. fluorescens, and plant infection by the pathogens P. syringae and P. aeruginosa. RimK functions as an ATP-dependent glutamyl ligase, adding glutamate residues to the C-terminus of ribosomal protein RpsF and inducing specific effects on both ribosome protein complement and function. Deletion of rimK in P. fluorescens leads to markedly reduced levels of multiple ribosomal proteins, and also of the key translational regulator Hfq. In turn, reduced Hfq levels induce specific downstream proteomic changes, with significant increases in multiple ABC transporters, stress response proteins and non-ribosomal peptide synthetases seen for both ΔrimK and Δhfq mutants. The activity of RimK is itself controlled by interactions with RimA, RimB and cdG. We propose that control of RimK activity represents a novel regulatory mechanism that dynamically influences interactions between bacteria and their hosts; translating environmental pressures into dynamic ribosomal changes, and consequently to an adaptive remodeling of the bacterial proteome.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: DNA lesions are sensed by a network of proteins that trigger the DNA damage response (DDR), a signaling cascade that acts to delay cell cycle progression and initiate DNA repair. The Mediator of DNA damage Checkpoint protein 1 (MDC1) is essential for spreading of the DDR signaling on chromatin surrounding Double Strand Breaks (DSBs) by acting as a scaffold for PI3K kinases and for ubiquitin ligases. MDC1 also plays a role both in Non-Homologous End Joining (NHEJ) and Homologous Recombination (HR) repair pathways. Here we identify two novel binding partners of MDC1, the poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerases (PARPs) TNKS1 and 2. We find that TNKSs are recruited to DNA lesions by MDC1 and regulate DNA end resection and BRCA1A complex stabilization at lesions leading to efficient DSB repair by HR and proper checkpoint activation.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Intestinal stem cell (ISC) self-renewal and proliferation are directed by Wnt/β-catenin signaling in mammals, whereas aberrant Wnt pathway activation in ISCs triggers the development of human colorectal carcinoma. Herein, we have utilized the Drosophila midgut, a powerful model for ISC regulation, to elucidate the mechanisms by which Wingless (Wg)/Wnt regulates intestinal homeostasis and development. We provide evidence that the Wg signaling pathway, activation of which peaks at each of the major compartment boundaries of the adult intestine, has essential functions. Wg pathway activation in the intestinal epithelium is required not only to specify cell fate near compartment boundaries during development, but also to control ISC proliferation within compartments during homeostasis. Further, in contrast with the previous focus on Wg pathway activation within ISCs, we demonstrate that the primary mechanism by which Wg signaling regulates ISC proliferation during homeostasis is non-autonomous. Activation of the Wg pathway in absorptive enterocytes is required to suppress JAK-STAT signaling in neighboring ISCs, and thereby their proliferation. We conclude that Wg signaling gradients have essential roles during homeostasis and development of the adult intestine, non-autonomously controlling stem cell proliferation inside compartments, and autonomously specifying cell fate near compartment boundaries.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The unintended consequences of gene targeting in mouse models have not been thoroughly studied and a more systematic analysis is needed to understand the frequency and characteristics of off-target effects. Using RNA-seq, we evaluated targeted and neighboring gene expression in tissues from 44 homozygous mutants compared with C57BL/6N control mice. Two allele types were evaluated: 15 targeted trap mutations (TRAP); and 29 deletion alleles (DEL), usually a deletion between the translational start and the 3' UTR. Both targeting strategies insert a bacterial beta-galactosidase reporter (LacZ) and a neomycin resistance selection cassette. Evaluating transcription of genes in +/- 500 kb of flanking DNA around the targeted gene, we found up-regulated genes more frequently around DEL compared with TRAP alleles, however the frequency of alleles with local down-regulated genes flanking DEL and TRAP targets was similar. Down-regulated genes around both DEL and TRAP targets were found at a higher frequency than expected from a genome-wide survey. However, only around DEL targets were up-regulated genes found with a significantly higher frequency compared with genome-wide sampling. Transcriptome analysis confirms targeting in 97% of DEL alleles, but in only 47% of TRAP alleles probably due to non-functional splice variants, and some splicing around the gene trap. Local effects on gene expression are likely due to a number of factors including compensatory regulation, loss or disruption of intragenic regulatory elements, the exogenous promoter in the neo selection cassette, removal of insulating DNA in the DEL mutants, and local silencing due to disruption of normal chromatin organization or presence of exogenous DNA. An understanding of local position effects is important for understanding and interpreting any phenotype attributed to targeted gene mutations, or to spontaneous indels.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies have successfully identified thousands of loci for a range of human complex traits and diseases. The proportion of phenotypic variance explained by significant associations is, however, limited. Given the same dense SNP panels, mixed model analyses capture a greater proportion of phenotypic variance than single SNP analyses but the total is generally still less than the genetic variance estimated from pedigree studies. Combining information from pedigree relationships and SNPs, we examined 16 complex anthropometric and cardiometabolic traits in a Scottish family-based cohort comprising up to 20,000 individuals genotyped for ~520,000 common autosomal SNPs. The inclusion of related individuals provides the opportunity to also estimate the genetic variance associated with pedigree as well as the effects of common family environment. Trait variation was partitioned into SNP-associated and pedigree-associated genetic variation, shared nuclear family environment, shared couple (partner) environment and shared full-sibling environment. Results demonstrate that trait heritabilities vary widely but, on average across traits, SNP-associated and pedigree-associated genetic effects each explain around half the genetic variance. For most traits the recently-shared environment of couples is also significant, accounting for ~11% of the phenotypic variance on average. On the other hand, the environment shared largely in the past by members of a nuclear family or by full-siblings, has a more limited impact. Our findings point to appropriate models to use in future studies as pedigree-associated genetic effects and couple environmental effects have seldom been taken into account in genotype-based analyses. Appropriate description of the trait variation could help understand causes of intra-individual variation and in the detection of contributing loci and environmental factors.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced representation sequencing methods such as genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) enable low-cost measurement of genetic variation without the need for a reference genome assembly. These methods are widely used in genetic mapping and population genetics studies, especially with non-model organisms. Variant calling error rates, however, are higher in GBS than in standard sequencing, in particular due to restriction site polymorphisms, and few computational tools exist that specifically model and correct these errors. We developed a statistical method to remove errors caused by restriction site polymorphisms, implemented in the software package GBStools. We evaluated it in several simulated data sets, varying in number of samples, mean coverage and population mutation rate, and in two empirical human data sets (N = 8 and N = 63 samples). In our simulations, GBStools improved genotype accuracy more than commonly used filters such as Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium p-values. GBStools is most effective at removing genotype errors in data sets over 100 samples when coverage is 40X or higher, and the improvement is most pronounced in species with high genomic diversity. We also demonstrate the utility of GBS and GBStools for human population genetic inference in Argentine populations and reveal widely varying individual ancestry proportions and an excess of singletons, consistent with recent population growth.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The extent and strength of epistasis is commonly unresolved in genetic studies, and observed epistasis is often difficult to interpret in terms of biological consequences or overall genetic architecture. We investigated the prevalence and consequences of epistasis by analyzing four body composition phenotypes-body weight, body fat percentage, femoral density, and femoral circumference-in a large F2 intercross of B6-lit/lit and C3.B6-lit/lit mice. We used Combined Analysis of Pleiotropy and Epistasis (CAPE) to examine interactions for the four phenotypes simultaneously, which revealed an extensive directed network of genetic loci interacting with each other, circulating IGF1, and sex to influence these phenotypes. The majority of epistatic interactions had small effects relative to additive effects of individual loci, and tended to stabilize phenotypes towards the mean of the population rather than extremes. Interactive effects of two alleles inherited from one parental strain commonly resulted in phenotypes closer to the population mean than the additive effects from the two loci, and often much closer to the mean than either single-locus model. Alternatively, combinations of alleles inherited from different parent strains contribute to more extreme phenotypes not observed in either parental strain. This class of phenotype-stabilizing interactions has effects that are close to additive and are thus difficult to detect except in very large intercrosses. Nevertheless, we found these interactions to be useful in generating hypotheses for functional relationships between genetic loci. Our findings suggest that while epistasis is often weak and unlikely to account for a large proportion of heritable variance, even small-effect genetic interactions can facilitate hypotheses of underlying biology in well-powered studies.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The maintenance of cellular proteins in a biologically active and structurally stable state is a vital endeavor involving multiple cellular pathways. One such pathway is the ubiquitin-proteasome system that represents a major route for protein degradation, and reductions in this pathway usually have adverse effects on the health of cells and tissues. Here, we demonstrate that loss-of-function mutants of the Caenorhabditis elegans proteasome subunit, RPN-10, exhibit moderate proteasome dysfunction and unexpectedly develop both increased longevity and enhanced resistance to multiple threats to the proteome, including heat, oxidative stress, and the presence of aggregation prone proteins. The rpn-10 mutant animals survive through the activation of compensatory mechanisms regulated by the conserved SKN-1/Nrf2 and ELT-2/GATA transcription factors that mediate the increased expression of genes encoding proteasome subunits as well as those mediating oxidative- and heat-stress responses. Additionally, we find that the rpn-10 mutant also shows enhanced activity of the autophagy-lysosome pathway as evidenced by increased expression of the multiple autophagy genes including atg-16.2, lgg-1, and bec-1, and also by an increase in GFP::LGG-1 puncta. Consistent with a critical role for this pathway, the enhanced resistance of the rpn-10 mutant to aggregation prone proteins depends on autophagy genes atg-13, atg-16.2, and prmt-1. Furthermore, the rpn-10 mutant is particularly sensitive to the inhibition of lysosome activity via either RNAi or chemical means. We also find that the rpn-10 mutant shows a reduction in the numbers of intestinal lysosomes, and that the elt-2 gene also plays a novel and vital role in controlling the production of functional lysosomes by the intestine. Overall, these experiments suggest that moderate proteasome dysfunction could be leveraged to improve protein homeostasis and organismal health and longevity, and that the rpn-10 mutant provides a unique platform to explore these possibilities.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: False positives in a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) can be effectively controlled by a fixed effect and random effect Mixed Linear Model (MLM) that incorporates population structure and kinship among individuals to adjust association tests on markers; however, the adjustment also compromises true positives. The modified MLM method, Multiple Loci Linear Mixed Model (MLMM), incorporates multiple markers simultaneously as covariates in a stepwise MLM to partially remove the confounding between testing markers and kinship. To completely eliminate the confounding, we divided MLMM into two parts: Fixed Effect Model (FEM) and a Random Effect Model (REM) and use them iteratively. FEM contains testing markers, one at a time, and multiple associated markers as covariates to control false positives. To avoid model over-fitting problem in FEM, the associated markers are estimated in REM by using them to define kinship. The P values of testing markers and the associated markers are unified at each iteration. We named the new method as Fixed and random model Circulating Probability Unification (FarmCPU). Both real and simulated data analyses demonstrated that FarmCPU improves statistical power compared to current methods. Additional benefits include an efficient computing time that is linear to both number of individuals and number of markers. Now, a dataset with half million individuals and half million markers can be analyzed within three days.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) plays important roles during seed germination and early seedling development. Here, we characterized the function of the Arabidopsis WRKY6 transcription factor in ABA signaling. The transcript of WRKY6 was repressed during seed germination and early seedling development, and induced by exogenous ABA. The wrky6-1 and wrky6-2 mutants were ABA insensitive, whereas WRKY6-overexpressing lines showed ABA-hypersensitive phenotypes during seed germination and early seedling development. The expression of RAV1 was suppressed in the WRKY6-overexpressing lines and elevated in the wrky6 mutants, and the expression of ABI3, ABI4, and ABI5, which was directly down-regulated by RAV1, was enhanced in the WRKY6-overexpressing lines and repressed in the wrky6 mutants. Electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that WRKY6 could bind to the RAV1 promoter in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of RAV1 in WRKY6-overexpressing lines abolished their ABA-hypersensitive phenotypes, and the rav1 wrky6-2 double mutant showed an ABA-hypersensitive phenotype, similar to rav1 mutant. Together, the results demonstrated that the Arabidopsis WRKY6 transcription factor played important roles in ABA signaling by directly down-regulating RAV1 expression.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Modern enzymes are highly optimized biocatalysts that process their substrates with extreme efficiency. Many enzymes catalyze more than one reaction; however, the persistence of such ambiguities, their consequences and evolutionary causes are largely unknown. As a paradigmatic case, we study the history of bi-functionality for a time span of approximately two billion years for the sugar isomerase HisA from histidine biosynthesis. To look back in time, we computationally reconstructed and experimentally characterized three HisA predecessors. We show that these ancient enzymes catalyze not only the HisA reaction but also the isomerization of a similar substrate, which is commonly processed by the isomerase TrpF in tryptophan biosynthesis. Moreover, we found that three modern-day HisA enzymes from Proteobacteria and Thermotogae also possess low TrpF activity. We conclude that this bi-functionality was conserved for at least two billion years, most likely without any evolutionary pressure. Although not actively selected for, this trait can become advantageous in the case of a gene loss. Such exaptation is exemplified by the Actinobacteria that have lost the trpF gene but possess the bi-functional HisA homolog PriA, which adopts the roles of both HisA and TrpF. Our findings demonstrate that bi-functionality can perpetuate in the absence of selection for very long time-spans.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · PLoS Genetics