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G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics
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G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics publishes high-quality, valuable findings, regardless of perceived impact. G3 publishes foundational research that generates useful genetic and genomic information such as genome maps, single gene studies, QTL studies, mutant screens and advances in methods and technology, novel mutant collections, genome-wide association studies (GWAS)  including gene expression, SNP, and CNV studies; exome sequences related to a specific disease but lacking functional follow-up, personal exome and genome sequencing case, disease, and population reports, and more.


Conceived by the Genetics Society of America, with its first issue published June 2011, G3 is fully open access. G3 uses a Creative Commons license that allows the most free use of the data, which anyone can download, analyze, mine, and reuse, provided that the authors of the article receive credit. GSA believes that rapid dissemination of useful data is the necessary foundation for analysis that leads to mechanistic insights. It is our hope is that this strategy will spawn new discovery.


Like GENETICS, G3 is fast—with a 31-day turnaround time from submission to first decision—and rapid time-to-publication. And like GENETICS, G3 manuscripts are thoroughly peer-reviewed, with careful decisions made by practicing scientists. Before publication, G3 articles receive a thorough copy-edit, ensuring that articles enjoy maximum clarity and impact.

Thompson Reuters JCR Impact Factor (2014): 3.198
EigenFactor (2014): 0.00978
Cited Half-life (2014): 2.1 years

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What's Inside the Current Issue of G3



Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Sdt97: A Point Mutation in the 5' Untranslated Region Confers Semidwarfism in Rice

Tong, J., Han, Z., Han, A., Liu, X., Zhang, S., Fu, B., Hu, J., Su, J., Li, S., Wang, S., Zhu, Y.

Semidwarfism is an important agronomic trait in rice breeding programs. The semidwarf mutant gene Sdt97 was previously described. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the mutant is yet to be elucidated. In this study, we identified the mutant gene by a map-based cloning method. Using a residual heterozygous line (RHL) population, Sdt97 was mapped to the long arm of chromosome 6 in the interval of nearly 60 kb between STS marker N6 and SNP marker N16 within the PAC clone P0453H04. Sequencing of the candidate genes in the target region revealed that a base transversion from G to C occurred in the 5' untranslated region of Sdt97. qRT-PCR results confirmed that the transversion induced an obvious change in the expression pattern of Sdt97 at different growth and developmental stages. Plants transgenic for Sdt97 resulted in the restoration of semidwarfism of the mutant phenotype, or displayed a greater dwarf phenotype than the mutant. Our results indicate that a point mutation in the 5' untranslated region of Sdt97 confers semidwarfism in rice. Functional analysis of Sdt97 will open a new field of study for rice semidwarfism, and also expand our knowledge of the molecular mechanism of semidwarfism in rice.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Several Critical Cell Types, Tissues, and Pathways Are Implicated in Genome-Wide Association Studies for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Liu, L., Yin, X., Wen, L., Yang, C., Sheng, Y., Lin, Y., Zhu, Z., Shen, C., Shi, Y., Zheng, Y., Yang, S., Zhang, X., Cui, Y.

We aimed to elucidate the cell types, tissues, and pathways influenced by common variants in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We applied a nonparameter enrichment statistical approach, termed SNPsea, in 181 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that have been identified to be associated with the risk of SLE through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Eastern Asian and Caucasian populations, to manipulate the critical cell types, tissues, and pathways. In the two most significant cells’ findings (B lymphocytes and CD14+ monocytes), we subjected the GWAS association evidence in the Han Chinese population to an enrichment test of expression quantitative trait locus (QTL) sites and DNase I hypersensitivity, respectively. In both Eastern Asian and Caucasian populations, we observed that the expression level of SLE GWAS implicated genes was significantly elevated in xeroderma pigentosum B cells (P ≤ 1.00 10–6), CD14+ monocytes (P ≤ 2.74 10–4) and CD19+ B cells (P ≤ 2.00 10–6), and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) (P ≤ 9.00 10–6). We revealed that the SLE GWAS-associated variants were more likely to reside in expression QTL in B lymphocytes (q1/q0 = 2.15, P = 1.23 10–44) and DNase I hypersensitivity sites (DHSs) in CD14+ monocytes (q1/q0 = 1.41, P = 0.08). We observed the common variants affected the risk of SLE mostly through by regulating multiple immune system processes and immune response signaling. This study sheds light on several immune cells and responses, as well as the regulatory effect of common variants in the pathogenesis of SLE.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Interconnections Between RNA-Processing Pathways Revealed by a Sequencing-Based Genetic Screen for Pre-mRNA Splicing Mutants in Fission Yeast

Larson, A., Fair, B. J., Pleiss, J. A.

Pre-mRNA splicing is an essential component of eukaryotic gene expression and is highly conserved from unicellular yeasts to humans. Here, we present the development and implementation of a sequencing-based reverse genetic screen designed to identify nonessential genes that impact pre-mRNA splicing in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, an organism that shares many of the complex features of splicing in higher eukaryotes. Using a custom-designed barcoding scheme, we simultaneously queried ~3000 mutant strains for their impact on the splicing efficiency of two endogenous pre-mRNAs. A total of 61 nonessential genes were identified whose deletions resulted in defects in pre-mRNA splicing; enriched among these were factors encoding known or predicted components of the spliceosome. Included among the candidates identified here are genes with well-characterized roles in other RNA-processing pathways, including heterochromatic silencing and 3' end processing. Splicing-sensitive microarrays confirm broad splicing defects for many of these factors, revealing novel functional connections between these pathways.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Local Ancestry Inference in a Large US-Based Hispanic/Latino Study: Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Browning, S. R., Grinde, K., Plantinga, A., Gogarten, S. M., Stilp, A. M., Kaplan, R. C., Aviles-Santa, M. L., Browning, B. L., Laurie, C. C.

We estimated local ancestry on the autosomes and X chromosome in a large US-based study of 12,793 Hispanic/Latino individuals using the RFMix method, and we compared different reference panels and approaches to local ancestry estimation on the X chromosome by means of Mendelian inconsistency rates as a proxy for accuracy. We developed a novel and straightforward approach to performing ancestry-specific PCA after finding artifactual behavior in the results from an existing approach. Using the ancestry-specific PCA, we found significant population structure within African, European, and Amerindian ancestries in the Hispanic/Latino individuals in our study. In the African ancestral component of the admixed individuals, individuals whose grandparents were from Central America clustered separately from individuals whose grandparents were from the Caribbean, and also from reference Yoruba and Mandenka West African individuals. In the European component, individuals whose grandparents were from Puerto Rico diverged partially from other background groups. In the Amerindian ancestral component, individuals clustered into multiple different groups depending on the grandparental country of origin. Therefore, local ancestry estimation provides further insight into the complex genetic structure of US Hispanic/Latino populations, which must be properly accounted for in genotype-phenotype association studies. It also provides a basis for admixture mapping and ancestry-specific allele frequency estimation, which are useful in the identification of risk factors for disease.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Genomic Signatures of Experimental Adaptation to Antimicrobial Peptides in Staphylococcus aureus

Johnston, P. R., Dobson, A. J., Rolff, J.

The evolution of resistance against antimicrobial peptides has long been considered unlikely due to their mechanism of action, yet experimental selection with antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) results in rapid evolution of resistance in several species of bacteria. Although numerous studies have utilized mutant screens to identify loci that determine AMP susceptibility, there is a dearth of data concerning the genomic changes that accompany experimental evolution of AMP resistance. Using genome resequencing, we analyzed the mutations that arose during experimental evolution of resistance to the cationic AMPs iseganan, melittin, and pexiganan, as well as to a combination of melittin and pexiganan, or to the aminoglycoside antibiotic streptomycin. Analysis of 17 independently replicated Staphylococcus aureus selection lines, including unselected controls, showed that each AMP selected for mutations at distinct loci. We identify mutations in genes involved in the synthesis and maintenance of the cell envelope. These include genes previously identified from mutant screens for AMP resistance, and genes involved in the response to AMPs and cell-wall-active antibiotics. Furthermore, transposon insertion mutants were used to verify that a number of the identified genes are directly involved in determining AMP susceptibility. Strains selected for AMP resistance under controlled experimental evolution displayed consistent AMP-specific mutations in genes that determine AMP susceptibility. This suggests that different routes to evolve resistance are favored within a controlled genetic background.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Identification and Characterization of a cis-Regulatory Element for Zygotic Gene Expression in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Hamaji, T., Lopez, D., Pellegrini, M., Umen, J.

Upon fertilization Chlamydomonas reinhardtii zygotes undergo a program of differentiation into a diploid zygospore that is accompanied by transcription of hundreds of zygote-specific genes. We identified a distinct sequence motif we term a zygotic response element (ZYRE) that is highly enriched in promoter regions of C. reinhardtii early zygotic genes. A luciferase reporter assay was used to show that native ZYRE motifs within the promoter of zygotic gene ZYS3 or intron of zygotic gene DMT4 are necessary for zygotic induction. A synthetic luciferase reporter with a minimal promoter was used to show that ZYRE motifs introduced upstream are sufficient to confer zygotic upregulation, and that ZYRE-controlled zygotic transcription is dependent on the homeodomain transcription factor GSP1. We predict that ZYRE motifs will correspond to binding sites for the homeodomain proteins GSP1-GSM1 that heterodimerize and activate zygotic gene expression in early zygotes.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Quantitative Trait Locus Analysis of Mating Behavior and Male Sex Pheromones in Nasonia Wasps

Diao, W., Mousset, M., Horsburgh, G. J., Vermeulen, C. J., Johannes, F., van de Zande, L., Ritchie, M. G., Schmitt, T., Beukeboom, L. W.

A major focus in speciation genetics is to identify the chromosomal regions and genes that reduce hybridization and gene flow. We investigated the genetic architecture of mating behavior in the parasitoid wasp species pair Nasonia giraulti and Nasonia oneida that exhibit strong prezygotic isolation. Behavioral analysis showed that N. oneida females had consistently higher latency times, and broke off the mating sequence more often in the mounting stage when confronted with N. giraulti males compared with males of their own species. N. oneida males produce a lower quantity of the long-range male sex pheromone (4R,5S)-5-hydroxy-4-decanolide (RS-HDL). Crosses between the two species yielded hybrid males with various pheromone quantities, and these males were used in mating trials with females of either species to measure female mate discrimination rates. A quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis involving 475 recombinant hybrid males (F2), 2148 reciprocally backcrossed females (F3), and a linkage map of 52 equally spaced neutral single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers plus SNPs in 40 candidate mating behavior genes revealed four QTL for male pheromone amount, depending on partner species. Our results demonstrate that the RS-HDL pheromone plays a role in the mating system of N. giraulti and N. oneida, but also that additional communication cues are involved in mate choice. No QTL were found for female mate discrimination, which points at a polygenic architecture of female choice with strong environmental influences.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

New Software for the Fast Estimation of Population Recombination Rates (FastEPRR) in the Genomic Era

Gao, F., Ming, C., Hu, W., Li, H.

Genetic recombination is a very important evolutionary mechanism that mixes parental haplotypes and produces new raw material for organismal evolution. As a result, information on recombination rates is critical for biological research. In this paper, we introduce a new extremely fast open-source software package (FastEPRR) that uses machine learning to estimate recombination rate $$\rho $$ (=$$4{N}_{e}r$$) from intraspecific DNA polymorphism data. When $$\rho > 10$$ and the number of sampled diploid individuals is large enough ($$\ge 50$$), the variance of $${\rho }_{\hbox{ FastEPRR }}$$ remains slightly smaller than that of $${\rho }_{\hbox{ LDhat }}$$. The new estimate $${\rho }_{\hbox{ comb }}$$ (calculated by averaging $${\rho }_{\hbox{ FastEPRR }}$$ and $${\rho }_{\hbox{ LDhat }}$$) has the smallest variance of all cases. When estimating $${\rho }_{\hbox{ FastEPRR }}$$, the finite-site model was employed to analyze cases with a high rate of recurrent mutations, and an additional method is proposed to consider the effect of variable recombination rates within windows. Simulations encompassing a wide range of parameters demonstrate that different evolutionary factors, such as demography and selection, may not increase the false positive rate of recombination hotspots. Overall, accuracy of FastEPRR is similar to the well-known method, LDhat, but requires far less computation time. Genetic maps for each human population (YRI, CEU, and CHB) extracted from the 1000 Genomes OMNI data set were obtained in less than 3 d using just a single CPU core. The Pearson Pairwise correlation coefficient between the $${\rho }_{\hbox{ FastEPRR }}$$ and $${\rho }_{\hbox{ LDhat }}$$ maps is very high, ranging between 0.929 and 0.987 at a 5-Mb scale. Considering that sample sizes for these kinds of data are increasing dramatically with advances in next-generation sequencing technologies, FastEPRR (freely available at is expected to become a widely used tool for establishing genetic maps and studying recombination hotspots in the population genomic era.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Patterns of Genome-Wide Variation in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes Tsetse Flies from Uganda

Gloria-Soria, A., Dunn, W. A., Telleria, E. L., Evans, B. R., Okedi, L., Echodu, R., Warren, W. C., Montague, M. J., Aksoy, S., Caccone, A.

The tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (Gff) is the insect vector of the two forms of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) that exist in Uganda. Understanding Gff population dynamics, and the underlying genetics of epidemiologically relevant phenotypes is key to reducing disease transmission. Using ddRAD sequence technology, complemented with whole-genome sequencing, we developed a panel of ~73,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distributed across the Gff genome that can be used for population genomics and to perform genome-wide-association studies. We used these markers to estimate genomic patterns of linkage disequilibrium (LD) in Gff, and used the information, in combination with outlier-locus detection tests, to identify candidate regions of the genome under selection. LD in individual populations decays to half of its maximum value (r2max/2) between 1359 and 2429 bp. The overall LD estimated for the species reaches r2max/2 at 708 bp, an order of magnitude slower than in Drosophila. Using 53 infected (Trypanosoma spp.) and uninfected flies from four genetically distinct Ugandan populations adapted to different environmental conditions, we were able to identify SNPs associated with the infection status of the fly and local environmental adaptation. The extent of LD in Gff likely facilitated the detection of loci under selection, despite the small sample size. Furthermore, it is probable that LD in the regions identified is much higher than the average genomic LD due to strong selection. Our results show that even modest sample sizes can reveal significant genetic associations in this species, which has implications for future studies given the difficulties of collecting field specimens with contrasting phenotypes for association analysis.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Fungal Innate Immunity Induced by Bacterial Microbe-Associated Molecular Patterns (MAMPs)

Ipcho, S., Sundelin, T., Erbs, G., Kistler, H. C., Newman, M.-A., Olsson, S.

Plants and animals detect bacterial presence through Microbe-Associated Molecular Patterns (MAMPs) which induce an innate immune response. The field of fungal–bacterial interaction at the molecular level is still in its infancy and little is known about MAMPs and their detection by fungi. Exposing Fusarium graminearum to bacterial MAMPs led to increased fungal membrane hyperpolarization, a putative defense response, and a range of transcriptional responses. The fungus reacted with a different transcript profile to each of the three tested MAMPs, although a core set of genes related to energy generation, transport, amino acid production, secondary metabolism, and especially iron uptake were detected for all three. Half of the genes related to iron uptake were predicted MirA type transporters that potentially take up bacterial siderophores. These quick responses can be viewed as a preparation for further interactions with beneficial or pathogenic bacteria, and constitute a fungal innate immune response with similarities to those of plants and animals.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Comparative Genomics of Interreplichore Translocations in Bacteria: A Measure of Chromosome Topology?

Khedkar, S., Seshasayee, A. S. N.

Genomes evolve not only in base sequence but also in terms of their architecture, defined by gene organization and chromosome topology. Whereas genome sequence data inform us about the changes in base sequences for a large variety of organisms, the study of chromosome topology is restricted to a few model organisms studied using microscopy and chromosome conformation capture techniques. Here, we exploit whole genome sequence data to study the link between gene organization and chromosome topology in bacteria. Using comparative genomics across ~250 pairs of closely related bacteria we show that: (a) many organisms show a high degree of interreplichore translocations throughout the chromosome and not limited to the inversion-prone terminus (ter) or the origin of replication (oriC); (b) translocation maps may reflect chromosome topologies; and (c) symmetric interreplichore translocations do not disrupt the distance of a gene from oriC or affect gene expression states or strand biases in gene densities. In summary, we suggest that translocation maps might be a first line in defining a gross chromosome topology given a pair of closely related genome sequences.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

A High-Resolution SNP Array-Based Linkage Map Anchors a New Domestic Cat Draft Genome Assembly and Provides Detailed Patterns of Recombination

Li, G., Hillier, L. W., Grahn, R. A., Zimin, A. V., David, V. A., Menotti-Raymond, M., Middleton, R., Hannah, S., Hendrickson, S., Makunin, A., OBrien, S. J., Minx, P., Wilson, R. K., Lyons, L. A., Warren, W. C., Murphy, W. J.

High-resolution genetic and physical maps are invaluable tools for building accurate genome assemblies, and interpreting results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Previous genetic and physical maps anchored good quality draft assemblies of the domestic cat genome, enabling the discovery of numerous genes underlying hereditary disease and phenotypes of interest to the biomedical science and breeding communities. However, these maps lacked sufficient marker density to order thousands of shorter scaffolds in earlier assemblies, which instead relied heavily on comparative mapping with related species. A high-resolution map would aid in validating and ordering chromosome scaffolds from existing and new genome assemblies. Here, we describe a high-resolution genetic linkage map of the domestic cat genome based on genotyping 453 domestic cats from several multi-generational pedigrees on the Illumina 63K SNP array. The final maps include 58,055 SNP markers placed relative to 6637 markers with unique positions, distributed across all autosomes and the X chromosome. Our final sex-averaged maps span a total autosomal length of 4464 cM, the longest described linkage map for any mammal, confirming length estimates from a previous microsatellite-based map. The linkage map was used to order and orient the scaffolds from a substantially more contiguous domestic cat genome assembly (Felis catus v8.0), which incorporated ~20 x coverage of Illumina fragment reads. The new genome assembly shows substantial improvements in contiguity, with a nearly fourfold increase in N50 scaffold size to 18 Mb. We use this map to report probable structural errors in previous maps and assemblies, and to describe features of the recombination landscape, including a massive (~50 Mb) recombination desert (of virtually zero recombination) on the X chromosome that parallels a similar desert on the porcine X chromosome in both size and physical location.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

mRNA-Associated Processes and Their Influence on Exon-Intron Structure in Drosophila melanogaster

Lepennetier, G., Catania, F.

mRNA-associated processes and gene structure in eukaryotes are typically treated as separate research subjects. Here, we bridge this separation and leverage the extensive multidisciplinary work on Drosophila melanogaster to examine the roles that capping, splicing, cleavage/polyadenylation, and telescripting (i.e., the protection of nascent transcripts from premature cleavage/polyadenylation by the splicing factor U1) might play in shaping exon-intron architecture in protein-coding genes. Our findings suggest that the distance between subsequent internal 5' splice sites (5'ss) in Drosophila genes is constrained such that telescripting effects are maximized, in theory, and thus nascent transcripts are less vulnerable to premature termination. Exceptionally weak 5'ss and constraints on intron-exon size at the gene 5' end also indicate that capping might enhance the recruitment of U1 and, in turn, promote telescripting at this location. Finally, a positive correlation between last exon length and last 5'ss strength suggests that optimal donor splice sites in the proximity of the pre-mRNA tail may inhibit the processing of downstream polyadenylation signals more than weak donor splice sites do. These findings corroborate and build upon previous experimental and computational studies on Drosophila genes. They support the possibility, hitherto scantly explored, that mRNA-associated processes impose significant constraints on the evolution of eukaryotic gene structure.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

The Immature Fiber Mutant Phenotype of Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) Is Linked to a 22-bp Frame-Shift Deletion in a Mitochondria Targeted Pentatricopeptide Repeat Gene

Thyssen, G. N., Fang, D. D., Zeng, L., Song, X., Delhom, C. D., Condon, T. L., Li, P., Kim, H. J.

Cotton seed trichomes are the most important source of natural fibers globally. The major fiber thickness properties influence the price of the raw material, and the quality of the finished product. The recessive immature fiber (im) gene reduces the degree of fiber cell wall thickening by a process that was previously shown to involve mitochondrial function in allotetraploid Gossypium hirsutum. Here, we present the fine genetic mapping of the im locus, gene expression analysis of annotated proteins near the locus, and association analysis of the linked markers. Mapping-by-sequencing identified a 22-bp deletion in a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) gene that is completely linked to the immature fiber phenotype in 2837 F2 plants, and is absent from all 163 cultivated varieties tested, although other closely linked marker polymorphisms are prevalent in the diversity panel. This frame-shift mutation results in a transcript with two long open reading frames: one containing the N-terminal transit peptide that targets mitochondria, the other containing only the RNA-binding PPR domains, suggesting that a functional PPR protein cannot be targeted to mitochondria in the im mutant. Taken together, these results suggest that PPR gene Gh_A03G0489 is involved in the cotton fiber wall thickening process, and is a promising candidate gene at the im locus. Our findings expand our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that modulate cotton fiber fineness and maturity, and may facilitate the development of cotton varieties with superior fiber attributes.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Multi-Population Selective Genotyping to Identify Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] Seed Protein and Oil QTLs

Phansak, P., Soonsuwon, W., Hyten, D. L., Song, Q., Cregan, P. B., Graef, G. L., Specht, J. E.

Plant breeders continually generate ever-higher yielding cultivars, but also want to improve seed constituent value, which is mainly protein and oil, in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. Identification of genetic loci governing those two traits would facilitate that effort. Though genome-wide association offers one such approach, selective genotyping of multiple biparental populations offers a complementary alternative, and was evaluated here, using 48 F2:3 populations (n = ~224 plants) created by mating 48 high protein germplasm accessions to cultivars of similar maturity, but with normal seed protein content. All F2:3 progeny were phenotyped for seed protein and oil, but only 22 high and 22 low extreme progeny in each F2:3 phenotypic distribution were genotyped with a 1536-SNP chip (ca. 450 bimorphic SNPs detected per mating). A significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) on one or more chromosomes was detected for protein in 35 (73%), and for oil in 25 (52%), of the 48 matings, and these QTL exhibited additive effects of ≥ 4 g kg–1 and R2 values of 0.07 or more. These results demonstrated that a multiple-population selective genotyping strategy, when focused on matings between parental phenotype extremes, can be used successfully to identify germplasm accessions possessing large-effect QTL alleles. Such accessions would be of interest to breeders to serve as parental donors of those alleles in cultivar development programs, though 17 of the 48 accessions were not unique in terms of SNP genotype, indicating that diversity among high protein accessions in the germplasm collection is less than what might ordinarily be assumed.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Tti2 Regulates PIKK Proteins and Stress Response

Hoffman, K. S., Duennwald, M. L., Karagiannis, J., Genereaux, J., McCarton, A. S., Brandl, C. J.

The TTT complex is composed of the three essential proteins Tel2, Tti1, and Tti2. The complex is required to maintain steady state levels of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related kinase (PIKK) proteins, including mTOR, ATM/Tel1, ATR/Mec1, and TRRAP/Tra1, all of which serve as regulators of critical cell signaling pathways. Due to their association with heat shock proteins, and with newly synthesized PIKK peptides, components of the TTT complex may act as cochaperones. Here, we analyze the consequences of depleting the cellular level of Tti2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that yeast expressing low levels of Tti2 are viable under optimal growth conditions, but the cells are sensitive to a number of stress conditions that involve PIKK pathways. In agreement with this, depleting Tti2 levels decreased expression of Tra1, Mec1, and Tor1, affected their localization and inhibited the stress responses in which these molecules are involved. Tti2 expression was not increased during heat shock, implying that it does not play a general role in the heat shock response. However, steady state levels of Hsp42 increase when Tti2 is depleted, and tti2L187P has a synthetic interaction with exon 1 of the human Huntingtin gene containing a 103 residue polyQ sequence, suggesting a general role in protein quality control. We also find that overexpressing Hsp90 or its cochaperones is synthetic lethal when Tti2 is depleted, an effect possibly due to imbalanced stoichiometry of a complex required for PIKK assembly. These results indicate that Tti2 does not act as a general chaperone, but may have a specialized function in PIKK folding and/or complex assembly.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

The Histone Variant H3.3 Is Enriched at Drosophila Amplicon Origins but Does Not Mark Them for Activation

Paranjape, N. P., Calvi, B. R.

Eukaryotic DNA replication begins from multiple origins. The origin recognition complex (ORC) binds origin DNA and scaffolds assembly of a prereplicative complex (pre-RC), which is subsequently activated to initiate DNA replication. In multicellular eukaryotes, origins do not share a strict DNA consensus sequence, and their activity changes in concert with chromatin status during development, but mechanisms are ill-defined. Previous genome-wide analyses in Drosophila and other organisms have revealed a correlation between ORC binding sites and the histone variant H3.3. This correlation suggests that H3.3 may designate origin sites, but this idea has remained untested. To address this question, we examined the enrichment and function of H3.3 at the origins responsible for developmental gene amplification in the somatic follicle cells of the Drosophila ovary. We found that H3.3 is abundant at these amplicon origins. H3.3 levels remained high when replication initiation was blocked, indicating that H3.3 is abundant at the origins before activation of the pre-RC. H3.3 was also enriched at the origins during early oogenesis, raising the possibility that H3.3 bookmarks sites for later amplification. However, flies null mutant for both of the H3.3 genes in Drosophila did not have overt defects in developmental gene amplification or genomic replication, suggesting that H3.3 is not essential for the assembly or activation of the pre-RC at origins. Instead, our results imply that the correlation between H3.3 and ORC sites reflects other chromatin attributes that are important for origin function.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

A Genetic Map Between Gossypium hirsutum and the Brazilian Endemic G. mustelinum and Its Application to QTL Mapping

Wang, B., Liu, L., Zhang, D., Zhuang, Z., Guo, H., Qiao, X., Wei, L., Rong, J., May, O. L., Paterson, A. H., Chee, P. W.

Among the seven tetraploid cotton species, little is known about transmission genetics and genome organization in Gossypium mustelinum, the species most distant from the source of most cultivated cotton, G. hirsutum. In this research, an F2 population was developed from an interspecific cross between G. hirsutum and G. mustelinum (HM). A genetic linkage map was constructed mainly using simple sequence repeat (SSRs) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) DNA markers. The arrangements of most genetic loci along the HM chromosomes were identical to those of other tetraploid cotton species. However, both major and minor structural rearrangements were also observed, for which we propose a parsimony-based model for structural divergence of tetraploid cottons from common ancestors. Sequences of mapped markers were used for alignment with the 26 scaffolds of the G. hirsutum draft genome, and showed high consistency. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping of fiber elongation in advanced backcross populations derived from the same parents demonstrated the value of the HM map. The HM map will serve as a valuable resource for QTL mapping and introgression of G. mustelinum alleles into G. hirsutum, and help clarify evolutionary relationships between the tetraploid cotton genomes.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

The Drosophila prage Gene, Required for Maternal Transcript Destabilization in Embryos, Encodes a Predicted RNA Exonuclease

Cui, J., Lai, Y. W., Sartain, C. V., Zuckerman, R. M., Wolfner, M. F.

Egg activation, the transition of mature oocytes into developing embryos, is critical for the initiation of embryogenesis. This process is characterized by resumption of meiosis, changes in the egg’s coverings and by alterations in the transcriptome and proteome of the egg; all of these occur in the absence of new transcription. Activation of the egg is prompted by ionic changes in the cytoplasm (usually a rise in cytosolic calcium levels) that are triggered by fertilization in some animals and by mechanosensitive cues in others. The egg’s transcriptome is dramatically altered during the process, including by the removal of many maternal mRNAs that are not needed for embryogenesis. However, the mechanisms and regulators of this selective RNA degradation are not yet fully known. Forward genetic approaches in Drosophila have identified maternal-effect genes whose mutations prevent the transcriptome changes. One of these genes, prage (prg), was identified by Tadros et al. in a screen for mutants that fail to destabilize maternal transcripts. We identified the molecular nature of the prg gene through a combination of deficiency mapping, complementation analysis, and DNA sequencing of both extant prg mutant alleles. We find that prg encodes a ubiquitously expressed predicted exonuclease, consistent with its role in maternal mRNA destabilization during egg activation.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Synthetic Ligands of Cannabinoid Receptors Affect Dauer Formation in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Reis Rodrigues, P., Kaul, T. K., Ho, J.-H., Lucanic, M., Burkewitz, K., Mair, W. B., Held, J. M., Bohn, L. M., Gill, M. S.

Under adverse environmental conditions the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans can enter an alternate developmental stage called the dauer larva. To identify lipophilic signaling molecules that influence this process, we screened a library of bioactive lipids and found that AM251, an antagonist of the human cannabinoid (CB) receptor, suppresses dauer entry in daf-2 insulin receptor mutants. AM251 acted synergistically with glucose supplementation indicating that the metabolic status of the animal influenced the activity of this compound. Similarly, loss of function mutations in the energy-sensing AMP-activated kinase subunit, aak-2, enhanced the dauer-suppressing effects of AM251, while constitutive activation of aak-2 in neurons was sufficient to inhibit AM251 activity. Chemical epistasis experiments indicated that AM251 acts via G-protein signaling and requires the TGF-β ligand DAF-7, the insulin peptides DAF-28 and INS-6, and a functional ASI neuron to promote reproductive growth. AM251 also required the presence of the SER-5 serotonin receptor, but in vitro experiments suggest that this may not be via a direct interaction. Interestingly, we found that other antagonists of mammalian CB receptors also suppress dauer entry, while the nonselective CB receptor agonist, O-2545, not only inhibited the activity of AM251, but also was able to promote dauer entry when administered alone. Since worms do not have obvious orthologs of CB receptors, the effects of synthetic CBs on neuroendocrine signaling in C. elegans are likely to be mediated via another, as yet unknown, receptor mechanism. However, we cannot exclude the existence of a noncanonical CB receptor in C. elegans.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Evaluation of IRX Genes and Conserved Noncoding Elements in a Region on 5p13.3 Linked to Families with Familial Idiopathic Scoliosis and Kyphosis

Justice, C. M., Bishop, K., Carrington, B., Mullikin, J. C., Swindle, K., Marosy, B., Sood, R., Miller, N. H., Wilson, A. F.

Because of genetic heterogeneity present in idiopathic scoliosis, we previously defined clinical subsets (a priori) from a sample of families with idiopathic scoliosis to find genes involved with spinal curvature. Previous genome-wide linkage analysis of seven families with at least two individuals with kyphoscoliosis found linkage (P-value = 0.002) in a 3.5-Mb region on 5p13.3 containing only three known genes, IRX1, IRX2, and IRX4. In this study, the exons of IRX1, IRX2, and IRX4, the conserved noncoding elements in the region, and the exons of a nonprotein coding RNA, LOC285577, were sequenced. No functional sequence variants were identified. An intrafamilial test of association found several associated noncoding single nucleotide variants. The strongest association was with rs12517904 (P = 0.00004), located 6.5 kb downstream from IRX1. In one family, the genotypes of nine variants differed from the reference allele in all individuals with kyphoscoliosis, and two of three individuals with scoliosis, but did not differ from the reference allele in all other genotyped individuals. One of these variants, rs117273909, was located in a conserved noncoding region that functions as an enhancer in mice. To test whether the variant allele at rs117273909 had an effect on enhancer activity, zebrafish transgenesis was performed with overlapping fragments of 198 and 687 bp containing either the wild type or the variant allele. Our data suggests that this region acts as a regulatory element; however, its size and target gene(s) need to be identified to determine its role in idiopathic scoliosis.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Genetic Interactions Between the Meiosis-Specific Cohesin Components, STAG3, REC8, and RAD21L

Ward, A., Hopkins, J., Mckay, M., Murray, S., Jordan, P. W.

Cohesin is an essential structural component of chromosomes that ensures accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis. Previous studies have shown that there are cohesin complexes specific to meiosis, required to mediate homologous chromosome pairing, synapsis, recombination, and segregation. Meiosis-specific cohesin complexes consist of two structural maintenance of chromosomes proteins (SMC1α/SMC1β and SMC3), an α-kleisin protein (RAD21, RAD21L, or REC8), and a stromal antigen protein (STAG1, 2, or 3). STAG3 is exclusively expressed during meiosis, and is the predominant STAG protein component of cohesin complexes in primary spermatocytes from mouse, interacting directly with each α-kleisin subunit. REC8 and RAD21L are also meiosis-specific cohesin components. Stag3 mutant spermatocytes arrest in early prophase ("zygotene-like" stage), displaying failed homolog synapsis and persistent DNA damage, as a result of unstable loading of cohesin onto the chromosome axes. Interestingly, Rec8, Rad21L double mutants resulted in an earlier "leptotene-like" arrest, accompanied by complete absence of STAG3 loading. To assess genetic interactions between STAG3 and α-kleisin subunits RAD21L and REC8, our lab generated Stag3, Rad21L, and Stag3, Rec8 double knockout mice, and compared them to the Rec8, Rad21L double mutant. These double mutants are phenotypically distinct from one another, and more severe than each single knockout mutant with regards to chromosome axis formation, cohesin loading, and sister chromatid cohesion. The Stag3, Rad21L, and Stag3, Rec8 double mutants both progress further into prophase I than the Rec8, Rad21L double mutant. Our genetic analysis demonstrates that cohesins containing STAG3 and REC8 are the main complex required for centromeric cohesion, and RAD21L cohesins are required for normal clustering of pericentromeric heterochromatin. Furthermore, the STAG3/REC8 and STAG3/RAD21L cohesins are the primary cohesins required for axis formation.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Binding Sites in the EFG1 Promoter for Transcription Factors in a Proposed Regulatory Network: A Functional Analysis in the White and Opaque Phases of Candida albicans

Pujol, C., Srikantha, T., Park, Y.-N., Daniels, K. J., Soll, D. R.

In Candida albicans the transcription factor Efg1, which is differentially expressed in the white phase of the white-opaque transition, is essential for expression of the white phenotype. It is one of six transcription factors included in a proposed interactive transcription network regulating white-opaque switching and maintenance of the alternative phenotypes. Ten sites were identified in the EFG1 promoter that differentially bind one or more of the network transcription factors in the white and/or opaque phase. To explore the functionality of these binding sites in the differential expression of EFG1, we generated targeted deletions of each of the 10 binding sites, combinatorial deletions, and regional deletions using a Renilla reniformis luciferase reporter system. Individually targeted deletion of only four of the 10 sites had minor effects consistent with differential expression of EFG1, and only in the opaque phase. Alternative explanations are considered.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Chromosome-Wide Impacts on the Expression of Incompatibilities in Hybrids of Tigriopus californicus

Willett, C. S., Lima, T. G., Kovaleva, I., Hatfield, L.

Chromosome rearrangements such as inversions have been recognized previously as contributing to reproductive isolation by maintaining alleles together that jointly contribute to deleterious genetic interactions and postzygotic reproductive isolation. In this study, an impact of potential incompatibilities merely residing on the same chromosome was found in crosses of populations of the copepod Tigriopus californicus. When genetically divergent populations of this copepod are crossed, hybrids show reduced fitness, and deviations from expected genotypic ratios can be used to determine regions of the genome involved in deleterious interactions. In this study, a set of markers was genotyped for a cross of two populations of T. californicus, and these markers show widespread deviations from Mendelian expectations, with entire chromosomes showing marked skew. Despite the importance of mtDNA/nuclear interactions in incompatibilities in this system in previous studies, in these crosses the expected patterns stemming from these interactions are not widely apparent. Females lack recombination in this species, and a striking difference is observed between male and female backcrosses. This suggests that the maintenance of multiple loci on individual chromosomes can enable some incompatibilities, perhaps playing a similar role in the initial rounds of hybridization to chromosomal rearrangements in preserving sets of alleles together that contribute to incompatibilities. Finally, it was observed that candidate pairs of incompatibility regions are not consistently interacting across replicates or subsets of these crosses, despite the repeatability of the deviations at many of the single loci themselves, suggesting that more complicated models of Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities may need to be considered.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

N-Ethyl-N-Nitrosourea (ENU) Mutagenesis Reveals an Intronic Residue Critical for Caenorhabditis elegans 3' Splice Site Function in Vivo

Itani, O. A., Flibotte, S., Dumas, K. J., Guo, C., Blumenthal, T., Hu, P. J.

Metazoan introns contain a polypyrimidine tract immediately upstream of the AG dinucleotide that defines the 3' splice site. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, 3' splice sites are characterized by a highly conserved UUUUCAG/R octamer motif. While the conservation of pyrimidines in this motif is strongly suggestive of their importance in pre-mRNA splicing, in vivo evidence in support of this is lacking. In an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis screen in Caenorhabditis elegans, we have isolated a strain containing a point mutation in the octamer motif of a 3' splice site in the daf-12 gene. This mutation, a single base T-to-G transversion at the -5 position relative to the splice site, causes a strong daf-12 loss-of-function phenotype by abrogating splicing. The resulting transcript is predicted to encode a truncated DAF-12 protein generated by translation into the retained intron, which contains an in-frame stop codon. Other than the perfectly conserved AG dinucleotide at the site of splicing, G at the –5 position of the octamer motif is the most uncommon base in C. elegans 3' splice sites, occurring at closely paired sites where the better match to the splicing consensus is a few bases downstream. Our results highlight both the biological importance of the highly conserved –5 uridine residue in the C. elegans 3' splice site octamer motif as well as the utility of using ENU as a mutagen to study the function of polypyrimidine tracts and other AU- or AT-rich motifs in vivo.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Genome Sequence and Analysis of a Stress-Tolerant, Wild-Derived Strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Used in Biofuels Research

McIlwain, S. J., Peris, D., Sardi, M., Moskvin, O. V., Zhan, F., Myers, K. S., Riley, N. M., Buzzell, A., Parreiras, L. S., Ong, I. M., Landick, R., Coon, J. J., Gasch, A. P., Sato, T. K., Hittinger, C. T.

The genome sequences of more than 100 strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been published. Unfortunately, most of these genome assemblies contain dozens to hundreds of gaps at repetitive sequences, including transposable elements, tRNAs, and subtelomeric regions, which is where novel genes generally reside. Relatively few strains have been chosen for genome sequencing based on their biofuel production potential, leaving an additional knowledge gap. Here, we describe the nearly complete genome sequence of GLBRCY22-3 (Y22-3), a strain of S. cerevisiae derived from the stress-tolerant wild strain NRRL YB-210 and subsequently engineered for xylose metabolism. After benchmarking several genome assembly approaches, we developed a pipeline to integrate Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) and Illumina sequencing data and achieved one of the highest quality genome assemblies for any S. cerevisiae strain. Specifically, the contig N50 is 693 kbp, and the sequences of most chromosomes, the mitochondrial genome, and the 2-micron plasmid are complete. Our annotation predicts 92 genes that are not present in the reference genome of the laboratory strain S288c, over 70% of which were expressed. We predicted functions for 43 of these genes, 28 of which were previously uncharacterized and unnamed. Remarkably, many of these genes are predicted to be involved in stress tolerance and carbon metabolism and are shared with a Brazilian bioethanol production strain, even though the strains differ dramatically at most genetic loci. The Y22-3 genome sequence provides an exceptionally high-quality resource for basic and applied research in bioenergy and genetics.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Fine-Scale Crossover Rate Variation on the Caenorhabditis elegans X Chromosome

Bernstein, M. R., Rockman, M. V.

Meiotic recombination creates genotypic diversity within species. Recombination rates vary substantially across taxa, and the distribution of crossovers can differ significantly among populations and between sexes. Crossover locations within species have been found to vary by chromosome and by position within chromosomes, where most crossover events occur in small regions known as recombination hotspots. However, several species appear to lack hotspots despite significant crossover heterogeneity. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was previously found to have the least fine-scale variation in crossover distribution among organisms studied to date. It is unclear whether this pattern extends to the X chromosome given its unique compaction through the pachytene stage of meiotic prophase in hermaphrodites. We generated 798 recombinant nested near-isogenic lines (NILs) with crossovers in a 1.41 Mb region on the left arm of the X chromosome to determine if its recombination landscape is similar to that of the autosomes. We find that the fine-scale variation in crossover rate is lower than that of other model species, and is inconsistent with hotspots. The relationship of genomic features to crossover rate is dependent on scale, with GC content, histone modifications, and nucleosome occupancy being negatively associated with crossovers. We also find that the abundances of 4- to 6-bp DNA motifs significantly explain crossover density. These results are consistent with recombination occurring at unevenly distributed sites of open chromatin.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

A Comprehensive Toolbox for Genome Editing in Cultured Drosophila melanogaster Cells

Kunzelmann, S., Bottcher, R., Schmidts, I., Forstemann, K.

Custom genome editing has become an essential element of molecular biology. In particular, the generation of fusion constructs with epitope tags or fluorescent proteins at the genomic locus facilitates the analysis of protein expression, localization, and interaction partners at physiologic levels. Following up on our initial publication, we now describe a considerably simplified, more efficient, and readily scalable experimental workflow for PCR-based genome editing in cultured Drosophila melanogaster cells. Our analysis at the act5C locus suggests that PCR-based homology arms of 60 bp are sufficient to reach targeting efficiencies of up to 80% after selection; extension to 80 bp (PCR) or 500 bp (targeting vector) did not further improve the yield. We have expanded our targeting system to N-terminal epitope tags; this also allows the generation of cell populations with heterologous expression control of the tagged locus via the copper-inducible mtnDE promoter. We present detailed, quantitative data on editing efficiencies for several genomic loci that may serve as positive controls or benchmarks in other laboratories. While our first PCR-based editing approach offered only blasticidin-resistance for selection, we now introduce puromycin-resistance as a second, independent selection marker; it is thus possible to edit two loci (e.g., for coimmunoprecipitation) without marker removal. Finally, we describe a modified FLP recombinase expression plasmid that improves the efficiency of marker cassette FLP-out. In summary, our technique and reagents enable a flexible, robust, and cloning-free genome editing approach that can be parallelized for scale-up.

Wednesday, June 1 2016 08:52:57 AM

Site-Directed Genome Knockout in Chicken Cell Line and Embryos Can Use CRISPR/Cas Gene Editing Technology

Zuo, Q., Wang, Y., Cheng, S., Lian, C., Tang, B., Wang, F., Lu, Z., Ji, Y., Zhao, R., Zhang, W., Jin, K., Song, J., Zhang, Y., Li, B.

The present study established an efficient genome editing approach for the construction of stable transgenic cell lines of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). Our objectives were to facilitate the breeding of high-yield, high-quality chicken strains, and to investigate gene function in chicken stem cells. Three guide RNA (gRNAs) were designed to knockout the C2EIP gene, and knockout efficiency was evaluated in DF-1 chicken fibroblasts and chicken ESCs using the luciferase single-strand annealing (SSA) recombination assay, T7 endonuclease I (T7EI) assay, and TA clone sequencing. In addition, the polyethylenimine-encapsulated Cas9/gRNA plasmid was injected into fresh fertilized eggs. At 4.5 d later, frozen sections of the embryos were prepared, and knockout efficiency was evaluated by the T7EI assay. SSA assay results showed that luciferase activity of the vector expressing gRNA-3 was double that of the control. Results of the T7EI assay and TA clone sequencing indicated that Cas9/gRNA vector-mediated gene knockdown efficiency was approximately 27% in both DF-1 cells and ESCs. The CRISPR/Cas9 vector was also expressed in chicken embryos, resulting in gene knockdown in three of the 20 embryos (gene knockdown efficiency 15%). Taken together, our results indicate that the CRISPR/Cas9 system can mediate stable gene knockdown at the cell and embryo levels in domestic chickens.