Carbohydrate-Active enZymes (CAZymes) form particularly interesting targets to study in plant pathogens. Despite the fact that many CAZymes are pathogenicity factors, oomycete CAZymes have received significantly less attention than effectors in the literature. Here we present an analysis of the CAZymes present in the Phytophthora infestans, Ph. ramorum, Ph. sojae and Pythium ultimum genomes compared to growth of these species on a range of different carbon sources. Growth on these carbon sources indicates that the size of enzyme families involved in degradation of cell-wall related substrates like cellulose, xylan and pectin is not always a good predictor of growth on these substrates. While a capacity to degrade xylan and cellulose exists the products are not fully saccharified and used as a carbon source. The Phytophthora genomes encode larger CAZyme sets when compared to Py. ultimum, and encode putative cutinases, GH12 xyloglucanases and GH10 xylanases that are missing in the Py. ultimum genome. Phytophthora spp. also encode a larger number of enzyme families and genes involved in pectin degradation. No loss or gain of complete enzyme families was found between the Phytophthora genomes, but there are some marked differences in the size of some enzyme families.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi, living in soil forests, are required microorganisms to sustain tree growth and productivity. The establishment of mutualistic interaction with roots to form ectomycorrhiza (ECM) is not well known at the molecular level. In particular, how fungal and plant cell walls are rearranged to establish a fully functional ectomycorrhiza is poorly understood. Nevertheless, it is likely that Carbohydrate Active enZymes (CAZyme) produced by the fungus participate in this process. Genome-wide transcriptome profiling during ECM development was used to examine how the CAZome of Laccaria bicolor is regulated during symbiosis establishment. CAZymes active on fungal cell wall were upregulated during ECM development in particular after 4weeks of contact when the hyphae are surrounding the root cells and start to colonize the apoplast. We demonstrated that one expansin-like protein, whose expression is specific to symbiotic tissues, localizes within fungal cell wall. Whereas L. bicolor genome contained a constricted repertoire of CAZymes active on cellulose and hemicellulose, these CAZymes were expressed during the first steps of root cells colonization. L. bicolor retained the ability to use homogalacturonan, a pectin-derived substrate, as carbon source. CAZymes likely involved in pectin hydrolysis were mainly expressed at the stage of a fully mature ECM. All together, our data suggest an active remodelling of fungal cell wall with a possible involvement of expansin during ECM development. By contrast, a soft remodelling of the plant cell wall likely occurs through the loosening of the cellulose microfibrils by AA9 or GH12 CAZymes and middle lamella smooth remodelling through pectin (homogalacturonan) hydrolysis likely by GH28, GH12 CAZymes.
The genome of the coprophilous fungus Podospora anserina harbors a large and highly diverse set of putative lignocellulose-acting enzymes. In this study, we investigated the enzymatic diversity of a broad range of P. anserina secretomes induced by various carbon sources (dextrin, glucose, xylose, arabinose, lactose, cellobiose, saccharose, Avicel, Solka-floc, birchwood xylan, wheat straw, maize bran, and sugar beet pulp (SBP)). Compared with the Trichoderma reesei enzymatic cocktail, P. anserina secretomes displayed similar cellulase, xylanase, and pectinase activities and greater arabinofuranosidase, arabinanase, and galactanase activities. The secretomes were further tested for their capacity to supplement a T. reesei cocktail. Four of them improved significantly the saccharification yield of steam-exploded wheat straw up to 48 %. Fine analysis of the P. anserina secretomes produced with Avicel and SBP using proteomics revealed a large array of CAZymes with a high number of GH6 and GH7 cellulases, CE1 esterases, GH43 arabinofuranosidases, and AA1 laccase-like multicopper oxidases. Moreover, a preponderance of AA9 (formerly GH61) was exclusively produced in the SBP condition. This study brings additional insights into the P. anserina enzymatic machinery and will facilitate the selection of promising targets for the development of future biorefineries.
Saprophytic filamentous fungi are ubiquitous micro-organisms that play an essential role in photosynthetic carbon recycling. The wood-decayer Pycnoporus cinnabarinus is a model fungus for the study of plant cell wall decomposition and is used for a number of applications in green and white biotechnology.
Ulvans are cell wall matrix polysaccharides in green algae belonging to the genus Ulva. Enzymatic degradation of the polysaccharide by ulvan lyases leads to the production of oligosaccharides with an unsaturated ?-glucuronyl residue located at the non-reducing end. Exploration of the genomic environment around the Nonlabens ulvanivorans (previously Percicivirga ulvanivorans) ulvan lyase revealed a gene highly similar to known unsaturated uronyl hydrolases classified in the CAZy glycoside hydrolase family 105. The gene was cloned, the protein was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and enzymology experiments demonstrated its unsaturated ?-glucuronyl activity. Kinetic analysis of purified oligo-ulvans incubated with the new enzyme showed that the full substrate specificity is attained by three subsites that preferentially bind anionic residues (sulfated rhamnose, glucuronic/iduronic acid). The three-dimensional crystal structure of the native enzyme reveals that a trimeric organization is required for substrate binding and recognition at the +2 binding subsite. This novel unsaturated ?-glucuronyl hydrolase is part of a previously uncharacterized subgroup of GH105 members and exhibits only a very limited sequence similarity to known unsaturated ?-glucuronyl sequences previously found only in family GH88. Clan-O formed by families GH88 and GH105 was singular in the fact that it covered families acting on both axial and equatorial glycosidic linkages, respectively. The overall comparison of active site structures between enzymes from these two families highlights how that within family GH105, and unlike for classical glycoside hydrolysis, the hydrolysis of vinyl ether groups from unsaturated saccharides occurs independently of the ? or ? configuration of the cleaved linkage.
?-L-arabinofuranosidases are glycoside hydrolases that specifically hydrolyze non-reducing residues from arabinose-containing polysaccharides. In the case of arabinoxylans, which are the main components of hemicellulose, they are part of microbial xylanolytic systems and are necessary for complete breakdown of arabinoxylans. Glycoside hydrolase family 62 (GH62) is currently a small family of ?-L-arabinofuranosidases that contains only bacterial and fungal members. Little is known about the GH62 mechanism of action, because only a few members have been biochemically characterized and no three-dimensional structure is available. Here, we present the first crystal structures of two fungal GH62 ?-L-arabinofuranosidases from the basidiomycete Ustilago maydis (UmAbf62A) and ascomycete Podospora anserina (PaAbf62A). Both enzymes are able to efficiently remove the ?-L-arabinosyl substituents from arabinoxylan. The overall three-dimensional structure of UmAbf62A and PaAbf62A reveals a five-bladed ?-propeller fold that confirms their predicted classification into clan GH-F together with GH43 ?-L-arabinofuranosidases. Crystallographic structures of the complexes with arabinose and cellotriose reveal the important role of subsites +1 and +2 for sugar binding. Intriguingly, we observed that PaAbf62A was inhibited by cello-oligosaccharides and displayed binding affinity to cellulose although no activity was observed on a range of cellulosic substrates. Bioinformatic analyses showed that UmAbf62A and PaAbf62A belong to two distinct subfamilies within the GH62 family. The results presented here provide a framework to better investigate the structure-function relationships within the GH62 family.
Enzymatic breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass is a known bottleneck for the production of high-value molecules and biofuels from renewable sources. Filamentous fungi are the predominant natural source of enzymes acting on lignocellulose. We describe the extraordinary cellulose-deconstructing capacity of the basidiomycete Laetisaria arvalis, a soil-inhabiting fungus.
A complex community of microorganisms is responsible for efficient plant cell wall digestion by many herbivores, notably the ruminants. Understanding the different fibrolytic mechanisms utilized by these bacteria has been of great interest in agricultural and technological fields, reinforced more recently by current efforts to convert cellulosic biomass to biofuels.
The zebrafish epithalamus is part of the diencephalon and encompasses three major components: the pineal, the parapineal and the habenular nuclei. Using sox2 knockdown, we show here that this key transcriptional regulator has pleiotropic effects during the development of these structures. Sox2 negatively regulates pineal neurogenesis. Also, Sox2 is identified as the unknown factor responsible for pineal photoreceptor prepatterning and performs this function independently of the BMP signaling. The correct levels of sox2 are critical for the functionally important asymmetrical positioning of the parapineal organ and for the migration of parapineal cells as a coherent structure. Deviations from this strict control result in defects associated with abnormal habenular laterality, which we have documented and quantified in sox2 morphants.
The Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes database (CAZy; http://www.cazy.org) provides online and continuously updated access to a sequence-based family classification linking the sequence to the specificity and 3D structure of the enzymes that assemble, modify and breakdown oligo- and polysaccharides. Functional and 3D structural information is added and curated on a regular basis based on the available literature. In addition to the use of the database by enzymologists seeking curated information on CAZymes, the dissemination of a stable nomenclature for these enzymes is probably a major contribution of CAZy. The past few years have seen the expansion of the CAZy classification scheme to new families, the development of subfamilies in several families and the power of CAZy for the analysis of genomes and metagenomes. This article outlines the changes that have occurred in CAZy during the past 5 years and presents our novel effort to display the resolution and the carbohydrate ligands in crystallographic complexes of CAZymes.
The ascomycete Podospora anserina is a coprophilous fungus that grows at late stages on droppings of herbivores. Its genome encodes a large diversity of carbohydrate-active enzymes. Among them, four genes encode glycoside hydrolases from family 6 (GH6), the members of which comprise putative endoglucanases and exoglucanases, some of them exerting important functions for biomass degradation in fungi. Therefore, this family was selected for functional analysis. Three of the enzymes, P. anserina Cel6A (PaCel6A), PaCel6B, and PaCel6C, were functionally expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris. All three GH6 enzymes hydrolyzed crystalline and amorphous cellulose but were inactive on hydroxyethyl cellulose, mannan, galactomannan, xyloglucan, arabinoxylan, arabinan, xylan, and pectin. PaCel6A had a catalytic efficiency on cellotetraose comparable to that of Trichoderma reesei Cel6A (TrCel6A), but PaCel6B and PaCel6C were clearly less efficient. PaCel6A was the enzyme with the highest stability at 45°C, while PaCel6C was the least stable enzyme, losing more than 50% of its activity after incubation at temperatures above 30°C for 24 h. In contrast to TrCel6A, all three studied P. anserina GH6 cellulases were stable over a wide range of pHs and conserved high activity at pH values of up to 9. Each enzyme displayed a distinct substrate and product profile, highlighting different modes of action, with PaCel6A being the enzyme most similar to TrCel6A. PaCel6B was the only enzyme with higher specific activity on carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) than on Avicel and showed lower processivity than the others. Structural modeling predicts an open catalytic cleft, suggesting that PaCel6B is an endoglucanase.
Agaricus bisporus is commercially grown on compost, in which the available carbon sources consist mainly of plant-derived polysaccharides that are built out of various different constituent monosaccharides. The major constituent monosaccharides of these polysaccharides are glucose, xylose, and arabinose, while smaller amounts of galactose, glucuronic acid, rhamnose and mannose are also present.
The limited knowledge we have about red algal genomes comes from the highly specialized extremophiles, Cyanidiophyceae. Here, we describe the first genome sequence from a mesophilic, unicellular red alga, Porphyridium purpureum. The 8,355 predicted genes in P. purpureum, hundreds of which are likely to be implicated in a history of horizontal gene transfer, reside in a genome of 19.7 Mbp with 235 spliceosomal introns. Analysis of light-harvesting complex proteins reveals a nuclear-encoded phycobiliprotein in the alga. We uncover a complex set of carbohydrate-active enzymes, identify the genes required for the methylerythritol phosphate pathway of isoprenoid biosynthesis, and find evidence of sexual reproduction. Analysis of the compact, function-rich genome of P. purpureum suggests that ancestral lineages of red algae acted as mediators of horizontal gene transfer between prokaryotes and photosynthetic eukaryotes, thereby significantly enriching genomes across the tree of photosynthetic life.
Recent progress in three-dimensional structure analyses of glycoside hydrolases (GHs) and polysaccharide lyases (PLs), the historically relevant enzyme classes involved in the cleavage of glycosidic bonds of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates, is reviewed. To date, about 80% and 95% of the GH and PL families, respectively, have a representative crystal structure. New structures have been determined for enzymes acting on plant cell wall polysaccharides, sphingolipids, blood group antigens, milk oligosaccharides, N-glycans, oral biofilms and dietary seaweeds. Some GH enzymes have very unique catalytic residues such as the Asp-His dyad. New methods such as high-speed atomic force microscopy and computational simulation have opened up a path to investigate both the dynamics and the detailed molecular interactions displayed by these enzymes.
To evaluate the interobserver agreement for the Neoplastic Spine Instability Score (SINS) among spine surgeons with or without experience in vertebral metastasis treatment and physicians in other specialties.
Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are capable of synthesizing intracellular organelles, the magnetosomes, that are membrane-bounded magnetite or greigite crystals arranged in chains. Although MTB are widely spread in various ecosystems, few axenic cultures are available, and only freshwater Magnetospirillum spp. have been genetically analysed. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of a marine magnetotactic spirillum, Magnetospira sp. QH-2. The high number of repeats and transposable elements account for the differences in QH-2 genome structure compared with other relatives. Gene cluster synteny and gene correlation analyses indicate that the insertion of the magnetosome island in the QH-2 genome occurred after divergence between freshwater and marine magnetospirilla. The presence of a sodium-quinone reductase, sodium transporters and other functional genes are evidence of the adaptive evolution of Magnetospira sp. QH-2 to the marine ecosystem. Genes well conserved among freshwater magnetospirilla for nitrogen fixation and assimilatory nitrate respiration are absent from the QH-2 genome. Unlike freshwater Magnetospirillum spp., marine Magnetospira sp. QH-2 neither has TonB and TonB-dependent receptors nor does it grow on trace amounts of iron. Taken together, our results show a distinct, adaptive evolution of Magnetospira sp. QH-2 to marine sediments in comparison with its closely related freshwater counterparts.
Since its inception, the carbohydrate-active enzymes database (CAZy; http://www.cazy.org) has described the families of enzymes that cleave or build complex carbohydrates, namely the glycoside hydrolases (GH), the polysaccharide lyases (PL), the carbohydrate esterases (CE), the glycosyltransferases (GT) and their appended non-catalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBM). The recent discovery that members of families CBM33 and family GH61 are in fact lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMO), demands a reclassification of these families into a suitable category.
Pax6 is a developmental control gene essential for eye development throughout the animal kingdom. In addition, Pax6 plays key roles in other parts of the CNS, olfactory system, and pancreas. In mammals a single Pax6 gene encoding multiple isoforms delivers these pleiotropic functions. Here we provide evidence that the genomes of many other vertebrate species contain multiple Pax6 loci. We sequenced Pax6-containing BACs from the cartilaginous elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii) and found two distinct Pax6 loci. Pax6.1 is highly similar to mammalian Pax6, while Pax6.2 encodes a paired-less Pax6. Using synteny relationships, we identify homologs of this novel paired-less Pax6.2 gene in lizard and in frog, as well as in zebrafish and in other teleosts. In zebrafish two full-length Pax6 duplicates were known previously, originating from the fish-specific genome duplication (FSGD) and expressed in divergent patterns due to paralog-specific loss of cis-elements. We show that teleosts other than zebrafish also maintain duplicate full-length Pax6 loci, but differences in gene and regulatory domain structure suggest that these Pax6 paralogs originate from a more ancient duplication event and are hence renamed as Pax6.3. Sequence comparisons between mammalian and elephant shark Pax6.1 loci highlight the presence of short- and long-range conserved noncoding elements (CNEs). Functional analysis demonstrates the ancient role of long-range enhancers for Pax6 transcription. We show that the paired-less Pax6.2 ortholog in zebrafish is expressed specifically in the developing retina. Transgenic analysis of elephant shark and zebrafish Pax6.2 CNEs with homology to the mouse NRE/P? internal promoter revealed highly specific retinal expression. Finally, morpholino depletion of zebrafish Pax6.2 resulted in a "small eye" phenotype, supporting a role in retinal development. In summary, our study reveals that the pleiotropic functions of Pax6 in vertebrates are served by a divergent family of Pax6 genes, forged by ancient duplication events and by independent, lineage-specific gene losses.
The gene encoding an atypical multi-modular glycoside hydrolase family 45 endoglucanase bearing five different family 1 carbohydrate binding modules (CBM1), designated PpCel45A, was identified in the Pichia pastoris GS115 genome.
Brown rot decay removes cellulose and hemicellulose from wood--residual lignin contributing up to 30% of forest soil carbon--and is derived from an ancestral white rot saprotrophy in which both lignin and cellulose are decomposed. Comparative and functional genomics of the "dry rot" fungus Serpula lacrymans, derived from forest ancestors, demonstrated that the evolution of both ectomycorrhizal biotrophy and brown rot saprotrophy were accompanied by reductions and losses in specific protein families, suggesting adaptation to an intercellular interaction with plant tissue. Transcriptome and proteome analysis also identified differences in wood decomposition in S. lacrymans relative to the brown rot Postia placenta. Furthermore, fungal nutritional mode diversification suggests that the boreal forest biome originated via genetic coevolution of above- and below-ground biota.
Spore-forming Bacilli are gram-positive bacteria commonly found in a variety of natural habitats, including soil, water and the gastro-intestinal (GI)-tract of animals. Isolates of various Bacillus species produce pigments, mostly carotenoids, with a putative protective role against UV irradiation and oxygen-reactive forms.
Ramlibacter tataouinensis TTB310(T) (strain TTB310), a betaproteobacterium isolated from a semi-arid region of South Tunisia (Tataouine), is characterized by the presence of both spherical and rod-shaped cells in pure culture. Cell division of strain TTB310 occurs by the binary fission of spherical "cyst-like" cells ("cyst-cyst" division). The rod-shaped cells formed at the periphery of a colony (consisting mainly of cysts) are highly motile and colonize a new environment, where they form a new colony by reversion to cyst-like cells. This unique cell cycle of strain TTB310, with desiccation tolerant cyst-like cells capable of division and desiccation sensitive motile rods capable of dissemination, appears to be a novel adaptation for life in a hot and dry desert environment. In order to gain insights into strain TTB310s underlying genetic repertoire and possible mechanisms responsible for its unusual lifestyle, the genome of strain TTB310 was completely sequenced and subsequently annotated. The complete genome consists of a single circular chromosome of 4,070,194 bp with an average G+C content of 70.0%, the highest among the Betaproteobacteria sequenced to date, with total of 3,899 predicted coding sequences covering 92% of the genome. We found that strain TTB310 has developed a highly complex network of two-component systems, which may utilize responses to light and perhaps a rudimentary circadian hourglass to anticipate water availability at the dew time in the middle/end of the desert winter nights and thus direct the growth window to cyclic water availability times. Other interesting features of the strain TTB310 genome that appear to be important for desiccation tolerance, including intermediary metabolism compounds such as trehalose or polyhydroxyalkanoate, and signal transduction pathways, are presented and discussed.
The characterization of transcriptional networks (TNs) is essential for understanding complex biological phenomena such as development, disease, and evolution. In this study, we have designed and implemented a procedure that combines in silico target screens with zebrafish and mouse validation, in order to identify cis-elements and genes directly regulated by Pax6. We chose Pax6 as the paradigm because of its crucial roles in organogenesis and human disease. We identified over 600 putative Pax6 binding sites and more than 200 predicted direct target genes, conserved in evolution from zebrafish to human and to mouse. This was accomplished using hidden Markov models (HMMs) generated from experimentally validated Pax6 binding sites. A small sample of genes, expressed in the neural lineage, was chosen from the predictions for RNA in situ validation using zebrafish and mouse models. Validation of DNA binding to some predicted cis-elements was also carried out using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and zebrafish reporter transgenic studies. The results show that this combined procedure is a highly efficient tool to investigate the architecture of TNs and constitutes a useful complementary resource to ChIP and expression data sets because of its inherent spatiotemporal independence. We have identified several novel direct targets, including some putative disease genes, among them Foxp2; these will allow further dissection of Pax6 function in development and disease.
Thermostable enzymes and thermophilic cell factories may afford economic advantages in the production of many chemicals and biomass-based fuels. Here we describe and compare the genomes of two thermophilic fungi, Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris. To our knowledge, these genomes are the first described for thermophilic eukaryotes and the first complete telomere-to-telomere genomes for filamentous fungi. Genome analyses and experimental data suggest that both thermophiles are capable of hydrolyzing all major polysaccharides found in biomass. Examination of transcriptome data and secreted proteins suggests that the two fungi use shared approaches in the hydrolysis of cellulose and xylan but distinct mechanisms in pectin degradation. Characterization of the biomass-hydrolyzing activity of recombinant enzymes suggests that these organisms are highly efficient in biomass decomposition at both moderate and high temperatures. Furthermore, we present evidence suggesting that aside from representing a potential reservoir of thermostable enzymes, thermophilic fungi are amenable to manipulation using classical and molecular genetics.
Rust fungi are some of the most devastating pathogens of crop plants. They are obligate biotrophs, which extract nutrients only from living plant tissues and cannot grow apart from their hosts. Their lifestyle has slowed the dissection of molecular mechanisms underlying host invasion and avoidance or suppression of plant innate immunity. We sequenced the 101-Mb genome of Melampsora larici-populina, the causal agent of poplar leaf rust, and the 89-Mb genome of Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici, the causal agent of wheat and barley stem rust. We then compared the 16,399 predicted proteins of M. larici-populina with the 17,773 predicted proteins of P. graminis f. sp tritici. Genomic features related to their obligate biotrophic lifestyle include expanded lineage-specific gene families, a large repertoire of effector-like small secreted proteins, impaired nitrogen and sulfur assimilation pathways, and expanded families of amino acid and oligopeptide membrane transporters. The dramatic up-regulation of transcripts coding for small secreted proteins, secreted hydrolytic enzymes, and transporters in planta suggests that they play a role in host infection and nutrient acquisition. Some of these genomic hallmarks are mirrored in the genomes of other microbial eukaryotes that have independently evolved to infect plants, indicating convergent adaptation to a biotrophic existence inside plant cells.
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM is a probiotic bacterium known for its beneficial effects on human health. The importance of ?-galactosidases (?-Gals) for growth of probiotic organisms on oligosaccharides of the raffinose family present in many foods is increasingly recognized. Here, the crystal structure of ?-Gal from L. acidophilus NCFM (LaMel36A) of glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 36 (GH36) is determined by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion. In addition, a 1.58-Å-resolution crystallographic complex with ?-d-galactose at substrate binding subsite -1 was determined. LaMel36A has a large N-terminal twisted ?-sandwich domain, connected by a long ?-helix to the catalytic (?/?)(8)-barrel domain, and a C-terminal ?-sheet domain. Four identical monomers form a tightly packed tetramer where three monomers contribute to the structural integrity of the active site in each monomer. Structural comparison of LaMel36A with the monomeric Thermotoga maritima ?-Gal (TmGal36A) reveals that O2 of ?-d-galactose in LaMel36A interacts with a backbone nitrogen in a glycine-rich loop of the catalytic domain, whereas the corresponding atom in TmGal36A is from a tryptophan side chain belonging to the N-terminal domain. Thus, two distinctly different structural motifs participate in substrate recognition. The tetrameric LaMel36A furthermore has a much deeper active site than the monomeric TmGal36A, which possibly modulates substrate specificity. Sequence analysis of GH36, inspired by the observed structural differences, results in four distinct subgroups having clearly different active-site sequence motifs. This novel subdivision incorporates functional and architectural features and may aid further biochemical and structural analyses within GH36.
Mycoparasitism, a lifestyle where one fungus is parasitic on another fungus, has special relevance when the prey is a plant pathogen, providing a strategy for biological control of pests for plant protection. Probably, the most studied biocontrol agents are species of the genus Hypocrea/Trichoderma.
The plant-pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola (asexual stage: Septoria tritici) causes septoria tritici blotch, a disease that greatly reduces the yield and quality of wheat. This disease is economically important in most wheat-growing areas worldwide and threatens global food production. Control of the disease has been hampered by a limited understanding of the genetic and biochemical bases of pathogenicity, including mechanisms of infection and of resistance in the host. Unlike most other plant pathogens, M. graminicola has a long latent period during which it evades host defenses. Although this type of stealth pathogenicity occurs commonly in Mycosphaerella and other Dothideomycetes, the largest class of plant-pathogenic fungi, its genetic basis is not known. To address this problem, the genome of M. graminicola was sequenced completely. The finished genome contains 21 chromosomes, eight of which could be lost with no visible effect on the fungus and thus are dispensable. This eight-chromosome dispensome is dynamic in field and progeny isolates, is different from the core genome in gene and repeat content, and appears to have originated by ancient horizontal transfer from an unknown donor. Synteny plots of the M. graminicola chromosomes versus those of the only other sequenced Dothideomycete, Stagonospora nodorum, revealed conservation of gene content but not order or orientation, suggesting a high rate of intra-chromosomal rearrangement in one or both species. This observed "mesosynteny" is very different from synteny seen between other organisms. A surprising feature of the M. graminicola genome compared to other sequenced plant pathogens was that it contained very few genes for enzymes that break down plant cell walls, which was more similar to endophytes than to pathogens. The stealth pathogenesis of M. graminicola probably involves degradation of proteins rather than carbohydrates to evade host defenses during the biotrophic stage of infection and may have evolved from endophytic ancestors.
The enzymic degradation of plant cell walls plays a central role in the carbon cycle and is of increasing environmental and industrial significance. The catalytic modules of enzymes that catalyze this process are generally appended to noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs). CBMs potentiate the rate of catalysis by bringing their cognate enzymes into intimate contact with the target substrate. A powerful plant cell wall-degrading system is the Clostridium thermocellum multienzyme complex, termed the "cellulosome." Here, we identify a novel CBM (CtCBM62) within the large C. thermocellum cellulosomal protein Cthe_2193 (defined as CtXyl5A), which establishes a new CBM family. Phylogenetic analysis of CBM62 members indicates that a circular permutation occurred within the family. CtCBM62 binds to d-galactose and l-arabinopyranose in either anomeric configuration. The crystal structures of CtCBM62, in complex with oligosaccharides containing ?- and ?-galactose residues, show that the ligand-binding site in the ?-sandwich protein is located in the loops that connect the two ?-sheets. Specificity is conferred through numerous interactions with the axial O4 of the target sugars, a feature that distinguishes galactose and arabinose from the other major sugars located in plant cell walls. CtCBM62 displays tighter affinity for multivalent ligands compared with molecules containing single galactose residues, which is associated with precipitation of these complex carbohydrates. These avidity effects, which confer the targeting of polysaccharides, are mediated by calcium-dependent oligomerization of the CBM.
Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Botrytis cinerea are closely related necrotrophic plant pathogenic fungi notable for their wide host ranges and environmental persistence. These attributes have made these species models for understanding the complexity of necrotrophic, broad host-range pathogenicity. Despite their similarities, the two species differ in mating behaviour and the ability to produce asexual spores. We have sequenced the genomes of one strain of S. sclerotiorum and two strains of B. cinerea. The comparative analysis of these genomes relative to one another and to other sequenced fungal genomes is provided here. Their 38-39 Mb genomes include 11,860-14,270 predicted genes, which share 83% amino acid identity on average between the two species. We have mapped the S. sclerotiorum assembly to 16 chromosomes and found large-scale co-linearity with the B. cinerea genomes. Seven percent of the S. sclerotiorum genome comprises transposable elements compared to <1% of B. cinerea. The arsenal of genes associated with necrotrophic processes is similar between the species, including genes involved in plant cell wall degradation and oxalic acid production. Analysis of secondary metabolism gene clusters revealed an expansion in number and diversity of B. cinerea-specific secondary metabolites relative to S. sclerotiorum. The potential diversity in secondary metabolism might be involved in adaptation to specific ecological niches. Comparative genome analysis revealed the basis of differing sexual mating compatibility systems between S. sclerotiorum and B. cinerea. The organization of the mating-type loci differs, and their structures provide evidence for the evolution of heterothallism from homothallism. These data shed light on the evolutionary and mechanistic bases of the genetically complex traits of necrotrophic pathogenicity and sexual mating. This resource should facilitate the functional studies designed to better understand what makes these fungi such successful and persistent pathogens of agronomic crops.
The social amoebae (Dictyostelia) are a diverse group of Amoebozoa that achieve multicellularity by aggregation and undergo morphogenesis into fruiting bodies with terminally differentiated spores and stalk cells. There are four groups of dictyostelids, with the most derived being a group that contains the model species Dictyostelium discoideum.
Schizophyllum commune produces an ?-glucuronidase that is active on polymeric xylan, while the ascomycete ?-glucuronidases are only active on xylan oligomers. In this study, we have identified the gene (agu1) encoding this enzyme and confirmed the functionality by overexpression of the gene in S. commune and degradation of aldopentauronic acids, (MeGlcA)(3)-Xyl(4), in the cultivation medium of the transformants. Expression analysis demonstrated that agu1 is not co-regulated with the predominant xylanase-encoding gene (xynA) of S. commune. The detailed sequence analysis of Agu1 demonstrated that this gene belongs to a novel glycoside hydrolase family (GH115) that also contains candidate genes from ascomycete fungi and bacteria. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the fungal GH115 ?-glucuronidases are distinctly separate from the prokaryotic clade and distributed over three branches. The identification of putative genes encoding this enzyme in industrial fungi, such as Aspergillus oryzae and Hypocrea jecorina, will provide a starting point for further analysis of the importance of this enzyme for the hydrolysis of plant biomass.
To improve the enzymatic hydrolysis (saccharification) of lignocellulosic biomass by Trichoderma reesei, a set of genes encoding putative polysaccharide-degrading enzymes were selected from the coprophilic fungus Podospora anserina using comparative genomics. Five hemicellulase-encoding genes were successfully cloned and expressed as secreted functional proteins in the yeast Pichia pastoris. These novel fungal CAZymes belonging to different glycoside hydrolase families (PaMan5A and PaMan26A mannanases, PaXyn11A xylanase, and PaAbf51A and PaAbf62A arabinofuranosidases) were able to break down their predicted cognate substrates. Although PaMan5A and PaMan26A displayed similar specificities toward a range of mannan substrates, they differed in their end products, suggesting differences in substrate binding. The N-terminal CBM35 module of PaMan26A displayed dual binding specificity toward xylan and mannan. PaXyn11A harboring a C-terminal CBM1 module efficiently degraded wheat arabinoxylan, releasing mainly xylobiose as end product. PaAbf51A and PaAbf62A arabinose-debranching enzymes exhibited differences in activity toward arabinose-containing substrates. Further investigation of the contribution made by each P. anserina auxiliary enzyme to the saccharification of wheat straw and spruce demonstrated that the endo-acting hemicellulases (PaXyn11A, PaMan5A, and PaMan26A) individually supplemented the secretome of the industrial T. reesei CL847 strain. The most striking effect was obtained with PaMan5A that improved the release of total sugars by 28% and of glucose by 18%, using spruce as lignocellulosic substrate.
The human intestine is densely populated by a microbial consortium whose metabolic activities are influenced by, among others, bifidobacteria. However, the genetic basis of adaptation of bifidobacteria to the human gut is poorly understood. Analysis of the 2,214,650-bp genome of Bifidobacterium bifidum PRL2010, a strain isolated from infant stool, revealed a nutrient-acquisition strategy that targets host-derived glycans, such as those present in mucin. Proteome and transcriptome profiling revealed a set of chromosomal loci responsible for mucin metabolism that appear to be under common transcriptional control and with predicted functions that allow degradation of various O-linked glycans in mucin. Conservation of the latter gene clusters in various B. bifidum strains supports the notion that host-derived glycan catabolism is an important colonization factor for B. bifidum with concomitant impact on intestinal microbiota ecology.
This study is the first to use a metagenomics approach to characterize the phylogeny and functional capacity of the canine gastrointestinal microbiome. Six healthy adult dogs were used in a crossover design and fed a low-fiber control diet (K9C) or one containing 7.5% beet pulp (K9BP). Pooled fecal DNA samples from each treatment were subjected to 454 pyrosequencing, generating 503,280 (K9C) and 505,061 (K9BP) sequences. Dominant bacterial phyla included the Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi group and Firmicutes, both of which comprised ?35% of all sequences, followed by Proteobacteria (13-15%) and Fusobacteria (7-8%). K9C had a greater percentage of Bacteroidetes, Fusobacteria and Proteobacteria, whereas K9BP had greater proportions of the Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi group and Firmicutes. Archaea were not altered by diet and represented ?1% of all sequences. All archaea were members of Crenarchaeota and Euryarchaeota, with methanogens being the most abundant and diverse. Three fungi phylotypes were present in K9C, but none in K9BP. Less than 0.4% of sequences were of viral origin, with >99% of them associated with bacteriophages. Primary functional categories were not significantly affected by diet and were associated with carbohydrates; protein metabolism; DNA metabolism; cofactors, vitamins, prosthetic groups and pigments; amino acids and derivatives; cell wall and capsule; and virulence. Hierarchical clustering of several gastrointestinal metagenomes demonstrated phylogenetic and metabolic similarity between dogs, humans and mice. More research is required to provide deeper coverage of the canine microbiome, evaluate effects of age, genetics or environment on its composition and activity, and identify its role in gastrointestinal disease.
Carbohydrate-active enzymes face huge substrate diversity in a highly selective manner using only a limited number of available folds. They are therefore subjected to multiple divergent and convergent evolutionary events. This and their frequent modularity render their functional annotation in genomes difficult in a number of cases. In the present paper, a classification of polysaccharide lyases (the enzymes that cleave polysaccharides using an elimination instead of a hydrolytic mechanism) is shown thoroughly for the first time. Based on the analysis of a large panel of experimentally characterized polysaccharide lyases, we examined the correlation of various enzyme properties with the three levels of the classification: fold, family and subfamily. The resulting hierarchical classification, which should help annotate relevant genes in genomic efforts, is available and constantly updated at the Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes Database (http://www.cazy.org).
Lateral gene transfer from prokaryotes to animals is poorly understood, and the scarce documented examples generally concern genes of uncharacterized role in the receiver organism. In contrast, in plant-parasitic nematodes, several genes, usually not found in animals and similar to bacterial homologs, play essential roles for successful parasitism. Many of these encode plant cell wall-degrading enzymes that constitute an unprecedented arsenal in animals in terms of both abundance and diversity. Here we report that independent lateral gene transfers from different bacteria, followed by gene duplications and early gain of introns, have shaped this repertoire. We also show protein immunolocalization data that suggest additional roles for some of these cell wall-degrading enzymes in the late stages of these parasites life cycle. Multiple functional acquisitions of exogenous genes that provide selective advantage were probably crucial for the emergence and proficiency of plant parasitism in nematodes.
The human gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem composed mainly of uncultured bacteria. It plays an essential role in the catabolism of dietary fibers, the part of plant material in our diet that is not metabolized in the upper digestive tract, because the human genome does not encode adequate carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes). We describe a multi-step functionally based approach to guide the in-depth pyrosequencing of specific regions of the human gut metagenome encoding the CAZymes involved in dietary fiber breakdown. High-throughput functional screens were first applied to a library covering 5.4 × 10(9) bp of metagenomic DNA, allowing the isolation of 310 clones showing beta-glucanase, hemicellulase, galactanase, amylase, or pectinase activities. Based on the results of refined secondary screens, sequencing efforts were reduced to 0.84 Mb of nonredundant metagenomic DNA, corresponding to 26 clones that were particularly efficient for the degradation of raw plant polysaccharides. Seventy-three CAZymes from 35 different families were discovered. This corresponds to a fivefold target-gene enrichment compared to random sequencing of the human gut metagenome. Thirty-three of these CAZy encoding genes are highly homologous to prevalent genes found in the gut microbiome of at least 20 individuals for whose metagenomic data are available. Moreover, 18 multigenic clusters encoding complementary enzyme activities for plant cell wall degradation were also identified. Gene taxonomic assignment is consistent with horizontal gene transfer events in dominant gut species and provides new insights into the human gut functional trophic chain.
The microbial enzymes that depolymerize plant cell wall polysaccharides, ultimately promoting energy liberation and carbon recycling, are typically complex in their modularity and often contain carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs). Here, through analysis of an unknown module from a Thermotoga maritima endo-?-1,4-galactanase, we identify a new family of CBMs that are most frequently found appended to proteins with ?-1,4-galactanase activity. Polysaccharide microarray screening, immunofluorescence microscopy, and biochemical analysis of the isolated module demonstrate the specificity of the module, here called TmCBM61, for ?-1,4-linked galactose-containing ligands, making it the founding member of family CBM61. The ultra-high resolution X-ray crystal structures of TmCBM61 (0.95 and 1.4 ? resolution) in complex with ?-1,4-galactotriose reveal the molecular basis of the specificity of the CBM for ?-1,4-galactan. Analysis of these structures provides insight into the recognition of an unexpected helical galactan conformation through a mode of binding that resembles the recognition of starch.
The cellulosome is a multi-enzyme machine, which plays a key role in the breakdown of plant cell walls in many anaerobic cellulose-degrading microorganisms. Ruminococcus flavefaciens FD-1, a major fiber-degrading bacterium present in the gut of herbivores, has the most intricate cellulosomal organization thus far described. Cellulosome complexes are assembled through high-affinity cohesin-dockerin interactions. More than two-hundred dockerin-containing proteins have been identified in the R. flavefaciens genome, yet the reason for the expansion of these crucial cellulosomal components is yet unknown.
The deconstruction of the plant cell wall is an important biological process that is attracting considerable industrial interest, particularly in the bioenergy sector. Enzymes that attack the plant cell wall generally contain one or more noncatalytic carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) that play an important targeting function. While CBMs that bind to the backbones of plant structural polysaccharides have been widely described, modules that recognize components of the vast array of decorations displayed on these polymers have been relatively unexplored. Here we show that a family 35 CBM member (CBM35), designated CtCBM35-Gal, binds to alpha-D-galactose (Gal) and, within the context of the plant cell wall, targets the alpha-1,6-Gal residues of galactomannan but not the beta-D-Gal residues in xyloglucan. The crystal structure of CtCBM35-Gal reveals a canonical beta-sandwich fold. Site-directed mutagenesis studies showed that the ligand is accommodated within the loops that connect the two beta-sheets. Although the ligand binding site of the CBM displays significant structural similarity with calcium-dependent CBM35s that target uronic acids, subtle differences in the conformation of conserved residues in the ligand binding site lead to the loss of metal binding and uronate recognition. A model is proposed in which the orientation of the pair of aromatic residues that interact with the two faces of the Gal pyranose ring plays a pivotal role in orientating the axial O4 atom of the ligand toward Asn140, which is invariant in CBM35. The ligand recognition site of exo-CBM35s (CBM35-Gal and the uronic acid binding CBM35s) appears to overlap with that of CBM35-Man, which binds to the internal regions of mannan, a beta-polymer of mannose. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we show that although there is conservation of several functional residues within the binding sites of endo- and exo-CBM35s, the endo-CBM does not utilize Asn113 (equivalent to Asn140 in CBM35-Gal) in mannan binding, despite the importance of the equivalent residue in ligand recognition across the CBM35 and CBM6 landscape. The data presented in this report are placed within a wider phylogenetic context for the CBM35 family.
Carbohydrate active enzymes (CAZymes) are a large class of enzymes, which build and breakdown the complex carbohydrates of the cell. On the basis of their amino acid sequences they are classified in families and clans that show conserved catalytic mechanism, structure, and active site residues, but may vary in substrate specificity. We report here the identification and the detailed molecular characterization of a novel glycoside hydrolase encoded from the gene sso1353 of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus. This enzyme hydrolyzes aryl beta-gluco- and beta-xylosides and the observation of transxylosylation reactions products demonstrates that SSO1353 operates via a retaining reaction mechanism. The catalytic nucleophile (Glu-335) was identified through trapping of the 2-deoxy-2-fluoroglucosyl enzyme intermediate and subsequent peptide mapping, while the general acid/base was identified as Asp-462 through detailed mechanistic analysis of a mutant at that position, including azide rescue experiments. SSO1353 has detectable homologs of unknown specificity among Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya and shows distant similarity to the non-lysosomal bile acid beta-glucosidase GBA2 also known as glucocerebrosidase. On the basis of our findings we propose that SSO1353 and its homologs are classified in a new CAZy family, named GH116, which so far includes beta-glucosidases (EC 18.104.22.168), beta-xylosidases (EC 22.214.171.124), and glucocerebrosidases (EC 126.96.36.199) as known enzyme activities.
Much remains to be learned about the biology of mushroom-forming fungi, which are an important source of food, secondary metabolites and industrial enzymes. The wood-degrading fungus Schizophyllum commune is both a genetically tractable model for studying mushroom development and a likely source of enzymes capable of efficient degradation of lignocellulosic biomass. Comparative analyses of its 38.5-megabase genome, which encodes 13,210 predicted genes, reveal the speciess unique wood-degrading machinery. One-third of the 471 genes predicted to encode transcription factors are differentially expressed during sexual development of S. commune. Whereas inactivation of one of these, fst4, prevented mushroom formation, inactivation of another, fst3, resulted in more, albeit smaller, mushrooms than in the wild-type fungus. Antisense transcripts may also have a role in the formation of fruiting bodies. Better insight into the mechanisms underlying mushroom formation should affect commercial production of mushrooms and their industrial use for producing enzymes and pharmaceuticals.
The Prevotellas comprise a diverse group of bacteria that has received surprisingly limited attention at the whole genome-sequencing level. In this communication, we present the comparative analysis of the genomes of Prevotella ruminicola 23 (GenBank: CP002006) and Prevotella bryantii B(1)4 (GenBank: ADWO00000000), two gastrointestinal isolates. Both P. ruminicola and P. bryantii have acquired an extensive repertoire of glycoside hydrolases that are targeted towards non-cellulosic polysaccharides, especially GH43 bifunctional enzymes. Our analysis demonstrates the diversity of this genus. The results from these analyses highlight their role in the gastrointestinal tract, and provide a template for additional work on genetic characterization of these species.
Pax6 is a well conserved transcription factor that contains two DNA-binding domains, a paired domain and a homeodomain, and plays a key role in the development of eye, brain, and pancreas in vertebrates. The recent identification of the zebrafish sunrise mutant, harboring a mutation in the pax6b homeobox and presenting eye abnormalities but no obvious pancreatic defects, raised a question about the role of pax6b in zebrafish pancreas. We show here that pax6b does play an essential role in pancreatic endocrine cell differentiation, as revealed by the phenotype of a novel zebrafish pax6b null mutant and of embryos injected with pax6b morpholinos. Pax6b-depleted embryos have almost no beta cells, a strongly reduced number of delta cells, and a significant increase of epsilon cells. Through the use of various morpholinos targeting intron-exon junctions, pax6b RNA splicing was perturbed at several sites, leading either to retention of intronic sequences or to deletion of exonic sequences in the pax6b transcript. By this strategy, we show that deletion of the Pax6b homeodomain in zebrafish embryos does not disturb pancreas development, whereas lens formation is strongly affected. These data thus provide the explanation for the lack of pancreatic defects in the sunrise pax6b mutants. In addition, partial reduction of Pax6b function in zebrafish embryos performed by injection of small amounts of pax6b morpholinos caused a clear rise in alpha cell number and in glucagon expression, emphasizing the importance of the fine tuning of the Pax6b level to its biological activity.
The Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vittad.) and the Piedmont white truffle dominate todays truffle market. The hypogeous fruiting body of T. melanosporum is a gastronomic delicacy produced by an ectomycorrhizal symbiont endemic to calcareous soils in southern Europe. The worldwide demand for this truffle has fuelled intense efforts at cultivation. Identification of processes that condition and trigger fruit body and symbiosis formation, ultimately leading to efficient crop production, will be facilitated by a thorough analysis of truffle genomic traits. In the ectomycorrhizal Laccaria bicolor, the expansion of gene families may have acted as a symbiosis toolbox. This feature may however reflect evolution of this particular taxon and not a general trait shared by all ectomycorrhizal species. To get a better understanding of the biology and evolution of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, we report here the sequence of the haploid genome of T. melanosporum, which at approximately 125 megabases is the largest and most complex fungal genome sequenced so far. This expansion results from a proliferation of transposable elements accounting for approximately 58% of the genome. In contrast, this genome only contains approximately 7,500 protein-coding genes with very rare multigene families. It lacks large sets of carbohydrate cleaving enzymes, but a few of them involved in degradation of plant cell walls are induced in symbiotic tissues. The latter feature and the upregulation of genes encoding for lipases and multicopper oxidases suggest that T. melanosporum degrades its host cell walls during colonization. Symbiosis induces an increased expression of carbohydrate and amino acid transporters in both L. bicolor and T. melanosporum, but the comparison of genomic traits in the two ectomycorrhizal fungi showed that genetic predispositions for symbiosis-the symbiosis toolbox-evolved along different ways in ascomycetes and basidiomycetes.
Fusarium species are among the most important phytopathogenic and toxigenic fungi. To understand the molecular underpinnings of pathogenicity in the genus Fusarium, we compared the genomes of three phenotypically diverse species: Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium verticillioides and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Our analysis revealed lineage-specific (LS) genomic regions in F. oxysporum that include four entire chromosomes and account for more than one-quarter of the genome. LS regions are rich in transposons and genes with distinct evolutionary profiles but related to pathogenicity, indicative of horizontal acquisition. Experimentally, we demonstrate the transfer of two LS chromosomes between strains of F. oxysporum, converting a non-pathogenic strain into a pathogen. Transfer of LS chromosomes between otherwise genetically isolated strains explains the polyphyletic origin of host specificity and the emergence of new pathogenic lineages in F. oxysporum. These findings put the evolution of fungal pathogenicity into a new perspective.
Carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) play important biological roles in targeting appended catalytic modules to their dedicated substrate(s) within complex macromolecular structures such as the plant cell wall. Because of the large potential in ligand diversity within nature and our continually expanding knowledge of sequence-based information of carbohydrate-modifying enzymes, empirical determination of CBM binding specificity and identification of novel mechanisms in carbohydrate recognition by these proteins have become time-consuming and complicated processes. To help overcome these experimental hurdles, we present here a predictive model for family 6 CBMs (CBM6) that is based upon several factors, including phylogenetic relatedness, and structural and functional evidence. This analysis has determined that five regions within the binding site, termed A-E, play key roles in ligand selection and affinity. Regions A-C are located in a primary subsite and contribute mainly to binding energy and selection for O2, O3, and O4 equatorial hydroxyls. Region D appears to determine whether the CBM will interact with internal or terminal structures of the carbohydrate ligand. Region E displays the largest degree of variation and is thus predicted to make the most significant contribution to specificity. This model is supported by the biochemical properties and structure of a CBM6 from Clostridium cellulolyticum (CcCBM6), which we also report here. The protein bound specifically to xylose and the nonreducing of end of polymers containing this pentose sugar. The crystal structure of CcCBM6 in complex with xylose showed that a tyrosine residue made hydrophobic contacts with the unsubstituted C5 atom of xylose and sterically hindered decorations at this sugar ring position. The mechanism, by which the CBM recognizes xylose but not glucose, a specificity not previously observed in this family, supports our predictive model that holds that variation in region E plays a key role in the diverse ligand selection evident in CBM6.
Bifidobacteria, one of the relatively dominant components of the human intestinal microbiota, are considered one of the key groups of beneficial intestinal bacteria (probiotic bacteria). However, in addition to health-promoting taxa, the genus Bifidobacterium also includes Bifidobacterium dentium, an opportunistic cariogenic pathogen. The genetic basis for the ability of B. dentium to survive in the oral cavity and contribute to caries development is not understood. The genome of B. dentium Bd1, a strain isolated from dental caries, was sequenced to completion to uncover a single circular 2,636,368 base pair chromosome with 2,143 predicted open reading frames. Annotation of the genome sequence revealed multiple ways in which B. dentium has adapted to the oral environment through specialized nutrient acquisition, defences against antimicrobials, and gene products that increase fitness and competitiveness within the oral niche. B. dentium Bd1 was shown to metabolize a wide variety of carbohydrates, consistent with genome-based predictions, while colonization and persistence factors implicated in tissue adhesion, acid tolerance, and the metabolism of human saliva-derived compounds were also identified. Global transcriptome analysis demonstrated that many of the genes encoding these predicted traits are highly expressed under relevant physiological conditions. This is the first report to identify, through various genomic approaches, specific genetic adaptations of a Bifidobacterium taxon, Bifidobacterium dentium Bd1, to a lifestyle as a cariogenic microorganism in the oral cavity. In silico analysis and comparative genomic hybridization experiments clearly reveal a high level of genome conservation among various B. dentium strains. The data indicate that the genome of this opportunistic cariogen has evolved through a very limited number of horizontal gene acquisition events, highlighting the narrow boundaries that separate commensals from opportunistic pathogens.
The plant polysaccharide degradative potential of Aspergillus nidulans was analysed in detail and compared to that of Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae using a combination of bioinformatics, physiology and transcriptomics. Manual verification indicated that 28.4% of the A. nidulans ORFs analysed in this study do not contain a secretion signal, of which 40% may be secreted through a non-classical method.While significant differences were found between the species in the numbers of ORFs assigned to the relevant CAZy families, no significant difference was observed in growth on polysaccharides. Growth differences were observed between the Aspergilli and Podospora anserina, which has a more different genomic potential for polysaccharide degradation, suggesting that large genomic differences are required to cause growth differences on polysaccharides. Differences were also detected between the Aspergilli in the presence of putative regulatory sequences in the promoters of the ORFs of this study and correlation of the presence of putative XlnR binding sites to induction by xylose was detected for A. niger. These data demonstrate differences at genome content, substrate specificity of the enzymes and gene regulation in these three Aspergilli, which likely reflect their individual adaptation to their natural biotope.
The spatiotemporally and quantitatively correct activity of a gene requires the presence of intact coding sequence as well as properly functioning regulatory control. One of the great challenges of the post-genome era is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of gene control. Proper gene regulation depends not only on the required transcription factors and associated complexes being present (in the correct dosage), but also on the integrity, chromatin conformation and nuclear positioning of the genes chromosomal segment. Thus, when either the cis-trans regulatory system of a gene or the normal context of its chromatin structure are disrupted, gene expression may be adversely affected, potentially leading to disease. As transcriptional regulation is a highly complex process depending on many factors, there are many different mechanisms that can cause aberrant gene expression. Traditionally, the term position effect was used to refer to situations where the level of expression of a gene is deleteriously affected by an alteration in its chromosomal environment, while maintaining an intact transcription unit. Over the past years, an ever increasing number of such disease-related position effect cases have come to light, and detailed studies have revealed insight into the variety of causes, which can be categorized into a number of different mechanistic groups. We suggest replacing the outdated term of position effect disease with the new generic name of cis-ruption disorder to describe genetic disease cases that are caused by disruption of the normal cis-regulatory architecture of the disease gene locus. Here, we review these various cis-ruption mechanisms and discuss how their studies have contributed to our understanding of long- range gene regulation.
Ruminococcus flavefaciens is a predominant cellulolytic rumen bacterium, which forms a multi-enzyme cellulosome complex that could play an integral role in the ability of this bacterium to degrade plant cell wall polysaccharides. Identifying the major enzyme types involved in plant cell wall degradation is essential for gaining a better understanding of the cellulolytic capabilities of this organism as well as highlighting potential enzymes for application in improvement of livestock nutrition and for conversion of cellulosic biomass to liquid fuels.
The ascomycetous fungus Nectria haematococca, (asexual name Fusarium solani), is a member of a group of >50 species known as the "Fusarium solani species complex". Members of this complex have diverse biological properties including the ability to cause disease on >100 genera of plants and opportunistic infections in humans. The current research analyzed the most extensively studied member of this complex, N. haematococca mating population VI (MPVI). Several genes controlling the ability of individual isolates of this species to colonize specific habitats are located on supernumerary chromosomes. Optical mapping revealed that the sequenced isolate has 17 chromosomes ranging from 530 kb to 6.52 Mb and that the physical size of the genome, 54.43 Mb, and the number of predicted genes, 15,707, are among the largest reported for ascomycetes. Two classes of genes have contributed to gene expansion: specific genes that are not found in other fungi including its closest sequenced relative, Fusarium graminearum; and genes that commonly occur as single copies in other fungi but are present as multiple copies in N. haematococca MPVI. Some of these additional genes appear to have resulted from gene duplication events, while others may have been acquired through horizontal gene transfer. The supernumerary nature of three chromosomes, 14, 15, and 17, was confirmed by their absence in pulsed field gel electrophoresis experiments of some isolates and by demonstrating that these isolates lacked chromosome-specific sequences found on the ends of these chromosomes. These supernumerary chromosomes contain more repeat sequences, are enriched in unique and duplicated genes, and have a lower G+C content in comparison to the other chromosomes. Although the origin(s) of the extra genes and the supernumerary chromosomes is not known, the gene expansion and its large genome size are consistent with this species diverse range of habitats. Furthermore, the presence of unique genes on supernumerary chromosomes might account for individual isolates having different environmental niches.
Picoeukaryotes are a taxonomically diverse group of organisms less than 2 micrometers in diameter. Photosynthetic marine picoeukaryotes in the genus Micromonas thrive in ecosystems ranging from tropical to polar and could serve as sentinel organisms for biogeochemical fluxes of modern oceans during climate change. These broadly distributed primary producers belong to an anciently diverged sister clade to land plants. Although Micromonas isolates have high 18S ribosomal RNA gene identity, we found that genomes from two isolates shared only 90% of their predicted genes. Their independent evolutionary paths were emphasized by distinct riboswitch arrangements as well as the discovery of intronic repeat elements in one isolate, and in metagenomic data, but not in other genomes. Divergence appears to have been facilitated by selection and acquisition processes that actively shape the repertoire of genes that are mutually exclusive between the two isolates differently than the core genes. Analyses of the Micromonas genomes offer valuable insights into ecological differentiation and the dynamic nature of early plant evolution.
The adult human distal gut microbial community is typically dominated by 2 bacterial phyla (divisions), the Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes. Little is known about the factors that govern the interactions between their members. Here, we examine the niches of representatives of both phyla in vivo. Finished genome sequences were generated from Eubacterium rectale and E. eligens, which belong to Clostridium Cluster XIVa, one of the most common gut Firmicute clades. Comparison of these and 25 other gut Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes indicated that the Firmicutes possess smaller genomes and a disproportionately smaller number of glycan-degrading enzymes. Germ-free mice were then colonized with E. rectale and/or a prominent human gut Bacteroidetes, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, followed by whole-genome transcriptional profiling, high-resolution proteomic analysis, and biochemical assays of microbial-microbial and microbial-host interactions. B. thetaiotaomicron adapts to E. rectale by up-regulating expression of a variety of polysaccharide utilization loci encoding numerous glycoside hydrolases, and by signaling the host to produce mucosal glycans that it, but not E. rectale, can access. E. rectale adapts to B. thetaiotaomicron by decreasing production of its glycan-degrading enzymes, increasing expression of selected amino acid and sugar transporters, and facilitating glycolysis by reducing levels of NADH, in part via generation of butyrate from acetate, which in turn is used by the gut epithelium. This simplified model of the human gut microbiota illustrates niche specialization and functional redundancy within members of its major bacterial phyla, and the importance of host glycans as a nutrient foundation that ensures ecosystem stability.
The Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme (CAZy) database is a knowledge-based resource specialized in the enzymes that build and breakdown complex carbohydrates and glycoconjugates. As of September 2008, the database describes the present knowledge on 113 glycoside hydrolase, 91 glycosyltransferase, 19 polysaccharide lyase, 15 carbohydrate esterase and 52 carbohydrate-binding module families. These families are created based on experimentally characterized proteins and are populated by sequences from public databases with significant similarity. Protein biochemical information is continuously curated based on the available literature and structural information. Over 6400 proteins have assigned EC numbers and 700 proteins have a PDB structure. The classification (i) reflects the structural features of these enzymes better than their sole substrate specificity, (ii) helps to reveal the evolutionary relationships between these enzymes and (iii) provides a convenient framework to understand mechanistic properties. This resource has been available for over 10 years to the scientific community, contributing to information dissemination and providing a transversal nomenclature to glycobiologists. More recently, this resource has been used to improve the quality of functional predictions of a number genome projects by providing expert annotation. The CAZy resource resides at URL: http://www.cazy.org/.
Expression kinetics of six cellulase and four expansin-related genes were studied in the hypercellulolytic Trichoderma reesei CL847 mutant in response to Solka Floc cellulose and soluble inducers. Real-time PCR showed a parallel increase of transcript levels for the cellulase genes cbh1/cel7a, egl1/cel7b, egl4/cel61a, the beta-glucosidase genes bgl1/cel3a, bgl2/cel1a, and the swo1 gene, encoding the cell-wall loosening protein swollenin. To evaluate a putative implication of three newly identified expansin/family 45 endoglucanase-like (EEL) proteins in lignocellulose degradation, their expression was also analysed. Only eel2 was found to be transcribed under the present conditions, and showed constitutive expression similar to the endoglucanase encoding cel5b gene.
The complete genomes of three strains from the phylum Acidobacteria were compared. Phylogenetic analysis placed them as a unique phylum. They share genomic traits with members of the Proteobacteria, the Cyanobacteria, and the Fungi. The three strains appear to be versatile heterotrophs. Genomic and culture traits indicate the use of carbon sources that span simple sugars to more complex substrates such as hemicellulose, cellulose, and chitin. The genomes encode low-specificity major facilitator superfamily transporters and high-affinity ABC transporters for sugars, suggesting that they are best suited to low-nutrient conditions. They appear capable of nitrate and nitrite reduction but not N(2) fixation or denitrification. The genomes contained numerous genes that encode siderophore receptors, but no evidence of siderophore production was found, suggesting that they may obtain iron via interaction with other microorganisms. The presence of cellulose synthesis genes and a large class of novel high-molecular-weight excreted proteins suggests potential traits for desiccation resistance, biofilm formation, and/or contribution to soil structure. Polyketide synthase and macrolide glycosylation genes suggest the production of novel antimicrobial compounds. Genes that encode a variety of novel proteins were also identified. The abundance of acidobacteria in soils worldwide and the breadth of potential carbon use by the sequenced strains suggest significant and previously unrecognized contributions to the terrestrial carbon cycle. Combining our genomic evidence with available culture traits, we postulate that cells of these isolates are long-lived, divide slowly, exhibit slow metabolic rates under low-nutrient conditions, and are well equipped to tolerate fluctuations in soil hydration.
Brown-rot fungi such as Postia placenta are common inhabitants of forest ecosystems and are also largely responsible for the destructive decay of wooden structures. Rapid depolymerization of cellulose is a distinguishing feature of brown-rot, but the biochemical mechanisms and underlying genetics are poorly understood. Systematic examination of the P. placenta genome, transcriptome, and secretome revealed unique extracellular enzyme systems, including an unusual repertoire of extracellular glycoside hydrolases. Genes encoding exocellobiohydrolases and cellulose-binding domains, typical of cellulolytic microbes, are absent in this efficient cellulose-degrading fungus. When P. placenta was grown in medium containing cellulose as sole carbon source, transcripts corresponding to many hemicellulases and to a single putative beta-1-4 endoglucanase were expressed at high levels relative to glucose-grown cultures. These transcript profiles were confirmed by direct identification of peptides by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Also up-regulated during growth on cellulose medium were putative iron reductases, quinone reductase, and structurally divergent oxidases potentially involved in extracellular generation of Fe(II) and H(2)O(2). These observations are consistent with a biodegradative role for Fenton chemistry in which Fe(II) and H(2)O(2) react to form hydroxyl radicals, highly reactive oxidants capable of depolymerizing cellulose. The P. placenta genome resources provide unparalleled opportunities for investigating such unusual mechanisms of cellulose conversion. More broadly, the genome offers insight into the diversification of lignocellulose degrading mechanisms in fungi. Comparisons with the closely related white-rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium support an evolutionary shift from white-rot to brown-rot during which the capacity for efficient depolymerization of lignin was lost.
The complex microbiome of the rumen functions as an effective system for the conversion of plant cell wall biomass to microbial protein, short chain fatty acids, and gases. As such, it provides a unique genetic resource for plant cell wall degrading microbial enzymes that could be used in the production of biofuels. The rumen and gastrointestinal tract harbor a dense and complex microbiome. To gain a greater understanding of the ecology and metabolic potential of this microbiome, we used comparative metagenomics (phylotype analysis and SEED subsystems-based annotations) to examine randomly sampled pyrosequence data from 3 fiber-adherent microbiomes and 1 pooled liquid sample (a mixture of the liquid microbiome fractions from the same bovine rumens). Even though the 3 animals were fed the same diet, the community structure, predicted phylotype, and metabolic potentials in the rumen were markedly different with respect to nutrient utilization. A comparison of the glycoside hydrolase and cellulosome functional genes revealed that in the rumen microbiome, initial colonization of fiber appears to be by organisms possessing enzymes that attack the easily available side chains of complex plant polysaccharides and not the more recalcitrant main chains, especially cellulose. Furthermore, when compared with the termite hindgut microbiome, there are fundamental differences in the glycoside hydrolase content that appear to be diet driven for either the bovine rumen (forages and legumes) or the termite hindgut (wood).
Here we report the complete genome sequence of Teredinibacter turnerae T7901. T. turnerae is a marine gamma proteobacterium that occurs as an intracellular endosymbiont in the gills of wood-boring marine bivalves of the family Teredinidae (shipworms). This species is the sole cultivated member of an endosymbiotic consortium thought to provide the host with enzymes, including cellulases and nitrogenase, critical for digestion of wood and supplementation of the hosts nitrogen-deficient diet. T. turnerae is closely related to the free-living marine polysaccharide degrading bacterium Saccharophagus degradans str. 2-40 and to as yet uncultivated endosymbionts with which it coexists in shipworm cells. Like S. degradans, the T. turnerae genome encodes a large number of enzymes predicted to be involved in complex polysaccharide degradation (>100). However, unlike S. degradans, which degrades a broad spectrum (>10 classes) of complex plant, fungal and algal polysaccharides, T. turnerae primarily encodes enzymes associated with deconstruction of terrestrial woody plant material. Also unlike S. degradans and many other eubacteria, T. turnerae dedicates a large proportion of its genome to genes predicted to function in secondary metabolism. Despite its intracellular niche, the T. turnerae genome lacks many features associated with obligate intracellular existence (e.g. reduced genome size, reduced %G+C, loss of genes of core metabolism) and displays evidence of adaptations common to free-living bacteria (e.g. defense against bacteriophage infection). These results suggest that T. turnerae is likely a facultative intracellular ensosymbiont whose niche presently includes, or recently included, free-living existence. As such, the T. turnerae genome provides insights into the range of genomic adaptations associated with intracellular endosymbiosis as well as enzymatic mechanisms relevant to the recycling of plant materials in marine environments and the production of cellulose-derived biofuels.
The identification and annotation of protein-coding genes is one of the primary goals of whole-genome sequencing projects, and the accuracy of predicting the primary protein products of gene expression is vital to the interpretation of the available data and the design of downstream functional applications. Nevertheless, the comprehensive annotation of eukaryotic genomes remains a considerable challenge. Many genomes submitted to public databases, including those of major model organisms, contain significant numbers of wrong and incomplete gene predictions. We present a community-based reannotation of the Aspergillus nidulans genome with the primary goal of increasing the number and quality of protein functional assignments through the careful review of experts in the field of fungal biology.
Noncatalytic carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) are components of glycoside hydrolases that attack generally inaccessible substrates. CBMs mediate a two- to fivefold elevation in the activity of endo-acting enzymes, likely through increasing the concentration of the appended enzymes in the vicinity of the substrate. The function of CBMs appended to exo-acting glycoside hydrolases is unclear because their typical endo-binding mode would not fulfill a targeting role. Here we show that the Bacillus subtilis exo-acting ?-fructosidase SacC, which specifically hydrolyses levan, contains the founding member of CBM family 66 (CBM66). The SacC-derived CBM66 (BsCBM66) targets the terminal fructosides of the major fructans found in nature. The crystal structure of BsCBM66 in complex with ligands reveals extensive interactions with the terminal fructose moiety (Fru-3) of levantriose but only limited hydrophobic contacts with Fru-2, explaining why the CBM displays broad specificity. Removal of BsCBM66 from SacC results in a ~100-fold reduction in activity against levan. The truncated enzyme functions as a nonspecific ?-fructosidase displaying similar activity against ?-2,1- and ?-2,6-linked fructans and their respective fructooligosaccharides. Conversely, appending BsCBM66 to BT3082, a nonspecific ?-fructosidase from Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, confers exolevanase activity on the enzyme. We propose that BsCBM66 confers specificity for levan, a branched fructan, through an "avidity" mechanism in which the CBM and the catalytic module target the termini of different branches of the same polysaccharide molecule. This report identifies a unique mechanism by which CBMs modulate enzyme function, and shows how specificity can be tailored by integrating nonspecific catalytic and binding modules into a single enzyme.
Cryptophyte and chlorarachniophyte algae are transitional forms in the widespread secondary endosymbiotic acquisition of photosynthesis by engulfment of eukaryotic algae. Unlike most secondary plastid-bearing algae, miniaturized versions of the endosymbiont nuclei (nucleomorphs) persist in cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes. To determine why, and to address other fundamental questions about eukaryote-eukaryote endosymbiosis, we sequenced the nuclear genomes of the cryptophyte Guillardia theta and the chlorarachniophyte Bigelowiella natans. Both genomes have >21,000?protein genes and are intron rich, and B. natans exhibits unprecedented alternative splicing for a single-celled organism. Phylogenomic analyses and subcellular targeting predictions reveal extensive genetic and biochemical mosaicism, with both host- and endosymbiont-derived genes servicing the mitochondrion, the host cell cytosol, the plastid and the remnant endosymbiont cytosol of both algae. Mitochondrion-to-nucleus gene transfer still occurs in both organisms but plastid-to-nucleus and nucleomorph-to-nucleus transfers do not, which explains why a small residue of essential genes remains locked in each nucleomorph.
The genome of the coprophilic ascomycete Podospora anserina encodes 33 different genes encoding copper-dependent lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) from glycoside hydrolase family 61 (GH61). In this study, two of these enzymes (P. anserina GH61A [PaGH61A] and PaGH61B), which both harbored a family 1 carbohydrate binding module, were successfully produced in Pichia pastoris. Synergistic cooperation between PaGH61A or PaGH61B with the cellobiose dehydrogenase (CDH) of Pycnoporus cinnabarinus on cellulose resulted in the formation of oxidized and nonoxidized cello-oligosaccharides. A striking difference between PaGH61A and PaGH61B was observed through the identification of the products, among which were doubly and triply oxidized cellodextrins, which were released only by the combination of PaGH61B with CDH. The mass spectrometry fragmentation patterns of these oxidized products could be consistent with oxidation at the C-6 position with a geminal diol group. The different properties of PaGH61A and PaGH61B and their effect on the interaction with CDH are discussed in regard to the proposed in vivo function of the CDH/GH61 enzyme system in oxidative cellulose hydrolysis.
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