Publications by authors named "Danna G Eickbush"

11 Publications

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Dynamic Evolution of Euchromatic Satellites on the X Chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster and the simulans Clade.

Mol Biol Evol 2020 08;37(8):2241-2256

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.

Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) are among the most dynamically evolving components of eukaryotic genomes and play important roles in genome regulation, genome evolution, and speciation. Despite their abundance and functional impact, we know little about the evolutionary dynamics and molecular mechanisms that shape satDNA distributions in genomes. Here, we use high-quality genome assemblies to study the evolutionary dynamics of two complex satDNAs, Rsp-like and 1.688 g/cm3, in Drosophila melanogaster and its three nearest relatives in the simulans clade. We show that large blocks of these repeats are highly dynamic in the heterochromatin, where their genomic location varies across species. We discovered that small blocks of satDNA that are abundant in X chromosome euchromatin are similarly dynamic, with repeats changing in abundance, location, and composition among species. We detail the proliferation of a rare satellite (Rsp-like) across the X chromosome in D. simulans and D. mauritiana. Rsp-like spread by inserting into existing clusters of the older, more abundant 1.688 satellite, in events likely facilitated by microhomology-mediated repair pathways. We show that Rsp-like is abundant on extrachromosomal circular DNA in D. simulans, which may have contributed to its dynamic evolution. Intralocus satDNA expansions via unequal exchange and the movement of higher order repeats also contribute to the fluidity of the repeat landscape. We find evidence that euchromatic satDNA repeats experience cycles of proliferation and diversification somewhat analogous to bursts of transposable element proliferation. Our study lays a foundation for mechanistic studies of satDNA proliferation and the functional and evolutionary consequences of satDNA movement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7403614PMC
August 2020

Single-molecule sequencing resolves the detailed structure of complex satellite DNA loci in .

Genome Res 2017 05 3;27(5):709-721. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.

Highly repetitive satellite DNA (satDNA) repeats are found in most eukaryotic genomes. SatDNAs are rapidly evolving and have roles in genome stability and chromosome segregation. Their repetitive nature poses a challenge for genome assembly and makes progress on the detailed study of satDNA structure difficult. Here, we use single-molecule sequencing long reads from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) to determine the detailed structure of all major autosomal complex satDNA loci in , with a particular focus on the and satellites. We determine the optimal de novo assembly methods and parameter combinations required to produce a high-quality assembly of these previously unassembled satDNA loci and validate this assembly using molecular and computational approaches. We determined that the computationally intensive PBcR-BLASR assembly pipeline yielded better assemblies than the faster and more efficient pipelines based on the MHAP hashing algorithm, and it is essential to validate assemblies of repetitive loci. The assemblies reveal that satDNA repeats are organized into large arrays interrupted by transposable elements. The repeats in the center of the array tend to be homogenized in sequence, suggesting that gene conversion and unequal crossovers lead to repeat homogenization through concerted evolution, although the degree of unequal crossing over may differ among complex satellite loci. We find evidence for higher-order structure within satDNA arrays that suggest recent structural rearrangements. These assemblies provide a platform for the evolutionary and functional genomics of satDNAs in pericentric heterochromatin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.213512.116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5411766PMC
May 2017

Integration, Regulation, and Long-Term Stability of R2 Retrotransposons.

Microbiol Spectr 2015 Apr;3(2):MDNA3-0011-2014

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627.

R2 elements are sequence specific non-LTR retrotransposons that exclusively insert in the 28S rRNA genes of animals. R2s encode an endonuclease that cleaves the insertion site and a reverse transcriptase that uses the cleaved DNA to prime reverse transcription of the R2 transcript, a process termed target primed reverse transcription. Additional unusual properties of the reverse transcriptase as well as DNA and RNA binding domains of the R2 encoded protein have been characterized. R2 expression is through co-transcription with the 28S gene and self-cleavage by a ribozyme encoded at the R2 5' end. Studies in laboratory stocks and natural populations of Drosophila suggest that R2 expression is tied to the distribution of R2-inserted units within the rDNA locus. Most individuals have no R2 expression because only a small fraction of their rRNA genes need to be active, and a contiguous region of the locus free of R2 insertions can be selected for activation. However, if the R2-free region is not large enough to produce sufficient rRNA, flanking units - including those inserted with R2 - must be activated. Finally, R2 copies rapidly turnover within the rDNA locus, yet R2 has been vertically maintained in animal lineages for hundreds of millions of years. The key to this stability is R2's ability to remain dormant in rDNA units outside the transcribed regions for generations until the stochastic nature of the crossovers that drive the concerted evolution of the rDNA locus inevitably reshuffle the inserted and uninserted units, resulting in transcription of the R2-inserted units.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/microbiolspec.MDNA3-0011-2014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4498411PMC
April 2015

Dead element replicating: degenerate R2 element replication and rDNA genomic turnover in the Bacillus rossius stick insect (Insecta: Phasmida).

PLoS One 2015 23;10(3):e0121831. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

R2 is an extensively investigated non-LTR retrotransposon that specifically inserts into the 28S rRNA gene sequences of a wide range of metazoans, disrupting its functionality. During R2 integration, first strand synthesis can be incomplete so that 5' end deleted copies are occasionally inserted. While active R2 copies repopulate the locus by retrotransposing, the non-functional truncated elements should frequently be eliminated by molecular drive processes leading to the concerted evolution of the rDNA array(s). Although, multiple R2 lineages have been discovered in the genome of many animals, the rDNA of the stick insect Bacillus rossius exhibits a peculiar situation: it harbors both a canonical, functional R2 element (R2Brfun) as well as a full-length but degenerate element (R2Brdeg). An intensive sequencing survey in the present study reveals that all truncated variants in stick insects are present in multiple copies suggesting they were duplicated by unequal recombination. Sequencing results also demonstrate that all R2Brdeg copies are full-length, i. e. they have no associated 5' end deletions, and functional assays indicate they have lost the active ribozyme necessary for R2 RNA maturation. Although it cannot be completely ruled out, it seems unlikely that the degenerate elements replicate via reverse transcription, exploiting the R2Brfun element enzymatic machinery, but rather via genomic amplification of inserted 28S by unequal recombination. That inactive copies (both R2Brdeg or 5'-truncated elements) are not eliminated in a short term in stick insects contrasts with findings for the Drosophila R2, suggesting a widely different management of rDNA loci and a lower efficiency of the molecular drive while achieving the concerted evolution.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0121831PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4370867PMC
March 2016

Evolution of the R2 retrotransposon ribozyme and its self-cleavage site.

PLoS One 2013 16;8(9):e66441. Epub 2013 Sep 16.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States of America.

R2 is a non-long terminal repeat retrotransposon that inserts site-specifically in the tandem 28S rRNA genes of many animals. Previously, R2 RNA from various species of Drosophila was shown to self-cleave from the 28S rRNA/R2 co-transcript by a hepatitis D virus (HDV)-like ribozyme encoded at its 5' end. RNA cleavage was at the precise 5' junction of the element with the 28S gene. Here we report that RNAs encompassing the 5' ends of R2 elements from throughout its species range fold into HDV-like ribozymes. In vitro assays of RNA self-cleavage conducted in many R2 lineages confirmed activity. For many R2s, RNA self-cleavage was not at the 5' end of the element but at 28S rRNA sequences up to 36 nucleotides upstream of the junction. The location of cleavage correlated well with the types of endogenous R2 5' junctions from different species. R2 5' junctions were uniform for most R2s in which RNA cleavage was upstream in the rRNA sequences. The 28S sequences remaining on the first DNA strand synthesized during retrotransposition are postulated to anneal to the target site and uniformly prime second strand DNA synthesis. In species where RNA cleavage occurred at the R2 5' end, the 5' junctions were variable. This junction variation is postulated to result from the priming of second strand DNA synthesis by chance microhomologies between the target site and the first DNA strand. Finally, features of R2 ribozyme evolution, especially changes in cleavage site and convergence on the same active site sequences, are discussed.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066441PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774820PMC
May 2014

R2 and R2/R1 hybrid non-autonomous retrotransposons derived by internal deletions of full-length elements.

Mob DNA 2012 May 23;3(1):10. Epub 2012 May 23.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, 14627, USA.

Background: R2 is a non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposable element that inserts site specifically into the 28S genes of the ribosomal (r)RNA gene loci. Encoded at the 5' end is a ribozyme that generates the precise 5' end by self-cleavage of a 28S gene cotranscript. Sequences at the 3' end are necessary for the R2 protein to bind RNA and initiate the target primed reverse transcription (TPRT) reaction. These minimal RNA requirements suggested that if recombination/DNA repair conjoined the 5' and 3' ends of R2, the result would be a non-autonomous element that could survive as long as autonomous R2 elements supplied the TPRT activity.

Results: A PCR-based survey of 39 Drosophila species aided by genomic sequences from 12 of these species revealed two types of non-autonomous elements. We call these elements SIDEs (for 'Short Internally Deleted Elements'). The first consisted of a 5' ribozyme and a 3' end of an R2 element as predicted. Variation at the 5' junctions of the R2 SIDE copies was typical for R2 insertions suggesting their propagation by TPRT. The second class of SIDE contained sequences from R1 elements, another non-LTR retrotransposon that inserts into rRNA gene loci. These insertions had an R2 ribozyme immediately upstream of R1 3' end sequences. These hybrid SIDEs were inserted at the R1 site with 14 bp target site duplications typical of R1 insertions suggesting they used the R1 machinery for retrotransposition. Finally, the survey revealed examples of U12 small nuclear (sn)RNA and tRNA sequences at the 5' end of R2 elements suggesting the R2 reverse transcriptase can template jump from the R2 transcript to a second RNA during TPRT.

Conclusions: The R2 SIDE and R2/R1 hybrid SIDEs are rare examples of non-autonomous retrotransposons in the Drosophila genome. Associated non-autonomous elements and in vivo template jumps are two additional characteristics R2 shares with other non-LTR retrotransposons such as mammalian L1s. Analysis of the hybrid SIDEs provides supporting evidence that R1 elements, like R2 elements, recognize their 3' untranslated region (UTR) sequences and, thus, belong to the stringent class of non-LTR elements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1759-8753-3-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3414825PMC
May 2012

The R2 retrotransposon RNA families.

RNA Biol 2011 Sep-Oct;8(5):714-8. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.

Analysis of the R2 retrotransposons from multiple silkmoth and fruitfly species have revealed three segments that contain conserved RNA secondary structures. These conserved structures play important roles in the propagation of the R2 element, including R2 RNA processing and transposon integration into the host genome as well as a likely role in translation. Two of the structured regions comprise protein binding sites: one is located in the 3' UTR and the other is in the 5' UTR close to the putative start of the R2 open reading frame (ORF). The 3' structure was deduced from chemical mapping and sequence comparison. The 5' structure was determined using a combination of chemical mapping, oligonucleotide binding, NMR and sequence analysis and contains an unusual pseudoknot structure. The third structure occurs at the 5' end of the R2 RNA and is responsible for self-cleavage of the 5' end of the element from a 28S ribosomal RNA co-transcript. A structure for this fragment was proposed based on motif searching and sequence comparison. There is remarkable similarity in sequence and structure to the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme. Seed alignments for the 5' structure and the R2 ribozyme, containing representative sequences and consensus structures, have been submitted to the Rfam database.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/rna.8.5.16033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256348PMC
January 2013

R2 retrotransposons encode a self-cleaving ribozyme for processing from an rRNA cotranscript.

Mol Cell Biol 2010 Jul 26;30(13):3142-50. Epub 2010 Apr 26.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.

The non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposon R2 is inserted into the 28S rRNA genes of many animals. Expression of the element appears to be by cotranscription with the rRNA gene unit. We show here that processing of the rRNA cotranscript at the 5' end of the R2 element in Drosophila simulans is rapid and utilizes an unexpected mechanism. Using RNA synthesized in vitro, the 5' untranslated region of R2 was shown capable of rapid and efficient self-cleavage of the 28S-R2 cotranscript. The 5' end generated in vitro by the R2 ribozyme was at the position identical to that found for in vivo R2 transcripts. The RNA segment corresponding to the R2 ribozyme could be folded into a double pseudoknot structure similar to that of the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme. Remarkably, 21 of the nucleotide positions in and around the active site of the HDV ribozyme were identical in R2. R2 elements from other Drosophila species were also shown to encode HDV-like ribozymes capable of self-cleavage. Tracing their sequence evolution in the Drosophila lineage suggests that the extensive similarity of the R2 ribozyme from D. simulans to that of HDV was a result of convergent evolution, not common descent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.00300-10DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897577PMC
July 2010

Epigenetic regulation of retrotransposons within the nucleolus of Drosophila.

Mol Cell Biol 2008 Oct 4;28(20):6452-61. Epub 2008 Aug 4.

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA.

R2 retrotransposable elements exclusively insert into a conserved region of the tandemly organized 28S rRNA genes. Despite inactivating a subset of these genes, R2 elements have persisted in the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) loci of insects for hundreds of millions of years. Controlling R2 proliferation was addressed in this study using lines of Drosophila simulans previously shown to have either active or inactive R2 retrotransposition. Lines with active retrotransposition were shown to have high R2 transcript levels, which nuclear run-on transcription experiments revealed were due to increased transcription of R2-inserted genes. Crosses between R2 active and inactive lines indicated that an important component of this transcriptional control is linked to or near the rDNA locus, with the R2 transcription level of the inactive parent being dominant. Pulsed-field gel analysis suggested that the R2 active and inactive states were determined by R2 distribution within the locus. Molecular and cytological analyses further suggested that the entire rDNA locus from the active line can be silenced in favor of the locus from the inactive line. This silencing of entire rDNA loci represents an example of the large-scale epigenetic control of transposable elements and shares features with the nucleolar dominance frequently seen in interspecies hybrids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01015-08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2577413PMC
October 2008

Finely orchestrated movements: evolution of the ribosomal RNA genes.

Genetics 2007 Feb;175(2):477-85

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.

Evolution of the tandemly repeated ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes is intriguing because in each species all units within the array are highly uniform in sequence but that sequence differs between species. In this review we summarize the origins of the current models to explain this process of concerted evolution, emphasizing early studies of recombination in yeast and more recent studies in Drosophila and mammalian systems. These studies suggest that unequal crossover is the major driving force in the evolution of the rRNA genes with sister chromatid exchange occurring more often than exchange between homologs. Gene conversion is also believed to play a role; however, direct evidence for its involvement has not been obtained. Remarkably, concerted evolution is so well orchestrated that even transposable elements that insert into a large fraction of the rRNA genes appear to have little effect on the process. Finally, we summarize data that suggest that recombination in the rDNA locus of higher eukaryotes is sufficiently frequent to monitor changes within a few generations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/genetics.107.071399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1800602PMC
February 2007

Transcription of endogenous and exogenous R2 elements in the rRNA gene locus of Drosophila melanogaster.

Mol Cell Biol 2003 Jun;23(11):3825-36

Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 146270-0211, USA.

R2 retrotransposons insert into the rRNA-encoding units (rDNA units) that form the nucleoli of insects. We have utilized an R2 integration system in Drosophila melanogaster to study transcription of foreign sequences integrated into the R2 target site of the 28S rRNA genes. The exogenous sequences were cotranscribed at dramatically different levels which closely paralleled the level of transcription of the endogenous R1 and R2 elements. Transcription levels were inversely correlated with the number of uninserted rDNA units, variation in this number having been brought about by the R2 integration system itself. Females with as few as 20 uninserted rDNA units per X chromosome had expression levels of endogenous and exogenous insertion sequences that were 2 orders of magnitude higher than lines that contained over 80 uninserted rDNA units per chromosome. R2 insertions only 167 bp in length exhibited this range of transcriptional regulation. Analysis of transcript levels in males suggested R2 insertions on the Y chromosome are not down-regulated to the same extent as insertions on the X chromosome. These results suggest that transcription of the rDNA units can be tightly regulated, but this regulation gradually breaks down as the cell approaches the minimum number of uninserted genes needed for survival.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155226PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mcb.23.11.3825-3836.2003DOI Listing
June 2003