Publications by authors named "Oliver Deusch"

22 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of feeding a daily oral care chew on the composition of plaque microbiota in dogs.

Res Vet Sci 2020 Oct 4;132:133-141. Epub 2020 May 4.

WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 4RT, UK.

The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of daily feeding of an oral care chew on the composition of canine supragingival plaque microbiota. Twelve beagle dogs were recruited to the randomized cross-over study. The dogs were fed one of two dietary regimes, both consisting of a commercially available wet and dry diet mix, either with or without daily supplementation with an oral care chew. After each 28-day test phase, supragingival plaque samples were collected and processed via Illumina sequencing to determine the microbiota composition. A comparative analysis of bacterial species associated with health and periodontal disease, identified from prior clinical studies, revealed differences between the dietary regimes. Consumption of the daily oral care chew, resulted in a significant increase in proportion of 6 health associated taxa but only 3 disease associated taxa compared to no chew. In contrast, 8 disease and 1 health associated taxa showed increased proportions for no chew versus the oral care chew. Daily feeding of the oral care chew tested in this study has therefore been shown to increase the proportion of health associated bacteria, over bacteria associated with periodontal disease, in supragingival plaque compared to no chew. By influencing plaque microbiota towards a bias for health associated bacteria, feeding of the oral care chew provides a means to reduce the prevalence of bacterial species shown to be associated with periodontal disease in dogs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2020.05.001DOI Listing
October 2020

Combining whole-genome shotgun sequencing and rRNA gene amplicon analyses to improve detection of microbe-microbe interaction networks in plant leaves.

ISME J 2020 08 13;14(8):2116-2130. Epub 2020 May 13.

Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 72076, Tübingen, Germany.

Microorganisms from all domains of life establish associations with plants. Although some harm the plant, others antagonize pathogens or prime the plant immune system, support the acquisition of nutrients, tune plant hormone levels, or perform additional services. Most culture-independent plant microbiome research has focused on amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and/or the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of rRNA genomic loci, which show the relative abundance of the microbes to each other. Here, we describe shotgun sequencing of 275 wild Arabidopsis thaliana leaf microbiomes from southwest Germany, with additional bacterial 16S and eukaryotic ITS1 rRNA amplicon data from 176 of these samples. Shotgun data, which unlike the amplicon data capture the ratio of microbe to plant DNA, enable scaling of microbial read abundances to reflect the microbial load on the host. In a more cost-effective hybrid strategy, we show they also allow a similar scaling of amplicon data to overcome compositionality problems. Our wild plants were dominated by bacterial sequences, with eukaryotes contributing only a minority of reads. Microbial membership showed weak associations with both site of origin and plant genotype, both of which were highly confounded in this dataset. There was large variation among microbiomes, with one extreme comprising samples of low complexity and a high load of microorganisms typical of infected plants, and the other extreme being samples of high complexity and a low microbial load. Critically, considering absolute microbial load led to fundamentally different conclusions about microbiome assembly and the interaction networks among major taxa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41396-020-0665-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7368051PMC
August 2020

Rapid Reconstitution of the Fecal Microbiome after Extended Diet-Induced Changes Indicates a Stable Gut Microbiome in Healthy Adult Dogs.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2020 06 17;86(13). Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Waltham on the Wolds, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

The gut microbiome has an important role in health, and diet represents a key lever for shaping the gut microbiome across all stages of life. Maternal milk consumption in neonates leads to long-term health effects, indicating that pliability in the infant gut microbiome in response to diet can drive enduring change. The ability of diet to drive lasting changes in the adult gut microbiome is less understood. We studied the effect of an extreme dietary shift on the fecal microbiome of 46 Labrador retriever dogs (mean age, 4.6 years) over 11 months. Dogs were fed a nutritionally complete, commercially available complex diet (CD) for a minimum of 5 weeks, followed by highly purified diets (PDs) for 36 weeks, and the initial CD for at least a further 4 weeks. Fecal samples were collected at regular intervals for DNA extraction. By analyzing 16S rRNA genes and the metagenomes, we observed minor effects on microbial diversity but significant changes in bacterial taxa and genetic potential when a PD was fed. Specifically, metagenomics identified an enrichment of quinone- and GABA-related pathways on PD, providing insights into dietary effects on cross-feeding strategies impacting community structure. When dogs returned to the CD, no significant differences were found with the initial time point. These findings are consistent with the gut microbiome being rapidly adaptable but capable of being reconstituted when provided with similar diets. These data highlight that long-term changes in the adult dog gut microbiome may only be achieved through long-term maintenance on a specified diet, rather than through feeding a transitionary diet. Diet can influence the adult gut microbiome (the community of bacteria) and health outcomes, but the ability to make changes persisting beyond feeding of a particular diet is poorly understood. We investigated whether feeding highly purified diets to adult dogs for 36 weeks would alter bacterial populations sufficiently to result in a persistent change following the dogs' return to a commercial diet. As expected, the microbiome changed when the purified diet was fed, but the original microbiome was reconstituted within weeks of the dogs returning to the commercial diet. The significance of these findings is in identifying an intrinsic stability of the host microbiome in healthy dogs, suggesting that dietary changes to support adult dog health through modifying the gut microbiome may be achieved only through maintenance on a specified diet, rather than through feeding transitionary diets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00562-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7301858PMC
June 2020

The canine oral microbiome: variation in bacterial populations across different niches.

BMC Microbiol 2020 02 28;20(1):42. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 4RT, UK.

Background: Microbiota from different niches within the canine oral cavity were profiled and compared. Supragingival plaque and stimulated saliva, were collected alongside samples from the buccal and tongue dorsum mucosa, from 14 Labrador retrievers at three timepoints within a 1 month timeframe. The V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene was sequenced via Illumina MiSeq.

Results: Supragingival plaque microbiota had the highest bacterial diversity and the largest number of significant differences in individual taxa when compared to the other oral niches. Stimulated saliva exhibited the highest variability in microbial composition between dogs, yet the lowest bacterial diversity amongst all the niches. Overall, the bacteria of the buccal and tongue dorsum mucosa were most similar.

Conclusions: The bacterial community profiles indicated three discrete oral niches: soft tissue surfaces (buccal and tongue dorsum mucosa), hard tissue surface (supragingival plaque) and saliva. The ability to distinguish the niches by their microbiota signature offers the potential for microbial biomarkers to be identified in each unique niche for diagnostic use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12866-020-1704-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7048056PMC
February 2020

A Longitudinal Study of the Feline Faecal Microbiome Identifies Changes into Early Adulthood Irrespective of Sexual Development.

PLoS One 2015 14;10(12):e0144881. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Companion animals provide an excellent model for studies of the gut microbiome because potential confounders such as diet and environment can be more readily controlled for than in humans. Additionally, domestic cats and dogs are typically neutered early in life, enabling an investigation into the potential effect of sex hormones on the microbiome. In a longitudinal study to investigate the potential effects of neutering, neutering age and gender on the gut microbiome during growth, the faeces of kittens (16 male, 14 female) were sampled at 18, 30 and 42 weeks of age. DNA was shotgun sequenced on the Illumina platform and sequence reads were annotated for taxonomy and function by comparison to a database of protein coding genes. In a statistical analysis of diversity, taxonomy and functional potential of the microbiomes, age was identified as the only factor with significant associations. No significant effects were detected for gender, neutering, or age when neutered (19 or 31 weeks). At 18 weeks of age the microbiome was dominated by the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (35% and 20% average abundance). Structural and functional diversity was significantly increased by week 30 but there was no further significant increase. At 42 weeks of age the most abundant genera were Bacteroides (16%), Prevotella (14%) and Megasphaera (8%). Significant differences in functional potential included an enrichment for genes in energy metabolism (carbon metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation) and depletion in cell motility (flagella and chemotaxis). We conclude that the feline faecal microbiome is predominantly determined by age when diet and environment are controlled for. We suggest this finding may also be informative for studies of the human microbiome, where control over such factors is usually limited.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144881PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682054PMC
July 2016

A Pyrosequencing Investigation of Differences in the Feline Subgingival Microbiota in Health, Gingivitis and Mild Periodontitis.

PLoS One 2015 25;10(11):e0136986. Epub 2015 Nov 25.

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare UK, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Periodontitis is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in cats yet little is known about the bacterial species important for the disease. The objective of this study was to identify bacterial species associated with health, gingivitis or mild periodontitis (<25% attachment loss) in feline plaque. Knowledge of these species is a first step in understanding the potential for improving oral health of cats via dietary interventions that alter the proportions of influential species. Subgingival plaque samples were collected from 92 cats with healthy gingiva, gingivitis or mild periodontitis. Pyrosequencing of the V1-V3 region of the 16S rDNA from these plaque samples generated more than one million reads and identified a total of 267 operational taxonomic units after bioinformatic and statistical analysis. Porphyromonas was the most abundant genus in all gingival health categories, particularly in health along with Moraxella and Fusobacteria. The Peptostreptococcaceae were the most abundant family in gingivitis and mild periodontitis. Logistic regression analysis identified species from various genera that were significantly associated with health, gingivitis or mild periodontitis. The species identified were very similar to those observed in canine plaque in the corresponding health and disease states. Such similarities were not observed between cat and human at the bacterial species level but with disease progression similarities did emerge at the phylum level. This suggests that interventions targeted at human pathogenic species will not be effective for use in cats but there is more potential for commonalities in interventions for cats and dogs.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136986PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4659563PMC
June 2016

Comparative Genomics of the Genus Porphyromonas Identifies Adaptations for Heme Synthesis within the Prevalent Canine Oral Species Porphyromonas cangingivalis.

Genome Biol Evol 2015 Nov 13;7(12):3397-413. Epub 2015 Nov 13.

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, United Kingdom.

Porphyromonads play an important role in human periodontal disease and recently have been shown to be highly prevalent in canine mouths. Porphyromonas cangingivalis is the most prevalent canine oral bacterial species in both plaque from healthy gingiva and plaque from dogs with early periodontitis. The ability of P. cangingivalis to flourish in the different environmental conditions characterized by these two states suggests a degree of metabolic flexibility. To characterize the genes responsible for this, the genomes of 32 isolates (including 18 newly sequenced and assembled) from 18 Porphyromonad species from dogs, humans, and other mammals were compared. Phylogenetic trees inferred using core genes largely matched previous findings; however, comparative genomic analysis identified several genes and pathways relating to heme synthesis that were present in P. cangingivalis but not in other Porphyromonads. Porphyromonas cangingivalis has a complete protoporphyrin IX synthesis pathway potentially allowing it to synthesize its own heme unlike pathogenic Porphyromonads such as Porphyromonas gingivalis that acquire heme predominantly from blood. Other pathway differences such as the ability to synthesize siroheme and vitamin B12 point to enhanced metabolic flexibility for P. cangingivalis, which may underlie its prevalence in the canine oral cavity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evv220DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700951PMC
November 2015

A longitudinal assessment of changes in bacterial community composition associated with the development of periodontal disease in dogs.

Vet Microbiol 2015 Dec 8;181(3-4):271-82. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 4RT, UK. Electronic address:

Periodontal disease is the most widespread oral disease in dogs. Whilst the involvement of bacteria in the aetiology of periodontitis is well established the role of individual species and their complex interactions with the host is not well understood. The objective of this research was therefore to perform a longitudinal study in dogs to identify the changes that occur in subgingival bacterial communities during the transition from mild gingivitis to the early stages of periodontitis (<25% attachment loss). Subgingival plaque samples were collected from individual teeth of 52 miniature schnauzer dogs every six weeks for up to 60 weeks. The microbial composition of plaque samples was determined using 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rDNA. A group of aerobic Gram negative species, including Bergeyella zoohelcum COT-186, Moraxella sp. COT-017, Pasteurellaceae sp. COT-080, and Neisseria shayeganii COT-090 decreased in proportion as teeth progressed to mild periodontitis. In contrast, there was less evidence that increases in the proportion of individual species were associated with the onset of periodontitis, although a number of species (particularly members of the Firmicutes) became more abundant as gingivitis severity increased. There were small increases in Shannon diversity, suggesting that plaque community membership remains relatively stable but that bacterial proportions change during progression into periodontitis. This is the first study to demonstrate the temporal dynamics of the canine oral microbiota; it showed that periodontitis results from a microbial succession predominantly characterised by a reduction of previously abundant, health associated taxa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.09.003DOI Listing
December 2015

Draft genome sequences of 26 porphyromonas strains isolated from the canine oral microbiome.

Genome Announc 2015 Apr 9;3(2). Epub 2015 Apr 9.

ithree institute, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

We present the draft genome sequences for 26 strains of Porphyromonas (P. canoris, P. gulae, P. cangingavalis, P. macacae, and 7 unidentified) and an unidentified member of the Porphyromonadaceae family. All of these strains were isolated from the canine oral cavity, from dogs with and without early periodontal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.00187-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392144PMC
April 2015

Early canine plaque biofilms: characterization of key bacterial interactions involved in initial colonization of enamel.

PLoS One 2014 2;9(12):e113744. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Periodontal disease (PD) is a significant problem in dogs affecting between 44% and 63.6% of the population. The main etiological agent for PD is plaque, a microbial biofilm that colonizes teeth and causes inflammation of the gingiva. Understanding how this biofilm initiates on the tooth surface is of central importance in developing interventions against PD. Although the stages of plaque development on human teeth have been well characterized little is known about how canine plaque develops. Recent studies of the canine oral microbiome have revealed distinct differences between the canine and human oral environments and the bacterial communities they support, particularly with respect to healthy plaque. These differences mean knowledge about the nature of plaque formation in humans may not be directly translatable to dogs. The aim of this study was to identify the bacterial species important in the early stages of canine plaque formation in vivo and then use isolates of these species in a laboratory biofilm model to develop an understanding of the sequential processes which take place during the initial colonization of enamel. Supra-gingival plaque samples were collected from 12 dogs at 24 and 48 hour time points following a full mouth descale and polish. Pyrosequencing of the 16S rDNA identified 134 operational taxonomic units after statistical analysis. The species with the highest relative abundance were Bergeyella zoohelcum, Neisseria shayeganii and a Moraxella species. Streptococcal species, which tend to dominate early human plaque biofilms, had very low relative abundance. In vitro testing of biofilm formation identified five primary colonizer species, three of which belonged to the genus Neisseria. Using these pioneer bacteria as a starting point, viable two and three species communities were developed. Combining in vivo and in vitro data has led us to construct novel models of how the early canine plaque biofilm develops.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113744PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4252054PMC
July 2015

Deep Illumina-based shotgun sequencing reveals dietary effects on the structure and function of the fecal microbiome of growing kittens.

PLoS One 2014 10;9(7):e101021. Epub 2014 Jul 10.

Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America; Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America; Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, United States of America.

Background: Previously, we demonstrated that dietary protein:carbohydrate ratio dramatically affects the fecal microbial taxonomic structure of kittens using targeted 16S gene sequencing. The present study, using the same fecal samples, applied deep Illumina shotgun sequencing to identify the diet-associated functional potential and analyze taxonomic changes of the feline fecal microbiome.

Methodology & Principal Findings: Fecal samples from kittens fed one of two diets differing in protein and carbohydrate content (high-protein, low-carbohydrate, HPLC; and moderate-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, MPMC) were collected at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age (n = 6 per group). A total of 345.3 gigabases of sequence were generated from 36 samples, with 99.75% of annotated sequences identified as bacterial. At the genus level, 26% and 39% of reads were annotated for HPLC- and MPMC-fed kittens, with HPLC-fed cats showing greater species richness and microbial diversity. Two phyla, ten families and fifteen genera were responsible for more than 80% of the sequences at each taxonomic level for both diet groups, consistent with the previous taxonomic study. Significantly different abundances between diet groups were observed for 324 genera (56% of all genera identified) demonstrating widespread diet-induced changes in microbial taxonomic structure. Diversity was not affected over time. Functional analysis identified 2,013 putative enzyme function groups were different (p<0.000007) between the two dietary groups and were associated to 194 pathways, which formed five discrete clusters based on average relative abundance. Of those, ten contained more (p<0.022) enzyme functions with significant diet effects than expected by chance. Six pathways were related to amino acid biosynthesis and metabolism linking changes in dietary protein with functional differences of the gut microbiome.

Conclusions: These data indicate that feline feces-derived microbiomes have large structural and functional differences relating to the dietary protein:carbohydrate ratio and highlight the impact of diet early in life.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0101021PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4091873PMC
March 2015

A cross-sectional survey of bacterial species in plaque from client owned dogs with healthy gingiva, gingivitis or mild periodontitis.

PLoS One 2013 13;8(12):e83158. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Mars Petcare UK, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.

Periodontal disease is the most widespread oral disease in dogs which if left untreated results in significant pain to the pet and loss of dentition. The objective of this study was to identify bacterial species in canine plaque that are significantly associated with health, gingivitis and mild periodontitis (<25% attachment loss). In this survey subgingival plaque samples were collected from 223 dogs with healthy gingiva, gingivitis and mild periodontitis with 72 to 77 samples per health status. DNA was extracted from the plaque samples and subjected to PCR amplification of the V1-V3 region of the 16S rDNA. Pyrosequencing of the PCR amplicons identified a total of 274 operational taxonomic units after bioinformatic and statistical analysis. Porphyromonas was the most abundant genus in all disease stages, particularly in health along with Moraxella and Bergeyella. Peptostreptococcus, Actinomyces, and Peptostreptococcaceae were the most abundant genera in mild periodontitis. Logistic regression analysis identified species from each of these genera that were significantly associated with health, gingivitis or mild periodontitis. Principal component analysis showed distinct community profiles in health and disease. The species identified show some similarities with health and periodontal disease in humans but also major differences. In contrast to human, healthy canine plaque was found to be dominated by Gram negative bacterial species whereas Gram positive anaerobic species predominate in disease. The scale of this study surpasses previously published research and enhances our understanding of the bacterial species present in canine subgingival plaque and their associations with health and early periodontal disease.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0083158PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3862762PMC
March 2015

Chips and tags suggest plant-environment interactions differ for two alpine Pachycladon species.

BMC Genomics 2012 Jul 19;13:322. Epub 2012 Jul 19.

Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Background: Expression profiling has been proposed as a means for screening non-model organisms in their natural environments to identify genes potentially important in adaptive diversification. Tag profiling using high throughput sequencing is a relatively low cost means of expression profiling with deep coverage. However the extent to which very short cDNA sequences can be effectively used in screening for candidate genes is unclear. Here we investigate this question using an evolutionarily distant as well as a closely related transcriptome for referencing tags. We do this by comparing differentially expressed genes and processes between two closely related allopolyploid species of Pachycladon which have distinct altitudinal preferences in the New Zealand Southern Alps. We validate biological inferences against earlier microarray analyses.

Results: Statistical and gene annotation enrichment analyses of tag profiles identified more differentially expressed genes of potential adaptive significance than previous analyses of array-based expression profiles. These include genes involved in glucosinolate metabolism, flowering time, and response to cold, desiccation, fungi and oxidation. In addition, despite the short length of 20mer tags, we were able to infer patterns of homeologous gene expression for 700 genes in our reference library of 7,128 full-length Pachycladon ESTs. We also demonstrate that there is significant information loss when mapping tags to the non-conspecific reference transcriptome of A. thaliana as opposed to P. fastigiatum ESTs but also describe mapping strategies by which the larger collection of A. thaliana ESTs can be used as a reference.

Conclusion: When coupled with a reference transcriptome generated using RNA-seq, tag sequencing offers a promising approach for screening natural populations and identifying candidate genes of potential adaptive significance. We identify computational issues important for the successful application of tag profiling in a non-model allopolyploid plant species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-13-322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3460751PMC
July 2012

Cutoffs and k-mers: implications from a transcriptome study in allopolyploid plants.

BMC Genomics 2012 Mar 14;13:92. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Background: Transcriptome analysis is increasingly being used to study the evolutionary origins and ecology of non-model plants. One issue for both transcriptome assembly and differential gene expression analyses is the common occurrence in plants of hybridisation and whole genome duplication (WGD) and hybridization resulting in allopolyploidy. The divergence of duplicated genes following WGD creates near identical homeologues that can be problematic for de novo assembly and also reference based assembly protocols that use short reads (35 - 100 bp).

Results: Here we report a successful strategy for the assembly of two transcriptomes made using 75 bp Illumina reads from Pachycladon fastigiatum and Pachycladon cheesemanii. Both are allopolyploid plant species (2n = 20) that originated in the New Zealand Alps about 0.8 million years ago. In a systematic analysis of 19 different coverage cutoffs and 20 different k-mer sizes we showed that i) none of the genes could be assembled across all of the parameter space ii) assembly of each gene required an optimal set of parameter values and iii) these parameter values could be explained in part by different gene expression levels and different degrees of similarity between genes.

Conclusions: To obtain optimal transcriptome assemblies for allopolyploid plants, k-mer size and k-mer coverage need to be considered simultaneously across a broad parameter space. This is important for assembling a maximum number of full length ESTs and for avoiding chimeric assemblies of homeologous and paralogous gene copies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-13-92DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3378427PMC
March 2012

Systematic error in seed plant phylogenomics.

Genome Biol Evol 2011 19;3:1340-8. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Resolving the closest relatives of Gnetales has been an enigmatic problem in seed plant phylogeny. The problem is known to be difficult because of the extent of divergence between this diverse group of gymnosperms and their closest phylogenetic relatives. Here, we investigate the evolutionary properties of conifer chloroplast DNA sequences. To improve taxon sampling of Cupressophyta (non-Pinaceae conifers), we report sequences from three new chloroplast (cp) genomes of Southern Hemisphere conifers. We have applied a site pattern sorting criterion to study compositional heterogeneity, heterotachy, and the fit of conifer chloroplast genome sequences to a general time reversible + G substitution model. We show that non-time reversible properties of aligned sequence positions in the chloroplast genomes of Gnetales mislead phylogenetic reconstruction of these seed plants. When 2,250 of the most varied sites in our concatenated alignment are excluded, phylogenetic analyses favor a close evolutionary relationship between the Gnetales and Pinaceae-the Gnepine hypothesis. Our analytical protocol provides a useful approach for evaluating the robustness of phylogenomic inferences. Our findings highlight the importance of goodness of fit between substitution model and data for understanding seed plant phylogeny.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evr105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3237385PMC
April 2012

Transcriptomic evidence that longevity of acquired plastids in the photosynthetic slugs Elysia timida and Plakobranchus ocellatus does not entail lateral transfer of algal nuclear genes.

Mol Biol Evol 2011 Jan 9;28(1):699-706. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, Germany.

Sacoglossan sea slugs are unique in the animal kingdom in that they sequester and maintain active plastids that they acquire from the siphonaceous algae upon which they feed, making the animals photosynthetic. Although most sacoglossan species digest their freshly ingested plastids within hours, four species from the family Plakobranchidae retain their stolen plastids (kleptoplasts) in a photosynthetically active state on timescales of weeks to months. The molecular basis of plastid maintenance within the cytosol of digestive gland cells in these photosynthetic metazoans is yet unknown but is widely thought to involve gene transfer from the algal food source to the slugs based upon previous investigations of single genes. Indeed, normal plastid development requires hundreds of nuclear-encoded proteins, with protein turnover in photosystem II in particular known to be rapid under various conditions. Moreover, only algal plastids, not the algal nuclei, are sequestered by the animals during feeding. If algal nuclear genes are transferred to the animal either during feeding or in the germ line, and if they are expressed, then they should be readily detectable with deep-sequencing methods. We have sequenced expressed mRNAs from actively photosynthesizing, starved individuals of two photosynthetic sea slug species, Plakobranchus ocellatus Van Hasselt, 1824 and Elysia timida Risso, 1818. We find that nuclear-encoded, algal-derived genes specific to photosynthetic function are expressed neither in P. ocellatus nor in E. timida. Despite their dramatic plastid longevity, these photosynthetic sacoglossan slugs do not express genes acquired from algal nuclei in order to maintain plastid function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msq239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002249PMC
January 2011

Transketolase from Cyanophora paradoxa: in vitro import into cyanelles and pea chloroplasts and a complex history of a gene often, but not always, transferred in the context of secondary endosymbiosis.

J Eukaryot Microbiol 2009 Nov-Dec;56(6):568-76

Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, University of Vienna, Dr. Bohrgasse 9, 1030 Vienna, Austria.

The glaucocystophyte Cyanophora paradoxa is an obligatorily photoautotrophic biflagellated protist containing cyanelles, peculiar plastids surrounded by a peptidoglycan layer between their inner and outer envelope membranes. Although the 136-kb cyanelle genome surpasses higher plant chloroplast genomes in coding capacity by about 50 protein genes, these primitive plastids still have to import >2,000 polypeptides across their unique organelle wall. One such protein is transketolase, an essential enzyme of the Calvin cycle. We report the sequence of the pre-transketolase cDNA from C. paradoxa and in vitro import experiments of precursor polypeptides into cyanelles and into pea chloroplasts. The transit sequence clearly indicates the localization of the gene product to cyanelles and is more similar to the transit sequences of the plant homologues than to transit sequences of other cyanelle precursor polypeptides with the exception of a cyanelle consensus sequence at the N-terminus. The mature sequence reveals conservation of the thiamine pyrophosphate binding site. A neighbor-net planar graph suggests that Cyanophora, higher plants, and the photosynthetic protist Euglena gracilis acquired their nuclear-encoded transketolase genes via endosymbiotic gene transfer from the cyanobacterial ancestor of plastids; in the case of Euglena probably entailing two transfers, once from the plastid in the green algal lineage and once again in the secondary endosymbiosis underlying the origin of Euglena's plastids. By contrast, transketolase genes in some eukaryotes with secondary plastids of red algal origin, such as Thalassiosira pseudonana, have retained the pre-existing transketolase gene germane to their secondary host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1550-7408.2009.00437.xDOI Listing
January 2010

A proteomic survey of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mitochondria sheds new light on the metabolic plasticity of the organelle and on the nature of the alpha-proteobacterial mitochondrial ancestor.

Mol Biol Evol 2009 Jul 6;26(7):1533-48. Epub 2009 Apr 6.

Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire Végétale, Centre Nationale la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5168, Grenoble, France.

Mitochondria play a key role in the life and death of eukaryotic cells, yet the full spectrum of mitochondrial functions is far from being fully understood, especially in photosynthetic organisms. To advance our understanding of mitochondrial functions in a photosynthetic cell, an extensive proteomic survey of Percoll-purified mitochondria from the metabolically versatile, hydrogen-producing green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was performed. Different fractions of purified mitochondria from Chlamydomonas cells grown under aerobic conditions were analyzed by nano-liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry after protein separation on sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis or on blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Of the 496 nonredundant proteins identified, 149 are known or predicted to reside in other cellular compartments and were thus excluded from the molecular and evolutionary analyses of the Chlamydomonas proteome. The mitochondrial proteome of the photosynthetic alga reveals important lineage-specific differences with other mitochondrial proteomes, reflecting the high metabolic diversity of the organelle. Some mitochondrial metabolic pathways in Chlamydomonas appear to combine typical mitochondrial enzymes and bacterial-type ones, whereas others are unknown among mitochondriate eukaryotes. The comparison of the Chlamydomonas proteins to their identifiable homologs predicted from 354 sequenced genomes indicated that Arabidopsis is the most closely related nonalgal eukaryote. Furthermore, this phylogenomic analysis shows that free-living alpha-proteobacteria from the metabolically versatile orders Rhizobiales and Rhodobacterales better reflect the gene content of the ancestor of the chlorophyte mitochondria than parasitic alpha-proteobacteria with reduced and specialized genomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msp068DOI Listing
July 2009

Genes of cyanobacterial origin in plant nuclear genomes point to a heterocyst-forming plastid ancestor.

Mol Biol Evol 2008 Apr 24;25(4):748-61. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Institut für Botanik III, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Plastids are descended from a cyanobacterial symbiosis which occurred over 1.2 billion years ago. During the course of endosymbiosis, most genes were lost from the cyanobacterium's genome and many were relocated to the host nucleus through endosymbiotic gene transfer (EGT). The issue of how many genes were acquired through EGT in different plant lineages is unresolved. Here, we report the genome-wide frequency of gene acquisitions from cyanobacteria in 4 photosynthetic eukaryotes--Arabidopsis, rice, Chlamydomonas, and the red alga Cyanidioschyzon--by comparison of the 83,138 proteins encoded in their genomes with 851,607 proteins encoded in 9 sequenced cyanobacterial genomes, 215 other reference prokaryotic genomes, and 13 reference eukaryotic genomes. The analyses entail 11,569 phylogenies inferred with both maximum likelihood and Neighbor-Joining approaches. Because each phylogenetic result is dependent not only upon the reconstruction method but also upon the site patterns in the underlying alignment, we investigated how the reliability of site pattern generation via alignment affects our results: if the site patterns in an alignment differ depending upon the order in which amino acids are introduced into multiple sequence alignment--N- to C-terminal versus C- to N-terminal--then the phylogenetic result is likely to be artifactual. Excluding unreliable alignments by this means, we obtain a conservative estimate, wherein about 14% of the proteins examined in each plant genome indicate a cyanobacterial origin for the corresponding nuclear gene, with higher proportions (17-25%) observed among the more reliable alignments. The identification of cyanobacterial genes in plant genomes affords access to an important question: from which type of cyanobacterium did the ancestor of plastids arise? Among the 9 cyanobacterial genomes sampled, Nostoc sp. PCC7120 and Anabaena variabilis ATCC29143 were found to harbor collections of genes which are-in terms of presence/absence and sequence similarity-more like those possessed by the plastid ancestor than those of the other 7 cyanobacterial genomes sampled here. This suggests that the ancestor of plastids might have been an organism more similar to filamentous, heterocyst-forming (nitrogen-fixing) representatives of section IV recognized in Stanier's cyanobacterial classification. Members of section IV are very common partners in contemporary symbiotic associations involving endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, which generally provide nitrogen to their host, consistent with suggestions that fixed nitrogen supplied by the endosymbiont might have played an important role during the origin of plastids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msn022DOI Listing
April 2008

Evolutionary dynamics of introns in plastid-derived genes in plants: saturation nearly reached but slow intron gain continues.

Mol Biol Evol 2008 Jan 31;25(1):111-9. Epub 2007 Oct 31.

National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Some of the principal transitions in the evolution of eukaryotes are characterized by engulfment of prokaryotes by primitive eukaryotic cells. In particular, approximately 1.6 billion years ago, engulfment of a cyanobacterium that became the ancestor of chloroplasts and other plastids gave rise to Plantae, the major branch of eukaryotes comprised of glaucophytes, red algae, green algae, and green plants. After endosymbiosis, there was large-scale migration of genes from the endosymbiont to the nuclear genome of the host such that approximately 18% of the nuclear genes in Arabidopsis appear to be of chloroplast origin. To gain insights into the process of evolution of gene structure in these, originally, intronless genes, we compared the properties and the evolutionary dynamics of introns in genes of plastid origin and ancestral eukaryotic genes in Arabidopsis, poplar, and rice genomes. We found that intron densities in plastid-derived genes were slightly but significantly lower than those in ancestral eukaryotic genes. Although most of the introns in both categories of genes were conserved between monocots (rice) and dicots (Arabidopsis and poplar), lineage-specific intron gain was more pronounced in plastid-derived genes than in ancestral genes, whereas there was no significant difference in the intron loss rates between the 2 classes of genes. Thus, after the transfer to the nuclear genome, the plastid-derived genes have undergone a massive intron invasion that, by the time of the divergence of dicots and monocots (150-200 MYA), yielded intron densities only slightly lower than those in ancestral genes. Nevertheless, the accumulation of introns in plastid-derived genes appears not to have reached saturation and continues to this time, albeit at a low rate. The overall pattern of intron gain and loss in the plastid-derived genes is shaped by this continuing gain and the more general tendency for loss that is characteristic of the recent evolution of plant genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msm234DOI Listing
January 2008

Haplotype structure at seven barley genes: relevance to gene pool bottlenecks, phylogeny of ear type and site of barley domestication.

Mol Genet Genomics 2006 Sep 7;276(3):230-41. Epub 2006 Jun 7.

Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg, 10, 50829, Koeln, Germany.

Archaeological remains indicate that the origin of western agriculture occurred in a brief period about 10,500 years ago in a region of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent, where the wild progenitors of several key agricultural cereal species are endemic. Domestication entailed the appearance of agronomic traits such as seed size and threshability. For a representative sample of 20 domesticated barley (Hordeum vulgare) lines, including 13 two-rowed and 7 six-rowed varieties, we determined the haplotypes at seven loci-Adh2, Adh3, Amy1, Dhn9, GAPDH, PEPC and WAXY encompassing 5,616 bases per line-and compared them to the haplotypes at the same loci for 25 wild forms (Hordeum spontaneum) collected within and outside the Fertile Crescent. In comparisons of wild versus domesticated barley, the number of haplotypes (70 vs. 17), average nucleotide diversity, pi, (0.0077 vs. 0.0028), and Watterson's theta at silent sites (0.0104 vs. 0.0028) was reduced in domesticated lines. Two loci, Amy1 and PEPC, were monomorphic in domesticated lines; Amy1 and GAPDH produced significant values of Tajima's D. At GAPDH, pi was slightly higher in domesticated than wild forms, due to divergent high-frequency haplotypes; for the remaining six loci, 87% of nucleotide diversity has been lost in the domesticated forms. Bottlenecks acting on neutrally evolving loci either during the domestication process, during subsequent breeding, or both, are sufficient to account for reduced diversity and the results of Tajima's test, without the need to evoke selection at these loci. Phylogenetic networks data uncover distinct wild and domesticated barley genotypes and suggest that barley may have been domesticated in the Jordan valley. Because, based on AFLP data, the domesticated Turkish cultivars had a genetic basis as large as that present in large germplasm collections, all comparisons provided in this paper are of general value more than being restricted to the Turkish barley germplasm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00438-006-0136-6DOI Listing
September 2006

Chloroplast genome phylogenetics: why we need independent approaches to plant molecular evolution.

Trends Plant Sci 2005 May;10(5):203-9

Institute of Botany III, University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.

The traditional approach to plant molecular phylogenetics involves amplifying, sequencing and analyzing one or a few genes from many species and is conducive to broad taxon sampling. An independent approach involves chloroplast genome sequencing, providing much larger amounts of data per taxon but for a smaller number of species. In principle, the two strategies can inform each other but in practice their results sometimes conflict for reasons that are currently debated. An Opinion article published in the October 2004 issue of Trends in Plant Science cautioned against the pursuit of genome-based phylogenies. Here, we provide a different perspective on issues at the heart of the current debate and defend the use of chloroplast genome phylogenetics for crucial species because it provides an independent test of hypotheses generated by the traditional approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2005.03.007DOI Listing
May 2005
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