Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Genetics and Molecular Biology]]> vol. 40 num. 3 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Approaches for <em>in silico</em> finishing of microbial genome sequences]]> Abstract The introduction of next-generation sequencing (NGS) had a significant effect on the availability of genomic information, leading to an increase in the number of sequenced genomes from a large spectrum of organisms. Unfortunately, due to the limitations implied by the short-read sequencing platforms, most of these newly sequenced genomes remained as “drafts”, incomplete representations of the whole genetic content. The previous genome sequencing studies indicated that finishing a genome sequenced by NGS, even bacteria, may require additional sequencing to fill the gaps, making the entire process very expensive. As such, several in silico approaches have been developed to optimize the genome assemblies and facilitate the finishing process. The present review aims to explore some free (open source, in many cases) tools that are available to facilitate genome finishing. <![CDATA[Combined association of Presenilin-1 and Apolipoprotein E polymorphisms with maternal meiosis II error in Down syndrome births]]> Abstract Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome often exhibit close association and predictively share common genetic risk-factors. Presenilin-1 (PSEN-1) and Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genes are associated with early and late onset of Alzheimer's disease, respectively. Presenilin −1 is involved in faithful chromosomal segregation. A higher frequency of the APOE ε4 allele has been reported among young mothers giving birth to Down syndrome children. In this study, 170 Down syndrome patients, grouped according to maternal meiotic stage of nondisjunction and maternal age at conception, and their parents were genotyped for PSEN-1 intron-8 and APOE polymorphisms. The control group consisted of 186 mothers of karyotypically normal children. The frequencies of the PSEN-1 T allele and TT genotype, in the presence of the APOE ε4 allele, were significantly higher among young mothers (&lt; 35 years) with meiosis II nondisjunction than in young control mothers (96.43% vs. 65.91% P = 0.0002 and 92.86% vs. 45.45% P &lt; 0.0001 respectively) but not among mothers with meiosis I nondisjunction. We infer that the co-occurrence of the PSEN-1 T allele and the APOE ε4 allele associatively increases the risk of meiotic segregation error II among young women. <![CDATA[Type 2 diabetes associated variants of <em>KCNQ1</em> strongly confer the risk of cardiovascular disease among the Saudi Arabian population]]> Abstract Genome-wide association studies have identified several loci associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Polymorphisms within the KCNQ1 (potassium voltage-gated channel, KQT-like subfamily, member 1) gene are consistently associated with T2D in a number of populations. The current study was undertaken to evaluate the association of 3 polymorphisms of KCNQ1 (rs2237892, rs151290 and rs2237895) with T2D and/or CVD. Patients diagnosed with either T2D (320 patients), CVD (250 patients) or both (60 patients) and 516 healthy controls were genotyped by TaqMan assay run on a real time PCR thermocycler. A statistically significant association was found for SNPs rs151290 (OR = 1.76; 95%CI = 1.02-3.05; p = 0.0435) and rs2237895 (OR = 2.49; 95%CI = 1.72-3.61; p &lt; 0.0001) with CVD. SNP rs151290 (OR = 7.43; 95%CI = 1.00-55.22; p = 0.0499) showed a strong association in patients with both T2D and CVD. None of the SNPs showed any significant association with T2D. Haploview analysis showed that the ACC (rs151290, rs2237892 and rs2237895) haplotype is the most significant risk allele combination for CVD, while CCA is the most significant risk haplotype for co-morbidity with T2D. KCNQ1 polymorphism at SNPs rs151290 and rs2237895 is strongly associated with CVD in this population, but presented no association with T2D. <![CDATA[Exome sequencing identifies a novel mutation of the <em>GDI1</em> gene in a Chinese non-syndromic X-linked intellectual disability family]]> Abstract X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) has been associated with various genes. Diagnosis of XLID, especially for non-syndromic ones (NS-XLID), is often hampered by the heterogeneity of this disease. Here we report the case of a Chinese family in which three males suffer from intellectual disability (ID). The three patients shared the same phenotype: no typical clinical manifestation other than IQ score ≤ 70. For a genetic diagnosis for this family we carried out whole exome sequencing on the proband, and validated 16 variants of interest in the genomic DNA of all the family members. A missense mutation (c.710G &gt; T), which mapped to exon 6 of the Rab GDP-Dissociation Inhibitor 1 (GDI1) gene, was found segregating with the ID phenotype, and this mutation changes the 237th position in the guanosine diphosphate dissociation inhibitor (GDI) protein from glycine to valine (p. Gly237Val). Through molecular dynamics simulations we found that this substitution results in a conformational change of GDI, possibly affecting the Rab-binding capacity of this protein. In conclusion, our study identified a novel GDI1 mutation that is possibly NS-XLID causative, and showed that whole exome sequencing provides advantages for detecting novel ID-associated variants and can greatly facilitate the genetic diagnosis of the disease. <![CDATA[Sensitivity of RT-PCR method in samples shown to be positive for Zika virus by RT-qPCR in vector competence studies]]> Abstract Tissue samples from mosquitoes artificially infected with Zika virus and shown to be positive by RT-qPCR were reexamined by RT-PCR. Using these samples we compared the two methods employed in virus RNA detection for vector competence studies. Results demonstrated that, albeit useful, RT-PCR gave false negatives with low viral loads (&lt; 106 RNA copies/ml). <![CDATA[Combined genotypes of the <em>MBL2</em> gene related to low mannose-binding lectin levels are associated with vaso-occlusive events in children with sickle cell anemia]]> Abstract Sickle cell anemia (SCA) presents heterogenous clinical manifestations that cannot be explained solely by alterations to hemoglobin (Hb); other components such as endothelial adhesion, thrombosis and inflammation may be involved. The mannose-binding lectin (MBL) has an important role in innate immunity and inflammatory diseases. In this report, we describe an association between MBL2 polymorphism related to low production of serum MBL and the frequency of vasoocclusive events (FVOE) in children ≤ 5 years old with SCA (p = 0.0229; OR 5.55; CI 1.11-27.66). Further studies are needed to explore the role of low MBL2 in the pathophysiology of vasoocclusive events in SCA. <![CDATA[D-loop haplotype diversity in Brazilian horse breeds]]> Abstract The first horses were brought to Brazil by the colonizers after 1534. Over the centuries, these animals evolved and adapted to local environmental conditions usually unsuitable for exotic breeds, thereby originating locally adapted Brazilian breeds. The present work represents the first description of maternal genetic diversity in these horse breeds based on D-loop sequences. A D-Loop HSV-I fragment of 252 bp, from 141 horses belonging to ten Brazilian breeds / genetic groups (locally adapted and specialized breeds) were analysed. Thirty-five different haplotypes belonging to 18 haplogroups were identified with 33 polymorphic sites. Haplotype diversity (varying from 0.20 to 0.96) and nucleotide diversity (varying from 0.0039 to 0.0239) was lower for locally adapted than for specialized breeds, with the same pattern observed for FST values. Haplogroups identified in Brazilian breeds are in agreement with previous findings in South American samples. The low variability observed mainly in locally adapted breeds, indicates that, to ensure conservation of these breeds, careful reproductive management is needed. Additional genetic characterization studies are required to support accurate decision-making. <![CDATA[Intrachromosomal karyotype asymmetry in Orchidaceae]]> Abstract The asymmetry indexes have helped cytotaxonomists to interpret and classify plant karyotypes for species delimitation efforts. However, there is no consensus about the best method to calculate the intrachromosomal asymmetry. The present study aimed to compare different intrachromosomal asymmetry indexes in order to indicate which are more efficient for the estimation of asymmetry in different groups of orchids. Besides, we aimed to compare our results with the Orchidaceae phylogenetic proposal to test the hypothesis of Stebbins (1971). Through a literature review, karyotypes were selected and analyzed comparatively with ideal karyotypes in a cluster analysis. All karyotypes showed some level of interchromosomal asymmetry, ranging from slightly asymmetric to moderately asymmetric. The five tested intrachromosomal asymmetry indexes indicated Sarcoglottis grandiflora as the species with the most symmetrical karyotype and Christensonella pachyphylla with the most asymmetrical karyotype. In the cluster analysis, the largest number of species were grouped with the intermediary ideal karyotypes B or C. Considering our results, we recommend the combined use of at least two indexes, especially Ask% or A1 with Syi, for cytotaxonomic analysis in groups of orchids. In an evolutionary perspective, our results support Stebbins’ hypothesis that asymmetric karyotypes derive from a symmetric karyotypes. <![CDATA[Genome-wide association study of pre-harvest sprouting resistance in Chinese wheat founder parents]]> Abstract Pre-harvest sprouting (PHS) is a major abiotic factor affecting grain weight and quality, and is caused by an early break in seed dormancy. Association mapping (AM) is used to detect correlations between phenotypes and genotypes based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) in wheat breeding programs. We evaluated seed dormancy in 80 Chinese wheat founder parents in five environments and performed a genome-wide association study using 6,057 markers, including 93 simple sequence repeat (SSR), 1,472 diversity array technology (DArT), and 4,492 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. The general linear model (GLM) and the mixed linear model (MLM) were used in this study, and two significant markers (tPt-7980 and wPt-6457) were identified. Both markers were located on Chromosome 1B, with wPt-6457 having been identified in a previously reported chromosomal position. The significantly associated loci contain essential information for cloning genes related to resistance to PHS and can be used in wheat breeding programs. <![CDATA[A <em>Young Seedling Stripe2</em> phenotype in rice is caused by mutation of a chloroplast-localized nucleoside diphosphate kinase 2 required for chloroplast biogenesis]]> Abstract Chloroplast development and chlorophyll (Chl) biosynthesis in plants are regulated by many genes, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely elusive. We isolated a rice mutant named yss2 (young seedling stripe2) with a striated seedling phenotype beginning from leaf 2 of delayed plant growth. The mutant developed normal green leaves from leaf 5, but reduced tillering and chlorotic leaves and panicles appeared later. Chlorotic yss2 seedlings have decreased pigment contents and impaired chloroplast development. Genetic analysis showed that the mutant phenotype was due to a single recessive gene. Positional cloning and sequence analysis identified a single nucleotide substitution in YSS2 gene causing an amino acid change from Gly to Asp. The YSS2 allele encodes a NDPK2 (nucleoside diphosphate kinase 2) protein showing high similarity to other types of NDPKs. Real-time RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that YSS2 transcripts accumulated highly in L4 sections at the early leaf development stage. Expression levels of genes associated with Chl biosynthesis and photosynthesis in yss2 were mostly decreased, but genes involved in chloroplast biogenesis were up-regulated compared to the wild type. The YSS2 protein was associated with punctate structures in the chloroplasts of rice protoplasts. Our overall data suggest that YSS2 has important roles in chloroplast biogenesis. <![CDATA[Expression analysis of the <em>Arabidopsis thaliana AtSpen2</em> gene, and its relationship with other plant genes encoding Spen proteins]]> Abstract Proteins of the Split ends (Spen) family are characterized by an N-terminal domain, with one or more RNA recognition motifs and a SPOC domain. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the Spen protein FPA is involved in the control of flowering time as a component of an autonomous pathway independent of photoperiod. The A. thaliana genome encodes another gene for a putative Spen protein at the locus At4g12640, herein named AtSpen2. Bioinformatics analysis of the AtSPEN2 SPOC domain revealed low sequence similarity with the FPA SPOC domain, which was markedly lower than that found in other Spen proteins from unrelated plant species. To provide experimental information about the function of AtSpen2, A. thaliana plants were transformed with gene constructs of its promoter region with uidA::gfp reporter genes; the expression was observed in vascular tissues of leaves and roots, as well as in ovules and developing embryos. There was absence of a notable phenotype in knockout and overexpressing lines, suggesting that its function in plants might be specific to certain endogenous or environmental conditions. Our results suggest that the function of Atspen2 diverged from that of fpa due in part to their different transcription expression pattern and divergence of the regulatory SPOC domain. <![CDATA[Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of stilbene derivatives in CHO-K1 and HepG2 cell lines]]> Abstract The cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of the stilbenes (E)-methyl-4-(3-5-dimethoxystyryl)benzoate (ester), (E)-4-(3-5-dimethoxystyryl)aniline (amino), (Z)-1,3-dimethoxy-5-(4-methoxystyryl)benzene (cis-TMS) and (E)-1,3-dimethoxy-5-(4-methoxystyryl)benzene (trans-TMS) were investigated in this work. Structural modifications of resveratrol, a naturally occurring stilbene, have been previously performed, including the replacement of hydroxyl by different functional groups. Such modifications resulted in significant improvement of target-specific effects on cell death and antiproliferative responses. The parameters were evaluated using XTT assay, clonogenic survival assay and the cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay in CHO-K1 and HepG2 cell lines. The results showed that cis-TMS is approximately 250-fold more cytotoxic than the amino and ester, and 128-fold more cytotoxic than trans-TMS. When genotoxicity was evaluated, only the trans-TMS did not significantly increase the frequency of micronucleus (MN). While the cis-TMS induced a mean of 5.2 and 5.9 MN/100 cells at 0.5 μM in CHO-K1 and HepG2, respectively, the amino and ester induced 3.1 and 3.6 MN/100 cells at 10 μM in CHO-K1, respectively, and 3.5 and 3.8 in HepG2. Trans-TMS is genotoxic only in HepG2 cells. Based on these results, the cis-TMS was the most cytotoxic and genotoxic compound in both cell lines. <![CDATA[<em>In vivo</em> chemotherapeutic insight of a novel isocoumarin (3-hexyl-5,7-dimethoxy-isochromen-1-one): Genotoxicity, cell death induction, leukometry and phagocytic evaluation]]> Abstract Chemotherapy is one of the major approaches for the treatment of cancer. Therefore, the development of new chemotherapy drugs is an important aspect of medicinal chemistry. Chemotherapeutic agents include isocoumarins, which are privileged structures with potential antitumoral activity. Herein, a new 3-substituted isocoumarin was synthesized from 2-iodo-3,5-dimethoxy-benzoic acid and oct-1-yne in a cross-coupling Sonogashira reaction followed by a copper iodide-catalyzed intramolecular cyclization as key step using MeOH/Et3N as the solvent system. The present study also evaluated the leukometry, phagocytic activity, genotoxic potential and cell death induction of three different doses (5 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg) of this newly synthesized isocoumarin, alone and in combination with the commercial chemotherapeutic agents cyclophosphamide (100 mg/kg) and cisplatin (6 mg/kg) in male Swiss mice. The results suggest that the isocoumarin has genotoxicity and causes cell death. Noteworthy, this new compound can increase splenic phagocytosis and lymphocyte frequency, which are related to immunomodulatory activity. When combined with either cyclophosphamide or cisplatin, chemopreventive activity led to a reduction in the effects of both chemotherapeutic drugs. Thus, the new isocoumarin is not a candidate for chemotherapeutic adjuvant in treatments using cyclophosphamide or cisplatin. Nevertheless, the compound itself is an important prototype for the development of new antitumor drugs. <![CDATA[Comparative genome-wide polymorphic microsatellite markers in Antarctic penguins through next generation sequencing]]> Abstract Microsatellites are valuable molecular markers for evolutionary and ecological studies. Next generation sequencing is responsible for the increasing number of microsatellites for non-model species. Penguins of the Pygoscelis genus are comprised of three species: Adélie (P. adeliae), Chinstrap (P. antarcticus) and Gentoo penguin (P. papua), all distributed around Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic. The species have been affected differently by climate change, and the use of microsatellite markers will be crucial to monitor population dynamics. We characterized a large set of genome-wide microsatellites and evaluated polymorphisms in all three species. SOLiD reads were generated from the libraries of each species, identifying a large amount of microsatellite loci: 33,677, 35,265 and 42,057 for P. adeliae, P. antarcticus and P. papua, respectively. A large number of dinucleotide (66,139), trinucleotide (29,490) and tetranucleotide (11,849) microsatellites are described. Microsatellite abundance, diversity and orthology were characterized in penguin genomes. We evaluated polymorphisms in 170 tetranucleotide loci, obtaining 34 polymorphic loci in at least one species and 15 polymorphic loci in all three species, which allow to perform comparative studies. Polymorphic markers presented here enable a number of ecological, population, individual identification, parentage and evolutionary studies of Pygoscelis, with potential use in other penguin species. <![CDATA[Alternatively spliced <em>MEFV</em> transcript lacking exon 2 and its protein isoform pyrin-2d implies an epigenetic regulation of the gene in inflammatory cell culture models]]> Abstract The function of gene body DNA methylation in alternative splicing, and its relation to disease pathogenesis is not fully elucidated. The gene for familial Mediterranean fever (MEFV) encodes the pyrin protein and contains a 998 bp CpG island, covering the second exon, which is differentially methylated in FMF patients compared to healthy controls. Our further observation of increased exon 2-spliced MEFV transcript in leukocytes of FMF patients provoked us to test the role of exon methylation in alternative splicing using inflammatory cell culture models. First, in vitro exon methylation triggered an increased level of exon 2 exclusion using a splicing cassette in a promyelocytic leukemia cell line (HL-60). HL-60 cells subjected to methylating and demethylating agents, as well as cells differentiated to neutrophil-like cells, exhibited different levels of spliced/unspliced transcripts. We observed increased levels of spliced transcripts in neutrophil-like (p = 0.0005), activated (p = 0.0034) and methylated cells (p &lt; 0.0001), whereas decreased levels in demethylated cells (p = 0.0126) compared to control untreated HL-60 cells. We also showed that the protein isoform of pyrin lacking the exon 2 has an adverse subcellular localization in neutrophil-like cells. Therefore, it remains in the cytoplasm rather than the nucleus. This may point to an epigenetic involvement in an important inflammatory gene. <![CDATA[Deferoxamine synergizes with transforming growth factor-β signaling in chondrogenesis]]> Abstract Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is an epidemic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite extensive recent work on the cellular biology of osteoarthritis, the precise mechanisms involved are still poorly understood and there is no effective treatment for this disease. The role of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) in promoting chondrogenesis and inducing the expression of cartilage-specific extracellular matrix molecules to form cartilage is well-established. Historically, TGF-β has been considered to prevent osteoarthritis, but recent work suggests that TGF-β overexpression accelerates the progression of osteoarthritis in vivo. Clinically, it is therefore important to limit TGF-β expression while still providing effective treatment of osteoarthritis. One possible approach to achieve this effect would be to use a combination of TGF-β with other small molecular chemical compounds. Hypoxia promotes chondrogenesis and the usefulness of deferoxamine, a chelating agent that mimics hypoxia, in stimulating chondrogenesis has been investigated in clinical trials. In this study, we investigated the role of deferoxamine in TGF-β-induced chondrogenesis in pre-chondrogenic cells and examined whether deferoxamine synergizes with the TGF-β signaling pathway to promote chondrocyte differentiation. <![CDATA[<em>Bradyrhizobium elkanii nod</em> regulon: insights through genomic analysis]]> Abstract A successful symbiotic relationship between soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] and Bradyrhizobium species requires expression of the bacterial structural nod genes that encode for the synthesis of lipochitooligosaccharide nodulation signal molecules, known as Nod factors (NFs). Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens USDA 110 possesses a wide nodulation gene repertoire that allows NF assembly and modification, with transcription of the nodYABCSUIJnolMNOnodZ operon depending upon specific activators, i.e., products of regulatory nod genes that are responsive to signaling molecules such as flavonoid compounds exuded by host plant roots. Central to this regulatory circuit of nod gene expression are NodD proteins, members of the LysR-type regulator family. In this study, publicly available Bradyrhizobium elkanii sequenced genomes were compared with the closely related B. diazoefficiens USDA 110 reference genome to determine the similarities between those genomes, especially with regards to the nod operon and nod regulon. Bioinformatics analyses revealed a correlation between functional mechanisms and key elements that play an essential role in the regulation of nod gene expression. These analyses also revealed new genomic features that had not been clearly explored before, some of which were unique for some B. elkanii genomes. <![CDATA[Complete mitochondrial genome of the lappet moth, <em>Kunugia undans</em> (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae): genomic comparisons among macroheteroceran superfamilies]]> Abstract The mitochondrial genome (mitogenome) characteristics of the monotypic Lasiocampoidea are largely unknown, because only limited number of mitogenomes is available from this superfamily. In this study, we sequenced the complete mitogenome of the lappet moth, Kunugia undans (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) and compared it to those of Lasiocampoidea and macroheteroceran superfamilies (59 species in six superfamilies). The 15,570-bp K. undans genome had one additional trnR that was located between trnA and trnN loci and this feature was unique in Macroheterocera, including Lasiocampoidea. Considering that the two trnR copies are located in tandem with proper secondary structures and identical anticodons, a gene duplication event might be responsible for the presence of the two tRNAs. Nearly all macroheteroceran species, excluding Lasiocampoidea, have a spacer sequence (1–34 bp) at the trnS2 and ND1 junction, but most lasiocampid species, including K. undans, have an overlap at the trnS2 and ND1 junction, which represents a different genomic feature in Lasiocampoidea. Nevertheless, a TTAGTAT motif, which is typically detected in Macroheterocera at the trnS2 and ND1 junction, was also detected in all Lasiocampoidea. In summary, the general mitogenome characteristics of Lasiocampoidea did not differ greatly from the remaining macroheteroceran superfamilies, but it did exhibit some unique features.