Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
Genome sequence of the necrotrophic plant pathogen Pythium ultimum reveals original pathogenicity mechanisms and effector repertoire
C. André Lévesque
John P. Hamilton
Gregg P. Robideau
Marcelo M. Zerillo
Gordon W. Beakes
Jeffrey L. Boore
Susan I. Fuerstenberg
Claire M. M. Gachon
Rays H. Y. Jiang
Harold J. G. Meijer
Jason E. Stajich
Pieter van West
Brett R. Whitty
Pedro M. Coutinho
Paul D. Thomas
Brett M. Tyler
Ronald P. De Vries
C. Robin Buell
- Background: Pythium ultimum (P. ultimum) is a ubiquitous oomycete plant pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases on a broad range of crop and ornamental species. Results: The P. ultimum genome (42.8 Mb) encodes 15,290 genes and has extensive sequence similarity and synteny with related Phytophthora species, including the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Whole transcriptome sequencing revealed expression of 86% of genes, with detectable differential expression of suites of genes under abiotic stress and in the presence of a host. The predicted proteome includes a large repertoire of proteins involved in plant pathogen interactions although surprisingly, the P. ultimum genome does not encode any classical RXLR effectors and relatively few Crinkler genes in comparison to related phytopathogenic oomycetes. A lower number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were present compared to Phytophthora species, with the notable absence of cutinases, suggesting a significant difference in virulence mechanisms between P. ultimum and more host specific oomycete species. Although we observed a high degree of orthology with Phytophthora genomes, there were novel features of the P. ultimum proteome including an expansion of genes involved in proteolysis and genes unique to Pythium. We identified a small gene family of cadherins, proteins involved in cell adhesion, the first report in a genome outside the metazoans. Conclusions: Access to the P. ultimum genome has revealed not only core pathogenic mechanisms within the oomycetes but also lineage specific genes associated with the alternative virulence and lifestyles found within the pythiaceous lineages compared to the Peronosporaceae.
Locally adapted fish populations maintain small-scale genetic differentiation despite perturbation by a catastrophic flood event
Francisco J. Garcia de Leon
- Background: Local adaptation to divergent environmental conditions can promote population genetic differentiation even in the absence of geographic barriers and hence, lead to speciation. Perturbations by catastrophic events, however, can distort such parapatric ecological speciation processes. Here, we asked whether an exceptionally strong flood led to homogenization of gene pools among locally adapted populations of the Atlantic molly (Poecilia mexicana, Poeciliidae) in the Cueva del Azufre system in southern Mexico, where two strong environmental selection factors (darkness within caves and/or presence of toxic H2S in sulfidic springs) drive the diversification of P. mexicana. Nine nuclear microsatellites as well as heritable female life history traits (both as a proxy for quantitative genetics and for trait divergence) were used as markers to compare genetic differentiation, genetic diversity, and especially population mixing (immigration and emigration) before and after the flood. Results: Habitat type (i.e., non-sulfidic surface, sulfidic surface, or sulfidic cave), but not geographic distance was the major predictor of genetic differentiation. Before and after the flood, each habitat type harbored a genetically distinct population. Only a weak signal of individual dislocation among ecologically divergent habitat types was uncovered (with the exception of slightly increased dislocation from the Cueva del Azufre into the sulfidic creek, El Azufre). By contrast, several lines of evidence are indicative of increased flood-induced dislocation within the same habitat type, e.g., between different cave chambers of the Cueva del Azufre. Conclusions: The virtual absence of individual dislocation among ecologically different habitat types indicates strong natural selection against migrants. Thus, our current study exemplifies that ecological speciation in this and other systems, in which extreme environmental factors drive speciation, may be little affected by temporary perturbations, as adaptations to physico-chemical stressors may directly affect the survival probability in divergent habitat types.
Transcriptomic evidence that longevity of acquired plastids in the photosynthetic slugs Elysia timida and Plakobrachus ocellatus does not entail lateral transfer of algal nuclear genes
Sven B. Gould
- 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. While 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 time scales 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.
Mammalian evolution may not be strictly bifurcating
Björn M. Hallström
- The massive amount of genomic sequence data that is now available for analyzing evolutionary relationships among 31 placental mammals reduces the stochastic error in phylogenetic analyses to virtually zero. One would expect that this would make it possible to finally resolve controversial branches in the placental mammalian tree. We analyzed a 2,863,797 nucleotide-long alignment (3,364 genes) from 31 placental mammals for reconstructing their evolution. Most placental mammalian relationships were resolved, and a consensus of their evolution is emerging. However, certain branches remain difficult or virtually impossible to resolve. These branches are characterized by short divergence times in the order of 1-4 million years. Computer simulations based on parameters from the real data show that as little as about 12,500 amino acid sites could be sufficient to confidently resolve short branches as old as about 90 million years ago. Thus, the amount of sequence data should no longer be a limiting factor in resolving the relationships among placental mammals. The timing of the early radiation of placental mammals coincides with a period of climate warming some 100 - 80 million years ago and with continental fragmentation. These global processes may have triggered the rapid diversification of placental mammals. However, the rapid radiations of certain mammalian groups complicate phylogenetic analyses, possibly due to incomplete lineage sorting and introgression. These speciation-related processes led to a mosaic genome and conflicting phylogenetic signals. Split network methods are ideal for visualizing these problematic branches and can therefore depict data conflict and possibly the true evolutionary history better than strictly bifurcating trees. Given the timing of tectonics, of placental mammalian divergences, and the fossil record, a Laurasian rather than Gondwanan origin of placental mammals seems the most parsimonious explanation. Key words: continental drift , Cretaceous warming , genome analysis , hybridization , phylogenomics , split decomposition
Biodegradation and elimination of industrial wastewater in the context of whole effluent assessment
- The focus of this thesis is on the assessment of the degradability of indirectly discharged wastewater in municipal treatment plants and on assessing indirectly discharged effluents by coupling the Zahn-Wellens test with effect-based bioassays. With this approach persistent toxicity of an indirectly discharged effluent can be detected and attributed to the respective emission source. In the first study 8 wastewater samples from different industrial sectors were analysed according to the “Whole-Effluent Assessment“ (WEA) approach developed by OSPAR. In another study this concept has been applied with 20 wastewater samples each from paper manufacturing and metal surface treating industry. In the first study generally low to moderate ecotoxic effects of wastewater samples have been determined. One textile wastewater sample was mutagenic in the Ames test and genotoxic in the umu test. The source of these effects could not be identified. After treatment in the Zahn-Wellens test the mutagenicity in the Ames test was eliminated completely while in the umu test genotoxicity could still be observed. Another wastewater sample from chemical industry was mutagenic in the Ames test. The mutagenicity with this wastewater sample was investigated by additional chemical analysis and backtracking. A nitro-aromatic compound (2-methoxy-4-nitroaniline) used for batchwise azo dye synthesis and its transformation products are the probable cause for the mutagenic effects analysed. Testing the mother liquor from dye production confirmed that this partial wastewater stream was mutagenic in the Ames test. The wasteweater samples from paper manufacturing industry of the second study were not toxic or genotoxic in the acute Daphnia test, fish egg test and umu test. In the luminescent bacteria test, moderate toxicity was observed. Wastewater of four paper mills demonstrated elevated or high algae toxicity, which was in line with the results of the Lemna test, which mostly was less sensitive than the algae test. The colouration of the wastewater samples in the visible band did not correlate with algae toxicity and thus is not considered as its primary origin. The algae toxicity in wastewater of the respective paper factory could also not be explained with the thermomechanically produced groundwood pulp (TMP) partial stream. Presumably other raw materials such as biocides might be the source of algae toxicity. In the algae test, often flat dose–response relationships and growth promotion at higher dilution factors have been observed, indicating that several effects are overlapping. The wastewater samples from the printed circuit board and electroplating industries (all indirectly discharged) were biologically pre-treated for 7 days in the Zahn–Wellens test before ecotoxicity testing. Thus, persistent toxicity could be discriminated from non-persistent toxicity caused, e.g. by ammonium or readily biodegradable compounds. With respect to the metal concentrations, all samples were not heavily polluted. The maximum conductivity of the samples was 43,700 micro S cm -1 and indicates that salts might contribute to the overall toxicity. Half of the wastewater samples proved to be biologically well treatable in the Zahn–Wellens test with COD elimination above 80%, whilst the others were insufficiently biodegraded (COD elimination 28–74%). After the pre-treatment in the Zahn–Wellens test, wastewater samples from four companies were extremely ecotoxic especially to algae. Three wastewater samples were genotoxic in the umu test. Applying the rules for salt correction to the test results following the German Wastewater Ordinance, only a small part of toxicity could be attributed to salts. In one factory, the origin of ecotoxicity has been attributed to the organosulphide dimethyldithiocarbamate (DMDTC) used as a water treatment chemical for metal precipitation. The assumption, based on rough calculation of input of the organosulphide into the wastewater, was confirmed in practice by testing its ecotoxicity at the corresponding dilution ratio after pre-treatment in the Zahn–Wellens test. The results show that bioassays are a suitable tool for assessing the ecotoxicological relevance of these complex organic mixtures. The combination of the Zahn–Wellens test followed by the performance of ecotoxicity tests turned out to be a cost-efficient suitable instrument for the evaluation of indirect dischargers and considers the requirements of the IPPC Directive.
Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. – a new huntsman spider species from fynbos vegetation in Western Cape Province, South Africa (Araneae, Sparassidae, Palystinae)
- Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is described from habitats close to Kleinmond, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Spiders of this new species live in the typical fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape region. They build retreats between apical leaves of Leucadendron bushes. The systematic position of Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is discussed. Male and female show characters of different species groups, especially the female copulatory organ seems to be unique within the genus Palystes L. Koch, 1875.
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biowissenschaften der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität für den Masterstudiengang Ökologie und Evolution mit dem Abschluss "Master of Science" (M.Sc.) vom 16. Juni 2009 : genehmigt vom Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M. am 27.04.2010
Flora et Vegetatio Sudano-Sambesica : Volume 13 - 2010