skip to main content

Title: Comparative genomics within and across Bilaterians illuminates the evolutionary history of ALK and LTK proto-oncogene origination and diversification
Comparative genomic analyses have enormous potential for identifying key genes central to human health phenotypes, including those that promote cancers. In particular, the successful development of novel therapeutics using model species requires phylogenetic analyses to determine molecular homology. Accordingly, we investigate the evolutionary histories of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)—which can underlie tumorigenesis in neuroblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma—its close relative leukocyte tyrosine kinase (LTK) and their candidate ligands. Homology of ligands identified in model organisms to those functioning in humans remains unclear. Therefore, we searched for homologs of the human genes across metazoan genomes, finding that the candidate ligands Jeb and Hen-1 were restricted to non-vertebrate species. In contrast, the ligand AUG was only identified in vertebrates. We found two ALK-like and four AUG-like protein-coding genes in lamprey. Of these six genes, only one ALK-like and two AUG-like genes exhibited early embryonic expression that parallels model mammal systems. Two copies of AUG are present in nearly all jawed vertebrates. Our phylogenetic analysis strongly supports the presence of previously unrecognized functional convergences of ALK and LTK between actinopterygians and sarcopterygians—despite contemporaneous, highly conserved synteny of ALK and LTK. These findings provide critical guidance regarding the propriety of more » fish and mammal models with regard to model-organism-based investigation of these medically important genes. In sum, our results provide the phylogenetic context necessary for effective investigations of the functional roles and biology of these critically important receptors. « less
; ; ; ; ;
Hershberg, Ruth
Award ID(s):
1934860 1755242
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Genome Biology and Evolution
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Polyacetylenic lipids accumulate in various Apiaceae species after pathogen attack, suggesting that these compounds are naturally occurring pesticides and potentially valuable resources for crop improvement. These compounds also promote human health and slow tumor growth. Even though polyacetylenic lipids were discovered decades ago, the biosynthetic pathway underlying their production is largely unknown. To begin filling this gap and ultimately enable polyacetylene engineering, we studied polyacetylenes and their biosynthesis in the major Apiaceae crop carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, we identified three known polyacetylenes and assigned provisional structures to two novel polyacetylenes. We also quantified these compounds in carrot leaf, petiole, root xylem, root phloem, and root periderm extracts. Falcarindiol and falcarinol predominated and accumulated primarily in the root periderm. Since the multiple double and triple carbon-carbon bonds that distinguish polyacetylenes from ubiquitous fatty acids are often introduced by Δ12 oleic acid desaturase (FAD2)-type enzymes, we mined the carrot genome for FAD2 genes. We identified a FAD2 family with an unprecedented 24 members and analyzed public, tissue-specific carrot RNA-Seq data to identify coexpressed members with root periderm-enhanced expression. Six candidate genes were heterologously expressed individually and in combination in yeast and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), resultingmore »in the identification of one canonical FAD2 that converts oleic to linoleic acid, three divergent FAD2-like acetylenases that convert linoleic into crepenynic acid, and two bifunctional FAD2s with Δ12 and Δ14 desaturase activity that convert crepenynic into the further desaturated dehydrocrepenynic acid, a polyacetylene pathway intermediate. These genes can now be used as a basis for discovering other steps of falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis, to modulate polyacetylene levels in plants, and to test the in planta function of these molecules. Many organisms implement specialized biochemical pathways to convert ubiquitous metabolites into bioactive chemical compounds. Since plants comprise the majority of the human diet, specialized plant metabolites play crucial roles not only in crop biology but also in human nutrition. Some asterids produce lipid compounds called polyacetylenes (for review, see Negri, 2015) that exhibit antifungal activity (Garrod et al., 1978; Kemp, 1978; Harding and Heale, 1980, 1981; Olsson and Svensson, 1996) and accumulate in response to fungal phytopathogen attack (De Wit and Kodde, 1981; Elgersma and Liem, 1989). These observations have led to the longstanding hypothesis that polyacetylenes are natural pesticides. These same lipid compounds exhibit cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines and slow tumor growth (Fujimoto and Satoh, 1988; Matsunaga et al., 1989, 1990; Cunsolo et al., 1993; Bernart et al., 1996; Kobaek-Larsen et al., 2005; Zidorn et al., 2005), making them important nutritional compounds. The major source of polyacetylenes in the human diet is carrot (Daucus carota L.). Carrot is one of the most important crop species in the Apiaceae, with rapidly increasing worldwide cultivation (Rubatzky et al., 1999; Dawid et al., 2015). The most common carrot polyacetylenes are C17 linear aliphatic compounds containing two conjugated carbon-carbon triple bonds, one or two carbon-carbon double bonds, and a diversity of additional in-chain oxygen-containing functional groups. In carrot, the most abundant of these compounds are falcarinol and falcarindiol (Dawid et al., 2015). Based on their structures, it has been hypothesized that these compounds (alias falcarin-type polyacetylenes) are derived from ubiquitous fatty acids. Indeed, biochemical investigations (Haigh et al., 1968; Bohlman, 1988), radio-chemical tracer studies (Barley et al., 1988), and the discovery of pathway intermediates (Jones et al., 1966; Kawazu et al., 1973) implicate a diversion of flux away from linolenate biosynthesis as the entry point into falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis (for review, see Minto and Blacklock, 2008). The final steps of linolenate biosynthesis are the conversion of oleate to linoleate, mediated by fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2), and linoleate to linolenate, catalyzed by FAD3. Some plant species contain divergent forms of FAD2 that, instead of or in addition to converting oleate to linoleate, catalyze the installation of unusual in-chain functional groups such as hydroxyl groups, epoxy groups, conjugated double bonds, or carbon-carbon triple bonds into the acyl chain (Badami and Patil, 1980) and thus divert flux from linolenate production into the accumulation of unusual fatty acids. Previous work in parsley (Petroselinum crispum; Apiaceae) identified a divergent form of FAD2 that (1) was up-regulated in response to pathogen treatment and (2) when expressed in soybean embryos resulted in production of the monoyne crepenynate and, by the action of an unassigned enzyme, dehydrocrepenynate (Kirsch et al., 1997; Cahoon et al., 2003). The results of the parsley studies are consistent with a pathogen-responsive, divergent FAD2-mediated pathway that leads to acetylenic fatty acids. However, information regarding the branch point into acetylenic fatty acid production in agriculturally relevant carrot is still largely missing, in particular, the identification and functional characterization of enzymes that can divert carbon flux away from linolenate biosynthesis into the production of dehydrocrepenynate and ultimately falcarin-type polyacetylenes. Such genes, once identified, could be used in the future design of transgenic carrot lines with altered polyacetylene content, enabling direct testing of in planta polyacetylene function and potentially the engineering of pathogen-resistant, more nutritious carrots. These genes could also provide the foundation for further investigations of more basic aspects of plant biology, including the evolution of fatty acid-derived natural product biosynthesis pathways across the Asterid clade, as well as the role of these pathways and compounds in plant ecology and plant defense. Recently, a high-quality carrot genome assembly was released (Iorizzo et al., 2016), providing a foundation for genome-enabled studies of Apiaceous species. This study also provided publicly accessible RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data from diverse carrot tissues. Using these resources, this study aimed to provide a detailed gas chromatography-based quantification of polyacetylenes in carrot tissues for which RNA-Seq data are available, then combine this information with bioinformatics analysis and heterologous expression to identify and characterize biosynthetic genes that underlie the major entry point into carrot polyacetylene biosynthesis. To achieve these goals, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-flame ionization detection to identify and quantify polyacetylenic metabolites in five different carrot tissues. Then the sequences and tissue expression profiles of potential FAD2 and FAD2-like genes annotated in the D. carota genome were compared with the metabolite data to identify candidate pathway genes, followed by biochemical functionality tests using yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as heterologous expression systems.« less
  2. 2938 Using a Human Liver Tissue Equivalent (hLTE) Platform to Define the Functional Impact of Liver-Directed AAV Gene Therapy 63rd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, December 11-14, 2021, Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts Session: 801. Gene Therapies: Poster II Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways: Bleeding and Clotting, Biological, Translational Research, Hemophilia, Genetic Disorders, Clinically Relevant, Diseases, Gene Therapy, Therapies Sunday, December 12, 2021, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM Ritu M Ramamurthy1*, Wen Ting Zheng2*, Sunil George, PhD1*, Meimei Wan1*, Yu Zhou, PhD1*, Baisong Lu, PhD1*, Colin E Bishop, PhD1*, Anthony Atala, M.D.1*, Christopher D Porada, PhD1* and M. Graca Almeida-Porada, MD3 1Fetal Research and Therapy Program, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Winston Salem, NC 2Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 3Fetal Research and Therapy Program, Wake Forest Institute For Regenerative Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC Clinical trials employing AAV vectors for hemophilia A have been hindered by unanticipated immunological and/or inflammatory responses in some of the patients. Also, these trials have often yielded lower levels of transgene expression than were expected based upon preclinical studies, highlighting the poor correlation between the transduction efficiency observed in traditional 2D cultures of primary cells in vitro, and that observed inmore »those same cell types in vivo. It has been also recognized that there are marked species-specific differences in AAV-vector tropism, raising the critical question of the accuracy with which various animal models will likely predict tropism/vector transduction efficiency, and eventual treatment success in humans. Human liver tissue equivalents (hLTEs) are comprised of major cell types in the liver in physiologically relevant frequencies and possess the ability to recapitulate the biology and function of native human liver. Here, we hypothesize that hLTEs can be used as a better model to predict the efficacy and safety of AAV gene therapy in humans. We fabricated hLTEs using 75% hepatocytes, 10% stellate cells, 10% Kupffer cells, and 5% liver sinusoid-derived endothelial cells in 96-well Elplasia plates with 79 microwells per well. hLTEs were transduced at an MOI of 105vg/cell, on the day of fabrication, with the clinically relevant serotypes AAV5 (hLTE-5) or AAV3b (hLTE-3b), both encoding a GFP reporter. After 4 days of self-aggregation, live/dead assay was performed to confirm viability. Non-transduced hLTEs served as negative controls (hLTE(-)), and hLTEs exposed to 20 mM acetaminophen were used as positive controls for liver inflammation/damage. Incucyte® Live-Cell Imaging system was used to track the aggregation and GFP expression of hLTEs. Over the course of the next 5 days, media was collected to determine hepatic functionality, RNA was isolated to assess dysregulation of genes involved in inflammation and fibrosis, DNA was isolated to determine whether AAV vectors integrate into the genome of human hepatocytes and, if so, to define the frequency at which this occurs and the genomic loci of integration, and hLTEs were fixed and processed at appropriate times for histological analyses and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). TEM analysis revealed that all groups exhibited microvilli and bile-canaliculus-like structures, demonstrating the formation of a rudimentary biliary system and, more importantly, proving that hLTEs resemble native liver structure. Incucyte® imaging showed that AAV5 and AAV3b transduction impaired formation of hLTEs (57.57 ± 2.42 and 24.57 ± 4.01 spheroids/well, respectively) in comparison with hLTE(-) (74.86 ± 3.8 spheroids/well). Quantification of GFP expression demonstrated that AAV5 yielded the most efficient transduction of hLTEs (fold change in GFP expression compared to control: 2.73 ± 0.09 and 1.19 ± 0.03 for hLTE-5 and hLTE-3b, respectively). Chromogenic assays showed decreased urea production in cell culture supernatants of AAV transduced groups compared to the non-transduced hLTEs on days 6 and 10 of culture, demonstrating decreased hepatocyte functionality. However, ALT and AST levels were similar in all groups. On day 10, hLTEs were either used for RNA isolation or fixed in 4% PFA and processed for histology. Masson’s Trichrome and Alcian Blue/Sirius Red staining was performed to detect fibrosis, which was then quantified using ImageJ. These analyses showed no significant increase in fibrosis in either hLTE-5 or hLTE-3b compared to hLTE(-). Nevertheless, RT2 PCR Array for Human Fibrosis detected dysregulation of several genes involved in fibrosis/inflammation in both hLTE-5 and hLTE-3b (16/84 and 26/84, respectively). In conclusion, data collected thus far show successful recapitulation of native liver biology and demonstrate that AAV5 transduces hLTEs more efficiently than AAV3b. However, impaired self-aggregation and decreased hepatocyte functionality was observed in both AAV-transduced groups. Studies to address the incidence and location(s) of AAV integration are ongoing. We have thus shown that the hLTE system can provide critical new knowledge regarding the efficacy and safety of AAV gene therapy in the human liver. Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.« less
  3. Finding genes biologically directly or indirectly related to lung cancer has been drawing much attention, and many genes directly related to lung cancer have been reported. However, it has not been confirmed whether those published 'key' genes are truly critical to lung cancer formation, i.e., they may be with very limited useful information. As a result, finding essential genes remains a challenging lung cancer research problem. Using a recently developed competing linear factor analysis method in differentially expressed gene detection, we advance the study of lung cancer critical genes detection to a uniformly informative level. A set of common four genes and their functional effects are detected to be differentially expressed in tumor and non- tumor samples with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity in one study of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) and one study of squamous cell lung cancers (LUSC) (two North American cohorts with 20429 genes, 576 and 552 samples respectively). Two additional analyses also gain accuracy of 97.8% sensitivity and 100% specificity in one study of non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC, a European cohort with 20356 genes and 156 samples), and an accuracy of 100% sensitivity and 95% specificity (1 out of 20 non-tumor samples) in one study ofmore »ALK-positive and EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinomas (LUAD, a Japanese cohort with 20356 genes and 224 samples). There are some common genes, but different functional effects, within each set of four genes among two North American cohorts and a European cohort and among North American cohorts and the Japanese cohort. These results show the four-gene-based classifiers are robust with different types of lung cancers and different race cohorts and accurate. The functional effects of four genes disclose significantly other mechanisms (mysteries) between LUAD and LUSC. These sets of four genes and their functional effects are considered to be essential for lung cancer studies and practice. These genes' functional effects naturally classify patients into different groups (more than seven subtypes). Subtype information is useful for personalized therapies. The new findings can motivate new lung cancer research in more focused and targeted directions to save lives, protect people, and reduce enormous economic costs in research and lung cancer treatments.« less
  4. Abstract The fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 (Flt3) and its ligand (Flt3lg) are important regulators of hematopoiesis and dendritic cell (DC) homeostasis with unsettled coevolution. Gene synteny and deduced amino acid sequence analyses identified conserved flt3 gene orthologs across all jawed vertebrates. In contrast, flt3lg orthologs were not retrieved in ray-finned fish, and the gene locus exhibited more variability among species. Interestingly, duplicated flt3/flt3lg genes were maintained in the allotetraploid Xenopus laevis. Comparison of modeled structures of X. laevis Flt3 and Flt3lg homoeologs with the related diploid Xenopus tropicalis and with humans indicated a higher conformational divergence between the homoeologous pairs than their respective counterparts. The distinctive developmental and tissue expression patterns of Flt3 and Flt3lg homoeologs in tadpoles and adult frogs suggest a subfunctionalization of these homoeologs. To characterize Flt3 cell surface expression, X. laevis–tagged rFlt3lg.S and rFlt3lg.L were produced. Both rFlt3lg.S and rFlt3lg.L bind in vitro Flt3.S and Flt3.L and can trigger Erk1/2 signaling, which is consistent with a partial overlapping function between homoeologs. In spleen, Flt3.S/L cell surface expression was detected on a fraction of B cells and a population of MHC class IIhigh/CD8+ leukocytes phenotypically similar to the recently described dual follicular/conventional DC-like XL cells. Our resultmore »suggests that 1) Flt3lg.S and Flt3lg.L are both involved in XL cell homeostasis and that 2) XL cells have hematopoietic origin. Furthermore, we detected surface expression of the macrophage/monocyte marker Csf1r.S on XL cells as in mammalian and chicken DCs, which points to a common evolutionary origin in vertebrate DCs.« less
  5. Rappe, Michael S. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT For the abundant marine Alphaproteobacterium Pelagibacter (SAR11), and other bacteria, phages are powerful forces of mortality. However, little is known about the most abundant Pelagiphages in nature, such as the widespread HTVC023P-type, which is currently represented by two cultured phages. Using viral metagenomic data sets and fluorescence-activated cell sorting, we recovered 80 complete, undescribed Podoviridae genomes that form 10 phylogenomically distinct clades (herein, named Clades I to X) related to the HTVC023P-type. These expanded the HTVC023P-type pan-genome by 15-fold and revealed 41 previously unknown auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) in this viral lineage. Numerous instances of partner-AMGs (colocated and involved in related functions) were observed, including partners in nucleotide metabolism, DNA hypermodification, and Curli biogenesis. The Type VIII secretion system (T8SS) responsible for Curli biogenesis was identified in nine genomes and expanded the repertoire of T8SS proteins reported thus far in viruses. Additionally, the identified T8SS gene cluster contained an iron-dependent regulator (FecR), as well as a histidine kinase and adenylate cyclase that can be implicated in T8SS function but are not within T8SS operons in bacteria. While T8SS are lacking in known Pelagibacter , they contribute to aggregation and biofilm formation in other bacteria. Phylogenetic reconstructions of partner-AMGs indicatemore »derivation from cellular lineages with a more recent transfer between viral families. For example, homologs of all T8SS genes are present in syntenic regions of distant Myoviridae Pelagiphages, and they appear to have alphaproteobacterial origins with a later transfer between viral families. The results point to an unprecedented multipartner-AMG transfer between marine Myoviridae and Podoviridae. Together with the expansion of known metabolic functions, our studies provide new prospects for understanding the ecology and evolution of marine phages and their hosts. IMPORTANCE One of the most abundant and diverse marine bacterial groups is Pelagibacter . Phages have roles in shaping Pelagibacter ecology; however, several Pelagiphage lineages are represented by only a few genomes. This paucity of data from even the most widespread lineages has imposed limits on the understanding of the diversity of Pelagiphages and their impacts on hosts. Here, we report 80 complete genomes, assembled directly from environmental data, which are from undescribed Pelagiphages and render new insights into the manipulation of host metabolism during infection. Notably, the viruses have functionally related partner genes that appear to be transferred between distant viruses, including a suite that encode a secretion system which both brings a new functional capability to the host and is abundant in phages across the ocean. Together, these functions have important implications for phage evolution and for how Pelagiphage infection influences host biology in manners extending beyond canonical viral lysis and mortality.« less