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Title: Chasing perfection: validation and polishing strategies for telomere-to-telomere genome assemblies
Award ID(s):
1732253 1350041
NSF-PAR ID:
10335390
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Methods
Volume:
19
Issue:
6
ISSN:
1548-7091
Page Range / eLocation ID:
687 to 695
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. null (Ed.)
    The telomere protein assemblies in different fungal lineages manifest quite profound structural and functional divergence, implying a high degree of flexibility and adaptability. Previous comparative analyses of fungal telomeres have focused on the role of telomere sequence alterations in promoting the evolution of corresponding proteins, particularly in budding and fission yeast. However, emerging evidence suggests that even in fungi with the canonical 6-bp telomere repeat unit, there are significant remodeling of the telomere assembly. Indeed, a new protein family can be recruited to serve dedicated telomere functions, and then experience subsequent loss in sub-branches of the clade. An especially interesting example is the Tay1 family of proteins, which emerged in fungi prior to the divergence of basidiomycetes from ascomycetes. This relatively recent protein family appears to have acquired its telomere DNA-binding activity through the modification of another Myb-containing protein. Members of the Tay1 family evidently underwent rather dramatic functional diversification, serving, e.g., as transcription factors in fission yeast while acting to promote telomere maintenance in basidiomycetes and some hemi-ascomycetes. Remarkably, despite its distinct structural organization and evolutionary origin, a basidiomycete Tay1 appears to promote telomere replication using the same mechanism as mammalian TRF1, i.e., by recruiting and regulating Blm helicase activity. This apparent example of convergent evolution at the molecular level highlight the ability of telomere proteins to acquire new interaction targets. The remarkable evolutionary history of Tay1 illustrates the power of protein modularity and the facile acquisition of nucleic acid/protein-binding activity to promote telomere flexibility. 
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This resource affords a genome-scale assessment of all human repetitive sequences, including TEs and previously unknown repeats and satellites, both within and outside of gaps and collapsed regions. Additionally, a complete genome enables the opportunity to explore the epigenetic and transcriptional profiles of these elements that are fundamental to our understanding of chromosome structure, function, and evolution. Comparative analyses reveal modes of repeat divergence, evolution, and expansion or contraction with locus-level resolution. RESULTS We implemented a comprehensive repeat annotation workflow using previously known human repeats and de novo repeat modeling followed by manual curation, including assessing overlaps with gene annotations, segmental duplications, tandem repeats, and annotated repeats. Using this method, we developed an updated catalog of human repetitive sequences and refined previous repeat annotations. We discovered 43 previously unknown repeats and repeat variants and characterized 19 complex, composite repetitive structures, which often carry genes, across T2T-CHM13. Using precision nuclear run-on sequencing (PRO-seq) and CpG methylated sites generated from Oxford Nanopore Technologies long-read sequencing data, we assessed RNA polymerase engagement across retroelements genome-wide, revealing correlations between nascent transcription, sequence divergence, CpG density, and methylation. These analyses were extended to evaluate RNA polymerase occupancy for all repeats, including high-density satellite repeats that reside in previously inaccessible centromeric regions of all human chromosomes. Moreover, using both mapping-dependent and mapping-independent approaches across early developmental stages and a complete cell cycle time series, we found that engaged RNA polymerase across satellites is low; in contrast, TE transcription is abundant and serves as a boundary for changes in CpG methylation and centromere substructure. Together, these data reveal the dynamic relationship between transcriptionally active retroelement subclasses and DNA methylation, as well as potential mechanisms for the derivation and evolution of new repeat families and composite elements. Focusing on the emerging T2T-level assembly of the HG002 X chromosome, we reveal that a high level of repeat variation likely exists across the human population, including composite element copy numbers that affect gene copy number. 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  4. Abstract

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