skip to main content

Title: Chromosome-level assembly and annotation of the blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus , an aquaculture species for hybrid catfish reproduction, epigenetics, and heterosis studies
Abstract Background

The blue catfish is of great value in aquaculture and recreational fisheries. The F1 hybrids of female channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) × male blue catfish (Ictalurusfurcatus) have been the primary driver of US catfish production in recent years because of superior growth, survival, and carcass yield. The channel–blue hybrid also provides an excellent model to investigate molecular mechanisms of environment-dependent heterosis. However, transcriptome and methylome studies suffered from low alignment rates to the channel catfish genome due to divergence, and the genome resources for blue catfish are not publicly available.

Results

The blue catfish genome assembly is 841.86 Mbp in length with excellent continuity (8.6 Mbp contig N50, 28.2 Mbp scaffold N50) and completeness (98.6% Eukaryota and 97.0% Actinopterygii BUSCO). A total of 30,971 protein-coding genes were predicted, of which 21,781 were supported by RNA sequencing evidence. Phylogenomic analyses revealed that it diverged from channel catfish approximately 9 million years ago with 15.7 million fixed nucleotide differences. The within-species single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) density is 0.32% between the most aquaculturally important blue catfish strains (D&B and Rio Grande). Gene family analysis discovered significant expansion of immune-related families in the blue catfish lineage, which may contribute to disease resistance in blue catfish.

more » Conclusions

We reported the first high-quality, chromosome-level assembly of the blue catfish genome, which provides the necessary genomic tool kit for transcriptome and methylome analysis, SNP discovery and marker-assisted selection, gene editing and genome engineering, and reproductive enhancement of the blue catfish and hybrid catfish.

« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1928770
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10368781
Journal Name:
GigaScience
Volume:
11
ISSN:
2047-217X
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Teleosts are important models to study sex chromosomes and sex-determining (SD) genes because they present a variety of sex determination systems. Here, we used Nanopore and Hi-C technologies to generate a high-contiguity chromosome-level genome assembly of a YY southern catfish ( Silurus meridionalis ). The assembly is 750.0 Mb long, with contig N50 of 15.96 Mb and scaffold N50 of 27.22 Mb. We also sequenced and assembled an XY male genome with a size of 727.2 Mb and contig N50 of 13.69 Mb. We identified a candidate SD gene through comparisons to our previous assembly of an XX individual. By resequencing male and female pools, we characterized a 2.38 Mb sex-determining region (SDR) on Chr24. Analysis of read coverage and comparison of the X and Y chromosome sequences showed a Y specific insertion (approx. 500 kb) in the SDR which contained a male-specific duplicate of amhr2 (named amhr2y ). amhr2y and amhr2 shared high-nucleotide identity (81.0%) in the coding region but extremely low identity in the promotor and intron regions. The exclusive expression in the male gonadal primordium and loss-of-function inducing male to female sex reversal confirmed the role of amhr2y in male sex determination. Our study provides a newmore »example of amhr2 as the SD gene in fish and sheds light on the convergent evolution of the duplication of AMH/AMHR2 pathway members underlying the evolution of sex determination in different fish lineages.« less
  2. The hybrid between female channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and male blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is superior in feed conversion, disease resistance, carcass yield, and harvestability compared to both parental species. However, heterosis and heterobeltiosis only occur in pond culture, and channel catfish grow much faster than the other genetic types in small culture units. This environment-dependent heterosis is intriguing, but the underlying genetic mechanisms are not well understood. In this study, phenotypic characterization and transcriptomic analyses were performed in the channel catfish, blue catfish, and their reciprocal F1s reared in tanks. The results showed that the channel catfish is superior in growth-related morphometrics, presumably due to significantly lower innate immune function, as investigated by reduced lysozyme activity and alternative complement activity. RNA-seq analysis revealed that genes involved in fatty acid metabolism/transport are significantly upregulated in channel catfish compared to blue catfish and hybrids, which also contributes to the growth phenotype. Interestingly, hybrids have a 40–80% elevation in blood glucose than the parental species, which can be explained by a phenomenon called transgressive expression (overexpression/underexpression in F1s than the parental species). A total of 1140 transgressive genes were identified in F1 hybrids, indicating that 8.5% of the transcriptome displayed transgressive expression.more »Transgressive genes upregulated in F1s are enriched for glycan degradation function, directly related to the increase in blood glucose level. This study is the first to explore molecular mechanisms of environment-dependent heterosis/heterobeltiosis in a vertebrate species and sheds light on the regulation and evolution of heterosis vs. hybrid incompatibility.« less
  3. The hybrids of female channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and male blue catfish (I. furcatus) account for >50% of US catfish production due to superior growth, feed conversion, and disease resistance compared to both parental species. However, these hybrids can rarely be naturally spawned. Sperm collection is a lethal procedure, and sperm samples are now cryopreserved for fertilization needs. Previous studies showed that variation in sperm quality causes variable embryo hatch rates, which is the limiting factor in hybrid catfish breeding. Biomarkers as indicators for sperm quality and reproductive success are currently lacking. To address this, we investigated expression changes caused by cryopreservation using transcriptome profiles of fresh and cryopreserved sperm. Sperm quality measurements revealed that cryopreservation significantly increased oxidative stress levels and DNA fragmentation, and reduced sperm kinematic parameters. The present RNA-seq study identified 849 upregulated genes after cryopreservation, including members of all five complexes in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, suggesting a boost in oxidative phosphorylation activities, which often lead to excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) associated with cell death. Interestingly, functional enrichment analyses revealed compensatory changes in gene expression after cryopreservation to offset detrimental effects of ultra-cold storage: MnSOD was induced to control ROS production; chaperonesmore »and ubiquitin ligases were upregulated to correct misfolded proteins or direct them to degradation; negative regulators of apoptosis, amide biosynthesis, and cilium-related functions were also enriched. Our study provides insight into underlying molecular mechanisms of sperm cryoinjury and lays a foundation to further explore molecular biomarkers on cryo-survival and gamete quality.« less
  4. The complete germline repertoires of the channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus , T cell receptor (TR) loci, TRAD, TRB, and TRG were obtained by analyzing genomic data from PacBio sequencing. The catfish TRB locus spans 214 kb, and contains 112 TRBV genes, a single TRBD gene, 31 TRBJ genes and two TRBC genes. In contrast, the TRAD locus is very large, at 1,285 kb. It consists of four TRDD genes, one TRDJ gene followed by the exons for TRDC, 125 TRAJ genes and the exons encoding the TRAC. Downstream of the TRAC, are 140 TRADV genes, and all of them are in the opposite transcriptional orientation. The catfish TRGC locus spans 151 kb and consists of four diverse V-J-C cassettes. Altogether, this locus contains 15 TRGV genes and 10 TRGJ genes. To place our data into context, we also analyzed the zebrafish TR germline gene repertoires. Overall, our findings demonstrated that catfish possesses a more restricted repertoire compared to the zebrafish. For example, the 140 TRADV genes in catfish form eight subgroups based on members sharing 75% nucleotide identity. However, the 149 TRAD genes in zebrafish form 53 subgroups. This difference in subgroup numbers between catfish and zebrafish is best explainedmore »by expansions of catfish TRADV subgroups, which likely occurred through multiple, relatively recent gene duplications. Similarly, 112 catfish TRBV genes form 30 subgroups, while the 51 zebrafish TRBV genes are placed into 36 subgroups. Notably, several catfish and zebrafish TRB subgroups share ancestor nodes. In addition, the complete catfish TR gene annotation was used to compile a TR gene segment database, which was applied in clonotype analysis of an available gynogenetic channel catfish transcriptome. Combined, the TR annotation and clonotype analysis suggested that the expressed TRA, TRB, and TRD repertoires were generated by different mechanisms. The diversity of the TRB repertoire depends on the number of TRBV subgroups and TRBJ genes, while TRA diversity relies on the many different TRAJ genes, which appear to be only minimally trimmed. In contrast, TRD diversity relies on nucleotide additions and the utilization of up to four TRDD segments.« less
  5. Abstract Background

    The barnacles are a group of >2,000 species that have fascinated biologists, including Darwin, for centuries. Their lifestyles are extremely diverse, from free-swimming larvae to sessile adults, and even root-like endoparasites. Barnacles also cause hundreds of millions of dollars of losses annually due to biofouling. However, genomic resources for crustaceans, and barnacles in particular, are lacking.

    Results

    Using 62× Pacific Biosciences coverage, 189× Illumina whole-genome sequencing coverage, 203× HiC coverage, and 69× CHi-C coverage, we produced a chromosome-level genome assembly of the gooseneck barnacle Pollicipes pollicipes. The P. pollicipes genome is 770 Mb long and its assembly is one of the most contiguous and complete crustacean genomes available, with a scaffold N50 of 47 Mb and 90.5% of the BUSCO Arthropoda gene set. Using the genome annotation produced here along with transcriptomes of 13 other barnacle species, we completed phylogenomic analyses on a nearly 2 million amino acid alignment. Contrary to previous studies, our phylogenies suggest that the Pollicipedomorpha is monophyletic and sister to the Balanomorpha, which alters our understanding of barnacle larval evolution and suggests homoplasy in a number of naupliar characters. We also compared transcriptomes of P. pollicipes nauplius larvae and adults and found that nearly one-half ofmore »the genes in the genome are differentially expressed, highlighting the vastly different transcriptomes of larvae and adult gooseneck barnacles. Annotation of the genes with KEGG and GO terms reveals that these stages exhibit many differences including cuticle binding, chitin binding, microtubule motor activity, and membrane adhesion.

    Conclusion

    This study provides high-quality genomic resources for a key group of crustaceans. This is especially valuable given the roles P. pollicipes plays in European fisheries, as a sentinel species for coastal ecosystems, and as a model for studying barnacle adhesion as well as its key position in the barnacle tree of life. A combination of genomic, phylogenetic, and transcriptomic analyses here provides valuable insights into the evolution and development of barnacles.

    « less