This content will become publicly available on May 25, 2024
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Nature Springer
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 785 to 791
- Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
- ["single-cell RNA-seq","maize","comparative single-cell profiling","whole genome duplication"]
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Goldman, Gustavo H. (Ed.)ABSTRACT Gene expression divergence through evolutionary processes is thought to be important for achieving programmed development in multicellular organisms. To test this premise in filamentous fungi, we investigated transcriptional profiles of 3,942 single-copy orthologous genes (SCOGs) in five related sordariomycete species that have morphologically diverged in the formation of their flask-shaped perithecia. We compared expression of the SCOGs to inferred gene expression levels of the most recent common ancestor of the five species, ranking genes from their largest increases to smallest increases in expression during perithecial development in each of the five species. We found that a large proportion of the genes that exhibited evolved increases in gene expression were important for normal perithecial development in Fusarium graminearum . Many of these genes were previously uncharacterized, encoding hypothetical proteins without any known functional protein domains. Interestingly, the developmental stages during which aberrant knockout phenotypes appeared largely coincided with the elevated expression of the deleted genes. In addition, we identified novel genes that affected normal perithecial development in Magnaporthe oryzae and Neurospora crassa , which were functionally and transcriptionally diverged from the orthologous counterparts in F. graminearum . Furthermore, comparative analysis of developmental transcriptomes and phylostratigraphic analysis suggested that genes encoding hypothetical proteins are generally young and transcriptionally divergent between related species. This study provides tangible evidence of shifts in gene expression that led to acquisition of novel function of orthologous genes in each lineage and demonstrates that several genes with hypothetical function are crucial for shaping multicellular fruiting bodies. IMPORTANCE The fungal class Sordariomycetes includes numerous important plant and animal pathogens. It also provides model systems for studying fungal fruiting body development, as its members develop fruiting bodies with a few well-characterized tissue types on common growth media and have rich genomic resources that enable comparative and functional analyses. To understand transcriptional divergence of key developmental genes between five related sordariomycete fungi, we performed targeted knockouts of genes inferred to have evolved significant upward shifts in expression. We found that many previously uncharacterized genes play indispensable roles at different stages of fruiting body development, which have undergone transcriptional activation in specific lineages. These novel genes are predicted to be phylogenetically young and tend to be involved in lineage- or species-specific function. Transcriptional activation of genes with unknown function seems to be more frequent than ever thought, which may be crucial for rapid adaption to changing environments for successful sexual reproduction.more » « less
INTRODUCTION Neurons are by far the most diverse of all cell types in animals, to the extent that “cell types” in mammalian brains are still mostly heterogeneous groups, and there is no consensus definition of the term. The Drosophila optic lobes, with approximately 200 well-defined cell types, provides a tractable system with which to address the genetic basis of neuronal type diversity. We previously characterized the distinct developmental gene expression program of each of these types using single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), with one-to-one correspondence to the known morphological types. RATIONALE The identity of fly neurons is determined by temporal and spatial patterning mechanisms in stem cell progenitors, but it remained unclear how these cell fate decisions are implemented and maintained in postmitotic neurons. It was proposed in Caenorhabditis elegans that unique combinations of terminal selector transcription factors (TFs) that are continuously expressed in each neuron control nearly all of its type-specific gene expression. This model implies that it should be possible to engineer predictable and complete switches of identity between different neurons just by modifying these sustained TFs. We aimed to test this prediction in the Drosophila visual system. RESULTS Here, we used our developmental scRNA-seq atlases to identify the potential terminal selector genes in all optic lobe neurons. We found unique combinations of, on average, 10 differentially expressed and stably maintained (across all stages of development) TFs in each neuron. Through genetic gain- and loss-of-function experiments in postmitotic neurons, we showed that modifications of these selector codes are sufficient to induce predictable switches of identity between various cell types. Combinations of terminal selectors jointly control both developmental (e.g., morphology) and functional (e.g., neurotransmitters and their receptors) features of neurons. The closely related Transmedullary 1 (Tm1), Tm2, Tm4, and Tm6 neurons (see the figure) share a similar code of terminal selectors, but can be distinguished from each other by three TFs that are continuously and specifically expressed in one of these cell types: Drgx in Tm1, Pdm3 in Tm2, and SoxN in Tm6. We showed that the removal of each of these selectors in these cell types reprograms them to the default Tm4 fate. We validated these conversions using both morphological features and molecular markers. In addition, we performed scRNA-seq to show that ectopic expression of pdm3 in Tm4 and Tm6 neurons converts them to neurons with transcriptomes that are nearly indistinguishable from that of wild-type Tm2 neurons. We also show that Drgx expression in Tm1 neurons is regulated by Klumpfuss, a TF expressed in stem cells that instructs this fate in progenitors, establishing a link between the regulatory programs that specify neuronal fates and those that implement them. We identified an intronic enhancer in the Drgx locus whose chromatin is specifically accessible in Tm1 neurons and in which Klu motifs are enriched. Genomic deletion of this region knocked down Drgx expression specifically in Tm1 neurons, leaving it intact in the other cell types that normally express it. We further validated this concept by demonstrating that ectopic expression of Vsx (visual system homeobox) genes in Mi15 neurons not only converts them morphologically to Dm2 neurons, but also leads to the loss of their aminergic identity. Our results suggest that selector combinations can be further sculpted by receptor tyrosine kinase signaling after neurogenesis, providing a potential mechanism for postmitotic plasticity of neuronal fates. Finally, we combined our transcriptomic datasets with previously generated chromatin accessibility datasets to understand the mechanisms that control brain wiring downstream of terminal selectors. We built predictive computational models of gene regulatory networks using the Inferelator framework. Experimental validations of these networks revealed how selectors interact with ecdysone-responsive TFs to activate a large and specific repertoire of cell surface proteins and other effectors in each neuron at the onset of synapse formation. We showed that these network models can be used to identify downstream effectors that mediate specific cellular decisions during circuit formation. For instance, reduced levels of cut expression in Tm2 neurons, because of its negative regulation by pdm3 , controls the synaptic layer targeting of their axons. Knockdown of cut in Tm1 neurons is sufficient to redirect their axons to the Tm2 layer in the lobula neuropil without affecting other morphological features. CONCLUSION Our results support a model in which neuronal type identity is primarily determined by a relatively simple code of continuously expressed terminal selector TFs in each cell type throughout development. Our results provide a unified framework of how specific fates are initiated and maintained in postmitotic neurons and open new avenues to understanding synaptic specificity through gene regulatory networks. The conservation of this regulatory logic in both C. elegans and Drosophila makes it likely that the terminal selector concept will also be useful in understanding and manipulating the neuronal diversity of mammalian brains. Terminal selectors enable predictive cell fate reprogramming. Tm1, Tm2, Tm4, and Tm6 neurons of the Drosophila visual system share a core set of TFs continuously expressed by each cell type (simplified). The default Tm4 fate is overridden by the expression of a single additional terminal selector to generate Tm1 ( Drgx ), Tm2 ( pdm3 ), or Tm6 ( SoxN ) fates.more » « less
ABSTRACT Vitamin B 1 (thiamin) is a cofactor for critical enzymatic processes and is scarce in surface oceans. Several eukaryotic marine algal species thought to rely on exogenous thiamin are now known to grow equally well on the precursor 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (HMP), including the haptophyte Emiliania huxleyi . Because the thiamin biosynthetic capacities of the diverse and ecologically important haptophyte lineage are otherwise unknown, we investigated the pathway in transcriptomes and two genomes from 30 species representing six taxonomic orders. HMP synthase is missing in data from all studied taxa, but the pathway is otherwise complete, with some enzymatic variations. Experiments on axenic species from three orders demonstrated that equivalent growth rates were supported by 1 µM HMP or thiamin amendment. Cellular thiamin quotas were quantified in the oceanic phytoplankter E. huxleyi using the thiochrome assay. E. huxleyi exhibited luxury storage in standard algal medium [(1.16 ± 0.18) × 10 −6 pmol thiamin cell −1 ], whereas quotas in cultures grown under more environmentally relevant thiamin and HMP supplies [(2.22 ± 0.07) × 10 −7 or (1.58 ± 0.14) × 10 −7 pmol thiamin cell −1 , respectively] were significantly lower than luxury values and prior estimates. HMP and its salvage-related analog 4-amino-5-aminomethyl-2-methylpyrimidine (AmMP) supported higher growth than thiamin under environmentally relevant supply levels. These compounds also sustained growth of the stramenopile alga Pelagomonas calceolata . Together with identification of a salvage protein subfamily (TENA_E) in multiple phytoplankton, the results indicate that salvaged AmMP and exogenously acquired HMP are used by several groups for thiamin production. Our studies highlight the potential importance of thiamin pathway intermediates and their analogs in shaping phytoplankton community structure. IMPORTANCE The concept that vitamin B 1 (thiamin) availability in seawater controls the productivity and structure of eukaryotic phytoplankton communities has been discussed for half a century. We examined B 1 biosynthesis and salvage pathways in diverse phytoplankton species. These comparative genomic analyses as well as experiments show that phytoplankton thought to require exogenous B 1 not only utilize intermediate compounds to meet this need but also exhibit stronger growth on these compounds than on thiamin. Furthermore, oceanic phytoplankton have lower cellular thiamin quotas than previously reported, and salvage of intermediate compounds is likely a key mechanism for meeting B 1 requirements under environmentally relevant scenarios. Thus, several lines of evidence now suggest that availability of specific precursor molecules could be more important in structuring phytoplankton communities than the vitamin itself. This understanding of preferential compound utilization and thiamin quotas will improve biogeochemical model parameterization and highlights interaction networks among ocean microbes.more » « less
Birol, Inanc (Ed.)
Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is widely used for analyzing gene expression in multi-cellular systems and provides unprecedented access to cellular heterogeneity. scRNA-seq experiments aim to identify and quantify all cell types present in a sample. Measured single-cell transcriptomes are grouped by similarity and the resulting clusters are mapped to cell types based on cluster-specific gene expression patterns. While the process of generating clusters has become largely automated, annotation remains a laborious ad hoc effort that requires expert biological knowledge.
Here, we introduce CellMeSH—a new automated approach to identifying cell types for clusters based on prior literature. CellMeSH combines a database of gene–cell-type associations with a probabilistic method for database querying. The database is constructed by automatically linking gene and cell-type information from millions of publications using existing indexed literature resources. Compared to manually constructed databases, CellMeSH is more comprehensive and is easily updated with new data. The probabilistic query method enables reliable information retrieval even though the gene–cell-type associations extracted from the literature are noisy. CellMeSH is also able to optionally utilize prior knowledge about tissues or cells for further annotation improvement. CellMeSH achieves top-one and top-three accuracies on a number of mouse and human datasets that are consistently better than existing approaches.
Availability and implementation
Web server at https://uncurl.cs.washington.edu/db_query and API at https://github.com/shunfumao/cellmesh.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Hydractinia is a colonial marine hydroid that exhibits remarkable biological properties, including the capacity to regenerate its entire body throughout its lifetime, a process made possible by its adult migratory stem cells, known as i-cells. Here, we provide an in-depth characterization of the genomic structure and gene content of two Hydractinia species, H. symbiolongicarpus and H. echinata, placing them in a comparative evolutionary framework with other cnidarian genomes. We also generated and annotated a single-cell transcriptomic atlas for adult male H. symbiolongicarpus and identified cell type markers for all major cell types, including key i-cell markers. Orthology analyses based on the markers revealed that Hydractinia's i-cells are highly enriched in genes that are widely shared amongst animals, a striking finding given that Hydractinia has a higher proportion of phylum-specific genes than any of the other 41 animals in our orthology analysis. These results indicate that Hydractinia's stem cells and early progenitor cells may use a toolkit shared with all animals, making it a promising model organism for future exploration of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. The genomic and transcriptomic resources for Hydractinia presented here will enable further studies of their regenerative capacity, colonial morphology, and ability to distinguish self from non-self.more » « less