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  1. Abstract Background

    V0v spinal interneurons are highly conserved, glutamatergic, commissural neurons that function in locomotor circuits. We have previously shown that Evx1 and Evx2 are required to specify the neurotransmitter phenotype of these cells. However, we still know very little about the gene regulatory networks that act downstream of these transcription factors in V0v cells.


    To identify candidate members of V0v gene regulatory networks, we FAC-sorted wild-type andevx1;evx2double mutant zebrafish V0v spinal interneurons and expression-profiled them using microarrays and single cell RNA-seq. We also used in situ hybridization to compare expression of a subset of candidate genes inevx1;evx2double mutants and wild-type siblings.


    Our data reveal two molecularly distinct subtypes of zebrafish V0v spinal interneurons at 48 h and suggest that, by this stage of development,evx1;evx2double mutant cells transfate into either inhibitory spinal interneurons, or motoneurons. Our results also identify 25 transcriptional regulator genes that require Evx1/2 for their expression in V0v interneurons, plus a further 11 transcriptional regulator genes that are repressed in V0v interneurons by Evx1/2. Two of the latter genes arehmx2andhmx3a. Intriguingly, we show that Hmx2/3a, repress dI2 interneuron expression ofskor1aandnefma, two genes that require Evx1/2 for their expression in V0v interneurons. This suggests that Evx1/2 might regulateskor1aandnefmaexpression in V0v interneurons by repressing Hmx2/3a expression.


    This study identifies two molecularly distinct subsets of zebrafish V0v spinal interneurons, as well as multiple transcriptional regulators that are strong candidates for acting downstream of Evx1/2 to specify the essential functional characteristics of these cells. Our data further suggest that in the absence of both Evx1 and Evx2, V0v spinal interneurons initially change their neurotransmitter phenotypes from excitatory to inhibitory and then, later, start to express markers of distinct types of inhibitory spinal interneurons, or motoneurons. Taken together, our findings significantly increase our knowledge of V0v and spinal development and move us closer towards the essential goal of identifying the complete gene regulatory networks that specify this crucial cell type.

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  2. Cortinarius watsoneae, a new species in subgenus Myxacium, sect. Myxacium, is described from pine and mixed pine and hardwood forests from the Gulf States region of North America. It is characterized by the young lamellae that are grayish violet to pale violet, and relatively large basidiospores in comparison to C. mucosus. The ITS sequence is distinct from other members of sect. Myxacium, with 97% similarity to the closest known species, C. collinitus and C. mucosus. The new species is named in honor of the late Geraldine Watson. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2024
  3. Abstract Living amphibians (Lissamphibia) include frogs and salamanders (Batrachia) and the limbless worm-like caecilians (Gymnophiona). The estimated Palaeozoic era gymnophionan–batrachian molecular divergence 1 suggests a major gap in the record of crown lissamphibians prior to their earliest fossil occurrences in the Triassic period 2–6 . Recent studies find a monophyletic Batrachia within dissorophoid temnospondyls 7–10 , but the absence of pre-Jurassic period caecilian fossils 11,12 has made their relationships to batrachians and affinities to Palaeozoic tetrapods controversial 1,8,13,14 . Here we report the geologically oldest stem caecilian—a crown lissamphibian from the Late Triassic epoch of Arizona, USA—extending the caecilian record by around 35 million years. These fossils illuminate the tempo and mode of early caecilian morphological and functional evolution, demonstrating a delayed acquisition of musculoskeletal features associated with fossoriality in living caecilians, including the dual jaw closure mechanism 15,16 , reduced orbits 17 and the tentacular organ 18 . The provenance of these fossils suggests a Pangaean equatorial origin for caecilians, implying that living caecilian biogeography reflects conserved aspects of caecilian function and physiology 19 , in combination with vicariance patterns driven by plate tectonics 20 . These fossils reveal a combination of features that is unique to caecilians alongside features that are shared with batrachian and dissorophoid temnospondyls, providing new and compelling evidence supporting a single origin of living amphibians within dissorophoid temnospondyls. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 2, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  5. The first genome sequenced of a eukaryotic organism was for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as reported in 1996, but it was more than 10 years before any of the zygomycete fungi, which are the early-diverging terrestrial fungi currently placed in the phyla Mucoromycota and Zoopagomycota, were sequenced. The genome for Rhizopus delemar was completed in 2008; currently, more than 1000 zygomycete genomes have been sequenced. Genomic data from these early-diverging terrestrial fungi revealed deep phylogenetic separation of the two major clades—primarily plant—associated saprotrophic and mycorrhizal Mucoromycota versus the primarily mycoparasitic or animal-associated parasites and commensals in the Zoopagomycota. Genomic studies provide many valuable insights into how these fungi evolved in response to the challenges of living on land, including adaptations to sensing light and gravity, development of hyphal growth, and co-existence with the first terrestrial plants. Genome sequence data have facilitated studies of genome architecture, including a history of genome duplications and horizontal gene transfer events, distribution and organization of mating type loci, rDNA genes and transposable elements, methylation processes, and genes useful for various industrial applications. Pathogenicity genes and specialized secondary metabolites have also been detected in soil saprobes and pathogenic fungi. Novel endosymbiotic bacteria and viruses have been discovered during several zygomycete genome projects. Overall, genomic information has helped to resolve a plethora of research questions, from the placement of zygomycetes on the evolutionary tree of life and in natural ecosystems, to the applied biotechnological and medical questions.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  6. Baldauf, Sandra (Ed.)
    Abstract Improved sequencing technologies have profoundly altered global views of fungal diversity and evolution. High-throughput sequencing methods are critical for studying fungi due to the cryptic, symbiotic nature of many species, particularly those that are difficult to culture. However, the low coverage genome sequencing (LCGS) approach to phylogenomic inference has not been widely applied to fungi. Here we analyzed 171 Kickxellomycotina fungi using LCGS methods to obtain hundreds of marker genes for robust phylogenomic reconstruction. Additionally, we mined our LCGS data for a set of nine rDNA and protein coding genes to enable analyses across species for which no LCGS data were obtained. The main goals of this study were to: 1) evaluate the quality and utility of LCGS data for both phylogenetic reconstruction and functional annotation, 2) test relationships among clades of Kickxellomycotina, and 3) perform comparative functional analyses between clades to gain insight into putative trophic modes. In opposition to previous studies, our nine-gene analyses support two clades of arthropod gut dwelling species and suggest a possible single evolutionary event leading to this symbiotic lifestyle. Furthermore, we resolve the mycoparasitic Dimargaritales as the earliest diverging clade in the subphylum and find four major clades of Coemansia species. Finally, functional analyses illustrate clear variation in predicted carbohydrate active enzymes and secondary metabolites (SM) based on ecology, that is biotroph versus saprotroph. Saprotrophic Kickxellales broadly lack many known pectinase families compared with saprotrophic Mucoromycota and are depauperate for SM but have similar numbers of predicted chitinases as mycoparasitic. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  7. Ma, Li-Jun (Ed.)
    Abstract Fungi have evolved over millions of years and their species diversity is predicted to be the second largest on the earth. Fungi have cross-kingdom interactions with many organisms that have mutually shaped their evolutionary trajectories. Zygomycete fungi hold a pivotal position in the fungal tree of life and provide important perspectives on the early evolution of fungi from aquatic to terrestrial environments. Phylogenomic analyses have found that zygomycete fungi diversified into two separate clades, the Mucoromycota which are frequently associated with plants and Zoopagomycota that are commonly animal-associated fungi. Genetic elements that contributed to the fitness and divergence of these lineages may have been shaped by the varied interactions these fungi have had with plants, animals, bacteria, and other microbes. To investigate this, we performed comparative genomic analyses of the two clades of zygomycetes in the context of Kingdom Fungi, benefiting from our generation of a new collection of zygomycete genomes, including nine produced for this study. We identified lineage-specific genomic content that may contribute to the disparate biology observed in these zygomycetes. Our findings include the discovery of undescribed diversity in CotH, a Mucormycosis pathogenicity factor, which was found in a broad set of zygomycetes. Reconciliation analysis identified multiple duplication events and an expansion of CotH copies throughout the Mucoromycotina, Mortierellomycotina, Neocallimastigomycota, and Basidiobolus lineages. A kingdom-level phylogenomic analysis also identified new evolutionary relationships within the subphyla of Mucoromycota and Zoopagomycota, including supporting the sister-clade relationship between Glomeromycotina and Mortierellomycotina and the placement of Basidiobolus as sister to other Zoopagomycota lineages. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  8. In this study we review recent collections and historical records of epigeous members of the Pezizales formerly placed in the large, heterogenous genus Peziza from temperate southern South America. Recent analyses using molecular phylogenetic methods allow placement of these species in several previously described genera in recognition of the heterogeneity of Peziza. We include species in nine genera, describe one new species (Peziza gamundiae sp. nov.), and propose one new combination (Phylloscypha nothofageti comb. nov.). We also demonstrate that Pustularia microspora is a synonym of the previously described taxon Peziza pseudosylvestris. Our purpose is to draw attention to these taxa in order to promote their collection and study in a modern framework. 
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