skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Townsend, Jeffrey P."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Patients undergoing antineoplastic therapies often exhibit reduced immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, necessitating assessment of alternate booster vaccination frequencies. However, data on reinfection risks to guide clinical decision making are limited. Here, we quantified reinfection risks for patients undergoing distinct antineoplastic therapies, given alternative frequencies of boosting with Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2. Integrating antibody data following vaccination with long-term antibody data from other coronaviruses in an evolutionary framework, we estimated infection probabilities based on antibody levels and calculated cumulative probabilities of breakthrough infection for alternate booster schedules over 2 years. Annual boosting reduced risks for targeted or hormonal treatments, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy-immunotherapy combinations similarly to the general population. Patients receiving no treatment or chemotherapy exhibited higher risks, suggesting that accelerated vaccination schedules should be considered. Patients treated with rituximab therapy presented the highest infection risk, suggesting that a combination of frequent boosting and additional interventions may be warranted for mitigating SARS-CoV-2 infection.

  2. Advances in genomics and transcriptomics accompanying the rapid accumulation of omics data have provided new tools that have transformed and expanded the traditional concepts of model fungi. Evolutionary genomics and transcriptomics have flourished with the use of classical and newer fungal models that facilitate the study of diverse topics encompassing fungal biology and development. Technological advances have also created the opportunity to obtain and mine large datasets. One such continuously growing dataset is that of the Sordariomycetes, which exhibit a richness of species, ecological diversity, economic importance, and a profound research history on amenable models. Currently, 3,574 species of this class have been sequenced, comprising nearly one-third of the available ascomycete genomes. Among these genomes, multiple representatives of the model genera Fusarium , Neurospora , and Trichoderma are present. In this review, we examine recently published studies and data on the Sordariomycetes that have contributed novel insights to the field of fungal evolution via integrative analyses of the genetic, pathogenic, and other biological characteristics of the fungi. Some of these studies applied ancestral state analysis of gene expression among divergent lineages to infer regulatory network models, identify key genetic elements in fungal sexual development, and investigate the regulation of conidialmore »germination and secondary metabolism. Such multispecies investigations address challenges in the study of fungal evolutionary genomics derived from studies that are often based on limited model genomes and that primarily focus on the aspects of biology driven by knowledge drawn from a few model species. Rapidly accumulating information and expanding capabilities for systems biological analysis of Big Data are setting the stage for the expansion of the concept of model systems from unitary taxonomic species/genera to inclusive clusters of well-studied models that can facilitate both the in-depth study of specific lineages and also investigation of trait diversity across lineages. The Sordariomycetes class, in particular, offers abundant omics data and a large and active global research community. As such, the Sordariomycetes can form a core omics clade, providing a blueprint for the expansion of our knowledge of evolution at the genomic scale in the exciting era of Big Data and artificial intelligence, and serving as a reference for the future analysis of different taxonomic levels within the fungal kingdom.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Following the draft sequence of the first human genome over 20 years ago, we have achieved unprecedented insights into the rules governing its evolution, often with direct translational relevance to specific diseases. However, staggering sequence complexity has also challenged the development of a more comprehensive understanding of human genome biology. In this context, interspecific genomic studies between humans and other animals have played a critical role in our efforts to decode human gene families. In this review, we focus on how the rapid surge of genome sequencing of both model and non-model organisms now provides a broader comparative framework poised to empower novel discoveries. We begin with a general overview of how comparative approaches are essential for understanding gene family evolution in the human genome, followed by a discussion of analyses of gene expression. We show how homology can provide insights into the genes and gene families associated with immune response, cancer biology, vision, chemosensation, and metabolism, by revealing similarity in processes among distant species. We then explain methodological tools that provide critical advances and show the limitations of common approaches. We conclude with a discussion of how these investigations position us to gain fundamental insights into the evolution ofmore »gene families among living organisms in general. We hope that our review catalyzes additional excitement and research on the emerging field of comparative genomics, while aiding the placement of the human genome into its existentially evolutionary context.

    « less
  4. The nature of saprophytic and mycoparasitic hyphal growth of Trichoderma spp. has been studied extensively, yet its initiation via conidial germination in this genus is less well understood. Using near-synchronous germinating cultures of Trichoderma asperelloides, we followed the morphological progression from dormant conidia to initial polar growth to germling formation and to evidence for first branching. We found that the stage-specific transcriptional profile of T. asperelloides is one of the most dynamic described to date: transcript abundance of over 5000 genes—comprising approximately half of the annotated genome—was unremittingly reduced in the transition from dormancy to polar growth. Conversely, after the onset of germination, the transcript abundance of approximately a quarter of the genome was unremittingly elevated during the transition from elongation to initial branching. These changes are a testimony to the substantial developmental events that accompany germination. Bayesian network analysis identified several chitinase- and glucanase-encoding genes as active transcriptional hubs during germination. Furthermore, the expression of specific members of the chitin synthase and glucan elongase families was significantly increased during germination in the presence of Rhizoctonia solani—a known host of the mycoparasite—indicating that host recognition can occur during the early stages of mycoparasite development.
  5. Hug, Laura A. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Secondary metabolite clusters (SMCs) encode the machinery for fungal toxin production. However, understanding their function and analyzing their products requires investigation of the developmental and environmental conditions in which they are expressed. Gene expression is often restricted to specific and unexamined stages of the life cycle. Therefore, we applied comparative genomics analyses to identify SMCs in Neurospora crassa and analyzed extensive transcriptomic data spanning nine independent experiments from diverse developmental and environmental conditions to reveal their life cycle-specific gene expression patterns. We reported 20 SMCs comprising 177 genes—a manageable set for investigation of the roles of SMCs across the life cycle of the fungal model N. crassa —as well as gene sets coordinately expressed in 18 predicted SMCs during asexual and sexual growth under three nutritional and two temperature conditions. Divergent activity of SMCs between asexual and sexual development was reported. Of 126 SMC genes that we examined for knockout phenotypes, al-2 and al-3 exhibited phenotypes in asexual growth and conidiation, whereas os-5 , poi-2 , and pmd-1 exhibited phenotypes in sexual development. SMCs with annotated function in mating and crossing were actively regulated during the switch between asexual and sexual growth. Our discoveries call for attention to rolesmore »that SMCs may play in the regulatory switches controlling mode of development, as well as the ecological associations of those developmental stages that may influence expression of SMCs. IMPORTANCE Secondary metabolites (SMs) are low-molecular-weight compounds that often mediate interactions between fungi and their environments. Fungi enriched with SMs are of significant research interest to agriculture and medicine, especially from the aspects of pathogen ecology and environmental epidemiology. However, SM clusters (SMCs) that have been predicted by comparative genomics alone have typically been poorly defined and insufficiently functionally annotated. Therefore, we have investigated coordinate expression in SMCs in the model system N. crassa , and our results suggest that SMCs respond to environmental signals and to stress that are associated with development. This study examined SMC regulation at the level of RNA to integrate observations and knowledge of these genes in various growth and development conditions, supporting combining comparative genomics and inclusive transcriptomics to improve computational annotation of SMCs. Our findings call for detailed study of the function of SMCs during the asexual-sexual switch, a key, often-overlooked developmental stage.« less
  6. 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 encodingmore »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.« less
  7. Stajich, Jason E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT The filamentous mycoparasitic fungus Trichoderma asperelloides (Hypocreales, Ascomycota, Dikarya) strain T 203 was isolated from soil in Israel by the Ilan Chet group in the 1980s. As it has been the subject of laboratory, greenhouse, and field experiments and has been incorporated into commercial agricultural preparations, its genome has been sequenced and analyzed.
  8. Bahar, Ivet (Ed.)
    Abstract Summary Chemsearch is a cross-platform server application for developing and managing a chemical compound library and associated data files, with an interface for browsing and search that allows for easy navigation to a compound of interest, similar compounds or compounds that have desired structural properties. With provisions for access control and centralized document and data storage, Chemsearch supports collaboration by distributed teams. Availability and implementation Chemsearch is a free and open-source Flask web application that can be linked to a Google Workspace account. Source code is available at (GPLv3 license). A Docker image allowing rapid deployment is available at
  9. The Neurospora crassa GUL-1 is part of the COT-1 pathway, which plays key roles in regulating polar hyphal growth and cell wall remodeling. We show that GUL-1 is a bona fide RNA-binding protein (RBP) that can associate with 828 “core” mRNA species. When cell wall integrity (CWI) is challenged, expression of over 25% of genomic RNA species are modulated (2,628 mRNAs, including the GUL-1 mRNA). GUL-1 binds mRNAs of genes related to translation, cell wall remodeling, circadian clock, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), as well as CWI and MAPK pathway components. GUL-1 interacts with over 100 different proteins, including stress-granule and P-body proteins, ER components and components of the MAPK, COT-1, and STRIPAK complexes. Several additional RBPs were also shown to physically interact with GUL-1. Under stress conditions, GUL-1 can localize to the ER and affect the CWI pathway—evident via altered phosphorylation levels of MAK-1, interaction with mak-1 transcript, and involvement in the expression level of the transcription factor adv-1 . We conclude that GUL-1 functions in multiple cellular processes, including the regulation of cell wall remodeling, via a mechanism associated with the MAK-1 pathway and stress-response.