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  1. Abstract

    DNA double-strand breaks require repair or risk corrupting the language of life. To ensure genome integrity and viability, multiple DNA double-strand break repair pathways function in eukaryotes. Two such repair pathways, canonical non-homologous end joining and homologous recombination, have been extensively studied, while other pathways such as microhomology-mediated end joint and single-strand annealing, once thought to serve as back-ups, now appear to play a fundamental role in DNA repair. Here, we review the molecular details and hierarchy of these four DNA repair pathways, and where possible, a comparison for what is known between animal and fungal models. We address the factors contributing to break repair pathway choice, and aim to explore our understanding and knowledge gaps regarding mechanisms and regulation in filamentous pathogens. We additionally discuss how DNA double-strand break repair pathways influence genome engineering results, including unexpected mutation outcomes. Finally, we review the concept of biased genome evolution in filamentous pathogens, and provide a model, termed Biased Variation, that links DNA double-strand break repair pathways with properties of genome evolution. Despite our extensive knowledge for this universal process, there remain many unanswered questions, for which the answers may improve genome engineering and our understanding of genome evolution.

  2. Abstract

    Cellular biological networks represent the molecular interactions that shape function of living cells. Uncovering the organization of a biological network requires efficient and accurate algorithms to determine the components, termed communities, underlying specific processes. Detecting functional communities is challenging because reconstructed biological networks are always incomplete due to technical bias and biological complexity, and the evaluation of putative communities is further complicated by a lack of known ground truth. To address these challenges, we developed a geometric-based detection framework based on Ollivier-Ricci curvature to exploit information about network topology to perform community detection from partially observed biological networks. We further improved this approach by integrating knowledge of gene function, termed side information, into the Ollivier-Ricci curvature algorithm to aid in community detection. This approach identified essential conserved and varied biological communities from partially observedArabidopsisprotein interaction datasets better than the previously used methods. We show that Ollivier-Ricci curvature with side information identified an expanded auxin community to include an important protein stability complex, the Cop9 signalosome, consistent with previous reported links to auxin response and root development. The results show that community detection based on Ollivier-Ricci curvature with side information can uncover novel components and novel communities in biological networks,more »providing novel insight into the organization and function of complex networks.

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  3. Ballou, Elizabeth (Ed.)
    Through the association of protein complexes to DNA, the eukaryotic nuclear genome is broadly organized into open euchromatin that is accessible for enzymes acting on DNA and condensed heterochromatin that is inaccessible. Chemical and physical alterations to chromatin may impact its organization and functionality and are therefore important regulators of nuclear processes. Studies in various fungal plant pathogens have uncovered an association between chromatin organization and expression of in planta - induced genes that are important for pathogenicity. This review discusses chromatin-based regulation mechanisms as determined in the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae and relates the importance of epigenetic transcriptional regulation and other nuclear processes more broadly in fungal plant pathogens.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 3, 2024
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  5. Abstract CRISPR-Cas mediated genome engineering has revolutionized functional genomics. However, understanding of DNA repair following Cas-mediated DNA cleavage remains incomplete. Using Cas12a ribonucleoprotein genome editing in the fungal pathogen, Magnaporthe oryzae , we detail non-canonical DNA repair outcomes from hundreds of transformants. Sanger and nanopore sequencing analysis reveals significant variation in DNA repair profiles, ranging from small INDELs to kilobase size deletions and insertions. Furthermore, we find the frequency of DNA repair outcomes varies between loci. The results are not specific to the Cas-nuclease or selection procedure. Through Ku80 deletion analysis, a key protein required for canonical non-homologous end joining, we demonstrate activity of an alternative end joining mechanism that creates larger DNA deletions, and uses longer microhomology compared to C-NHEJ. Together, our results suggest preferential DNA repair pathway activity in the genome that can create different mutation profiles following repair, which could create biased genome variation and impact genome engineering and genome evolution.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  6. Fudal, Isabelle ; Di Pietro, Antonio (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Differential growth conditions typically trigger global transcriptional responses in filamentous fungi. Such fungal responses to environmental cues involve epigenetic regulation, including chemical histone modifications. It has been proposed that conditionally expressed genes, such as those that encode secondary metabolites but also effectors in pathogenic species, are often associated with a specific histone modification, lysine27 methylation of H3 (H3K27me3). However, thus far, no analyses on the global H3K27me3 profiles have been reported under differential growth conditions in order to assess if H3K27me3 dynamics govern differential transcription. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) and RNA sequencing data from the plant-pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae grown in three in vitro cultivation media, we now show that a substantial number of the identified H3K27me3 domains globally display stable profiles among these growth conditions. However, we observe local quantitative differences in H3K27me3 ChIP-seq signals that are associated with a subset of differentially transcribed genes between media. Comparing the in vitro results to expression during plant infection suggests that in planta -induced genes may require chromatin remodeling to achieve expression. Overall, our results demonstrate that some loci display H3K27me3 dynamics associated with concomitant transcriptional variation, but many differentially expressed genes are associated with stable H3K27me3 domains. Thus,more »we conclude that while H3K27me3 is required for transcriptional repression, it does not appear that transcriptional activation requires the global erasure of H3K27me3. We propose that the H3K27me3 domains that do not undergo dynamic methylation may contribute to transcription through other mechanisms or may serve additional genomic regulatory functions. IMPORTANCE In many organisms, including filamentous fungi, epigenetic mechanisms that involve chemical and physical modifications of DNA without changing the genetic sequence have been implicated in transcriptional responses upon developmental or environmental cues. In fungi, facultative heterochromatin that can decondense to allow transcription in response to developmental changes or environmental stimuli is characterized by the trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27me3), and H3K27me3 has been implicated in transcriptional regulation, although the precise mechanisms and functions remain enigmatic. Based on ChIP and RNA sequencing data, we show for the soilborne broad-host-range vascular wilt plant-pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae that although some loci display H3K27me3 dynamics that can contribute to transcriptional variation, other loci do not show such a dependence. Thus, although we recognize that H3K27me3 is required for transcriptional repression, we also conclude that this mark is not a conditionally responsive global regulator of differential transcription upon responses to environmental cues.« less
  7. Mittelsten Scheid, Ortrun (Ed.)
    Transcriptional dynamic in response to environmental and developmental cues are fundamental to biology, yet many mechanistic aspects are poorly understood. One such example is fungal plant pathogens, which use secreted proteins and small molecules, termed effectors, to suppress host immunity and promote colonization. Effectors are highly expressed in planta but remain transcriptionally repressed ex planta , but our mechanistic understanding of these transcriptional dynamics remains limited. We tested the hypothesis that repressive histone modification at H3-Lys27 underlies transcriptional silencing ex planta , and that exchange for an active chemical modification contributes to transcription of in planta induced genes. Using genetics, chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing and RNA-sequencing, we determined that H3K27me3 provides significant local transcriptional repression. We detail how regions that lose H3K27me3 gain H3K27ac, and these changes are associated with increased transcription. Importantly, we observed that many in planta induced genes were marked by H3K27me3 during axenic growth, and detail how altered H3K27 modification influences transcription. ChIP-qPCR during in planta growth suggests that H3K27 modifications are generally stable, but can undergo dynamics at specific genomic locations. Our results support the hypothesis that dynamic histone modifications at H3K27 contributes to fungal genome regulation and specifically contributes to regulation of genes importantmore »during host infection.« less
  8. Genomes store information at scales beyond the linear nucleotide sequence, which impacts genome function at the level of an individual, while influences on populations and long-term genome function remains unclear. Here, we addressed how physical and chemical DNA characteristics influence genome evolution in the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae . We identified incomplete DNA methylation of repetitive elements, associated with specific genomic compartments originally defined as Lineage-Specific (LS) regions that contain genes involved in host adaptation. Further chromatin characterization revealed associations with features such as H3 Lys-27 methylated histones (H3K27me3) and accessible DNA. Machine learning trained on chromatin data identified twice as much LS DNA as previously recognized, which was validated through orthogonal analysis, and we propose to refer to this DNA as adaptive genomic regions. Our results provide evidence that specific chromatin profiles define adaptive genomic regions, and highlight how different epigenetic factors contribute to the organization of these regions.