Occurrence and characteristics of group 1 introns found at three different positions within the 28S ribosomal RNA gene of the dematiaceous Phialophora verrucosa: phylogenetic and secondary structural implications.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Group 1 introns (ribozymes) are among the most ancient and have the broadest phylogenetic distribution among the known self-splicing ribozymes. Fungi are known to be rich in rDNA group 1 introns. In the present study, five sequences of the 28S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) regions of pathogenic dematiaceous Phialophora verrucosa were analyzed using PCR by site-specific primers and were found to have three insertions, termed intron-F, G and H, at three positions of the gene. We investigated the distribution of group 1 introns in this fungus by surveying 34 strains of P. verrucosa and seven strains of Phialophora americana as the allied species. RESULTS:Intron-F's (inserted at L798 position) were found in 88% of P. verrucosa strains, while intron-G's (inserted at L1921) at 12% and intron-H's (inserted at L2563) at 18%. There was some correlation between intron distribution and geographic location. In addition, we confirmed that the three kinds of introns are group 1 introns from results of BLAST search, alignment analysis and Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). Prediction of secondary structures and phylogenetic analysis of intron sequences identified introns-F and G as belonging to subgroup IC1. In addition, intron-H was identified as IE. CONCLUSION:The three intron insertions and their insertion position in the 28S rDNA allowed the characterization of the clinical and environmental isolates of P. verrucosa and P. americana into five genotypes. All subgroups of introns-F and G and intron-H were characterized and observed for the first time in both species.
Project description:Phialophora as defined by its type species P. verrucosa is a genus of Chaetothyriales, and a member of the group known as 'black yeasts and relatives'. Phialophora verrucosa has been reported from mutilating human infections such as chromoblastomycosis, disseminated phaeohyphomycosis and mycetoma, while morphologically similar fungi are rather commonly isolated from the environment. Phenotypes are insufficient for correct species identification, and molecular data have revealed significant genetic variation within the complex of species currently identified as P. verrucosa or P. americana. Multilocus analysis of 118 strains revealed the existence of five reproductively isolated species apparently having different infectious potentials. Strains of the sexual morph Capronia semiimmersa cluster within P. americana. The newly defined taxa differ markedly in their predilection for the human host.
Project description:The myxomycete Didymium iridis (isolate Panama 2) contains a mobile group I intron named Dir.S956-1 after position 956 in the nuclear small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene. The intron is efficiently spread through homing by the intron-encoded homing endonuclease I-DirI. Homing endonuclease genes (HEGs) usually spread with their associated introns as a unit, but infrequently also spread independent of introns (or inteins). Clear examples of HEG mobility are however sparse. Here, we provide evidence for the transfer of a HEG into a group I intron named Dir.S956-2 that is inserted into the SSU rDNA of the Costa Rica 8 isolate of D.iridis. Similarities between intron sequences that flank the HEG and rDNA sequences that flank the intron (the homing endonuclease recognition sequence) suggest that the HEG invaded the intron during the recent evolution in a homing-like event. Dir.S956-2 is inserted into the same SSU site as Dir.S956-1. Remarkably, the two group I introns encode distantly related splicing ribozymes with phylogenetically related HEGs inserted on the opposite strands of different peripheral loop regions. The HEGs are both interrupted by small spliceosomal introns that must be removed during RNA maturation.
Project description:Group I introns that encode homing endonuclease genes (HEGs) are highly invasive genetic elements. Their movement into a homologous position in an intron-less allele is termed homing. Although the mechanism of homing is well understood, the evolutionary relationship between HEGs and their intron partners remains unclear. Here we have focused on the largest family of HEGs (encoding the protein motif, LAGLIDADG) to understand how HEGs and introns move in rDNA. Our analysis shows the phylogenetic clustering of HEGs that encode a single copy of the LAGLIDADG motif in neighboring, but often evolutionarily distantly related, group I introns. These endonucleases appear to have inserted into existing introns independent of ribozymes. In contrast, our data support a common evolutionary history for a large family of heterologous introns that encode HEGs with a duplicated LAGLIDADG motif. This finding suggests that intron/double-motif HEG elements can move into heterologous sites as a unit. Our data also suggest that a subset of the double-motif HEGs in rDNA originated from the duplication and fusion of a single-motif HEG encoded by present-day ribozymes in LSU rDNA.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Group I introns (specifically subgroup IC1) are common in the nuclear ribosomal RNA genes of fungi. While most range in length from more than 200 to nearly 1800 nucleotides (nt) in length, several small putative (or degenerate) group I introns have been described that are between 56 and 81 nt. Although small, previously we demonstrated that the PaSSU intron in the rRNA small subunit gene of Phialophora americana isolate Wang 1046 is capable of in vitro splicing using a standard group I intron pathway, thus qualifying it as a functional ribozyme. FINDINGS:Here, we describe eight short putative group I introns, ranging in length from 63 to 75 nt, in the rRNA small subunit genes of Phialophora isolates, a fungal genus that ranges from saprobic to pathogenic on plants and animals. All contain putative pairing regions P1, P7, and P10, as well as a pairing region formed between the middle of the intron and part of the 3' exon. The other pairing regions common in the core of standard group I introns are absent. However, parts of the 3' exon may aid in the stabilization of these small introns. Although the eight putative group I introns were from at least three species of Phialophora, phylogenetic analysis indicated that the eight are monophyletic. They are also monophyletic with the small introns of two lichen-forming fungi, Porpidia crustulata and Arthonia lapidicola. CONCLUSIONS:The small putative group I introns in Phialophora have common features that may represent group I introns at their minima. They appear to have a single origin as indicated by their monophyly in phylogenetic analyses.
Project description:A survey of sequence databases revealed 10 instances of subgroup IIB1 mitochondrial ribosomal introns with 1 to 33 additional nucleotides inserted between the 5' exon and the consensus sequence at the intron 5' end. These 10 introns depart further from the IIB1 consensus in their predicted domain VI structure: In contrast to its basal helix and distal GNRA terminal loop, the middle part of domain VI is highly variable and lacks the bulging A that serves as the branchpoint in lariat formation. In vitro experiments using two closely related IIB1 members inserted at the same ribosomal RNA site in the basidiomycete fungi Grifola frondosa and Pycnoporellus fulgens revealed that both ribozymes are capable of efficient self-splicing. However, whereas the Grifola intron was excised predominantly as a lariat, the Pycnoporellus intron, which possesses six additional nucleotides at the 5' end, yielded only linear products, consistent with its predicted domain VI structure. Strikingly, all of the introns with 5' terminal insertions lack the EBS2 exon-binding site. Moreover, several of them are part of the small subset of group II introns that encode potentially functional homing endonucleases of the LAGLIDADG family rather than reverse transcriptases. Such coincidences suggest causal relationships between the shift to DNA-based mobility, the loss of one of the two ribozyme sites for binding the 5' exon, and the exclusive use of hydrolysis to initiate splicing.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Group I introns have spread into over 90 different sites in nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) with greater than 1700 introns reported in these genes. These ribozymes generally spread through endonuclease-mediated intron homing. Another putative pathway is reverse splicing whereby a free group I intron inserts into a homologous or heterologous RNA through complementary base-pairing between the intron and exon RNA. Reverse-transcription of the RNA followed by general recombination results in intron spread. Here we used phylogenetics to test for reverse splicing spread in a taxonomically broadly sampled data set of fungal group I introns including 9 putatively ancient group I introns in the rDNA of the yeast-like symbiont Symbiotaphrina buchneri. RESULTS: Our analyses reveal a complex evolutionary history of the fungal introns with many cases of vertical inheritance (putatively for the 9 introns in S. buchneri) and intron lateral transfer. There are several examples in which introns, many of which are still present in S. buchneri, may have spread through reverse splicing into heterologous rDNA sites. If the S. buchneri introns are ancient as we postulate, then group I intron loss was widespread in fungal rDNA evolution. CONCLUSION: On the basis of these results, we suggest that the extensive distribution of fungal group I introns is at least partially explained by the reverse splicing movement of existing introns into ectopic rDNA sites.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The entomopathogenic anamorphic fungus Metarhizum anisopliae is currently used as a biocontrol agent (BCA) of insects. In the present work, we analyzed the sequence data obtained from group I introns in the large subunit (LSU) of rDNA genes with a view to determining the genetic diversity present in an autochthonous collection of twenty-six M. anisopliae isolates selected as BCAs. RESULTS:DNA fragments corresponding to the 3'-end of the nuclear LSU rDNA genes of 26 M. anisopliae isolates were amplified by PCR. The amplicon sizes ranged from 0.8 to 3.4-kb. Four intron insertion sites, according to Escherichia coli J01695 numbering, were detected--Ec1921, Ec2066, Ec2449 and Ec2563--after sequencing and analysis of the PCR products. The presence/absence of introns allowed the 26 isolates to be distributed into seven genotypes. Nine of the isolates tested showed no introns, 4 had only one, 3 two, and 10 displayed three introns. The most frequent insertion sites were Ec1921 and Ec2449. Of the 26 isolates, 11 showed insertions at Ec2563 and a 1754-bp sequence was observed in ten of them. The most-parsimonious (MP) tree obtained from parsimony analysis of the introns revealed a main set containing four-groups that corresponded to the four insertion sites. CONCLUSION:Four insertion sites of group I introns in the LSU rDNA genes allowed the establishment of seven genotypes among the twenty-six biocontrol isolates of M. anisopliae. Intron insertions at the Ec2563 site were observed for first time in this species.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Insertions of spliceosomal introns are very rare events during evolution of vertebrates and the mechanisms governing creation of novel intron(s) remain obscure. Largely, gene structures of melanocortin (MC) receptors are characterized by intron-less architecture. However, recently a few exceptions have been reported in some fishes. This warrants a systematic survey of MC receptors for understanding intron insertion events during vertebrate evolution. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We have compiled an extended list of MC receptors from different vertebrate genomes with variations in fishes. Notably, the closely linked MC2Rs and MC5Rs from a group of ray-finned fishes have three and one intron insertion(s), respectively, with conserved positions and intron phase. In both genes, one novel insertion was in the highly conserved DRY motif at the end of helix TM3. Further, the proto-splice site MAG?R is maintained at intron insertion sites in these two genes. However, the orthologs of these receptors from zebrafish and tetrapods are intron-less, suggesting these introns are simultaneously created in selected fishes. Surprisingly, these novel introns are traceable only in four fish genomes. We found that these fish genomes are severely compacted after the separation from zebrafish. Furthermore, we also report novel intron insertions in P2Y receptors and in CHRM3. Finally, we report ultrasmall introns in MC2R genes from selected fishes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The current repository of MC receptors illustrates that fishes have no MC3R ortholog. MC2R, MC5R, P2Y receptors and CHRM3 have novel intron insertions only in ray-finned fishes that underwent genome compaction. These receptors share one intron at an identical position suggestive of being inserted contemporaneously. In addition to repetitive elements, genome compaction is now believed to be a new hallmark that promotes intron insertions, as it requires rapid DNA breakage and subsequent repair processes to gain back normal functionality.
Project description:R1 and R2 retrotransposable elements are stable components of the 28S rRNA genes of arthropods. While each retrotransposition event leads to incremental losses of rDNA unit expression, little is known about the selective consequences of these elements on the host genome. Previous reports suggested that in the abnormal abdomen (aa) phenotype of Drosophila mercatorum, high levels of rDNA insertions (R1) in conjunction with the under-replication locus (ur), enable the utilization of different ecological conditions via a population level shift to younger age. We have sequenced the R1 and R2 elements of D. mercatorum and show that the levels of R1- and R2-inserted rDNA units were inaccurately scored in the original studies of aa, leading to several misinterpretations. In particular, contrary to earlier reports, aa flies differentially underreplicate R1- and R2-inserted rDNA units, like other species of Drosophila. However, aa flies do not undergo the lower level of underreplication of their functional rDNA units (general underreplication) that is seen in wild-type strains. The lack of general underreplication is expected to confer a selective advantage and, thus, can be interpreted as an adaptation to overcome high levels of R1 and R2 insertions. These results allow us to reconcile some of the apparently contradictory effects of aa and the bobbed phenotype found in other species of Drosophila.
Project description:Group II introns are self-splicing ribozymes believed to be the ancestors of spliceosomal introns. Many group II introns encode reverse transcriptases that promote both RNA splicing and intron mobility to new genomic sites. Here we used a circular permutation and crosslinking method to establish 16 intramolecular distance relationships within the mobile Lactococcus lactis Ll.LtrB-DeltaORF intron. Using these new constraints together with 13 established tertiary interactions and eight published crosslinks, we modeled a complete three-dimensional structure of the intron. We also used the circular permutation strategy to map RNA-protein interaction sites through fluorescence quenching and crosslinking assays. Our model provides a comprehensive structural framework for understanding the function of group II ribozymes, their natural structural variations, and the mechanisms by which the intron-encoded protein promotes RNA splicing and intron mobility. The model also suggests an arrangement of active site elements that may be conserved in the spliceosome.