R-gene variation across Arabidopsis lyrata subspecies: effects of population structure, selection and mating system.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Examining allelic variation of R-genes in closely related perennial species of Arabidopsis thaliana is critical to understanding how population structure and ecology interact with selection to shape the evolution of innate immunity in plants. We finely sampled natural populations of Arabidopsis lyrata from the Great Lakes region of North America (A. l. lyrata) and broadly sampled six European countries (A. l. petraea) to investigate allelic variation of two R-genes (RPM1 and WRR4) and neutral genetic markers (Restriction Associated DNA sequences and microsatellites) in relation to mating system, phylogeographic structure and subspecies divergence. RESULTS:Fine-scale sampling of populations revealed strong effects of mating system and population structure on patterns of polymorphism for both neutral loci and R-genes, with no strong evidence for selection. Broad geographic sampling revealed evidence of balancing selection maintaining polymorphism in R-genes, with elevated heterozygosity and diversity compared to neutral expectations and sharing of alleles among diverged subspecies. Codon-based tests detected both positive and purifying selection for both R-genes, as commonly found for animal immune genes. CONCLUSIONS:Our results highlight that combining fine and broad-scale sampling strategies can reveal the multiple factors influencing polymorphism and divergence at potentially adaptive genes such as R-genes.
Project description:Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins compose a family of nuclear-encoded transcriptional regulators of cytoplasmic genes. They have shown dramatic expansion in copy number in plants, and although the functional importance of many remains unclear, a subset has been repeatedly implicated as nuclear restorers for cytoplasmic male sterility. Here we investigate the molecular population genetics and molecular evolution of seven single-copy PPR genes in the outcrossing model plant Arabidopsis lyrata. In comparison with neutral reference loci, we find, on average, elevated levels of polymorphism and an excess of high-frequency variants at these PPR genes, suggesting that natural selection is maintaining polymorphism at some of these loci. This elevation in diversity persists when we control for divergence and generally decreases in the flanking regions, suggesting that these genes are themselves the targets of selection. Some of the PPR genes also demonstrate elevated population differentiation, which is consistent with spatially varying selection. In contrast, no comparable patterns are observed at these loci in A. thaliana, providing no evidence for the action of balancing selection in this selfing species. Taken together, these results suggest that a subset of PPR genes may be subject to balancing selection associated with ongoing cytonuclear coevolution in the outcrossing A. lyrata, which is possibly mediated either by intergenomic conflict or by compensatory evolution.
Project description:Studies of nucleotide diversity have found an excess of low-frequency amino acid polymorphisms segregating in Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting a predominance of weak purifying selection acting on amino acid polymorphism in this inbreeding species. Here, we investigate levels of diversity and divergence at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites in 6 circumpolar populations of the outbreeding Arabidopsis lyrata and compare these results with A. thaliana, to test for differences in mutation and selection parameters across genes, populations, and species. We find that A. lyrata shows an excess of low-frequency nonsynonymous polymorphisms both within populations and species wide, consistent with weak purifying selection similar to the patterns observed in A. thaliana. Furthermore, nonsynonymous polymorphisms tend to be more restricted in their population distribution in A. lyrata, consistent with purifying selection preventing their geographic spread. Highly expressed genes show a reduced ratio of amino acid to synonymous change for both polymorphism and fixed differences, suggesting a general pattern of stronger purifying selection on high-expression proteins.
Project description:Coevolutionary conflict among imprinted genes that influence traits such as offspring growth may arise when maternal and paternal genomes have different evolutionary optima. This conflict is expected in outcrossing taxa with multiple paternity, but not self-fertilizing taxa. MEDEA (MEA) is an imprinted plant gene that influences seed growth. Disagreement exists regarding the type of selection acting on this gene. We present new data and analyses of sequence diversity of MEA in self-fertilizing and outcrossing Arabidopsis and its relatives, to help clarify the form of selection acting on this gene. Codon-based branch analysis among taxa (PAML) suggests that selection on the coding region is changing over time, and nonsynonymous substitution is elevated in at least one outcrossing branch. Codon-based analysis of diversity within outcrossing Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea (OmegaMap) suggests that diversifying selection is acting on a portion of the gene, to cause elevated nonsynonymous polymorphism. Providing further support for balancing selection in A. lyrata, Hudson, Kreitman and Aguadé analysis indicates that diversity/divergence at silent sites in the MEA promoter and genic region is elevated relative to reference genes, and there are deviations from the neutral frequency spectrum. This combination of positive selection as well as balancing and diversifying selection in outcrossing lineages is consistent with other genes influence by evolutionary conflict, such as disease resistance genes. Consistent with predictions that conflict would be eliminated in self-fertilizing taxa, we found no evidence of positive, balancing, or diversifying selection in A. thaliana promoter or genic region.
Project description:Recently diverged species typically have incomplete reproductive barriers, allowing introgression of genetic material from one species into the genomic background of the other. The role of natural selection in preventing or promoting introgression remains contentious. Because of genomic co-adaptation, some chromosomal fragments are expected to be selected against in the new background and resist introgression. In contrast, natural selection should favor introgression for alleles at genes evolving under multi-allelic balancing selection, such as the MHC in vertebrates, disease resistance, or self-incompatibility genes in plants. Here, we test the prediction that negative, frequency-dependent selection on alleles at the multi-allelic gene controlling pistil self-incompatibility specificity in two closely related species, Arabidopsis halleri and A. lyrata, caused introgression at this locus at a higher rate than the genomic background. Polymorphism at this gene is largely shared, and we have identified 18 pairs of S-alleles that are only slightly divergent between the two species. For these pairs of S-alleles, divergence at four-fold degenerate sites (K = 0.0193) is about four times lower than the genomic background (K = 0.0743). We demonstrate that this difference cannot be explained by differences in effective population size between the two types of loci. Rather, our data are most consistent with a five-fold increase of introgression rates for S-alleles as compared to the genomic background, making this study the first documented example of adaptive introgression facilitated by balancing selection. We suggest that this process plays an important role in the maintenance of high allelic diversity and divergence at the S-locus in flowering plant families. Because genes under balancing selection are expected to be among the last to stop introgressing, their comparison in closely related species provides a lower-bound estimate of the time since the species stopped forming fertile hybrids, thereby complementing the average portrait of divergence between species provided by genomic data.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The mating type loci that govern the mating process in fungi are thought to be influenced by negative frequency-dependent selection due to rare allele advantage. In this study we used a mating type linked DNA marker as a proxy to indirectly study the allelic richness and geographic distribution of mating types of one mating type locus (MAT A) in worldwide populations of the dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans. This fungus, which causes serious destruction to wooden constructions in temperate regions worldwide, has recently expanded its geographic range with a concomitant genetic bottleneck.<h4>Results</h4>High allelic richness and molecular variation was detected in the mating type linked marker as compared to other presumably neutral markers. Comparable amounts of genetic variation appeared in the mating type linked marker in populations from nature and buildings, which contrast the pattern observed with neutral genetic markers where natural populations were far more variable. Some geographic structuring of the allelic variation in the mating type linked marker appeared, but far less than that observed with neutral markers. In founder populations of S. lacrymans, alleles co-occurring in heterokaryotic individuals were more divergent than expected by chance, which agrees with the expectation for populations where few mating alleles exists. The analyzed DNA marker displays trans-species polymorphism wherein some alleles from the closely related species S. himantoides are more similar to those of S. lacrymans than other alleles from S. himantoides.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results support the idea that strong negative frequency-dependent selection maintains high levels of genetic variation in MAT-linked genomic regions, even in recently bottlenecked populations of S. lacrymans.
Project description:We report studies of seven members of the S-domain gene family in Arabidopsis lyrata, a member of the Brassicaceae that has a sporophytic self-incompatibility (SI) system. Orthologs for five loci are identifiable in the self-compatible relative A. thaliana. Like the Brassica stigmatic incompatibility protein locus (SRK), some of these genes have kinase domains. We show that several of these genes are unlinked to the putative A. lyrata SRK, Aly13. These genes have much lower nonsynonymous and synonymous polymorphism than Aly13 in the S-domains within natural populations, and differentiation between populations is higher, consistent with balancing selection at the Aly13 locus. One gene (Aly8) is linked to Aly13 and has high diversity. No departures from neutrality were detected for any of the loci. Comparing different loci within A. lyrata, sites corresponding to hypervariable regions in the Brassica S-loci (SLG and SRK) and in comparable regions of Aly13 have greater replacement site divergence than the rest of the S-domain. This suggests that the high polymorphism in these regions of incompatibility loci is due to balancing selection acting on sites within or near these regions, combined with low selective constraints.
Project description:A key problem in evolutionary biology has been distinguishing the contributions of current and historical processes to the maintenance of genetic variation. Because alleles at self-recognition genes are under balancing selection, they exhibit extended residence times in populations and thus may provide unique insight into population demographic history. However, evidence for balancing selection and extended residence times has almost exclusively depended on identification of transspecific polymorphisms; polymorphisms retained in populations through speciation events. We present a broadly applicable approach for detecting balancing selection and apply it to the b1 mating type gene in the mushroom fungus Coprinus cinereus. The comparison of neutral molecular variation within and between allelic classes was used to directly estimate the strength of balancing selection. Different allelic classes are defined as encoding different mating compatibility types and are thus potentially subject to balancing selection. Variation within an allelic class, where all alleles have the same mating compatibility type, provided an internal standard of neutral evolution. Mating compatibility in this organism is determined by the complex A mating type locus, and b1 is one of several redundantly functioning genes. Consequently, we conducted numerical simulations of a model with two subloci and varying levels of recombination to show that balancing selection should operate at each sublocus. Empirical data show that strong balancing selection has indeed occurred at the b1 locus. The widespread geographic distribution of identical b1 alleles suggests that their association with differing A mating types is the result of recent recombination events.
Project description:Assortative mating, a potentially efficient prezygotic reproductive barrier, may prevent loss of genetic potential by avoiding the production of unfit hybrids (i.e., because of hybrid infertility or hybrid breakdown) that occur at regions of secondary contact between incipient species. In the case of the mouse hybrid zone, where two subspecies of Mus musculus (M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus) meet and exchange genes to a limited extent, assortative mating requires a means of subspecies recognition. We based the work reported here on the hypothesis that, if there is a pheromone sufficiently diverged between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus to mediate subspecies recognition, then that process must also require a specific receptor(s), also sufficiently diverged between the subspecies, to receive the signal and elicit an assortative mating response. We studied the mouse V1R genes, which encode a large family of receptors in the vomeronasal organ (VNO), by screening Perlegen SNP data and identified one, Vmn1r67, with 24 fixed SNP differences most of which (15/24) are nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions between M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus. We observed substantial linkage disequilibrium (LD) between Vmn1r67 and Abpa27, a mouse salivary androgen-binding protein gene that encodes a proteinaceous pheromone (ABP) capable of mediating assortative mating, perhaps in conjunction with its bound small lipophilic ligand. The LD we observed is likely a case of association rather than residual physical linkage from a very recent selective sweep, because an intervening gene, Vmn1r71, shows significant intra(sub)specific polymorphism but no inter(sub)specific divergence in its nucleotide sequence. We discuss alternative explanations of these observations, for example that Abpa27 and Vmn1r67 are coevolving as signal and receptor to reinforce subspecies hybridization barriers or that the unusually divergent Vmn1r67 allele was not a product of fast positive selection, but was derived from an introgressed allele, possibly from Mus spretus.
Project description:Recent results from Drosophila suggest that positive selection has a substantial impact on genomic patterns of polymorphism and divergence. However, species with smaller population sizes and/or stronger population structure may not be expected to exhibit Drosophila-like patterns of sequence variation. We test this prediction and identify determinants of levels of polymorphism and rates of protein evolution using genomic data from Arabidopsis thaliana and the recently sequenced Arabidopsis lyrata genome. We find that, in contrast to Drosophila, there is no negative relationship between nonsynonymous divergence and silent polymorphism at any spatial scale examined. Instead, synonymous divergence is a major predictor of silent polymorphism, which suggests variation in mutation rate as the main determinant of silent variation. Variation in rates of protein divergence is mainly correlated with gene expression level and breadth, consistent with results for a broad range of taxa, and map-based estimates of recombination rate are only weakly correlated with nonsynonymous divergence. Variation in mutation rates and the strength of purifying selection seem to be major drivers of patterns of polymorphism and divergence in Arabidopsis. Nevertheless, a model allowing for varying negative and positive selection by functional gene category explains the data better than a homogeneous model, implying the action of positive selection on a subset of genes. Genes involved in disease resistance and abiotic stress display high proportions of adaptive substitution. Our results are important for a general understanding of the determinants of rates of protein evolution and the impact of selection on patterns of polymorphism and divergence.
Project description:Small and isolated populations often exhibit low genetic diversity due to drift and inbreeding, but may simultaneously harbour adaptive variation. We investigate spatial distributions of immunogenetic variation in American badger subspecies (Taxidea taxus), as a proxy for evaluating their evolutionary potential across the northern extent of the species' range. We compared genetic structure of 20 microsatellites and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC DRB exon 2) to evaluate whether small, isolated populations show low adaptive polymorphism relative to large and well-connected populations. Our results suggest that gene flow plays a prominent role in shaping MHC polymorphism across large spatial scales, while the interplay between gene flow and selection was stronger towards the northern peripheries. The similarity of MHC alleles within subspecies relative to their neutral genetic differentiation suggests that adaptive divergence among subspecies can be maintained despite ongoing gene flow along subspecies boundaries. Neutral genetic diversity was low in small relative to large populations, but MHC diversity within individuals was high in small populations. Despite reduced neutral genetic variation, small and isolated populations harbour functional variation that likely contribute to the species evolutionary potential at the northern range. Our findings suggest that conservation approaches should focus on managing adaptive variation across the species range rather than protecting subspecies per se.