A genomic survey of transposable elements in the choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta reveals selection on codon usage.
ABSTRACT: Background:Unicellular species make up the majority of eukaryotic diversity, however most studies on transposable elements (TEs) have centred on multicellular host species. Such studies may have therefore provided a limited picture of how transposable elements evolve across eukaryotes. The choanoflagellates, as the sister group to Metazoa, are an important study group for investigating unicellular to multicellular transitions. A previous survey of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis revealed the presence of only three families of LTR retrotransposons, all of which appeared to be active. Salpingoeca rosetta is the second choanoflagellate to have its whole genome sequenced and provides further insight into the evolution and population biology of transposable elements in the closest relative of metazoans. Results:Screening the genome revealed the presence of a minimum of 20 TE families. Seven of the annotated families are DNA transposons and the remaining 13 families are LTR retrotransposons. Evidence for two putative non-LTR retrotransposons was also uncovered, but full-length sequences could not be determined. Superfamily phylogenetic trees indicate that vertical inheritance and, in the case of one family, horizontal transfer have been involved in the evolution of the choanoflagellates TEs. Phylogenetic analyses of individual families highlight recent element activity in the genome, however six families did not show evidence of current transposition. The majority of families possess young insertions and the expression levels of TE genes vary by four orders of magnitude across families. In contrast to previous studies on TEs, the families present in S. rosetta show the signature of selection on codon usage, with families favouring codons that are adapted to the host translational machinery. Selection is stronger in LTR retrotransposons than DNA transposons, with highly expressed families showing stronger codon usage bias. Mutation pressure towards guanosine and cytosine also appears to contribute to TE codon usage. Conclusions:S. rosetta increases the known diversity of choanoflagellate TEs and the complement further highlights the role of horizontal gene transfer from prey species in choanoflagellate genome evolution. Unlike previously studied TEs, the S. rosetta families show evidence for selection on their codon usage, which is shown to act via translational efficiency and translational accuracy.
Project description:The availability of the sequenced Drosophila melanogaster genome provides an opportunity to study sequence variation between copies within transposable element families. In this study,we analyzed the 624 copies of 22 transposable element (TE) families (14 LTR retrotransposons, five non-LTR retrotransposons, and three transposons). LTR and non-LTR retrotransposons possessed far fewer divergent elements than the transposons,suggesting that the difference depends on the transposition mechanism. However,there was not a continuous range of divergence of the copies in each class,which were either very similar to the canonical elements,or very divergent from them. This sequence homogeneity among TE family copies matches the theoretical models of the dynamics of these repeated sequences. The sequenced Drosophila genome thus appears to be composed of a mixture of TEs that are still active and of ancient relics that have degenerated and the distribution of which along the chromosomes results from natural selection. This clearly demonstrates that the TEs are highly active within the genome,suggesting that the genetic variability of the Drosophila genome is still being renewed by the action of TEs.
Project description:We analyzed the distribution of 54 families of transposable elements (TEs; transposons, LTR retrotransposons, and non-LTR retrotransposons) in the chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster, using data from the sequenced genome. The density of LTR and non-LTR retrotransposons (RNA-based elements) was high in regions with low recombination rates, but there was no clear tendency to parallel the recombination rate. However, the density of transposons (DNA-based elements) was significantly negatively correlated with recombination rate. The accumulation of TEs in regions of reduced recombination rate is compatible with selection acting against TEs, as selection is expected to be weaker in regions with lower recombination. The differences in the relationship between recombination rate and TE density that exist between chromosome arms suggest that TE distribution depends on specific characteristics of the chromosomes (chromatin structure, distribution of other sequences), the TEs themselves (transposition mechanism), and the species (reproductive system, effective population size, etc.), that have differing influences on the effect of natural selection acting against the TE insertions.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) are ubiquitously present in plant genomes and often account for significant fractions of the nuclear DNA. For example, roughly 40% of the rice genome consists of TEs, many of which are retrotransposons, including 14% LTR- and ?1% non-LTR retrotransposons. Despite their wide distribution and abundance, very few TEs have been found to be transpositional, indicating that TE activities may be tightly controlled by the host genome to minimize the potentially mutagenic effects associated with active transposition. Consistent with this notion, a growing body of evidence suggests that epigenetic silencing pathways such as DNA methylation, RNA interference, and H3K9me2 function collectively to repress TE activity at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. It is not yet clear, however, whether the removal of histone modifications associated with active transcription is also involved in TE silencing. Here, we show that the rice protein JMJ703 is an active H3K4-specific demethylase required for TEs silencing. Impaired JMJ703 activity led to elevated levels of H3K4me3, the misregulation of numerous endogenous genes, and the transpositional reactivation of two families of non-LTR retrotransposons. Interestingly, loss of JMJ703 did not affect TEs (such as Tos17) previously found to be silenced by other epigenetic pathways. These results indicate that the removal of active histone modifications is involved in TE silencing and that different subsets of TEs may be regulated by distinct epigenetic pathways.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) represent a major fraction of plant genomes and drive their evolution. An improved understanding of genome evolution requires the dynamics of a large number of TE families to be considered. We put forward an approach bypassing the required step of a complete reference genome to assess the evolutionary trajectories of high copy number TE families from genome snapshot with high-throughput sequencing. Low coverage sequencing of the complex genomes of Aegilops cylindrica and Ae. geniculata using 454 identified more than 70% of the sequences as known TEs, mainly long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons. Comparing the abundance of reads as well as patterns of sequence diversity and divergence within and among genomes assessed the dynamics of 44 major LTR retrotransposon families of the 165 identified. In particular, molecular population genetics on individual TE copies distinguished recently active from quiescent families and highlighted different evolutionary trajectories of retrotransposons among related species. This work presents a suite of tools suitable for current sequencing data, allowing to address the genome-wide evolutionary dynamics of TEs at the family level and advancing our understanding of the evolution of nonmodel genomes.
Project description:The interactions between transposable elements (TEs) and their hosts constitute one of the most profound co-evolutionary processes found in nature. The population dynamics of TEs depends on factors specific to each TE families, such as the rate of transposition and insertional preference, the demographic history of the host and the genomic landscape. How these factors interact has yet to be investigated holistically. Here we are addressing this question in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) whose genome contains an extraordinary diversity of TEs (including non-LTR retrotransposons, SINEs, LTR-retrotransposons and DNA transposons). We observed a positive correlation between recombination rate and frequency of TEs and densities for LINEs, SINEs and DNA transposons. For these elements, there was a clear impact of demography on TE frequency and abundance, with a loss of polymorphic elements and skewed frequency spectra in recently expanded populations. On the other hand, some LTR-retrotransposons displayed patterns consistent with a very recent phase of intense amplification. To determine how demography, genomic features and intrinsic properties of TEs interact we ran simulations using SLiM3. We determined that i) short TE insertions are not strongly counter-selected, but long ones are, ii) neutral demographic processes, linked selection and preferential insertion may explain positive correlations between average TE frequency and recombination, iii) TE insertions are unlikely to have been massively recruited in recent adaptation. We demonstrate that deterministic and stochastic processes have different effects on categories of TEs and that a combination of empirical analyses and simulations can disentangle these mechanisms.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) are an important source of genetic diversity and can be co-opted for the regulation of host genes. However, to what extent the pervasive TE colonization of plant genomes has contributed to stress adaptation remains controversial. Plants inhabiting harsh environments in nature provide a unique opportunity to answer this question. We compared TE compositions and their evolutionary dynamics in the genomes of two mangrove species: the pioneer Sonneratia alba and its less salt-tolerant relative S. caseolaris. Age distribution, strength of purifying selection and the removal rate of LTR (long terminal repeat) retrotransposons were estimated. Phylogenetic analysis of LTR retrotransposons and their distribution in the genome of S. alba were surveyed. Small RNA sequencing and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing was conducted using leaves of S. alba. Expression pattern of LTR retrotransposons and their nearby genes were examined using RNA-seq data of S. alba under different salt treatments. S. alba possesses more TEs than S. caseolaris. Particularly, many more young Gypsy LTR retrotransposons have accumulated in S. alba than in S. caseolaris despite an increase in purifying selection against TE insertions. The top two most abundant Gypsy families in S. alba preferentially insert in gene-poor regions. They are under relaxed epigenetic repression, probably due to the presence of CHROMO domains in their 3′-ends. Although a considerable number of TEs in S. alba showed differential expression under salt stress, only four copies were significantly correlated with their nearby genes in expression levels. One such TE-gene pair involves Abscisic acid 8'-hydroxylase 3 functioning in abscisic acid catabolism. This study sheds light on the evolutionary dynamics and potential function of TEs in an extremophile. Our results suggest that the conclusion on co-option of TEs should be cautious even though activation of TEs by stress might be prevalent.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transposable elements (TEs) have the potential to impact genome structure, function and evolution in profound ways. In order to understand the contribution of transposable elements (TEs) to Heliconius melpomene, we queried the H. melpomene draft sequence to identify repetitive sequences. RESULTS:We determined that TEs comprise ~25% of the genome. The predominant class of TEs (~12% of the genome) was the non-long terminal repeat (non-LTR) retrotransposons, including a novel SINE family. However, this was only slightly higher than content derived from DNA transposons, which are diverse, with several families having mobilized in the recent past. Compared to the only other well-studied lepidopteran genome, Bombyx mori, H. melpomene exhibits a higher DNA transposon content and a distinct repertoire of retrotransposons. We also found that H. melpomene exhibits a high rate of TE turnover with few older elements accumulating in the genome. CONCLUSIONS:Our analysis represents the first complete, de novo characterization of TE content in a butterfly genome and suggests that, while TEs are able to invade and multiply, TEs have an overall deleterious effect and/or that maintaining a small genome is advantageous. Our results also hint that analysis of additional lepidopteran genomes will reveal substantial TE diversity within the group.
Project description:LTR and non-LTR retrotransposons exhibit distinct patterns of abundance within the Drosophila melanogaster genome, yet the causes of these differences remain unknown. Here we investigate whether genomic differences between LTR and non-LTR retrotransposons reflect systematic differences in their insertion history. We find that for 17 LTR and 10 non-LTR retrotransposon families that evolve under a pseudogene-like mode of evolution, most elements from LTR families have integrated in the very recent past since colonization of non-African habitats ( approximately 16,000 years ago), whereas elements from non-LTR families have been accumulating in overlapping waves since the divergence of D. melanogaster from its sister species, Drosophila simulans ( approximately 5.4 Mya). LTR elements are significantly younger than non-LTR elements, individually and by family, in regions of high and low recombination, and in genic and intergenic regions. We show that analysis of transposable element (TE) nesting provides a method to calculate transposition rates from genome sequences, which we estimate to be one to two orders of magnitude lower than those that are based on mutation accumulation studies. Recent LTR integration provides a nonequilibrium alternative for the low population frequency of LTR elements in this species, a pattern that is classically interpreted as evidence for selection against the transpositional increase of TEs. Our results call for a new class of population genetic models that incorporate TE copy number, allele frequency, and the age of insertions to provide more powerful and robust inferences about the forces that control the evolution of TEs in natural populations.
Project description:How asexual reproduction shapes transposable element (TE) content and diversity in eukaryotic genomes remains debated. We performed an initial survey of TE load and diversity in the putative ancient asexual ostracod <i>Darwinula stevensoni</i>. We examined long contiguous stretches of DNA in clones from a genomic fosmid library, totaling about 2.5 Mb, and supplemented these data with results on TE abundance and diversity from an Illumina draft genome. In contrast to other TE studies in putatively ancient asexuals, which revealed relatively low TE content, we found that at least 19% of the fosmid dataset and 26% of the genome assembly corresponded to known transposons. We observed a high diversity of transposon families, including LINE, gypsy, PLE, mariner/Tc, hAT, CMC, Sola2, Ginger, Merlin, Harbinger, MITEs and helitrons, with the prevalence of DNA transposons. The predominantly low levels of sequence diversity indicate that many TEs are or have recently been active. In the fosmid data, no correlation was found between telomeric repeats and non-LTR retrotransposons, which are present near telomeres in other taxa. Most TEs in the fosmid data were located outside of introns and almost none were found in exons. We also report an N-terminal Myb/SANT-like DNA-binding domain in site-specific R4/Dong non-LTR retrotransposons. Although initial results on transposable loads need to be verified with high quality draft genomes, this study provides important first insights into TE dynamics in putative ancient asexual ostracods.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transposable elements (TEs) are common constituents of centromeres. However, it is not known what causes this relationship. Schizosaccharomyces japonicus contains 10 families of Long Terminal Repeat (LTR)-retrotransposons and these elements cluster in centromeres and telomeres. In the related yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe LTR-retrotransposons Tf1 and Tf2 are distributed in the promoter regions of RNA pol II transcribed genes. Sequence analysis of TEs indicates that Tj1 of S. japonicus is related to Tf1 and Tf2, and uses the same mechanism of self-primed reverse transcription. Thus, we wondered why these related retrotransposons localized in different regions of the genome. RESULTS:To characterize the integration behavior of Tj1 we expressed it in S. pombe. We found Tj1 was active and capable of generating de novo integration in the chromosomes of S. pombe. The expression of Tj1 is similar to Type C retroviruses in that a stop codon at the end of Gag must be present for efficient integration. 17 inserts were sequenced, 13 occurred within 12 bp upstream of tRNA genes and 3 occurred at other RNA pol III transcribed genes. The link between Tj1 integration and RNA pol III transcription is reminiscent of Ty3, an LTR-retrotransposon of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that interacts with TFIIIB and integrates upstream of tRNA genes. CONCLUSION:The integration of Tj1 upstream of tRNA genes and the centromeric clustering of tRNA genes in S. japonicus demonstrate that the clustering of this TE in centromere sequences is due to a unique pattern of integration.