Project description:Reptiles are the most morphologically and physiologically diverse tetrapods, and have undergone 300 million years of adaptive evolution. Within the reptilian tetrapods, geckos possess several interesting features, including the ability to regenerate autotomized tails and to climb on smooth surfaces. Here we sequence the genome of Gekko japonicus (Schlegel's Japanese Gecko) and investigate genetic elements related to its physiology. We obtain a draft G. japonicus genome sequence of 2.55?Gb and annotated 22,487 genes. Comparative genomic analysis reveals specific gene family expansions or reductions that are associated with the formation of adhesive setae, nocturnal vision and tail regeneration, as well as the diversification of olfactory sensation. The obtained genomic data provide robust genetic evidence of adaptive evolution in reptiles.
Project description:The enolase2 gene is usually expressed in mature neurons and also named neuron specific enolase (NSE). In the present study, we first obtained the NSE gene cDNA sequence by using the RACE method based on the expressed sequence tag (EST) fragment from the cDNA library of Gekko japonicus and identified one transcript of about 2.2 kb in central nervous system of Gekko japonicus by Northern blotting. The open reading frame of NSE is 1305 bp, which encodes a 435 amino-acid protein. We further investigated the multi-tissue expression pattern of NSE by RT-PCR and found that the expression of NSE mRNA was very high in brain, spinal cord and low in heart, while it was not detectable in other tissues. The real-time quantitative PCR was used to investigate the time-dependent change in the expression of the NSE mRNA level after gecko spinal cord transection and found it significantly increased at one day, reaching its highest level three days post-injury and then decreasing at the seventh day of the experiment. The recombinant plasmid of pET-32a-NSE was constructed and induced to express His fused NSE protein. The purified NSE protein was used to immunize rabbits to generate polyclonal antisera. The titer of the antiserum was more than 1:65536 determined by ELISA. Western blotting showed that the prepared antibody could specifically recognize the recombinant and endogenous NSE protein. The result of immunohistochemistry revealed that positive signals were present in neurons of the brain and the spinal cord. This study provided the tools of cDNA and polyclonal antibody for studying NSE function in Gekko japonicus.
Project description:Differential microhabitat use may be beneficial to achieving fitness in seasonally variable environmental conditions. To explore whether the microhabitat use of the nocturnal Schlegel's Japanese gecko, Gekko japonicus, varies seasonally and depends on juvenile, male, and female reproductive groups, we investigated five categorical and five quantitative measure variables of microhabitat use in a wild population both in spring and summer. Most geckos were found on white, vertical planes of concrete and plastered brick walls. None of the categorical variables (type of location, substrate, substrate color, light source, and refuge) significantly differed according to season or group, while substrate temperature and irradiance at the location where geckos were observed and the distance from the nearest potential refuge were significantly greater in summer than in spring. The quantitative measure variables did not differ among the reproductive groups. These results suggest that G. japonicus seasonally adjusts its microhabitat use mainly in terms of quantitative measure variables rather than categorical variables.
Project description:Lotus japonicus is an important model legume for studying symbiotic nitrogen fixation as well as plant development. A genomic sequence of L. japonicus (MG20) has been available for more than ten years. However, the low quality of the genome limits its application in functional genomic studies. Therefore, it is necessary to assemble high-quality chromosome sequences of L. japonicus using new sequencing technology to facilitate the study of functional genomics. In this report, we used the third-generation sequencing combined with the Illumina HiSeq platform to sequence the genome of L. japonicus (MG20). We obtained 544 Mb of genomic sequence using third-generation assembly. Based on sequence analysis, 357 Mb of repeats, 28,251 genes, 626 tRNAs, 1409 rRNAs, and 1233 pseudogenes were predicted in the genome. A total of 27,991 genes were annotated into databases. Compared to the previously published data, the new genome database contains complete L. japonicus sequences in the proper order and orientation with a contig N50 2.81Mb and an excellent genome coverage, which provides more accurate genome information and more precise assembly for functional genomic study.
Project description:Lotus japonicus is a herbaceous perennial legume that has been used extensively as a genetically tractable model system for deciphering the molecular genetics of symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Our aim is to improve the L. japonicus reference genome sequence, which has so far been based on Sanger and Illumina sequencing reads from the L. japonicus accession MG-20 and contained a large fraction of unanchored contigs. Here, we use long PacBio reads from L. japonicus Gifu combined with Hi-C data and new high-density genetic maps to generate a high-quality chromosome-scale reference genome assembly for L. japonicus. The assembly comprises 554 megabases of which 549 were assigned to six pseudomolecules that appear complete with telomeric repeats at their extremes and large centromeric regions with low gene density. The new L. japonicus Gifu reference genome and associated expression data represent valuable resources for legume functional and comparative genomics. Here, we provide a first example by showing that the symbiotic islands recently described in Medicago truncatula do not appear to be conserved in L. japonicus.
Project description:Glial scar formation is a major obstacle to regeneration after spinal cord injury. Moreover, it has been shown that the astrocytic response to injury differs between species. Gekko japonicas is a type of reptile and it shows differential glial activation compared to that of rats. The purpose of the present study was to compare the proliferation and migration of astrocytes in the spinal cords of geckos and rats after injury in vitro. Spinal cord homogenate stimulation and scratch wound models were used to induce astrocytic activation in adult and embryonic rats, as well as in adult geckos. Our results indicated that astrocytes from the adult rat were likely activated by mechanical stimulation, even though they showed lower proliferation abilities than the astrocytes from the gecko under normal conditions. Furthermore, a transcriptome analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes in astrocytes from adult rats and those from geckos were enriched in pathways involved in proliferation and the response to stimuli. This implies that intrinsic discrepancies in gene expression patterns might contribute to the differential activation of astrocytes between species.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Geckos are among the most species-rich reptile groups and the sister clade to all other lizards and snakes. Geckos possess a suite of distinctive characteristics, including adhesive digits, nocturnal activity, hard, calcareous eggshells, and a lack of eyelids. However, one gecko clade, the Eublepharidae, appears to be the exception to most of these 'rules' and lacks adhesive toe pads, has eyelids, and lays eggs with soft, leathery eggshells. These differences make eublepharids an important component of any investigation into the underlying genomic innovations contributing to the distinctive phenotypes in 'typical' geckos. FINDINGS:We report high-depth genome sequencing, assembly, and annotation for a male leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius (Eublepharidae). Illumina sequence data were generated from seven insert libraries (ranging from 170 to 20 kb), representing a raw sequencing depth of 136X from 303 Gb of data, reduced to 84X and 187 Gb after filtering. The assembled genome of 2.02 Gb was close to the 2.23 Gb estimated by k-mer analysis. Scaffold and contig N50 sizes of 664 and 20 kb, respectively, were comparable to the previously published Gekko japonicus genome. Repetitive elements accounted for 42 % of the genome. Gene annotation yielded 24,755 protein-coding genes, of which 93 % were functionally annotated. CEGMA and BUSCO assessment showed that our assembly captured 91 % (225 of 248) of the core eukaryotic genes, and 76 % of vertebrate universal single-copy orthologs. CONCLUSIONS:Assembly of the leopard gecko genome provides a valuable resource for future comparative genomic studies of geckos and other squamate reptiles.