Project description:Glaucophyta are members of the Archaeplastida, the founding group of photosynthetic eukaryotes that also includes red algae (Rhodophyta), green algae, and plants (Viridiplantae). Here we present a high-quality assembly, built using long-read sequences, of the ca. 100 Mb nuclear genome of the model glaucophyte Cyanophora paradoxa. We also conducted a quick-freeze deep-etch electron microscopy (QFDEEM) analysis of C. paradoxa cells to investigate glaucophyte morphology in comparison to other organisms. Using the genome data, we generated a resolved 115-taxon eukaryotic tree of life that includes a well-supported, monophyletic Archaeplastida. Analysis of muroplast peptidoglycan (PG) ultrastructure using QFDEEM shows that PG is most dense at the cleavage-furrow. Analysis of the chlamydial contribution to glaucophytes and other Archaeplastida shows that these foreign sequences likely played a key role in anaerobic glycolysis in primordial algae to alleviate ATP starvation under night-time hypoxia. The robust genome assembly of C. paradoxa significantly advances knowledge about this model species and provides a reference for exploring the panoply of traits associated with the anciently diverged glaucophyte lineage.
Project description:The evolution of the savanna biome has been deeply marked by repeated contraction/expansion phases due to climate perturbations during the Quaternary period. In this study, we investigated the impact of the last glacial maximum (LGM) on the present genetic pattern of Vitellaria paradoxa (shea tree), a major African savanna tree. A range-wide sampling of the species enabled us to sample 374 individuals from 71 populations distributed throughout sub-Sahelian Africa. Trees were genotyped using 3 chloroplasts and 12 nuclear microsatellites, and were sequenced for 2 polymorphic chloroplast intergenic spacers. Analyses of genetic diversity and structure were based on frequency-based and Bayesian methods. Potential distributions of V. paradoxa at present, during the LGM and the last interglacial period, were examined using DIVA-GIS ecological niche modelling (ENM). Haplotypic and allelic richness varied significantly across the range according to chloroplast and nuclear microsatellites, which pointed to higher diversity in West Africa. A high but contrasted level of differentiation was revealed among populations with a clear phylogeographic signal, with both nuclear (F(ST) = 0.21; R(ST) = 0.28; R(ST) > R(ST) (permuted)) and chloroplast simple sequence repeats (SSRs) (G(ST) = 0.81; N(ST) = 0.90; N(ST) > N(ST) (permuted)). We identified a strong geographically related structure separating western and eastern populations, and a substructure in the eastern part of the area consistent with subspecies distinction. Using ENM, we deduced that perturbations during the LGM fragmented the potential eastern distribution of shea tree, but not its distribution in West Africa. Our main results suggest that climate variations are the major factor explaining the genetic pattern of V. paradoxa.
Project description:RNAi (RNA interference) relies on the production of small RNAs (sRNAs) from double-stranded RNA and comprises a major pathway in eukaryotes to restrict the propagation of selfish genetic elements. Amplification of the initial RNAi signal by generation of multiple secondary sRNAs from a targeted mRNA is catalyzed by RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRPs). This phenomenon is known as transitivity and is particularly important in plants to limit the spread of viruses. Here we describe, using a genome-wide approach, the distribution of sRNAs in the glaucophyte alga Cyanophora paradoxa. C. paradoxa is a member of the supergroup Plantae (also known as Archaeplastida) that includes red algae, green algae, and plants. The ancient (>1 billion years ago) split of glaucophytes within Plantae suggests that C. paradoxa may be a useful model to learn about the early evolution of RNAi in the supergroup that ultimately gave rise to plants. Using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses we find that sRNAs in C. paradoxa are preferentially associated with mRNAs, including a large number of transcripts that encode proteins arising from different functional categories. This pattern of exonic sRNAs appears to be a general trend that affects a large fraction of mRNAs in the cell. In several cases we observe that sRNAs have a bias for a specific strand of the mRNA, including many instances of antisense predominance. The genome of C. paradoxa encodes four sequences that are homologous to RdRPs in Arabidopsis thaliana. We discuss the possibility that exonic sRNAs in the glaucophyte may be secondarily derived from mRNAs by the action of RdRPs. If this hypothesis is confirmed, then transitivity may have had an ancient origin in Plantae.
Project description:The nature of the cytoplasmic pathway of starch biosynthesis was investigated in the model glaucophyte Cyanophora paradoxa. The storage polysaccharide granules are shown to be composed of both amylose and amylopectin fractions, with a chain length distribution and crystalline organization similar to those of green algae and land plant starch. A preliminary characterization of the starch pathway demonstrates that Cyanophora paradoxa contains several UDP-glucose-utilizing soluble starch synthase activities related to those of the Rhodophyceae. In addition, Cyanophora paradoxa synthesizes amylose with a granule-bound starch synthase displaying a preference for UDP-glucose. A debranching enzyme of isoamylase specificity and multiple starch phosphorylases also are evidenced in the model glaucophyte. The picture emerging from our biochemical and molecular characterizations consists of the presence of a UDP-glucose-based pathway similar to that recently proposed for the red algae, the cryptophytes, and the alveolates. The correlative presence of isoamylase and starch among photosynthetic eukaryotes is discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hybrids possess phenotypic traits that are often intermediate between their parental taxa, which commonly serves as evidence of hybridization in morphological analyses. Natural hybridization has been shown to occur frequently in Ligularia (Asteraceae). In a previous study, Ligularia ×maoniushanensis was demonstrated as a natural hybrid species between L. duciformis and L. paradoxa based on morphological and reproductive traits. METHODS:We used three chloroplast (cpDNA) fragments (psbA-trnH, trnL-rpl32 and trnQ-5'rps16), the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (nrITS), and co-dominant SSR and dominant ISSR markers to study natural hybridization between L. duciformis and L. paradoxa growing sympatrically in two locations. Parental taxa were inferred using network analyses of cpDNA and nrITS haplotypes. Admixture among individuals was examined using the Bayesian clustering programs STRUCTURE and NewHybrids based on the SSR and ISSR data; and potential introgression in the SSR loci was assessed using the INTROGRESS package. RESULTS:The putative parental species were clearly distinguished from other sympatric Ligularia species by nrITS data, and L. ×maoniushanensis individuals were confirmed to be the hybrid offspring of L. duciformis and L. paradoxa. Moreover, introgression was detected among several individuals morphologically identified as L. duciformis or L. paradoxa. Analyses of the cpDNA data revealed primarily unidirectional hybridization between L. duciformis and L. paradoxa, with L. paradoxa as the maternal parent in Mt. Maoniu, whereas bidirectional but asymmetrical hybridization was inferred to occur in Heihai Lake. The STRUCTURE analyses based on the SSR data detected two distinct clusters among the three taxa. The NewHybrids analyses showed that individuals circumscribed as L. ×maoniushanensis were dominated by early- and later-generation and backcrossing hybrids. The NewHybrids results based on the ISSR data were congruent with SSR results. In addition, introgression was detected in some SSR loci, and heterogeneity among loci was found in terms of detected patterns of introgression. CONCLUSIONS:Our data provide strong evidence for hybridization and introgression between L. duciformis and L. paradoxa. Ligularia ×maoniushanensis was demonstrated to be of hybrid origin. Since no evident reproductive isolation was found between the two parental species, detected hybrids appear to be part of hybrid swarms resulting from frequent and ongoing gene flow, which might impede the formation of a new hybrid species.
Project description:Vitellaria paradoxa provides many benefits to farmers within the Shea belt. However, increased threats to it necessitate its conservation, and one common approach is the practice of agroforestry. A number of studies have shown that Shea tree has influence on crop production, and yet, some of these studies were done using single season experiments or bioassays using mature Shea tree components. In this study, the seasonal influence of young and mature Shea trees on Maize and Soybean yields was investigated using field experiments in Otuke district of northern Uganda, where, Shea tree parklands are dominant and Maize and Soybean are used for food security and income. Our results show that there are differential responses of maize and soybean yield to rainy seasons and physiological variations of Vitellaria paradoxa with age. We find yield reduction for maize more pronounced than yield reduction for soybeans under different Shea age (Mature and Young) for two rainy seasons. We attribute the variance to the differential maize and soybean responses to Vitellaria paradoxa shading and its differential allelopathic inhibition of these crops. We recommend that Soybeans should be preferred to maize when planting under Shea canopy.