I spy a picture of Neurospora growing on the cover of Genetics this month. The cover highlights the results from the work of the lab of Luis Corrochano who works on light regulation in a variety of systems like Neurospora and Phycomyces. This work describes their work on the fluffy gene which regulates conidiation (production of conidia or asexual spores). They show that an important interplay between an inducer of light response, the White Collar Complex (WCC), and the FLD protein on fluffy. The data from indicate hat FLD represses fluffy as a response to dark but that this repression is removed in response to light through the action of WCC.
Olmedo, M., Ruger-Herreros, C., & Corrochano, L. (2009). Regulation by Blue Light of the fluffy Gene Encoding a Major Regulator of Conidiation in Neurospora crassa Genetics, 184 (3), 651-658 DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.109975
Gene sequences evolve at different rates due to different constraints, either due to chromosome position, functional constraint, and status as a single-copy or multi-copy gene. In a recent paper, Allen Rodrigo (the new NESCent director by the, way, congrats!) the authors hypothesize that correlation in branch lengths of gene trees suggest they operate in the same pathway or have a similar function. To do this they took alignments of orthologous genes from 10 bacterial species which were seeded with E. coli as the target species. The alignments were used to build trees with MrBayes and only those which recovered the known species topology were retained. The ortholog groups were assigned GO terms via similarities.
They then looked at the branch lengths of gene trees and found a correlation between GO categories and rates of gene evolution/shape of the tree. I’ll not go into more details here but I think this is an interesting finding that is probably not so surprising when you think about it. I’m be very curious to see if this held up much in multi-domained proteins as well and of course taking this approach for a drive in fungal orthologs would be an interesting project for someone to try.
Li WL, & Rodrigo AG (2009). Covariation of branch lengths in phylogenies of functionally related genes. PloS one, 4 (12) e8487. PMID: 20041191. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008487
I’m at the JGI user meeting, which is starting with a Basidiomycete genomics workshop/jamboree, later a meeting of JGI fungal genome advisory board, and the main show: the User Meeting. Looking forward to catching up with scientists from a wide variety of projects and some twitter/blogger types and twittering about it @#JGIUM.