While many strains of S. cerevisiae are being sequenced, a single strain, YJM789, isolated from the lung of an AIDS patient was sequenced a few years ago at Stanford and published this summer. The genome was described in a paper entitled “Genome sequencing and comparative analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain YJM789”.
Ed Louis at Nottingham sent out an email today outlining plans for publishing analyses of the Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project. They are in process of analyzing the data and ask that people respect their use of the data, but also invite collaborations and companion papers.
“If anyone has done or plans on doing a global analysis with a tight clean result which you think should be included in the overview paper, please contact us [Richard Durbin and Ed Louis; emails available through above links]. The analysis would have to be complete by 14 December and you would have to be willing to have the details transparently displayed on the web pages associated with the project.”
Few organisms are as well understood at the genetic level as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Given that there are more yeast geneticists than yeast genes and exemplary resources for the community (largely a result of their size), this comes as no surprise. What is curious is the large number of yeast genes for which we’ve been unable to characterize. Of the ~6000 genes currently identified in the yeast genome, 1253 have no verified function (for the uninclined, this is roughly 21% of the yeast proteome). Egads! If we can’t figure this out in yeast, what hope do we have in non-model organisms?Lourdes Peña-Castillo and Timothy R. Hughes discuss this curious observation and its cause in their report in Genetics.
Several more fungi are on the docket for sequencing at JGI through their community sequencing program. This includes
- The Dothideomycete leaf streak disease causing fungus Mycosphaerella fijiensis
- Soybean rust Phakopsora pachyrhizi
- The Basidiomycete and jelly fungus Tremella mesenterica proposed by Joe Heitman for use as outgroup to the human pathogen Cryptococcus
- The plant pathogen Cochliobolus heterostrophus proposed by Gillian Turgeon which ironically was already sequenced at the now closed Syngenta Torrey Mesa Research Institute (i.e. this paper on NRPS which used the genome)
- The Sordariale Thielavia terrestris proposed by Novoenzymes presumably for potential in producing novel cellulases as part of biofuel production research.
- The Sordariale and Chestnut blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica
- EST sequencing for Aspergillus terreus proposed by Scott Baker at PNNL
- Scott is also helping lead a projects to sequence Piromyces and Orpinomyces both early branching Neocallimastigomycota fungi that live in the rumen (which I am probably a little too excited about). Apparently the high A-T content is causing problems in the sequencing phase.
- Agaricus bisporus, sadly the only mushroom some people ever eat (canned and put on pizza or from canned soup), proposed by Mike Challen is also slated to be sequencing in 2008. Did Campell’s already sequence it anyways? We got to see them in their non-native habitat on a field trip in the fall (more pictures!).
- The Basidiomycete EM fungus Paxillus involutus proposed by Anders Tunlid will complement ongoing work in plant-fungal association work.
- Heterobasidion annosu, a basidiomycete fungal pathogen of conifers.
- Three Neurospora genomes proposed by our lab
- The oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus
- The amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that I’m working on with collaborators at Berkeley and the Broad Institute (which sequenced another strain)
- Trichoderma actrovirdi (which doesn’t appear to have any sequence in GenBank) is reportedly in production (bottom of the page).
This complements an ever growing list of fungal genome sequences which is probably topping 80+ now not including the several dozen strains of Saccharomyces that are being sequenced at Sanger Centre and a separately funded NIH project to be sequenced at WashU.
From Genetics this week a review discusses Why are there still 1000 Uncharacterized Yeast genes? Poor Yeast – so many more genes have no known function, while S. pombe has nearly 100% coverage in functional annotation. I’ll also point out that the 1000 genes refers to protein-coding genes, not ncRNA genes which may mean that there is alot more that is unknown.
I think this sentence from the abstract hits the nail on the head.
Notably,the uncharacterized gene set is highly enriched for genes whose only homologs are in other fungi. Achieving a full catalog of yeast gene functions may require a greater focus on the life of yeast outside the laboratory.
Lots of papers in Mycologia (subscription required) this month of different groups analyzing the fine-scale relationships of many different fungal clades using the loads of sequences that were generated as part of the Fungal Tree of Life project.
Some highlights – there are just too many papers in the issue to cover them all. As usual with more detailed studies of clades with molecular sequences we find that morphologically defined groupings aren’t always truly monophyletic and some species even end up being reclassified. Not that molecular sequence approaches are infallable, but for many fungi the morphological characters are not always stable and can revert (See Hibbet 2004 for a nice treatment of this in mushrooms; subscription required).
- Meredith Blackwell and others describe the Deep Hypha research coordination network that helped coordinate all the Fungal Tree of Life-rs.
- John Taylor and Mary Berbee update their previous dating work with new divergence dates for the fungi using as much of the fossil evidence as we have.
- The early diverging Chytridiomycota, Glomeromycota, and Zygomycota are each described. Tim James and others present updated Chytridiomycota relationships so of which were only briefly introducted in the kingdom-wide analysis paper published last year.
- There is a nice overview paper of the major Agaricales clades (mushrooms for the non-initiated) from Brandon Matheny as well as as individual treatment of many of the sub-clades like the cantharelloid clade (mmm chanterelles…) .
- Relationships of the Puccinia clade are also presented – we blogged about the wheat pathogen P. graminis before.
- A new Saccharomycetales phylogeny is presented by Sung-Oui Suh and others.
- The validity of the Archiascomycete group is also tested (containing the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and the mammalian pathogen Pneumocystis) and they confirm that it is basal to the two sister clades the euascomycete (containing Neurospora) and hemiascomycete (containing Saccharomyces) clades. However it doesn’t appear there are enough sampled species/genes to confirm monophyly of the group. There are/will be soon three genome sequences of Schizosaccharomyces plus one or two Pneumocystis genomes – it will be interesting to see how this story turns out if more species can be identified.
This was a monster effort by a lot of people who it is really nice to see it all have come together in what looks like some really nice papers.
I read this blurb in the New Scientist about a PNAS paper (subscription required for next 6 months) on how hive beetles (Aethina tumida) are able to infest bee hives by throwing off the bees because they are producing isopentyl acetate which is thought to be produced and used by bees to signal an alarm. So the increased levels of the pheromone disorients the bees allowing beetles to continue infecting. European bees appear to be susceptible to this attack while the African bees have apparently evolved to better handle the beetle infestation. I’m not clear if the African bees have a different behavior or if they have different biochemical pathways/receptors to not be fooled by the cheap perfume of the invaders.
The fungus part here is that the beetles are carrying a hemiascomycete yeast, Kodamaea ohmeri in the Saccharomyces clade (see Suh and Blackwell 2005 for more details), which produces the isopentyl acetate pheromone. So it is a sort of auto-immune hive reaction where the defense mechanism is being short-circuited and harming the host.
Perhaps not a surprise to anyone that has dabbled in evolutionary analysis of proteins, Kawahara and Imanishi (BMC Evolutionary Biology 2007) confirm that not every protein evolves via a molecular clock in Saccharomyces sensu scricto. Using everyone’s favorite evolutionary tool, PAML, the authors identify protein lineages via a whole genome scan that evolve relatively slow or fast compared to the rest of the clade. Some changes even appear to be due to the invisible hand of natural selection and independent of the complications that may have arisen during the whole genome duplication in the ancestor of this clade.
It has been previously speculated that, either upon protein duplication or change in the selective regime of the environment, a protein may rapidly evolve at speciation and then, upon obtaining a new, important function, slow down it’s evolutionary rate to a clock-like tempo. One of the black boxes in this hypothesis is whether or not closely related proteins can rapidly diverge. While the authors are not able to identify a mechanism explaining how, their study demonstrates the plausibility of this hypothesis. However, it remains uncertain if proteins that exhibit rapid divergence will subsequently slow down their evolutionary rate later in time.
It’s good to see evolutionary analysis being applied to fungal genomes. With so many sequenced species spanning a great range of phylogenetic distance, the fungal kingdom is poised to provide great insight into the evolution of eukaryotes.
The Candida clade of Hemiascomycete fungi have received much attention from funding bodies so that many genomic and experimental resources are available address questions of pathogenecity and industrial applications of these species.
The Candida genus
Traditionally, species of yeasts that were thought to be asexual were given the genus name Candida. This has lead to Candida being a sort of taxonomic rubbish bin as this system of classification breaks down when asexuality arises more than once (creating homoplasy). For example, the asexual Candida glabrata is found within the Saccharomyces clade when molecular phylogenetics is applied. The problem lies in that many of these species appear very similar visually and microscopically and so there had not been enough phylogenetically informative phenotypic characters to easily classify them further. With the use of molecular phylogenetics the classifications have been improved as shown in several studies, however we retain the historical nature of the genus and species names for these organisms for the time being even though the phylogenetic diversity of species in the “genus” is much broader than other genus-level classifications. It will be interesting to see whether taxonomic proposals like PhyloCode or traditional revisions of the species names will provide new names for the group.
The Candida Genome Database (CGD) sister to the Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) provides resources for phenotype and sequences related to human commensal and dimorphic fungus Candida albicans. A recent paper by Arnaud et al describes the resources that are available through their website. An essentially completed C. albicans diploid genome with curated gene models and annotations provides an essential resource for this model pathogenic system. In addition to the SC5314 strain of C. albicans the white-opaque (WO) strain can switch between different colony morphologies – white and smooth or gray and rod shaped.
6 additional species have had their genomes in the Candida clade have had their genomes sequenced including Pichia stipis, Debaryomyces hansenii, Candida lusitaniae, Candida tropicalis, Candida guilliermondii, and Lodderomyces elongisporus. These resources will hopefully shed some light on the importance and mechanisms for dimorphic switching in the pathogen C. albicans, the importance and evolution of alternative codon usage in the clade, and better usage of the industrial yeasts like P. stipitis and D. hansenii.
The Saccharomyces Genome Resequencing Project has completed ” ABI sequencing of 32 S. cerevisiae strains and 27 S. paradoxus strains to a depth of between 1x and 3x”. This is in collaboration with Ed Louis’ group who have been working on number of really interesting fungal biology and evolutionary questions. Continue reading Yeast resequencing data updated