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Genes, Volume 14, Issue 12 (December 2023) – 129 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is an ultra-rare genetic disorder characterized by progressive heterotopic ossification, wherein soft connective tissues undergo pathological transformation into bone structures. This write-up offers a comprehensive overview of the contemporary understanding of FOP’s complex pathobiology, underscored by advances in molecular genetics and proteomic studies. We delve into targeted therapy, spanning genetic therapeutics, enzymatic and transcriptional modulation, stem cell therapies, and innovative immunotherapies. We also highlight the intricate complexities surrounding clinical trial design for ultra-rare disorders like FOP, addressing fundamental statistical limitations, ethical conundrums, and methodological advancements essential for the success of interventional studies. View this paper
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14 pages, 4090 KiB  
Article
CFHTF2 Is Needed for Vegetative Growth, Conidial Morphogenesis and the Osmotic Stress Response in the Tea Plant Anthracnose (Colletotrichum fructicola)
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2235; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122235 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 756
Abstract
Tea is an important cash crop worldwide, and its nutritional value has led to its high economic benefits. Tea anthracnose is a common disease of tea plants that seriously affects food safety and yield and has a far-reaching impact on the sustainable development [...] Read more.
Tea is an important cash crop worldwide, and its nutritional value has led to its high economic benefits. Tea anthracnose is a common disease of tea plants that seriously affects food safety and yield and has a far-reaching impact on the sustainable development of the tea industry. In this study, phenotypic analysis and pathogenicity analysis were performed on knockout and complement strains of HTF2—the transcriptional regulator of tea anthracnose homeobox—and the pathogenic mechanism of these strains was explored via RNA-seq. The MoHox1 gene sequence of the rice blast fungus was indexed, and the anthracnose genome was searched for CfHTF2. Evolutionary analysis recently reported the affinity of HTF2 for C. fructicola and C. higginsianum. The loss of CfHTF2 slowed the vegetative growth and spore-producing capacity of C. fructicola and weakened its resistance and pathogenesis to adverse conditions. The transcriptome sequencing of wild-type N425 and CfHTF2 deletion mutants was performed, and a total of 3144 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained, 1594 of which were upregulated and 1550 of which were downregulated. GO and KEGG enrichment analyses of DEGs mainly focused on signaling pathways such as the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. In conclusion, this study lays a foundation for further study of the pathogenic mechanism of tea anthracnose and provides a molecular basis for the analysis of the pathogenic molecular mechanism of CfHTF2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress in Plants: Genetics and Genomics)
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23 pages, 1791 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Association Study to Identify Possible Candidate Genes of Snap Bean Leaf and Pod Color
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2234; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122234 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Color can be an indicator of plant health, quality, and productivity, and is useful to researchers to understand plant nutritional content in their studies. Color may be related to chlorophyll content and photosynthetic activity and provides information for those studying diseases and mineral [...] Read more.
Color can be an indicator of plant health, quality, and productivity, and is useful to researchers to understand plant nutritional content in their studies. Color may be related to chlorophyll content and photosynthetic activity and provides information for those studying diseases and mineral nutrition because every nutrient deficiency and many diseases produce symptoms that affect color. In order to identify significant loci related to both leaf and pod color in a snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) diversity panel, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was carried out. Leaf color in one and pod traits in multiple environments were characterized using a colorimeter. L*a*b* color data were recorded and used to calculate chroma (C*) and hue angle (H°). Leaves were evaluated at three positions (lower, middle, and upper) in the canopy and both pod exterior and interior colors were obtained. GWAS was conducted using two reference genomes that represent the Andean (G19833) and Middle American (5-593) domestication centers. Narrow sense heritabilities were calculated using the mixed linear model (MLM) method in genome association and prediction integrated tool (GAPIT), and significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for each color parameter were obtained using the Bayesian-information and linkage-disequilibrium iteratively nested keyway (BLINK) GWAS model with two principal components (PCAs). In comparison to pod color traits, narrow sense heritabilities of leaf traits were low and similar for both reference genomes. Generally, narrow sense heritability for all traits was highest in the lower, followed by middle, and then upper leaf positions. Heritability for both pod interior and exterior color traits was higher using the G19833 reference genome compared to 5-593 when evaluated by year and means across years. Forty-five significant SNPs associated with leaf traits and 872 associated with pods, totaling 917 significant SNPs were identified. Only one SNP was found in common for both leaf and pod traits on Pv03 in the 5-593 reference genome. One-hundred thirteen significant SNPs, 30 in leaves and 83 in pods had phenotypic variation explained (PVE) of 10% or greater. Fourteen SNPs (four from G19833 and ten from 5-593) with ≥10 PVE%, large SNP effect, and largest p-value for L* and H° pod exterior was identified on Pv01, Pv02, Pv03, and Pv08. More SNPs were associated with pod traits than with leaf traits. The pod interior did not exhibit colors produced by anthocyanins or flavonols which allowed the differentiation of potential candidate genes associated with chloroplast and photosynthetic activity compared to the pod exterior where candidate genes related to both flavonoids and photosynthesis affected color. Several SNPs were associated with known qualitative genes including the wax pod locus (y), persistent color (pc), purple pods (V), and two genes expressed in seeds but not previously reported to affect other plant tissues (B and J). An evaluation of significant SNPs within annotated genes found a number, within a 200 kb window, involved in both flavonoid and photosynthetic biosynthetic pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Vegetable Breeding, Genetics and Genomics)
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10 pages, 636 KiB  
Brief Report
Effects of Platelet Count on Blood Pressure: Evidence from Observational and Genetic Investigations
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2233; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122233 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 876
Abstract
Platelet count has been associated with blood pressure, but whether this association reflects causality remains unclear. To strengthen the evidence, we conducted a traditional observational analysis in the Lifelines Cohort Study (n = 167,785), and performed bi-directional Mendelian randomization (MR) with summary [...] Read more.
Platelet count has been associated with blood pressure, but whether this association reflects causality remains unclear. To strengthen the evidence, we conducted a traditional observational analysis in the Lifelines Cohort Study (n = 167,785), and performed bi-directional Mendelian randomization (MR) with summary GWAS data from the UK Biobank (n = 350,475) and the International Consortium of Blood Pressure (ICBP) (n = 299,024). Observational analyses showed positive associations between platelet count and blood pressure (OR = 1.12 per SD, 95% CI: 1.10 to 1.14 for hypertension; B = 0.07, 95% CI: 0.07 to 0.08 for SBP; B = 0.07 per SD, 95% CI: 0.06 to 0.07 for DBP). In MR, a genetically predicted higher platelet count was associated with higher SBP (B = 0.02 per SD, 95% CI = 0.00 to 0.04) and DBP (B = 0.03 per SD, 95% CI = 0.01 to 0.05). IVW models and sensitivity analyses of the association between platelet count and DBP were consistent, but not all sensitivity analyses were statistically significant for the platelet count-SBP relation. Our findings indicate that platelet count has modest but significant effects on SBP and DBP, suggesting causality and providing further insight into the pathophysiology of hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 4108 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome and Metabolome Analysis of Isoquinoline Alkaloid Biosynthesis of Coptis chinensis in Different Years
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2232; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122232 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 766
Abstract
Coptis chinensis is a perennial herb of the Ranunculaceae family. The isoquinoline alkaloid is the main active component of C. chinensis, mainly exists in its rhizomes and has high clinical application potential. The in vitro synthesis of isoquinoline alkaloids is difficult because [...] Read more.
Coptis chinensis is a perennial herb of the Ranunculaceae family. The isoquinoline alkaloid is the main active component of C. chinensis, mainly exists in its rhizomes and has high clinical application potential. The in vitro synthesis of isoquinoline alkaloids is difficult because their structures are complex; hence, plants are still the main source of them. In this study, two-year and four-year rhizomes of C. chinensis were selected to investigate the effect of growth years on the accumulation of isoquinoline alkaloids. Two-year and four-year C. chinensis were selected for metabolomics detection and transcriptomic analysis. A total of 413 alkaloids were detected by metabolomics analysis, of which 92 were isoquinoline alkaloids. (S)-reticuline was a significantly different accumulated metabolite of the isoquinoline alkaloids biosynthetic pathway in C. chinensis between the two groups. The results of transcriptome analysis showed that a total of 464 differential genes were identified, 36 of which were associated with the isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis pathway of C. chinensis. Among them, 18 genes were correlated with the content of important isoquinoline alkaloids. Overall, this study provided a comprehensive metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis of the rapid growth stage of C. chinensis rhizome from the perspective of growth years. It brought new insights into the biosynthetic pathway of isoquinoline alkaloids and provided information for utilizing biotechnology to improve their contents in C. chinensis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plant Research from an Omics Perspective)
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15 pages, 4593 KiB  
Article
Gas6-Axl Signaling Induces SRF/MRTF-A Gene Transcription via MICAL2
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2231; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122231 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 775
Abstract
MICAL2 is an actin-regulatory protein that functions through redox modification of actin. Nuclear localized MICAL2 triggers the disassembly of nuclear actin, which subsequently leads to nuclear retention of the actin-binding transcriptional coregulator myocardin-related transcription factor-A (MRTF-A), which leads to the activation of serum [...] Read more.
MICAL2 is an actin-regulatory protein that functions through redox modification of actin. Nuclear localized MICAL2 triggers the disassembly of nuclear actin, which subsequently leads to nuclear retention of the actin-binding transcriptional coregulator myocardin-related transcription factor-A (MRTF-A), which leads to the activation of serum response factor (SRF)/MRTF-A-dependent gene transcription. In this study, we show that the secreted signaling protein GAS6 (growth-arrest specific 6) and its cognate receptor Axl, a transmembrane tyrosine kinase, also induce the activation of SRF/MRTF-A and their downstream target genes. We find that serum-induced SRF/MRTF-A-dependent gene expression can be blocked, in part, by the inhibition of Axl signaling. Furthermore, we find that Gas6/Axl-induced SRF/MRTF-A-dependent transcription is dependent on MICAL2. Gas6/Axl promotes cell invasion, which is blocked by MICAL2 knockdown, suggesting that MICAL2 promotes cytoskeletal effects of the Gas6/Axl pathway. We find that Gas/6/Axl signaling promotes the nuclear localization of MICAL2, which may contribute to the ability of Gas6/SRF to augment SRF/MRTF-A-dependent gene transcription. The physiological significance of the Gas6/Axl-MICAL2 signaling pathway described here is supported by the marked gene expression correlation across a broad array of different cancers between MICAL2 and Axl and Gas6, as well as the coexpression of these genes and the known SRF/MRTF-A target transcripts. Overall, these data reveal a new link between Gas6/Axl and SRF/MRTF-A-dependent gene transcription and link MICAL2 as a novel effector of the Gas6/Axl signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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16 pages, 4334 KiB  
Article
Integrated Metabolomic and Transcriptomic Analysis of Puerarin Biosynthesis in Pueraria montana var. thomsonii at Different Growth Stages
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2230; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122230 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Puerarin, a class of isoflavonoid compounds concentrated in the roots of Puerarias, has antipyretic, sedative, and coronary blood-flow-increasing properties. Although the biosynthetic pathways of puerarin have been investigated by previous researchers, studies focusing on the influence of different growth stages on the [...] Read more.
Puerarin, a class of isoflavonoid compounds concentrated in the roots of Puerarias, has antipyretic, sedative, and coronary blood-flow-increasing properties. Although the biosynthetic pathways of puerarin have been investigated by previous researchers, studies focusing on the influence of different growth stages on the accumulation of metabolites in the puerarin pathway are not detailed, and it is still controversial at the last step of the 8-C-glycosylation reaction. In this study, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the metabolomic and transcriptomic changes in Pueraria montana var. thomsonii during two growing years, focusing on the vigorous growth and dormant stages, to elucidate the underlying mechanisms governing the changes in metabolite and gene expression within the puerarin biosynthesis pathway. In a comparison of the two growth stages in the two groups, puerarin and daidzin, the main downstream metabolites in the puerarin biosynthesis pathway, were found to accumulate mainly during the vigorous growth stage. We also identified 67 common differentially expressed genes in this pathway based on gene expression differences at different growth stages. Furthermore, we identified four candidate 8-C-GT genes that potentially contribute to the conversion of daidzein into puerarin and eight candidate 7-O-GT genes that may be involved in the conversion of daidzein into daidzin. A co-expression network analysis of important UGTs and HIDs along with daidzein and puerarin was conducted. Overall, our study contributes to the knowledge of puerarin biosynthesis and offers information about the stage at which the 8-C-glycosylation reaction occurs in biosynthesis. These findings provide valuable insights into the cultivation and quality enhancement of Pueraria montana var. thomsonii. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plant Research from an Omics Perspective)
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16 pages, 12579 KiB  
Review
Soft Tissue and Bone Tumor Diagnostics: Harnessing the Power of Molecular Techniques
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2229; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122229 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Since the introduction of new molecular techniques, the diagnostic landscape of soft tissue and bone tumors has expanded greatly over the past few years. The use of new molecular techniques has led to the identification of new genetic alterations and, therefore, to a [...] Read more.
Since the introduction of new molecular techniques, the diagnostic landscape of soft tissue and bone tumors has expanded greatly over the past few years. The use of new molecular techniques has led to the identification of new genetic alterations and, therefore, to a better understanding of tumorigenesis, tumor detection and classification. Furthermore, methylation profiling has emerged as a classification tool for soft tissue and bone tumors. Molecular pathology also plays an important role in the determination of patient prognosis and in the identification of targets that can be used for targeted therapy. As a result, molecular pathology has gained a more prominent role in the daily practice of the surgical pathologist. This review delves into various molecular techniques applied in the surgical pathology of soft tissue and bone tumors. It highlights their applications through the analysis of five specific cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Pathology, Genetics and Genomics in Surgical Pathology)
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10 pages, 1216 KiB  
Article
Influence of Model Structures on Predictors of Protein Stability Changes from Single-Point Mutations
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122228 - 17 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Missense variation in genomes can affect protein structure stability and, in turn, the cell physiology behavior. Predicting the impact of those variations is relevant, and the best-performing computational tools exploit the protein structure information. However, most of the current protein sequence variants are [...] Read more.
Missense variation in genomes can affect protein structure stability and, in turn, the cell physiology behavior. Predicting the impact of those variations is relevant, and the best-performing computational tools exploit the protein structure information. However, most of the current protein sequence variants are unresolved, and comparative or ab initio tools can provide a structure. Here, we evaluate the impact of model structures, compared to experimental structures, on the predictors of protein stability changes upon single-point mutations, where no significant changes are expected between the original and the mutated structures. We show that there are substantial differences among the computational tools. Methods that rely on coarse-grained representation are less sensitive to the underlying protein structures. In contrast, tools that exploit more detailed molecular representations are sensible to structures generated from comparative modeling, even on single-residue substitutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Technologies and Resources for Genetics 2023)
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16 pages, 2688 KiB  
Brief Report
Dual Targeting of DNA Damage Response Proteins Implicated in Cancer Radioresistance
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2227; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122227 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 888
Abstract
Ionizing radiation can induce different types of DNA lesions, leading to genomic instability and ultimately cell death. Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, a major modality in cancer treatment, harnesses the genotoxic potential of radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. Nevertheless, cancer cells have [...] Read more.
Ionizing radiation can induce different types of DNA lesions, leading to genomic instability and ultimately cell death. Radiation therapy or radiotherapy, a major modality in cancer treatment, harnesses the genotoxic potential of radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. Nevertheless, cancer cells have the capacity to develop resistance to radiation treatment (radioresistance), which poses a major obstacle in the effective management of cancer. It has been shown that administration of platinum-based drugs to cancer patients can increase tumor radiosensitivity, but despite this, it is associated with severe adverse effects. Several lines of evidence support that activation of the DNA damage response and repair machinery in the irradiated cancer cells enhances radioresistance and cellular survival through the efficient repair of DNA lesions. Therefore, targeting of key DNA damage repair factors would render cancer cells vulnerable to the irradiation effects, increase cancer cell killing, and reduce the risk of side effects on healthy tissue. Herein, we have employed a computer-aided drug design approach for generating ab initio a chemical compound with drug-like properties potentially targeting two proteins implicated in multiple DNA repair pathways. The findings of this study could be taken into consideration in clinical decision-making in terms of co-administering radiation with DNA damage repair factor-based drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Damage and Repair in Microorganisms, Plants and Mammalian Systems)
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20 pages, 21419 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Single Cell Transcriptome Sequencing Methods: Of Mice and Men
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2226; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122226 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 992
Abstract
Single cell RNAseq has been a big leap in many areas of biology. Rather than investigating gene expression on a whole organism level, this technology enables scientists to get a detailed look at rare single cells or within their cell population of interest. [...] Read more.
Single cell RNAseq has been a big leap in many areas of biology. Rather than investigating gene expression on a whole organism level, this technology enables scientists to get a detailed look at rare single cells or within their cell population of interest. The field is growing, and many new methods appear each year. We compared methods utilized in our core facility: Smart-seq3, PlexWell, FLASH-seq, VASA-seq, SORT-seq, 10X, Evercode, and HIVE. We characterized the equipment requirements for each method. We evaluated the performances of these methods based on detected features, transcriptome diversity, mitochondrial RNA abundance and multiplets, among others and benchmarked them against bulk RNA sequencing. Here, we show that bulk transcriptome detects more unique transcripts than any single cell method. While most methods are comparable in many regards, FLASH-seq and VASA-seq yielded the best metrics, e.g., in number of features. If no equipment for automation is available or many cells are desired, then HIVE or 10X yield good results. In general, more recently developed methods perform better. This also leads to the conclusion that older methods should be phased out, and that the development of single cell RNAseq methods is still progressing considerably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Analysis of Single-Cell Transcriptome Data)
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26 pages, 3106 KiB  
Review
Sex Differences in Colon Cancer: Genomic and Nongenomic Signalling of Oestrogen
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2225; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122225 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1414
Abstract
Colon cancer (CRC) is a prevalent malignancy that exhibits distinct differences in incidence, prognosis, and treatment responses between males and females. These disparities have long been attributed to hormonal differences, particularly the influence of oestrogen signalling. This review aims to provide a comprehensive [...] Read more.
Colon cancer (CRC) is a prevalent malignancy that exhibits distinct differences in incidence, prognosis, and treatment responses between males and females. These disparities have long been attributed to hormonal differences, particularly the influence of oestrogen signalling. This review aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of recent advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying sex differences in colon cancer and the protective role of membrane and nuclear oestrogen signalling in CRC development, progression, and therapeutic interventions. We discuss the epidemiological and molecular evidence supporting sex differences in colon cancer, followed by an exploration of the impact of oestrogen in CRC through various genomic and nongenomic signalling pathways involving membrane and nuclear oestrogen receptors. Furthermore, we examine the interplay between oestrogen receptors and other signalling pathways, in particular the Wnt/β-catenin proliferative pathway and hypoxia in shaping biological sex differences and oestrogen protective actions in colon cancer. Lastly, we highlight the potential therapeutic implications of targeting oestrogen signalling in the management of colon cancer and propose future research directions to address the current gaps in our understanding of this complex phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Signaling Pathway of Cancer)
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17 pages, 6688 KiB  
Article
Integrative Physiological and Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Mechanism of Cd Tolerance in Sinapis alba
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2224; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122224 - 16 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
Recently, pollution caused by the heavy metal Cd has seriously affected the environment and agricultural crops. While Sinapis alba is known for its edible and medicinal value, its tolerance to Cd and molecular response mechanism remain unknown. This study aimed to analyze the [...] Read more.
Recently, pollution caused by the heavy metal Cd has seriously affected the environment and agricultural crops. While Sinapis alba is known for its edible and medicinal value, its tolerance to Cd and molecular response mechanism remain unknown. This study aimed to analyze the tolerance of S. alba to Cd and investigate its molecular response mechanism through transcriptomic and physiological indicators. To achieve this, S. alba seedlings were treated with different concentrations of CdCl2 (0.25 mmol/L, 0.5 mmol/L, and 1.0 mmol/L) for three days. Based on seedling performance, S. alba exhibited some tolerance to a low concentration of Cd stress (0.25 mmol/L CdCl2) and a strong Cd accumulation ability in its roots. The activities and contents of several antioxidant enzymes generally exhibited an increase under the treatment of 0.25 mmol/L CdCl2 but decreased under the treatment of higher CdCl2 concentrations. In particular, the proline (Pro) content was extremely elevated under the 0.25 and 0.5 mmol/L CdCl2 treatments but sharply declined under the 1.0 mmol/L CdCl2 treatment, suggesting that Pro is involved in the tolerance of S. alba to low concentration of Cd stress. In addition, RNA sequencing was utilized to analyze the gene expression profiles of S. alba exposed to Cd (under the treatment of 0.25 mmol/L CdCl2). The results indicate that roots were more susceptible to disturbance from Cd stress, as evidenced by the detection of 542 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in roots compared to only 37 DEGs in leaves. GO and KEGG analyses found that the DEGs induced by Cd stress were primarily enriched in metabolic pathways, plant hormone signal transduction, and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. The key pathway hub genes were mainly associated with intracellular ion transport and cell wall synthesis. These findings suggest that S. alba is tolerant to a degree of Cd stress, but is also susceptible to the toxic effects of Cd. Furthermore, these results provide a theoretical basis for understanding Cd tolerance in S. alba. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5Gs in Crop Genetic and Genomic Improvement)
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20 pages, 4222 KiB  
Article
Network Analysis of Publicly Available RNA-seq Provides Insights into the Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Defense against Multiple Fungal Pathogens in Arabidopsis thaliana
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2223; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122223 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1237
Abstract
Fungal pathogens can have devastating effects on global crop production, leading to annual economic losses ranging from 10% to 23%. In light of climate change-related challenges, researchers anticipate an increase in fungal infections as a result of shifting environmental conditions. However, plants have [...] Read more.
Fungal pathogens can have devastating effects on global crop production, leading to annual economic losses ranging from 10% to 23%. In light of climate change-related challenges, researchers anticipate an increase in fungal infections as a result of shifting environmental conditions. However, plants have developed intricate molecular mechanisms for effective defense against fungal attacks. Understanding these mechanisms is essential to the development of new strategies for protecting crops from multiple fungi threats. Public omics databases provide valuable resources for research on plant–pathogen interactions; however, integrating data from different studies can be challenging due to experimental variation. In this study, we aimed to identify the core genes that defend against the pathogenic fungi Colletotrichum higginsianum and Botrytis cinerea in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using a custom framework to control batch effects and construct Gene Co-expression Networks in publicly available RNA-seq dataset from infected A. thaliana plants, we successfully identified a gene module that was responsive to both pathogens. We also performed gene annotation to reveal the roles of previously unknown protein-coding genes in plant defenses against fungal infections. This research demonstrates the potential of publicly available RNA-seq data for identifying the core genes involved in defending against multiple fungal pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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14 pages, 1409 KiB  
Article
Expanding Genotype/Phenotype Correlation in 2p11.2-p12 Microdeletion Syndrome
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122222 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Chromosomal abnormalities on the short arm of chromosome 2 in the region p11.2 have been associated with developmental delay, intellectual disability, facial anomalies, abnormal ears, skeletal and genital malformations. Here we describe a patient with a de novo interstitial heterozygous microdeletion on the [...] Read more.
Chromosomal abnormalities on the short arm of chromosome 2 in the region p11.2 have been associated with developmental delay, intellectual disability, facial anomalies, abnormal ears, skeletal and genital malformations. Here we describe a patient with a de novo interstitial heterozygous microdeletion on the short arm of chromosome 2 in the region p11.2-p12. He presents with facial dysmorphism characterized by a broad and low root of the nose and low-set protruding ears. Clinical examinations during follow-up visits revealed congenital pendular nystagmus, decreased visual acuity and psychomotor development disorder including intellectual disability. The heterozygous 5 Mb-microdeletion was characterized by an array CGH (Comparative Genomic Hybridization) analysis. In the past two decades, nine patients with microdeletions in this region have been identified by array CGH analysis and were reported in the literature. All these patients show psychomotor development disorder and outer and/or inner ear anomalies. In addition, most of the patients have mild to severe intellectual disability and show facial malformations. We reviewed the literature on PubMed and OMIM using the gene/loci names as search terms in an attempt to identify correlations between genes located within the heterozygous microdeletion and the clinical phenotype of the patient, in order to define a recognizable phenotype for the 2p11.2p12 microdeletion syndrome. We discuss additional symptoms that are not systematically present in all patients and contribute to a heterogeneous clinical presentation of this microdeletion syndrome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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12 pages, 2481 KiB  
Article
Lambda CI Binding to Related Phage Operator Sequences Validates Alignment Algorithm and Highlights the Importance of Overlooked Bonds
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2221; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122221 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Bacteriophage λ’s CI repressor protein controls a genetic switch between the virus’s lysogenic and lytic lifecycles, in part, by selectively binding to six different DNA sequences within the phage genome—collectively referred to as operator sites. However, the minimal level of information needed for [...] Read more.
Bacteriophage λ’s CI repressor protein controls a genetic switch between the virus’s lysogenic and lytic lifecycles, in part, by selectively binding to six different DNA sequences within the phage genome—collectively referred to as operator sites. However, the minimal level of information needed for CI to recognize and specifically bind these six unique-but-related sequences is unclear. In a previous study, we introduced an algorithm that extracts the minimal direct readout information needed for λ-CI to recognize and bind its six binding sites. We further revealed direct readout information shared among three evolutionarily related lambdoid phages: λ-phage, Enterobacteria phage VT2-Sakai, and Stx2 converting phage I, suggesting that the λ-CI protein could bind to the operator sites of these other phages. In this study, we show that λ-CI can indeed bind the other two phages’ cognate binding sites as predicted using our algorithm, validating the hypotheses from that paper. We go on to demonstrate the importance of specific hydrogen bond donors and acceptors that are maintained despite changes to the nucleobase itself, and another that has an important role in recognition and binding. This in vitro validation of our algorithm supports its use as a tool to predict alternative binding sites for DNA-binding proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Bioinformatics and Intelligent Information Processing)
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13 pages, 7920 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Analysis of miRNA and mRNA Expression Profiles during Muscle Development of the Longissimus Dorsi Muscle in Gannan Yaks and Jeryaks
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122220 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 689
Abstract
A hybrid offspring of Gannan yak and Jersey cattle, the Jeryak exhibits apparent hybrid advantages over the Gannan yak in terms of production performance and other factors. The small non-coding RNAs known as miRNAs post-transcriptionally exert a significant regulatory influence on gene expression. [...] Read more.
A hybrid offspring of Gannan yak and Jersey cattle, the Jeryak exhibits apparent hybrid advantages over the Gannan yak in terms of production performance and other factors. The small non-coding RNAs known as miRNAs post-transcriptionally exert a significant regulatory influence on gene expression. However, the regulatory mechanism of miRNA associated with muscle development in Jeryak remains elusive. To elucidate the regulatory role of miRNAs in orchestrating skeletal muscle development in Jeryak, we selected longissimus dorsi muscle tissues from Gannan yak and Jeryak for transcriptome sequencing analysis. A total of 230 (DE) miRNAs were identified in the longissimus dorsi muscle of Gannan yak and Jeryak. The functional enrichment analysis revealed a significant enrichment of target genes from differentially expressed (DE)miRNAs in signaling pathways associated with muscle growth, such as the Ras signaling pathway and the MAPK signaling pathway. The network of interactions between miRNA and mRNA suggest that some (DE)miRNAs, including miR-2478-z, miR-339-x, novel-m0036-3p, and novel-m0037-3p, played a pivotal role in facilitating muscle development. These findings help us to deepen our understanding of the hybrid dominance of Jeryaks and provide a theoretical basis for further research on the regulatory mechanisms of miRNAs associated with Jeryak muscle growth and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock: Genomics, Genetics and Breeding)
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10 pages, 1205 KiB  
Article
Glycogen Storage Disease: Expert Opinion on Clinical Diagnosis Revisited after Molecular Testing
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2219; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122219 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 757
Abstract
This study sought to analyze whether an accurate diagnosis of the type and subtype of hepatic Glycogen Storage Diseases (GSDs) could be performed based on general clinical and biochemical aspects via comparing the proposed diagnostic hypotheses with the molecular results. Twelve physicians with [...] Read more.
This study sought to analyze whether an accurate diagnosis of the type and subtype of hepatic Glycogen Storage Diseases (GSDs) could be performed based on general clinical and biochemical aspects via comparing the proposed diagnostic hypotheses with the molecular results. Twelve physicians with experience in hepatic GSDs reviewed 45 real cases comprising a standardized summary of clinical and laboratory data. There was no relation between the hit rate and the time since graduation, the time of experience in GSD, and the number of patients treated during their careers. The average assertiveness was 47%, with GSD Ia and Ib being the best-identified types, while no expert correctly identified GSD IXc. Underage investigation for later manifestations, incomplete clinical description, and complementary analysis, the overvaluation of a specific clinical finding (“false positive”) or the discarding of the diagnosis in the absence of it (“false negative”), as well as the lack of knowledge of the rarest GSD types, may have impacted the accuracy of the assessment. This study emphasized that characteristics considered as determinants in identifying the specific types or subtypes of GSD are not exclusive, thus becoming factors that may have induced the evaluators to misdiagnose. Full article
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17 pages, 2650 KiB  
Article
Compilation of Genotype and Phenotype Data in GCDH-LOVD for Variant Classification and Further Application
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122218 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 915
Abstract
Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA-1) is a rare but treatable autosomal-recessive neurometabolic disorder of lysin metabolism caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase gene (GCDH) that lead to deficiency of GCDH protein. Without treatment, this enzyme defect causes a neurological [...] Read more.
Glutaric aciduria type 1 (GA-1) is a rare but treatable autosomal-recessive neurometabolic disorder of lysin metabolism caused by biallelic pathogenic variants in glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase gene (GCDH) that lead to deficiency of GCDH protein. Without treatment, this enzyme defect causes a neurological phenotype characterized by movement disorder and cognitive impairment. Based on a comprehensive literature search, we established a large dataset of GCDH variants using the Leiden Open Variation Database (LOVD) to summarize the known genotypes and the clinical and biochemical phenotypes associated with GA-1. With these data, we developed a GCDH-specific variation classification framework based on American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the Association for Molecular Pathology guidelines. We used this framework to reclassify published variants and to describe their geographic distribution, both of which have practical implications for the molecular genetic diagnosis of GA-1. The freely available GCDH-specific LOVD dataset provides a basis for diagnostic laboratories and researchers to further optimize their knowledge and molecular diagnosis of this rare disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular and Genetic Diagnosis of Rare Diseases)
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24 pages, 1003 KiB  
Review
Microbiota-Induced Epigenetic Alterations in Depressive Disorders Are Targets for Nutritional and Probiotic Therapies
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2217; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122217 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2110
Abstract
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex disorder and a leading cause of disability in 280 million people worldwide. Many environmental factors, such as microbes, drugs, and diet, are involved in the pathogenesis of depressive disorders. However, the underlying mechanisms of depression are [...] Read more.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex disorder and a leading cause of disability in 280 million people worldwide. Many environmental factors, such as microbes, drugs, and diet, are involved in the pathogenesis of depressive disorders. However, the underlying mechanisms of depression are complex and include the interaction of genetics with epigenetics and the host immune system. Modifications of the gut microbiome and its metabolites influence stress-related responses and social behavior in patients with depressive disorders by modulating the maturation of immune cells and neurogenesis in the brain mediated by epigenetic modifications. Here, we discuss the potential roles of a leaky gut in the development of depressive disorders via changes in gut microbiota-derived metabolites with epigenetic effects. Next, we will deliberate how altering the gut microbiome composition contributes to the development of depressive disorders via epigenetic alterations. In particular, we focus on how microbiota-derived metabolites such as butyrate as an epigenetic modifier, probiotics, maternal diet, polyphenols, drugs (e.g., antipsychotics, antidepressants, and antibiotics), and fecal microbiota transplantation could positively alleviate depressive-like behaviors by modulating the epigenetic landscape. Finally, we will discuss challenges associated with recent therapeutic approaches for depressive disorders via microbiome-related epigenetic shifts, as well as opportunities to tackle such problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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18 pages, 3056 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Candidate Reference Genes for Gene Expression Studies Using RT-qPCR in Colletotrichum fructicola from Litchi
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2216; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122216 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is a tropical fruit originating from southern China that is currently cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions worldwide. Litchi anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum fructicola, a dominant species of Colletotrichum spp., is an important disease of litchi that damages [...] Read more.
Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is a tropical fruit originating from southern China that is currently cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions worldwide. Litchi anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum fructicola, a dominant species of Colletotrichum spp., is an important disease of litchi that damages the fruits in fields and in post-harvest storage. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) is a common technique with which to detect the expression of and function of target genes quickly and precisely, and stable reference genes are crucial. However, there is no comprehensive information on suitable reference genes of C. fructicola present. Here, we designed eight candidate genes (GAPDH, α-tubulin, 18S, β-tubulin, EF1a, TATA, RPS5, and EF3) using RefFinder software (programs: geNorm, ΔCt, BestKeeper, and NormFinder) to investigate their reliability in the detection of C. fructicola under five different treatments (fungal development stage, temperature, UV, culture medium, and fungicide). The results showed the optimal reference genes under different conditions: EF1a and α-tubulin for developmental stage; α-tubulin and β-tubulin for temperature; α-tubulin and RPS5 for UV treatment; RPS5 and α-tubulin for culture medium; α-tubulin, GAPDH, and TATA for fungicide treatments. The corresponding expression patterns of HSP70 (Heat shock protein 70) were significantly different when the most and the least stable reference genes were selected when treated under different conditions. Our study provides the first detailed list of optimal reference genes for the analysis of gene expression in C. fructicola via RT-qPCR, which should be useful for future functional studies of target genes in C. fructicola. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Genomics of Pathogenic Fungi)
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14 pages, 5013 KiB  
Article
RNA-Sequencing Analysis Revealed Genes Associated with Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) Responses to Stem Rot during Different Infection Stages
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2215; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122215 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 691
Abstract
The sweet potato, which is an important tuber crop in China, is susceptible to a variety of pathogens and insect pests during cultivation and production. Stem rot is a common sweet potato disease that seriously affects tuber yield and quality. Unfortunately, there have [...] Read more.
The sweet potato, which is an important tuber crop in China, is susceptible to a variety of pathogens and insect pests during cultivation and production. Stem rot is a common sweet potato disease that seriously affects tuber yield and quality. Unfortunately, there have been relatively few studies on the mechanism mediating the stem rot resistance of sweet potatoes. In this study, a transcriptome sequencing analysis was completed using Xushu 48 samples at different stages (T1, T2, and T3) of the stem rot infection. The T1 vs. T2, T1 vs. T3, and T2 vs. T3 comparisons detected 44,839, 81,436, and 61,932 differentially expressed genes (DEGs), respectively. The DEGs encoded proteins primarily involved in alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism (ko00250), carbon fixation in photosynthetic organisms (ko00710), and amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism (ko00520). Furthermore, some candidate genes induced by phytopathogen infections were identified, including gene-encoding receptor-like protein kinases (RLK5 and RLK7), an LRR receptor-like serine/threonine protein kinase (SERK1), and transcription factors (bHLH137, ERF9, MYB73, and NAC053). The results of this study provide genetic insights that are relevant to future explorations of sweet potato stem rot resistance, while also providing the theoretical basis for breeding sweet potato varieties that are resistant to stem rot and other diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sweet Potato Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 8619 KiB  
Review
Long Non-Coding RNAs: Discoveries, Mechanisms, and Research Strategies in Seeds
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2214; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122214 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Seeds provide nutrients for the embryo and allow for dormancy in stressed environments to better adapt the plant to its environment. In addition, seeds are an essential source of food for human survival and are the basis for the formation of food production [...] Read more.
Seeds provide nutrients for the embryo and allow for dormancy in stressed environments to better adapt the plant to its environment. In addition, seeds are an essential source of food for human survival and are the basis for the formation of food production and quality. Therefore, the research on the genetic mechanism of seed development and germination will provide a theoretical basis and technical support for the improvement of crop yield and quality. Recent studies have shown that long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) occupy a pivotal position in seed development and germination. In this review, we describe the key processes in seed biology and examine discoveries and insights made in seed lncRNA, with emphasis on lncRNAs that regulate seed biology through multiple mechanisms. Given that thousands of lncRNAs are present in the seed transcriptome, characterization has lagged far behind identification. We provide an overview of research strategies and approaches including some exciting new techniques that may uncover the function of lncRNAs in seed. Finally, we discuss the challenges facing the field and the opening questions. All in all, we hope to provide a clear perspective on discoveries of seed lncRNA by linking discoveries, mechanisms, and technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-coding RNAs in Plant Development, Adaptation, and Evolution)
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20 pages, 1699 KiB  
Review
The Euphrates Poplar Responses to Abiotic Stress and Its Unique Traits in Dry Regions of China (Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia): What Should We Know?
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122213 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 743
Abstract
At the moment, drought, salinity, and low-temperature stress are ubiquitous environmental issues. In arid regions including Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia and other areas worldwide, the area of tree plantations appears to be rising, triggering tree growth. Water is a vital resource in the [...] Read more.
At the moment, drought, salinity, and low-temperature stress are ubiquitous environmental issues. In arid regions including Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia and other areas worldwide, the area of tree plantations appears to be rising, triggering tree growth. Water is a vital resource in the agricultural systems of countries impacted by aridity and salinity. Worldwide efforts to reduce quantitative yield losses on Populus euphratica by adapting tree plant production to unfavorable environmental conditions have been made in response to the responsiveness of the increasing control of water stress. Although there has been much advancement in identifying the genes that resist abiotic stresses, little is known about how plants such as P. euphratica deal with numerous abiotic stresses. P. euphratica is a varied riparian plant that can tolerate drought, salinity, low temperatures, and climate change, and has a variety of water stress adaptability abilities. To conduct this review, we gathered all available information throughout the Web of Science, the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information on the impact of abiotic stress on the molecular mechanism and evolution of gene families at the transcription level. The data demonstrated that P. euphratica might gradually adapt its stomatal aperture, photosynthesis, antioxidant activities, xylem architecture, and hydraulic conductivity to endure extreme drought and salt stress. Our analyses will give readers an understanding of how to manage a gene family in desert trees and the influence of abiotic stresses on the productivity of tree plants. They will also give readers the knowledge necessary to improve biotechnology-based tree plant stress tolerance for sustaining yield and quality trees in China’s arid regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress in Plants: Molecular Genetics and Genomics)
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9 pages, 4222 KiB  
Case Report
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Caused by an Intragenic Heterozygous Deletion in RAD21 Detected through Very-High-Resolution Chromosomal Microarray Analysis
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2212; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122212 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 971
Abstract
Cornelia de Lange syndrome is a genetic and clinically heterogeneous entity, caused by at least five genes. It is characterized by short stature, gestalt facies, microcephaly, neurodevelopmental disorders, and other anomalies. In this report, we present a 13-year-old female patient with microcephaly, cleft [...] Read more.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome is a genetic and clinically heterogeneous entity, caused by at least five genes. It is characterized by short stature, gestalt facies, microcephaly, neurodevelopmental disorders, and other anomalies. In this report, we present a 13-year-old female patient with microcephaly, cleft palate, polydactyly, short stature, triangular facies, frontal bossing, a bulbous nose, an overfolded helix, limited pronosupination, and an anomalous uterus. No neurodevelopmental disorders were reported. A chromosomal microarray analysis of 6.5 million markers was performed in the proband and her parents. The results showed a de novo heterozygous microdeletion of exons 9–14 within RAD21, which confirmed the diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome type 4. Our patient did not show any neurologic phenotype (until the time of diagnosis), although neurodevelopmental disorders are frequently present in patients with Cornelia de Lange syndrome type 4, and despite carrying a deletion that was larger than previously reported. Therefore, unknown genetic modifiers or intrinsic mechanisms of RAD21 variants may exist and should be studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Complex Human Disease 2023)
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12 pages, 941 KiB  
Article
Newborn Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy: A 2.5-Year Experience in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2211; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122211 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 845
Abstract
Newborn screening (NBS) for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is necessary, as favorable outcomes can be achieved by treatment with disease-modifying drugs in early infancy. Although SMA-NBS has been initiated in Japan, its clinical results have not been fully reported. We report the findings [...] Read more.
Newborn screening (NBS) for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is necessary, as favorable outcomes can be achieved by treatment with disease-modifying drugs in early infancy. Although SMA-NBS has been initiated in Japan, its clinical results have not been fully reported. We report the findings of the initial 2.5 years of a pilot SMA-NBS of approximately 16,000 infants conducted from February 2021 in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Clinical data of 17 infants who tested positive were retrospectively obtained from the NBS follow-up centers participating in this multicenter cohort observational study. Genetic testing revealed 14 false positives, and three infants were diagnosed with SMA. Case 1 had two copies of survival motor neuron (SMN) 2 and showed SMA-related symptoms at diagnosis. Case 2 was asymptomatic, with two copies of SMN2. Asymptomatic case 3 had four copies of SMN2 exon 7, including the SMN1/2 hybrid gene. Cases 1 and 2 were treated within 1 month and case 3 at 8 months. All the patients showed improved motor function scores and did not require respiratory support. The identification of infants with SMA via NBS and early treatment improved their motor and respiratory outcomes. Thus, implementation of SMA-NBS at a nationwide scale should be considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Newborn Screening)
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14 pages, 1465 KiB  
Article
Development of Human Rhinovirus RNA Reference Material Using Digital PCR
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2210; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122210 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 928
Abstract
The human rhinovirus (RV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus that causes respiratory tract diseases affecting both the upper and lower halves of the respiratory system. RV enhances its replication by concentrating RNA synthesis within a modified host membrane in an intracellular compartment. RV [...] Read more.
The human rhinovirus (RV) is a positive-stranded RNA virus that causes respiratory tract diseases affecting both the upper and lower halves of the respiratory system. RV enhances its replication by concentrating RNA synthesis within a modified host membrane in an intracellular compartment. RV infections often occur alongside infections caused by other respiratory viruses, and the RV virus may remain asymptomatic for extended periods. Alongside qualitative detection, it is essential to accurately quantify RV RNA from clinical samples to explore the relationships between RV viral load, infections caused by the virus, and the resulting symptoms observed in patients. A reference material (RM) is required for quality evaluation, the performance evaluation of molecular diagnostic products, and evaluation of antiviral agents in the laboratory. The preparation process for the RM involves creating an RV RNA mixture by combining RV viral RNA with RNA storage solution and matrix. The resulting RV RNA mixture is scaled up to a volume of 25 mL, then dispensed at 100 µL per vial and stored at −80 °C. The process of measuring the stability and homogeneity of RV RMs was conducted by employing reverse transcription droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (RT-ddPCR). Digital PCR is useful for the analysis of standards and can help to improve measurement compatibility: it represents the equivalence of a series of outcomes for reference materials and samples being analyzed when a few measurement procedures are employed, enabling objective comparisons between quantitative findings obtained through various experiments. The number of copies value represents a measured result of approximately 1.6 × 105 copies/μL. The RM has about an 11% bottle-to-bottle homogeneity and shows stable results for 1 week at temperatures of 4 °C and −20 °C and for 12 months at a temperature of −80 °C. The developed RM can enhance the dependability of RV molecular tests by providing a precise reference value for the absolute copy number of a viral target gene. Additionally, it can serve as a reference for diverse studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Genomics)
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20 pages, 9118 KiB  
Article
The Genome of the Yellow Mealworm, Tenebrio molitor: It’s Bigger Than You Think
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2209; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122209 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 5208
Abstract
Background: Insects are a sustainable source of protein for human food and animal feed. We present a genome assembly, CRISPR gene editing, and life stage-specific transcriptomes for the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, one of the most intensively farmed insects worldwide. Methods: Long [...] Read more.
Background: Insects are a sustainable source of protein for human food and animal feed. We present a genome assembly, CRISPR gene editing, and life stage-specific transcriptomes for the yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor, one of the most intensively farmed insects worldwide. Methods: Long and short reads and long-range data were obtained from a T. molitor male pupa. Sequencing transcripts from 12 T. molitor life stages resulted in 279 million reads for gene prediction and genetic engineering. A unique plasmid delivery system containing guide RNAs targeting the eye color gene vermilion flanking the muscle actin gene promoter and EGFP marker was used in CRISPR/Cas9 transformation. Results: The assembly is approximately 53% of the genome size of 756.8 ± 9.6 Mb, measured using flow cytometry. Assembly was complicated by a satellitome of at least 11 highly conserved satDNAs occupying 28% of the genome. The injection of the plasmid into embryos resulted in knock-out of Tm vermilion and knock-in of EGFP. Conclusions: The genome of T. molitor is longer than current assemblies (including ours) due to a substantial amount (26.5%) of only one highly abundant satellite DNA sequence. Genetic sequences and transformation tools for an insect important to the food and feed industries will promote the sustainable utilization of mealworms and other farmed insects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in ‘Animal Genetics and Genomics’)
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15 pages, 2658 KiB  
Article
Modification of Gene Expression of Tomato Plants through Foliar Flavonoid Application in Relation to Enhanced Growth
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2208; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122208 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The exogenous application of phenolic compounds is increasingly recognized as a valuable strategy for promoting growth and mitigating the adverse effects of abiotic stress. However, the biostimulant effect under optimal conditions has not been thoroughly explored. In this study, we investigated the impact [...] Read more.
The exogenous application of phenolic compounds is increasingly recognized as a valuable strategy for promoting growth and mitigating the adverse effects of abiotic stress. However, the biostimulant effect under optimal conditions has not been thoroughly explored. In this study, we investigated the impact of foliar application of flavonoids, specifically CropBioLife (CBL), on tomato plants grown under controlled conditions. Our study focused on determining growth parameters, such as cell size, and assessing the concentration of hormones. Principal component analysis (PCA) from all physiological variables was determined. Additionally, we utilized high-throughput mRNA-sequencing technology and bioinformatic methodologies to robustly analyze the transcriptomes of tomato leaves regulated by flavonoids. The findings revealed that CBL primarily influenced cell enlargement by 60%, leading to increased growth. Furthermore, CBL-treated plants exhibited higher concentrations of the hormone zeatin, but lower concentrations of IAA (changes of 50%). Moreover, RNA-seq analysis indicated that CBL-treated plants required increased mineral transport and water uptake, as evidenced by gene expression patterns. Genes related to pathways such as fatty acid degradation, phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, and ABC transporters showed regulatory mechanisms governing internal flavonoid biosynthesis, transport, and tissue concentration, ultimately resulting in higher flavonoid concentrations in tomato leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
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13 pages, 4921 KiB  
Article
Epigenetic Profiling of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Epigenome-Wide Association Study of DNA Methylation in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2207; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122207 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Diabetes is characterized by persistently high blood glucose levels and severe complications and affects millions of people worldwide. In this study, we explored the epigenetic landscape of diabetes using data from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES), specifically the Ansung–Ansan (AS–AS) cohort. [...] Read more.
Diabetes is characterized by persistently high blood glucose levels and severe complications and affects millions of people worldwide. In this study, we explored the epigenetic landscape of diabetes using data from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study (KoGES), specifically the Ansung–Ansan (AS–AS) cohort. Using epigenome-wide association studies, we investigated DNA methylation patterns in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and those with normal glucose regulation. Differential methylation analysis revealed 106 differentially methylated probes (DMPs), with the 10 top DMPs prominently associated with TXNIP, PDK4, NBPF20, ARRDC4, UFM1, PFKFB2, C7orf50, and ABCG1, indicating significant changes in methylation. Correlation analysis highlighted the association between the leading DMPs (e.g., cg19693031 and cg26974062 for TXNIP and cg26823705 for NBPF20) and key glycemic markers (fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c), confirming their relevance in T2DM. Moreover, we identified 62 significantly differentially methylated regions (DMRs) spanning 61 genes. A DMR associated with PDE1C showed hypermethylation, whereas DMRs associated with DIP2C, FLJ90757, PRSS50, and TDRD9 showed hypomethylation. PDE1C and TDRD9 showed a strong positive correlation between the CpG sites included in each DMR, which have previously been implicated in T2DM-related processes. This study contributes to the understanding of epigenetic modifications in T2DM. These valuable insights can be utilized in identifying potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for effective management and prevention of diabetes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Epigenomics)
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20 pages, 6198 KiB  
Article
BnPLP1 Positively Regulates Flowering Time, Plant Height, and Main Inflorescence Length in Brassica napus
Genes 2023, 14(12), 2206; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14122206 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 678
Abstract
Protein prenylation mediated by the Arabidopsis thaliana PLURIPETALA (AtPLP) gene plays a crucial role in plant growth, development, and environmental response by adding a 15-carbon farnesyl group or one to two 20-carbon geranylgeranyl groups onto one to two cysteine residues at the C-terminus [...] Read more.
Protein prenylation mediated by the Arabidopsis thaliana PLURIPETALA (AtPLP) gene plays a crucial role in plant growth, development, and environmental response by adding a 15-carbon farnesyl group or one to two 20-carbon geranylgeranyl groups onto one to two cysteine residues at the C-terminus of the target protein. However, the homologous genes and their functions of AtPLP in rapeseed are unclear. In this study, bioinformatics analysis and gene cloning demonstrated the existence of two homologous genes of AtPLP in the Brassica napus L. genome, namely, BnPLP1 and BnPLP2. Evolutionary analysis revealed that BnPLP1 originated from the B. rapa L. genome, while BnPLP2 originated from the B. oleracea L. genome. Genetic transformation analysis revealed that the overexpression of BnPLP1 in Arabidopsis plants exhibited earlier flowering initiation, a prolonged flowering period, increased plant height, and longer main inflorescence length compared to the wild type. Contrarily, the downregulation of BnPLP1 expression in B. napus plants led to delayed flowering initiation, shortened flowering period, decreased plant height, and reduced main inflorescence length compared to the wild type. These findings indicate that the BnPLP1 gene positively regulates flowering time, plant height, and main inflorescence length. This provides a new gene for the genetic improvement of flowering time and plant architecture in rapeseed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5Gs in Crop Genetic and Genomic Improvement)
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