• Chromera velia, endosymbioses and the rhodoplex hypothesis--plastid evolution in cryptophytes, alveolates, stramenopiles, and haptophytes (CASH lineages).

      Petersen, Jörn; Ludewig, Ann-Kathrin; Michael, Victoria; Bunk, Boyke; Jarek, Michael; Baurain, Denis; Brinkmann, Henner (2014-03)
      The discovery of Chromera velia, a free-living photosynthetic relative of apicomplexan pathogens, has provided an unexpected opportunity to study the algal ancestry of malaria parasites. In this work, we compared the molecular footprints of a eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbiosis in C. velia to their equivalents in peridinin-containing dinoflagellates (PCD) to reevaluate recent claims in favor of a common ancestry of their plastids. To this end, we established the draft genome and a set of full-length cDNA sequences from C. velia via next-generation sequencing. We documented the presence of a single coxI gene in the mitochondrial genome, which thus represents the genetically most reduced aerobic organelle identified so far, but focused our analyses on five "lucky genes" of the Calvin cycle. These were selected because of their known support for a common origin of complex plastids from cryptophytes, alveolates (represented by PCDs), stramenopiles, and haptophytes (CASH) via a single secondary endosymbiosis with a red alga. As expected, our broadly sampled phylogenies of the nuclear-encoded Calvin cycle markers support a rhodophycean origin for the complex plastid of Chromera. However, they also suggest an independent origin of apicomplexan and dinophycean (PCD) plastids via two eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses. Although at odds with the current view of a common photosynthetic ancestry for alveolates, this conclusion is nonetheless in line with the deviant plastome architecture in dinoflagellates and the morphological paradox of four versus three plastid membranes in the respective lineages. Further support for independent endosymbioses is provided by analysis of five additional markers, four of them involved in the plastid protein import machinery. Finally, we introduce the "rhodoplex hypothesis" as a convenient way to designate evolutionary scenarios where CASH plastids are ultimately the product of a single secondary endosymbiosis with a red alga but were subsequently horizontally spread via higher-order eukaryote-to-eukaryote endosymbioses.
    • Comprehensive insights in the Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis genome using new WGS data of sheep strain JIII-386 from Germany.

      Möbius, Petra; Hölzer, Martin; Felder, Marius; Nordsiek, Gabriele; Groth, Marco; Köhler, Heike; Reichwald, Kathrin; Platzer, Matthias; Marz, Manja; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-09-17)
      Mycobacterium avium (M. a.) subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) - the etiologic agent of Johne's disease - affects cattle, sheep and other ruminants worldwide. To decipher phenotypic differences among sheep and cattle strains (belonging to MAP-S [Type-I/III] respectively MAP-C [Type-II]) comparative genome analysis needs data from diverse isolates originating from different geographic regions of the world. The current study presents the so far best assembled genome of a MAP-S-strain: sheep isolate JIII-386 from Germany. One newly sequenced cattle isolate (JII-1961, Germany), four published MAP strains of MAP-C and MAP-S from U.S. and Australia and M. a. subsp. hominissuis (MAH) strain 104 were used for assembly improvement and comparisons. All genomes were annotated by BacProt and results compared with NCBI annotation. Corresponding protein-coding sequences (CDSs) were detected, but also CDSs that were exclusively determined either by NCBI or BacProt. A new Shine-Dalgarno sequence motif (5'AGCTGG3') was extracted. Novel CDSs including PE-PGRS family protein genes and about 80 non-coding RNAs exhibiting high sequence conservation are presented. Previously found genetic differences between MAP-types are partially revised. Four out of ten assumed MAP-S-specific large sequence polymorphism regions (LSP(S)s) are still present in MAP-C strains; new LSP(S)s were identified. Independently of the regional origin of the strains, the number of individual CDSs and single nucleotide variants confirm the strong similarity of MAP-C strains and show higher diversity among MAP-S strains. This study gives ambiguous results regarding the hypothesis that MAP-S is the evolutionary intermediate between MAH and MAP-C, but it clearly shows a higher similarity of MAP to MAH than to M. intracellulare.
    • Distribution and Evolution of Peroxisomes in Alveolates (Apicomplexa, Dinoflagellates, Ciliates).

      Ludewig-Klingner, Ann-Kathrin; Michael, Victoria; Jarek, Michael; Brinkmann, Henner; Petersen, Jörn; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      The peroxisome was the last organelle to be discovered and five decades later it is still the Cinderella of eukaryotic compartments. Peroxisomes have a crucial role in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species, the beta-oxidation of fatty acids, and the biosynthesis of etherphospholipids, and they are assumed to be present in virtually all aerobic eukaryotes. Apicomplexan parasites including the malaria and toxoplasmosis agents were described as the first group of mitochondriate protists devoid of peroxisomes. This study was initiated to reassess the distribution and evolution of peroxisomes in the superensemble Alveolata (apicomplexans, dinoflagellates, ciliates). We established transcriptome data from two chromerid algae (Chromera velia, Vitrella brassicaformis), and two dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum minimum, Perkinsus olseni) and identified the complete set of essential peroxins in all four reference species. Our comparative genome analysis provides unequivocal evidence for the presence of peroxisomes in Toxoplasma gondii and related genera. Our working hypothesis of a common peroxisomal origin of all alveolates is supported by phylogenetic analyses of essential markers such as the import receptor Pex5. Vitrella harbors the most comprehensive set of peroxisomal proteins including the catalase and the glyoxylate cycle and it is thus a promising model organism to investigate the functional role of this organelle in Apicomplexa.
    • Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into Gene Transfer Agent Particles Is Not Random.

      Tomasch, Jürgen; Wang, Hui; Hall, April T K; Patzelt, Diana; Preusse, Matthias; Petersen, Jörn; Brinkmann, Henner; Bunk, Boyke; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Lang, Andrew S; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz-Zentrum for Infektion Research GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world's oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a "headful" type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.