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Updated bioRxiv: Sphingomonas & Pseudomonas in the phyllosphere

Posted on June 24, 2022

Sphingomonas does well ... but only when plants are alive read more

Contrasting patterns of microbial dominance in the Arabidopsis thaliana phyllosphere

Derek S. Lundberg et al. (2022) bioRxiv 438366

Sphingomonas is one of the most abundant bacterial genera in the phyllosphere of wild Arabidopsis thaliana, but relative to Pseudomonas, the ecology of Sphingomonas and its interaction with plants remains elusive. We analyzed the genomic features of over 400 Sphingomonas isolates collected from local A. thaliana populations, which revealed high intergenomic diversity, in contrast to genetically much more uniform Pseudomonas isolates found in the same host populations. Variation in Sphingomonas plasmid complements and additional genomic features suggest high adaptability of this genus, and the widespread presence of protein secretion systems hints at frequent biotic interactions. While some of the isolates showed plant-protective properties in lab tests, this was a rare trait. To begin to understand the extent of strain sharing across alternate hosts, we employed amplicon sequencing and a novel bulk-culturing metagenomics approach on both A. thaliana and neighboring plants. Our data reveal that Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas both thrive on other diverse plant hosts, but that Sphingomonas is a poor competitor in dying or dead leaves.


bioRxiv: Analysis of herbicide resistance mutations

Posted on June 24, 2022

Use of long reads for phased analysis of extended haplotyes read more

Deep haplotype analyses of target-site resistance locus ACCase in blackgrass enabled by pool-based amplicon sequencing

Sonja Kersten et al. (2022) bioRxiv 496946

Rapid adaptation of weeds to herbicide applications in agriculture through resistance development is a widespread phenomenon. In particular, the grass Alopecurus myosuroides is an extremely problematic weed in cereal crops with the potential to manifest resistance in the course of only a few generations. Target-site resistances (TSRs), with their strong phenotypic response, play an important role in this rapid adaptive response. Recently, using PacBio's long-read amplicon sequencing technology in hundreds of individuals, we were able to decipher the genomic context in which TSR mutations occur. However, sequencing individual amplicons is both costly and time consuming, thus impractical to implement for other resistance loci or applications. Alternatively, pool-based approaches overcome these limitations and provide reliable allele frequencies, albeit at the expense of not preserving haplotype information. In this proof-of-concept study, we sequenced with PacBio High Fidelity (HiFi) reads long-range amplicons (13.2 kb) encompassing the entire ACCase gene in pools of over hundred individuals, and resolved them into haplotypes using the clustering algorithm PacBio amplicon analysis (pbaa), a new application for pools and for plants. From these amplicon pools, we were able to recover most haplotypes from previously sequenced individuals of the same population. In addition, we analyzed new pools from a Germany-wide collection of A. myosuroides populations and found that TSR mutations originating from soft sweeps of independent origin were common. Forward-in-time simulations indicate that TSR haplotypes will persist for decades even at relatively low frequencies and without selection, pointing to the importance of accurate measurement of TSR haplotype prevalence for weed management.

bioRxiv with Yanovsky lab: Light, temperature and alternative splicing

Posted on June 16, 2022

PRMT5-methylosome complex function in response to light and temperature changes read more

PICLN modulates alternative splicing and ensures adaptation to light and temperature changes in plants

Julieta L. Mateos et al. (2022) bioRxiv 496170

Plants undergo transcriptome reprogramming to adapt to daily and seasonal fluctuations in light and temperature conditions. While most efforts have focused on the role of master transcription factors, the importance of splicing factors modulating these processes is now emerging. Efficient pre-mRNA splicing depends on proper spliceosome assembly, which in plants and animals requires the PRMT5-methylosome complex. PICLN is part of the PRMT5-methylosome complex in both humans and Arabidopsis thaliana, and we show here that the human PICLN ortholog rescues phenotypes of A. thaliana picln mutants. Altered photomorphogenic and photoperiodic responses in A. thaliana picln mutants are associated with changes in pre-mRNA splicing, which partially overlap with those in prmt5 mutants. Mammalian PICLN also acts in concert with the Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) complex component GEMIN2 to modulate the late steps of UsnRNP assembly, and many alternative splicing events regulated by PICLN but not PRMT5 are controlled

by A. thaliana GEMIN2. As with GEMIN2 and SME1/PCP, low temperature, which increases PICLN expression, aggravates morphological and molecular defects of picln mutants. Taken together, these results establish a key role for PICLN in the regulation of pre-mRNA splicing and in mediating plant adaptation to daily and seasonal fluctuations in environmental conditions.

bioRxiv with MoiLab: Improved pool-sequencing

Posted on June 08, 2022

Approach optimized for Evolve & Resequence read more

Monitoring rapid evolution of plant populations at scale with Pool-Sequencing

Lucas Czech et al. (2022) bioRxiv 477408

The change in allele frequencies within a population over time represents a fundamental process of evolution. By monitoring allele frequencies, we can analyze the effects of natural selection and genetic drift on populations. To efficiently track time-resolved genetic change, large experimental or wild populations can be sequenced as pools of individuals sampled over time using high-throughput genome sequencing (called the Evolve & Resequence approach, E&R). Here, we present a set of experiments using hundreds of natural genotypes of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to showcase the power of this approach to study rapid evolution at large scale. First, we validate that sequencing DNA directly extracted from pools of flowers from multiple plants -- organs that are relatively consistent in size and easy to sample -- produces comparable results to other, more expensive state-of-the-art approaches such as sampling and sequencing of individual leaves. Sequencing pools of flowers from 25-50 individuals at ~40X coverage recovers genome-wide frequencies in diverse populations with accuracy r?>?0.95. Secondly, to enable analyses of evolutionary adaptation using E&R approaches of plants in highly replicated environments, we provide open source tools that streamline sequencing data curation and calculate various population genetic statistics two orders of magnitude faster than current software. To directly demonstrate the usefulness of our method, we conducted a two-year outdoor evolution experiment with A. thaliana to show signals of rapid evolution in multiple genomic regions. We demonstrate how these laboratory and computational Pool-seq-based methods can be scaled to study hundreds of populations across many climates.

bioRxiv: Drought selects on plants and also their microbiomes

Posted on April 10, 2022

Drought indirectly shapes A. thaliana variation through the leaf microbiome read more

Drought selection on Arabidopsis populations and their microbiomes

Talia L. Karasov (2022) bioRxiv 487684

Microbes affect plant health, stress tolerance1 and life history2. In different regions of the globe, plants are colonized by distinct pathogenic and commensal microbiomes, but the factors driving their geographic variation are largely unknown3. We identified and measured the core leaf microbiome of Arabidopsis thaliana in its native range, from almost 300 populations across Europe. Comparing the distribution of the approximately 500 major bacterial phylotypes, we discovered marked, geography-dependent differences in microbiome composition within A. thaliana and between A. thaliana and other Brassicaceae, with two distinct microbiome types segregating along a latitudinal gradient. The differences in microbiome composition mirror the spatial genetics of A. thaliana, with 52-68% of variance in the first two principal coordinates of microbiome type explained by host genotype. Microbiome composition is best predicted by drought-associated metrics that are well known to be a major selective agent on A. thaliana populations. The reproducible and predictable associations between specific microbes and water availability raise the possibility that drought not only directly shapes genetic variation in A. thaliana, but does so also indirectly through its effects on the leaf microbiome.

bioRxiv: Stable epimutations after regeneration

Posted on March 16, 2022

TL;DR: Method of regeneration matters! read more

Predictable and stable epimutations induced during clonal propagation with embryonic transcription factors

Wibowo et al. (2022) bioRxiv 2022.03.15.484412

Read the Twitter thread here

Although clonal propagation is frequently used in commercial plant breeding and plant biotechnology programs because it minimizes genetic variation, it is not uncommon to observe clonal plants with stable phenotypic changes, a phenomenon known as somaclonal variation. Several studies have shown that epigenetic modifications induced during regeneration are associated with this newly acquired phenotypic variation. However, the factors that determine the extent of somaclonal variation and the molecular changes associated with it remain poorly understood. To address this gap in our knowledge, we compared clonally propagated Arabidopsis thaliana plants derived from somatic embryogenesis using two different embryonic transcription factors- RWP-RK DOMAIN-CONTAINING 4 (RKD4) or LEAFY COTYLEDON2 (LEC2) and from two epigenetically distinct tissues. We found that both the epi(genetic) status of explant and the regeneration protocol employed play critical roles in shaping the molecular and phenotypic state of clonal plants. Phenotypic variation of regenerated plants can be largely explained by the inheritance of tissue-specific DNA methylation imprints, which are associated with specific transcriptional and metabolic changes in sexual progeny of clonal plants. Moreover, regenerants from roots were particularly affected by the inheritance of epigenetic imprints, which resulted in increased accumulation of salicylic acid in leaves and accelerated plant senescence. Collectively, our data reveal pathways for targeted manipulation of phenotypic variation in clonal plants.




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