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See detailIdentification of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from time-series epigenomic data
Becker, Julia Christina UL; Gerard, Déborah UL; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Epigenomics (2019)

Aim: Prediction of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from epigenomic data. Materials & methods: We used time-series profiles of chromatin immunoprecipitation-seq data of histone ... [more ▼]

Aim: Prediction of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from epigenomic data. Materials & methods: We used time-series profiles of chromatin immunoprecipitation-seq data of histone modifications from differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells toward adipocytes and osteoblasts to predict gene expression levels at five time points in both lineages and estimated the deviation of those predictions from the RNA-seq measured expression levels using linear regression. Results & conclusion: The genes with biggest changes in their estimated stability across the time series are enriched for noncoding RNAs and lineage-specific biological processes. Clustering mRNAs according to their stability dynamics allows identification of post-transcriptionally coregulated mRNAs and their shared regulators through sequence enrichment analysis. We identify miR-204 as an early induced adipogenic microRNA targeting Akr1c14 and Il1rl1. [less ▲]

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See detailTemporal enhancer profiling of parallel lineages identifies AHR and GLIS1 as regulators of mesenchymal multipotency
Gerard, Déborah UL; Schmidt, Florian; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2018)

Temporal data on gene expression and context-specific open chromatin states can improve identification of key transcription factors (TFs) and the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling cellular ... [more ▼]

Temporal data on gene expression and context-specific open chromatin states can improve identification of key transcription factors (TFs) and the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling cellular differentiation. However, their integration remains challenging. Here, we delineate a general approach for data-driven and unbiased identification of key TFs and dynamic GRNs, called EPIC-DREM. We generated time-series transcriptomic and epigenomic profiles during differentiation of mouse multipotent bone marrow stromal cell line (ST2) toward adipocytes and osteoblasts. Using our novel approach we constructed time-resolved GRNs for both lineages and identifed the shared TFs involved in both differentiation processes. To take an alternative approach to prioritize the identified shared regulators, we mapped dynamic super-enhancers in both lineages and associated them to target genes with correlated expression profiles. The combination of the two approaches identified aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and Glis family zinc finger 1 (GLIS1) as mesenchymal key TFs controlled by dynamic cell type-specific super-enhancers that become repressed in both lineages. AHR and GLIS1 control differentiation-induced genes and their overexpression can inhibit the lineage commitment of the multipotent bone marrow-derived ST2 cells. [less ▲]

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See detailTREM2 triggers microglial density and age‐related neuronal loss
Linnartz-Gerlach, Bettina; Bodea, Liviu-Gabriel; Klaus, Christine et al

in Glia (2018)

The microglial triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) signals via the activatory membrane adaptor molecule TYROBP. Genetic variants or mutations of TREM2 or TYROBP have been linked to ... [more ▼]

The microglial triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) signals via the activatory membrane adaptor molecule TYROBP. Genetic variants or mutations of TREM2 or TYROBP have been linked to inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging. The typical aging process goes along with microglial changes and mild neuronal loss, but the exact contribution of TREM2 is still unclear. Aged TREM2 knock‐out mice showed decreased age‐related neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and the hippocampus. Transcriptomic analysis of the brains of 24 months old TREM2 knock‐out mice revealed 211 differentially expressed genes mostly downregulated and associated with complement activation and oxidative stress response pathways. Consistently, 24 months old TREM2 knock‐out mice showed lower transcription of microglial (Aif1 and Tmem119), oxidative stress markers (Inos, Cyba, and Cybb) and complement components (C1qa, C1qb, C1qc, C3, C4b, Itgam, and Itgb2), decreased microglial numbers and expression of the microglial activation marker Cd68, as well as accumulation of oxidized lipids. Cultured microglia of TREM2 knock‐out mice showed reduced phagocytosis and oxidative burst. Thus, microglial TREM2 contributes to age‐related microglial changes, phagocytic oxidative burst, and loss of neurons with possible detrimental effects during physiological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailUL HPC Tutorial: Statistical Computing with R
Ginolhac, Aurélien UL; Emeras, Joseph; Varrette, Sébastien UL et al

Presentation (2018, June)

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See detailThe microRNA-371~373 cluster represses colon cancer initiation and metastatic colonization by inhibiting the TGFBR2/ID1 signaling axis.
Ullmann, Pit UL; Rodriguez, Fabien UL; Schmitz, Martine UL et al

in Cancer research (2018)

The vast majority of colorectal cancer (CRC)-related deaths can be attributed to metastatic spreading of the disease. Therefore, deciphering molecular mechanisms of metastatic dissemination is a key ... [more ▼]

The vast majority of colorectal cancer (CRC)-related deaths can be attributed to metastatic spreading of the disease. Therefore, deciphering molecular mechanisms of metastatic dissemination is a key prerequisite to improve future treatment options. With this aim, we took advantage of different CRC cell lines and recently established primary cultures enriched in colon cancer stem cells (CSCs) - also known as tumor-initiating cells (TICs) - to identify genes and microRNAs (miRNAs) with regulatory functions in CRC progression. We show here that metastasis-derived TICs display increased capacity for self-renewal, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling activity, and reduced expression of the miR-371~373 cluster compared to non-metastatic cultures. TGF-beta receptor 2 (TGFBR2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase A1 (ALDH1A1) were identified as important target genes of the miR-371~373 cluster. In addition, TGFBR2 repression, either by direct knockdown or indirectly via overexpression of the entire miR-371~373 cluster, decreased tumor-initiating potential of TICs. We observed significantly reduced in vitro self-renewal activity as well as lowered tumor-initiation and metastatic outgrowth capacity in vivo following stable overexpression of the miR-371~373 cluster in different colon TIC cultures. Inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (ID1) was affected by both TGFBR2 and miR-371~373 cluster alterations. Functional sphere and tumor formation as well as metastatic dissemination assays validated the link between miR-371~373 and ID1. Altogether, our results establish the miR-371~373/TGFBR2/ID1 signaling axis as a novel regulatory mechanism of TIC self-renewal and metastatic colonization. [less ▲]

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See detailCytokine-mediated modulation of the hepatic miRNome: miR-146b-5p is an IL-6-inducible miRNA with multiple targets.
Kirchmeyer, Melanie; Servais, Florence UL; Hamdorf, Matthias et al

in Journal of leukocyte biology (2018)

Interleukin-6 (IL-6)-type cytokines play important roles in liver (patho-)biology. For instance, they regulate the acute phase response to inflammatory signals and are involved in hepatocarcinogenesis ... [more ▼]

Interleukin-6 (IL-6)-type cytokines play important roles in liver (patho-)biology. For instance, they regulate the acute phase response to inflammatory signals and are involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. Much is known about the regulation of protein-coding genes by cytokines whereas their effects on the miRNome is less well understood. We performed a microarray screen to identify microRNAs (miRNAs) in human hepatocytes which are modulated by IL-6-type cytokines. Using samples of 2 donors, 27 and 68 miRNAs (out of 1,733) were found to be differentially expressed upon stimulation with hyper-IL-6 (HIL-6) for up to 72 h, with an overlap of 15 commonly regulated miRNAs. qPCR validation revealed that miR-146b-5p was also consistently up-regulated in hepatocytes derived from 2 other donors. Interestingly, miR-146b-5p (but not miR-146a-5p) was induced by IL-6-type cytokines (HIL-6 and OSM) in non-transformed liver-derived PH5CH8 and THLE2 cells and in Huh-7 hepatoma cells, but not in HepG2 or Hep3B hepatoma cells. We did not find evidence for a differential regulation of miR-146b-5p expression by promoter methylation, also when analyzing the TCGA data set on liver cancer samples. Inducible overexpression of miR-146b-5p in PH5CH8 cells followed by RNA-Seq analysis revealed effects on multiple mRNAs, including those encoding IRAK1 and TRAF6 crucial for Toll-like receptor signaling. Indeed, LPS-mediated signaling was attenuated upon overexpression of miR-146b-5p, suggesting a regulatory loop to modulate inflammatory signaling in hepatocytes. Further validation experiments suggest DNAJC6, MAGEE1, MPHOSPH6, PPP2R1B, SLC10A3, SNRNP27, and TIMM17B to be novel targets for miR-146b-5p (and miR-146a-5p). [less ▲]

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See detailLoss of Myosin Vb in colorectal cancer is a strong prognostic factor for disease recurrence
Letellier, Elisabeth UL; Schmitz, Martine UL; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in British Journal of Cancer (2017), 117(11), 1689-1701

Background: Selecting the most beneficial treatment regimens for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients remains challenging due to a lack of prognostic markers. Members of the Myosin family, proteins recognized ... [more ▼]

Background: Selecting the most beneficial treatment regimens for colorectal cancer (CRC) patients remains challenging due to a lack of prognostic markers. Members of the Myosin family, proteins recognized to play a major role in trafficking and polarization of cells, have recently been reported to be closely associated with several types of cancer and might thus serve as potential prognostic markers in the context of CRC. Methods: We used a previously established meta-analysis of publicly available gene expression data to analyse the expression of different members of the Myosin V family, namely MYO5A, 5B, and 5C, in CRC. Using laser-microdissected material as well as tissue microarrays from paired human CRC samples, we validated both RNA and protein expression of MYO5B and its known adapter proteins (RAB8A and RAB25) in an independent patient cohort. Finally, we assessed the prognostic value of both MYO5B and its adapter-coupled combinatorial gene expression signatures. Results: The meta-analysis as well as an independent patient cohort study revealed a methylation-independent loss of MYO5B expression in CRC that matched disease progression. Although MYO5B mutations were identified in a small number of patients, these cannot be solely responsible for the common down-regulation observed in CRC patients. Significantly, CRC patients with low MYO5B expression displayed shorter overall, disease- and metastasis-free survival, a trend that was further reinforced when RAB8A expression was also taken into account. Conclusions: Our data identifies MYO5B as a powerful prognostic biomarker in CRC, especially in early stages (stages I and II), which might help stratifying patients with stage II for adjuvant chemotherapy. [less ▲]

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See detailCrosstalk between different family members: IL27 recapitulates IFNγ responses in HCC cells, but is inhibited by IL6-type cytokines
Rolvering, Catherine UL; Zimmer, Andreas; Kozar, Ines UL et al

in BBA Molecular Cell Research (2017)

Interleukin-27 (IL27) is a type-I-cytokine of the IL6/IL12 family predominantly secreted by activated macrophages and dendritic cells. In the liver, IL27 expression was observed to be upregulated in ... [more ▼]

Interleukin-27 (IL27) is a type-I-cytokine of the IL6/IL12 family predominantly secreted by activated macrophages and dendritic cells. In the liver, IL27 expression was observed to be upregulated in patients with hepatitis B, and sera of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients contain significantly elevated levels of IL27 compared to healthy controls or patients with hepatitis and/or liver cirrhosis. In this study, we show that IL27 induces STAT1 and STAT3 phosphorylation in 5 HCC lines and 3 different types of non-transformed liver cells. We were especially interested in the relevance of the IL27-induced STAT3 activation in liver cells. Thus, we compared the IL27 responses with those induced by IFNγ (STAT1-dominated response) or IL6-type cytokines (IL6, hyper-IL6 (hy-IL6) or OSM) (STAT3-dominated response) by microarray analysis and find that in HCC cells, IL27 induces an IFNγ-like, STAT1-dependent transcriptional response, but we do not find an effective STAT3-dependent response. Validation experiments corroborate the finding from the microarray evaluation. Interestingly, the availability of STAT1 seems critical in the shaping of the IL27 response, as the siRNA knock-down of STAT1 revealed the ability of IL27 to induce the acute-phase protein γ-fibrinogen, a typical IL6 family characteristic. Moreover, we describe a crosstalk between the signaling of IL6-type cytokines and IL27: responses to the gp130-engaging cytokine IL27 (but not those to IFNs) can be inhibited by IL6-type cytokine pre-stimulation, likely by a SOCS3-mediated mechanism. Thus, IL27 recapitulates IFNγ responses in liver cells, but differs from IFNγ by its sensitivity to SOCS3 inhibition. [less ▲]

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See detailHypoxia-responsive miR-210 promotes self-renewal capacity of colon tumor-initiating cells by repressing ISCU and by inducing lactate production
Ullmann, Pit UL; qureshi-baig, komal; Rodriguez, Fabien UL et al

in Oncotarget (2016)

Low oxygen concentrations (hypoxia) are known to affect the cellular metabolism and have been suggested to regulate a subpopulation of cancer cells with tumorigenic properties, the so-called tumor ... [more ▼]

Low oxygen concentrations (hypoxia) are known to affect the cellular metabolism and have been suggested to regulate a subpopulation of cancer cells with tumorigenic properties, the so-called tumor-initiating cells (TICs). To better understand the mechanism of hypoxia-induced TIC activation, we set out to study the role of hypoxia-responsive miRNAs in recently established colon cancer patientderived TICs. We were able to show that low oxygen concentrations consistently lead to the upregulation of miR-210 in different primary TIC-enriched cultures. Both stable overexpression of miR-210 and knockdown of its target gene ISCU resulted in enhanced TIC self-renewal. We could validate the tumorigenic properties of miR- 210 in in vivo experiments by showing that ectopic expression of miR-210 results in increased tumor incidence. Furthermore, enhanced miR-210 expression correlated with reduced TCA cycle activity and increased lactate levels. Importantly, by blocking lactate production via inhibition of LDHA, we could reverse the promoting effect of miR-210 on self-renewal capacity, thereby emphasizing the regulatory impact of the glycolytic phenotype on colon TIC properties. Finally, by assessing expression levels in patient tissue, we could demonstrate the clinical relevance of the miR-210/ISCU signaling axis for colorectal carcinoma. Taken together, our study highlights the importance of hypoxia-induced miR-210 in the regulation of colon cancer initiation. [less ▲]

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See detail“Melanomics”: analysis and integration of whole genomes, transcriptomes and miRNomes of primary melanoma patients
Reinsbach, Susanne; Wienecke, Anke UL; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in European Journal of Cancer (2016), 61(Suppl.1), 32

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See detailRole of Calprotectin as a Modulator of the IL27-Mediated Proinflammatory Effect on Endothelial Cells
Dorosz, Susann Antonia UL; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL; Kähne, Thilo et al

in Mediators of Inflammation (2015), 2015

An underlying endothelial dysfunction plays a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular events and is the central feature of atherosclerosis. The protein-based communication between ... [more ▼]

An underlying endothelial dysfunction plays a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular events and is the central feature of atherosclerosis. The protein-based communication between leukocytes and inflamed endothelial cells leading to diapedesis has been largely investigated and several key players such as IL6, TNFα, or the damage associated molecular pattern molecule (DAMP) calprotectin are now well identified. However, regarding cytokine IL27, the controversial current knowledge about its inflammatory role and the involved regulatory elements requires clarification. Therefore, we examined the inflammatory impact of IL27 on primary endothelial cells and the potentially modulatory effect of calprotectin on both transcriptome and proteome levels. A qPCR-based screening demonstrated high IL27-mediated gene expression of IL7, IL15, CXCL10, and CXCL11. Calprotectin time-dependent downregulatory effects were observed on IL27-induced IL15 and CXCL10 gene expression. A mass spectrometry-based approach of IL27 ± calprotectin cell stimulation enlightened a calprotectin modulatory role in the expression of 28 proteins, mostly involved in the mechanism of leukocyte transmigration. Furthermore, we showed evidence for STAT1 involvement in this process. Our findings provide new evidence about the IL27-dependent proinflammatory signaling which may be under the control of calprotectin and highlight the need for further investigations on molecules which might have antiatherosclerotic functions. [less ▲]

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See detailEvolutionary Genomics and Conservation of the Endangered Przewalski's Horse.
Der Sarkissian, Clio; Ermini, Luca; Schubert, Mikkel et al

in Current Biology (2015), 25(19), 2577-83

Przewalski's horses (PHs, Equus ferus ssp. przewalskii) were discovered in the Asian steppes in the 1870s and represent the last remaining true wild horses. PHs became extinct in the wild in the 1960s but ... [more ▼]

Przewalski's horses (PHs, Equus ferus ssp. przewalskii) were discovered in the Asian steppes in the 1870s and represent the last remaining true wild horses. PHs became extinct in the wild in the 1960s but survived in captivity, thanks to major conservation efforts. The current population is still endangered, with just 2,109 individuals, one-quarter of which are in Chinese and Mongolian reintroduction reserves [1]. These horses descend from a founding population of 12 wild-caught PHs and possibly up to four domesticated individuals [2-4]. With a stocky build, an erect mane, and stripped and short legs, they are phenotypically and behaviorally distinct from domesticated horses (DHs, Equus caballus). Here, we sequenced the complete genomes of 11 PHs, representing all founding lineages, and five historical specimens dated to 1878-1929 CE, including the Holotype. These were compared to the hitherto-most-extensive genome dataset characterized for horses, comprising 21 new genomes. We found that loci showing the most genetic differentiation with DHs were enriched in genes involved in metabolism, cardiac disorders, muscle contraction, reproduction, behavior, and signaling pathways. We also show that DH and PH populations split approximately 45,000 years ago and have remained connected by gene-flow thereafter. Finally, we monitor the genomic impact of approximately 110 years of captivity, revealing reduced heterozygosity, increased inbreeding, and variable introgression of domestic alleles, ranging from non-detectable to as much as 31.1%. This, together with the identification of ancestry informative markers and corrections to the International Studbook, establishes a framework for evaluating the persistence of genetic variation in future reintroduced populations. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of ancient and modern genomes by SNP detection and phylogenomic and metagenomic analysis using PALEOMIX.
Schubert, Mikkel; Ermini, Luca; Der Sarkissian, Clio et al

in Nature protocols (2014), 9(5), 1056-82

Next-generation sequencing technologies have revolutionized the field of paleogenomics, allowing the reconstruction of complete ancient genomes and their comparison with modern references. However, this ... [more ▼]

Next-generation sequencing technologies have revolutionized the field of paleogenomics, allowing the reconstruction of complete ancient genomes and their comparison with modern references. However, this requires the processing of vast amounts of data and involves a large number of steps that use a variety of computational tools. Here we present PALEOMIX (http://geogenetics.ku.dk/publications/paleomix), a flexible and user-friendly pipeline applicable to both modern and ancient genomes, which largely automates the in silico analyses behind whole-genome resequencing. Starting with next-generation sequencing reads, PALEOMIX carries out adapter removal, mapping against reference genomes, PCR duplicate removal, characterization of and compensation for postmortem damage, SNP calling and maximum-likelihood phylogenomic inference, and it profiles the metagenomic contents of the samples. As such, PALEOMIX allows for a series of potential applications in paleogenomics, comparative genomics and metagenomics. Applying the PALEOMIX pipeline to the three ancient and seven modern Phytophthora infestans genomes as described here takes 5 d using a 16-core server. [less ▲]

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See detailPrehistoric genomes reveal the genetic foundation and cost of horse domestication.
Schubert, Mikkel; Jonsson, Hakon; Chang, Dan et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2014), 111(52), 5661-9

The domestication of the horse approximately 5.5 kya and the emergence of mounted riding, chariotry, and cavalry dramatically transformed human civilization. However, the genetics underlying horse ... [more ▼]

The domestication of the horse approximately 5.5 kya and the emergence of mounted riding, chariotry, and cavalry dramatically transformed human civilization. However, the genetics underlying horse domestication are difficult to reconstruct, given the near extinction of wild horses. We therefore sequenced two ancient horse genomes from Taymyr, Russia (at 7.4- and 24.3-fold coverage), both predating the earliest archeological evidence of domestication. We compared these genomes with genomes of domesticated horses and the wild Przewalski's horse and found genetic structure within Eurasia in the Late Pleistocene, with the ancient population contributing significantly to the genetic variation of domesticated breeds. We furthermore identified a conservative set of 125 potential domestication targets using four complementary scans for genes that have undergone positive selection. One group of genes is involved in muscular and limb development, articular junctions, and the cardiac system, and may represent physiological adaptations to human utilization. A second group consists of genes with cognitive functions, including social behavior, learning capabilities, fear response, and agreeableness, which may have been key for taming horses. We also found that domestication is associated with inbreeding and an excess of deleterious mutations. This genetic load is in line with the "cost of domestication" hypothesis also reported for rice, tomatoes, and dogs, and it is generally attributed to the relaxation of purifying selection resulting from the strong demographic bottlenecks accompanying domestication. Our work demonstrates the power of ancient genomes to reconstruct the complex genetic changes that transformed wild animals into their domesticated forms, and the population context in which this process took place. [less ▲]

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See detailSpeciation with gene flow in equids despite extensive chromosomal plasticity.
Jonsson, Hakon; Schubert, Mikkel; Seguin-Orlando, Andaine et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2014), 111(52), 18655-60

Horses, asses, and zebras belong to a single genus, Equus, which emerged 4.0-4.5 Mya. Although the equine fossil record represents a textbook example of evolution, the succession of events that gave rise ... [more ▼]

Horses, asses, and zebras belong to a single genus, Equus, which emerged 4.0-4.5 Mya. Although the equine fossil record represents a textbook example of evolution, the succession of events that gave rise to the diversity of species existing today remains unclear. Here we present six genomes from each living species of asses and zebras. This completes the set of genomes available for all extant species in the genus, which was hitherto represented only by the horse and the domestic donkey. In addition, we used a museum specimen to characterize the genome of the quagga zebra, which was driven to extinction in the early 1900s. We scan the genomes for lineage-specific adaptations and identify 48 genes that have evolved under positive selection and are involved in olfaction, immune response, development, locomotion, and behavior. Our extensive genome dataset reveals a highly dynamic demographic history with synchronous expansions and collapses on different continents during the last 400 ky after major climatic events. We show that the earliest speciation occurred with gene flow in Northern America, and that the ancestor of present-day asses and zebras dispersed into the Old World 2.1-3.4 Mya. Strikingly, we also find evidence for gene flow involving three contemporary equine species despite chromosomal numbers varying from 16 pairs to 31 pairs. These findings challenge the claim that the accumulation of chromosomal rearrangements drive complete reproductive isolation, and promote equids as a fundamental model for understanding the interplay between chromosomal structure, gene flow, and, ultimately, speciation. [less ▲]

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See detailRecalibrating Equus evolution using the genome sequence of an early Middle Pleistocene horse.
Orlando, Ludovic; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL; Zhang, Guojie et al

in Nature (2013), 499(7456), 74-8

The rich fossil record of equids has made them a model for evolutionary processes. Here we present a 1.12-times coverage draft genome from a horse bone recovered from permafrost dated to approximately 560 ... [more ▼]

The rich fossil record of equids has made them a model for evolutionary processes. Here we present a 1.12-times coverage draft genome from a horse bone recovered from permafrost dated to approximately 560-780 thousand years before present (kyr BP). Our data represent the oldest full genome sequence determined so far by almost an order of magnitude. For comparison, we sequenced the genome of a Late Pleistocene horse (43 kyr BP), and modern genomes of five domestic horse breeds (Equus ferus caballus), a Przewalski's horse (E. f. przewalskii) and a donkey (E. asinus). Our analyses suggest that the Equus lineage giving rise to all contemporary horses, zebras and donkeys originated 4.0-4.5 million years before present (Myr BP), twice the conventionally accepted time to the most recent common ancestor of the genus Equus. We also find that horse population size fluctuated multiple times over the past 2 Myr, particularly during periods of severe climatic changes. We estimate that the Przewalski's and domestic horse populations diverged 38-72 kyr BP, and find no evidence of recent admixture between the domestic horse breeds and the Przewalski's horse investigated. This supports the contention that Przewalski's horses represent the last surviving wild horse population. We find similar levels of genetic variation among Przewalski's and domestic populations, indicating that the former are genetically viable and worthy of conservation efforts. We also find evidence for continuous selection on the immune system and olfaction throughout horse evolution. Finally, we identify 29 genomic regions among horse breeds that deviate from neutrality and show low levels of genetic variation compared to the Przewalski's horse. Such regions could correspond to loci selected early during domestication. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial phylogenomics of modern and ancient equids.
Vilstrup, Julia T.; Seguin-Orlando, Andaine; Stiller, Mathias et al

in PloS one (2013), 8(2), 55950

The genus Equus is richly represented in the fossil record, yet our understanding of taxonomic relationships within this genus remains limited. To estimate the phylogenetic relationships among modern ... [more ▼]

The genus Equus is richly represented in the fossil record, yet our understanding of taxonomic relationships within this genus remains limited. To estimate the phylogenetic relationships among modern horses, zebras, asses and donkeys, we generated the first data set including complete mitochondrial sequences from all seven extant lineages within the genus Equus. Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood phylogenetic inference confirms that zebras are monophyletic within the genus, and the Plains and Grevy's zebras form a well-supported monophyletic group. Using ancient DNA techniques, we further characterize the complete mitochondrial genomes of three extinct equid lineages (the New World stilt-legged horses, NWSLH; the subgenus Sussemionus; and the Quagga, Equus quagga quagga). Comparisons with extant taxa confirm the NWSLH as being part of the caballines, and the Quagga and Plains zebras as being conspecific. However, the evolutionary relationships among the non-caballine lineages, including the now-extinct subgenus Sussemionus, remain unresolved, most likely due to extremely rapid radiation within this group. The closest living outgroups (rhinos and tapirs) were found to be too phylogenetically distant to calibrate reliable molecular clocks. Additional mitochondrial genome sequence data, including radiocarbon dated ancient equids, will be required before revisiting the exact timing of the lineage radiation leading up to modern equids, which for now were found to have possibly shared a common ancestor as far as up to 4 Million years ago (Mya). [less ▲]

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See detailmapDamage2.0: fast approximate Bayesian estimates of ancient DNA damage parameters.
Jonsson, Hakon; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL; Schubert, Mikkel et al

in Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) (2013), 29(13), 1682-4

MOTIVATION: Ancient DNA (aDNA) molecules in fossilized bones and teeth, coprolites, sediments, mummified specimens and museum collections represent fantastic sources of information for evolutionary ... [more ▼]

MOTIVATION: Ancient DNA (aDNA) molecules in fossilized bones and teeth, coprolites, sediments, mummified specimens and museum collections represent fantastic sources of information for evolutionary biologists, revealing the agents of past epidemics and the dynamics of past populations. However, the analysis of aDNA generally faces two major issues. Firstly, sequences consist of a mixture of endogenous and various exogenous backgrounds, mostly microbial. Secondly, high nucleotide misincorporation rates can be observed as a result of severe post-mortem DNA damage. Such misincorporation patterns are instrumental to authenticate ancient sequences versus modern contaminants. We recently developed the user-friendly mapDamage package that identifies such patterns from next-generation sequencing (NGS) sequence datasets. The absence of formal statistical modeling of the DNA damage process, however, precluded rigorous quantitative comparisons across samples. RESULTS: Here, we describe mapDamage 2.0 that extends the original features of mapDamage by incorporating a statistical model of DNA damage. Assuming that damage events depend only on sequencing position and post-mortem deamination, our Bayesian statistical framework provides estimates of four key features of aDNA molecules: the average length of overhangs (lambda), nick frequency (nu) and cytosine deamination rates in both double-stranded regions ( ) and overhangs ( ). Our model enables rescaling base quality scores according to their probability of being damaged. mapDamage 2.0 handles NGS datasets with ease and is compatible with a wide range of DNA library protocols. AVAILABILITY: mapDamage 2.0 is available at ginolhac.github.io/mapDamage/ as a Python package and documentation is maintained at the Centre for GeoGenetics Web site (geogenetics.ku.dk/publications/mapdamage2.0/). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. [less ▲]

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See detailImproving ancient DNA read mapping against modern reference genomes.
Schubert, Mikkel; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL; Lindgreen, Stinus et al

in BMC genomics (2012), 13

BACKGROUND: Next-Generation Sequencing has revolutionized our approach to ancient DNA (aDNA) research, by providing complete genomic sequences of ancient individuals and extinct species. However, the ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Next-Generation Sequencing has revolutionized our approach to ancient DNA (aDNA) research, by providing complete genomic sequences of ancient individuals and extinct species. However, the recovery of genetic material from long-dead organisms is still complicated by a number of issues, including post-mortem DNA damage and high levels of environmental contamination. Together with error profiles specific to the type of sequencing platforms used, these specificities could limit our ability to map sequencing reads against modern reference genomes and therefore limit our ability to identify endogenous ancient reads, reducing the efficiency of shotgun sequencing aDNA. RESULTS: In this study, we compare different computational methods for improving the accuracy and sensitivity of aDNA sequence identification, based on shotgun sequencing reads recovered from Pleistocene horse extracts using Illumina GAIIx and Helicos Heliscope platforms. We show that the performance of the Burrows Wheeler Aligner (BWA), that has been developed for mapping of undamaged sequencing reads using platforms with low rates of indel-types of sequencing errors, can be employed at acceptable run-times by modifying default parameters in a platform-specific manner. We also examine if trimming likely damaged positions at read ends can increase the recovery of genuine aDNA fragments and if accurate identification of human contamination can be achieved using a strategy previously suggested based on best hit filtering. We show that combining our different mapping and filtering approaches can increase the number of high-quality endogenous hits recovered by up to 33%. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that Illumina and Helicos sequences recovered from aDNA extracts could not be aligned to modern reference genomes with the same efficiency unless mapping parameters are optimized for the specific types of errors generated by these platforms and by post-mortem DNA damage. Our findings have important implications for future aDNA research, as we define mapping guidelines that improve our ability to identify genuine aDNA sequences, which in turn could improve the genotyping accuracy of ancient specimens. Our framework provides a significant improvement to the standard procedures used for characterizing ancient genomes, which is challenged by contamination and often low amounts of DNA material. [less ▲]

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