Eukaryotic protein-coding genes consist of exons and introns. Exon–intron borders are conserved between species and thus their changes might be observed only on quite long evolutionary distances. One of the rarest types of change, in which intron relocates over a short distance, is called "intron sliding", but the reality of this event has been debated for a long time. The main idea of a search for intron sliding is to use the most accurate genome annotation and genome sequence, as well as high-quality transcriptome data. We applied them in a search for sliding introns in mammals in order to widen knowledge about the presence or absence of such phenomena in this group.
We didn’t find any significant evidence of intron sliding in the primate group (human, chimpanzee, rhesus macaque, crab-eating macaque, green monkey, marmoset). Only one possible intron sliding event supported by a set of high quality transcriptomes was observed between EIF1AX human and sheep gene orthologs. Also, we checked a list of previously observed intron sliding events in mammals and showed that most likely they are artifacts of genome annotations and are not shown in subsequent annotation versions as well as are not supported by transcriptomic data.
We assume that intron sliding is indeed a very rare evolutionary event if it exists at all. Every case of intron sliding needs a lot of supportive data for detection and confirmation.
The genus Streptococcus comprises pathogens that strongly influence the health of humans and animals. Genome sequencing of multiple Streptococcus strains demonstrated high variability in gene content and order even in closely related strains of the same species and created a newly emerged object for genomic analysis, the pan-genome. Here we analysed the genome evolution of 25 strains of Streptococcus suis, 50 strains of Streptococcus pyogenes and 28 strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Fractions of the pan-genome, unique, periphery, and universal genes differ in size, functional composition, the level of nucleotide substitutions, and predisposition to horizontal gene transfer and genomic rearrangements. The density of substitutions in intergenic regions appears to be correlated with selection acting on adjacent genes, implying that more conserved genes tend to have more conserved regulatory regions. The total pan-genome of the genus is open, but only due to strain-specific genes, whereas other pan-genome fractions reach saturation. We have identified the set of genes with phylogenies inconsistent with species and non-conserved location in the chromosome; these genes are rare in at least one species and have likely experienced recent horizontal transfer between species. The strain-specific fraction is enriched with mobile elements and hypothetical proteins, but also contains a number of candidate virulence-related genes, so it may have a strong impact on adaptability and pathogenicity. Mapping the rearrangements to the phylogenetic tree revealed large parallel inversions in all species. A parallel inversion of length 15 kB with breakpoints formed by genes encoding surface antigen proteins PhtD and PhtB in S. pneumoniae leads to replacement of gene fragments that likely indicates the action of an antigen variation mechanism.
Members of genus Streptococcus have a highly dynamic, open pan-genome, that potentially confers them with the ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions, i.e. antibiotic resistance or transmission between different hosts. Hence, integrated analysis of all aspects of genome evolution is important for the identification of potential pathogens and design of drugs and vaccines.
Background: The nervous system in brachiopods has seldom been studied with modern methods. An understanding of lophophore innervation in adult brachiopods is useful for comparing the innervation of the same lophophore type among different brachiopods and can also help answer questions about the monophyly of the lophophorates. Although some brachiopods are studied with modern methods, rhynchonelliform brachiopods still require investigation. The current study used transmission electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, and confocal laser scanning microscopy to investigate the nerve system of the lophophore and tentacles in the rhynchonelliform Hemithiris psittacea. Results: Four longitudinal nerves pass along each brachium of the lophophore: the main, accessory, second accessory, and lower. The main brachial nerve extends at the base of the dorsal side of the brachial fold and gives rise to the cross nerves, passing through the extracellular matrix to the tentacles. Cross nerves skirt the accessory brachial nerve, branch, and penetrate into adjacent outer and inner tentacles, where they are referred to as the frontal tentacular nerves. The second accessory nerve passes along the base of the inner tentacles. This nerve consists of Ʊ-like parts, which repetitively skirt the frontal and lateral sides of the inner tentacle and the frontal sides of the outer tentacles. The second accessory nerve gives rise to the latero-frontal nerves of the inner and outer tentacles. The abfrontal nerves of the inner tentacles also originate from the second accessory nerve, whereas the abfrontal nerves of the outer tentacles originate from the lower brachial nerve. The lower brachial nerve extends along the outer side of the lophophore brachia and gives rise to the intertentacular nerves, which form a T-like branch and penetrate the adjacent outer tentacles where they are referred to as abfrontal nerves. The paired outer radial nerves start from the lower brachial nerve, extend into the second accessory nerve, and give rise to the lateroabfrontal tentacular nerves of the outer tentacles.
Conclusions: The innervation of the lophophore in the rhynchonelliform Hemithiris psittacea differs from that in the inarticulate Lingula anatina in several ways. The accessory brachial nerve does not participate in the innervation of the tentacles in H. psittacea as it does in L. anatina. The second accessory nerve is present in H. psittacea but not in L. anatina. There are six tentacular nerves in the outer tentacles of H. psittacea but only four in all other brachiopods studied to date. The reduced contribution of the accessory brachial nerve to tentacle innervation may reflect the general pattern of reduction of the inner lophophoral nerve in both phoronids and brachiopods. Bryozoan lophophores, in contrast, have a weakened outer nerve and a strengthened inner nerve. Our results suggest that the ancestral lophophore of all lophophorates had a simple shape but many nerve elements