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Trends in Genetics: TIG

Gilad Barshad, Shani Marom, Tal Cohen, Dan Mishmar
The bacterial heritage of mitochondria, as well as its independent genome [mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)] and polycistronic transcripts, led to the view that mitochondrial transcriptional regulation relies on an evolutionarily conserved, prokaryotic-like system that is separated from the rest of the cell. Indeed, mtDNA transcription was previously thought to be governed by a few dedicated direct regulators, namely, the mitochondrial RNA polymerase (POLRMT), two transcription factors (TFAM and TF2BM), one transcription elongation (TEFM), and one known transcription termination factor (mTERF1)...
June 23, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Erwin L van Dijk, Yan Jaszczyszyn, Delphine Naquin, Claude Thermes
Forty years ago the advent of Sanger sequencing was revolutionary as it allowed complete genome sequences to be deciphered for the first time. A second revolution came when next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies appeared, which made genome sequencing much cheaper and faster. However, NGS methods have several drawbacks and pitfalls, most notably their short reads. Recently, third-generation/long-read methods appeared, which can produce genome assemblies of unprecedented quality. Moreover, these technologies can directly detect epigenetic modifications on native DNA and allow whole-transcript sequencing without the need for assembly...
June 22, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Rasmus O Bak, Natalia Gomez-Ospina, Matthew H Porteus
Smithies et al. (1985) and Jasin and colleagues (1994) provided proof of concept that homologous recombination (HR) could be applied to the treatment of human disease and that its efficiency could be improved by the induction of double-strand breaks (DSBs). A key advance was the discovery of engineered nucleases, such as zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) and transcription activator-like (TAL) effector nucleases (TALENs), that can generate site-specific DSBs. The democratization and widespread use of genome editing was enabled by the discovery of the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 nuclease system...
June 13, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Nancy Standart, Dominique Weil
P-bodies (PBs) are cytosolic RNP granules that are conserved among eukaryotic organisms. In the past few years, major progress has been made in understanding the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms that lead to their formation. However, whether they play a role in mRNA storage or decay remains actively debated. P-bodies were recently isolated from human cells by a novel fluorescence-activated particle sorting (FAPS) approach that enabled the characterization of their protein and RNA content, providing new insights into their function...
June 13, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Katherine L Pogrebniak, Christina Curtis
High-throughput sequencing can be used to measure changes in tumor composition across space and time. Specifically, comparisons of pre- and post-treatment samples can reveal the underlying clonal dynamics and resistance mechanisms. Here, we discuss evidence for distinct modes of tumor evolution and their implications for therapeutic strategies. In addition, we consider the utility of spatial tissue sampling schemes, single-cell analysis, and circulating tumor DNA to track tumor evolution and the emergence of resistance, as well as approaches that seek to forestall resistance by targeting tumor evolution...
June 11, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Jing Hou, Jolanda van Leeuwen, Brenda J Andrews, Charles Boone
The phenotypic consequences of a given mutation can vary across individuals. This so-called background effect is widely observed, from mutant fitness of loss-of-function variants in model organisms to variable disease penetrance and expressivity in humans; however, the underlying genetic basis often remains unclear. Taking insights gained from recent large-scale surveys of genetic interaction and suppression analyses in yeast, we propose that the genetic network context for a given mutation may shape its propensity of exhibiting background-dependent phenotypes...
June 11, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Paul B Talbert, Steven Henikoff
Chromosome segregation depends on the attachment of spindle microtubules to sites on chromosomal DNA known as centromeres, through kinetochore protein complexes. Although RNA was found in kinetochores in the 1970s, only with recent investigations has evidence emerged that loading of the centromere-specific nucleosomes that form the foundation of the kinetochore may be coupled to centromeric transcription. Centromeric transcripts are bound by several kinetochore proteins that require them for stabilization or localization...
June 2, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Marketa Tomkova, Benjamin Schuster-Böckler
Epigenetic DNA modifications are essential for normal cell function in vertebrates, but they can also be hotspots of mutagenesis. Methylcytosine in particular has long been known to be less stable than other nucleotides and spontaneously deaminates to thymine. Beyond this well-established phenomenon, however, the influence of epigenetic marks on mutagenesis has recently become an active field of investigation. In this review, we summarize current knowledge of the interactions between different DNA modifications and other mutagenic processes...
May 28, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Guillaume Bourque
A new study sequenced and assembled two rodent genomes to better understand the evolutionary forces shaping mammalian genomes. Their results suggest multiple roles for genomic repeats.
May 28, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Menattallah Elserafy, Arwa A Abugable, Reham Atteya, Sherif F El-Khamisy
Not only have helicase-like transcription factor (HLTF) and SNF2 histone-linker PHD-finger RING-finger helicase (SHPRH) proved to be important players in post-replication repair like their yeast counterpart, Rad5, but they are also involved in multiple biological functions and are associated with several human disorders. We provide here an updated view of their functions, associated diseases, and potential therapeutic approaches.
May 25, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Maria E Morales, Tiffany Kaul, Prescott Deininger
The high proportion of repetitive DNA sequences in the human genome provides tremendous opportunities for DNA rearrangements between non-allelic repetitive elements. The genome must use multiple competing and collaborating repair mechanisms to minimize these types of DNA rearrangements, some of which fail in cancer cells where DNA repair pathways are suppressed.
May 24, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Sarah A Signor, Sergey V Nuzhdin
There is abundant variation in gene expression between individuals, populations, and species. The evolution of gene regulation and expression within and between species is thought to frequently contribute to adaptation. Yet considerable evidence suggests that the primary evolutionary force acting on variation in gene expression is stabilizing selection. We review here the results of recent studies characterizing the evolution of gene expression occurring in cis (via linked polymorphisms) or in trans (through diffusible products of other genes) and their contribution to adaptation and response to the environment...
April 18, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Matteo Floris, Stefania Olla, David Schlessinger, Francesco Cucca
Choosing the right biological target is the critical primary decision for the development of new drugs. Systematic genetic association testing of both human diseases and quantitative traits, along with resultant findings of coincident associations between them, is becoming a powerful approach to infer drug targetable candidates and generate in vitro tests to identify compounds that can modulate them therapeutically. Here, we discuss opportunities and challenges, and infer criteria for the optimal use of genetic findings in the drug discovery pipeline...
July 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
J Kramara, B Osia, A Malkova
Break-induced replication (BIR) is a pathway that repairs one-ended double-strand breaks (DSBs). For decades, yeast model systems offered the only opportunities to study eukaryotic BIR. These studies described an unusual mode of BIR synthesis that is carried out by a migrating bubble and shows conservative inheritance of newly synthesized DNA, leading to genomic instabilities like those associated with cancer in humans. Yet, evidence of BIR functioning in mammals or during repair of other DNA breaks has been missing...
July 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Yanmei Dou, Heather D Gold, Lovelace J Luquette, Peter J Park
Somatic mutations have been studied extensively in the context of cancer. Recent studies have demonstrated that high-throughput sequencing data can be used to detect somatic mutations in non-tumor cells. Analysis of such mutations allows us to better understand the mutational processes in normal cells, explore cell lineages in development, and examine potential associations with age-related disease. We describe here approaches for characterizing somatic mutations in normal and non-tumor disease tissues. We discuss several experimental designs and common pitfalls in somatic mutation detection, as well as more recent developments such as phasing and linked-read technology...
July 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Urko M Marigorta, Juan Antonio Rodríguez, Greg Gibson, Arcadi Navarro
Since the publication of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) landmark study a decade ago, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to the discovery of thousands of risk variants involved in disease etiology. This success story has two angles that are often overlooked. First, GWAS findings are highly replicable. This is an unprecedented phenomenon in complex trait genetics, and indeed in many areas of science, which in past decades have been plagued by false positives. At a time of increasing concerns about the lack of reproducibility, we examine the biological and methodological reasons that account for the replicability of GWAS and identify the challenges ahead...
July 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Suvi Ponnikas, Hanna Sigeman, Jessica K Abbott, Bengt Hansson
It is commonly assumed that sex chromosomes evolve recombination suppression because selection favours linkage between sex-determining and sexually antagonistic genes. However, although the role of sexual antagonism during sex chromosome evolution has attained strong support from theory, experimental and observational evidence is rare or equivocal. Here, we highlight alternative, often neglected, hypotheses for recombination suppression on sex chromosomes, which invoke meiotic drive, heterozygote advantage, and genetic drift, respectively...
July 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Juergen K V Reichardt
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Marjon S van Ruiten, Benjamin D Rowland
What drives the formation of chromatin loops has been a long-standing question in chromosome biology. Recent work provides major insight into the basic principles behind loop formation. Structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) complexes, that are conserved from bacteria to humans, are key to this process. The SMC family includes condensin and cohesin, which structure chromosomes to enable mitosis and long-range gene regulation. We discuss novel insights into the mechanism of loop formation and the implications for how these complexes ultimately shape chromosomes...
June 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Bobby G Ng, Hudson H Freeze
Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG) are a rapidly expanding group of metabolic disorders that result from abnormal protein or lipid glycosylation. They are often difficult to clinically diagnose because they broadly affect many organs and functions and lack clinical uniformity. However, recent technological advances in next-generation sequencing have revealed a treasure trove of new genetic disorders, expanded the knowledge of known disorders, and showed a critical role in infectious diseases. More comprehensive genetic tools specifically tailored for mammalian cell-based models have revealed a critical role for glycosylation in pathogen-host interactions, while also identifying new CDG susceptibility genes...
June 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
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