The incidence of Plasmodium vivax infection has declined markedly in Malaysia over the past decade despite evidence of high-grade chloroquine resistance. Here we investigate the genetic changes in a P. vivax population approaching elimination in 51 isolates from Sabah, Malaysia and compare these with data from 104 isolates from Thailand and 104 isolates from Indonesia. Sabah displays extensive population structure, mirroring that previously seen with the emergence of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum founder populations in Cambodia. Fifty-four percent of the Sabah isolates have identical genomes, consistent with a rapid clonal expansion. Across Sabah, there is a high prevalence of loci known to be associated with antimalarial drug resistance. Measures of differentiation between the three countries reveal several gene regions under putative selection in Sabah. Our findings highlight important factors pertinent to parasite resurgence and molecular cues that can be used to monitor low-endemic populations at the end stages of P. vivax elimination.
Coral reefs can provide significant coastal protection benefits to people and property. Here we show that the annual expected damages from flooding would double, and costs from frequent storms would triple without reefs. For 100-year storm events, flood damages would increase by 91% to $US 272 billion without reefs. The countries with the most to gain from reef management are Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, and Cuba; annual expected flood savings exceed $400 M for each of these nations. Sea-level rise will increase flood risk, but substantial impacts could happen from reef loss alone without better near-term management. We provide a global, process-based valuation of an ecosystem service across an entire marine biome at (sub)national levels. These spatially explicit benefits inform critical risk and environmental management decisions, and the expected benefits can be directly considered by governments (e.g., national accounts, recovery plans) and businesses (e.g., insurance).
Woody (lignocellulosic) plant biomass is an abundant renewable feedstock, rich in polysaccharides that are bound into an insoluble fiber composite with lignin. Marine crustacean woodborers of the genus Limnoria are among the few animals that can survive on a diet of this recalcitrant material without relying on gut resident microbiota. Analysis of fecal pellets revealed that Limnoria targets hexose-containing polysaccharides (mainly cellulose, and also glucomannans), corresponding with the abundance of cellulases in their digestive system, but xylans and lignin are largely unconsumed. We show that the limnoriid respiratory protein, hemocyanin, is abundant in the hindgut where wood is digested, that incubation of wood with hemocyanin markedly enhances its digestibility by cellulases, and that it modifies lignin. We propose that this activity of hemocyanins is instrumental to the ability of Limnoria to feed on wood in the absence of gut symbionts. These findings may hold potential for innovations in lignocellulose biorefining.
Comparative whole-genome sequencing enables the identification of specific mutations during adaptation of bacteria to new environments and allelic replacement can establish their causality. However, the mechanisms of action are hard to decipher and little has been achieved for epistatic mutations, especially at the metabolic level. Here we show that a strain of Escherichia coli carrying mutations in the rpoC and glpK genes, derived from adaptation in glycerol, uses two distinct metabolic strategies to gain growth advantage. A 27-bp deletion in the rpoC gene first increases metabolic efficiency. Then, a point mutation in the glpK gene promotes growth by improving glycerol utilization but results in increased carbon wasting as overflow metabolism. In a strain carrying both mutations, these contrasting carbon/energy saving and wasting mechanisms work together to give an 89% increase in growth rate. This study provides insight into metabolic reprogramming during adaptive laboratory evolution for fast cellular growth.
Modern mangroves are among the most carbon-rich biomes on Earth, but their long-term (≥106 years) impact on the global carbon cycle is unknown. The extent, productivity and preservation of mangroves are controlled by the interplay of tectonics, global sea level and sedimentation, including tide, wave and fluvial processes. The impact of these processes on mangrove-bearing successions in the Oligo-Miocene of the South China Sea (SCS) is evaluated herein. Palaeogeographic reconstructions, palaeotidal modelling and facies analysis suggest that elevated tidal range and bed shear stress optimized mangrove development along tide-influenced tropical coastlines. Preservation of mangrove organic carbon (OC) was promoted by high tectonic subsidence and fluvial sediment supply. Lithospheric storage of OC in peripheral SCS basins potentially exceeded 4,000 Gt (equivalent to 2,000 p.p.m. of atmospheric CO2). These results highlight the crucial impact of tectonic and oceanographic processes on mangrove OC sequestration within the global carbon cycle on geological timescales.
Common variants in 94 loci have been associated with breast cancer including 15 loci with genome-wide significant associations (P<5 × 10(-8)) with oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer and BRCA1-associated breast cancer risk. In this study, to identify new ER-negative susceptibility loci, we performed a meta-analysis of 11 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) consisting of 4,939 ER-negative cases and 14,352 controls, combined with 7,333 ER-negative cases and 42,468 controls and 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers genotyped on the iCOGS array. We identify four previously unidentified loci including two loci at 13q22 near KLF5, a 2p23.2 locus near WDR43 and a 2q33 locus near PPIL3 that display genome-wide significant associations with ER-negative breast cancer. In addition, 19 known breast cancer risk loci have genome-wide significant associations and 40 had moderate associations (P<0.05) with ER-negative disease. Using functional and eQTL studies we implicate TRMT61B and WDR43 at 2p23.2 and PPIL3 at 2q33 in ER-negative breast cancer aetiology. All ER-negative loci combined account for ∼11% of familial relative risk for ER-negative disease and may contribute to improved ER-negative and BRCA1 breast cancer risk prediction.
Prostate cancer is a polygenic disease with a large heritable component. A number of common, low-penetrance prostate cancer risk loci have been identified through GWAS. Here we apply the Bayesian multivariate variable selection algorithm JAM to fine-map 84 prostate cancer susceptibility loci, using summary data from a large European ancestry meta-analysis. We observe evidence for multiple independent signals at 12 regions and 99 risk signals overall. Only 15 original GWAS tag SNPs remain among the catalogue of candidate variants identified; the remainder are replaced by more likely candidates. Biological annotation of our credible set of variants indicates significant enrichment within promoter and enhancer elements, and transcription factor-binding sites, including AR, ERG and FOXA1. In 40 regions at least one variant is colocalised with an eQTL in prostate cancer tissue. The refined set of candidate variants substantially increase the proportion of familial relative risk explained by these known susceptibility regions, which highlights the importance of fine-mapping studies and has implications for clinical risk profiling.
Invertebrates are dominant species in primary tropical rainforests, where their abundance and diversity contributes to the functioning and resilience of these globally important ecosystems. However, more than one-third of tropical forests have been logged, with dramatic impacts on rainforest biodiversity that may disrupt key ecosystem processes. We find that the contribution of invertebrates to three ecosystem processes operating at three trophic levels (litter decomposition, seed predation and removal, and invertebrate predation) is reduced by up to one-half following logging. These changes are associated with decreased abundance of key functional groups of termites, ants, beetles and earthworms, and an increase in the abundance of small mammals, amphibians and insectivorous birds in logged relative to primary forest. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes themselves have considerable resilience to logging, but the consistent decline of invertebrate functional importance is indicative of a human-induced shift in how these ecological processes operate in tropical rainforests.
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) causes 15% of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Here we show that recessive mutations in FAT1 cause a distinct renal disease entity in four families with a combination of SRNS, tubular ectasia, haematuria and facultative neurological involvement. Loss of FAT1 results in decreased cell adhesion and migration in fibroblasts and podocytes and the decreased migration is partially reversed by a RAC1/CDC42 activator. Podocyte-specific deletion of Fat1 in mice induces abnormal glomerular filtration barrier development, leading to podocyte foot process effacement. Knockdown of Fat1 in renal tubular cells reduces migration, decreases active RAC1 and CDC42, and induces defects in lumen formation. Knockdown of fat1 in zebrafish causes pronephric cysts, which is partially rescued by RAC1/CDC42 activators, confirming a role of the two small GTPases in the pathogenesis. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of SRNS and tubulopathy, linking FAT1 and RAC1/CDC42 to podocyte and tubular cell function.
GWAS have identified a breast cancer susceptibility locus on 2q35. Here we report the fine mapping of this locus using data from 101,943 subjects from 50 case-control studies. We genotype 276 SNPs using the 'iCOGS' genotyping array and impute genotypes for a further 1,284 using 1000 Genomes Project data. All but two, strongly correlated SNPs (rs4442975 G/T and rs6721996 G/A) are excluded as candidate causal variants at odds against >100:1. The best functional candidate, rs4442975, is associated with oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) disease with an odds ratio (OR) in Europeans of 0.85 (95% confidence interval=0.84-0.87; P=1.7 × 10(-43)) per t-allele. This SNP flanks a transcriptional enhancer that physically interacts with the promoter of IGFBP5 (encoding insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5) and displays allele-specific gene expression, FOXA1 binding and chromatin looping. Evidence suggests that the g-allele confers increased breast cancer susceptibility through relative downregulation of IGFBP5, a gene with known roles in breast cell biology.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat to global public health, but obtaining representative data on AMR for healthy human populations is difficult. Here, we use metagenomic analysis of untreated sewage to characterize the bacterial resistome from 79 sites in 60 countries. We find systematic differences in abundance and diversity of AMR genes between Europe/North-America/Oceania and Africa/Asia/South-America. Antimicrobial use data and bacterial taxonomy only explains a minor part of the AMR variation that we observe. We find no evidence for cross-selection between antimicrobial classes, or for effect of air travel between sites. However, AMR gene abundance strongly correlates with socio-economic, health and environmental factors, which we use to predict AMR gene abundances in all countries in the world. Our findings suggest that global AMR gene diversity and abundance vary by region, and that improving sanitation and health could potentially limit the global burden of AMR. We propose metagenomic analysis of sewage as an ethically acceptable and economically feasible approach for continuous global surveillance and prediction of AMR.
Satellite imagery reveals flowstripes on Foundation Ice Stream parallel to ice flow, and meandering features on the ice-shelf that cross-cut ice flow and are thought to be formed by water exiting a well-organised subglacial system. Here, ice-penetrating radar data show flow-parallel hard-bed landforms beneath the grounded ice, and channels incised upwards into the ice shelf beneath meandering surface channels. As the ice transitions to flotation, the ice shelf incorporates a corrugation resulting from the landforms. Radar reveals the presence of subglacial water alongside the landforms, indicating a well-organised drainage system in which water exits the ice sheet as a point source, mixes with cavity water and incises upwards into a corrugation peak, accentuating the corrugation downstream. Hard-bedded landforms influence both subglacial hydrology and ice-shelf structure and, as they are known to be widespread on formerly glaciated terrain, their influence on the ice-sheet-shelf transition could be more widespread than thought previously.
In 2020, 146,063 deaths due to pancreatic cancer are estimated to occur in Europe and the United States combined. To identify common susceptibility alleles, we performed the largest pancreatic cancer GWAS to date, including 9040 patients and 12,496 controls of European ancestry from the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan) and the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4). Here, we find significant evidence of a novel association at rs78417682 (7p12/TNS3, P = 4.35 × 10-8). Replication of 10 promising signals in up to 2737 patients and 4752 controls from the PANcreatic Disease ReseArch (PANDoRA) consortium yields new genome-wide significant loci: rs13303010 at 1p36.33 (NOC2L, P = 8.36 × 10-14), rs2941471 at 8q21.11 (HNF4G, P = 6.60 × 10-10), rs4795218 at 17q12 (HNF1B, P = 1.32 × 10-8), and rs1517037 at 18q21.32 (GRP, P = 3.28 × 10-8). rs78417682 is not statistically significantly associated with pancreatic cancer in PANDoRA. Expression quantitative trait locus analysis in three independent pancreatic data sets provides molecular support of NOC2L as a pancreatic cancer susceptibility gene.
Genome-wide association studies have reported 11 regions conferring risk of high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses can identify candidate susceptibility genes at risk loci. Here we evaluate cis-eQTL associations at 47 regions associated with HGSOC risk (P≤10(-5)). For three cis-eQTL associations (P<1.4 × 10(-3), FDR<0.05) at 1p36 (CDC42), 1p34 (CDCA8) and 2q31 (HOXD9), we evaluate the functional role of each candidate by perturbing expression of each gene in HGSOC precursor cells. Overexpression of HOXD9 increases anchorage-independent growth, shortens population-doubling time and reduces contact inhibition. Chromosome conformation capture identifies an interaction between rs2857532 and the HOXD9 promoter, suggesting this SNP is a leading causal variant. Transcriptomic profiling after HOXD9 overexpression reveals enrichment of HGSOC risk variants within HOXD9 target genes (P=6 × 10(-10) for risk variants (P<10(-4)) within 10 kb of a HOXD9 target gene in ovarian cells), suggesting a broader role for this network in genetic susceptibility to HGSOC.
A locus at 19p13 is associated with breast cancer (BC) and ovarian cancer (OC) risk. Here we analyse 438 SNPs in this region in 46,451 BC and 15,438 OC cases, 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers and 73,444 controls and identify 13 candidate causal SNPs associated with serous OC (P=9.2 × 10(-20)), ER-negative BC (P=1.1 × 10(-13)), BRCA1-associated BC (P=7.7 × 10(-16)) and triple negative BC (P-diff=2 × 10(-5)). Genotype-gene expression associations are identified for candidate target genes ANKLE1 (P=2 × 10(-3)) and ABHD8 (P<2 × 10(-3)). Chromosome conformation capture identifies interactions between four candidate SNPs and ABHD8, and luciferase assays indicate six risk alleles increased transactivation of the ADHD8 promoter. Targeted deletion of a region containing risk SNP rs56069439 in a putative enhancer induces ANKLE1 downregulation; and mRNA stability assays indicate functional effects for an ANKLE1 3'-UTR SNP. Altogether, these data suggest that multiple SNPs at 19p13 regulate ABHD8 and perhaps ANKLE1 expression, and indicate common mechanisms underlying breast and ovarian cancer risk.
Large population-based registry studies have shown that breast cancer prognosis is inherited. Here we analyse single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes implicated in human immunology and inflammation as candidates for prognostic markers of breast cancer survival involving 1,804 oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative patients treated with chemotherapy (279 events) from 14 European studies in a prior large-scale genotyping experiment, which is part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS) initiative. We carry out replication using Asian COGS samples (n=522, 53 events) and the Prospective Study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) study (n=315, 108 events). Rs4458204_A near CCL20 (2q36.3) is found to be associated with breast cancer-specific death at a genome-wide significant level (n=2,641, 440 events, combined allelic hazard ratio (HR)=1.81 (1.49-2.19); P for trend=1.90 × 10(-9)). Such survival-associated variants can represent ideal targets for tailored therapeutics, and may also enhance our current prognostic prediction capabilities.
The continuing development of improved capture-recapture (CR) modeling techniques used to study apex predators has also limited robust temporal and cross-site analyses due to different methods employed. We develop an approach to standardize older non-spatial CR and newer spatial CR density estimates and examine trends for critically endangered Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) using a meta-regression of 17 existing densities and new estimates from our own fieldwork. We find that tiger densities were 47% higher in primary versus degraded forests and, unexpectedly, increased 4.9% per yr from 1996 to 2014, likely indicating a recovery from earlier poaching. However, while tiger numbers may have temporarily risen, the total potential island-wide population declined by 16.6% from 2000 to 2012 due to forest loss and degradation and subpopulations are significantly more fragmented. Thus, despite increasing densities in smaller parks, we conclude that there are only two robust populations left with >30 breeding females, indicating Sumatran tigers still face a high risk of extinction unless deforestation can be controlled.
Native species that forage in farmland may increase their local abundances thereby affecting adjacent ecosystems within their landscape. We used two decades of ecological data from a protected primary rainforest in Malaysia to illutrate how subsidies from neighboring oil palm plantations triggered powerful secondary 'cascading' effects on natural habitats located >1.3 km away. We found (i) oil palm fruit drove 100-fold increases in crop-raiding native wild boar (Sus scrofa), (ii) wild boar used thousands of understory plants to construct birthing nests in the pristine forest interior, and (iii) nest building caused a 62% decline in forest tree sapling density over the 24-year study period. The long-term, landscape-scale indirect effects from agriculture suggest its full ecological footprint may be larger in extent than is currently recognized. Cross-boundary subsidy cascades may be widespread in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and present significant conservation challenges.
To investigate large structural clonal mosaicism of chromosome X, we analysed the SNP microarray intensity data of 38,303 women from cancer genome-wide association studies (20,878 cases and 17,425 controls) and detected 124 mosaic X events >2 Mb in 97 (0.25%) women. Here we show rates for X-chromosome mosaicism are four times higher than mean autosomal rates; X mosaic events more often include the entire chromosome and participants with X events more likely harbour autosomal mosaic events. X mosaicism frequency increases with age (0.11% in 50-year olds; 0.45% in 75-year olds), as reported for Y and autosomes. Methylation array analyses of 33 women with X mosaicism indicate events preferentially involve the inactive X chromosome. Our results provide further evidence that the sex chromosomes undergo mosaic events more frequently than autosomes, which could have implications for understanding the underlying mechanisms of mosaic events and their possible contribution to risk for chronic diseases.
Dysregulation of the Hippo signaling pathway and the consequent YAP1 activation is a frequent event in human malignancies, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are still poorly understood. A pancancer analysis of core Hippo kinases and their candidate regulating molecules revealed few alterations in the canonical Hippo pathway, but very frequent genetic alterations in the FAT family of atypical cadherins. By focusing on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), which displays frequent FAT1 alterations (29.8%), we provide evidence that FAT1 functional loss results in YAP1 activation. Mechanistically, we found that FAT1 assembles a multimeric Hippo signaling complex (signalome), resulting in activation of core Hippo kinases by TAOKs and consequent YAP1 inactivation. We also show that unrestrained YAP1 acts as an oncogenic driver in HNSCC, and that targeting YAP1 may represent an attractive precision therapeutic option for cancers harboring genomic alterations in the FAT1 tumor suppressor genes.