Displaying all 2 publications

  1. Gan HM, Austin C, Linton S
    Mar Biotechnol (NY), 2018 Oct;20(5):654-665.
    PMID: 29995174 DOI: 10.1007/s10126-018-9836-2
    The Christmas Island red crab, Gecarcoidea natalis, is an herbivorous land crab that consumes mostly fallen leaf litter. In order to subsist, G. natalis would need to have developed specialised digestive enzymes capable of supplying significant amounts of metabolisable sugars from this diet. To gain insights into the carbohydrate metabolism of G. natalis, a transcriptome assembly was performed, with a specific focus on identifying transcripts coding for carbohydrate active enzyme (CAZy) using in silico approaches. Transcriptome sequencing of the midgut gland identified 70 CAZy-coding transcripts with varying expression values. At least three newly discovered putative GH9 endo-β-1,4-glucanase ("classic cellulase") transcripts were highly expressed in the midgut gland in addition to the previously characterised GH9 and GH16 (β-1,3-glucanase) transcripts, and underscoring the utility of whole transcriptome in uncovering new CAZy-coding transcripts. A highly expressed transcript coding for GH5_10 previously missed by conventional screening of cellulase activity was inferred to be a novel endo-β-1,4-mannase in G. natalis with in silico support from homology modelling and amino acid alignment with other functionally validated GH5_10 proteins. Maximum likelihood tree reconstruction of the GH5_10 proteins demonstrates the phylogenetic affiliation of the G. natalis GH5_10 transcript to that of other decapods, supporting endogenous expression. Surprisingly, crustacean-derived GH5_10 transcripts were near absent in the current CAZy database and yet mining of the transcriptome shotgun assembly (TSA) recovered more than 100 crustacean GH5_10s in addition to several other biotechnological relevant CAZys, underscoring the unappreciated potential of the TSA database as a valuable resource for crustacean CAZys.
  2. Tan MH, Gan HM, Lee YP, Linton S, Grandjean F, Bartholomei-Santos ML, et al.
    Mol Phylogenet Evol, 2018 10;127:320-331.
    PMID: 29800651 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.05.015
    The infraorder Anomura consists of a morphologically and ecologically heterogeneous group of decapod crustaceans, and has attracted interest from taxonomists for decades attempting to find some order out of the seemingly chaotic diversity within the group. Species-level diversity within the Anomura runs the gamut from the "hairy" spindly-legged yeti crab found in deep-sea hydrothermal vent environments to the largest known terrestrial invertebrate, the robust coconut or robber crab. Owing to a well-developed capacity for parallel evolution, as evidenced by the occurrence of multiple independent carcinization events, Anomura has long tested the patience and skill of both taxonomists attempting to find order, and phylogeneticists trying to establish stable hypotheses of evolutionary inter-relationships. In this study, we performed genome skimming to recover the mitogenome sequences of 12 anomuran species including the world's largest extant invertebrate, the robber crab (Birgus latro), thereby over doubling these resources for this group, together with 8 new brachyuran mitogenomes. Maximum-likelihood (ML) and Bayesian-inferred (BI) phylogenetic reconstructions based on amino acid sequences from mitogenome protein-coding genes provided strong support for the monophyly of the Anomura and Brachyura and their sister relationship, consistent with previous studies. The majority of relationships within families were supported and were largely consistent with current taxonomic classifications, whereas many relationships at higher taxonomic levels were unresolved. Nevertheless, we have strong support for a polyphyletic Paguroidea and recovered a well-supported clade of a subset of paguroids (Diogenidae + Coenobitidae) basal to all other anomurans, though this requires further testing with greater taxonomic sampling. We also introduce a new feature to the MitoPhAST bioinformatics pipeline (https://github.com/mht85/MitoPhAST) that enables the extraction of mitochondrial gene order (MGO) information directly from GenBank files and clusters groups based on common MGOs. Using this tool, we compared MGOs across the Anomura and Brachyura, identifying Anomura as a taxonomic "hot spot" with high variability in MGOs among congeneric species from multiple families while noting the broad association of highly-rearranged MGOs with several anomuran lineages inhabiting extreme niches. We also demonstrate the value of MGOs as a source of novel synapomorphies for independently reinforcing tree-based relationships and for shedding light on relationships among challenging groups such as the Aegloidea and Lomisoidea that were unresolved in phylogenetic reconstructions. Overall, this study contributes a substantial amount of new genetic material for Anomura and attempts to further resolve anomuran evolutionary relationships where possible based on a combination of sequence and MGO information. The new feature in MitoPhAST adds to the relatively limited number of bioinformatics tools available for MGO analyses, which can be utilized widely across animal groups.
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