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This collection contains Open Access articles deposited from the University of Helsinki TUHAT CRIS

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  • Koskinen, Lotta L. E.; Seppälä, Eija H.; Belanger, Janelle M.; Arumilli, Meharji; Hakosalo, Osmo; Jokinen, Paivi; Nevalainen, Elisa M.; Viitmaa, Ranno; Jokinen, Tarja S.; Oberbauer, Anita M.; Lohi, Hannes (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: Idiopathic epilepsy is a common neurological disease in human and domestic dogs but relatively few risk genes have been identified to date. The seizure characteristics, including focal and generalised seizures, are similar between the two species, with gene discovery facilitated by the reduced genetic heterogeneity of purebred dogs. We have recently identified a risk locus for idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd breed on a 4.4 megabase region on CFA37. Results: We have expanded a previous study replicating the association with a combined analysis of 157 cases and 179 controls in three additional breeds: Schipperke, Finnish Spitz and Beagle (p(c) = 2.9e-07, p(GWAS) = 1.74E-02). A targeted resequencing of the 4.4 megabase region in twelve Belgian Shepherd cases and twelve controls with opposite haplotypes identified 37 case-specific variants within the ADAM23 gene. Twenty-seven variants were validated in 285 cases and 355 controls from four breeds, resulting in a strong replication of the ADAM23 locus (p(raw) = 2.76e-15) and the identification of a common 28 kb-risk haplotype in all four breeds. Risk haplotype was present in frequencies of 0.49-0.7 in the breeds, suggesting that ADAM23 is a low penetrance risk gene for canine epilepsy. Conclusions: These results implicate ADAM23 in common canine idiopathic epilepsy, although the causative variant remains yet to be identified. ADAM23 plays a role in synaptic transmission and interacts with known epilepsy genes, LGI1 and LGI2, and should be considered as a candidate gene for human epilepsies.
  • Seo, Seung Bum; Zeng, Xiangpei; King, Jonathan L.; Larue, Bobby L.; Assidi, Mourad; Al-Qahtani, Mohamed H.; Sajantila, Antti; Budowle, Bruce (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: Massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technologies have the capacity to sequence targeted regions or whole genomes of multiple nucleic acid samples with high coverage by sequencing millions of DNA fragments simultaneously. Compared with Sanger sequencing, MPS also can reduce labor and cost on a per nucleotide basis and indeed on a per sample basis. In this study, whole genomes of human mitochondria (mtGenome) were sequenced on the Personal Genome Machine (PGM (TM)) (Life Technologies, San Francisco, CA), the out data were assessed, and the results were compared with data previously generated on the MiSeq (TM) (Illumina, San Diego, CA). The objectives of this paper were to determine the feasibility, accuracy, and reliability of sequence data obtained from the PGM. Results: 24 samples were multiplexed (in groups of six) and sequenced on the at least 10 megabase throughput 314 chip. The depth of coverage pattern was similar among all 24 samples; however the coverage across the genome varied. For strand bias, the average ratio of coverage between the forward and reverse strands at each nucleotide position indicated that two-thirds of the positions of the genome had ratios that were greater than 0.5. A few sites had more extreme strand bias. Another observation was that 156 positions had a false deletion rate greater than 0.15 in one or more individuals. There were 31-98 (SNP) mtGenome variants observed per sample for the 24 samples analyzed. The total 1237 (SNP) variants were concordant between the results from the PGM and MiSeq. The quality scores for haplogroup assignment for all 24 samples ranged between 88.8%-100%. Conclusions: In this study, mtDNA sequence data generated from the PGM were analyzed and the output evaluated. Depth of coverage variation and strand bias were identified but generally were infrequent and did not impact reliability of variant calls. Multiplexing of samples was demonstrated which can improve throughput and reduce cost per sample analyzed. Overall, the results of this study, based on orthogonal concordance testing and phylogenetic scrutiny, supported that whole mtGenome sequence data with high accuracy can be obtained using the PGM platform.
  • Österman, Janina Maria; Mousavi, Seyed Abdollah; Koskinen, Jani Patrik; Paulin, Lars Göran; Lindström, Anna Kristina (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background The symbiotic phenotype of Neorhizobium galegae, with strains specifically fixing nitrogen with either Galega orientalis or G. officinalis, has made it a target in research on determinants of host specificity in nitrogen fixation. The genomic differences between representative strains of the two symbiovars are, however, relatively small. This introduced a need for a dataset representing a larger bacterial population in order to make better conclusions on characteristics typical for a subset of the species. In this study, we produced draft genomes of eight strains of N. galegae having different symbiotic phenotypes, both with regard to host specificity and nitrogen fixation efficiency. These genomes were analysed together with the previously published complete genomes of N. galegae strains HAMBI 540T and HAMBI 1141. Results The results showed that the presence of an additional rpoN sigma factor gene in the symbiosis gene region is a characteristic specific to symbiovar orientalis, required for nitrogen fixation. Also the nifQ gene was shown to be crucial for functional symbiosis in both symbiovars. Genome-wide analyses identified additional genes characteristic of strains of the same symbiovar and of strains having similar plant growth promoting properties on Galega orientalis. Many of these genes are involved in transcriptional regulation or in metabolic functions. Conclusions The results of this study confirm that the only symbiosis-related gene that is present in one symbiovar of N. galegae but not in the other is an rpoN gene. The specific function of this gene remains to be determined, however. New genes that were identified as specific for strains of one symbiovar may be involved in determining host specificity, while others are defined as potential determinant genes for differences in efficiency of nitrogen fixation.
  • Kovalchuk, Andriy; Raffaello, Tommaso; Jaber, Emad; Keriö, Susanna; Ghimire, Rajendra; Lorenz, W. Walter; Dean, Jeffrey F. D.; Holopainen, Jarmo K.; Asiegbu, Fred O. (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: During their lifetime, conifer trees are exposed to numerous herbivorous insects. To protect themselves against pests, trees have developed a broad repertoire of protective mechanisms. Many of the plant's defence reactions are activated upon an insect attack, and the underlying regulatory mechanisms are not entirely understood yet, in particular in conifer trees. Here, we present the results of our studies on the transcriptional response and the volatile compounds production of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) upon the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietis) feeding. Results: Transcriptional response of Scots pine to the weevil attack was investigated using a novel customised 36.4 K Pinus taeda microarray. The weevil feeding caused large-scale changes in the pine transcriptome. In total, 774 genes were significantly up-regulated more than 4-fold (p = 0.05), whereas 64 genes were significantly down-regulated more than 4-fold. Among the up-regulated genes, we could identify genes involved in signal perception, signalling pathways, transcriptional regulation, plant hormone homeostasis, secondary metabolism and defence responses. The weevil feeding on stem bark of pine significantly increased the total emission of volatile organic compounds from the undamaged stem bark area. The emission levels of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes were also increased. Interestingly, we could not observe any correlation between the increased production of the terpenoid compounds and expression levels of the terpene synthase-encoding genes. Conclusions: The obtained data provide an important insight into the transcriptional response of conifer trees to insect herbivory and illustrate the massive changes in the host transcriptome upon insect attacks. Moreover, many of the induced pathways are common between conifers and angiosperms. The presented results are the first ones obtained by the use of a microarray platform with an extended coverage of pine transcriptome (36.4 K cDNA elements). The platform will further facilitate the identification of resistance markers with the direct relevance for conifer tree breeding.
  • Katayama, Shintaro; Skoog, Tiina; Jouhilahti, Eeva-Mari; Siitonen, H. Annika; Nuutila, Kristo; Tervaniemi, Mari H.; Vuola, Jyrki; Johnsson, Anna; Lonnerberg, Peter; Linnarsson, Sten; Elomaa, Outi; Kankuri, Esko; Kere, Juha (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: Keratinocytes (KCs) are the most frequent cells in the epidermis, and they are often isolated and cultured in vitro to study the molecular biology of the skin. Cultured primary cells and various immortalized cells have been frequently used as skin models but their comparability to intact skin has been questioned. Moreover, when analyzing KC transcriptomes, fluctuation of polyA+ RNA content during the KCs' lifecycle has been omitted. Results: We performed STRT RNA sequencing on 10 ng samples of total RNA from three different sample types: i) epidermal tissue (split-thickness skin grafts), ii) cultured primary KCs, and iii) HaCaT cell line. We observed significant variation in cellular polyA+ RNA content between tissue and cell culture samples of KCs. The use of synthetic RNAs and SAMstrt in normalization enabled comparison of gene expression levels in the highly heterogenous samples and facilitated discovery of differences between the tissue samples and cultured cells. The transcriptome analysis sensitively revealed genes involved in KC differentiation in skin grafts and cell cycle regulation related genes in cultured KCs and emphasized the fluctuation of transcription factors and non-coding RNAs associated to sample types. Conclusions: The epidermal keratinocytes derived from tissue and cell culture samples showed highly different polyA+ RNA contents. The use of SAMstrt and synthetic RNA based normalization allowed the comparison between tissue and cell culture samples and thus proved to be valuable tools for RNA-seq analysis with translational approach. Transciptomics revealed clear difference both between tissue and cell culture samples and between primary KCs and immortalized HaCaT cells.
  • Lee, Jamie; Prokopec, Stephenie D.; Watson, John D.; Sun, Ren X.; Pohjanvirta, Raimo; Boutros, Paul C. (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dixion (TCDD) is the most potent of the dioxin congeners, capable of causing a wide range of toxic effects across numerous animal models. Previous studies have demonstrated that males and females of the same species can display divergent sensitivity phenotypes to TCDD toxicities. Although it is now clear that most TCDD-induced toxic outcomes are mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), the mechanism of differential responses to TCDD exposure between sexes remains largely unknown. To investigate the differential sensitivities in male and female mice, we profiled the hepatic transcriptomic responses 4 days following exposure to various amounts of TCDD (125, 250, 500 or 1000 mu g/kg) in adult male and female C57BL/6Kuo mice. Results: Several key findings were revealed by our study. 1) Hepatic transcriptomes varied significantly between the sexes at all doses examined. 2) The liver transcriptome of males was more dysregulated by TCDD than that of females. 3) The alteration of " AHR-core" genes was consistent in magnitude, regardless of sex. 4) A subset of genes demonstrated sex-dependent TCDD-induced transcriptional changes, including Fmo3 and Nr1i3, which were significantly induced in livers of male mice only. In addition, a meta-analysis was performed to contrast transcriptomic profiles of various organisms and tissues following exposure to equitoxic doses of TCDD. Minimal overlap was observed in the differences between TCDD-sensitive or TCDD-resistant models. Conclusions: Sex-dependent sensitivities to TCDD exposure are associated with a set of sex-specific TCDD-responsive genes. In addition, complex interactions between the aryl hydrocarbon and sex hormone receptors may affect the observable differences in sensitivity phenotypes between the sexes. Further work is necessary to better understand the roles of those genes altered by TCDD in a sex-dependent manner, and their association with changes to sex hormones and receptors.
  • Kaurilind, Eve; Xu, Enjun; Brosche, Mikael (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: To survive in a changing environment plants constantly monitor their surroundings. In response to several stresses and during photorespiration plants use reactive oxygen species as signaling molecules. The Arabidopsis thaliana catalase2 (cat2) mutant lacks a peroxisomal catalase and under photorespiratory conditions accumulates H2O2, which leads to activation of cell death. Methods: A cat2 double mutant collection was generated through crossing and scored for cell death in different assays. Selected double mutants were further analyzed for photosynthetic performance and H2O2 accumulation. Results: We used a targeted mutant analysis with more than 50 cat2 double mutants to investigate the role of stress hormones and other defense regulators in H2O2 -mediated cell death. Several transcription factors (AS1, MYB30, MYC2, WRKY70), cell death regulators (RCD1, DND1) and hormone regulators (AXR1, ERA1, SID2, EDS1, SGT1b) were essential for execution of cell death in cat2. Genetic loci required for cell death in cat2 was compared with regulators of cell death in spontaneous lesion mimic mutants and led to the identification of a core set of plant cell death regulators. Analysis of gene expression data from cat2 and plants undergoing cell death revealed similar gene expression profiles, further supporting the existence of a common program for regulation of plant cell death. Conclusions: Our results provide a genetic framework for further study on the role of H2O2 in regulation of cell death. The hormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and auxin, as well as their interaction, are crucial determinants of cell death regulation.
  • Baig, Abiyad; McNally, Alan; Dunn, Steven; Paszkiewicz, Konrad H.; Corander, Jukka; Manning, Georgina (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: Campylobacter jejuni is a major zoonotic pathogen, causing gastroenteritis in humans. Invasion is an important pathogenesis trait by which C. jejuni causes disease. Here we report the genomic analysis of 134 strains to identify traits unique to hyperinvasive isolates. Methods: A total of 134 C. jejuni genomes were used to create a phylogenetic tree to position the hyperinvasive strains. Comparative genomics lead to the identification of mosaic capsule regions. A pan genome approach led to the discovery of unique loci, or loci with unique alleles, to the hyperinvasive strains. Results: Phylogenetic analysis showed that the hyper-invasive phenotype is a generalist trait. Despite the fact that hyperinvasive strains are only distantly related based on the whole genome phylogeny, they all possess genes within the capsule region with high identity to capsule genes from C. jejuni subsp. doylei and C. lari. In addition there were genes unique to the hyper-invasive strains with identity to non-C. jejuni genes, as well as allelic variants of mainly pathogenesis related genes already known in the other C. jejuni. In particular, the sequence of flagella genes, flgD-E and flgL were highly conserved amongst the hyper-invasive strains and divergent from sequences in other C. jejuni. A novel cytolethal distending toxin (cdt) operon was also identified as present in all hyper-invasive strains in addition to the classic cdt operon present in other C. jejuni. Conclusions: Overall, the hyper-invasive phenotype is strongly linked to the presence of orthologous genes from other Campylobacter species in their genomes, notably within the capsule region, in addition to the observed association with unique allelic variants in flagellar genes and the secondary cdt operon which is unlikely under random sharing of accessory alleles in separate lineages.
  • Ritari, Jarmo; Salojärvi, Jarkko; Lahti, Leo; de Vos, Willem M. (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2015)
    Background: Current sequencing technology enables taxonomic profiling of microbial ecosystems at high resolution and depth by using the 16S rRNA gene as a phylogenetic marker. Taxonomic assignation of newly acquired data is based on sequence comparisons with comprehensive reference databases to find consensus taxonomy for representative sequences. Nevertheless, even with well-characterised ecosystems like the human intestinal microbiota it is challenging to assign genus and species level taxonomy to 16S rRNA amplicon reads. A part of the explanation may lie in the sheer size of the search space where competition from a multitude of highly similar sequences may not allow reliable assignation at low taxonomic levels. However, when studying a particular environment such as the human intestine, it can be argued that a reference database comprising only sequences that are native to the environment would be sufficient, effectively reducing the search space. Results: We constructed a 16S rRNA gene database based on high-quality sequences specific for human intestinal microbiota, resulting in curated data set consisting of 2473 unique prokaryotic species-like groups and their taxonomic lineages, and compared its performance against the Greengenes and Silva databases. The results showed that regardless of used assignment algorithm, our database improved taxonomic assignation of 16S rRNA sequencing data by enabling significantly higher species and genus level assignation rate while preserving taxonomic diversity and demanding less computational resources. Conclusion: The curated human intestinal 16S rRNA gene taxonomic database of about 2500 species-like groups described here provides a practical solution for significantly improved taxonomic assignment for phylogenetic studies of the human intestinal microbiota.
  • Chen, Jingchun; Bacanu, Silviu-Alin; Yu, Hui; Zhao, Zhongming; Jia, Peilin; Kendler, Kenneth S.; Kranzler, Henry R.; Gelernter, Joel; Farrer, Lindsay; Minica, Camelia; Pool, Rene; Milaneschi, Yuri; Boomsma, Dorret I.; Penninx, Brenda W. J. H.; Tyndale, Rachel F.; Ware, Jennifer J.; Vink, Jacqueline M.; Kaprio, Jaakko; Munafo, Marcus; Chen, Xiangning (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016)
    It is well known that most schizophrenia patients smoke cigarettes. There are different hypotheses postulating the underlying mechanisms of this comorbidity. We used summary statistics from large meta-analyses of plasma cotinine concentration (COT), Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence (FTND) and schizophrenia to examine the genetic relationship between these traits. We found that schizophrenia risk scores calculated at P-value thresholds of 5 x 10(-3) and larger predicted FTND and cigarettes smoked per day (CPD), suggesting that genes most significantly associated with schizophrenia were not associated with FTND/CPD, consistent with the self-medication hypothesis. The COT risk scores predicted schizophrenia diagnosis at P-values of 5 x 10(-3) and smaller, implying that genes most significantly associated with COT were associated with schizophrenia. These results implicated that schizophrenia and FTND/CPD/COT shared some genetic liability. Based on this shared liability, we identified multiple long non-coding RNAs and RNA binding protein genes (DA376252, BX089737, LOC101927273, LINC01029, LOC101928622, HY157071, DA902558, RBFOX1 and TINCR), protein modification genes (MANBA, UBE2D3, and RANGAP1) and energy production genes (XYLB, MTRF1 and ENOX1) that were associated with both conditions. Further analyses revealed that these shared genes were enriched in calcium signaling, long-term potentiation and neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction pathways that played a critical role in cognitive functions and neuronal plasticity.
  • Kärkkäinen, Pekka (Luther-Agricola-Society, 2007)
    Schriften der Luther-Agricola-Gesellschaft
  • Alonso-Zaragaza, Miguel A.; Caldara, Roberto; Machado, Antonio; Maughan, Nicolas; Pelletier, Jean; Pierotti, Helio; Ren, Li; Sforzi, Alessandra; Silfverberg, Hans; Skuhrovec, Jirislav (2016)
  • He, Xiaolan; Sun, Yu (2013)
    The monotypic Pleurocladopsis, endemic to Chile, was established by Schuster in 1964 based on an earlier poorly known species Cephalozia (?) simulans C. Massal. The phylogenetic position of Pleurocladopsis simulans had been considered uncertain until it was placed in the family Schistochilaceae on account of the gynoecial and sporophytic characters. It has been assumed that Pleurocladopsis represents the starting point of evolution in Schistochilaceae. In the present study, the phylogenetic position and taxonomic status of Pleurocladopsis simulans are inferred from phylogenetic analysis of three chloroplast DNA sequence data. The result suggests that the genus was established solely based on the autapomorphic characters, thus obscuring its actual phylogenetic relationship with Schistochila and that these characters are later derived rather than ancestral. The result also confirms that the gynoecial and sporophytic characters are important in taxonomy, but they may be not sufficient at the infrafamilial level and at other lower taxonomic levels. In accordance with the results of the present study, Pleurocladopsis is synonymised with Schistochila, and the new combination Schistochila simulans (C. Massal.) Xiao L. He & Yu Sun is made.
  • Laaka-Lindberg, Sanna; Syrjänen, Kimmo (2013)