"Reverse Genomics" Predicts Function of Human Conserved Noncoding Elements
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION
2016; 33 (5): 1358-1369
Mx1 and Mx2 key antiviral proteins are surprisingly lost in toothed whales
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2015; 112 (26): 8036-8040
Evolutionary changes in cis-regulatory elements are thought to play a key role in morphological and physiological diversity across animals. Many conserved noncoding elements (CNEs) function as cis-regulatory elements, controlling gene expression levels in different biological contexts. However, determining specific associations between CNEs and related phenotypes is a challenging task. Here, we present a computational "reverse genomics" approach that predicts the phenotypic functions of human CNEs. We identify thousands of human CNEs that were lost in at least two independent mammalian lineages (IL-CNEs), and match their evolutionary profiles against a diverse set of phenotypes recently annotated across multiple mammalian species. We identify 2,759 compelling associations between human CNEs and a diverse set of mammalian phenotypes. We discuss multiple CNEs, including a predicted ear element near BMP7, a pelvic CNE in FBN1, a brain morphology element in UBE4B, and an aquatic adaptation forelimb CNE near EGR2, and provide a full list of our predictions. As more genomes are sequenced and more traits are annotated across species, we expect our method to facilitate the interpretation of noncoding mutations in human disease and expedite the discovery of individual CNEs that play key roles in human evolution and development.
View details for DOI 10.1093/molbev/msw001
View details for Web of Science ID 000374834900019
View details for PubMedID 26744417
Viral outbreaks in dolphins and other Delphinoidea family members warrant investigation into the integrity of the cetacean immune system. The dynamin-like GTPase genes Myxovirus 1 (Mx1) and Mx2 defend mammals against a broad range of viral infections. Loss of Mx1 function in human and mice enhances infectivity by multiple RNA and DNA viruses, including orthomyxoviruses (influenza A), paramyxoviruses (measles), and hepadnaviruses (hepatitis B), whereas loss of Mx2 function leads to decreased resistance to HIV-1 and other viruses. Here we show that both Mx1 and Mx2 have been rendered nonfunctional in Odontoceti cetaceans (toothed whales, including dolphins and orcas). We discovered multiple exon deletions, frameshift mutations, premature stop codons, and transcriptional evidence of decay in the coding sequence of both Mx1 and Mx2 in four species of Odontocetes. We trace the likely loss event for both proteins to soon after the divergence of Odontocetes and Mystocetes (baleen whales) ∼33-37 Mya. Our data raise intriguing questions as to what drove the loss of both Mx1 and Mx2 genes in the Odontoceti lineage, a double loss seen in none of 56 other mammalian genomes, and suggests a hitherto unappreciated fundamental genetic difference in the way these magnificent mammals respond to viral infections.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1501844112
View details for Web of Science ID 000357079400051