The lncRNA Xist forms 50 diffraction-limited foci to transcriptionally silence one X chromosome. How this small number of RNA foci and interacting proteins regulate a much larger number of X-linked genes is unknown. We show that Xist foci are locally confined, contain 2 RNA molecules, and nucleate supramolecular complexes (SMACs) that include many copies of the critical silencing protein SPEN. Aggregation and exchange of SMAC proteins generate local protein gradients that regulate broad, proximal chromatin regions. Partitioning of numerous SPEN molecules into SMACs is mediated by their intrinsically disordered regions and essential for transcriptional repression. Polycomb deposition via SMACs induces chromatin compaction and the increase in SMACs density around genes, which propagates silencing across the X chromosome. Our findings introduce a mechanism for functional nuclear compartmentalization whereby crowding of transcriptional and architectural regulators enables the silencing of many target genes by few RNA molecules.

Abstract Background Chromosomal variants play important roles in crop breeding and genetic research. The development of single-stranded oligonucleotide (oligo) probes simplifies the process of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and facilitates chromosomal identification in many species. Genome sequencing provides rich resources for the development of oligo probes. However, little progress has been made in peanut due to the lack of efficient chromosomal markers. Until now, the identification of chromosomal variants in peanut has remained a challenge. Results A total of 114 new oligo probes were developed based on the genome-wide tandem repeats (TRs) identified from the reference sequences of the peanut variety Tifrunner (AABB, 2 n = 4x = 40) and the diploid species Arachis ipaensis (BB, 2 n = 2x = 20). These oligo probes were classified into 28 types based on their positions and overlapping signals in chromosomes. For each type, a representative oligo was selected and modified with green fluorescein 6-carboxyfluorescein (FAM) or red fluorescein 6-carboxytetramethylrhodamine (TAMRA). Two cocktails, Multiplex #3 and Multiplex #4, were developed by pooling the fluorophore conjugated probes. Multiplex #3 included FAM-modified oligo TIF-439, oligo TIF-185-1, oligo TIF-134-3 and oligo TIF-165. Multiplex #4 included TAMRA-modified oligo Ipa-1162, oligo Ipa-1137, oligo DP-1 and oligo DP-5. Each cocktail enabled the establishment of a genome map-based karyotype after sequential FISH/genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) and in silico mapping. Furthermore, we identified 14 chromosomal variants of the peanut induced by radiation exposure. A total of 28 representative probes were further chromosomally mapped onto the new karyotype. Among the probes, eight were mapped in the secondary constrictions, intercalary and terminal regions; four were B genome-specific; one was chromosome-specific; and the remaining 15 were extensively mapped in the pericentric regions of the chromosomes. Conclusions The development of new oligo probes provides an effective set of tools which can be used to distinguish the various chromosomes of the peanut. Physical mapping by FISH reveals the genomic organization of repetitive oligos in peanut chromosomes. A genome map-based karyotype was established and used for the identification of chromosome variations in peanut following comparisons with their reference sequence positions.

Abstract Background Structural variants (SVs) significantly drive genome diversity and environmental adaptation for diverse species. Unlike the prevalent small SVs (< kilobase-scale) in higher eukaryotes, large-size SVs rarely exist in the genome, but they function as one of the key evolutionary forces for speciation and adaptation. Results In this study, we discover and characterize several megabase-scale presence-absence variations (PAVs) in the maize genome. Surprisingly, we identify a 3.2 Mb PAV fragment that shows high integrity and is present as complete presence or absence in the natural diversity panel. This PAV is embedded within the nucleolus organizer region (NOR), where the suppressed recombination is found to maintain the PAV against the evolutionary variation. Interestingly, by analyzing the sequence of this PAV, we not only reveal the domestication trace from teosinte to modern maize, but also the footprints of its origin from Tripsacum , shedding light on a previously unknown contribution from Tripsacum to the speciation of Zea species. The functional consequence of the Tripsacum segment migration is also investigated, and environmental fitness conferred by the PAV may explain the whole segment as a selection target during maize domestication and improvement. Conclusions These findings provide a novel perspective that Tripsacum contributes to Zea speciation, and also instantiate a strategy for evolutionary and functional analysis of the “fossil” structure variations during genome evolution and speciation.

Easily visualize target regions with brighter signal and reduced background using myTags custom synthetic oligo probes.

Presented by Linda Barthel, Lead Product Scientist at Daicel Arbor during the GPZ Study Group Cytogenetics 2021 Meeting in Germany in Sept 2021.

Significance Since its emergence in China in December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic. Repurposing of FDA-approved drugs is a promising strategy for identifying rapidly deployable treatments for COVID-19. Herein, we developed a pipeline for quantitative, high-throughput, image-based screening of SARS-CoV-2 infection in human cells that led to the identification of several FDA-approved drugs and clinical candidates with in vitro antiviral activity. , The global spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the associated disease COVID-19, requires therapeutic interventions that can be rapidly identified and translated to clinical care. Traditional drug discovery methods have a >90% failure rate and can take 10 to 15 y from target identification to clinical use. In contrast, drug repurposing can significantly accelerate translation. We developed a quantitative high-throughput screen to identify efficacious agents against SARS-CoV-2. From a library of 1,425 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved compounds and clinical candidates, we identified 17 hits that inhibited SARS-CoV-2 infection and analyzed their antiviral activity across multiple cell lines, including lymph node carcinoma of the prostate (LNCaP) cells and a physiologically relevant model of alveolar epithelial type 2 cells (iAEC2s). Additionally, we found that inhibitors of the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway exacerbate SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. Notably, we discovered that lactoferrin, a glycoprotein found in secretory fluids including mammalian milk, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection in the nanomolar range in all cell models with multiple modes of action, including blockage of virus attachment to cellular heparan sulfate and enhancement of interferon responses. Given its safety profile, lactoferrin is a readily translatable therapeutic option for the management of COVID-19.

The genus Saccharum is composed of species with high polyploidy and highly varied chromosome numbers, laying a challenge for uncovering its genomic structure and evolution. We developed a chromosome 2 painting (CP2) probe by designing oligonucleotides covering chromosome 2 of Saccharum spontaneum (2n = 8x = 64). Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) using this CP2 probe revealed six types of ploidies from twenty S. spontaneum clones, including 6x, 8x, 10x, 11x, 12x, and 13x clones. The finding of S. spontaneum clones with uneven of ploid suggested that certain S. spontaneum clones come from hybridization. It renews our knowledge that S. spontaneum is derived from autopolyploidization. Combined with a S. spontaneum -specific probe, chromosome 2-derived chromosome or fragments from either S. spontaneum or Saccharum officinarum can be identified in sugarcane modern cultivars. We revealed unexpected high level of interspecific recombination from introgressive S. spontaneum chromosomes (>50.0%) in cultivars ROC22 and ZZ1, indicating frequent chromosome exchange in cultivars. Intriguingly, we observed interspecific recombination recurring among either homoeologous or non-homoeologous chromosomes in sugarcane cultivars. These results demonstrated that chromosome painting FISH is a powerful tool in the genome dissection of sugarcane and provide new insights into the genome structure and evolution of the complex genus Saccharum .

Abstract Meiosis is a fundamental process for sexual reproduction in most eukaryotes and the evolutionarily conserved recombinases RADiation sensitive51 (RAD51) and Disrupted Meiotic cDNA1 (DMC1) are essential for meiosis and thus fertility. The mitotic function of RAD51 is clear, but the meiotic function of RAD51 remains largely unknown. Here we show that RAD51 functions as an interacting protein to restrain the Structural Maintenance of Chromosomes5/6 (SMC5/6) complex from inhibiting DMC1. We unexpectedly found that loss of the SMC5/6 partially suppresses the rad51 knockout mutant in terms of sterility, pollen inviability, and meiotic chromosome fragmentation in a DMC1-dependent manner in Arabidopsis thaliana. Biochemical and cytological studies revealed that the DMC1 localization in meiotic chromosomes is inhibited by the SMC5/6 complex, which is attenuated by RAD51 through physical interactions. This study not only identified the long-sought-after function of RAD51 in meiosis but also discovered the inhibition of SMC5/6 on DMC1 as a control mechanism during meiotic recombination.

Abstract Fundamental features of 3D genome organization are established de novo in the early embryo, including clustering of pericentromeric regions, the folding of chromosome arms and the segregation of chromosomes into active (A-) and inactive (B-) compartments. However, the molecular mechanisms that drive de novo organization remain unknown 1,2 . Here, by combining chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C), chromatin immunoprecipitation with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP–seq), 3D DNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (3D DNA FISH) and polymer simulations, we show that heterochromatin protein 1a (HP1a) is essential for de novo 3D genome organization during Drosophila early development. The binding of HP1a at pericentromeric heterochromatin is required to establish clustering of pericentromeric regions. Moreover, HP1a binding within chromosome arms is responsible for overall chromosome folding and has an important role in the formation of B-compartment regions. However, depletion of HP1a does not affect the A-compartment, which suggests that a different molecular mechanism segregates active chromosome regions. Our work identifies HP1a as an epigenetic regulator that is involved in establishing the global structure of the genome in the early embryo.