Thursday, September 29, 2022

Coral genome reveals cysteine shock

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While producing a high-quality genome of the coral Acropora loripes (pictured above), KAUST marine scientists found for the primary time that almost all animals have an alternate cysteine biosynthesis pathway. Credit: 2022 KAUST; Jose Montalvo-Proano

Model animals, equivalent to mice and fruit flies, have supplied scientists with highly effective insights into how mobile biology works. However, mannequin animals are actually only a information, and it may be dangerous to generalize findings throughout animals from learning a number of mannequin organisms.

Cysteine is a crucial amino acid utilized in a number of organic processes, together with metabolism and protein synthesis. In animals, cysteine biosynthesis was regarded as created solely through the transsulfuration pathway, with the cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) enzyme as a key participant. However, earlier analysis indicated that the CBS gene had been misplaced in corals of the genus Acropora. The suggestion was that these corals couldn’t produce cysteine themselves and needed to depend on symbiotic relationships with algae to obtain it.

“We weren’t searching for possible cysteine biosynthesis in Acropora,” says postdoc Octavio Salazar, who labored on a Center Partnership Fund mission with Principal Investigator Manuel Aranda from KAUST and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. “We were generating a high-quality genome of the coral Acropora loripes as a valuable genomic resource for future research.”

With the high-resolution genome full, the group determined to see if they might affirm that the CBS gene was certainly lacking. Salazar might discover no signal of the gene on the locus the place it was meant to be, however he and his colleagues weren’t satisfied that the coral had no different approach of synthesizing cysteine.

Credit: Octavio Salazar

“I started searching the genome for genes encoding for enzymes that looked similar to those in other known cysteine biosynthesis pathways, such as those found in fungi and bacteria,” says Salazar. “I was quite surprised to find two enzymes in the coral with similarities to a recently identified alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway in fungi.”

To affirm that the enzymes encoded by these coral genes might synthesize cysteine in vivo, the researchers used yeast mutants with no cysteine biosynthesis functionality and gave them the corresponding Acropora genes. The mutants started producing cysteine.

Further, the KAUST group discovered that each genes had been current within the genomes of all animal phyla except for vertebrates, arthropods and nematodes—the exact three teams that the commonest animal mannequin organisms come from.

“This study proves the value of keeping an open mind when it comes to studying living creatures,” says Aranda. “Sometimes knowledge can put you in a box; if you analyze data using only what you think you know, you may well miss something. Our Acropora genome will be hugely valuable for future studies and who knows, it could reveal other unexpected details along the way.”

The research seems in Science Advances.

Comparison of the genomes of two species of coral demonstrates surprising genetic variety

More info:
Octavio R. Salazar et al, The coral Acropora loripes genome reveals an alternate pathway for cysteine biosynthesis in animals, Science Advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq0304.

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King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Coral genome reveals cysteine shock (2022, September 23)
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