• Assessment of the genetic relationship between Dictyocaulus species from Bos taurus and Cervus elaphus using complete mitochondrial genomic datasets

      Gasser, RB; Jabbar, A; Mohandas, N; Höglund, J; Hall, RS; Littlewood, T; Jex, AR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-10-30)
      Background: Dictyocaulus species are strongylid nematodes of major veterinary significance in ruminants, such as cattle and cervids, and cause serious bronchitis or pneumonia (dictyocaulosis or “husk”). There has been ongoing controversy surrounding the validity of some Dictyocaulus species and their host specificity. Here, we sequenced and characterized the mitochondrial (mt) genomes of Dictyocaulus viviparus (from Bos taurus) with Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti from red deer (Cervus elaphus), used mt datasets to assess the genetic relationship between these and related parasites, and predicted markers for future population genetic or molecular epidemiological studies. Methods: The mt genomes were amplified from single adult males of D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti (from red deer) by long-PCR, sequenced using 454-technology and annotated using bioinformatic tools. Amino acid sequences inferred from individual genes of each of the two mt genomes were compared, concatenated and subjected to phylogenetic analysis using Bayesian inference (BI), also employing data for other strongylids for comparative purposes. Results: The circular mt genomes were 13,310 bp (D. viviparus) and 13,296 bp (Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti) in size, and each contained 12 protein-encoding, 22 transfer RNA and 2 ribosomal RNA genes, consistent with other strongylid nematodes sequenced to date. Sliding window analysis identified genes with high or low levels of nucleotide diversity between the mt genomes. At the predicted mt proteomic level, there was an overall sequence difference of 34.5% between D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti, and amino acid sequence variation within each species was usually much lower than differences between species. Phylogenetic analysis of the concatenated amino acid sequence data for all 12 mt proteins showed that both D. viviparus and Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti were closely related, and grouped to the exclusion of selected members of the superfamilies Metastrongyloidea, Trichostrongyloidea, Ancylostomatoidea and Strongyloidea. Conclusions: Consistent with previous findings for nuclear ribosomal DNA sequence data, the present analyses indicate that Dictyocaulus sp. cf. eckerti (red deer) and D. viviparus are separate species. Barcodes in the two mt genomes and proteomes should serve as markers for future studies of the population genetics and/or epidemiology of these and related species of Dictyocaulus.
    • An integrated pipeline for next-generation sequencing and annotation of mitochondrial genomes

      Jex, AR; Hall, RS; Littlewood, T; Gasser, RB (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2009-11-05)
      Mitochondrial (mt) genomics represents an understudied but important field of molecular biology. Increasingly, mt dysfunction is being linked to a range of human diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and impairment of childhood development. In addition, mt genomes provide important markers for systematic, evolutionary and population genetic studies. Some technological limitations have prevented the expanded generation and utilization of mt genomic data for some groups of organisms. These obstacles most acutely impede, but are not limited to, studies requiring the determination of complete mt genomic data from minute amounts of material (e.g. biopsy samples or microscopic organisms). Furthermore, post-sequencing bioinformatic annotation and analyses of mt genomes are time consuming and inefficient. Herein, we describe a high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatic pipeline for mt genomics, which will have implications for the annotation and analysis of other organellar (e.g. plastid or apicoplast genomes) and virus genomes as well as long, contiguous regions in nuclear genomes. We utilize this pipeline to sequence and annotate the complete mt genomes of 12 species of parasitic nematode (order Strongylida) simultaneously, each from an individual organism. These mt genomic data provide a rich source of markers for studies of the systematics and population genetics of a group of socioeconomically important pathogens of humans and other animals.