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The highly speciose gekkonid genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 is polyphyletic, with three distantly related and geographically isolated clades from Africa, South Asia (SA), and Southeast Asia. At present, there are 85 known species within SA Cnemaspis, although the number continues to increase rapidly with focused surveys and rigorous taxonomic work. Recent studies have provided valuable insights into the diversity and evolutionary history of SA Cnemaspis; however, most of these studies lack sufficient sampling in the Western Ghats (WG), where the genus has its greatest diversity. We addressed this research gap by conducting extensive sampling across the WG and re-examining museum specimens, thus providing a systematic account of various extant Cnemaspis species along with their distribution and natural history. We described 12 new species and a southern WG endemic clade of SA Cnemaspis. Ten of the newly described species are endemic to the forests of the southern WG. We also identified 10 well-supported subclades that can be separated across morphological, geographic, and phylogenetic axes. A time-calibrated phylogeny and ancestral area reconstructions confirmed the Paleocene origin of SA Cnemaspis in the WG and provide insights into its evolutionary history and biogeography. The discovery of multiple endemic and deeply divergent lineages further highlights the evolutionary significance of the WG for lizards.
The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) is emerging as an important experimental animal in multiple fields of biomedical research. Comprehensive reference genome annotation for both mRNA and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is crucial for developing animal models using this species. In the current study, we collected a total of 234 high-quality RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets and two long-read isoform sequencing (ISO-seq) datasets and improved the annotation of our previously assembled high-quality chromosome-level tree shrew genome. We obtained a total of 3 514 newly annotated coding genes and 50 576 lncRNA genes. We also characterized the tissue-specific expression patterns and alternative splicing patterns of mRNAs and lncRNAs and mapped the orthologous relationships among 11 mammalian species using the current annotated genome. We identified 144 tree shrew-specific gene families, including interleukin 6 (IL6) and STT3 oligosaccharyltransferase complex catalytic subunit B (STT3B), which underwent significant changes in size. Comparison of the overall expression patterns in tissues and pathways across four species (human, rhesus monkey, tree shrew, and mouse) indicated that tree shrews are more similar to primates than to mice at the tissue-transcriptome level. Notably, the newly annotated purine rich element binding protein A (PURA) gene and the STT3B gene family showed dysregulation upon viral infection. The updated version of the tree shrew genome annotation (KIZ version 3: TS_3.0) is available at http://www.treeshrewdb.org and provides an essential reference for basic and biomedical studies using tree shrew animal models.
The Chantecler chicken, a unique Canadian indigenous breed, is well adapted to extremely cold environments. However, its genetic characteristics have not been well studied. Here, we analyzed the whole genomes of 10 Chantecler chickens and 121 worldwide chickens, which indicated that Chantecler chickens were derived from commercial chickens and exhibit a high level of inbreeding. Based on a genome-wide scan, we identified two vital candidate regions containing ME3 and ZNF536, which are related to fat metabolism and nervous system in cold adaptation, respectively. We also found that the genetic mechanism of cold adaptation in Chantecler chickens differed from that of chickens from other cold regions, such as northern China. Our study indicated that specialized commercial chickens in the early 20th century contained sufficient genetic diversity to adapt to extreme cold environments over a very short time. These findings enrich our understanding of the adaptive potential of commercial species.
SOX9 (SRY-related HMG box gene 9) is an essential regulator of male sex determination and testis differentiation in many vertebrate species. However, the functional role of Sox9 in testis differentiation has not yet been identified in any reptilian species. Herein, Sox9 knockdown in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) embryos at a male-producing temperature led to complete male-to-female sex reversal, characterized by the formation of an ovary-like structure, disappearance of male marker AMH, and ectopic expression of ovarian regulator FOXL2, as well as a female distribution pattern of germ cells. Conversely, in-ovo overexpression of Sox9 at a female-producing temperature resulted in partial masculinization of putative female embryos, with the co-existence of AMH and FOXL2. Our study provides the first direct evidence that Sox9 is indispensable for testicular differentiation in a reptilian species, further confirming the conserved role of Sox9 in vertebrate sexual development.
We report a new species of the genus Micryletta from the montane evergreen forest in the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, Lam Dong Province, Langbian Plateau, southern Vietnam, based on molecular and morphological evidence. The new species is diagnosed by a combination of the following morphological characters: body size small (snout-vent length (SVL) 22.4 mm, single female); iris uniform black; snout nearly truncate in dorsal view, slightly rounded in profile; tibiotarsal articulation of adpressed limb reaching level of eye; dorsal surface smooth; supratympanic fold present, prominent; outer metatarsal tubercle absent; tips of toes very weakly dilated into small discs; finger webbing absent, toe webbing rudimentary; dorsal surfaces of head and body orange-red with small irregularly shaped dark-brown patches; dorsal surface of limbs pale dark brown with small reddish speckles; body flanks dark brown anteriorly fading to grayish brown posteriorly with brown spots in groin area; lateral sides of head immaculate blackish brown without white patches; coloration of ventral surfaces immaculate dark gray. The new species is divergent from all other congeners in 16S rRNA gene sequences (2.6%–5.8%). Following the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, we propose the new species be listed as Data Deficient (DD).
The small-eared shrew genus Cryptotis is the third largest in the family Soricidae and occurs in North, Central, and northern South America. In Mexico and Central and South America, most species inhabit geographically isolated moist, montane habitats at middle and high elevations in a typical sky-island pattern. The 49 recognized species have been partitioned into as many as six species groups based on morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies. The relationships among these species groups are poorly resolved, and their evolutionary histories, including migration patterns and locomotor adaptations, remain unclear. Herein, we provide a new phylogeny incorporating complete mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) and supermatrix approach. We compared different evolutionary scenarios using approximately unbiased (AU), Kishino-Hasegawa (KH), and Shimodaira-Hasegawa (SH) statistical tests. The phylogenetic hypothesis based on mitogenomes revealed novel relationships supporting a basal position for the Cryptotis parvus-group in the genus, and a close relationship between C. gracilis and one clade of the C. thomasi-group. The former relationship is consistent with the least derived humerus morphology and northern distribution of the species. The latter relationship implies multiple migrations between Central and South America. The lack of fine resolution for the species group relationships may be due partly to the lack of taxon sampling. In contrast, multi-approach analyses suggest that the unresolved relationships may be a result of rapid diversification during the early stages of Cryptotis evolution.
Oxygen is an essential molecule for animal respiration, growth, and survival. Unlike in terrestrial environments, contamination and climate change have led to the frequent occurrence of hypoxia in aquatic environments, thus impacting aquatic animal survival. However, the adaptative mechanisms underlying fish responses to environmental hypoxia remain largely unknown. Here, we used large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea) and large yellow croaker fry (LYCF) cells to investigate the roles of the Hif-1α/Hsf1/Hsp70 signaling pathway in the regulation of cellular redox homeostasis, and apoptosis. We confirmed that hypoxia induced the expression of Hif-1α, Hsf1, and Hsp70 in vivo and in vitro. Genetic Hsp70 knockdown/overexpression indicated that Hsp70 was required for maintaining redox homeostasis and resisting oxidative stress in LYCF cells under hypoxic stress. Hsp70 inhibited caspase-dependent intrinsic apoptosis by maintaining normal mitochondrial membrane potential, enhancing Bcl-2 mRNA and protein expression, inhibiting Bax and caspase3 mRNA expression, and suppressing caspase-3 and caspase-9 activation. Hsp70 suppressed caspase-independent intrinsic apoptosis by inhibiting nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and disturbed extrinsic apoptosis by inactivating caspase-8. Genetic knockdown/overexpression of Hif-1α and dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated that Hif-1α activated the Hsf1 DNA promoter and enhanced Hsf1 mRNA transcription. Hsf1 enhanced Hsp70 mRNA transcription in a similar manner. In summary, the Hif-1α/Hsf1/Hsp70 signaling pathway plays an important role in regulating redox homeostasis and anti-apoptosis in L. crocea under hypoxic stress.
The pygmy marmoset, the smallest of the anthropoid primates, has a broad distribution in Western Amazonia. Recent studies using molecular and morphological data have identified two distinct species separated by the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers. However, reconciling this new biological evidence with current taxonomy, i.e., two subspecies, Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea (Spix, 1823) and Cebuella pygmaea niveiventris (Lönnberg, 1940), was problematic given the uncertainty as to whether Spix’s pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea) was collected north or south of the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers, making it unclear to which of the two newly revealed species the name pygmaea would apply. Here, we present the first molecular data from Spix’s type specimen of Cebuella pygmaea, as well as novel mitochondrial genomes from modern pygmy marmosets sampled near the type locality (Tabatinga) on both sides of the river. With these data, we can confirm the correct names of the two species identified, i.e., C. pygmaea for animals north of the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers and C. niveiventris for animals south of these two rivers. Phylogenetic analyses of the novel genetic data placed into the context of cytochrome b gene sequences from across the range of pygmy marmosets further led us to re-evaluate the geographical distribution for the two Cebuella species. We dated the split of these two species to 2.54 million years ago. We discuss additional, more recent, subdivisions within each lineage, as well as potential contact zones between the two species in the headwaters of these rivers.
Salamanders are unique among tetrapods in their ability to regenerate the limbs throughout life. Like other poikilothermic amphibians, salamanders also show a remarkable capacity to survive long periods of starvation. Whether the physiological reserves necessary for tissue regeneration are preserved or sacrificed in starved salamanders is unknown. In the current study, we maintained Iberian ribbed newts (Pleurodeles waltl) under extreme physiological stress to assess the extent of regeneration and identify the molecular and cellular changes that may occur under such conditions. After 19 months of complete food deprivation, the animals exhibited extensive morphological and physiological adaptations but remained behaviorally active and vigilant. Autophagy was elevated in different tissues and the transformed gut microbiota indicated remodeling of the intestinal tract related to autophagy. Upon limb amputation in animals starved for 21 months, regeneration proceeded with progenitor cell proliferation and migration, leading to limb blastema formation. However, limb outgrowth and patterning were substantially attenuated. Blockage of autophagy inhibited cell proliferation and blastema formation in starved animals, but not in fed animals. Hence, tissue autophagy and the regenerative response were tightly coupled only when animals were under stress. Our results demonstrate that under adverse conditions, salamanders can exploit alternative strategies to secure blastema formation for limb regeneration.
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2021, (5): 1-1.  
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The species within Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, and armadillos) are quintessential South American mammals. Of the three groups, Vermilingua (anteaters) contains the fewest extant and paleontological species. Here, we sampled and sequenced the entire mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) of two Tamandua species (Tamandua tetradactyla and T. mexicana) (n=74) from Central and South America, as well as Myrmecophaga tridactyla (n=41) from South America. Within Tamandua, we detected three different haplogroups. The oldest (THI) contained many specimens with the T. tetradactyla morphotype (but also several with the T. mexicana morphotype) and originated in southeastern South America (currently Uruguay) before moving towards northern South America, where the THII haplogroup originated. THII primarily contained specimens with the T. mexicana morphotype (but also several with the T. tetradactyla morphotype) and was distributed in Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador. THI and THII yielded a genetic distance of 4%. THII originated in either northern South America or “in situ” in Central America with haplogroup THIII, which consisted of ~50% T. mexicana and 50% T. tetradactyla phenotypes. THIII was mostly located in the same areas as THII, i.e., Central America, Ecuador, and Colombia, though mainly in the latter. The three haplogroups overlapped in Colombia and Ecuador. Thus, T. tetradactyla and T. mexicana were not reciprocally monophyletic. For this reason, we considered that a unique species of Tamandua likely exists, i.e., T. tetradactyla. In contrast to Tamandua, M. tridactyla did not show different morphotypes throughout its geographical range in the Neotropics. However, two very divergent genetic haplogroups (MHI and MHII), with a genetic distance of ~10%, were detected. The basal haplogroup, MHI, originated in northwestern South America, whereas the more geographically derived haplogroup, MHII, overlapped with MHI, but also expanded into central and southern South America. Thus, Tamandua migrated from south to north whereas Myrmecophaga migrated from north to south. Our results also showed that temporal mitochondrial diversification for Tamandua began during the Late Pliocene and Upper Pleistocene, but for Myrmecophaga began during the Late Miocene. Furthermore, both taxa showed elevated levels of mitochondrial genetic diversity. Tamandua showed more evidence of female population expansion than Myrmecophaga. Tamandua experienced population expansion ~0.6–0.17 million years ago (Mya), whereas Myrmecophaga showed possible population expansion ~0.3–0.2 Mya. However, both taxa experienced a conspicuous female decline in the last 10 000–20 000 years. Our results also showed little spatial genetic structure for both taxa. However, several analyses revealed higher spatial structure in Tamandua than in Myrmecophaga. Therefore, Tamandua and Myrmecophaga were not subjected to the same biogeographical, geological, or climatological events in shaping their genetic structures.
The genetic adaptations of various organisms to heterogeneous environments in the northwestern Pacific remain poorly understood. Heterogeneous genomic divergence among populations may reflect environmental selection. Advancing our understanding of the mechanisms by which organisms adapt to different temperatures in response to climate change and predicting the adaptive potential and ecological consequences of anthropogenic global warming are critical. We sequenced the whole genomes of Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica) specimens collected from different latitudinal locations along the coastal waters of China and Japan to detect possible thermal adaptations. Using population genomics, a total of 5.48 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from five populations revealed a complete genetic break between the Chinese and Japanese groups, which was attributed to both geographic distance and local adaptation. The shared natural selection genes between two isolated populations (i.e., Zhoushan and Ise Bay/Tokyo Bay) indicated possible parallel evolution at the genetic level induced by temperature. These genes also indicated that the process of temperature selection on isolated populations is repeatable. Moreover, we observed natural candidate genes related to membrane fluidity, possibly underlying adaptation to cold environmental stress. These findings advance our understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying the rapid adaptations of fish species. Species distribution projection models suggested that the Chinese and Japanese groups may have different responses to future climate change, with the former expanding and the latter contracting. The findings of this study enhance our understanding of genetic differentiation and adaptation to changing environments.
Inositol requiring mutant 80 (INO80) is a chromatin remodeler that regulates pluripotency maintenance of embryonic stem cells and reprogramming of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. However, the roles and mechanisms of INO80 in porcine pre-implantation embryonic development remain largely unknown. Here, we show that INO80 modulates trophectoderm epithelium permeability to promote porcine blastocyst development. The INO80 protein is highly expressed in the nuclei during morula-to-blastocyst transition. Functional studies revealed that RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of INO80 severely blocks blastocyst formation and disrupts lineage allocation between the inner cell mass and trophectoderm. Mechanistically, single-embryo RNA sequencing revealed that INO80 regulates multiple genes, which are important for lineage specification, tight junction assembly, and fluid accumulation. Consistent with the altered expression of key genes required for tight junction assembly, a permeability assay showed that paracellular sealing is defective in the trophectoderm epithelium of INO80 knockdown blastocysts. Importantly, aggregation of 8-cell embryos from the control and INO80 knockdown groups restores blastocyst development and lineage allocation via direct complementation of the defective trophectoderm epithelium. Taken together, these results demonstrate that INO80 promotes blastocyst development by regulating the expression of key genes required for lineage specification, tight junction assembly, and fluid accumulation.
Amolops chunganensis is a species complex and reported widely from eastern, southern, and southwestern China. Based on molecular data of 19 populations of A. chunganensis sensu lato from China, including the population from Mt. Wuyi (type locality), we recognize A. chunganensis sensu stricto and provide an expanded description based on the topotypic specimens. Combining morphological and molecular data, we describe a new species, Amolops chaochin sp. nov. , from southwestern China, which was previously identified as A. chunganensis. The new species is distinguished from all other species in the A. monticola group by: (1) moderate body size, SVL 35.3−39.2 mm in males (n=7), and 50.5−54.4 mm in females (n=7); (2) distinct tympanum, larger than half of eye diameter; (3) small tooth-like projection on anteromedial edge of mandible; (4) circummarginal groove on all fingers; (5) white tubercles on dorsal side of posterior body in both sexes; (6) distinct tubercles on dorsal thigh and white spinose tubercles on dorsal tibia in both sexes; (7) white tubercles on posterior region of tympanum in males; (8) toe webbing reaching disk by dermal fringe on inner side of toe II; (9) vomerine teeth present; (10) transverse bands on dorsal limbs; (11) external vocal sacs present in males. We further reviewed the assignment of Amolops groups, with an overall revision of membership and diagnosis of all species groups.
The large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea), which is an economically important mariculture fish in China, is often exposed to environmental hypoxia. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis is essential for the maintenance of normal physiological conditions in an organism. Direct evidence that environmental hypoxia leads to ROS overproduction is scarce in marine fish. Furthermore, the sources of ROS overproduction in marine fish under hypoxic stress are poorly known. In this study, we investigated the effects of hypoxia on redox homeostasis in L. crocea and the impact of impaired redox homeostasis on fish. We first confirmed that hypoxia drove ROS production mainly via the mitochondrial electron transport chain and NADPH oxidase complex pathways in L. crocea and its cell line (large yellow croaker fry (LYCF) cells). We subsequently detected a marked increase in the antioxidant systems of the fish. However, imbalance between the pro-oxidation and antioxidation systems ultimately led to excessive ROS and oxidative stress. Cell viability showed a remarkable decrease while oxidative indicators, such as malondialdehyde, protein carbonylation, and 8-hydroxy-2 deoxyguanosine, showed a significant increase after hypoxia, accompanied by tissue damage. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) reduced ROS levels, alleviated oxidative damage, and improved cell viability in vitro. Appropriate uptake of ROS scavengers (e.g., NAC and elamipretide Szeto-Schiller-31) and inhibitors (e.g., apocynin, diphenylene iodonium, and 5-hydroxydecanoate) may be effective at overcoming hypoxic toxicity. Our findings highlight previously unstudied strategies of hypoxic toxicity resistance in marine fish.
The genus Tropidophorus consists of small semi-aquatic lizards that dwell in lowland forest steams (Barbour, 1921; Bauer & Jackman, 2008). Here, we designate the neotype and re-describe T. guangxiensis Wen, 1992 based on newly collected topotypic specimens. We also describe a new subspecies from Xuefeng Mountain, Hongjiang County, Hunan Province, central South China. Based on two mitochondrial genes (12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), the phylogenetic position of T. guangxiensis is allocated for the first time. Additionally, our data strongly support that the new subspecies is phylogenetically closely related to T. g. guangxiensis. We also present a morphological identification key for known species and subspecies of Tropidophorus in China.
Butterflies are diverse in virtually all aspects of their ontogeny, including morphology, life history, and behavior. However, the developmental regulatory mechanisms underlying the important phenotypic traits of butterflies at different developmental stages remain unknown. Here, we investigated the developmental regulatory profiles of butterflies based on transposase accessible chromatin sequencing (ATAC-seq) at three developmental stages in two representative species (Papilio xuthus and Kallima inachus). Results indicated that 15%–47% of open chromatin peaks appeared in associated genes located 3 kb upstream (i.e., promoter region) of their transcription start site (TSS). Comparative analysis of the different developmental stages indicated that chromatin accessibility is a dynamic process and associated genes with differentially accessible (DA) peaks show functions corresponding to their phenotypic traits. Interestingly, the black color pattern in P. xuthus 4th instar larvae may be attributed to promoter peak-related genes involved in the melanogenesis pathway. Furthermore, many longevity genes in 5th instar larvae and pupae showed open peaks 3 kb upstream of their TSS, which may contribute to the overwintering diapause observed in K. inachus adults. Combined with RNA-seq analysis, our data demonstrated that several genes enriched in the melanogenesis and longevity pathways also exhibit higher expression, confirming that the expression of genes may be closely related to their phenotypic traits. This study offers new insights into larval cuticle color and adult longevity in butterflies and provides a resource for investigating the developmental regulatory mechanisms underlying butterfly ontogeny.

We describe a new species of the genus Hebius and provide evidence for the validity of H. septemlineatus   comb. nov.  . Morphological and molecular analyses of Hebius specimens collected in Yunnan Province, China, revealed three distinct lineages, namely the newly described Hebius weixiensis   sp. nov.  , as well as H. octolineatus (Boulenger, 1904), and H. septemlineatus   comb. nov.   (Schmidt 1925), which is removed from synonymy with H. octolineatus. Based on mitochondrial genealogy, Hebius weixiensis   sp. nov.   is sister to H. septemlineatus   comb. nov.  , while H. octolineatus is sister to H. bitaeniatus. The new species and H. septemlineatus   comb. nov.   showed considerable genetic divergence from their recognized congeners (uncorrected P-distance ≥3.9%). Furthermore, the new species and H. septemlineatus   comb. nov.   can be diagnosed from closely related congeners by a combination of pholidosis characters.

Viruses can be transmitted from animals to humans (and vice versa) and across animal species. As such, host-virus interactions and transmission have attracted considerable attention. Non-human primates (NHPs), our closest evolutionary relatives, are susceptible to human viruses and certain pathogens are known to circulate between humans and NHPs. Here, we generated global statistics on virus infections in NHPs (VI-NHPs) based on a literature search and public data mining. In total, 140 NHP species from 12 families are reported to be infected by 186 DNA and RNA virus species, 68.8% of which are also found in humans, indicating high potential for crossing species boundaries. The top 10 NHP species with high centrality in the NHP-virus network include two great apes (Pan troglodytes, Pongo pygmaeus) and eight Old World monkeys (Macaca mulatta, M. fascicularis, M. leonina, Papio cynocephalus, Cercopithecus ascanius, C. erythrotis, Chlorocebus aethiops, and Allochrocebus lhoesti). Given the wide distribution of Old World monkeys and their frequent contact with humans, there is a high risk of virus circulation between humans and such species. Thus, we suggest recurring epidemiological surveillance of NHPs, specifically Old World monkeys that are in frequent contact with humans, and other effective measures to prevent potential circulation and transmission of viruses. Avoidance of false positives and sampling bias should also be a focus in future work.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiologic agent responsible for the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cardiovascular disease may affect COVID-19 progression. In the present study, we investigated the effect of hypertension on viral replication and COVID-19 progression using a hypertensive mouse model infected with SARS-CoV-2. Results revealed that SARS-CoV-2 replication was delayed in hypertensive mouse lungs. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 replication in hypertensive mice treated with the antihypertensive drug captopril demonstrated similar virus replication as SARS-CoV-2-infected normotensive mice. Furthermore, antihypertensive treatment alleviated lung inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 replication (interleukin (IL)-1β up-regulation and increased immune cell infiltration). No differences in lung inflammation were observed between the SARS-CoV-2-infected normotensive mice and hypertensive mice. Our findings suggest that captopril treatment may alleviate COVID-19 progression but not affect viral replication.
The insect brain is the central part of the neurosecretory system, which controls morphology, physiology, and behavior during the insect’s lifecycle. Lepidoptera are holometabolous insects, and their brains develop during the larval period and metamorphosis into the adult form. As the only fully domesticated insect, the Lepidoptera silkworm Bombyx mori experienced changes in larval brain morphology and certain behaviors during the domestication process. Hormonal regulation in insects is a key factor in multiple processes. However, how juvenile hormone (JH) signals regulate brain development in Lepidoptera species, especially in the larval stage, remains elusive. We recently identified the JH receptor Methoprene tolerant 1 (Met1) as a putative domestication gene. How artificial selection on Met1 impacts brain and behavioral domestication is another important issue addressing Darwin’s theory on domestication. Here, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of Bombyx Met1 caused developmental retardation in the brain, unlike precocious pupation of the cuticle. At the whole transcriptome level, the ecdysteroid (20-hydroxyecdysone, 20E) signaling and downstream pathways were overactivated in the mutant cuticle but not in the brain. Pathways related to cell proliferation and specialization processes, such as extracellular matrix (ECM)-receptor interaction and tyrosine metabolism pathways, were suppressed in the brain. Molecular evolutionary analysis and in vitro assay identified an amino acid replacement located in a novel motif under positive selection in B. mori, which decreased transcriptional binding activity. The B. mori MET1 protein showed a changed structure and dynamic features, as well as a weakened co-expression gene network, compared with B. mandarina. Based on comparative transcriptomic analyses, we proposed a pathway downstream of JH signaling (i.e., tyrosine metabolism pathway) that likely contributed to silkworm larval brain development and domestication and highlighted the importance of the biogenic amine system in larval evolution during silkworm domestication.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is distributed asymmetrically in the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells. Phosphatidylserine flippase (P4-ATPase) transports PS from the outer leaflet of the lipid bilayer to the inner leaflet of the membrane to maintain PS asymmetry. The β subunit TMEM30A is indispensable for transport and proper function of P4-ATPase. Previous studies have shown that the ATP11A and TMEM30A complex is the molecular switch for myotube formation. However, the role of Tmem30a in skeletal muscle regeneration remains elusive. In the current study, Tmem30a was highly expressed in the tibialis anterior (TA) muscles of dystrophin-null (mdx) mice and BaCl2-induced muscle injury model mice. We generated a satellite cell (SC)-specific Tmem30a conditional knockout (cKO) mouse model to investigate the role of Tmem30a in skeletal muscle regeneration. The regenerative ability of cKO mice was evaluated by analyzing the number and diameter of regenerated SCs after the TA muscles were injured by BaCl2-injection. Compared to the control mice, the cKO mice showed decreased Pax7+ and MYH3+ SCs, indicating diminished SC proliferation, and decreased expression of muscular regulatory factors (MYOD and MYOG), suggesting impaired myoblast proliferation in skeletal muscle regeneration. Taken together, these results demonstrate the essential role of Tmem30a in skeletal muscle regeneration.
In a precautionary response to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, China’s Ministries permanently banned eating and trading in terrestrial wild (non-livestock) animals on 24 February 2020, and extensively updated the list of Fauna under Special State Protection (LFSSP) in 2020 and 2021, in which pangolins (Manidae spp.) were upgraded to the highest protection level. Examining 509 pangolin prosecution records from China Judgements online prior to these changes (01/01/14–31/12/19), we identified that Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces were hotspots for trade in whole pangolins and their scales. Interrupting trade in these three principal southern provinces would substantially fragment the pangolin trade network and reduce supply of imports from other south-east Asian countries. In the context of the revised legislation and strategies intended to prevent wildlife trade, we conclude that targeting interventions at key trade nodes could significantly reduce illegal trade in pangolins, and that this approach could also be effective with other taxa.
All extant species in the rodent family Spalacidae are subterranean and have evolved various traits for underground life. However, the phylogenomic relationships among its three subfamilies (Myospalacinae, Spalacinae, and Rhizomyinae) and the molecular basis underlying their adaptations to underground life remain poorly understood. Here, we inferred the phylogenomic relationships among these subfamilies based on de novo sequencing the genome of the hoary bamboo rat (Rhizomys pruinosus). Analyses showed that ~50% of the identified 11 028 one-to-one orthologous protein-coding genes and the concatenated sequences of these orthologous genes strongly supported a sister relationship between Myospalacinae and Rhizomyinae. The three subfamilies diversified from each other within ~2 million years. Compared with the non-subterranean controls with similar divergence dates, the spalacids shared more convergent genes with the African subterranean mole-rats at the genomic scale due to more rapid protein sequence evolution. Furthermore, these convergent genes were enriched in the functional categories of carboxylic acid transport, vascular morphogenesis, and response to oxidative stress, which are closely associated with adaptations to the hypoxic-hypercapnic underground environment. Our study presents a well-supported phylogenomic relationship among the three subfamilies of Spalacidae and offers new insights into the molecular adaptations of spalacids living underground.
The highly speciose gekkonid genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 is polyphyletic, with three distantly related and geographically isolated clades from Africa, South Asia (SA), and Southeast Asia. At present, there are 85 known species within SA Cnemaspis, although the number continues to increase rapidly with focused surveys and rigorous taxonomic work. Recent studies have provided valuable insights into the diversity and evolutionary history of SA Cnemaspis; however, most of these studies lack sufficient sampling in the Western Ghats (WG), where the genus has its greatest diversity. We addressed this research gap by conducting extensive sampling across the WG and re-examining museum specimens, thus providing a systematic account of various extant Cnemaspis species along with their distribution and natural history. We described 12 new species and a southern WG endemic clade of SA Cnemaspis. Ten of the newly described species are endemic to the forests of the southern WG. We also identified 10 well-supported subclades that can be separated across morphological, geographic, and phylogenetic axes. A time-calibrated phylogeny and ancestral area reconstructions confirmed the Paleocene origin of SA Cnemaspis in the WG and provide insights into its evolutionary history and biogeography. The discovery of multiple endemic and deeply divergent lineages further highlights the evolutionary significance of the WG for lizards.
The Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) is emerging as an important experimental animal in multiple fields of biomedical research. Comprehensive reference genome annotation for both mRNA and long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) is crucial for developing animal models using this species. In the current study, we collected a total of 234 high-quality RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets and two long-read isoform sequencing (ISO-seq) datasets and improved the annotation of our previously assembled high-quality chromosome-level tree shrew genome. We obtained a total of 3 514 newly annotated coding genes and 50 576 lncRNA genes. We also characterized the tissue-specific expression patterns and alternative splicing patterns of mRNAs and lncRNAs and mapped the orthologous relationships among 11 mammalian species using the current annotated genome. We identified 144 tree shrew-specific gene families, including interleukin 6 (IL6) and STT3 oligosaccharyltransferase complex catalytic subunit B (STT3B), which underwent significant changes in size. Comparison of the overall expression patterns in tissues and pathways across four species (human, rhesus monkey, tree shrew, and mouse) indicated that tree shrews are more similar to primates than to mice at the tissue-transcriptome level. Notably, the newly annotated purine rich element binding protein A (PURA) gene and the STT3B gene family showed dysregulation upon viral infection. The updated version of the tree shrew genome annotation (KIZ version 3: TS_3.0) is available at http://www.treeshrewdb.org and provides an essential reference for basic and biomedical studies using tree shrew animal models.
The Chantecler chicken, a unique Canadian indigenous breed, is well adapted to extremely cold environments. However, its genetic characteristics have not been well studied. Here, we analyzed the whole genomes of 10 Chantecler chickens and 121 worldwide chickens, which indicated that Chantecler chickens were derived from commercial chickens and exhibit a high level of inbreeding. Based on a genome-wide scan, we identified two vital candidate regions containing ME3 and ZNF536, which are related to fat metabolism and nervous system in cold adaptation, respectively. We also found that the genetic mechanism of cold adaptation in Chantecler chickens differed from that of chickens from other cold regions, such as northern China. Our study indicated that specialized commercial chickens in the early 20th century contained sufficient genetic diversity to adapt to extreme cold environments over a very short time. These findings enrich our understanding of the adaptive potential of commercial species.
SOX9 (SRY-related HMG box gene 9) is an essential regulator of male sex determination and testis differentiation in many vertebrate species. However, the functional role of Sox9 in testis differentiation has not yet been identified in any reptilian species. Herein, Sox9 knockdown in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) embryos at a male-producing temperature led to complete male-to-female sex reversal, characterized by the formation of an ovary-like structure, disappearance of male marker AMH, and ectopic expression of ovarian regulator FOXL2, as well as a female distribution pattern of germ cells. Conversely, in-ovo overexpression of Sox9 at a female-producing temperature resulted in partial masculinization of putative female embryos, with the co-existence of AMH and FOXL2. Our study provides the first direct evidence that Sox9 is indispensable for testicular differentiation in a reptilian species, further confirming the conserved role of Sox9 in vertebrate sexual development.
We report a new species of the genus Micryletta from the montane evergreen forest in the Bidoup-Nui Ba National Park, Lam Dong Province, Langbian Plateau, southern Vietnam, based on molecular and morphological evidence. The new species is diagnosed by a combination of the following morphological characters: body size small (snout-vent length (SVL) 22.4 mm, single female); iris uniform black; snout nearly truncate in dorsal view, slightly rounded in profile; tibiotarsal articulation of adpressed limb reaching level of eye; dorsal surface smooth; supratympanic fold present, prominent; outer metatarsal tubercle absent; tips of toes very weakly dilated into small discs; finger webbing absent, toe webbing rudimentary; dorsal surfaces of head and body orange-red with small irregularly shaped dark-brown patches; dorsal surface of limbs pale dark brown with small reddish speckles; body flanks dark brown anteriorly fading to grayish brown posteriorly with brown spots in groin area; lateral sides of head immaculate blackish brown without white patches; coloration of ventral surfaces immaculate dark gray. The new species is divergent from all other congeners in 16S rRNA gene sequences (2.6%–5.8%). Following the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, we propose the new species be listed as Data Deficient (DD).
The small-eared shrew genus Cryptotis is the third largest in the family Soricidae and occurs in North, Central, and northern South America. In Mexico and Central and South America, most species inhabit geographically isolated moist, montane habitats at middle and high elevations in a typical sky-island pattern. The 49 recognized species have been partitioned into as many as six species groups based on morphological and molecular phylogenetic studies. The relationships among these species groups are poorly resolved, and their evolutionary histories, including migration patterns and locomotor adaptations, remain unclear. Herein, we provide a new phylogeny incorporating complete mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) and supermatrix approach. We compared different evolutionary scenarios using approximately unbiased (AU), Kishino-Hasegawa (KH), and Shimodaira-Hasegawa (SH) statistical tests. The phylogenetic hypothesis based on mitogenomes revealed novel relationships supporting a basal position for the Cryptotis parvus-group in the genus, and a close relationship between C. gracilis and one clade of the C. thomasi-group. The former relationship is consistent with the least derived humerus morphology and northern distribution of the species. The latter relationship implies multiple migrations between Central and South America. The lack of fine resolution for the species group relationships may be due partly to the lack of taxon sampling. In contrast, multi-approach analyses suggest that the unresolved relationships may be a result of rapid diversification during the early stages of Cryptotis evolution.
Oxygen is an essential molecule for animal respiration, growth, and survival. Unlike in terrestrial environments, contamination and climate change have led to the frequent occurrence of hypoxia in aquatic environments, thus impacting aquatic animal survival. However, the adaptative mechanisms underlying fish responses to environmental hypoxia remain largely unknown. Here, we used large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea) and large yellow croaker fry (LYCF) cells to investigate the roles of the Hif-1α/Hsf1/Hsp70 signaling pathway in the regulation of cellular redox homeostasis, and apoptosis. We confirmed that hypoxia induced the expression of Hif-1α, Hsf1, and Hsp70 in vivo and in vitro. Genetic Hsp70 knockdown/overexpression indicated that Hsp70 was required for maintaining redox homeostasis and resisting oxidative stress in LYCF cells under hypoxic stress. Hsp70 inhibited caspase-dependent intrinsic apoptosis by maintaining normal mitochondrial membrane potential, enhancing Bcl-2 mRNA and protein expression, inhibiting Bax and caspase3 mRNA expression, and suppressing caspase-3 and caspase-9 activation. Hsp70 suppressed caspase-independent intrinsic apoptosis by inhibiting nuclear translocation of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and disturbed extrinsic apoptosis by inactivating caspase-8. Genetic knockdown/overexpression of Hif-1α and dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated that Hif-1α activated the Hsf1 DNA promoter and enhanced Hsf1 mRNA transcription. Hsf1 enhanced Hsp70 mRNA transcription in a similar manner. In summary, the Hif-1α/Hsf1/Hsp70 signaling pathway plays an important role in regulating redox homeostasis and anti-apoptosis in L. crocea under hypoxic stress.
The pygmy marmoset, the smallest of the anthropoid primates, has a broad distribution in Western Amazonia. Recent studies using molecular and morphological data have identified two distinct species separated by the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers. However, reconciling this new biological evidence with current taxonomy, i.e., two subspecies, Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea (Spix, 1823) and Cebuella pygmaea niveiventris (Lönnberg, 1940), was problematic given the uncertainty as to whether Spix’s pygmy marmoset (Cebuella pygmaea pygmaea) was collected north or south of the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers, making it unclear to which of the two newly revealed species the name pygmaea would apply. Here, we present the first molecular data from Spix’s type specimen of Cebuella pygmaea, as well as novel mitochondrial genomes from modern pygmy marmosets sampled near the type locality (Tabatinga) on both sides of the river. With these data, we can confirm the correct names of the two species identified, i.e., C. pygmaea for animals north of the Napo and Solimões-Amazonas rivers and C. niveiventris for animals south of these two rivers. Phylogenetic analyses of the novel genetic data placed into the context of cytochrome b gene sequences from across the range of pygmy marmosets further led us to re-evaluate the geographical distribution for the two Cebuella species. We dated the split of these two species to 2.54 million years ago. We discuss additional, more recent, subdivisions within each lineage, as well as potential contact zones between the two species in the headwaters of these rivers.
Salamanders are unique among tetrapods in their ability to regenerate the limbs throughout life. Like other poikilothermic amphibians, salamanders also show a remarkable capacity to survive long periods of starvation. Whether the physiological reserves necessary for tissue regeneration are preserved or sacrificed in starved salamanders is unknown. In the current study, we maintained Iberian ribbed newts (Pleurodeles waltl) under extreme physiological stress to assess the extent of regeneration and identify the molecular and cellular changes that may occur under such conditions. After 19 months of complete food deprivation, the animals exhibited extensive morphological and physiological adaptations but remained behaviorally active and vigilant. Autophagy was elevated in different tissues and the transformed gut microbiota indicated remodeling of the intestinal tract related to autophagy. Upon limb amputation in animals starved for 21 months, regeneration proceeded with progenitor cell proliferation and migration, leading to limb blastema formation. However, limb outgrowth and patterning were substantially attenuated. Blockage of autophagy inhibited cell proliferation and blastema formation in starved animals, but not in fed animals. Hence, tissue autophagy and the regenerative response were tightly coupled only when animals were under stress. Our results demonstrate that under adverse conditions, salamanders can exploit alternative strategies to secure blastema formation for limb regeneration.

Vol 42, No 5 (18 September 2021)

Indexed by SCI-E

2020 影响因子 4.56

5/175 Zoology (Q1)

2021 Journal Citation Reports®

双月刊, 始于 1980

主编: Yong-Gang Yao

ISSN 2095-8137

CN 53-1229/Q

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