Basic Life Science Research Associate, Biology
An Intrinsically Disordered Region of the DNA Repair Protein Nbs1 Is a Species-Specific Barrier to Herpes Simplex Virus 1 in Primates.
Cell host & microbe
2016; 20 (2): 178-188
Humans occasionally transmit herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) to captive primates, who reciprocally harbor alphaherpesviruses poised for zoonotic transmission to humans. To understand the basis for the species-specific restriction of HSV-1 in primates, we simulated what might happen during the cross-species transmission of HSV-1 and found that the DNA repair protein Nbs1 from only some primate species is able to promote HSV-1 infection. The Nbs1 homologs that promote HSV-1 infection also interact with the HSV-1 ICP0 protein. ICP0 interaction mapped to a region of structural disorder in the Nbs1 protein. Chimeras reversing patterns of disorder in Nbs1 reversed titers of HSV-1 produced in the cell. By extending this analysis to 1,237 virus-interacting mammalian proteins, we show that proteins that interact with viruses are highly enriched in disorder, suggesting that viruses commonly interact with host proteins through intrinsically disordered domains.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chom.2016.07.003
View details for PubMedID 27512903
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4982468
Comorbid Analysis of Genes Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders Reveals Differential Evolutionary Constraints
2016; 11 (7)
The burden of comorbidity in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is substantial. The symptoms of autism overlap with many other human conditions, reflecting common molecular pathologies suggesting that cross-disorder analysis will help prioritize autism gene candidates. Genes in the intersection between autism and related conditions may represent nonspecific indicators of dysregulation while genes unique to autism may play a more causal role. Thorough literature review allowed us to extract 125 ICD-9 codes comorbid to ASD that we mapped to 30 specific human disorders. In the present work, we performed an automated extraction of genes associated with ASD and its comorbid disorders, and found 1031 genes involved in ASD, among which 262 are involved in ASD only, with the remaining 779 involved in ASD and at least one comorbid disorder. A pathway analysis revealed 13 pathways not involved in any other comorbid disorders and therefore unique to ASD, all associated with basal cellular functions. These pathways differ from the pathways associated with both ASD and its comorbid conditions, with the latter being more specific to neural function. To determine whether the sequence of these genes have been subjected to differential evolutionary constraints, we studied long term constraints by looking into Genomic Evolutionary Rate Profiling, and showed that genes involved in several comorbid disorders seem to have undergone more purifying selection than the genes involved in ASD only. This result was corroborated by a higher dN/dS ratio for genes unique to ASD as compare to those that are shared between ASD and its comorbid disorders. Short-term evolutionary constraints showed the same trend as the pN/pS ratio indicates that genes unique to ASD were under significantly less evolutionary constraint than the genes associated with all other disorders.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0157937
View details for Web of Science ID 000379579500015
View details for PubMedID 27414027
Viruses are a dominant driver of protein adaptation in mammals
Viruses interact with hundreds to thousands of proteins in mammals, yet adaptation against viruses has only been studied in a few proteins specialized in antiviral defense. Whether adaptation to viruses typically involves only specialized antiviral proteins or affects a broad array of virus-interacting proteins is unknown. Here, we analyze adaptation in ~1300 virus-interacting proteins manually curated from a set of 9900 proteins conserved in all sequenced mammalian genomes. We show that viruses (i) use the more evolutionarily constrained proteins within the cellular functions they interact with and that (ii) despite this high constraint, virus-interacting proteins account for a high proportion of all protein adaptation in humans and other mammals. Adaptation is elevated in virus-interacting proteins across all functional categories, including both immune and non-immune functions. We conservatively estimate that viruses have driven close to 30% of all adaptive amino acid changes in the part of the human proteome conserved within mammals. Our results suggest that viruses are one of the most dominant drivers of evolutionary change across mammalian and human proteomes.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.12469
View details for Web of Science ID 000376921100001
View details for PubMedID 27187613
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4869911
Exploring the occurrence of classic selective sweeps in humans using whole-genome sequencing data sets.
Molecular biology and evolution
2014; 31 (7): 1850-1868
Genome-wide scans for selection have identified multiple regions of the human genome as being targeted by positive selection. However, only a small proportion has been replicated across studies, and the prevalence of positive selection as a mechanism of adaptive change in humans remains controversial. Here we explore the power of two haplotype-based statistics--the integrated haplotype score (iHS) and the Derived Intraallelic Nucleotide Diversity (DIND) test--in the context of next-generation sequencing data, and evaluate their robustness to demography and other selection modes. We show that these statistics are both powerful for the detection of recent positive selection, regardless of population history, and robust to variation in coverage, with DIND being insensitive to very low coverage. We apply these statistics to whole-genome sequence data sets from the 1000 Genomes Project and Complete Genomics. We found that putative targets of selection were highly significantly enriched in genic and nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms, and that DIND was more powerful than iHS in the context of small sample sizes, low-quality genotype calling, or poor coverage. As we excluded genomic confounders and alternative selection models, such as background selection, the observed enrichment attests to the action of recent, strong positive selection. Further support to the adaptive significance of these genomic regions came from their enrichment in functional variants detected by genome-wide association studies, informing the relationship between past selection and current benign and disease-related phenotypic variation. Our results indicate that hard sweeps targeting low-frequency standing variation have played a moderate, albeit significant, role in recent human evolution.
View details for DOI 10.1093/molbev/msu118
View details for PubMedID 24694833
Genome-wide signals of positive selection in human evolution.
2014; 24 (6): 885-895
The role of positive selection in human evolution remains controversial. On the one hand, scans for positive selection have identified hundreds of candidate loci, and the genome-wide patterns of polymorphism show signatures consistent with frequent positive selection. On the other hand, recent studies have argued that many of the candidate loci are false positives and that most genome-wide signatures of adaptation are in fact due to reduction of neutral diversity by linked deleterious mutations, known as background selection. Here we analyze human polymorphism data from the 1000 Genomes Project and detect signatures of positive selection once we correct for the effects of background selection. We show that levels of neutral polymorphism are lower near amino acid substitutions, with the strongest reduction observed specifically near functionally consequential amino acid substitutions. Furthermore, amino acid substitutions are associated with signatures of recent adaptation that should not be generated by background selection, such as unusually long and frequent haplotypes and specific distortions in the site frequency spectrum. We use forward simulations to argue that the observed signatures require a high rate of strongly adaptive substitutions near amino acid changes. We further demonstrate that the observed signatures of positive selection correlate better with the presence of regulatory sequences, as predicted by the ENCODE Project Consortium, than with the positions of amino acid substitutions. Our results suggest that adaptation was frequent in human evolution and provide support for the hypothesis of King and Wilson that adaptive divergence is primarily driven by regulatory changes.
View details for DOI 10.1101/gr.164822.113
View details for PubMedID 24619126