Doctor of Philosophy, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2018)
Joseph Wu, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
MitoTrace: A Computational Framework for Analyzing Mitochondrial Variation in Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Data.
2023; 14 (6)
Genetic variation in the mitochondrial genome is linked to important biological functions and various human diseases. Recent progress in single-cell genomics has established single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) as a popular and powerful technique to profile transcriptomics at the cellular level. While most studies focus on deciphering gene expression, polymorphisms including mitochondrial variants can also be readily inferred from scRNAseq. However, limited attention has been paid to investigate the single-cell landscape of mitochondrial variants, despite the rapid accumulation of scRNAseq data in the community. In addition, a diploid context is assumed for most variant calling tools, which is not appropriate for mitochondrial heteroplasmies. Here, we introduce MitoTrace, an R package for the analysis of mitochondrial genetic variation in bulk and scRNAseq data. We applied MitoTrace to several publicly accessible data sets and demonstrated its ability to robustly recover genetic variants from scRNAseq data. We also validated the applicability of MitoTrace to scRNAseq data from diverse platforms. Overall, MitoTrace is a powerful and user-friendly tool to investigate mitochondrial variants from scRNAseq data.
View details for DOI 10.3390/genes14061222
View details for PubMedID 37372402
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10298143
Exercise reprograms the inflammatory landscape of multiple stem cell compartments during mammalian aging.
Cell stem cell
Exercise has the ability to rejuvenate stem cells and improve tissue regeneration in aging animals. However, the cellular and molecular changes elicited by exercise have not been systematically studied across a broad range of cell types in stem cell compartments. We subjected young and old mice to aerobic exercise and generated a single-cell transcriptomic atlas of muscle, neural, and hematopoietic stem cells with their niche cells and progeny, complemented by whole transcriptome analysis of single myofibers. We found that exercise ameliorated the upregulation of a number of inflammatory pathways associated with old age and restored aspects of intercellular communication mediated by immune cells within these stem cell compartments. Exercise has a profound impact on the composition and transcriptomic landscape of circulating and tissue-resident immune cells. Our study provides a comprehensive view of the coordinated responses of multiple aged stem cells and niche cells to exercise at the transcriptomic level.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2023.03.016
View details for PubMedID 37080206
Genomic Analysis of Amphioxus Reveals a Wide Range of Fragments Homologous to Viral Sequences.
2023; 15 (4)
Amphioxus species are considered living fossils and are important in the evolutionary study of chordates and vertebrates. To explore viral homologous sequences, a high-quality annotated genome of the Beihai amphioxus (Branchiostoma belcheri beihai) was examined using virus sequence queries. In this study, 347 homologous fragments (HFs) of viruses were identified in the genome of B. belcheri beihai, of which most were observed on 21 genome assembly scaffolds. HFs were preferentially located within protein-coding genes, particularly in their CDS regions and promoters. A range of amphioxus genes with a high frequency of HFs is proposed, including histone-related genes that are homologous to the Histone or Histone H2B domains of viruses. Together, this comprehensive analysis of viral HFs provides insights into the neglected role of viral integration in the evolution of amphioxus.
View details for DOI 10.3390/v15040909
View details for PubMedID 37112889
Endogenous Plasmids and Chromosomal Genome Reduction in the Cardinium Endosymbiont of Dermatophagoides farinae.
Cardinium bacteria are well known as endosymbionts that infect a wide range of arthropods and can manipulate host reproduction to promote their vertical transmission. As intracellular bacteria, Cardinium species undergo dramatic genome evolution, especially their chromosomal genome reduction. Although Cardinium plasmids have been reported to harbor important genes, the role of these plasmids in the genome evolution is yet to be fully understood. In this study, 2 genomes of Cardinium endosymbiont bacteria in astigmatic mites were de novo assembled, including the complete circular chromosomal genome of Cardinium sp. DF that was constructed in high quality using high-coverage long-read sequencing data. Intriguingly, 2 circular plasmids were assembled in Cardinium sp. DF and were identified to be endogenous for over 10 homologous genes shared with the chromosomal genome. Comparative genomics analysis illustrated an outline of the genome evolution of Cardinium bacteria, and the in-depth analysis of Cardinium sp. DF shed light on the multiple roles of endogenous plasmids in the molecular process of the chromosomal genome reduction. The endogenous plasmids of Cardinium sp. DF not only harbor massive homologous sequences that enable homologous recombination with the chromosome, but also can provide necessary functional proteins when the coding genes decayed in the chromosomal genome. IMPORTANCE As bacterial endosymbionts, Cardinium typically undergoes genome reduction, but the molecular process is still unclear, such as how plasmids get involved in chromosome reduction. Here, we de novo assembled 2 genomes of Cardinium in astigmatic mites, especially the chromosome of Cardinium sp. DF was assembled in a complete circular DNA using high-coverage long-read sequencing data. In the genome assembly of Cardinium sp. DF, 2 circular endogenous plasmids were identified to share at least 10 homologous genes with the chromosomal genome. In the comparative analysis, we identified a range of genes decayed in the chromosomal genome of Cardinium sp. DF but preserved in the 2 plasmids. Taken together with in-depth analyses, our results unveil that the endogenous plasmids harbor homologous sequences of chromosomal genome and can provide a structural basis of homologous recombination. Overall, this study reveals that endogenous plasmids participate in the ongoing chromosomal genome reduction of Cardinium sp. DF.
View details for DOI 10.1128/msphere.00074-23
View details for PubMedID 36939349
Comparative Genomics Reveals Insights into the Divergent Evolution of Astigmatic Mites and Household Pest Adaptations.
Molecular biology and evolution
2022; 39 (5)
Highly diversified astigmatic mites comprise many medically important human household pests such as house dust mites causing ∼1-2% of all allergic diseases globally; however, their evolutionary origin and diverse lifestyles including reversible parasitism have not been illustrated at the genomic level, which hampers allergy prevention and our exploration of these household pests. Using six high-quality assembled and annotated genomes, this study not only refuted the monophyly of mites and ticks, but also thoroughly explored the divergence of Acariformes and the diversification of astigmatic mites. In monophyletic Acariformes, Prostigmata known as notorious plant pests first evolved, and then rapidly evolving Astigmata diverged from soil oribatid mites. Within astigmatic mites, a wide range of gene families rapidly expanded via tandem gene duplications, including ionotropic glutamate receptors, triacylglycerol lipases, serine proteases and UDP glucuronosyltransferases. Gene diversification after tandem duplications provides many genetic resources for adaptation to sensing environmental signals, digestion, and detoxification in rapidly changing household environments. Many gene decay events only occurred in the skin-burrowing parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Throughout the evolution of Acariformes, massive horizontal gene transfer events occurred in gene families such as UDP glucuronosyltransferases and several important fungal cell wall lytic enzymes, which enable detoxification and digestive functions and provide perfect drug targets for pest control. This comparative study sheds light on the divergent evolution and quick adaptation to human household environments of astigmatic mites and provides insights into the genetic adaptations and even control of human household pests.
View details for DOI 10.1093/molbev/msac097
View details for PubMedID 35535514
Single-Cell RNA Sequencing (scRNA-seq) in Cardiac Tissue: Applications and Limitations.
Vascular health and risk management
2021; 17: 641-657
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the blood vessels and heart, which are considered as the leading causes of death worldwide. The pathology of CVDs could be related to the functional abnormalities of multiple cell types in the heart. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technology is a powerful method for characterizing individual cells and elucidating the molecular mechanisms by providing a high resolution of transcriptomic changes at the single-cell level. Specifically, scRNA-seq has provided novel insights into CVDs by identifying rare cardiac cell types, inferring the trajectory tree, estimating RNA velocity, elucidating the cell-cell communication, and comparing healthy and pathological heart samples. In this review, we summarize the different scRNA-seq platforms and published single-cell datasets in the cardiovascular field, and describe the utilities and limitations of this technology. Lastly, we discuss the future perspective of the application of scRNA-seq technology into cardiovascular research.
View details for DOI 10.2147/VHRM.S288090
View details for PubMedID 34629873
Endothelial-Myocardial Angiocrine Signaling in Heart Development.
Frontiers in cell and developmental biology
2021; 9: 697130
Vascular endothelial cells are a multifunctional cell type with organotypic specificity in their function and structure. In this review, we discuss various subpopulations of endothelial cells in the mammalian heart, which spatiotemporally regulate critical cellular and molecular processes of heart development via unique sets of angiocrine signaling pathways. In particular, elucidation of intercellular communication among the functional cell types in the developing heart has recently been accelerated by the use of single-cell sequencing. Specifically, we overview the heterogeneic nature of cardiac endothelial cells and their contribution to heart tube and chamber formation, myocardial trabeculation and compaction, and endocardial cushion and valve formation via angiocrine pathways.
View details for DOI 10.3389/fcell.2021.697130
View details for PubMedID 34277641
In silico analysis of proteins and microRNAs related to human African trypanosomiasis in tsetse fly
COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY
2020; 88: 107347
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, causes millions of deaths worldwide. HAT is primarily transmitted by the vector tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans). Early diagnosis remains a key objective for treating this disease. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are evolutionarily conserved small non-coding RNAs that play key roles in vector-borne diseases. To date, the roles of proteins and miRNAs in HAT disease have not been thoroughly elucidated. In this study, we have re-annotated the function of protein-coding genes and identified several miRNAs based on a series of bioinformatics tools. A batch of 81.1 % of tsetse fly proteins could be determined homology in mosquito genome, suggesting their probable similar mechanisms in vector-borne diseases. A set of 11 novel salivary proteins and 14 midgut proteins were observed in the tsetse fly, which could be applied to the development of vaccine candidates for the control of HAT disease. In addition, 35 novel miRNAs were identified, among which 10 miRNAs were found to be unique in tsetse fly. Pathway analysis of these 10 miRNAs indicated that targets of miR-15a-5p were significantly enriched in the HAT-related neurotrophin signaling pathway. Besides, topological analysis of the miRNA-gene network indicated that miR-619-5p and miR-2490-3p targeted several genes that respond to trypanosome infection, including thioester-containing protein Tep1 and heat shock protein Hsp60a. In conclusion, our work helps to elucidate the function of miRNAs in tsetse fly and establishes a foundation for further investigations into the molecular regulatory mechanisms of HAT disease.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.compbiolchem.2020.107347
View details for Web of Science ID 000591245400012
View details for PubMedID 32745971
Systematic Design of Drug Repurposing-Oriented Alzheimer’s Disease Ontology
2019 IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI)
View details for DOI 10.1109/ICHI.2019.8904505
- High-quality assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus genome and transcriptome reveals a wide range of novel allergens JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY 2018; 141 (6): 2268-2271
High-quality assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus genome and transcriptome reveals a wide range of novel allergens
MOSBY-ELSEVIER. 2018: AB286
View details for Web of Science ID 000429306700901