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All Publications

  • Isolation, Library Preparation, and Bioinformatic Analysis of Historical and Ancient Plant DNA. Current protocols in plant biology Latorre, S. M., Lang, P. L., Burbano, H. A., Gutaker, R. M. 2020; 5 (4): e20121


    The ability to sequence DNA retrieved from ancient and historical material plays a crucial role in reinforcing evolutionary and anthropological inference. While the focus of the field is largely on analyzing DNA from ancient hominids and other animals, we have also learned from plant ancient DNA (aDNA), in particular, about human farming practices, crop domestication, environment management, species invasion, and adaptation to various environmental conditions. In the following protocols, we outline best practices for plant aDNA isolation, preparation for sequencing, bioinformatic processing, and authentication. We describe the process all the way from processing of archaeological or historical plant material to characterizing and authenticating sequencing reads. In alternative protocols, we include modifications to this process that are tailored to strongly degraded DNA. Throughout, we stress the importance of precautionary measures to successfully analyze aDNA. Finally, we discuss the evolution of the archaeogenomics field and the development of new methods, which both shaped this protocol. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: Isolation of aDNA Alternate Protocol 1: Isolation of ultra-short DNA (Dabney modification) Support Protocol 1: Preparation of PTB-based mix Support Protocol 2: Preparation of binding buffer Basic Protocol 2: Preparation of genomic libraries Alternate Protocol 2: Preparation of genomic libraries with uracil removal Basic Protocol 3: Bioinformatic processing and authentication of aDNA.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/cppb.20121

    View details for PubMedID 33211414

  • Hybridization ddRAD-sequencing for population genomics of non-model plants using highly degraded historical specimen DNA. Molecular ecology resources Lang, P. L., Weiß, C. L., Kersten, S. n., Latorre, S. M., Nagel, S. n., Nickel, B. n., Meyer, M. n., Burbano, H. A. 2020


    Species' responses at the genetic level are key to understanding the long-term consequences of anthropogenic global change. Herbaria document such responses, and, with contemporary sampling, provide high-resolution time-series of plant evolutionary change. Characterizing genetic diversity is straightforward for model species with small genomes and a reference sequence. For non-model species - with small or large genomes - diversity is traditionally assessed using restriction-enzyme based sequencing. However, age-related DNA damage and fragmentation preclude the use of this approach for ancient herbarium DNA. Here, we combine reduced representation sequencing and hybridization-capture to overcome this challenge and efficiently compare contemporary and historical specimens. Specifically, we describe how homemade DNA baits can be produced from reduced representation libraries of fresh samples, and used to efficiently enrich historical libraries for the same fraction of the genome to produce compatible sets of sequence data from both types of material. Applying this approach to both Arabidopsis thaliana and the non-model plant Cardamine bulbifera, we discovered polymorphisms de novo in an unbiased, reference-free manner. We show that the recovered genetic variation recapitulates known genetic diversity in A. thaliana, and recovers geographic origin in both species and over time, independent of bait diversity. Hence, our method enables fast, cost-efficient, large-scale integration of contemporary and historical specimens for assessment of genome-wide genetic trends over time, independent of genome size and presence of a reference genome.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/1755-0998.13168

    View details for PubMedID 32306514

  • Natural selection on the Arabidopsis thaliana genome in present and future climates NATURE Exposito-Alonso, M., Burbano, H. A., Bossdorf, O., Nielsen, R., Weigel, D., Exposito-Alonso, M., Gomez Rodriguez, R., Barragan, C., Capovilla, G., Chae, E., Devos, J., Dogan, E. S., Friedemann, C., Gross, C., Lang, P., Lundberg, D., Middendorf, V., Kageyama, J., Karasov, T., Kersten, S., Petersen, S., Rabbani, L., Regalado, J., Reinelt, L., Rowan, B., Seymour, D. K., Symeonidi, E., Schwab, R., Diep Thi Ngoc Tran, Venkataramani, K., Van de Weyer, A., Vasseur, F., Wang, G., Wedegartner, R., Weiss, F., Wu, R., Xi, W., Zaidem, M., Zhu, W., Garcia-Arenal, F., Burbano, H. A., Bossdorf, O., Weigel, D., 500 Genomes Field Expt Team 2019; 573 (7772): 126-+


    Through the lens of evolution, climate change is an agent of natural selection that forces populations to change and adapt, or face extinction. However, current assessments of the risk of biodiversity associated with climate change1 do not typically take into account how natural selection influences populations differently depending on their genetic makeup2. Here we make use of the extensive genome information that is available for Arabidopsis thaliana and measure how manipulation of the amount of rainfall affected the fitness of 517 natural Arabidopsis lines that were grown in Spain and Germany. This allowed us to directly infer selection along the genome3. Natural selection was particularly strong in the hot-dry location in Spain, where 63% of lines were killed and where natural selection substantially changed the frequency of approximately 5% of all genome-wide variants. A significant portion of this climate-driven natural selection of variants was predictable from signatures of local adaptation (R2 = 29-52%), as genetic variants that were found in geographical areas with climates more similar to the experimental sites were positively selected. Field-validated predictions across the species range indicated that Mediterranean and western Siberian populations-at the edges of the environmental limits of this species-currently experience the strongest climate-driven selection. With more frequent droughts and rising temperatures in Europe4, we forecast an increase in directional natural selection moving northwards from the southern end of Europe, putting many native A. thaliana populations at evolutionary risk.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1520-9

    View details for Web of Science ID 000483967700047

    View details for PubMedID 31462776

  • RST1 and RIPR connect the cytosolic RNA exosome to the Ski complex in Arabidopsis NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Lange, H., Ndecky, S. A., Gomez-Diaz, C., Pflieger, D., Butel, N., Zumsteg, J., Kuhn, L., Piermaria, C., Chicher, J., Christie, M., Karaaslan, E. S., Lang, P. M., Weigel, D., Vaucheret, H., Hammann, P., Gagliardi, D. 2019; 10: 3871


    The RNA exosome is a key 3'-5' exoribonuclease with an evolutionarily conserved structure and function. Its cytosolic functions require the co-factors SKI7 and the Ski complex. Here we demonstrate by co-purification experiments that the ARM-repeat protein RESURRECTION1 (RST1) and RST1 INTERACTING PROTEIN (RIPR) connect the cytosolic Arabidopsis RNA exosome to the Ski complex. rst1 and ripr mutants accumulate RNA quality control siRNAs (rqc-siRNAs) produced by the post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) machinery when mRNA degradation is compromised. The small RNA populations observed in rst1 and ripr mutants are also detected in mutants lacking the RRP45B/CER7 core exosome subunit. Thus, molecular and genetic evidence supports a physical and functional link between RST1, RIPR and the RNA exosome. Our data reveal the existence of additional cytosolic exosome co-factors besides the known Ski subunits. RST1 is not restricted to plants, as homologues with a similar domain architecture but unknown function exist in animals, including humans.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-11807-4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000482711500005

    View details for PubMedID 31455787

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6711988

  • Using herbaria to study global environmental change NEW PHYTOLOGIST Lang, P. M., Willems, F. M., Scheepens, J. F., Burbano, H. A., Bossdorf, O. 2019; 221 (1): 110–22


    During the last centuries, humans have transformed global ecosystems. With their temporal dimension, herbaria provide the otherwise scarce long-term data crucial for tracking ecological and evolutionary changes over this period of intense global change. The sheer size of herbaria, together with their increasing digitization and the possibility of sequencing DNA from the preserved plant material, makes them invaluable resources for understanding ecological and evolutionary species' responses to global environmental change. Following the chronology of global change, we highlight how herbaria can inform about long-term effects on plants of at least four of the main drivers of global change: pollution, habitat change, climate change and invasive species. We summarize how herbarium specimens so far have been used in global change research, discuss future opportunities and challenges posed by the nature of these data, and advocate for an intensified use of these 'windows into the past' for global change research and beyond.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/nph.15401

    View details for Web of Science ID 000451625800015

    View details for PubMedID 30160314

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6585664

  • A Role for the F-Box Protein HAWAIIAN SKIRT in Plant microRNA Function PLANT PHYSIOLOGY Lang, P. M., Christie, M. D., Dogan, E. S., Schwab, R., Hagmann, J., van de Weyer, A., Scacchi, E., Weigel, D. 2018; 176 (1): 730–41


    As regulators of gene expression in multicellular organisms, microRNAs (miRNAs) are crucial for growth and development. Although a plethora of factors involved in their biogenesis and action in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) has been described, these processes and their fine-tuning are not fully understood. Here, we used plants expressing an artificial miRNA target mimic (MIM) to screen for negative regulators of miR156. We identified a new mutant allele of the F-box gene HAWAIIAN SKIRT (HWS; At3G61590), hws-5, as a suppressor of the MIM156-induced developmental and molecular phenotypes. In hws plants, levels of some endogenous miRNAs are increased and their mRNA targets decreased. Plants constitutively expressing full-length HWS-but not a truncated version lacking the F-box domain-display morphological and molecular phenotypes resembling those of mutants defective in miRNA biogenesis and activity. In combination with such mutants, hws loses its delayed floral organ abscission ("skirt") phenotype, suggesting epistasis. Also, the hws transcriptome profile partially resembles those of well-known miRNA mutants hyl1-2, se-3, and ago1-27, pointing to a role in a common pathway. We thus propose HWS as a novel, F-box dependent factor involved in miRNA function.

    View details for DOI 10.1104/pp.17.01313

    View details for Web of Science ID 000419675300057

    View details for PubMedID 29114080

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5761791

  • KH domain protein RCF3 is a tissue-biased regulator of the plant miRNA biogenesis cofactor HYL1 PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Karlsson, P., Christie, M., Seymour, D. K., Wang, H., Wang, X., Hagmann, J., Kulcheski, F., Andres Manavella, P. 2015; 112 (45): 14096–101


    The biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate mRNA abundance through posttranscriptional silencing, comprises multiple well-orchestrated processing steps. We have identified the Arabidopsis thaliana K homology (KH) domain protein REGULATOR OF CBF GENE EXPRESSION 3 (RCF3) as a cofactor affecting miRNA biogenesis in specific plant tissues. MiRNA and miRNA-target levels were reduced in apex-enriched samples of rcf3 mutants, but not in other tissues. Mechanistically, RCF3 affects miRNA biogenesis through nuclear interactions with the phosphatases C-TERMINAL DOMAIN PHOSPHATASE-LIKE1 and 2 (CPL1 and CPL2). These interactions are essential to regulate the phosphorylation status, and thus the activity, of the double-stranded RNA binding protein and DICER-LIKE1 (DCL1) cofactor HYPONASTIC LEAVES1 (HYL1).

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1512865112

    View details for Web of Science ID 000364470300091

    View details for PubMedID 26512101

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4653147

  • THO2, a core member of the THO/TREX complex, is required for microRNA production in Arabidopsis PLANT JOURNAL Francisco-Mangilet, A. G., Karlsson, P., Kim, M., Eo, H., Oh, S., Kim, J., Kulcheski, F., Park, S., Andres Manavella, P. 2015; 82 (6): 1018–29


    The THO/TREX complex mediates transport of nascent mRNAs from the nucleus towards the cytoplasm in animals, and has a role in small interfering RNA-dependent processes in plants. Here we describe five mutant alleles of Arabidopsis thaliana THO2, which encodes a core subunit of the plant THO/TREX complex. tho2 mutants present strong developmental defects resembling those in plants compromised in microRNA (miRNA) activity. In agreement, not only were the levels of siRNAs reduced in tho2 mutants, but also those of mature miRNAs. As a consequence, a feedback mechanism is triggered, increasing the amount of miRNA precursors, and finally causing accumulation of miRNA-targeted mRNAs. Yeast two-hybrid experiments and confocal microscopy showed that THO2 does not appear to interact with any of the known miRNA biogenesis components, but rather with the splicing machinery, implying an indirect role of THO2 in small RNA biogenesis. Using an RNA immunoprecipitation approach, we found that THO2 interacts with miRNA precursors, and that tho2 mutants fail to recruit such precursors into the miRNA-processing complex, explaining the reduction in miRNA production in this mutant background. We also detected alterations in the splicing pattern of genes encoding serine/arginine-rich proteins in tho2 mutants, supporting a previously unappreciated role of the THO/TREX complex in alternative splicing.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/tpj.12874

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356089900010

    View details for PubMedID 25976549