Estienne C. Swart

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Despite comprising much of the eukaryotic genome, few transposons are active, and they usually confer no benefit to the host. Through an exaggerated process of genome rearrangement, Oxytricha trifallax destroys 95% of its germline genome during development. This includes the elimination of all transposon DNA. We show that germline-limited transposase genes(More)
The macronuclear genome of the ciliate Oxytricha trifallax displays an extreme and unique eukaryotic genome architecture with extensive genomic variation. During sexual genome development, the expressed, somatic macronuclear genome is whittled down to the genic portion of a small fraction (∼5%) of its precursor "silent" germline micronuclear genome by a(More)
In eukaryotes, small RNAs (sRNAs) have key roles in development, gene expression regulation, and genome integrity maintenance. In ciliates, such as Paramecium, sRNAs form the heart of an epigenetic system that has evolved from core eukaryotic gene silencing components to selectively target DNA for deletion. In Paramecium, somatic genome development from the(More)
Programmed DNA rearrangements in the single-celled eukaryote Oxytricha trifallax completely rewire its germline into a somatic nucleus during development. This elaborate, RNA-mediated pathway eliminates noncoding DNA sequences that interrupt gene loci and reorganizes the remaining fragments by inversions and permutations to produce functional genes. Here,(More)
Oxytricha trifallax - an established model organism for studying genome rearrangements, chromosome structure, scrambled genes, RNA-mediated epigenetic inheritance, and other phenomena - has been the subject of a nomenclature controversy for several years. Originally isolated as a sibling species of O. fallax, O. trifallax was reclassified in 1999 as(More)
Stylonychia lemnae is a classical model single-celled eukaryote, and a quintessential ciliate typified by dimorphic nuclei: A small, germline micronucleus and a massive, vegetative macronucleus. The genome within Stylonychia's macronucleus has a very unusual architecture, comprised variably and highly amplified "nanochromosomes," each usually encoding a(More)
We took advantage of the unusual genomic organization of the ciliate Oxytricha trifallax to screen for eukaryotic non-coding RNA (ncRNA) genes. Ciliates have two types of nuclei: a germ line micronucleus that is usually transcriptionally inactive, and a somatic macronucleus that contains a reduced, fragmented and rearranged genome that expresses all genes(More)
Ciliated protozoa are peculiar for their nuclear dimorphism, wherein two types of nuclei divide nuclear functions: a germline micronucleus (MIC) is transcriptionally inert during vegetative growth, but serves as the genetic blueprint for the somatic macronucleus (MAC), which is responsible for all transcripts supporting cell growth and reproduction. While(More)
During the development of the somatic genome from the Paramecium germline genome the bulk of the copies of ∼45 000 unique, internal eliminated sequences (IESs) are deleted. IES targeting is facilitated by two small RNA (sRNA) classes: scnRNAs, which relay epigenetic information from the parental nucleus to the developing nucleus, and iesRNAs, which are(More)
The Oxytricha trifallax mitochondrial genome contains the largest sequenced ciliate mitochondrial chromosome (~70 kb) plus a ~5-kb linear plasmid bearing mitochondrial telomeres. We identify two new ciliate split genes (rps3 and nad2) as well as four new mitochondrial genes (ribosomal small subunit protein genes: rps- 2, 7, 8, 10), previously undetected in(More)