June 1, 2021  |  

Full-Length RNA-seq of Alzheimer brain on the PacBio Sequel II System

The PacBio Iso-Seq method produces high-quality, full-length transcripts and can characterize a whole transcriptome with a single SMRT Cell 8M. We sequenced an Alzheimer whole brain sample on a single SMRT Cell 8M on the Sequel II System. Using the Iso-Seq bioinformatics pipeline followed by SQANTI2 analysis, we detected 162,290 transcripts for 17,670 genes up to 14 kb in length. More than 60% of the transcripts are novel isoforms, the vast majority of which have supporting cage peak data and polyadenylation signals, demonstrating the utility of long-read sequencing for human disease research.

June 1, 2021  |  

A complete solution for full-length transcript sequencing using the PacBio Sequel II System

Long read mRNA sequencing methods such as PacBio’s Iso-Seq method offers high-throughput transcriptome profiling in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. By avoiding the transcript assembly problem and instead sequencing full-length cDNA, Iso-Seq has emerged as the most reliable technology for annotating isoforms and, in turn, improving proteome predictions in a wide variety of organisms. Improvements in library preparation, sequencing throughput, and bioinformatics has enabled the Iso-Seq method to be complete solution for transcript characterization. The Iso-Seq Express kit is a one-day library prep requiring 60-300 ng of total RNA. The PacBio Sequel II system produces 4-5 million full-length reads, sufficient to profile a whole human transcriptome. Finally, the SQANTI2 software is a powerful tool for categorizing the complex isoforms against reference annotations, while also incorporating orthogonal information such as CAGE peak data, public RNA-seq junction data, and ORF predictions.

September 22, 2019  |  

Gut microbiota, nitric oxide, and microglia as prerequisites for neurodegenerative disorders.

Regulating fluctuating endogenous nitric oxide (NO) levels is necessary for proper physiological functions. Aberrant NO pathways are implicated in a number of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease. The mechanism of NO in oxidative and nitrosative stress with pathological consequences involves reactions with reactive oxygen species (e.g., superoxide) to form the highly reactive peroxynitrite, hydrogen peroxide, hypochloride ions and hydroxyl radical. NO levels are typically regulated by endogenous nitric oxide synthases (NOS), and inflammatory iNOS is implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, in which elevated NO mediates axonal degeneration and activates cyclooxygenases to provoke neuroinflammation. NO also instigates a down-regulated secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is essential for neuronal survival, development and differentiation, synaptogenesis, and learning and memory. The gut-brain axis denotes communication between the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the GI tract and the central nervous system (CNS) of the brain, and the modes of communication include the vagus nerve, passive diffusion and carrier by oxyhemoglobin. Amyloid precursor protein that forms amyloid beta plaques in AD is normally expressed in the ENS by gut bacteria, but when amyloid beta accumulates, it compromises CNS functions. Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica are among the many bacterial strains that express and secrete amyloid proteins and contribute to AD pathogenesis. Gut microbiota is essential for regulating microglia maturation and activation, and activated microglia secrete significant amounts of iNOS. Pharmacological interventions and lifestyle modifications to rectify aberrant NO signaling in AD include NOS inhibitors, NMDA receptor antagonists, potassium channel modulators, probiotics, diet, and exercise.

September 22, 2019  |  

Somatic APP gene recombination in Alzheimer’s disease and normal neurons.

The diversity and complexity of the human brain are widely assumed to be encoded within a constant genome. Somatic gene recombination, which changes germline DNA sequences to increase molecular diversity, could theoretically alter this code but has not been documented in the brain, to our knowledge. Here we describe recombination of the Alzheimer’s disease-related gene APP, which encodes amyloid precursor protein, in human neurons, occurring mosaically as thousands of variant ‘genomic cDNAs’ (gencDNAs). gencDNAs lacked introns and ranged from full-length cDNA copies of expressed, brain-specific RNA splice variants to myriad smaller forms that contained intra-exonic junctions, insertions, deletions, and/or single nucleotide variations. DNA in situ hybridization identified gencDNAs within single neurons that were distinct from wild-type loci and absent from non-neuronal cells. Mechanistic studies supported neuronal ‘retro-insertion’ of RNA to produce gencDNAs; this process involved transcription, DNA breaks, reverse transcriptase activity, and age. Neurons from individuals with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease showed increased gencDNA diversity, including eleven mutations known to be associated with familial Alzheimer’s disease that were absent from healthy neurons. Neuronal gene recombination may allow ‘recording’ of neural activity for selective ‘playback’ of preferred gene variants whose expression bypasses splicing; this has implications for cellular diversity, learning and memory, plasticity, and diseases of the human brain.

September 22, 2019  |  

Relationship between Alzheimer’s disease-associated SNPs within the CLU gene, local DNA methylation and episodic verbal memory in healthy and schizophrenia subjects.

Genetic variation may impact on local DNA methylation patterns. Therefore, information about allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) within disease-related loci has been proposed to be useful for the interpretation of GWAS results. To explore mechanisms that may underlie associations between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia risk CLU gene and verbal memory, one of the most affected cognitive domains in both conditions, we studied DNA methylation in a region between AD-associated SNPs rs9331888 and rs9331896 in 72 healthy individuals and 73 schizophrenia patients. Using single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing we assessed the haplotype-dependent ASM in this region. We then investigated whether its methylation could influence episodic verbal memory measured with the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test in these two cohorts. The region showed a complex methylation pattern, which was similar in healthy and schizophrenia individuals and unrelated to haplotypes. The pattern predicted memory scores in controls. The results suggest that epigenetic modifications within the CLU locus may play a role in memory variation, independent of ASM. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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