October 29, 2021  |  

Resolving Complex Pathogenic Alleles using HiFi Long-Range Amplicon Data and a New Clustering Algorithm

Many genetic diseases are mapped to structurally complex loci. These regions contain highly similar paralogous alleles (>99% identity) that span kilobases within the human genome. Comprehensive screening for pathogenic variants is incomplete and labor intensive using short-reads or optical mapping. In contrast, long-range amplification and PacBio HiFi sequencing fully and directly resolve and phase a wide range of pathogenic variants without inference. To capitalize on the accuracy of HiFi data we designed a new amplicon analysis tool, pbAA. pbAA can rapidly deconvolve a mixture of haplotypes, enabling precise diplotyping, and disease allele classification. 


September 7, 2021  |  

Resolving Complex Pathogenic Alleles using HiFi Long-Range Amplicon Data and a New Clustering Algorithm

Many genetic diseases are mapped to structurally complex loci. These regions contain highly similar paralogous alleles (>99% identity) that span kilobases within the human genome. Comprehensive screening for pathogenic variants is incomplete and labor intensive using short-reads or optical mapping. In contrast, long-range amplification and PacBio HiFi sequencing fully and directly resolve and phase a wide range of pathogenic variants without inference. To capitalize on the accuracy of HiFi data we designed a new amplicon analysis tool, pbAA. pbAA can rapidly deconvolve a mixture of haplotypes, enabling precise diplotyping, and disease allele classification. 


August 19, 2021  |  

Infographic: A brief history of microbiology

Our understanding of microbiology has evolved enormously over the last 150 years. Few institutions have witnessed our collective progress more closely than the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). In fact, the collection itself is a record of the many milestones microbiologists have crossed, building on the discoveries of those who came before. To date, 60% of NCTC’s historic collection now has a closed, finished reference genome, thanks to PacBio Single Molecule, Real- Time (SMRT) Sequencing. We are excited to be their partner in crossing this latest milestone on their quest to improve human and animal health by understanding the microscopic world.


August 19, 2021  |  

Case Study: Sequencing an historic bacterial collection for the future

The UK’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) is a unique collection of more than 5,000 expertly preserved and authenticated bacterial cultures, many of historical significance. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest established collection of its type anywhere in the world, with a history of its own that has reflected — and contributed to — the evolution of microbiology for more than 100 years.


June 1, 2021  |  

Complete microbial genomes, epigenomes, and transcriptomes using long-read PacBio Sequencing.

For comprehensive metabolic reconstructions and a resulting understanding of the pathways leading to natural products, it is desirable to obtain complete information about the genetic blueprint of the organisms used. Traditional Sanger and next-generation, short-read sequencing technologies have shortcomings with respect to read lengths and DNA-sequence context bias, leading to fragmented and incomplete genome information. The development of long-read, single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing from Pacific Biosciences, with >10,000 bp average read lengths and a lack of sequence context bias, now allows for the generation of complete genomes in a fully automated workflow. In addition to the genome sequence, DNA methylation is characterized in the process of sequencing. PacBio® sequencing has also been applied to microbial transcriptomes. Long reads enable sequencing of full-length cDNAs allowing for identification of complete gene and operon sequences without the need for transcript assembly. We will highlight several examples where these capabilities have been leveraged in the areas of industrial microbiology, including biocommodities, biofuels, bioremediation, new bacteria with potential commercial applications, antibiotic discovery, and livestock/plant microbiome interactions.


April 9, 2021  |  

Creating Core Demand with HiFi Sequencing

In this video, Dave Miller from PacBio and Alvaro Hernandez PhD from the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign discuss how to create Core Lab demand using PacBio highly accurate long-read,…


April 21, 2020  |  

Tracking short-term changes in the genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance of OXA-232-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST14 in clinical settings.

To track stepwise changes in genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance in rapidly evolving OXA-232-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST14, an emerging carbapenem-resistant high-risk clone, in clinical settings.Twenty-six K. pneumoniae ST14 isolates were collected by the Korean Nationwide Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance system over the course of 1 year. Isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequencing and MIC determinations using 33 antibiotics from 14 classes.Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing identified 72 unique SNP sites spanning the chromosomes of the isolates, dividing them into three clusters (I, II and III). The initial isolate possessed two plasmids with 18 antibiotic-resistance genes, including blaOXA-232, and exhibited resistance to 11 antibiotic classes. Four other plasmids containing 12 different resistance genes, including blaCTX-M-15 and strA/B, were introduced over time, providing additional resistance to aztreonam and streptomycin. Moreover, chromosomal integration of insertion sequence Ecp1-blaCTX-M-15 mediated the inactivation of mgrB responsible for colistin resistance in four isolates from cluster III. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first description of K. pneumoniae ST14 resistant to both carbapenem and colistin in South Korea. Furthermore, although some acquired genes were lost over time, the retention of 12 resistance genes and inactivation of mgrB provided resistance to 13 classes of antibiotics.We describe stepwise changes in OXA-232-producing K. pneumoniae ST14 in vivo over time in terms of antimicrobial resistance. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the evolution of emerging high-risk K. pneumoniae clones and provide reference data for future outbreaks.Copyright © 2019 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potent LpxC Inhibitors with In Vitro Activity Against Multi-Drug Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

New drugs with novel mechanisms of resistance are desperately needed to address both community and nosocomial infections due to Gram-negative bacteria. One such potential target is LpxC, an essential enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step of Lipid A biosynthesis. Achaogen conducted an extensive research campaign to discover novel LpxC inhibitors with activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa We report here the in vitro antibacterial activity and pharmacodynamics of ACHN-975, the only molecule from these efforts and the first ever LpxC inhibitor to be evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials. In addition, we describe the profile of three additional LpxC inhibitors that were identified as potential lead molecules. These efforts did not produce an additional development candidate with a sufficiently large therapeutic window and the program was subsequently terminated.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a 72-kb cointegrant, conjugative multiresistance plasmid from early community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates.

Horizontal transfer of plasmids encoding antimicrobial-resistance and virulence determinants has been instrumental in Staphylococcus aureus evolution, including the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). In the early 1990s the first CA-MRSA isolated in Western Australia (WA), WA-5, encoded cadmium, tetracycline and penicillin-resistance genes on plasmid pWBG753 (~30 kb). WA-5 and pWBG753 appeared only briefly in WA, however, fusidic-acid-resistance plasmids related to pWBG753 were also present in the first European CA-MRSA at the time. Here we characterized a 72-kb conjugative plasmid pWBG731 present in multiresistant WA-5-like clones from the same period. pWBG731 was a cointegrant formed from pWBG753 and a pWBG749-family conjugative plasmid. pWBG731 carried mupirocin, trimethoprim, cadmium and penicillin-resistance genes. The stepwise evolution of pWBG731 likely occurred through the combined actions of IS257, IS257-dependent miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and the BinL resolution system of the ß-lactamase transposon Tn552 An evolutionary intermediate ~42-kb non-conjugative plasmid pWBG715, possessed the same resistance genes as pWBG731 but retained an integrated copy of the small tetracycline-resistance plasmid pT181. IS257 likely facilitated replacement of pT181 with conjugation genes on pWBG731, thus enabling autonomous transfer. Like conjugative plasmid pWBG749, pWBG731 also mobilized non-conjugative plasmids carrying oriT mimics. It seems likely that pWBG731 represents the product of multiple recombination events between the WA-5 pWBG753 plasmid and other mobile genetic elements present in indigenous CA-MSSA. The molecular evolution of pWBG731 saliently illustrates how diverse mobile genetic elements can together facilitate rapid accrual and horizontal dissemination of multiresistance in S. aureus CA-MRSA.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

An Outbreak of KPC-Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae Linked with an Index Case of Community-Acquired KPC-Producing Isolate: Epidemiological Investigation and Whole Genome Sequencing Analysis.

Aims: A hospital outbreak of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPN) linked with an index case of community-acquired infection occurred in an urban tertiary care hospital in Seoul, South Korea. Therefore, we performed an outbreak investigation and whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis to trace the outbreak and investigate the molecular characteristics of the isolates. Results: From October 2014 to January 2015, we identified a cluster of three patients in the neurosurgery ward with sputum cultures positive for carbapenem-resistant KPN. An epidemiological investigation, including pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis was performed to trace the origins of this outbreak. The index patient’s infection was community acquired. Active surveillance cultures using perirectal swabbing from exposed patients, identified one additional patient with KPC-producing KPN colonization. WGS analyses using PacBio RSII instruments were performed for four linked isolates. WGS revealed a genetic linkage of the four isolates belonging to the same sequence type (ST307). All KPN isolates harbored conjugative resistance plasmids, which has blaKPC-2 carbapenemase genes contained within the Tn4401 “a” isoform and other resistance genes. However, WGS showed only three isolates among four KPC-producing KPN were originated from a common origin. Conclusions: This report demonstrates the challenge that KPC-2-producing KPN with the conjugative resistance plasmid may spread not only in hospitals but also in community, and WGS can help to accurately characterize the outbreak.


April 21, 2020  |  

ASA3P: An automatic and scalable pipeline for the assembly, annotation and higher level analysis of closely related bacterial isolates

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria has become daily routine in many fields. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and continuously dropping costs have resulted in a tremendous increase in the amounts of available sequence data. However, comprehensive in-depth analysis of the resulting data remains an arduous and time consuming task. In order to keep pace with these promising but challenging developments and to transform raw data into valuable information, standardized analyses and scalable software tools are needed. Here, we introduce ASA3P, a fully automatic, locally executable and scalable assembly, annotation and analysis pipeline for bacterial genomes. The pipeline automatically executes necessary data processing steps, i.e. quality clipping and assembly of raw sequencing reads, scaffolding of contigs and annotation of the resulting genome sequences. Furthermore, ASA3P conducts comprehensive genome characterizations and analyses, e.g. taxonomic classification, detection of antibiotic resistance genes and identification of virulence factors. All results are presented via an HTML5 user interface providing aggregated information, interactive visualizations and access to intermediate results in standard bioinformatics file formats. We distribute ASA3P in two versions: a locally executable Docker container for small-to-medium-scale projects and an OpenStack based cloud computing version able to automatically create and manage self-scaling compute clusters. Thus, automatic and standardized analysis of hundreds of bacterial genomes becomes feasible within hours. The software and further information is available at: http://asap.computational.bio.


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