June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT Sequencing solutions for plant genomes and transcriptomes

Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing provides efficient, streamlined solutions to address new frontiers in plant genomes and transcriptomes. Inherent challenges presented by highly repetitive, low-complexity regions and duplication events are directly addressed with multi- kilobase read lengths exceeding 8.5 kb on average, with many exceeding 20 kb. Differentiating between transcript isoforms that are difficult to resolve with short-read technologies is also now possible. We present solutions available for both reference genome and transcriptome research that best leverage long reads in several plant projects including algae, Arabidopsis, rice, and spinach using only the PacBio platform. Benefits for these applications are further realized with consistent use of size-selection of input sample using the BluePippin™ device from Sage Science. We will share highlights from our genome projects using the latest P5- C3 chemistry to generate high-quality reference genomes with the highest contiguity, contig N50 exceeding 1 Mb, and average base quality of QV50. Additionally, the value of long, intact reads to provide a no-assembly approach to investigate transcript isoforms using our Iso-Seq protocol will be presented for full transcriptome characterization and targeted surveys of genes with complex structures. PacBio provides the most comprehensive assembly with annotation when combining offerings for both genome and transcriptome research efforts. For more focused investigation, PacBio also offers researchers opportunities to easily investigate and survey genes with complex structures.


June 1, 2021  |  

Diploid genome assembly and comprehensive haplotype sequence reconstruction

Outside of the simplest cases (haploid, bacteria, or inbreds), genomic information is not carried in a single reference per individual, but rather has higher ploidy (n=>2) for almost all organisms. The existence of two or more highly related sequences within an individual makes it extremely difficult to build high quality, highly contiguous genome assemblies from short DNA fragments. Based on the earlier work on a polyploidy aware assembler, FALCON ( https://github.com/PacificBiosciences/FALCON) , we developed new algorithms and software (“FALCON-unzip”) for de novo haplotype reconstructions from SMRT Sequencing data. We generate two datasets for developing the algorithms and the prototype software: (1) whole genome sequencing data from a highly repetitive diploid fungal (Clavicorona pyxidata) and (2) whole genome sequencing data from an F1 hybrid from two inbred Arabidopsis strains: Cvi-0 and Col-0. For the fungal genome, we achieved an N50 of 1.53 Mb (of the 1n assembly contigs) of the ~42 Mb 1n genome and an N50 of the haplotigs (haplotype specific contigs) of 872 kb from a 95X read length N50 ~16 kb dataset. We found that ~ 45% of the genome was highly heterozygous and ~55% of the genome was highly homozygous. We developed methods to assess the base-level accuracy and local haplotype phasing accuracy of the assembly with short-read data from the Illumina® platform. For the ArabidopsisF1 hybrid genome, we found that 80% of the genome could be separated into haplotigs. The long range accuracy of phasing haplotigs was evaluated by comparing them to the assemblies from the two inbred parental lines. We show that a more complete view of all haplotypes could provide useful biological insights through improved annotation, characterization of heterozygous variants of all sizes, and resolution of differential allele expression. The current Falcon-Unzip method will lead to understand how to solve more difficult polyploid genome assembly problems and improve the computational efficiency for large genome assemblies. Based on this work, we can develop a pipeline enabling routinely assemble diploid or polyploid genomes as haplotigs, representing a comprehensive view of the genomes that can be studied with the information at hand.


June 1, 2021  |  

Phased diploid genome assembly with single-molecule real-time sequencing

While genome assembly projects have been successful in many haploid and inbred species, the assembly of non-inbred or rearranged heterozygous genomes remains a major challenge. To address this challenge, we introduce the open-source FALCON and FALCON-Unzip algorithms (https://github.com/PacificBiosciences/FALCON/) to assemble long-read sequencing data into highly accurate, contiguous, and correctly phased diploid genomes. We generate new reference sequences for heterozygous samples including an F1 hybrid of Arabidopsis thaliana, the widely cultivated Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon, and the coral fungus Clavicorona pyxidata, samples that have challenged short-read assembly approaches. The FALCON-based assemblies are substantially more contiguous and complete than alternate short- or long-read approaches. The phased diploid assembly enabled the study of haplotype structure and heterozygosities between homologous chromosomes, including the identification of widespread heterozygous structural variation within coding sequences.


April 21, 2020  |  

SyRI: identification of syntenic and rearranged regions from whole-genome assemblies

We present SyRI, an efficient tool for genome-wide identification of structural rearrangements (SR) from genome graphs, which are built up from pair-wise whole-genome alignments. Instead of searching for differences, SyRI starts by finding all co-linear regions between the genomes. As all remaining regions are SRs by definition, they can be classified as inversions, translocations, or duplications based on their positions in convoluted networks of repetitive alignments. Finally, SyRI reports local variations like SNPs and indels within syntenic and rearranged regions. We show SyRItextquoterights broad applicability to multiple species and genetically validate the presence of ~100 translocations identified in Arabidopsis.


April 21, 2020  |  

Mobilization of Pack-CACTA transposons in Arabidopsis suggests the mechanism of gene shuffling.

Pack-TYPE transposons are a unique class of potentially mobile non-autonomous elements that can capture, merge and relocate fragments of chromosomal DNA. It has been postulated that their activity accelerates the evolution of host genes. However, this important presumption is based only on the sequences of currently inactive Pack-TYPE transposons and the acquisition of chromosomal DNA has not been recorded in real time. Analysing the DNA copy number variation in hypomethylated Arabidopsis lines, we have now for the first time witnessed the mobilization of novel Pack-TYPE elements related to the CACTA transposon family, over several plant generations. Remarkably, these elements can insert into genes as closely spaced direct repeats and they frequently undergo incomplete excisions, resulting in the deletion of one of the end sequences. These properties suggest a mechanism of efficient acquisition of genic DNA residing between neighbouring Pack-TYPE transposons and its subsequent mobilization. Our work documents crucial steps in the formation of in vivo novel Pack-TYPE transposons, and thus the possible mechanism of gene shuffling mediated by this type of mobile element. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Adaptation and Phenotypic Diversification in Arabidopsis through Loss-of-Function Mutations in Protein-Coding Genes.

According to the less-is-more hypothesis, gene loss is an engine for evolutionary change. Loss-of-function (LoF) mutations resulting in the natural knockout of protein-coding genes not only provide information about gene function but also play important roles in adaptation and phenotypic diversification. Although the less-is-more hypothesis was proposed two decades ago, it remains to be explored on a large scale. In this study, we identified 60,819 LoF variants in 1071 Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genomes and found that 34% of Arabidopsis protein-coding genes annotated in the Columbia-0 genome do not have any LoF variants. We found that nucleotide diversity, transposable element density, and gene family size are strongly correlated with the presence of LoF variants. Intriguingly, 0.9% of LoF variants with minor allele frequency larger than 0.5% are associated with climate change. In addition, in the Yangtze River basin population, 1% of genes with LoF mutations were under positive selection, providing important insights into the contribution of LoF mutations to adaptation. In particular, our results demonstrate that LoF mutations shape diverse phenotypic traits. Overall, our results highlight the importance of the LoF variants for the adaptation and phenotypic diversification of plants. © 2019 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Differential retention of transposable element-derived sequences in outcrossing Arabidopsis genomes.

Transposable elements (TEs) are genomic parasites with major impacts on host genome architecture and host adaptation. A proper evaluation of their evolutionary significance has been hampered by the paucity of short scale phylogenetic comparisons between closely related species. Here, we characterized the dynamics of TE accumulation at the micro-evolutionary scale by comparing two closely related plant species, Arabidopsis lyrata and A. halleri.Joint genome annotation in these two outcrossing species confirmed that both contain two distinct populations of TEs with either ‘recent’ or ‘old’ insertion histories. Identification of rare segregating insertions suggests that diverse TE families contribute to the ongoing dynamics of TE accumulation in the two species. Orthologous TE fragments (i.e. those that have been maintained in both species), tend to be located closer to genes than those that are retained in one species only. Compared to non-orthologous TE insertions, those that are orthologous tend to produce fewer short interfering RNAs, are less heavily methylated when found within or adjacent to genes and these tend to have lower expression levels. These findings suggest that long-term retention of TE insertions reflects their frequent acquisition of adaptive roles and/or the deleterious effects of removing nearly neutral TE insertions when they are close to genes.Our results indicate a rapid evolutionary dynamics of the TE landscape in these two outcrossing species, with an important input of a diverse set of new insertions with variable propensity to resist deletion.


October 23, 2019  |  

Endogenous sequence patterns predispose the repair modes of CRISPR/Cas9-induced DNA double-stranded breaks in Arabidopsis thaliana.

The possibility to predict the outcome of targeted DNA double-stranded break (DSB) repair would be desirable for genome editing. Furthermore the consequences of mis-repair of potentially cell-lethal DSBs and the underlying pathways are not yet fully understood. Here we study the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9-induced mutation spectra at three selected endogenous loci in Arabidopsis thaliana by deep sequencing of long amplicon libraries. Notably, we found sequence-dependent genomic features that affected the DNA repair outcome. Deletions of 1-bp to <1000-bp size and/or very short insertions, deletions >1 kbp (all due to NHEJ) and deletions combined with insertions between 5-bp to >100 bp [caused by a synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SDSA)-like mechanism] occurred most frequently at all three loci. The appearance of single-stranded annealing events depends on the presence and distance between repeats flanking the DSB. The frequency and size of insertions is increased if a sequence with high similarity to the target site was available in cis. Most deletions were linked to pre-existing microhomology. Deletion and/or insertion mutations were blunt-end ligated or via de novo generated microhomology. While most mutation types and, to some degree, their predictability are comparable with animal systems, the broad range of deletion mutations seems to be a peculiar feature of the plant A. thaliana.© 2017 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

cDNA library enrichment of full length transcripts for SMRT long read sequencing.

The utility of genome assemblies does not only rely on the quality of the assembled genome sequence, but also on the quality of the gene annotations. The Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq technology is a powerful support for accurate eukaryotic gene model annotation as it allows for direct readout of full-length cDNA sequences without the need for noisy short read-based transcript assembly. We propose the implementation of the TeloPrime Full Length cDNA Amplification kit to the Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq technology in order to enrich for genuine full-length transcripts in the cDNA libraries. We provide evidence that TeloPrime outperforms the commonly used SMARTer PCR cDNA Synthesis Kit in identifying transcription start and end sites in Arabidopsis thaliana. Furthermore, we show that TeloPrime-based Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq can be successfully applied to the polyploid genome of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) not only to efficiently annotate gene models, but also to identify novel transcription sites, gene homeologs, splicing isoforms and previously unidentified gene loci.


September 22, 2019  |  

Proteogenomic analysis reveals alternative splicing and translation as part of the abscisic acid response in Arabidopsis seedlings.

In eukaryotes, mechanisms such as alternative splicing (AS) and alternative translation initiation (ATI) contribute to organismal protein diversity. Specifically, splicing factors play crucial roles in responses to environment and development cues; however, the underlying mechanisms are not well investigated in plants. Here, we report the parallel employment of short-read RNA sequencing, single molecule long-read sequencing and proteomic identification to unravel AS isoforms and previously unannotated proteins in response to abscisic acid (ABA) treatment. Combining the data from the two sequencing methods, approximately 83.4% of intron-containing genes were alternatively spliced. Two AS types, which are referred to as alternative first exon (AFE) and alternative last exon (ALE), were more abundant than intron retention (IR); however, by contrast to AS events detected under normal conditions, differentially expressed AS isoforms were more likely to be translated. ABA extensively affects the AS pattern, indicated by the increasing number of non-conventional splicing sites. This work also identified thousands of unannotated peptides and proteins by ATI based on mass spectrometry and a virtual peptide library deduced from both strands of coding regions within the Arabidopsis genome. The results enhance our understanding of AS and alternative translation mechanisms under normal conditions, and in response to ABA treatment.© 2017 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-resolution expression map of the Arabidopsis root reveals alternative splicing and lincRNA regulation.

The extent to which alternative splicing and long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) contribute to the specialized functions of cells within an organ is poorly understood. We generated a comprehensive dataset of gene expression from individual cell types of the Arabidopsis root. Comparisons across cell types revealed that alternative splicing tends to remove parts of coding regions from a longer, major isoform, providing evidence for a progressive mechanism of splicing. Cell-type-specific intron retention suggested a possible origin for this common form of alternative splicing. Coordinated alternative splicing across developmental stages pointed to a role in regulating differentiation. Consistent with this hypothesis, distinct isoforms of a transcription factor were shown to control developmental transitions. lincRNAs were generally lowly expressed at the level of individual cell types, but co-expression clusters provided clues as to their function. Our results highlight insights gained from analysis of expression at the level of individual cell types. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

The microbiome of the leaf surface of Arabidopsis protects against a fungal pathogen.

We have explored the importance of the phyllosphere microbiome in plant resistance in the cuticle mutants bdg (BODYGUARD) or lacs2.3 (LONG CHAIN FATTY ACID SYNTHASE 2) that are strongly resistant to the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The study includes infection of plants under sterile conditions, 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of the phyllosphere microbiome, and isolation and high coverage sequencing of bacteria from the phyllosphere. When inoculated under sterile conditions bdg became as susceptible as wild-type (WT) plants whereas lacs2.3 mutants retained the resistance. Adding washes of its phyllosphere microbiome could restore the resistance of bdg mutants, whereas the resistance of lacs2.3 results from endogenous mechanisms. The phyllosphere microbiome showed distinct populations in WT plants compared to cuticle mutants. One species identified as Pseudomonas sp isolated from the microbiome of bdg provided resistance to B. cinerea on Arabidopsis thaliana as well as on apple fruits. No direct activity was observed against B. cinerea and the action of the bacterium required the plant. Thus, microbes present on the plant surface contribute to the resistance to B. cinerea. These results open new perspectives on the function of the leaf microbiome in the protection of plants.© 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

DNA N6-adenine methylation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

DNA methylation on N6-adenine (6mA) has recently been found to be a potentially epigenetic mark in several unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes. However, its distribution patterns and potential functions in land plants, which are primary producers for most ecosystems, remain largely unknown. Here we report global profiling of 6mA sites at single-nucleotide resolution in the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana at different developmental stages using single-molecule real-time sequencing. 6mA sites are widely distributed across the Arabidopsis genome and enriched over the pericentromeric heterochromatin regions. 6mA occurs more frequently in gene bodies than intergenic regions. Analysis of 6mA methylomes and RNA sequencing data demonstrates that 6mA frequency positively correlates with the gene expression level and the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth in Arabidopsis. Our results uncover 6mA as a DNA mark associated with actively expressed genes in Arabidopsis, suggesting that 6mA serves as a hitherto unknown epigenetic mark in land plants. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Phenotypic diversification by enhanced genome restructuring after induction of multiple DNA double-strand breaks.

DNA double-strand break (DSB)-mediated genome rearrangements are assumed to provide diverse raw genetic materials enabling accelerated adaptive evolution; however, it remains unclear about the consequences of massive simultaneous DSB formation in cells and their resulting phenotypic impact. Here, we establish an artificial genome-restructuring technology by conditionally introducing multiple genomic DSBs in vivo using a temperature-dependent endonuclease TaqI. Application in yeast and Arabidopsis thaliana generates strains with phenotypes, including improved ethanol production from xylose at higher temperature and increased plant biomass, that are stably inherited to offspring after multiple passages. High-throughput genome resequencing revealed that these strains harbor diverse rearrangements, including copy number variations, translocations in retrotransposons, and direct end-joinings at TaqI-cleavage sites. Furthermore, large-scale rearrangements occur frequently in diploid yeasts (28.1%) and tetraploid plants (46.3%), whereas haploid yeasts and diploid plants undergo minimal rearrangement. This genome-restructuring system (TAQing system) will enable rapid genome breeding and aid genome-evolution studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Correcting palindromes in long reads after whole-genome amplification.

Next-generation sequencing requires sufficient DNA to be available. If limited, whole-genome amplification is applied to generate additional amounts of DNA. Such amplification often results in many chimeric DNA fragments, in particular artificial palindromic sequences, which limit the usefulness of long sequencing reads.Here, we present Pacasus, a tool for correcting such errors. Two datasets show that it markedly improves read mapping and de novo assembly, yielding results similar to these that would be obtained with non-amplified DNA.With Pacasus long-read technologies become available for sequencing targets with very small amounts of DNA, such as single cells or even single chromosomes.


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