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Friday, July 19, 2019

Antigenic variation in the lyme spirochete: Insights into recombinational switching with a suggested role for error-prone repair.

The Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, uses antigenic variation as a strategy to evade the host’s acquired immune response. New variants of surface-localized VlsE are generated efficiently by unidirectional recombination from 15 unexpressed vls cassettes into the vlsE locus. Using algorithms to analyze switching from vlsE sequencing data, we characterize a population of over 45,000 inferred recombination events generated during mouse infection. We present evidence for clustering of these recombination events within the population and along the vlsE gene, a role for the direct repeats flanking the variable region in vlsE, and the importance of sequence homology in determining the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

A Borrelia burgdorferi mini-vls system that undergoes antigenic switching in mice: investigation of the role of plasmid topology and the long inverted repeat.

Borrelia burgdorferi evades the host immune system by switching the surface antigen. VlsE, in a process known as antigenic variation. The DNA mechanisms and genetic elements present on the vls locus that participate in the switching process remain to be elucidated. Manipulating the vls locus has been difficult due to its instability on Escherichia coli plasmids. In this study, we generated for the first time a mini-vls system composed of a single silent vlsE variable region (silent cassette 2) through the vlsE gene by performing some cloning steps directly in a highly transformable B. burgdorferi strain. Variants of the mini…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Accelerated ex situ breeding of GBSS- and PTST1-edited cassava for modified starch.

Crop diversification required to meet demands for food security and industrial use is often challenged by breeding time and amenability of varieties to genome modification. Cassava is one such crop. Grown for its large starch-rich storage roots, it serves as a staple food and a commodity in the multibillion-dollar starch industry. Starch is composed of the glucose polymers amylopectin and amylose, with the latter strongly influencing the physicochemical properties of starch during cooking and processing. We demonstrate that CRISPR-Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein 9)-mediated targeted mutagenesis of two genes involved in amylose biosynthesis, PROTEIN TARGETING TO STARCH…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Advances in DNA sequencing technologies for high resolution HLA typing.

This communication describes our experience in large-scale G group-level high resolution HLA typing using three different DNA sequencing platforms – ABI 3730 xl, Illumina MiSeq and PacBio RS II. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies, so-called next generation sequencing (NGS), have brought breakthroughs in deciphering the genetic information in all living species at a large scale and at an affordable level. The NGS DNA indexing system allows sequencing multiple genes for large number of individuals in a single run. Our laboratory has adopted and used these technologies for HLA molecular testing services. We found that each sequencing technology has its…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Enhancing the detection of barcoded reads in high throughput DNA sequencing data by controlling the false discovery rate.

DNA barcodes are short unique sequences used to label DNA or RNA-derived samples in multiplexed deep sequencing experiments. During the demultiplexing step, barcodes must be detected and their position identified. In some cases (e.g., with PacBio SMRT), the position of the barcode and DNA context is not well defined. Many reads start inside the genomic insert so that adjacent primers might be missed. The matter is further complicated by coincidental similarities between barcode sequences and reference DNA. Therefore, a robust strategy is required in order to detect barcoded reads and avoid a large number of false positives or negatives.For mass…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Next-generation polyploid phylogenetics: rapid resolution of hybrid polyploid complexes using PacBio single-molecule sequencing.

Difficulties in generating nuclear data for polyploids have impeded phylogenetic study of these groups. We describe a high-throughput protocol and an associated bioinformatics pipeline (Pipeline for Untangling Reticulate Complexes (Purc)) that is able to generate these data quickly and conveniently, and demonstrate its efficacy on accessions from the fern family Cystopteridaceae. We conclude with a demonstration of the downstream utility of these data by inferring a multi-labeled species tree for a subset of our accessions. We amplified four c. 1-kb-long nuclear loci and sequenced them in a parallel-tagged amplicon sequencing approach using the PacBio platform. Purc infers the final sequences…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Prevalence and molecular characterization of mcr-1-positive Salmonella strains recovered from clinical specimens in China.

The recently discovered colistin resistance element, mcr-1, adds to the list of antimicrobial resistance genes that rapidly erode the antimicrobial efficacy of not only the commonly used antibiotics but also the last-line agents of carbapenems and colistin. This study investigated the prevalence of the mobile colistin resistance determinant mcr-1 in Salmonella strains recovered from clinical settings in China and the transmission potential of mcr-1-bearing mobile elements harbored by such isolates. The mcr-1 gene was recoverable in 1.4% of clinical isolates tested, with the majority of them belonging to Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium. These isolates exhibited diverse pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Mistranslation can enhance fitness through purging of deleterious mutations.

Phenotypic mutations are amino acid changes caused by mistranslation. How phenotypic mutations affect the adaptive evolution of new protein functions is unknown. Here we evolve the antibiotic resistance protein TEM-1 towards resistance on the antibiotic cefotaxime in an Escherichia coli strain with a high mistranslation rate. TEM-1 populations evolved in such strains endow host cells with a general growth advantage, not only on cefotaxime but also on several other antibiotics that ancestral TEM-1 had been unable to deactivate. High-throughput sequencing of TEM-1 populations shows that this advantage is associated with a lower incidence of weakly deleterious genotypic mutations. Our observations…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Complete genome of a panresistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain, isolated from a patient with respiratory failure in a Canadian community hospital.

We report here the complete genome sequence of a panresistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain, isolated from a patient with respiratory failure in Canada. No carbapenemase genes were identified. Carbapenem resistance is attributable to a frameshift in the oprD gene; the basis for colistin resistance remains undetermined. Copyright © 2017 Xiong et al.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Evolutionary origin of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec).

Several lines of evidence indicate that the most primitive staphylococcal species, those of the Staphylococcus sciuri group, were involved in the first stages of evolution of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), the genetic element carrying the ß-lactam resistance gene mecA However, many steps are still missing from this evolutionary history. In particular, it is not known how mecA was incorporated into the mobile element SCC prior to dissemination among Staphylococcus aureus and other pathogenic staphylococcal species. To gain insights into the possible contribution of several species of the Staphylococcus sciuri group to the assembly of SCCmec, we sequenced the…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

MHC class I diversity in chimpanzees and bonobos.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes are critically involved in the defense against intracellular pathogens. MHC diversity comparisons among samples of closely related taxa may reveal traces of past or ongoing selective processes. The bonobo and chimpanzee are the closest living evolutionary relatives of humans and last shared a common ancestor some 1 mya. However, little is known concerning MHC class I diversity in bonobos or in central chimpanzees, the most numerous and genetically diverse chimpanzee subspecies. Here, we used a long-read sequencing technology (PacBio) to sequence the classical MHC class I genes A, B, C, and A-like in…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Designing robust watermark barcodes for multiplex long-read sequencing.

To attain acceptable sample misassignment rates, current approaches to multiplex single-molecule real-time sequencing require upstream quality improvement, which is obtained from multiple passes over the sequenced insert and significantly reduces the effective read length. In order to fully exploit the raw read length on multiplex applications, robust barcodes capable of dealing with the full single-pass error rates are needed.We present a method for designing sequencing barcodes that can withstand a large number of insertion, deletion and substitution errors and are suitable for use in multiplex single-molecule real-time sequencing. The manuscript focuses on the design of barcodes for full-length single-pass reads,…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Generation of a collection of mutant tomato lines using pooled CRISPR libraries.

The high efficiency of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-mediated mutagenesis in plants enables the development of high-throughput mutagenesis strategies. By transforming pooled CRISPR libraries into tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), collections of mutant lines were generated with minimal transformation attempts and in a relatively short period of time. Identification of the targeted gene(s) was easily determined by sequencing the incorporated guide RNA(s) in the primary transgenic events. From a single transformation with a CRISPR library targeting the immunity-associated leucine-rich repeat subfamily XII genes, heritable mutations were recovered in 15 of the 54 genes targeted. To increase throughput, a second CRISPR…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Archetype JC polyomavirus prevails in a rare case of JC polyomavirus nephropathy and in stable renal transplant recipients with JC polyomavirus viruria.

JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is reactivated in approximately 20% of renal transplant recipients and it may rarely cause JCPyV-associated nephropathy (JCPyVAN). Whereas progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy of the brain is caused by rearranged neurotropic JCPyV, little is known about viral sequence variation in JCPyVAN due to the rarity of this condition.Using single-molecule real-time sequencing, characterization of full-length JCPyV genomes from urine and plasma of one JCPyVAN patient and twenty stable renal transplant recipients with JCPyV viruria was attempted. Sequence analysis of JCPyV strains was performed with the emphasis on the NCCR region, the major capsid protein gene VP1 and the large T…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Filling reference gaps via assembling DNA barcodes using high-throughput sequencing-moving toward barcoding the world.

Over the past decade, biodiversity researchers have dedicated tremendous efforts to constructing DNA reference barcodes for rapid species registration and identification. Although analytical cost for standard DNA barcoding has been significantly reduced since early 2000, further dramatic reduction in barcoding costs is unlikely because Sanger sequencing is approaching its limits in throughput and chemistry cost. Constraints in barcoding cost not only led to unbalanced barcoding efforts around the globe, but also prevented high-throughput sequencing (HTS)-based taxonomic identification from applying binomial species names, which provide crucial linkages to biological knowledge. We developed an Illumina-based pipeline, HIFI-Barcode, to produce full-length Cytochrome c…

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