July 19, 2019  |  

PacBio but not Illumina technology can achieve fast, accurate and complete closure of the high GC, complex Burkholderia pseudomallei two-chromosome genome

Although PacBio third-generation sequencers have improved the read lengths of genome sequencing which facilitates the assembly of complete genomes, no study has reported success in using PacBio data alone to completely sequence a two-chromosome bacterial genome from a single library in a single run. Previous studies using earlier versions of sequencing chemistries have at most been able to finish bacterial genomes containing only one chromosome with de novo assembly. In this study, we compared the robustness of PacBio RS II, using one SMRT cell and the latest P6-C4 chemistry, with Illumina HiSeq 1500 in sequencing the genome of Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium which contains two large circular chromosomes, very high G+C content of 68–69%, highly repetitive regions and substantial genomic diversity, and represents one of the largest and most complex bacterial genomes sequenced, using a reference genome generated by hybrid assembly using PacBio and Illumina datasets with subsequent manual validation. Results showed that PacBio data with de novo assembly, but not Illumina, was able to completely sequence the B. pseudomallei genome without any gaps or mis-assemblies. The two large contigs of the PacBio assembly aligned unambiguously to the reference genome, sharing >99.9% nucleotide identities. Conversely, Illumina data assembled using three different assemblers resulted in fragmented assemblies (201–366 contigs), sharing only 92.2–100% and 92.0–100% nucleotide identities to chromosomes I and II reference sequences, respectively, with no indication that the B. pseudomallei genome consisted of two chromosomes with four copies of ribosomal operons. Among all assemblies, the PacBio assembly recovered the highest number of core and virulence proteins, and housekeeping genes based on whole-genome multilocus sequence typing (wgMLST). Most notably, assembly solely based on PacBio outperformed even hybrid assembly using both PacBio and Illumina datasets. Hybrid approach generated only 74 contigs, while the PacBio data alone with de novo assembly achieved complete closure of the two-chromosome B. pseudomallei genome without additional costly bench work and further sequencing. PacBio RS II using P6-C4 chemistry is highly robust and cost-effective and should be the platform of choice in sequencing bacterial genomes, particularly for those that are well-known to be difficult-to-sequence.


July 19, 2019  |  

PacBio sequencing reveals transposable element as a key contributor to genomic plasticity and virulence variation in Magnaporthe oryzae.

The sustainable cultivation of rice, which serves as staple food crop for more than half of the world’s population, is under serious threat due to the huge yield losses inflicted by rice blast disease caused by the globally destructive fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (Pyricularia oryzae) (Dean et al., 2012, Nalley et al., 2016, Deng et al., 2017). This filamentous ascomycete fungus is also capable of causing blast infection on other economically important cereal crops, including wheat, millet, and barley, making it the world’s most important plant pathogenic fungus (Zhong et al., 2016). The advent of whole-genome sequencing technology and the subsequent deployment of next-generation sequencing (NGS) strategies have successfully generated genome assemblies for over 50 isolates of M. oryzae, which have played an instrumental role in enhancing our understanding of how rice blast fungus undertakes host adaptation, host specificity, and host range expansion to overcome host resistance (Dean et al., 2005, Xue et al., 2012, Wu et al., 2015, Zhang et al., 2016). However, research findings obtained from comparative genomic studies conducted using the NGS-assembled genome do not present an in-depth account of the genomic features that contribute to the prevailing genomic variations among M. oryzae species, because NGS assemblies are highly fragmented and lack most of the lineage-specific (LS) regions, which are more plastic than the core genome and enriched with repeats and effector proteins (Raffaele and Kamoun, 2012, Faino et al., 2016).


July 19, 2019  |  

Parkinson’s disease associated with pure ATXN10 repeat

Large, non-coding pentanucleotide repeat expansions of ATTCT in intron 9 of the ATXN10 gene typically cause progressive spinocerebellar ataxia with or without seizures and present neuropathologically with Purkinje cell loss resulting in symmetrical cerebellar atrophy. These ATXN10 repeat expansions can be interrupted by sequence motifs which have been attributed to seizures and are likely to act as genetic modifiers. We identified a Mexican kindred with multiple affected family members with ATXN10 expansions. Four affected family members showed clinical features of spinocerebellar ataxia type 10 (SCA10). However, one affected individual presented with early-onset levodopa-responsive parkinsonism, and one family member carried a large repeat ATXN10 expansion, but was clinically unaffected. To characterize the ATXN10 repeat, we used a novel technology of single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9-based capture. We sequenced the entire span of ~5.3–7.0kb repeat expansions. The Parkinson’s patient carried an ATXN10 expansion with no repeat interruption motifs as well as an unaffected sister. In the siblings with typical SCA10, we found a repeat pattern of ATTCC repeat motifs that have not been associated with seizures previously. Our data suggest that the absence of repeat interruptions is likely a genetic modifier for the clinical presentation of L-Dopa responsive parkinsonism, whereas repeat interruption motifs contribute clinically to epilepsy. Repeat interruptions are important genetic modifiers of the clinical phenotype in SCA10. Advanced sequencing techniques now allow to better characterize the underlying genetic architecture for determining accurate phenotype–genotype correlations.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read genome sequence assembly provides insight into ongoing retroviral invasion of the koala germline.

The koala retrovirus (KoRV) is implicated in several diseases affecting the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). KoRV provirus can be present in the genome of koalas as an endogenous retrovirus (present in all cells via germline integration) or as exogenous retrovirus responsible for somatic integrations of proviral KoRV (present in a limited number of cells). This ongoing invasion of the koala germline by KoRV provides a powerful opportunity to assess the viral strategies used by KoRV in an individual. Analysis of a high-quality genome sequence of a single koala revealed 133 KoRV integration sites. Most integrations contain full-length, endogenous provirus; KoRV-A subtype. The second most frequent integrations contain an endogenous recombinant element (recKoRV) in which most of the KoRV protein-coding region has been replaced with an ancient, endogenous retroelement. A third set of integrations, with very low sequence coverage, may represent somatic cell integrations of KoRV-A, KoRV-B and two recently designated additional subgroups, KoRV-D and KoRV-E. KoRV-D and KoRV-E are missing several genes required for viral processing, suggesting they have been transmitted as defective viruses. Our results represent the first comprehensive analyses of KoRV integration and variation in a single animal and provide further insights into the process of retroviral-host species interactions.


July 19, 2019  |  

Linking secondary metabolites to gene clusters through genome sequencing of six diverse Aspergillus species.

The fungal genus ofAspergillusis highly interesting, containing everything from industrial cell factories, model organisms, and human pathogens. In particular, this group has a prolific production of bioactive secondary metabolites (SMs). In this work, four diverseAspergillusspecies (A. campestris,A. novofumigatus,A. ochraceoroseus, andA. steynii) have been whole-genome PacBio sequenced to provide genetic references in threeAspergillussections.A. taichungensisandA. candidusalso were sequenced for SM elucidation. ThirteenAspergillusgenomes were analyzed with comparative genomics to determine phylogeny and genetic diversity, showing that each presented genome contains 15-27% genes not found in other sequenced Aspergilli. In particular,A. novofumigatuswas compared with the pathogenic speciesA. fumigatusThis suggests thatA. novofumigatuscan produce most of the same allergens, virulence, and pathogenicity factors asA. fumigatus, suggesting thatA. novofumigatuscould be as pathogenic asA. fumigatusFurthermore, SMs were linked to gene clusters based on biological and chemical knowledge and analysis, genome sequences, and predictive algorithms. We thus identify putative SM clusters for aflatoxin, chlorflavonin, and ochrindol inA. ochraceoroseus,A. campestris, andA. steynii, respectively, and novofumigatonin,ent-cycloechinulin, andepi-aszonalenins inA. novofumigatusOur study delivers six fungal genomes, showing the large diversity found in theAspergillusgenus; highlights the potential for discovery of beneficial or harmful SMs; and supports reports ofA. novofumigatuspathogenicity. It also shows how biological, biochemical, and genomic information can be combined to identify genes involved in the biosynthesis of specific SMs.


July 19, 2019  |  

Ultradeep single-molecule real-time sequencing of HIV envelope reveals complete compartmentalization of highly macrophage-tropic R5 proviral variants in brain and CXCR4-using variants in immune and peripheral tissues.

Despite combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV+ patients still develop neurological disorders, which may be due to persistent HIV infection and selective evolution in brain tissues. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology offers an improved opportunity to study the relationship among HIV isolates in the brain and lymphoid tissues because it is capable of generating thousands of long sequence reads in a single run. Here, we used SMRT sequencing to generate ~?50,000 high-quality full-length HIV envelope sequences (>?2200 bp) from seven autopsy tissues from an HIV+/cART+ subject, including three brain and four non-brain sites. Sanger sequencing was used for comparison with SMRT data and to clone functional pseudoviruses for in vitro tropism assays. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that brain-derived HIV was compartmentalized from HIV outside the brain and that the variants from each of the three brain tissues grouped independently. Variants from all peripheral tissues were intermixed on the tree but independent of the brain clades. Due to the large number of sequences, a clustering analysis at three similarity thresholds (99, 99.5, and 99.9%) was also performed. All brain sequences clustered exclusive of any non-brain sequences at all thresholds; however, frontal lobe sequences clustered independently of occipital and parietal lobes. Translated sequences revealed potentially functional differences between brain and non-brain sequences in the location of putative N-linked glycosylation sites (N-sites), V1 length, V3 charge, and the number of V4 N-sites. All brain sequences were predicted to use the CCR5 co-receptor, while most non-brain sequences were predicted to use CXCR4 co-receptor. Tropism results were confirmed by in vitro infection assays. The study is the first to use a SMRT sequencing approach to study HIV compartmentalization in tissues and supports other reports of limited trafficking between brain and non-brain sequences during cART. Due to the long sequence length, we could observe changes along the entire envelope gene, likely caused by differential selective pressure in the brain that may contribute to neurological disease.


July 7, 2019  |  

Coping with living in the soil: the genome of the parthenogenetic springtail Folsomia candida.

Folsomia candida is a model in soil biology, belonging to the family of Isotomidae, subclass Collembola. It reproduces parthenogenetically in the presence of Wolbachia, and exhibits remarkable physiological adaptations to stress. To better understand these features and adaptations to life in the soil, we studied its genome in the context of its parthenogenetic lifestyle.We applied Pacific Bioscience sequencing and assembly to generate a reference genome for F. candida of 221.7 Mbp, comprising only 162 scaffolds. The complete genome of its endosymbiont Wolbachia, was also assembled and turned out to be the largest strain identified so far. Substantial gene family expansions and lineage-specific gene clusters were linked to stress response. A large number of genes (809) were acquired by horizontal gene transfer. A substantial fraction of these genes are involved in lignocellulose degradation. Also, the presence of genes involved in antibiotic biosynthesis was confirmed. Intra-genomic rearrangements of collinear gene clusters were observed, of which 11 were organized as palindromes. The Hox gene cluster of F. candida showed major rearrangements compared to arthropod consensus cluster, resulting in a disorganized cluster.The expansion of stress response gene families suggests that stress defense was important to facilitate colonization of soils. The large number of HGT genes related to lignocellulose degradation could be beneficial to unlock carbohydrate sources in soil, especially those contained in decaying plant and fungal organic matter. Intra- as well as inter-scaffold duplications of gene clusters may be a consequence of its parthenogenetic lifestyle. This high quality genome will be instrumental for evolutionary biologists investigating deep phylogenetic lineages among arthropods and will provide the basis for a more mechanistic understanding in soil ecology and ecotoxicology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome expansion and lineage-specific genetic innovations in the forest pathogenic fungi Armillaria.

Armillaria species are both devastating forest pathogens and some of the largest terrestrial organisms on Earth. They forage for hosts and achieve immense colony sizes via rhizomorphs, root-like multicellular structures of clonal dispersal. Here, we sequenced and analysed the genomes of four Armillaria species and performed RNA sequencing and quantitative proteomic analysis on the invasive and reproductive developmental stages of A.?ostoyae. Comparison with 22 related fungi revealed a significant genome expansion in Armillaria, affecting several pathogenicity-related genes, lignocellulose-degrading enzymes and lineage-specific genes expressed during rhizomorph development. Rhizomorphs express an evolutionarily young transcriptome that shares features with the transcriptomes of both fruiting bodies and vegetative mycelia. Several genes show concomitant upregulation in rhizomorphs and fruiting bodies and share cis-regulatory signatures in their promoters, providing genetic and regulatory insights into complex multicellularity in fungi. Our results suggest that the evolution of the unique dispersal and pathogenicity mechanisms of Armillaria might have drawn upon ancestral genetic toolkits for wood-decay, morphogenesis and complex multicellularity.


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