September 22, 2019  |  

A near complete snapshot of the Zea mays seedling transcriptome revealed from ultra-deep sequencing.

RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) enables in-depth exploration of transcriptomes, but typical sequencing depth often limits its comprehensiveness. In this study, we generated nearly 3 billion RNA-Seq reads, totaling 341 Gb of sequence, from a Zea mays seedling sample. At this depth, a near complete snapshot of the transcriptome was observed consisting of over 90% of the annotated transcripts, including lowly expressed transcription factors. A novel hybrid strategy combining de novo and reference-based assemblies yielded a transcriptome consisting of 126,708 transcripts with 88% of expressed known genes assembled to full-length. We improved current annotations by adding 4,842 previously unannotated transcript variants and many new features, including 212 maize transcripts, 201 genes, 10 genes with undocumented potential roles in seedlings as well as maize lineage specific gene fusion events. We demonstrated the power of deep sequencing for large transcriptome studies by generating a high quality transcriptome, which provides a rich resource for the research community.


September 22, 2019  |  

Revertant mosaicism repairs skin lesions in a patient with keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness syndrome by second-site mutations in connexin 26.

Revertant mosaicism (RM) is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the pathogenic effect of a germline mutation is corrected by a second somatic event. Development of healthy-looking skin due to RM has been observed in patients with various inherited skin disorders, but not in connexin-related disease. We aimed to clarify the underlying molecular mechanisms of suspected RM in the skin of a patient with keratitis-ichthyosis-deafness (KID) syndrome. The patient was diagnosed with KID syndrome due to characteristic skin lesions, hearing deficiency and keratitis. Investigation of GJB2 encoding connexin (Cx) 26 revealed heterozygosity for the recurrent de novo germline mutation, c.148G?>?A, p.Asp50Asn. At age 20, the patient developed spots of healthy-looking skin that grew in size and number within widespread erythrokeratodermic lesions. Ultra-deep sequencing of two healthy-looking skin biopsies identified five somatic nonsynonymous mutations, independently present in cis with the p.Asp50Asn mutation. Functional studies of Cx26 in HeLa cells revealed co-expression of Cx26-Asp50Asn and wild-type Cx26 in gap junction channel plaques. However, Cx26-Asp50Asn with the second-site mutations identified in the patient displayed no formation of gap junction channel plaques. We argue that the second-site mutations independently inhibit Cx26-Asp50Asn expression in gap junction channels, reverting the dominant negative effect of the p.Asp50Asn mutation. To our knowledge, this is the first time RM has been reported to result in the development of healthy-looking skin in a patient with KID syndrome. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Periodic pattern of genetic and fitness diversity during evolution of an artificial cell-like system.

Genetic and phenotypic diversity are the basis of evolution. Despite their importance, however, little is known about how they change over the course of evolution. In this study, we analyzed the dynamics of the adaptive evolution of a simple evolvable artificial cell-like system using single-molecule real-time sequencing technology that reads an entire single artificial genome. We found that the genomic RNA population increases in fitness intermittently, correlating with a periodic pattern of genetic and fitness diversity produced by repeated diversification and domination. In the diversification phase, a genomic RNA population spreads within a genetic space by accumulating mutations until mutants with higher fitness are generated, resulting in an increase in fitness diversity. In the domination phase, the mutants with higher fitness dominate, decreasing both the fitness and genetic diversity. This study reveals the dynamic nature of genetic and fitness diversity during adaptive evolution and demonstrates the utility of a simplified artificial cell-like system to study evolution at an unprecedented resolution. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 19, 2019  |  

Conformation dependent epitopes recognized by prion protein antibodies probed using mutational scanning and deep sequencing.

Prion diseases are caused by a structural rearrangement of the cellular prion protein, PrP(C), into a disease-associated conformation, PrP(Sc), which may be distinguished from one another using conformation specific antibodies. We used mutational scanning by cell-surface display to screen 1,341 PrP single point mutants for attenuated interaction with four anti-PrP antibodies, including several with conformational specificity. Single molecule real time gene sequencing was used to quantify enrichment of mutants, returning on average 26,000 high quality full-length reads for each screened population. Relative enrichment of mutants correlated to the magnitude of the change in binding affinity. Mutations that diminished binding of the antibody ICSM18 represented the core of contact residues in the published crystal structure of its complex. A similarly located binding site was identified for D18, comprising discontinuous residues in helix 1 of PrP, brought into close proximity to one another only when the alpha helix is intact. The specificity of these antibodies for the normal form of PrP likely arises from loss of this conformational feature after conversion to the disease-associated form. Intriguingly, 6H4 binding was found to depend on interaction with the same residues, among others, suggesting that its ability to recognize both forms of PrP depends on a structural rearrangement of the antigen. The application of mutational scanning and deep sequencing provides residue-level resolution of positions in the protein-protein interaction interface that are critical for binding, as well as a quantitative measure of the impact of mutations on binding affinity. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


July 19, 2019  |  

Hamburger polyomaviruses.

Epidemiological studies have suggested that consumption of beef may correlate with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. One hypothesis to explain this proposed link might be the presence of a carcinogenic infectious agent capable of withstanding cooking. Polyomaviruses are a ubiquitous family of thermostable non-enveloped DNA viruses that are known to be carcinogenic. Using virion enrichment, rolling circle amplification (RCA) and next-generation sequencing, we searched for polyomaviruses in meat samples purchased from several supermarkets. Ground beef samples were found to contain three polyomavirus species. One species, bovine polyomavirus 1 (BoPyV1), was originally discovered as a contaminant in laboratory FCS. A previously unknown species, BoPyV2, occupies the same clade as human Merkel cell polyomavirus and raccoon polyomavirus, both of which are carcinogenic in their native hosts. A third species, BoPyV3, is related to human polyomaviruses 6 and 7. Examples of additional DNA virus families, including herpesviruses, adenoviruses, circoviruses and gyroviruses were also detected either in ground beef samples or in comparison samples of ground pork and ground chicken. The results suggest that the virion enrichment/RCA approach is suitable for random detection of essentially any DNA virus with a detergent-stable capsid. It will be important for future studies to address the possibility that animal viruses commonly found in food might be associated with disease.


July 19, 2019  |  

Intrahost dynamics of antiviral resistance in influenza a virus reflect complex patterns of segment linkage, reassortment, and natural selection.

Resistance following antiviral therapy is commonly observed in human influenza viruses. Although this evolutionary process is initiated within individual hosts, little is known about the pattern, dynamics, and drivers of antiviral resistance at this scale, including the role played by reassortment. In addition, the short duration of human influenza virus infections limits the available time window in which to examine intrahost evolution. Using single-molecule sequencing, we mapped, in detail, the mutational spectrum of an H3N2 influenza A virus population sampled from an immunocompromised patient who shed virus over a 21-month period. In this unique natural experiment, we were able to document the complex dynamics underlying the evolution of antiviral resistance. Individual resistance mutations appeared weeks before they became dominant, evolved independently on cocirculating lineages, led to a genome-wide reduction in genetic diversity through a selective sweep, and were placed into new combinations by reassortment. Notably, despite frequent reassortment, phylogenetic analysis also provided evidence for specific patterns of segment linkage, with a strong association between the hemagglutinin (HA)- and matrix (M)-encoding segments that matches that previously observed at the epidemiological scale. In sum, we were able to reveal, for the first time, the complex interaction between multiple evolutionary processes as they occur within an individual host.Understanding the evolutionary forces that shape the genetic diversity of influenza virus is crucial for predicting the emergence of drug-resistant strains but remains challenging because multiple processes occur concurrently. We characterized the evolution of antiviral resistance in a single persistent influenza virus infection, representing the first case in which reassortment and the complex patterns of drug resistance emergence and evolution have been determined within an individual host. Deep-sequence data from multiple time points revealed that the evolution of antiviral resistance reflects a combination of frequent mutation, natural selection, and a complex pattern of segment linkage and reassortment. In sum, these data show how immunocompromised hosts may help reveal the drivers of strain emergence. Copyright © 2015 Rogers et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Emergence of ebola virus escape variants in infected nonhuman primates treated with the MB-003 antibody cocktail.

MB-003, a plant-derived monoclonal antibody cocktail used effectively in treatment of Ebola virus infection in non-human primates, was unable to protect two of six animals when initiated 1 or 2 days post-infection. We characterized a mechanism of viral escape in one of the animals, after observation of two clusters of genomic mutations that resulted in five nonsynonymous mutations in the monoclonal antibody target sites. These mutations were linked to a reduction in antibody binding and later confirmed to be present in a viral isolate that was not neutralized in vitro. Retrospective evaluation of a second independent study allowed the identification of a similar case. Four SNPs in previously identified positions were found in this second fatality, suggesting that genetic drift could be a potential cause for treatment failure. These findings highlight the importance selecting different target domains for each component of the cocktail to minimize the potential for viral escape. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Towards better precision medicine: PacBio single-molecule long reads resolve the interpretation of HIV drug resistant mutation profiles at explicit quasispecies (haplotype) level.

Development of HIV-1 drug resistance mutations (HDRMs) is one of the major reasons for the clinical failure of antiretroviral therapy. Treatment success rates can be improved by applying personalized anti-HIV regimens based on a patient’s HDRM profile. However, the sensitivity and specificity of the HDRM profile is limited by the methods used for detection. Sanger-based sequencing technology has traditionally been used for determining HDRM profiles at the single nucleotide variant (SNV) level, but with a sensitivity of only = 20% in the HIV population of a patient. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies offer greater detection sensitivity (~ 1%) and larger scope (hundreds of samples per run). However, NGS technologies produce reads that are too short to enable the detection of the physical linkages of individual SNVs across the haplotype of each HIV strain present. In this article, we demonstrate that the single-molecule long reads generated using the Third Generation Sequencer (TGS), PacBio RS II, along with the appropriate bioinformatics analysis method, can resolve the HDRM profile at a more advanced quasispecies level. The case studies on patients’ HIV samples showed that the quasispecies view produced using the PacBio method offered greater detection sensitivity and was more comprehensive for understanding HDRM situations, which is complement to both Sanger and NGS technologies. In conclusion, the PacBio method, providing a promising new quasispecies level of HDRM profiling, may effect an important change in the field of HIV drug resistance research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Rapid sequencing of complete env genes from primary HIV-1 samples

The ability to study rapidly evolving viral populations has been constrained by the read length of next-generation sequencing approaches and the sampling depth of single-genome amplification methods. Here, we develop and characterize a method using Pacific Biosciences Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology to sequence multiple, intact full-length human immunodeficiency virus-1 env genes amplified from viral RNA populations circulating in blood, and provide computational tools for analyzing and visualizing these data.


July 19, 2019  |  

Antibody 10-1074 suppresses viremia in HIV-1-infected individuals.

Monoclonal antibody 10-1074 targets the V3 glycan supersite on the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein. It is among the most potent anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies isolated so far. Here we report on its safety and activity in 33 individuals who received a single intravenous infusion of the antibody. 10-1074 was well tolerated and had a half-life of 24.0 d in participants without HIV-1 infection and 12.8 d in individuals with HIV-1 infection. Thirteen individuals with viremia received the highest dose of 30 mg/kg 10-1074. Eleven of these participants were 10-1074-sensitive and showed a rapid decline in viremia by a mean of 1.52 log10 copies/ml. Virologic analysis revealed the emergence of multiple independent 10-1074-resistant viruses in the first weeks after infusion. Emerging escape variants were generally resistant to the related V3-specific antibody PGT121, but remained sensitive to antibodies targeting nonoverlapping epitopes, such as the anti-CD4-binding-site antibodies 3BNC117 and VRC01. The results demonstrate the safety and activity of 10-1074 in humans and support the idea that antibodies targeting the V3 glycan supersite might be useful for the treatment and prevention of HIV-1 infection.


July 19, 2019  |  

Defective HIV-1 proviruses are expressed and can be recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which shape the proviral landscape.

Despite antiretroviral therapy, HIV-1 persists in memory CD4(+) T cells, creating a barrier to cure. The majority of HIV-1 proviruses are defective and considered clinically irrelevant. Using cells from HIV-1-infected individuals and reconstructed patient-derived defective proviruses, we show that defective proviruses can be transcribed into RNAs that are spliced and translated. Proviruses with defective major splice donors (MSDs) can activate novel splice sites to produce HIV-1 transcripts, and cells with these proviruses can be recognized by HIV-1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Further, cells with proviruses containing lethal mutations upstream of CTL epitopes can also be recognized by CTLs, potentially through aberrant translation. Thus, CTLs may change the landscape of HIV-1 proviruses by preferentially targeting cells with specific types of defective proviruses. Additionally, the expression of defective proviruses will need to be considered in the measurement of HIV-1 latency reversal. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Use of four next-generation sequencing platforms to determine HIV-1 coreceptor tropism.

HIV-1 coreceptor tropism assays are required to rule out the presence of CXCR4-tropic (non-R5) viruses prior treatment with CCR5 antagonists. Phenotypic (e.g., Trofile™, Monogram Biosciences) and genotypic (e.g., population sequencing linked to bioinformatic algorithms) assays are the most widely used. Although several next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms are available, to date all published deep sequencing HIV-1 tropism studies have used the 454™ Life Sciences/Roche platform. In this study, HIV-1 co-receptor usage was predicted for twelve patients scheduled to start a maraviroc-based antiretroviral regimen. The V3 region of the HIV-1 env gene was sequenced using four NGS platforms: 454™, PacBio® RS (Pacific Biosciences), Illumina®, and Ion Torrent™ (Life Technologies). Cross-platform variation was evaluated, including number of reads, read length and error rates. HIV-1 tropism was inferred using Geno2Pheno, Web PSSM, and the 11/24/25 rule and compared with Trofile™ and virologic response to antiretroviral therapy. Error rates related to insertions/deletions (indels) and nucleotide substitutions introduced by the four NGS platforms were low compared to the actual HIV-1 sequence variation. Each platform detected all major virus variants within the HIV-1 population with similar frequencies. Identification of non-R5 viruses was comparable among the four platforms, with minor differences attributable to the algorithms used to infer HIV-1 tropism. All NGS platforms showed similar concordance with virologic response to the maraviroc-based regimen (75% to 80% range depending on the algorithm used), compared to Trofile (80%) and population sequencing (70%). In conclusion, all four NGS platforms were able to detect minority non-R5 variants at comparable levels suggesting that any NGS-based method can be used to predict HIV-1 coreceptor usage.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic exploration of individual giant ocean viruses.

Viruses are major pathogens in all biological systems. Virus propagation and downstream analysis remains a challenge, particularly in the ocean where the majority of their microbial hosts remain recalcitrant to current culturing techniques. We used a cultivation-independent approach to isolate and sequence individual viruses. The protocol uses high-speed fluorescence-activated virus sorting flow cytometry, multiple displacement amplification (MDA), and downstream genomic sequencing. We focused on ‘giant viruses’ that are readily distinguishable by flow cytometry. From a single-milliliter sample of seawater collected from off the dock at Boothbay Harbor, ME, USA, we sorted almost 700 single virus particles, and subsequently focused on a detailed genome analysis of 12. A wide diversity of viruses was identified that included Iridoviridae, extended Mimiviridae and even a taxonomically novel (unresolved) giant virus. We discovered a viral metacaspase homolog in one of our sorted virus particles and discussed its implications in rewiring host metabolism to enhance infection. In addition, we demonstrated that viral metacaspases are widespread in the ocean. We also discovered a virus that contains both a reverse transcriptase and a transposase; although highly speculative, we suggest such a genetic complement would potentially allow this virus to exploit a latency propagation mechanism. Application of single virus genomics provides a powerful opportunity to circumvent cultivation of viruses, moving directly to genomic investigation of naturally occurring viruses, with the assurance that the sequence data is virus-specific, non-chimeric and contains no cellular contamination.


July 7, 2019  |  

Estimating fitness of viral quasispecies from next-generation sequencing data.

The quasispecies model is ubiquitous in the study of viruses. While having lead to a number of insights that have stood the test of time, the quasispecies model has mostly been discussed in a theoretical fashion with little support of data. With next-generation sequencing (NGS), this situation is changing and a wealth of data can now be produced in a time- and cost-efficient manner. NGS can, after removal of technical errors, yield an exceedingly detailed picture of the viral population structure. The widespread availability of cross-sectional data can be used to study fitness landscapes of viral populations in the quasispecies model. This chapter highlights methods that estimate the strength of selection in selective sweeps, assesses marginal fitness effects of quasispecies, and finally infers the fitness landscape of a viral quasispecies, all on the basis of NGS data.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evolution of coreceptor utilization to escape CCR5 antagonist therapy.

The HIV-1 envelope interacts with coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4 in a dynamic, multi-step process, its molecular details not clearly delineated. Use of CCR5 antagonists results in tropism shift and therapeutic failure. Here we describe a novel approach using full-length patient-derived gp160 quasispecies libraries cloned into HIV-1 molecular clones, their separation based on phenotypic tropism in vitro, and deep sequencing of the resultant variants for structure-function analyses. Analysis of functionally validated envelope sequences from patients who failed CCR5 antagonist therapy revealed determinants strongly associated with coreceptor specificity, especially at the gp120-gp41 and gp41-gp41 interaction surfaces that invite future research on the roles of subunit interaction and envelope trimer stability in coreceptor usage. This study identifies important structure-function relationships in HIV-1 envelope, and demonstrates proof of concept for a new integrated analysis method that facilitates laboratory discovery of resistant mutants to aid in development of other therapeutic agents. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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