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Friday, July 19, 2019

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to “phase 3 finished” status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Quantifying genome-editing outcomes at endogenous loci with SMRT sequencing.

Targeted genome editing with engineered nucleases has transformed the ability to introduce precise sequence modifications at almost any site within the genome. A major obstacle to probing the efficiency and consequences of genome editing is that no existing method enables the frequency of different editing events to be simultaneously measured across a cell population at any endogenous genomic locus. We have developed a novel method for quantifying individual genome editing outcomes at any site of interest using single molecule real time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. We show that this approach can be applied at various loci, using multiple engineered nuclease platforms…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Evolution of hypervirulence by a MRSA clone through acquisition of a transposable element.

Staphylococcus aureus has evolved as a pathogen that causes a range of diseases in humans. There are two dominant modes of evolution thought to explain most of the virulence differences between strains. First, virulence genes may be acquired from other organisms. Second, mutations may cause changes in the regulation and expression of genes. Here we describe an evolutionary event in which transposition of an IS element has a direct impact on virulence gene regulation resulting in hypervirulence. Whole-genome analysis of a methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain USA500 revealed acquisition of a transposable element (IS256) that is absent from close relatives…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Multiplexed highly-accurate DNA sequencing of closely-related HIV-1 variants using continuous long reads from single molecule, real-time sequencing.

Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT(®)) Sequencing (Pacific Biosciences, Menlo Park, CA, USA) provides the longest continuous DNA sequencing reads currently available. However, the relatively high error rate in the raw read data requires novel analysis methods to deconvolute sequences derived from complex samples. Here, we present a workflow of novel computer algorithms able to reconstruct viral variant genomes present in mixtures with an accuracy of >QV50. This approach relies exclusively on Continuous Long Reads (CLR), which are the raw reads generated during SMRT Sequencing. We successfully implement this workflow for simultaneous sequencing of mixtures containing up to forty different >9 kb…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

HLA Class-II associated HIV polymorphisms predict escape from CD4+ T Cell responses.

Antiretroviral therapy, antibody and CD8+ T cell-mediated responses targeting human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) exert selection pressure on the virus necessitating escape; however, the ability of CD4+ T cells to exert selective pressure remains unclear. Using a computational approach on HIV gag/pol/nef sequences and HLA-II allelic data, we identified 29 HLA-II associated HIV sequence polymorphisms or adaptations (HLA-AP) in an African cohort of chronically HIV-infected individuals. Epitopes encompassing the predicted adaptation (AE) or its non-adapted (NAE) version were evaluated for immunogenicity. Using a CD8-depleted IFN-? ELISpot assay, we determined that the magnitude of CD4+ T cell responses to the predicted epitopes…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Heterosexual transmission of subtype C HIV-1 selects consensus-like variants without increased replicative capacity or interferon-a resistance.

Heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 is characterized by a genetic bottleneck that selects a single viral variant, the transmitted/founder (TF), during most transmission events. To assess viral characteristics influencing HIV-1 transmission, we sequenced 167 near full-length viral genomes and generated 40 infectious molecular clones (IMC) including TF variants and multiple non-transmitted (NT) HIV-1 subtype C variants from six linked heterosexual transmission pairs near the time of transmission. Consensus-like genomes sensitive to donor antibodies were selected for during transmission in these six transmission pairs. However, TF variants did not demonstrate increased viral fitness in terms of particle infectivity or viral replicative capacity…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Comprehensive bioinformatics analysis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae genomes to investigate underlying population structure and type-specific determinants.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a significant cause of respiratory illness worldwide. Despite a minimal and highly conserved genome, genetic diversity within the species may impact disease. We performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis of 107 M. pneumoniae isolates, including 67 newly sequenced using the Pacific BioSciences RS II and/or Illumina MiSeq sequencing platforms. Comparative genomic analysis of 107 genomes revealed >3,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in total, including 520 type-specific SNPs. Population structure analysis supported the existence of six distinct subgroups, three within each type. We developed a predictive model to classify an isolate based on whole genome SNPs called against…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

HIV envelope glycoform heterogeneity and localized diversity govern the initiation and maturation of a V2 apex broadly neutralizing antibody lineage.

Understanding how broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to HIV envelope (Env) develop during natural infection can help guide the rational design of an HIV vaccine. Here, we described a bnAb lineage targeting the Env V2 apex and the Ab-Env co-evolution that led to development of neutralization breadth. The lineage Abs bore an anionic heavy chain complementarity-determining region 3 (CDRH3) of 25 amino acids, among the shortest known for this class of Abs, and achieved breadth with only 10% nucleotide somatic hypermutation and no insertions or deletions. The data suggested a role for Env glycoform heterogeneity in the activation of the lineage…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Male-killing toxin in a bacterial symbiont of Drosophila.

Several lineages of symbiotic bacteria in insects selfishly manipulate host reproduction to spread in a population 1 , often by distorting host sex ratios. Spiroplasma poulsonii2,3 is a helical and motile, Gram-positive symbiotic bacterium that resides in a wide range of Drosophila species 4 . A notable feature of S. poulsonii is male killing, whereby the sons of infected female hosts are selectively killed during development1,2. Although male killing caused by S. poulsonii has been studied since the 1950s, its underlying mechanism is unknown. Here we identify an S. poulsonii protein, designated Spaid, whose expression induces male killing. Overexpression of…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Biochemical characterization of a Naegleria TET-like oxygenase and its application in single molecule sequencing of 5-methylcytosine.

Modified DNA bases in mammalian genomes, such as 5-methylcytosine ((5m)C) and its oxidized forms, are implicated in important epigenetic regulation processes. In human or mouse, successive enzymatic conversion of (5m)C to its oxidized forms is carried out by the ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins. Previously we reported the structure of a TET-like (5m)C oxygenase (NgTET1) from Naegleria gruberi, a single-celled protist evolutionarily distant from vertebrates. Here we show that NgTET1 is a 5-methylpyrimidine oxygenase, with activity on both (5m)C (major activity) and thymidine (T) (minor activity) in all DNA forms tested, and provide unprecedented evidence for the formation of 5-formyluridine ((5f)U)…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

vanG element insertions within a conserved chromosomal site conferring vancomycin resistance to Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus anginosus.

Three vancomycin-resistant streptococcal strains carrying vanG elements (two invasive Streptococcus agalactiae isolates [GBS-NY and GBS-NM, both serotype II and multilocus sequence type 22] and one Streptococcus anginosus [Sa]) were examined. The 45,585-bp elements found within Sa and GBS-NY were nearly identical (together designated vanG-1) and shared near-identity over an ~15-kb overlap with a previously described vanG element from Enterococcus faecalis. Unexpectedly, vanG-1 shared much less homology with the 49,321-bp vanG-2 element from GBS-NM, with widely different levels (50% to 99%) of sequence identity shared among 44 related open reading frames. Immediately adjacent to both vanG-1 and vanG-2 were 44,670-bp and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Emergence of a new Neisseria meningitidis clonal complex 11 lineage 11.2 clade as an effective urogenital pathogen.

Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) clonal complex 11 (cc11) lineage is a hypervirulent pathogen responsible for outbreaks of invasive meningococcal disease, including among men who have sex with men, and is increasingly associated with urogenital infections. Recently, clusters of Nm urethritis have emerged primarily among heterosexual males in the United States. We determined that nonencapsulated meningococcal isolates from an ongoing Nm urethritis outbreak among epidemiologically unrelated men in Columbus, Ohio, are linked to increased Nm urethritis cases in multiple US cities, including Atlanta and Indianapolis, and that they form a unique clade (the US Nm urethritis clade, US_NmUC). The isolates belonged to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Commensal Propionibacterium strain UF1 mitigates intestinal inflammation via Th17 cell regulation.

Consumption of human breast milk (HBM) attenuates the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which remains a leading and intractable cause of mortality in preterm infants. Here, we report that this diminution correlates with alterations in the gut microbiota, particularly enrichment of Propionibacterium species. Transfaunation of microbiota from HBM-fed preterm infants or a newly identified and cultured Propionibacterium strain, P. UF1, to germfree mice conferred protection against pathogen infection and correlated with profound increases in intestinal Th17 cells. The induction of Th17 cells was dependent on bacterial dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase (DlaT), a major protein expressed on the P. UF1 surface layer (S-layer).…

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