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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Infographic: A brief history of microbiology

Our understanding of microbiology has evolved enormously over the last 150 years. Few institutions have witnessed our collective progress more closely than the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). In fact, the collection itself is a record of the many milestones microbiologists have crossed, building on the discoveries of those who came before. To date, 60% of NCTC’s historic collection now has a closed, finished reference genome, thanks to PacBio Single Molecule, Real- Time (SMRT) Sequencing. We are excited to be their partner in crossing this latest milestone on their quest to improve human and animal health by understanding the…

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Case Study: Sequencing an historic bacterial collection for the future

The UK’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) is a unique collection of more than 5,000 expertly preserved and authenticated bacterial cultures, many of historical significance. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest established collection of its type anywhere in the world, with a history of its own that has reflected — and contributed to — the evolution of microbiology for more than 100 years.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Transmission of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli between broilers and humans on broiler farms.

ESBL and AmpC ß-lactamases are an increasing concern for public health. Studies suggest that ESBL/pAmpC-producing Escherichia coli and their plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes can spread from broilers to humans working or living on broiler farms. These studies used traditional typing methods, which may not have provided sufficient resolution to reliably assess the relatedness of these isolates.Eleven suspected transmission events among broilers and humans living/working on eight broiler farms were investigated using whole-genome short-read (Illumina) and long-read sequencing (PacBio). Core genome MLST (cgMLST) was performed to investigate the occurrence of strain transmission. Horizontal plasmid and gene transfer were analysed using…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Genome-wide mapping of methylated adenine residues in pathogenic Escherichia coli using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing allows the systematic detection of chemical modifications such as methylation but has not previously been applied on a genome-wide scale. We used this approach to detect 49,311 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues and 1,407 putative 5-methylcytosine (m5C) residues in the genome of a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. We obtained strand-specific information for methylation sites and a quantitative assessment of the frequency of methylation at each modified position. We deduced the sequence motifs recognized by the methyltransferase enzymes present in this strain without prior knowledge of their specificity. Furthermore, we found that deletion of a phage-encoded methyltransferase-endonuclease…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Characterization of DNA methyltransferase specificities using single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing.

DNA methylation is the most common form of DNA modification in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. We have applied the method of single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing that is capable of direct detection of modified bases at single-nucleotide resolution to characterize the specificity of several bacterial DNA methyltransferases (MTases). In addition to previously described SMRT sequencing of N6-methyladenine and 5-methylcytosine, we show that N4-methylcytosine also has a specific kinetic signature and is therefore identifiable using this approach. We demonstrate for all three prokaryotic methylation types that SMRT sequencing confirms the identity and position of the methylated base in cases where the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Efficient and accurate whole genome assembly and methylome profiling of E. coli.

With the price of next generation sequencing steadily decreasing, bacterial genome assembly is now accessible to a wide range of researchers. It is therefore necessary to understand the best methods for generating a genome assembly, specifically, which combination of sequencing and bioinformatics strategies result in the most accurate assemblies. Here, we sequence three E. coli strains on the Illumina MiSeq, Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM, and Pacific Biosciences RS. We then perform genome assemblies on all three datasets alone or in combination to determine the best methods for the assembly of bacterial genomes.Three E. coli strains – BL21(DE3), Bal225, and…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

In vivo generation of DNA sequence diversity for cellular barcoding.

Heterogeneity is a ubiquitous feature of biological systems. A complete understanding of such systems requires a method for uniquely identifying and tracking individual components and their interactions with each other. We have developed a novel method of uniquely tagging individual cells in vivo with a genetic ‘barcode’ that can be recovered by DNA sequencing. Our method is a two-component system comprised of a genetic barcode cassette whose fragments are shuffled by Rci, a site-specific DNA invertase. The system is highly scalable, with the potential to generate theoretical diversities in the billions. We demonstrate the feasibility of this technique in Escherichia…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Modeling kinetic rate variation in third generation DNA sequencing data to detect putative modifications to DNA bases.

Current generation DNA sequencing instruments are moving closer to seamlessly sequencing genomes of entire populations as a routine part of scientific investigation. However, while significant inroads have been made identifying small nucleotide variation and structural variations in DNA that impact phenotypes of interest, progress has not been as dramatic regarding epigenetic changes and base-level damage to DNA, largely due to technological limitations in assaying all known and unknown types of modifications at genome scale. Recently, single-molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing has been reported to identify kinetic variation (KV) events that have been demonstrated to reflect epigenetic changes of every known…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Error correction and assembly complexity of single molecule sequencing reads.

Third generation single molecule sequencing technology is poised to revolutionize genomics by en- abling the sequencing of long, individual molecules of DNA and RNA. These technologies now routinely produce reads exceeding 5,000 basepairs, and can achieve reads as long as 50,000 basepairs. Here we evaluate the limits of single molecule sequencing by assessing the impact of long read sequencing in the assembly of the human genome and 25 other important genomes across the tree of life. From this, we develop a new data-driven model using support vector regression that can accurately predict assembly performance. We also present a novel hybrid…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Origins of the E. coli strain causing an outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome in Germany.

A large outbreak of diarrhea and the hemolytic-uremic syndrome caused by an unusual serotype of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (O104:H4) began in Germany in May 2011. As of July 22, a large number of cases of diarrhea caused by Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli have been reported–3167 without the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (16 deaths) and 908 with the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (34 deaths)–indicating that this strain is notably more virulent than most of the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli strains. Preliminary genetic characterization of the outbreak strain suggested that, unlike most of these strains, it should be classified within the enteroaggregative pathotype of E. coli.We used third-generation,…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli EC958: a high quality reference sequence for the globally disseminated multidrug resistant E. coli O25b:H4-ST131 clone.

Escherichia coli ST131 is now recognised as a leading contributor to urinary tract and bloodstream infections in both community and clinical settings. Here we present the complete, annotated genome of E. coli EC958, which was isolated from the urine of a patient presenting with a urinary tract infection in the Northwest region of England and represents the most well characterised ST131 strain. Sequencing was carried out using the Pacific Biosciences platform, which provided sufficient depth and read-length to produce a complete genome without the need for other technologies. The discovery of spurious contigs within the assembly that correspond to site-specific…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Detecting DNA modifications from SMRT sequencing data by modeling sequence context dependence of polymerase kinetic.

DNA modifications such as methylation and DNA damage can play critical regulatory roles in biological systems. Single molecule, real time (SMRT) sequencing technology generates DNA sequences as well as DNA polymerase kinetic information that can be used for the direct detection of DNA modifications. We demonstrate that local sequence context has a strong impact on DNA polymerase kinetics in the neighborhood of the incorporation site during the DNA synthesis reaction, allowing for the possibility of estimating the expected kinetic rate of the enzyme at the incorporation site using kinetic rate information collected from existing SMRT sequencing data (historical data) covering…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

PBHoney: identifying genomic variants via long-read discordance and interrupted mapping.

As resequencing projects become more prevalent across a larger number of species, accurate variant identification will further elucidate the nature of genetic diversity and become increasingly relevant in genomic studies. However, the identification of larger genomic variants via DNA sequencing is limited by both the incomplete information provided by sequencing reads and the nature of the genome itself. Long-read sequencing technologies provide high-resolution access to structural variants often inaccessible to shorter reads.We present PBHoney, software that considers both intra-read discordance and soft-clipped tails of long reads (>10,000 bp) to identify structural variants. As a proof of concept, we identify four…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Single-molecule sequencing to track plasmid diversity of hospital-associated carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

Public health officials have raised concerns that plasmid transfer between Enterobacteriaceae species may spread resistance to carbapenems, an antibiotic class of last resort, thereby rendering common health care-associated infections nearly impossible to treat. To determine the diversity of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids and assess their mobility among bacterial species, we performed comprehensive surveillance and genomic sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center patient population and hospital environment. We isolated a repertoire of carbapenemase-encoding Enterobacteriaceae, including multiple strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter freundii, and Pantoea species. Long-read genome sequencing with full…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Vertical transmission of highly similar bla CTX-M-1-harboring IncI1 plasmids in Escherichia coli with different MLST types in the poultry production pyramid.

The purpose of this study was to characterize sets of extended-spectrum ß-lactamases (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae collected longitudinally from different flocks of broiler breeders, meconium of 1-day-old broilers from theses breeder flocks, as well as from these broiler flocks before slaughter.Five sets of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli were studied by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), phylogenetic grouping, PCR-based replicon typing and resistance profiling. The bla CTX-M-1-harboring plasmids of one set (pHV295.1, pHV114.1, and pHV292.1) were fully sequenced and subjected to comparative analysis.Eleven different MLST sequence types (ST) were identified with ST1056 the predominant one, isolated in all five sets either on the broiler breeder…

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