July 7, 2019  |  

Normocyte-binding protein required for human erythrocyte invasion by the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi.

The dominant cause of malaria in Malaysia is now Plasmodium knowlesi, a zoonotic parasite of cynomolgus macaque monkeys found throughout South East Asia. Comparative genomic analysis of parasites adapted to in vitro growth in either cynomolgus or human RBCs identified a genomic deletion that includes the gene encoding normocyte-binding protein Xa (NBPXa) in parasites growing in cynomolgus RBCs but not in human RBCs. Experimental deletion of the NBPXa gene in parasites adapted to growth in human RBCs (which retain the ability to grow in cynomolgus RBCs) restricted them to cynomolgus RBCs, demonstrating that this gene is selectively required for parasite multiplication and growth in human RBCs. NBPXa-null parasites could bind to human RBCs, but invasion of these cells was severely impaired. Therefore, NBPXa is identified as a key mediator of P. knowlesi human infection and may be a target for vaccine development against this emerging pathogen.

July 7, 2019  |  

Tigmint: correcting assembly errors using linked reads from large molecules.

Genome sequencing yields the sequence of many short snippets of DNA (reads) from a genome. Genome assembly attempts to reconstruct the original genome from which these reads were derived. This task is difficult due to gaps and errors in the sequencing data, repetitive sequence in the underlying genome, and heterozygosity. As a result, assembly errors are common. In the absence of a reference genome, these misassemblies may be identified by comparing the sequencing data to the assembly and looking for discrepancies between the two. Once identified, these misassemblies may be corrected, improving the quality of the assembled sequence. Although tools exist to identify and correct misassemblies using Illumina paired-end and mate-pair sequencing, no such tool yet exists that makes use of the long distance information of the large molecules provided by linked reads, such as those offered by the 10x Genomics Chromium platform. We have developed the tool Tigmint to address this gap.To demonstrate the effectiveness of Tigmint, we applied it to assemblies of a human genome using short reads assembled with ABySS 2.0 and other assemblers. Tigmint reduced the number of misassemblies identified by QUAST in the ABySS assembly by 216 (27%). While scaffolding with ARCS alone more than doubled the scaffold NGA50 of the assembly from 3 to 8 Mbp, the combination of Tigmint and ARCS improved the scaffold NGA50 of the assembly over five-fold to 16.4 Mbp. This notable improvement in contiguity highlights the utility of assembly correction in refining assemblies. We demonstrate the utility of Tigmint in correcting the assemblies of multiple tools, as well as in using Chromium reads to correct and scaffold assemblies of long single-molecule sequencing.Scaffolding an assembly that has been corrected with Tigmint yields a final assembly that is both more correct and substantially more contiguous than an assembly that has not been corrected. Using single-molecule sequencing in combination with linked reads enables a genome sequence assembly that achieves both a high sequence contiguity as well as high scaffold contiguity, a feat not currently achievable with either technology alone.

July 7, 2019  |  

ARKS: chromosome-scale scaffolding of human genome drafts with linked read kmers.

The long-range sequencing information captured by linked reads, such as those available from 10× Genomics (10xG), helps resolve genome sequence repeats, and yields accurate and contiguous draft genome assemblies. We introduce ARKS, an alignment-free linked read genome scaffolding methodology that uses linked reads to organize genome assemblies further into contiguous drafts. Our approach departs from other read alignment-dependent linked read scaffolders, including our own (ARCS), and uses a kmer-based mapping approach. The kmer mapping strategy has several advantages over read alignment methods, including better usability and faster processing, as it precludes the need for input sequence formatting and draft sequence assembly indexing. The reliance on kmers instead of read alignments for pairing sequences relaxes the workflow requirements, and drastically reduces the run time.Here, we show how linked reads, when used in conjunction with Hi-C data for scaffolding, improve a draft human genome assembly of PacBio long-read data five-fold (baseline vs. ARKS NG50?=?4.6 vs. 23.1 Mbp, respectively). We also demonstrate how the method provides further improvements of a megabase-scale Supernova human genome assembly (NG50?=?14.74 Mbp vs. 25.94 Mbp before and after ARKS), which itself exclusively uses linked read data for assembly, with an execution speed six to nine times faster than competitive linked read scaffolders (~?10.5 h compared to 75.7 h, on average). Following ARKS scaffolding of a human genome 10xG Supernova assembly (of cell line NA12878), fewer than 9 scaffolds cover each chromosome, except the largest (chromosome 1, n?=?13).ARKS uses a kmer mapping strategy instead of linked read alignments to record and associate the barcode information needed to order and orient draft assembly sequences. The simplified workflow, when compared to that of our initial implementation, ARCS, markedly improves run time performances on experimental human genome datasets. Furthermore, the novel distance estimator in ARKS utilizes barcoding information from linked reads to estimate gap sizes. It accomplishes this by modeling the relationship between known distances of a region within contigs and calculating associated Jaccard indices. ARKS has the potential to provide correct, chromosome-scale genome assemblies, promptly. We expect ARKS to have broad utility in helping refine draft genomes.

July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequence of Tuber borchii Vittad., a whitish edible truffle.

The ascomycete Tuber borchii (Pezizomycetes) is a whitish edible truffle that establishes ectomycorrhizal symbiosis with trees and shrubs. This fungus is ubiquitous in Europe and is also cultivated outside Europe. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of T. borchii strain Tbo3840 (97.18 Mb in 969 scaffolds, with 12,346 predicted protein-coding genes).

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