June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT-Cappable-seq reveals the complex operome of bacteria

SMRT-Cappable-seq combines the isolation of full-length prokaryotic primary transcripts with long read sequencing technology. It is the first experimental methodology to sequence entire prokaryotic transcripts. It identifies the transcription start site and termination site, thereby directly defines the operon structures genome-wide in prokaryotes. Applied to E.coli, SMRT-Cappable-seq identifies a total of ~2300 operons, among which ~900 are novel. Importantly, our result reveals a pervasive read-through of previous experimentally validated transcription termination sites. Termination read-through represents a powerful strategy to control gene expression. Taken together this data provides a first glance at the complexity of the ‘operome’ in bacteria and presents an invaluable resource for understanding gene regulation and function in bacteria.

September 22, 2019  |  

Identification by high-throughput imaging of the histone methyltransferase EHMT2 as an epigenetic regulator of VEGFA alternative splicing.

Recent evidence points to a role of chromatin in regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing (AS). In order to identify novel chromatin regulators of AS, we screened an RNAi library of chromatin proteins using a cell-based high-throughput in vivo assay. We identified a set of chromatin proteins that regulate AS. Using simultaneous genome-wide expression and AS analysis, we demonstrate distinct and non-overlapping functions of these chromatin modifiers on transcription and AS. Detailed mechanistic characterization of one dual function chromatin modifier, the H3K9 methyltransferase EHMT2 (G9a), identified VEGFA as a major chromatin-mediated AS target. Silencing of EHMT2, or its heterodimer partner EHMT1, affects AS by promoting exclusion of VEGFA exon 6a, but does not alter total VEGFA mRNA levels. The epigenetic regulatory mechanism of AS by EHMT2 involves an adaptor system consisting of the chromatin modulator HP1?, which binds methylated H3K9 and recruits splicing regulator SRSF1. The epigenetic regulation of VEGFA is physiologically relevant since EHMT2 is transcriptionally induced in response to hypoxia and triggers concomitant changes in AS of VEGFA. These results characterize a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism of AS and they demonstrate separate roles of epigenetic modifiers in transcription and alternative splicing. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research 2014. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.

September 22, 2019  |  

A survey of the sorghum transcriptome using single-molecule long reads.

Alternative splicing and alternative polyadenylation (APA) of pre-mRNAs greatly contribute to transcriptome diversity, coding capacity of a genome and gene regulatory mechanisms in eukaryotes. Second-generation sequencing technologies have been extensively used to analyse transcriptomes. However, a major limitation of short-read data is that it is difficult to accurately predict full-length splice isoforms. Here we sequenced the sorghum transcriptome using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time long-read isoform sequencing and developed a pipeline called TAPIS (Transcriptome Analysis Pipeline for Isoform Sequencing) to identify full-length splice isoforms and APA sites. Our analysis reveals transcriptome-wide full-length isoforms at an unprecedented scale with over 11,000 novel splice isoforms. Additionally, we uncover APA of ~11,000 expressed genes and more than 2,100 novel genes. These results greatly enhance sorghum gene annotations and aid in studying gene regulation in this important bioenergy crop. The TAPIS pipeline will serve as a useful tool to analyse Iso-Seq data from any organism.

July 19, 2019  |  

Unlocking the mystery of the hard-to-sequence phage genome: PaP1 methylome and bacterial immunity.

Whole-genome sequencing is an important method to understand the genetic information, gene function, biological characteristics and survival mechanisms of organisms. Sequencing large genomes is very simple at present. However, we encountered a hard-to-sequence genome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa phage PaP1. Shotgun sequencing method failed to complete the sequence of this genome.After persevering for 10 years and going over three generations of sequencing techniques, we successfully completed the sequence of the PaP1 genome with a length of 91,715 bp. Single-molecule real-time sequencing results revealed that this genome contains 51?N-6-methyladenines and 152?N-4-methylcytosines. Three significant modified sequence motifs were predicted, but not all of the sites found in the genome were methylated in these motifs. Further investigations revealed a novel immune mechanism of bacteria, in which host bacteria can recognise and repel modified bases containing inserts in a large scale. This mechanism could be accounted for the failure of the shotgun method in PaP1 genome sequencing. This problem was resolved using the nfi- mutant of Escherichia coli DH5a as a host bacterium to construct a shotgun library.This work provided insights into the hard-to-sequence phage PaP1 genome and discovered a new mechanism of bacterial immunity. The methylome of phage PaP1 is responsible for the failure of shotgun sequencing and for bacterial immunity mediated by enzyme Endo V activity; this methylome also provides a valuable resource for future studies on PaP1 genome replication and modification, as well as on gene regulation and host interaction.

July 19, 2019  |  

The epigenomic landscape of prokaryotes.

DNA methylation acts in concert with restriction enzymes to protect the integrity of prokaryotic genomes. Studies in a limited number of organisms suggest that methylation also contributes to prokaryotic genome regulation, but the prevalence and properties of such non-restriction-associated methylation systems remain poorly understood. Here, we used single molecule, real-time sequencing to map DNA modifications including m6A, m4C, and m5C across the genomes of 230 diverse bacterial and archaeal species. We observed DNA methylation in nearly all (93%) organisms examined, and identified a total of 834 distinct reproducibly methylated motifs. This data enabled annotation of the DNA binding specificities of 620 DNA Methyltransferases (MTases), doubling known specificities for previously hard to study Type I, IIG and III MTases, and revealing their extraordinary diversity. Strikingly, 48% of organisms harbor active Type II MTases with no apparent cognate restriction enzyme. These active ‘orphan’ MTases are present in diverse bacterial and archaeal phyla and show motif specificities and methylation patterns consistent with functions in gene regulation and DNA replication. Our results reveal the pervasive presence of DNA methylation throughout the prokaryotic kingdoms, as well as the diversity of sequence specificities and potential functions of DNA methylation systems.

July 7, 2019  |  

Characterization of the effect of the histidine kinase CovS on response regulator phosphorylation in group A Streptococcus.

Two-component gene regulatory systems (TCSs) are a major mechanism by which bacteria respond to environmental stimuli and thus are critical to infectivity. For example, the control of virulence regulator/sensor kinase (CovRS) TCS is central to the virulence of the major human pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS). Here, we used a combination of quantitative in vivo phosphorylation assays, isoallelic strains that varied by only a single amino acid in CovS, and transcriptome analyses to characterize the impact of CovS on CovR phosphorylation and GAS global gene expression. We discovered that CovS primarily serves to phosphorylate CovR, thereby resulting in the repression of virulence factor-encoding genes. However, a GAS strain selectively deficient in CovS phosphatase activity had a distinct transcriptome relative to that of its parental strain, indicating that both CovS kinase and phosphatase activities influence the CovR phosphorylation status. Surprisingly, compared to a serotype M3 strain, serotype M1 GAS strains had high levels of phosphorylated CovR, low transcript levels of CovR-repressed genes, and strikingly different responses to environmental cues. Moreover, the inactivation of CovS in the serotype M1 background resulted in a greater decrease in phosphorylated CovR levels and a greater increase in the transcript levels of CovR-repressed genes than did CovS inactivation in a serotype M3 strain. These data clarify the influence of CovS on the CovR phosphorylation status and provide insight into why serotype M1 GAS strains have high rates of spontaneous mutations in covS during invasive GAS infection, thus providing a link between TCS molecular function and the epidemiology of deadly bacterial infections. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

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