July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing resolves the detailed structure of complex satellite DNA loci in Drosophila melanogaster.

Highly repetitive satellite DNA (satDNA) repeats are found in most eukaryotic genomes. SatDNAs are rapidly evolving and have roles in genome stability and chromosome segregation. Their repetitive nature poses a challenge for genome assembly and makes progress on the detailed study of satDNA structure difficult. Here, we use single-molecule sequencing long reads from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) to determine the detailed structure of all major autosomal complex satDNA loci in Drosophila melanogaster, with a particular focus on the 260-bp and Responder satellites. We determine the optimal de novo assembly methods and parameter combinations required to produce a high-quality assembly of these previously unassembled satDNA loci and validate this assembly using molecular and computational approaches. We determined that the computationally intensive PBcR-BLASR assembly pipeline yielded better assemblies than the faster and more efficient pipelines based on the MHAP hashing algorithm, and it is essential to validate assemblies of repetitive loci. The assemblies reveal that satDNA repeats are organized into large arrays interrupted by transposable elements. The repeats in the center of the array tend to be homogenized in sequence, suggesting that gene conversion and unequal crossovers lead to repeat homogenization through concerted evolution, although the degree of unequal crossing over may differ among complex satellite loci. We find evidence for higher-order structure within satDNA arrays that suggest recent structural rearrangements. These assemblies provide a platform for the evolutionary and functional genomics of satDNAs in pericentric heterochromatin. © 2017 Khost et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

July 19, 2019  |  

Structure and distribution of centromeric retrotransposons at diploid and allotetraploid Coffea centromeric and pericentromeric regions.

Centromeric regions of plants are generally composed of large array of satellites from a specific lineage ofGypsyLTR-retrotransposons, called Centromeric Retrotransposons. Repeated sequences interact with a specific H3 histone, playing a crucial function on kinetochore formation. To study the structure and composition of centromeric regions in the genusCoffea, we annotated and classified Centromeric Retrotransposons sequences from the allotetraploidC. arabicagenome and its two diploid ancestors:Coffea canephoraandC. eugenioides. Ten distinct CRC (Centromeric Retrotransposons inCoffea) families were found. The sequence mapping and FISH experiments of CRC Reverse Transcriptase domains inC. canephora, C. eugenioides, andC. arabicaclearly indicate a strong and specific targeting mainly onto proximal chromosome regions, which can be associated also with heterochromatin. PacBio genome sequence analyses of putative centromeric regions onC. arabicaandC. canephorachromosomes showed an exceptional density of one family of CRC elements, and the complete absence of satellite arrays, contrasting with usual structure of plant centromeres. Altogether, our data suggest a specific centromere organization inCoffea, contrasting with other plant genomes.

July 7, 2019  |  

Completing the human genome: the progress and challenge of satellite DNA assembly.

Genomic studies rely on accurate chromosome assemblies to explore sequence-based models of cell biology, evolution and biomedical disease. However, even the extensively studied human genome has not yet reached a complete, ‘telomere-to-telomere’, chromosome assembly. The largest assembly gaps remain in centromeric regions and acrocentric short arms, sites known to contain megabase-sized arrays of tandem repeats, or satellite DNAs. This review aims to briefly address the progress and challenges of generating correct assemblies of satellite DNA arrays. Although the focus is placed on the human genome, many concepts presented here are applicable to other genomes.

July 7, 2019  |  

Alpha-CENTAURI: assessing novel centromeric repeat sequence variation with long read sequencing.

Long arrays of near-identical tandem repeats are a common feature of centromeric and subtelomeric regions in complex genomes. These sequences present a source of repeat structure diversity that is commonly ignored by standard genomic tools. Unlike reads shorter than the underlying repeat structure that rely on indirect inference methods, e.g. assembly, long reads allow direct inference of satellite higher order repeat structure. To automate characterization of local centromeric tandem repeat sequence variation we have designed Alpha-CENTAURI (ALPHA satellite CENTromeric AUtomated Repeat Identification), that takes advantage of Pacific Bioscience long-reads from whole-genome sequencing datasets. By operating on reads prior to assembly, our approach provides a more comprehensive set of repeat-structure variants and is not impacted by rearrangements or sequence underrepresentation due to misassembly.We demonstrate the utility of Alpha-CENTAURI in characterizing repeat structure for alpha satellite containing reads in the hydatidiform mole (CHM1, haploid-like) genome. The pipeline is designed to report local repeat organization summaries for each read, thereby monitoring rearrangements in repeat units, shifts in repeat orientation and sites of array transition into non-satellite DNA, typically defined by transposable element insertion. We validate the method by showing consistency with existing centromere high order repeat references. Alpha-CENTAURI can, in principle, run on any sequence data, offering a method to generate a sequence repeat resolution that could be readily performed using consensus sequences available for other satellite families in genomes without high-quality reference assemblies.Documentation and source code for Alpha-CENTAURI are freely available at http://github.com/volkansevim/alpha-CENTAURI CONTACT: ali.bashir@mssm.eduSupplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic dark matter illuminated: Anopheles Y chromosomes.

Hall et al. have strategically used long-read sequencing technology to characterize the structure and highly repetitive content of the Y chromosome in Anopheles malaria mosquitoes. Their work confirms that this important but elusive heterochromatic sex chromosome is evolving extremely rapidly and harbors a remarkably small number of genes. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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