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Friday, July 19, 2019

Single molecule-level detection and long read-based phasing of epigenetic variations in bacterial methylomes.

Beyond its role in host defense, bacterial DNA methylation also plays important roles in the regulation of gene expression, virulence and antibiotic resistance. Bacterial cells in a clonal population can generate epigenetic heterogeneity to increase population-level phenotypic plasticity. Single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing enables the detection of N6-methyladenine and N4-methylcytosine, two major types of DNA modifications comprising the bacterial methylome. However, existing SMRT sequencing-based methods for studying bacterial methylomes rely on a population-level consensus that lacks the single-cell resolution required to observe epigenetic heterogeneity. Here, we present SMALR (single-molecule modification analysis of long reads), a novel framework for single molecule-level…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

SMRT genome assembly corrects reference errors, resolving the genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been investigated through genome comparisons of virulent (H37Rv) and attenuated (H37Ra) sister strains. Such analysis, however, relies heavily on the accuracy of the sequences. While the H37Rv reference genome has had several corrections to date, that of H37Ra is unmodified since its original publication.Here, we report the assembly and finishing of the H37Ra genome from single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. Our assembly reveals that the number of H37Ra-specific variants is less than half of what the Sanger-based H37Ra reference sequence indicates, undermining and, in some cases, invalidating the conclusions of several studies.…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

A comparative study on the characterization of hepatitis B virus quasispecies by clone-based sequencing and third-generation sequencing.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has a high mutation rate due to the extremely high replication rate and the proofreading deficiency during reverse transcription. The generated variants with genetic heterogeneity are described as viral quasispecies (QS). Clone-based sequencing (CBS) is thought to be the ‘gold standard’ for assessing QS complexity and diversity of HBV, but an important issue about CBS is cost-effectiveness and laborious. In this study, we investigated the utility of the third-generation sequencing (TGS) DNA sequencing to characterize genetic heterogeneity of HBV QS and assessed the possible contribution of TGS technology in HBV QS studies. Parallel experiments including 3…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A multidrug resistance plasmid contains the molecular switch for type VI secretion in Acinetobacter baumannii.

Infections with Acinetobacter baumannii, one of the most troublesome and least studied multidrug-resistant superbugs, are increasing at alarming rates. A. baumannii encodes a type VI secretion system (T6SS), an antibacterial apparatus of Gram-negative bacteria used to kill competitors. Expression of the T6SS varies among different strains of A. baumannii, for which the regulatory mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that several multidrug-resistant strains of A. baumannii harbor a large, self-transmissible resistance plasmid that carries the negative regulators for T6SS. T6SS activity is silenced in plasmid-containing, antibiotic-resistant cells, while part of the population undergoes frequent plasmid loss and activation of the…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Recombination rate heterogeneity within Arabidopsis disease resistance genes.

Meiotic crossover frequency varies extensively along chromosomes and is typically concentrated in hotspots. As recombination increases genetic diversity, hotspots are predicted to occur at immunity genes, where variation may be beneficial. A major component of plant immunity is recognition of pathogen Avirulence (Avr) effectors by resistance (R) genes that encode NBS-LRR domain proteins. Therefore, we sought to test whether NBS-LRR genes would overlap with meiotic crossover hotspots using experimental genetics in Arabidopsis thaliana. NBS-LRR genes tend to physically cluster in plant genomes; for example, in Arabidopsis most are located in large clusters on the south arms of chromosomes 1 and…

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