July 19, 2019  |  

Sequencing the unsequenceable: expanded CGG-repeat alleles of the fragile X gene.

The human fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene contains a (CGG)(n) trinucleotide repeat in its 5′ untranslated region (5’UTR). Expansions of this repeat result in a number of clinical disorders with distinct molecular pathologies, including fragile X syndrome (FXS; full mutation range, greater than 200 CGG repeats) and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS; premutation range, 55-200 repeats). Study of these diseases has been limited by an inability to sequence expanded CGG repeats, particularly in the full mutation range, with existing DNA sequencing technologies. Single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing provides an approach to sequencing that is fundamentally different from other “next-generation” sequencing platforms, and is well suited for long, repetitive DNA sequences. We report the first sequence data for expanded CGG-repeat FMR1 alleles in the full mutation range that reveal the confounding effects of CGG-repeat tracts on both cloning and PCR. A unique feature of SMRT sequencing is its ability to yield real-time information on the rates of nucleoside addition by the tethered DNA polymerase; for the CGG-repeat alleles, we find a strand-specific effect of CGG-repeat DNA on the interpulse distance. This kinetic signature reveals a novel aspect of the repeat element; namely, that the particular G bias within the CGG/CCG-repeat element influences polymerase activity in a manner that extends beyond simple nearest-neighbor effects. These observations provide a baseline for future kinetic studies of repeat elements, as well as for studies of epigenetic and other chemical modifications thereof.


July 19, 2019  |  

A comparative analysis of methylome profiles of Campylobacter jejuni sheep abortion isolate and gastroenteric strains using PacBio data.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of human gastrointestinal disease and small ruminant abortions in the United States. The recent emergence of a highly virulent, tetracycline-resistant C. jejuni subsp. jejuni sheep abortion clone (clone SA) in the United States, and that strain’s association with human disease, has resulted in a heightened awareness of the zoonotic potential of this organism. Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time sequencing technology was used to explore the variation in the genome-wide methylation patterns of the abortifacient clone SA (IA3902) and phenotypically distinct gastrointestinal-specific C. jejuni strains (NCTC 11168 and 81-176). Several notable differences were discovered that distinguished the methylome of IA3902 from that of 11168 and 81-176: identification of motifs novel to IA3902, genome-specific hypo- and hypermethylated regions, strain level variability in genes methylated, and differences in the types of methylation motifs present in each strain. These observations suggest a possible role of methylation in the contrasting disease presentations of these three C. jejuni strains. In addition, the methylation profiles between IA3902 and a luxS mutant were explored to determine if variations in methylation patterns could be identified that might explain the role of LuxS-dependent methyl recycling in IA3902 abortifacient potential.


July 19, 2019  |  

CGGBP1 mitigates cytosine methylation at repetitive DNA sequences.

CGGBP1 is a repetitive DNA-binding transcription regulator with target sites at CpG-rich sequences such as CGG repeats and Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs. The role of CGGBP1 as a possible mediator of CpG methylation however remains unknown. At CpG-rich sequences cytosine methylation is a major mechanism of transcriptional repression. Concordantly, gene-rich regions typically carry lower levels of CpG methylation than the repetitive elements. It is well known that at interspersed repeats Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs high levels of CpG methylation constitute a transcriptional silencing and retrotransposon inactivating mechanism.Here, we have studied genome-wide CpG methylation with or without CGGBP1-depletion. By high throughput sequencing of bisulfite-treated genomic DNA we have identified CGGBP1 to be a negative regulator of CpG methylation at repetitive DNA sequences. In addition, we have studied CpG methylation alterations on Alu and L1 retrotransposons in CGGBP1-depleted cells using a novel bisulfite-treatment and high throughput sequencing approach.The results clearly show that CGGBP1 is a possible bidirectional regulator of CpG methylation at Alus, and acts as a repressor of methylation at L1 retrotransposons.


July 19, 2019  |  

AgIn: Measuring the landscape of CpG methylation of individual repetitive elements.

Determining the methylation state of regions with high copy numbers is challenging for second-generation sequencing, because the read length is insufficient to map reads uniquely, especially when repetitive regions are long and nearly identical to each other. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is a promising method for observing such regions, because it is not vulnerable to GC bias, it produces long read lengths, and its kinetic information is sensitive to DNA modifications.We propose a novel linear-time algorithm that combines the kinetic information for neighboring CpG sites and increases the confidence in identifying the methylation states of those sites. Using a practical read coverage of ~30-fold from an inbred strain medaka (Oryzias latipes), we observed that both the sensitivity and precision of our method on individual CpG sites were ~93.7%. We also observed a high correlation coefficient (R?=?0.884) between our method and bisulfite sequencing, and for 92.0% of CpG sites, methylation levels ranging over [0, 1] were in concordance within an acceptable difference 0.25. Using this method, we characterized the landscape of the methylation status of repetitive elements, such as LINEs, in the human genome, thereby revealing the strong correlation between CpG density and hypomethylation and detecting hypomethylation hot spots of LTRs and LINEs. We uncovered the methylation states for nearly identical active transposons, two novel LINE insertions of identity ~99% and length 6050 base pairs (bp) in the human genome, and 16 Tol2 elements of identity >99.8% and length 4682?bp in the medaka genome.AgIn (Aggregate on Intervals) is available at: https://github.com/hacone/AgIn CONTACT: ysuzuki@cb.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp, moris@cb.k.u-tokyo.ac.jp SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative DNA methylation and gene expression analysis identifies novel genes for structural congenital heart diseases.

For the majority of congenital heart diseases (CHDs), the full complexity of the causative molecular network, which is driven by genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors, is yet to be elucidated. Epigenetic alterations are suggested to play a pivotal role in modulating the phenotypic expression of CHDs and their clinical course during life. Candidate approaches implied that DNA methylation might have a developmental role in CHD and contributes to the long-term progress of non-structural cardiac diseases. The aim of the present study is to define the postnatal epigenome of two common cardiac malformations, representing epigenetic memory, and adaption to hemodynamic alterations, which are jointly relevant for the disease course.We present the first analysis of genome-wide DNA methylation data obtained from myocardial biopsies of Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and ventricular septal defect patients. We defined stringent sets of differentially methylated regions between patients and controls, which are significantly enriched for genomic features like promoters, exons, and cardiac enhancers. For TOF, we linked DNA methylation with genome-wide expression data and found a significant overlap for hypermethylated promoters and down-regulated genes, and vice versa. We validated and replicated the methylation of selected CpGs and performed functional assays. We identified a hypermethylated novel developmental CpG island in the promoter of SCO2 and demonstrate its functional impact. Moreover, we discovered methylation changes co-localized with novel, differential splicing events among sarcomeric genes as well as transcription factor binding sites. Finally, we demonstrated the interaction of differentially methylated and expressed genes in TOF with mutated CHD genes in a molecular network.By interrogating DNA methylation and gene expression data, we identify two novel mechanism contributing to the phenotypic expression of CHDs: aberrant methylation of promoter CpG islands and methylation alterations leading to differential splicing. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved. © The Author 2016. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 19, 2019  |  

Centromere evolution and CpG methylation during vertebrate speciation.

Centromeres and large-scale structural variants evolve and contribute to genome diversity during vertebrate speciation. Here, we perform de novo long-read genome assembly of three inbred medaka strains that are derived from geographically isolated subpopulations and undergo speciation. Using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, we obtain three chromosome-mapped genomes of length ~734, ~678, and ~744Mbp with a resource of twenty-two centromeric regions of length 20-345kbp. Centromeres are positionally conserved among the three strains and even between four pairs of chromosomes that were duplicated by the teleost-specific whole-genome duplication 320-350 million years ago. The centromeres do not all evolve at a similar pace; rather, centromeric monomers in non-acrocentric chromosomes evolve significantly faster than those in acrocentric chromosomes. Using methylation sensitive SMRT reads, we uncover centromeres are mostly hypermethylated but have hypomethylated sub-regions that acquire unique sequence compositions independently. These findings reveal the potential of non-acrocentric centromere evolution to contribute to speciation.


July 7, 2019  |  

Methylome diversification through changes in DNA methyltransferase sequence specificity.

Epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation have large effects on gene expression and genome maintenance. Helicobacter pylori, a human gastric pathogen, has a large number of DNA methyltransferase genes, with different strains having unique repertoires. Previous genome comparisons suggested that these methyltransferases often change DNA sequence specificity through domain movement–the movement between and within genes of coding sequences of target recognition domains. Using single-molecule real-time sequencing technology, which detects N6-methyladenines and N4-methylcytosines with single-base resolution, we studied methylated DNA sites throughout the H. pylori genome for several closely related strains. Overall, the methylome was highly variable among closely related strains. Hypermethylated regions were found, for example, in rpoB gene for RNA polymerase. We identified DNA sequence motifs for methylation and then assigned each of them to a specific homology group of the target recognition domains in the specificity-determining genes for Type I and other restriction-modification systems. These results supported proposed mechanisms for sequence-specificity changes in DNA methyltransferases. Knocking out one of the Type I specificity genes led to transcriptome changes, which suggested its role in gene expression. These results are consistent with the concept of evolution driven by DNA methylation, in which changes in the methylome lead to changes in the transcriptome and potentially to changes in phenotype, providing targets for natural or artificial selection.


July 7, 2019  |  

Methods for genome-wide methylome profiling of Campylobacter jejuni.

Methylation has a profound role in the regulation of numerous biological processes in bacteria including virulence. The study of methylation in bacteria has greatly advanced thanks to next-generation sequencing technologies. These technologies have expedited the process of uncovering unique features of many bacterial methylomes such as characterizing previously uncharacterized methyltransferases, cataloging genome-wide DNA methylations in bacteria, identifying the frequency of methylation at particular genomic loci, and revealing regulatory roles of methylation in the biology of various bacterial species. For instance, methylation has been cited as a potential source for the pathogenicity differences observed in C. jejuni strains with syntenic genomes as seen in recent publications. Here, we describe the methodology for the use of Pacific Biosciences’ single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing for detecting methylation patterns in C. jejuni and bioinformatics tools to profile its methylome.


July 7, 2019  |  

Effects of genome structure variation, homeologous genes and repetitive DNA on polyploid crop research in the age of genomics.

Compared to diploid species, allopolyploid crop species possess more complex genomes, higher productivity, and greater adaptability to changing environments. Next generation sequencing techniques have produced high-density genetic maps, whole genome sequences, transcriptomes and epigenomes for important polyploid crops. However, several problems interfere with the full application of next generation sequencing techniques to these crops. Firstly, different types of genomic variation affect sequence assembly and QTL mapping. Secondly, duplicated or homoeologous genes can diverge in function and then lead to emergence of many minor QTL, which increases difficulties in fine mapping, cloning and marker assisted selection. Thirdly, repetitive DNA sequences arising in polyploid crop genomes also impact sequence assembly, and are increasingly being shown to produce small RNAs to regulate gene expression and hence phenotypic traits. We propose that these three key features should be considered together when analyzing polyploid crop genomes. It is apparent that dissection of genomic structural variation, elucidation of the function and mechanism of interaction of homoeologous genes, and investigation of the de novo roles of repeat sequences in agronomic traits are necessary for genomics-based crop breeding in polyploids. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Expression and purification of the modification-dependent restriction enzyme BisI and its homologous enzymes.

The methylation-dependent restriction endonuclease (REase) BisI (G(m5)C???NGC) is found in Bacillus subtilis T30. We expressed and purified the BisI endonuclease and 34 BisI homologs identified in bacterial genomes. 23 of these BisI homologs are active based on digestion of (m5)C-modified substrates. Two major specificities were found among these BisI family enzymes: Group I enzymes cut GCNGC containing two to four (m5)C in the two strands, or hemi-methylated sites containing two (m5)C in one strand; Group II enzymes only cut GCNGC sites containing three to four (m5)C, while one enzyme requires all four cytosines to be modified for cleavage. Another homolog, Esp638I cleaves GCS???SGC (relaxed specificity RCN???NGY, containing at least four (m5)C). Two BisI homologs show degenerate specificity cleaving unmodified DNA. Many homologs are small proteins ranging from 150 to 190 amino acid (aa) residues, but some homologs associated with mobile genetic elements are larger and contain an extra C-terminal domain. More than 156 BisI homologs are found in >60 bacterial genera, indicating that these enzymes are widespread in bacteria. They may play an important biological function in restricting pre-modified phage DNA.


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