September 22, 2019  |  

Mapping and characterizing N6-methyladenine in eukaryotic genomes using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

N6-Methyladenine (m6dA) has been discovered as a novel form of DNA methylation prevalent in eukaryotes; however, methods for high-resolution mapping of m6dA events are still lacking. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing has enabled the detection of m6dA events at single-nucleotide resolution in prokaryotic genomes, but its application to detecting m6dA in eukaryotic genomes has not been rigorously examined. Herein, we identified unique characteristics of eukaryotic m6dA methylomes that fundamentally differ from those of prokaryotes. Based on these differences, we describe the first approach for mapping m6dA events using SMRT sequencing specifically designed for the study of eukaryotic genomes and provide appropriate strategies for designing experiments and carrying out sequencing in future studies. We apply the novel approach to study two eukaryotic genomes. For green algae, we construct the first complete genome-wide map of m6dA at single-nucleotide and single-molecule resolution. For human lymphoblastoid cells (hLCLs), it was necessary to integrate SMRT sequencing data with independent sequencing data. The joint analyses suggest putative m6dA events are enriched in the promoters of young full-length LINE-1 elements (L1s), but call for validation by additional methods. These analyses demonstrate a general method for rigorous mapping and characterization of m6dA events in eukaryotic genomes.© 2018 Zhu et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Periodic variation of mutation rates in bacterial genomes associated with replication timing

The causes and consequences of spatiotemporal variation in mutation rates remain to be explored in nearly all organisms. Here we examine relationships between local mutation rates and replication timing in three bacterial species whose genomes have multiple chromosomes: Vibrio fischeri, Vibrio cholerae, and Burkholderia cenocepacia Following five mutation accumulation experiments with these bacteria conducted in the near absence of natural selection, the genomes of clones from each lineage were sequenced and analyzed to identify variation in mutation rates and spectra. In lineages lacking mismatch repair, base substitution mutation rates vary in a mirrored wave-like pattern on opposing replichores of the large chromosomes of V. fischeri and V. cholerae, where concurrently replicated regions experience similar base substitution mutation rates. The base substitution mutation rates on the small chromosome are less variable in both species but occur at similar rates to those in the concurrently replicated regions of the large chromosome. Neither nucleotide composition nor frequency of nucleotide motifs differed among regions experiencing high and low base substitution rates, which along with the inferred ~800-kb wave period suggests that the source of the periodicity is not sequence specific but rather a systematic process related to the cell cycle. These results support the notion that base substitution mutation rates are likely to vary systematically across many bacterial genomes, which exposes certain genes to elevated deleterious mutational load.IMPORTANCE That mutation rates vary within bacterial genomes is well known, but the detailed study of these biases has been made possible only recently with contemporary sequencing methods. We applied these methods to understand how bacterial genomes with multiple chromosomes, like those of Vibrio and Burkholderia, might experience heterogeneous mutation rates because of their unusual replication and the greater genetic diversity found on smaller chromosomes. This study captured thousands of mutations and revealed wave-like rate variation that is synchronized with replication timing and not explained by sequence context. The scale of this rate variation over hundreds of kilobases of DNA strongly suggests that a temporally regulated cellular process may generate wave-like variation in mutation risk. These findings add to our understanding of how mutation risk is distributed across bacterial and likely also eukaryotic genomes, owing to their highly conserved replication and repair machinery. Copyright © 2018 Dillon et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Functional and genome sequence-driven characterization of tal effector gene repertoires reveals novel variants with altered specificities in closely related Malian Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae strains.

Rice bacterial leaf blight (BLB) is caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) which injects Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) into the host cell to modulate the expression of target disease susceptibility genes. Xoo major-virulence TALEs universally target susceptibility genes of the SWEET sugar transporter family. TALE-unresponsive alleles of OsSWEET genes have been identified in the rice germplasm or created by genome editing and confer resistance to BLB. In recent years, BLB has become one of the major biotic constraints to rice cultivation in Mali. To inform the deployment of alternative sources of resistance in this country, rice lines carrying alleles of OsSWEET14 unresponsive to either TalF (formerly Tal5) or TalC, two important TALEs previously identified in West African Xoo, were challenged with a panel of strains recently isolated in Mali and were found to remain susceptible to these isolates. The characterization of TALE repertoires revealed that talF and talC specific molecular markers were simultaneously present in all surveyed Malian strains, suggesting that the corresponding TALEs are broadly deployed by Malian Xoo to redundantly target the OsSWEET14 gene promoter. Consistent with this, the capacity of most Malian Xoo to induce OsSWEET14 was unaffected by either talC- or talF-unresponsive alleles of this gene. Long-read sequencing and assembly of eight Malian Xoo genomes confirmed the widespread occurrence of active TalF and TalC variants and provided a detailed insight into the diversity of TALE repertoires. All sequenced strains shared nine evolutionary related tal effector genes. Notably, a new TalF variant that is unable to induce OsSWEET14 was identified. Furthermore, two distinct TalB variants were shown to have lost the ability to simultaneously induce two susceptibility genes as previously reported for the founding members of this group from strains MAI1 and BAI3. Yet, both new TalB variants retained the ability to induce one or the other of the two susceptibility genes. These results reveal molecular and functional differences in tal repertoires and will be important for the sustainable deployment of broad-spectrum and durable resistance to BLB in West Africa.


September 22, 2019  |  

Prevalence and genomic structure of bacteriophage phi3 in human derived livestock-associated MRSA from 2000 to 2015.

Whereas the emergence of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) clonal complex 398 (CC398) in animal husbandry and its transmission to humans are well documented, less is known about factors driving the epidemic spread of this zoonotic lineage within the human population. One factor could be the bacteriophage phi3, which is rarely detected in S. aureus isolates from animals but commonly found among isolates from humans, including those of the human-adapted methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) CC398 clade. The proportion of phi3-carrying MRSA spa-CC011 isolates, which constitute presumptively LA-MRSA within the multilocus sequence type (MLST) clonal complex 398, was systematically assessed for a period of 16 years to investigate the role of phi3 in the adaptation process of LA-MRSA to the human host. For this purpose, 632 MRSA spa-CC011 isolates from patients of a university hospital located in a pig farming-dense area in Germany were analyzed. Livestock-associated acquisition of MRSA spa-CC011 was previously reported as having increased from 1.8% in 2000 to 29.4% in 2014 in MRSA-positive patients admitted to this hospital. However, in this study, the proportion of phi3-carrying isolates rose only from 1.1% (2000 to 2006) to 3.9% (2007 to 2015). Characterization of the phi3 genomes revealed 12 different phage types ranging in size from 40,712 kb up to 44,003 kb, with four hitherto unknown integration sites (genes or intergenic regions) and several modified bacterial attachment (attB) sites. In contrast to the MSSA CC398 clade, phi3 acquisition seems to be no major driver for the readaptation of MRSA spa-CC011 to the human host. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome plasticity of agr-defective Staphylococcus aureus during clinical infection.

Therapy for bacteremia caused by Staphylococcus aureus is often ineffective, even when treatment conditions are optimal according to experimental protocols. Adapted subclones, such as those bearing mutations that attenuate agr-mediated virulence activation, are associated with persistent infection and patient mortality. To identify additional alterations in agr-defective mutants, we sequenced and assembled the complete genomes of clone pairs from colonizing and infected sites of several patients in whom S. aureus demonstrated a within-host loss of agr function. We report that events associated with agr inactivation result in agr-defective blood and nares strain pairs that are enriched in mutations compared to pairs from wild-type controls. The random distribution of mutations between colonizing and infecting strains from the same patient, and between strains from different patients, suggests that much of the genetic complexity of agr-defective strains results from prolonged infection or therapy-induced stress. However, in one of the agr-defective infecting strains, multiple genetic changes resulted in increased virulence in a murine model of bloodstream infection, bypassing the mutation of agr and raising the possibility that some changes were selected. Expression profiling correlated the elevated virulence of this agr-defective mutant to restored expression of the agr-regulated ESAT6-like type VII secretion system, a known virulence factor. Thus, additional mutations outside the agr locus can contribute to diversification and adaptation during infection by S. aureus agr mutants associated with poor patient outcomes. Copyright © 2018 Altman et al.


September 21, 2019  |  

Identification of a novel RASD1 somatic mutation in a USP8-mutated corticotroph adenoma.

Cushing’s disease (CD) is caused by pituitary corticotroph adenomas that secrete excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In these tumors, somatic mutations in the gene USP8 have been identified as recurrent and pathogenic and are the sole known molecular driver for CD. Although other somatic mutations were reported in these studies, their contribution to the pathogenesis of CD remains unexplored. No molecular drivers have been established for a large proportion of CD cases and tumor heterogeneity has not yet been investigated using genomics methods. Also, even in USP8-mutant tumors, a possibility may exist of additional contributing mutations, following a paradigm from other neoplasm types where multiple somatic alterations contribute to neoplastic transformation. The current study utilizes whole-exome discovery sequencing on the Illumina platform, followed by targeted amplicon-validation sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform, to interrogate the somatic mutation landscape in a corticotroph adenoma resected from a CD patient. In this USP8-mutated tumor, we identified an interesting somatic mutation in the gene RASD1, which is a component of the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor signaling system. This finding may provide insight into a novel mechanism involving loss of feedback control to the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor and subsequent deregulation of ACTH production in corticotroph tumors.


July 19, 2019  |  

Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus via deceased donor liver transplantation confirmed by whole genome sequencing.

Donor-derived bacterial infection is a recognized complication of solid organ transplantation (SOT). The present report describes the clinical details and successful outcome in a liver transplant recipient despite transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from a deceased donor with MRSA endocarditis and bacteremia. We further describe whole genome sequencing (WGS) and complete de novo assembly of the donor and recipient MRSA isolate genomes, which confirms that both isolates are genetically 100% identical. We propose that similar application of WGS techniques to future investigations of donor bacterial transmission would strengthen the definition of proven bacterial transmission in SOT, particularly in the presence of highly clonal bacteria such as MRSA. WGS will further improve our understanding of the epidemiology of bacterial transmission in SOT and the risk of adverse patient outcomes when it occurs.© Copyright 2014 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.


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 detection and phasing of DNA methylation. Using seven bacterial strains, we show that SMALR yields significantly improved resolution and reveals distinct types of epigenetic heterogeneity. SMALR is a powerful new tool that enables de novo detection of epigenetic heterogeneity and empowers investigation of its functions in bacterial populations.


July 19, 2019  |  

Assembly and diploid architecture of an individual human genome via single-molecule technologies.

We present the first comprehensive analysis of a diploid human genome that combines single-molecule sequencing with single-molecule genome maps. Our hybrid assembly markedly improves upon the contiguity observed from traditional shotgun sequencing approaches, with scaffold N50 values approaching 30 Mb, and we identified complex structural variants (SVs) missed by other high-throughput approaches. Furthermore, by combining Illumina short-read data with long reads, we phased both single-nucleotide variants and SVs, generating haplotypes with over 99% consistency with previous trio-based studies. Our work shows that it is now possible to integrate single-molecule and high-throughput sequence data to generate de novo assembled genomes that approach reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

Characterizing and overriding the structural mechanism of the Quizartinib-resistant FLT3 “gatekeeper” F691L mutation with PLX3397.

Tyrosine kinase domain mutations are a common cause of acquired clinical resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) used to treat cancer, including the FLT3 inhibitor quizartinib. Mutation of kinase “gatekeeper” residues, which control access to an allosteric pocket adjacent to the ATP-binding site, has been frequently implicated in TKI resistance. The molecular underpinnings of gatekeeper mutation-mediated resistance are incompletely understood. We report the first cocrystal structure of FLT3 with the TKI quizartinib, which demonstrates that quizartinib binding relies on essential edge-to-face aromatic interactions with the gatekeeper F691 residue, and F830 within the highly conserved Asp-Phe-Gly motif in the activation loop. This reliance makes quizartinib critically vulnerable to gatekeeper and activation loop substitutions while minimizing the impact of mutations elsewhere. Moreover, we identify PLX3397, a novel FLT3 inhibitor that retains activity against the F691L mutant due to a binding mode that depends less vitally on specific interactions with the gatekeeper position.We report the first cocrystal structure of FLT3 with a kinase inhibitor, elucidating the structural mechanism of resistance due to the gatekeeper F691L mutation. PLX3397 is a novel FLT3 inhibitor with in vitro activity against this mutation but is vulnerable to kinase domain mutations in the FLT3 activation loop. Cancer Discov; 5(6); 668-79. ©2015 AACR. This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 565. ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) full gene sequencing of cytochrome P450-2D6 (CYP2D6).

The CYP2D6 enzyme metabolizes ~25% of common medications, yet homologous pseudogenes and copy-number variants (CNVs) make interrogating the polymorphic CYP2D6 gene with short-read sequencing challenging. Therefore, we developed a novel long-read, full gene CYP2D6 single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing method using the Pacific Biosciences platform. Long-range PCR and CYP2D6 SMRT sequencing of 10 previously genotyped controls identified expected star (*) alleles, but also enabled suballele resolution, diplotype refinement, and discovery of novel alleles. Coupled with an optimized variant calling pipeline, CYP2D6 SMRT sequencing was highly reproducible as triplicate intra- and inter-run non-reference genotype results were completely concordant. Importantly, targeted SMRT sequencing of upstream and downstream CYP2D6 gene copies characterized the duplicated allele in 15 control samples with CYP2D6 CNVs. The utility of CYP2D6 SMRT sequencing was further underscored by identifying the diplotypes of 14 samples with discordant or unclear CYP2D6 configurations from previous targeted genotyping, which again included suballele resolution, duplicated allele characterization, and discovery of a novel allele and tandem arrangement (CYP2D6*36+*41). Taken together, long-read CYP2D6 SMRT sequencing is an innovative, reproducible, and validated method for full-gene characterization, duplication allele-specific analysis and novel allele discovery, which will likely improve CYP2D6 metabolizer phenotype prediction for both research and clinical testing applications. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

DNA methylation on N(6)-adenine in mammalian embryonic stem cells.

It has been widely accepted that 5-methylcytosine is the only form of DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. Here we identify N(6)-methyladenine as another form of DNA modification in mouse embryonic stem cells. Alkbh1 encodes a demethylase for N(6)-methyladenine. An increase of N(6)-methyladenine levels in Alkbh1-deficient cells leads to transcriptional silencing. N(6)-methyladenine deposition is inversely correlated with the evolutionary age of LINE-1 transposons; its deposition is strongly enriched at young (<1.5 million years old) but not old (>6 million years old) L1 elements. The deposition of N(6)-methyladenine correlates with epigenetic silencing of such LINE-1 transposons, together with their neighbouring enhancers and genes, thereby resisting the gene activation signals during embryonic stem cell differentiation. As young full-length LINE-1 transposons are strongly enriched on the X chromosome, genes located on the X chromosome are also silenced. Thus, N(6)-methyladenine developed a new role in epigenetic silencing in mammalian evolution distinct from its role in gene activation in other organisms. Our results demonstrate that N(6)-methyladenine constitutes a crucial component of the epigenetic regulation repertoire in mammalian genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Nested Russian doll-like genetic mobility drives rapid dissemination of the Carbapenem resistance gene blaKPC

The recent widespread emergence of carbapenem resistance in Enterobacteriaceae is a major public health concern, as carbapenems are a therapy of last resort against this family of common bacterial pathogens. Resistance genes can mobilize via various mechanisms, including conjugation and transposition; however, the importance of this mobility in short-term evolution, such as within nosocomial outbreaks, is unknown. Using a combination of short- and long-read whole-genome sequencing of 281 blaKPC-positive Enterobacteriaceae isolates from a single hospital over 5 years, we demonstrate rapid dissemination of this carbapenem resistance gene to multiple species, strains, and plasmids. Mobility of blaKPC occurs at multiple nested genetic levels, with transmission of blaKPC strains between individuals, frequent transfer of blaKPC plasmids between strains/species, and frequent transposition of blaKPC transposon Tn4401 between plasmids. We also identify a common insertion site for Tn4401 within various Tn2-like elements, suggesting that homologous recombination between Tn2-like elements has enhanced the spread of Tn4401 between different plasmid vectors. Furthermore, while short-read sequencing has known limitations for plasmid assembly, various studies have attempted to overcome this by the use of reference-based methods. We also demonstrate that, as a consequence of the genetic mobility observed in this study, plasmid structures can be extremely dynamic, and therefore these reference-based methods, as well as traditional partial typing methods, can produce very misleading conclusions. Overall, our findings demonstrate that nonclonal resistance gene dissemination can be extremely rapid, presenting significant challenges for public health surveillance and achieving effective control of antibiotic resistance. Copyright © 2016 Sheppard et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Development and clinical application of an integrative genomic approach to personalized cancer therapy.

Personalized therapy provides the best outcome of cancer care and its implementation in the clinic has been greatly facilitated by recent convergence of enormous progress in basic cancer research, rapid advancement of new tumor profiling technologies, and an expanding compendium of targeted cancer therapeutics.We developed a personalized cancer therapy (PCT) program in a clinical setting, using an integrative genomics approach to fully characterize the complexity of each tumor. We carried out whole exome sequencing (WES) and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarray genotyping on DNA from tumor and patient-matched normal specimens, as well as RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) on available frozen specimens, to identify somatic (tumor-specific) mutations, copy number alterations (CNAs), gene expression changes, gene fusions, and also germline variants. To provide high sensitivity in known cancer mutation hotspots, Ion AmpliSeq Cancer Hotspot Panel v2 (CHPv2) was also employed. We integrated the resulting data with cancer knowledge bases and developed a specific workflow for each cancer type to improve interpretation of genomic data.We returned genomics findings to 46 patients and their physicians describing somatic alterations and predicting drug response, toxicity, and prognosis. Mean 17.3 cancer-relevant somatic mutations per patient were identified, 13.3-fold, 6.9-fold, and 4.7-fold more than could have been detected using CHPv2, Oncomine Cancer Panel (OCP), and FoundationOne, respectively. Our approach delineated the underlying genetic drivers at the pathway level and provided meaningful predictions of therapeutic efficacy and toxicity. Actionable alterations were found in 91 % of patients (mean 4.9 per patient, including somatic mutations, copy number alterations, gene expression alterations, and germline variants), a 7.5-fold, 2.0-fold, and 1.9-fold increase over what could have been uncovered by CHPv2, OCP, and FoundationOne, respectively. The findings altered the course of treatment in four cases. These results show that a comprehensive, integrative genomic approach as outlined above significantly enhanced genomics-based PCT strategies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genetic stability of genome-scale deoptimized RNA virus vaccine candidates under selective pressure.

Recoding viral genomes by numerous synonymous but suboptimal substitutions provides live attenuated vaccine candidates. These vaccine candidates should have a low risk of deattenuation because of the many changes involved. However, their genetic stability under selective pressure is largely unknown. We evaluated phenotypic reversion of deoptimized human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine candidates in the context of strong selective pressure. Codon pair deoptimized (CPD) versions of RSV were attenuated and temperature-sensitive. During serial passage at progressively increasing temperature, a CPD RSV containing 2,692 synonymous mutations in 9 of 11 ORFs did not lose temperature sensitivity, remained genetically stable, and was restricted at temperatures of 34 °C/35 °C and above. However, a CPD RSV containing 1,378 synonymous mutations solely in the polymerase L ORF quickly lost substantial attenuation. Comprehensive sequence analysis of virus populations identified many different potentially deattenuating mutations in the L ORF as well as, surprisingly, many appearing in other ORFs. Phenotypic analysis revealed that either of two competing mutations in the virus transcription antitermination factor M2-1, outside of the CPD area, substantially reversed defective transcription of the CPD L gene and substantially restored virus fitness in vitro and in case of one of these two mutations, also in vivo. Paradoxically, the introduction into Min L of one mutation each in the M2-1, N, P, and L proteins resulted in a virus with increased attenuation in vivo but increased immunogenicity. Thus, in addition to providing insights on the adaptability of genome-scale deoptimized RNA viruses, stability studies can yield improved synthetic RNA virus vaccine candidates.


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