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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Function-based identification of mammalian enhancers using site-specific integration.

The accurate and comprehensive identification of functional regulatory sequences in mammalian genomes remains a major challenge. Here we describe site-specific integration fluorescence-activated cell sorting followed by sequencing (SIF-seq), an unbiased, medium-throughput functional assay for the discovery of distant-acting enhancers. Targeted single-copy genomic integration into pluripotent cells, reporter assays and flow cytometry are coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing to enable parallel screening of large numbers of DNA sequences. By functionally interrogating >500 kilobases (kb) of mouse and human sequence in mouse embryonic stem cells for enhancer activity we identified enhancers at pluripotency loci including NANOG. In in vitro-differentiated cardiomyocytes and neural…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Searching for convergent pathways in autism spectrum disorders: insights from human brain transcriptome studies.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most heritable neuropsychiatric conditions. The complex genetic landscape of the disorder includes both common and rare variants at hundreds of genetic loci. This marked heterogeneity has thus far hampered efforts to develop genetic diagnostic panels and targeted pharmacological therapies. Here, we give an overview of the current literature on the genetic basis of ASD, and review recent human brain transcriptome studies and their role in identifying convergent pathways downstream of the heterogeneous genetic variants. We also discuss emerging evidence on the involvement of non-coding genomic regions and non-coding RNAs in ASD.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Alternative TSSs are co-regulated in single cells in the mouse brain.

Alternative transcription start sites (TSSs) have been extensively studied genome-wide for many cell types and have been shown to be important during development and to regulate transcript abundance between cell types. Likewise, single-cell gene expression has been extensively studied for many cell types. However, how single cells use TSSs has not yet been examined. In particular, it is unknown whether alternative TSSs are independently expressed, or whether they are co-activated or even mutually exclusive in single cells. Here, we use a previously published single-cell RNA-seq dataset, comprising thousands of cells, to study alternative TSS usage. We find that alternative TSS…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Neural circular RNAs are derived from synaptic genes and regulated by development and plasticity.

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have re-emerged as an interesting RNA species. Using deep RNA profiling in different mouse tissues, we observed that circRNAs were substantially enriched in brain and a disproportionate fraction of them were derived from host genes that encode synaptic proteins. Moreover, on the basis of separate profiling of the RNAs localized in neuronal cell bodies and neuropil, circRNAs were, on average, more enriched in the neuropil than their host gene mRNA isoforms. Using high-resolution in situ hybridization, we visualized circRNA punctae in the dendrites of neurons. Consistent with the idea that circRNAs might regulate synaptic function during development,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sixteen diverse laboratory mouse reference genomes define strain-specific haplotypes and novel functional loci.

We report full-length draft de novo genome assemblies for 16 widely used inbred mouse strains and find extensive strain-specific haplotype variation. We identify and characterize 2,567 regions on the current mouse reference genome exhibiting the greatest sequence diversity. These regions are enriched for genes involved in pathogen defence and immunity and exhibit enrichment of transposable elements and signatures of recent retrotransposition events. Combinations of alleles and genes unique to an individual strain are commonly observed at these loci, reflecting distinct strain phenotypes. We used these genomes to improve the mouse reference genome, resulting in the completion of 10 new gene…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

SQANTI: extensive characterization of long-read transcript sequences for quality control in full-length transcriptome identification and quantification.

High-throughput sequencing of full-length transcripts using long reads has paved the way for the discovery of thousands of novel transcripts, even in well-annotated mammalian species. The advances in sequencing technology have created a need for studies and tools that can characterize these novel variants. Here, we present SQANTI, an automated pipeline for the classification of long-read transcripts that can assess the quality of data and the preprocessing pipeline using 47 unique descriptors. We apply SQANTI to a neuronal mouse transcriptome using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) long reads and illustrate how the tool is effective in characterizing and describing the composition of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Extensive allele-specific translational regulation in hybrid mice.

Translational regulation is mediated through the interaction between diffusible trans-factors and cis-elements residing within mRNA transcripts. In contrast to extensively studied transcriptional regulation, cis-regulation on translation remains underexplored. Using deep sequencing-based transcriptome and polysome profiling, we globally profiled allele-specific translational efficiency for the first time in an F1 hybrid mouse. Out of 7,156 genes with reliable quantification of both alleles, we found 1,008 (14.1%) exhibiting significant allelic divergence in translational efficiency. Systematic analysis of sequence features of the genes with biased allelic translation revealed that local RNA secondary structure surrounding the start codon and proximal out-of-frame upstream AUGs could affect…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Meeting report: 31st International Mammalian Genome Conference, Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications.

High on the Heidelberg hills, inside the Advanced Training Centre of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus with its unique double-helix staircase, scientists gathered for the EMBL conference “Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: From Molecular Mechanisms to Translational Applications,” organized in cooperation with the International Mammalian Genome Society (IMGS) and the Mouse Molecular Genetics (MMG) group. The conference attracted 205 participants from 30 countries, representing 6 of the 7 continents-all except Antarctica. It was a richly diverse group of geneticists, clinicians, and bioinformaticians, with presentations by established and junior investigators, including many trainees. From the 24th-27th of October 2017, they…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Targeted combinatorial alternative splicing generates brain region-specific repertoires of neurexins.

Molecular diversity of surface receptors has been hypothesized to provide a mechanism for selective synaptic connectivity. Neurexins are highly diversified receptors that drive the morphological and functional differentiation of synapses. Using a single cDNA sequencing approach, we detected 1,364 unique neurexin-a and 37 neurexin-ß mRNAs produced by alternative splicing of neurexin pre-mRNAs. This molecular diversity results from near-exhaustive combinatorial use of alternative splice insertions in Nrxn1a and Nrxn2a. By contrast, Nrxn3a exhibits several highly stereotyped exon selections that incorporate novel elements for posttranscriptional regulation of a subset of transcripts. Complexity of Nrxn1a repertoires correlates with the cellular complexity of neuronal…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single-cell mRNA isoform diversity in the mouse brain.

Alternative mRNA isoform usage is an important source of protein diversity in mammalian cells. This phenomenon has been extensively studied in bulk tissues, however, it remains unclear how this diversity is reflected in single cells.Here we use long-read sequencing technology combined with unique molecular identifiers (UMIs) to reveal patterns of alternative full-length isoform expression in single cells from the mouse brain. We found a surprising amount of isoform diversity, even after applying a conservative definition of what constitutes an isoform. Genes tend to have one or a few isoforms highly expressed and a larger number of isoforms expressed at a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The full transcription map of mouse papillomavirus type 1 (MmuPV1) in mouse wart tissues.

Mouse papillomavirus type 1 (MmuPV1) provides, for the first time, the opportunity to study infection and pathogenesis of papillomaviruses in the context of laboratory mice. In this report, we define the transcriptome of MmuPV1 genome present in papillomas arising in experimentally infected mice using a combination of RNA-seq, PacBio Iso-seq, 5′ RACE, 3′ RACE, primer-walking RT-PCR, RNase protection, Northern blot and in situ hybridization analyses. We demonstrate that the MmuPV1 genome is transcribed unidirectionally from five major promoters (P) or transcription start sites (TSS) and polyadenylates its transcripts at two major polyadenylation (pA) sites. We designate the P7503, P360 and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Predominant contribution of cis-regulatory divergence in the evolution of mouse alternative splicing.

Divergence of alternative splicing represents one of the major driving forces to shape phenotypic diversity during evolution. However, the extent to which these divergences could be explained by the evolving cis-regulatory versus trans-acting factors remains unresolved. To globally investigate the relative contributions of the two factors for the first time in mammals, we measured splicing difference between C57BL/6J and SPRET/EiJ mouse strains and allele-specific splicing pattern in their F1 hybrid. Out of 11,818 alternative splicing events expressed in the cultured fibroblast cells, we identified 796 with significant difference between the parental strains. After integrating allele-specific data from F1 hybrid, we…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Reconstructing complex regions of genomes using long-read sequencing technology.

Obtaining high-quality sequence continuity of complex regions of recent segmental duplication remains one of the major challenges of finishing genome assemblies. In the human and mouse genomes, this was achieved by targeting large-insert clones using costly and laborious capillary-based sequencing approaches. Sanger shotgun sequencing of clone inserts, however, has now been largely abandoned, leaving most of these regions unresolved in newer genome assemblies generated primarily by next-generation sequencing hybrid approaches. Here we show that it is possible to resolve regions that are complex in a genome-wide context but simple in isolation for a fraction of the time and cost of…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

ATM kinase is required for telomere elongation in mouse and human cells.

Short telomeres induce a DNA damage response, senescence, and apoptosis, thus maintaining telomere length equilibrium is essential for cell viability. Telomerase addition of telomere repeats is tightly regulated in cells. To probe pathways that regulate telomere addition, we developed the ADDIT assay to measure new telomere addition at a single telomere in vivo. Sequence analysis showed telomerase-specific addition of repeats onto a new telomere occurred in just 48 hr. Using the ADDIT assay, we found that ATM is required for addition of new repeats onto telomeres in mouse cells. Evaluation of bulk telomeres, in both human and mouse cells, showed that blocking…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Tandem repeats in rodents genome and their mapping.

Tandemly-repeated sequences represent a unique class of eukaryotic DNA. Their content in the genome of higher eukaryotes mounts to tens of percents. However, the evolution of this class of sequences is poorly-studied. In our paper, 62 families of Mus musculus tandem repeats are analyzed by bioinformatic methods, and 7 of them are analyzed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. It is shown that the same tandem repeat sets co-occure only in closely related species of mice. But even in such species we observe differences in localization on the chromosomes and the number of individual tandem repeats. With increasing evolutionary distance only…

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