April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosome-level reference genome of X12, a highly virulent race of the soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines.

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN, Heterodera glycines) is a major pest of soybean that is spreading across major soybean production regions worldwide. Increased SCN virulence has recently been observed in both the United States and China. However, no study has reported a genome assembly for H. glycines at the chromosome scale. Herein, the first chromosome-level reference genome of X12, an unusual SCN race with high infection ability, is presented. Using whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequencing, PacBio sequencing, Illumina paired-end sequencing, 10X Genomics linked reads and high-throughput chromatin conformation capture (Hi-C) genome scaffolding techniques, a 141.01-Mb assembled genome was obtained with scaffold and contig N50 sizes of 16.27 Mb and 330.54 kb, respectively. The assembly showed high integrity and quality, with over 90% of Illumina reads mapped to the genome. The assembly quality was evaluated using Core Eukaryotic Genes Mapping Approach (CEGMA) and Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs (BUSCO). A total of 11,882 genes were predicted using De novo, Homolog and RNAseq data generated from eggs, second-stage juveniles (J2), third-stage juveniles (J3) and fourth-stage juveniles (J4) of X12, and 79.0% of homologous sequences were annotated in the genome. These high-quality X12 genome data will provide valuable resources for research in a broad range of areas, including fundamental nematode biology, SCN-plant interactions and coevolution, and also contribute to the development of technology for overall SCN management. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Secretion of an Argonaute protein by a parasitic nematode and the evolution of its siRNA guides.

Extracellular RNA has been proposed to mediate communication between cells and organisms however relatively little is understood regarding how specific sequences are selected for export. Here, we describe a specific Argonaute protein (exWAGO) that is secreted in extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by the gastrointestinal nematode Heligmosomoides bakeri, at multiple copies per EV. Phylogenetic and gene expression analyses demonstrate exWAGO orthologues are highly conserved and abundantly expressed in related parasites but highly diverged in free-living genus Caenorhabditis. We show that the most abundant small RNAs released from the nematode parasite are not microRNAs as previously thought, but rather secondary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that are produced by RNA-dependent RNA Polymerases. The siRNAs that are released in EVs have distinct evolutionary properties compared to those resident in free-living or parasitic nematodes. Immunoprecipitation of exWAGO demonstrates that it specifically associates with siRNAs from transposons and newly evolved repetitive elements that are packaged in EVs and released into the host environment. Together this work demonstrates molecular and evolutionary selectivity in the small RNA sequences that are released in EVs into the host environment and identifies a novel Argonaute protein as the mediator of this. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Somatic proteome of Haemonchus contortus.

Currently, there is a dearth of proteomic data to underpin fundamental investigations of parasites and parasitism at the molecular level. Here, using a high throughput LC-MS/MS-based approach, we undertook the first reported comprehensive, large-scale proteomic investigation of the barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) – one of the most important parasitic nematodes of livestock animals worldwide. In total, 2487 unique H. contortus proteins representing different developmental stages/sexes (i.e. eggs, L3s and L4s, female (Af) and male (Am) adults) were identified and quantified with high confidence. Bioinformatic analyses of this proteome revealed substantial alterations in protein profiles during the life cycle, particularly in the transition from the free-living to the parasitic phase, and key groups of proteins involved specifically in feeding, digestion, metabolism, development, parasite-host interactions (including immunomodulation), structural remodelling of the body wall and adaptive processes during parasitism. This proteomic data set will facilitate future molecular, biochemical and physiological investigations of H. contortus and related nematodes, and the discovery of novel intervention targets against haemonchosis. Copyright © 2019 Australian Society for Parasitology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Genome Sequence of the Anthelmintic-Susceptible New Zealand Haemonchus contortus.

Internal parasitic nematodes are a global animal health issue causing drastic losses in livestock. Here, we report a H. contortus representative draft genome to serve as a genetic resource to the scientific community and support future experimental research of molecular mechanisms in related parasites. A de novo hybrid assembly was generated from PCR-free whole genome sequence data, resulting in a chromosome-level assembly that is 465 Mb in size encoding 22,341 genes. The genome sequence presented here is consistent with the genome architecture of the existing Haemonchus species and is a valuable resource for future studies regarding population genetic structures of parasitic nematodes. Additionally, comparative pan-genomics with other species of economically important parasitic nematodes have revealed highly open genomes and strong collinearities within the phylum Nematoda. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

The genome of the soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines) reveals complex patterns of duplications involved in the evolution of parasitism genes.

Heterodera glycines, commonly referred to as the soybean cyst nematode (SCN), is an obligatory and sedentary plant parasite that causes over a billion-dollar yield loss to soybean production annually. Although there are genetic determinants that render soybean plants resistant to certain nematode genotypes, resistant soybean cultivars are increasingly ineffective because their multi-year usage has selected for virulent H. glycines populations. The parasitic success of H. glycines relies on the comprehensive re-engineering of an infection site into a syncytium, as well as the long-term suppression of host defense to ensure syncytial viability. At the forefront of these complex molecular interactions are effectors, the proteins secreted by H. glycines into host root tissues. The mechanisms of effector acquisition, diversification, and selection need to be understood before effective control strategies can be developed, but the lack of an annotated genome has been a major roadblock.Here, we use PacBio long-read technology to assemble a H. glycines genome of 738 contigs into 123?Mb with annotations for 29,769 genes. The genome contains significant numbers of repeats (34%), tandem duplicates (18.7?Mb), and horizontal gene transfer events (151 genes). A large number of putative effectors (431 genes) were identified in the genome, many of which were found in transposons.This advance provides a glimpse into the host and parasite interplay by revealing a diversity of mechanisms that give rise to virulence genes in the soybean cyst nematode, including: tandem duplications containing over a fifth of the total gene count, virulence genes hitchhiking in transposons, and 107 horizontal gene transfers not reported in other plant parasitic nematodes thus far. Through extensive characterization of the H. glycines genome, we provide new insights into H. glycines biology and shed light onto the mystery underlying complex host-parasite interactions. This genome sequence is an important prerequisite to enable work towards generating new resistance or control measures against H. glycines.


September 22, 2019  |  

First insights into the nature and evolution of antisense transcription in nematodes.

The development of multicellular organisms is coordinated by various gene regulatory mechanisms that ensure correct spatio-temporal patterns of gene expression. Recently, the role of antisense transcription in gene regulation has moved into focus of research. To characterize genome-wide patterns of antisense transcription and to study their evolutionary conservation, we sequenced a strand-specific RNA-seq library of the nematode Pristionchus pacificus.We identified 1112 antisense configurations of which the largest group represents 465 antisense transcripts (ASTs) that are fully embedded in introns of their host genes. We find that most ASTs show homology to protein-coding genes and are overrepresented in proteomic data. Together with the finding, that expression levels of ASTs and host genes are uncorrelated, this indicates that most ASTs in P. pacificus do not represent non-coding RNAs and do not exhibit regulatory functions on their host genes. We studied the evolution of antisense gene pairs across 20 nematode genomes, showing that the majority of pairs is lineage-specific and even the highly conserved vps-4, ddx-27, and sel-2 loci show abundant structural changes including duplications, deletions, intron gains and loss of antisense transcription. In contrast, host genes in general, are remarkably conserved and encode exceptionally long introns leading to unusually large blocks of conserved synteny.Our study has shown that in P. pacificus antisense transcription as such does not define non-coding RNAs but is rather a feature of highly conserved genes with long introns. We hypothesize that the presence of regulatory elements imposes evolutionary constraint on the intron length, but simultaneously, their large size makes them a likely target for translocation of genomic elements including protein-coding genes that eventually end up as ASTs.


September 22, 2019  |  

Improving eukaryotic genome annotation using single molecule mRNA sequencing.

The advantages of Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) single-molecule real-time (SMRT) technology include long reads, low systematic bias, and high consensus read accuracy. Here we use these attributes to improve on the genome annotation of the parasitic hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum using PacBio RNA-Seq.We sequenced 192,888 circular consensus sequences (CCS) derived from cDNAs generated using the CloneTech SMARTer system. These SMARTer-SMRT libraries were normalized and size-selected providing a robust population of expressed structural genes for subsequent genome annotation. We demonstrate PacBio mRNA sequences based genome annotation improvement, compared to genome annotation using conventional sequencing-by-synthesis alone, by identifying 1609 (9.2%) new genes, extended the length of 3965 (26.7%) genes and increased the total genomic exon length by 1.9 Mb (12.4%). Non-coding sequence representation (primarily from UTRs based on dT reverse transcription priming) was particularly improved, increasing in total length by fifteen-fold, by increasing both the length and number of UTR exons. In addition, the UTR data provided by these CCS allowed for the identification of a novel SL2 splice leader sequence for A. ceylanicum and an increase in the number and proportion of functionally annotated genes. RNA-seq data also confirmed some of the newly annotated genes and gene features.Overall, PacBio data has supported a significant improvement in gene annotation in this genome, and is an appealing alternative or complementary technique for genome annotation to the other transcript sequencing technologies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessment of an organ-specific de novo transcriptome of the nematode trap-crop, Solanum sisymbriifolium

Solanum sisymbriifolium, also known as “Litchi Tomato” or “Sticky Nightshade,” is an undomesticated and poorly researched plant related to potato and tomato. Unlike the latter species, S. sisymbriifolium induces eggs of the cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, to hatch and migrate into its roots, but then arrests further nematode maturation. In order to provide researchers with a partial blueprint of its genetic make-up so that the mechanism of this response might be identified, we used single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing to compile a high quality de novo transcriptome of 41,189 unigenes drawn from individually sequenced bud, root, stem, and leaf RNA populations. Functional annotation and BUSCO analysis showed that this transcriptome was surprisingly complete, even though it represented genes expressed at a single time point. By sequencing the 4 organ libraries separately, we found we could get a reliable snapshot of transcript distributions in each organ. A divergent site analysis of the merged transcriptome indicated that this species might have undergone a recent genome duplication and re-diploidization. Further analysis indicated that the plant then retained a disproportionate number of genes associated with photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism in comparison to genes with characteristics of R-proteins or involved in secondary metabolism. The former processes may have given S. sisymbriifolium a bigger competitive advantage than the latter did. Copyright © 2018 Wixom et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic insights into nematicidal activity of a bacterial endophyte, Raoultella ornithinolytica MG against pine wilt nematode.

Pine wilt disease, caused by the nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, is one of the most devastating conifer diseases decimating several species of pine trees on a global scale. Here, we report the draft genome of Raoultella ornithinolytica MG, which is isolated from mountain-cultivated ginseng plant as an bacterial endophyte and shows nematicidal activity against B. xylophilus. Our analysis of R. ornithinolytica MG genome showed that it possesses many genes encoding potential nematicidal factors in addition to some secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters that may contribute to the observed nematicidal activity of the strain. Furthermore, the genome was lacking key components of avermectin gene cluster, suggesting that nematicidal activity of the bacterium is not likely due to the famous anthelmintic agent of wide-spread use, avermectin. This genomic information of R. ornithinolytica will provide basis for identification and engineering of genes and their products toward control of pine wilt disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Exploring benzimidazole resistance in Haemonchus contortus by next generation sequencing and droplet digital PCR.

Anthelmintic resistance in gastrointestinal nematode (GIN) parasites of grazing ruminants is on the rise in countries across the world. Haemonchus contortus is one of most frequently encountered drug-resistant GINs in small ruminants. This blood-sucking abomasal nematode contributes to massive treatment costs and poses a serious threat to farm animal health. To prevent the establishment of resistant strains of this parasite, up-to-date molecular techniques need to be proposed which would allow for quick, cheap and accurate identification of individuals infected with resistant worms. The effort has been made in the previous decade, with the development of the pyrosequencing method to detect resistance-predicting alleles. Here we propose a novel droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assay for rapid and precise identification of H. contortus strains as being resistant or susceptible to benzimidazole drugs based on the presence or absence of the most common resistance-conferring mutation F200Y (TAC) in the ß tubulin isotype 1 gene. The newly developed ddPCR assay was first optimized and validated utilizing DNA templates from single-worm samples, which were previously sequenced using the next generation PacBio RSII Sequencing (NGS) platform. Subsequent NGS results for faecal larval cultures were then used as a reference to compare the obtained values for fractional abundances of the resistance-determining mutant allele between ddPCR and NGS techniques in each sample. Both methods managed to produce highly similar results and ddPCR proved to be a reliable tool which, when utilized at full capacity, can be used to create a powerful mutation detection and quantification assay. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing and genome assembly of a clinical specimen of Loa loa, the causative agent of loiasis.

More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries.Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts.The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

The draft genome of Globodera ellingtonae.

Globodera ellingtonae is a newly described potato cyst nematode (PCN) found in Idaho, Oregon, and Argentina. Here, we present a genome assembly for G. ellingtonae, a relative of the quarantine nematodes G. pallida and G. rostochiensis, produced using data from Illumina and Pacific Biosciences DNA sequencing technologies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals the chromosome-scale genomic architecture of the nematode model organism Pristionchus pacificus.

The nematode Pristionchus pacificus is an established model for integrative evolutionary biology and comparative studies with Caenorhabditis elegans. While an existing genome draft facilitated the identification of several genes controlling various developmental processes, its high degree of fragmentation complicated virtually all genomic analyses. Here, we present a de novo genome assembly from single-molecule, long-read sequencing data consisting of 135 P. pacificus contigs. When combined with a genetic linkage map, 99% of the assembly could be ordered and oriented into six chromosomes. This allowed us to robustly characterize chromosomal patterns of gene density, repeat content, nucleotide diversity, linkage disequilibrium, and macrosynteny in P. pacificus. Despite widespread conservation of synteny between P. pacificus and C. elegans, we identified one major translocation from an autosome to the sex chromosome in the lineage leading to C. elegans. This highlights the potential of the chromosome-scale assembly for future genomic studies of P. pacificus. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of Serratia nematodiphila DSM 21420T, a symbiotic bacterium from entomopathogenic nematode.

Serratia nematodiphila DSM 21420(T) (=CGMCC 1.6853(T), DZ0503SBS1(T)), isolated from the intestine of Heterorhabditidoides chongmingensis, has been known to have symbiotic-pathogenic life cycle, on the multilateral relationships with entomopathogenic nematode and insect pest. In order to better understanding of this rare feature in Serratia species, we present here the genome sequence of S. nematodiphila DSM 21420(T) with the significance of first genome sequence in this species. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis YC-10, a novel active strain against plant-parasitic nematodes.

Bacillus thuringiensis is an important microbial biopesticide for controlling agricultural pests by the production of toxic parasporal crystals proteins.Here,we report the finished annotated genome sequence of B. thuringiensis YC-10,which is highly toxic to nematodes.The complete genome sequence consists of a circular chromosome and nine circular plasmids,which the biggest plasmid harbors six parasporal crystals proteins genes consisting of cry1Aa, cry1Ac, cry1Ia, cry2Aa, cry2Ab and cryB1. The crystals proteins of Cry1Ia and Cry1Aa have high nematicidal activity against Meloidogyne incognita. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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