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August 29, 2017

Long read reference genome-free reconstruction of a full-length transcriptome from Astragalus membranaceus reveals transcript variants involved in bioactive compound biosynthesis.

Astragalus membranaceus, also known as Huangqi in China, is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine formulations from Astragalus membranaceus have been used to treat a wide range of illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, nephritis and cancers. Pharmacological studies have shown that immunomodulating, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral activities exist in the extract of Astragalus membranaceus. Therefore, characterising the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds in Astragalus membranaceus, such as Astragalosides, Calycosin and Calycosin-7-O-ß-d-glucoside, is of particular importance for further genetic studies of Astragalus membranaceus. In this study, we reconstructed the…

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June 1, 2016

Understanding the genetics of APOE and TOMM40 and role of mitochondrial structure and function in clinical pharmacology of Alzheimer’s disease.

The methodology of Genome-Wide Association Screening (GWAS) has been applied for more than a decade. Translation to clinical utility has been limited, especially in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). It has become standard practice in the analyses of more than two dozen AD GWAS studies to exclude the apolipoprotein E (APOE) region because of its extraordinary statistical support, unique thus far in complex human diseases. New genes associated with AD are proposed frequently based on SNPs associated with odds ratio (OR) 

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March 1, 2016

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…

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February 1, 2016

Genome mining of astaxanthin biosynthetic genes from Sphingomonas sp. ATCC 55669 for heterologous overproduction in Escherichia coli.

As a highly valued keto-carotenoid, astaxanthin is widely used in nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the demand for biosynthetic astaxanthin and improved efficiency of astaxanthin biosynthesis has driven the investigation of metabolic engineering of native astaxanthin producers and heterologous hosts. However, microbial resources for astaxanthin are limited. In this study, we found that the a-Proteobacterium Sphingomonas sp. ATCC 55669 could produce astaxanthin naturally. We used whole-genome sequencing to identify the astaxanthin biosynthetic pathway using a combined PacBio-Illumina approach. The putative astaxanthin biosynthetic pathway in Sphingomonas sp. ATCC 55669 was predicted. For further confirmation, a high-efficiency targeted engineering carotenoid synthesis platform…

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January 15, 2016

Genome analysis of the fruiting body forming myxobacterium Chondromyces crocatus reveals high potential for natural product biosynthesis.

Here we report the first complete genome sequence of the type strain of the myxobacterial genus Chondromyces - Chondromyces crocatus Cm c5. It presents one of the largest prokaryotic genomes featuring a single circular chromosome and no plasmids. Analysis revealed an enlarged set of tRNA genes, along with reduced pressure on preferred codon usage compared to other bacterial genomes. The large coding capacity and the plethora of encoded secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters is in line with the capability of Cm c5 to produce an arsenal of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and cytotoxic compounds. Known pathways of the ajudazol, chondramide, chondrochloren, crocacin,…

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November 20, 2015

Biosynthesis of the novel macrolide antibiotic anthracimycin.

We report the identification of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the unusual antibiotic anthracimycin (atc) from the marine derived producer strain Streptomyces sp. T676 isolated off St. John's Island, Singapore. The 53?253 bps atc locus includes a trans-acyltransferase (trans-AT) polyketide synthase (PKS), and heterologous expression in Streptomyces coelicolor resulted in anthracimycin production. Analysis of the atc cluster revealed that anthracimycin is likely generated by four PKS gene products AtcC-AtcF without involvement of post-PKS tailoring enzymes, and a biosynthetic pathway is proposed. The availability of the atc cluster provides a basis for investigating the biosynthesis of anthracimycin and its subsequent bioengineering…

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April 15, 2012

Validation of ITD mutations in FLT3 as a therapeutic target in human acute myeloid leukaemia.

Effective targeted cancer therapeutic development depends upon distinguishing disease-associated 'driver' mutations, which have causative roles in malignancy pathogenesis, from 'passenger' mutations, which are dispensable for cancer initiation and maintenance. Translational studies of clinically active targeted therapeutics can definitively discriminate driver from passenger lesions and provide valuable insights into human cancer biology. Activating internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations in FLT3 (FLT3-ITD) are detected in approximately 20% of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients and are associated with a poor prognosis. Abundant scientific and clinical evidence, including the lack of convincing clinical activity of early FLT3 inhibitors, suggests that FLT3-ITD probably represents a…

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