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Sunday, September 22, 2019

MHC class I diversity of olive baboons (Papio anubis) unravelled by next-generation sequencing.

The olive baboon represents an important model system to study various aspects of human biology and health, including the origin and diversity of the major histocompatibility complex. After screening of a group of related animals for polymorphisms associated with a well-defined microsatellite marker, subsequent MHC class I typing of a selected population of 24 animals was performed on two distinct next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms. A substantial number of 21 A and 80 B transcripts were discovered, about half of which had not been previously reported. Per animal, from one to four highly transcribed A alleles (majors) were observed, in addition…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Next-generation approaches to advancing eco-immunogenomic research in critically endangered primates.

High-throughput sequencing platforms are generating massive amounts of genomic data from nonmodel species, and these data sets are valuable resources that can be mined to advance a number of research areas. An example is the growing amount of transcriptome data that allow for examination of gene expression in nonmodel species. Here, we show how publicly available transcriptome data from nonmodel primates can be used to design novel research focused on immunogenomics. We mined transcriptome data from the world’s most endangered group of primates, the lemurs of Madagascar, for sequences corresponding to immunoglobulins. Our results confirmed homology between strepsirrhine and haplorrhine…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

High-resolution comparative analysis of great ape genomes.

Genetic studies of human evolution require high-quality contiguous ape genome assemblies that are not guided by the human reference. We coupled long-read sequence assembly and full-length complementary DNA sequencing with a multiplatform scaffolding approach to produce ab initio chimpanzee and orangutan genome assemblies. By comparing these with two long-read de novo human genome assemblies and a gorilla genome assembly, we characterized lineage-specific and shared great ape genetic variation ranging from single- to mega-base pair-sized variants. We identified ~17,000 fixed human-specific structural variants identifying genic and putative regulatory changes that have emerged in humans since divergence from nonhuman apes. Interestingly, these…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

No assembly required: Full-length MHC class I allele discovery by PacBio circular consensus sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology with the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II platform offers the potential to obtain full-length coding regions (~1100-bp) from MHC class I cDNAs. Despite the relatively high error rate associated with SMRT technology, high quality sequences can be obtained by circular consensus sequencing (CCS) due to the random nature of the error profile. In the present study we first validated the ability of SMRT-CCS to accurately identify class I transcripts in Mauritian-origin cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that have been characterized previously by cloning and Sanger-based sequencing as well as pyrosequencing approaches. We then applied this SMRT-CCS…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Major histocompatibility complex haplotyping and long-amplicon allele discovery in cynomolgus macaques from Chinese breeding facilities.

Very little is currently known about the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region of cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis; Mafa) from Chinese breeding centers. We performed comprehensive MHC class I haplotype analysis of 100 cynomolgus macaques from two different centers, with animals from different reported original geographic origins (Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Cambodian/Indonesian mixed-origin). Many of the samples were of known relation to each other (sire, dam, and progeny sets), making it possible to characterize lineage-level haplotypes in these animals. We identified 52 Mafa-A and 74 Mafa-B haplotypes in this cohort, many of which were restricted to specific sample origins. We also characterized…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Emergence, retention and selection: A trilogy of origination for functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs in primates.

While some human-specific protein-coding genes have been proposed to originate from ancestral lncRNAs, the transition process remains poorly understood. Here we identified 64 hominoid-specific de novo genes and report a mechanism for the origination of functional de novo proteins from ancestral lncRNAs with precise splicing structures and specific tissue expression profiles. Whole-genome sequencing of dozens of rhesus macaque animals revealed that these lncRNAs are generally not more selectively constrained than other lncRNA loci. The existence of these newly-originated de novo proteins is also not beyond anticipation under neutral expectation, as they generally have longer theoretical lifespan than their current age,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

RNAi-based treatment of chronically infected patients and chimpanzees reveals that integrated hepatitis B virus DNA is a source of HBsAg.

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health concern worldwide, frequently leading to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Evidence suggests that high viral antigen load may play a role in chronicity. Production of viral proteins is thought to depend on transcription of viral covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA). In a human clinical trial with an RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutic targeting HBV transcripts, ARC-520, HBV S antigen (HBsAg) was strongly reduced in treatment-naïve patients positive for HBV e antigen (HBeAg) but was reduced significantly less in patients who were HBeAg-negative or had received long-term therapy with nucleos(t)ide…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Improved full-length killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor transcript discovery in Mauritian cynomolgus macaques.

Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) modulate disease progression of pathogens including HIV, malaria, and hepatitis C. Cynomolgus and rhesus macaques are widely used as nonhuman primate models to study human pathogens, and so, considerable effort has been put into characterizing their KIR genetics. However, previous studies have relied on cDNA cloning and Sanger sequencing that lack the throughput of current sequencing platforms. In this study, we present a high throughput, full-length allele discovery method utilizing Pacific Biosciences circular consensus sequencing (CCS). We also describe a new approach to Macaque Exome Sequencing (MES) and the development of the Rhexome1.0, an adapted…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Novel full-length major histocompatibility complex class I allele discovery and haplotype definition in pig-tailed macaques.

Pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina, Mane) are important models for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) studies. Their infectability with minimally modified HIV makes them a uniquely valuable animal model to mimic human infection with HIV and progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, variation in the pig-tailed macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the impact of individual transcripts on the pathogenesis of HIV and other infectious diseases is understudied compared to that of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. In this study, we used Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing to describe full-length MHC class I (MHC-I) transcripts for 194 pig-tailed macaques from…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Isoform evolution in primates through independent combination of alternative RNA processing events.

Recent RNA-seq technology revealed thousands of splicing events that are under rapid evolution in primates, whereas the reliability of these events, as well as their combination on the isoform level, have not been adequately addressed due to its limited sequencing length. Here, we performed comparative transcriptome analyses in human and rhesus macaque cerebellum using single molecule long-read sequencing (Iso-seq) and matched RNA-seq. Besides 359 million RNA-seq reads, 4,165,527 Iso-seq reads were generated with a mean length of 14,875?bp, covering 11,466 human genes, and 10,159 macaque genes. With Iso-seq data, we substantially expanded the repertoire of alternative RNA processing events in…

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Characterization of multi-drug resistant Enterococcus faecalis isolated from cephalic recording chambers in research macaques (Macaca spp.).

Nonhuman primates are commonly used for cognitive neuroscience research and often surgically implanted with cephalic recording chambers for electrophysiological recording. Aerobic bacterial cultures from 25 macaques identified 72 bacterial isolates, including 15 Enterococcus faecalis isolates. The E. faecalis isolates displayed multi-drug resistant phenotypes, with resistance to ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, bacitracin, and erythromycin, as well as high-level aminoglycoside resistance. Multi-locus sequence typing showed that most belonged to two E. faecalis sequence types (ST): ST 4 and ST 55. The genomes of three representative isolates were sequenced to identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistances and other traits. Antimicrobial resistance genes identified…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The utility of PacBio circular consensus sequencing for characterizing complex gene families in non-model organisms.

Molecular characterization of highly diverse gene families can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult, especially when considering the potential for relatively large numbers of paralogs and/or pseudogenes. Here we investigate the utility of Pacific Biosciences single molecule real-time (SMRT) circular consensus sequencing (CCS) as an alternative to traditional cloning and Sanger sequencing PCR amplicons for gene family characterization. We target vomeronasal gene receptors, one of the most diverse gene families in mammals, with the goal of better understanding intra-specific V1R diversity of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). Our study compares intragenomic variation for two V1R subfamilies found in the…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Technology: SMRT move?

One of the major challenges of de novo mammalian genome assembly arises from the presence of large, interspersed segmental duplications with high levels of sequence identity. These regions are particularly difficult to assemble using current short-read high-throughput sequencing methods. Combining long-read single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing with a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP), as well as the consensus and variant caller Quiver, enabled these complex genomic regions to be resolved in a more cost-and time-effective manner than previously possible.

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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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