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Friday, July 19, 2019

Emergence of ebola virus escape variants in infected nonhuman primates treated with the MB-003 antibody cocktail.

MB-003, a plant-derived monoclonal antibody cocktail used effectively in treatment of Ebola virus infection in non-human primates, was unable to protect two of six animals when initiated 1 or 2 days post-infection. We characterized a mechanism of viral escape in one of the animals, after observation of two clusters of genomic mutations that resulted in five nonsynonymous mutations in the monoclonal antibody target sites. These mutations were linked to a reduction in antibody binding and later confirmed to be present in a viral isolate that was not neutralized in vitro. Retrospective evaluation of a second independent study allowed the identification of a…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Long-read sequence assembly of the gorilla genome.

Accurate sequence and assembly of genomes is a critical first step for studies of genetic variation. We generated a high-quality assembly of the gorilla genome using single-molecule, real-time sequence technology and a string graph de novo assembly algorithm. The new assembly improves contiguity by two to three orders of magnitude with respect to previously released assemblies, recovering 87% of missing reference exons and incomplete gene models. Although regions of large, high-identity segmental duplications remain largely unresolved, this comprehensive assembly provides new biological insight into genetic diversity, structural variation, gene loss, and representation of repeat structures within the gorilla genome. The…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Emergence of a Homo sapiens-specific gene family and chromosome 16p11.2 CNV susceptibility.

Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

An improved Plasmodium cynomolgi genome assembly reveals an unexpected methyltransferase gene expansion.

Plasmodium cynomolgi, a non-human primate malaria parasite species, has been an important model parasite since its discovery in 1907. Similarities in the biology of P. cynomolgi to the closely related, but less tractable, human malaria parasite P. vivax make it the model parasite of choice for liver biology and vaccine studies pertinent to P. vivax malaria. Molecular and genome-scale studies of P. cynomolgi have relied on the current reference genome sequence, which remains highly fragmented with 1,649 unassigned scaffolds and little representation of the subtelomeres.  Methods: Using long-read sequence data (Pacific Biosciences SMRT technology), we assembled and annotated a new…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Coupling of single molecule, long read sequencing with IMGT/HighV-QUEST analysis expedites identification of SIV gp140-specific antibodies from scFv phage display libraries.

The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/macaque model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome pathogenesis is critical for furthering our understanding of the role of antibody responses in the prevention of HIV infection, and will only increase in importance as macaque immunoglobulin (IG) gene databases are expanded. We have previously reported the construction of a phage display library from a SIV-infected rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) using oligonucleotide primers based on human IG gene sequences. Our previous screening relied on Sanger sequencing, which was inefficient and generated only a few dozen sequences. Here, we re-analyzed this library using single molecule, real-time (SMRT)…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Molecular characterization of plasmid pMoma1of Moraxella macacae, a newly described bacterial pathogen of macaques.

We report the complete nucleotide sequence and characterization of a small cryptic plasmid of Moraxella macacae 0408225, a newly described bacterial species within the family Moraxellaceae and a causative agent of epistaxis in macaques. The complete nucleotide sequence of the plasmid pMoma1 was determined and found to be 5,375 bp in size with a GC content of 37.4 %. Computer analysis of the sequence data revealed five open reading frames encoding putative proteins of 54.4 kDa (ORF1), 17.6 kDa (ORF2), 13.3 kDa (ORF3), 51.6 kDa (ORF4), and 25.0 kDa (ORF5). ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3 encode putative proteins with high identity…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The genomic sequence of lymphocryptovirus from cynomolgus macaque.

Lymphocryptoviruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) cause persistent infections in human and non-human primates, and suppression of the immune system can increase the risk of lymphocryptovirus (LCV)-associated tumor development in both human and non-human primates. To enable LCV infection as a non-clinical model to study effects of therapeutics on EBV immunity, we determined the genomic DNA sequence of the LCV from cynomolgus macaque, a species commonly used for non-clinical testing. Comparison to rhesus macaque LCV and human EBV sequences indicates that LCV from the cynomolgus macaque has the same genomic arrangement and a high degree of similarity in most genes,…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Evolution and diversity of copy number variation in the great ape lineage.

Copy number variation (CNV) contributes to disease and has restructured the genomes of great apes. The diversity and rate of this process, however, have not been extensively explored among great ape lineages. We analyzed 97 deeply sequenced great ape and human genomes and estimate 16% (469 Mb) of the hominid genome has been affected by recent CNV. We identify a comprehensive set of fixed gene deletions (n = 340) and duplications (n = 405) as well as >13.5 Mb of sequence that has been specifically lost on the human lineage. We compared the diversity and rates of copy number and…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

In transition: primate genomics at a time of rapid change.

The field of nonhuman primate genomics is undergoing rapid change and making impressive progress. Exploiting new technologies for DNA sequencing, researchers have generated new whole-genome sequence assemblies for multiple primate species over the past 6 years. In addition, investigations of within-species genetic variation, gene expression and RNA sequences, conservation of non-protein-coding regions of the genome, and other aspects of comparative genomics are moving at an accelerating speed. This progress is opening a wide array of new research opportunities in the analysis of comparative primate genome content and evolution. It also creates new possibilities for the use of nonhuman primates as…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Structure and evolution of the filaggrin gene repeated region in primates

The evolutionary dynamics of repeat sequences is quite complex, with some duplicates never having differentiated from each other. Two models can explain the complex evolutionary process for repeated genes—concerted and birth-and-death, of which the latter is driven by duplications maintained by selection. Copy number variations caused by random duplications and losses in repeat regions may modulate molecular pathways and therefore affect phenotypic characteristics in a population, resulting in individuals that are able to adapt to new environments. In this study, we investigated the filaggrin gene (FLG), which codes for filaggrin—an important component of the outer layers of mammalian skin—and contains…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

MHC class I diversity in chimpanzees and bonobos.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes are critically involved in the defense against intracellular pathogens. MHC diversity comparisons among samples of closely related taxa may reveal traces of past or ongoing selective processes. The bonobo and chimpanzee are the closest living evolutionary relatives of humans and last shared a common ancestor some 1 mya. However, little is known concerning MHC class I diversity in bonobos or in central chimpanzees, the most numerous and genetically diverse chimpanzee subspecies. Here, we used a long-read sequencing technology (PacBio) to sequence the classical MHC class I genes A, B, C, and A-like in…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Whole genome sequencing predicts novel human disease models in rhesus macaques.

Rhesus macaques are an important pre-clinical model of human disease. To advance our understanding of genomic variation that may influence disease, we surveyed genome-wide variation in 21 rhesus macaques. We employed best-practice variant calling, validated with Mendelian inheritance. Next, we used alignment data from our cohort to detect genomic regions likely to produce inaccurate genotypes, potentially due to either gene duplication or structural variation between individuals. We generated a final dataset of >16 million high confidence variants, including 13 million in Chinese-origin rhesus macaques, an increasingly important disease model. We detected an average of 131 mutations predicted to severely alter…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

A 3-way hybrid approach to generate a new high-quality chimpanzee reference genome (Pan_tro_3.0).

The chimpanzee is arguably the most important species for the study of human origins. A key resource for these studies is a high-quality reference genome assembly; however, as with most mammalian genomes, the current iteration of the chimpanzee reference genome assembly is highly fragmented. In the current iteration of the chimpanzee reference genome assembly (Pan_tro_2.1.4), the sequence is scattered across more then 183 000 contigs, incorporating more than 159 000 gaps, with a genome-wide contig N50 of 51 Kbp. In this work, we produce an extensive and diverse array of sequencing datasets to rapidly assemble a new chimpanzee reference that…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Two orangutan species have evolved different KIR alleles and haplotypes.

The immune and reproductive functions of human NK cells are regulated by interactions of the C1 and C2 epitopes of HLA-C with C1-specific and C2-specific lineage III killer cell Ig-like receptors (KIR). This rapidly evolving and diverse system of ligands and receptors is restricted to humans and great apes. In this context, the orangutan has particular relevance because it represents an evolutionary intermediate, one having the C1 epitope and corresponding KIR but lacking the C2 epitope. Through a combination of direct sequencing, KIR genotyping, and data mining from the Great Ape Genome Project, we characterized the KIR alleles and haplotypes…

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