October 23, 2019  |  

CRISPR/Cas9-generated p47(phox)-deficient cell line for Chronic Granulomatous Disease gene therapy vector development.

Development of gene therapy vectors requires cellular models reflecting the genetic background of a disease thus allowing for robust preclinical vector testing. For human p47(phox)-deficient chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) vector testing we generated a cellular model using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 to introduce a GT-dinucleotide deletion (?GT) mutation in p47(phox) encoding NCF1 gene in the human acute myeloid leukemia PLB-985 cell line. CGD is a group of hereditary immunodeficiencies characterized by impaired respiratory burst activity in phagocytes due to a defective phagocytic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase. In Western countries autosomal-recessive p47(phox)-subunit deficiency represents the second largest CGD patient cohort with unique genetics, as the vast majority of p47(phox) CGD patients carries ?GT deletion in exon two of the NCF1 gene. The established PLB-985 NCF1 ?GT cell line reflects the most frequent form of p47(phox)-deficient CGD genetically and functionally. It can be differentiated to granulocytes efficiently, what creates an attractive alternative to currently used iPSC models for rapid testing of novel gene therapy approaches.

September 22, 2019  |  

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio’s single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT sequencing is revolutionizing constitutional, reproductive, cancer, microbial and viral genetic testing.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

September 22, 2019  |  

Conventional and single-molecule targeted sequencing method for specific variant detection in IKBKG while bypassing the IKBKGP1 pseudogene.

In addition to Sanger sequencing, next-generation sequencing of gene panels and exomes has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in many laboratories. However, these captures can miss regions, have poor efficiency, or capture pseudogenes, which hamper proper diagnoses. One such example is the primary immunodeficiency-associated gene IKBKG. Its pseudogene IKBKGP1 makes traditional capture methods aspecific. We therefore developed a long-range PCR method to efficiently target IKBKG, as well as two associated genes (IRAK4 and MYD88), while bypassing the IKBKGP1 pseudogene. Sequencing accuracy was evaluated using both conventional short-read technology and a newer long-read, single-molecule sequencer. Different mapping and variant calling options were evaluated in their capability to bypass the pseudogene using both sequencing platforms. Based on these evaluations, we determined a robust diagnostic application for unambiguous sequencing and variant calling in IKBKG, IRAK4, and MYD88. This method allows rapid identification of selected primary immunodeficiency diseases in patients suffering from life-threatening invasive pyogenic bacterial infections. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Towards precision medicine.

There is great potential for genome sequencing to enhance patient care through improved diagnostic sensitivity and more precise therapeutic targeting. To maximize this potential, genomics strategies that have been developed for genetic discovery – including DNA-sequencing technologies and analysis algorithms – need to be adapted to fit clinical needs. This will require the optimization of alignment algorithms, attention to quality-coverage metrics, tailored solutions for paralogous or low-complexity areas of the genome, and the adoption of consensus standards for variant calling and interpretation. Global sharing of this more accurate genotypic and phenotypic data will accelerate the determination of causality for novel genes or variants. Thus, a deeper understanding of disease will be realized that will allow its targeting with much greater therapeutic precision.

July 19, 2019  |  

Winding paths to simplicity: genome evolution in facultative insect symbionts.

Symbiosis between organisms is an important driving force in evolution. Among the diverse relationships described, extensive progress has been made in insect-bacteria symbiosis, which improved our understanding of the genome evolution in host-associated bacteria. Particularly, investigations on several obligate mutualists have pushed the limits of what we know about the minimal genomes for sustaining cellular life. To bridge the gap between those obligate symbionts with extremely reduced genomes and their non-host-restricted ancestors, this review focuses on the recent progress in genome characterization of facultative insect symbionts. Notable cases representing various types and stages of host associations, including those from multiple genera in the family Enterobacteriaceae (class Gammaproteobacteria), Wolbachia (Alphaproteobacteria) and Spiroplasma (Mollicutes), are discussed. Although several general patterns of genome reduction associated with the adoption of symbiotic relationships could be identified, extensive variation was found among these facultative symbionts. These findings are incorporated into the established conceptual frameworks to develop a more detailed evolutionary model for the discussion of possible trajectories. In summary, transitions from facultative to obligate symbiosis do not appear to be a universal one-way street; switches between hosts and lifestyles (e.g. commensalism, parasitism or mutualism) occur frequently and could be facilitated by horizontal gene transfer. © FEMS 2016.

July 19, 2019  |  

Detecting PKD1 variants in polycystic kidney disease patients by single-molecule long-read sequencing.

A genetic diagnosis of autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is challenging due to allelic heterogeneity, high GC content, and homology of the PKD1 gene with six pseudogenes. Short-read next-generation sequencing approaches, such as whole-genome sequencing and whole-exome sequencing, often fail at reliably characterizing complex regions such as PKD1. However, long-read single-molecule sequencing has been shown to be an alternative strategy that could overcome PKD1 complexities and discriminate between homologous regions of PKD1 and its pseudogenes. In this study, we present the increased power of resolution for complex regions using long-read sequencing to characterize a cohort of 19 patients with ADPKD. Our approach provided high sensitivity in identifying PKD1 pathogenic variants, diagnosing 94.7% of the patients. We show that reliable screening of ADPKD patients in a single test without interference of PKD1 homologous sequences, commonly introduced by residual amplification of PKD1 pseudogenes, by direct long-read sequencing is now possible. This strategy can be implemented in diagnostics and is highly suitable to sequence and resolve complex genomic regions that are of clinical relevance. © 2017 The Authors. Human Mutation published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

July 19, 2019  |  

Sequencing the CYP2D6 gene: from variant allele discovery to clinical pharmacogenetic testing.

CYP2D6 is one of the most studied enzymes in the field of pharmacogenetics. The CYP2D6 gene is highly polymorphic with over 100 catalogued star (*) alleles, and clinical CYP2D6 testing is increasingly accessible and supported by practice guidelines. However, the degree of variation at the CYP2D6 locus and homology with its pseudogenes make interrogating CYP2D6 by short-read sequencing challenging. Moreover, accurate prediction of CYP2D6 metabolizer status necessitates analysis of duplicated alleles when an increased copy number is detected. These challenges have recently been overcome by long-read CYP2D6 sequencing; however, such platforms are not widely available. This review highlights the genomic complexities of CYP2D6, current sequencing methods and the evolution of CYP2D6 from allele discovery to clinical pharmacogenetic testing.

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 reference genome sequence, PcyM, sourced from an Indian rhesus monkey. We compare the newly assembled genome sequence with those of several other Plasmodium species, including a re-annotated P. coatneyi assembly.The new PcyM genome assembly is of significantly higher quality than the existing reference, comprising only 56 pieces, no gaps and an improved average gene length. Detailed manual curation has ensured a comprehensive annotation of the genome with 6,632 genes, nearly 1,000 more than previously attributed to P. cynomolgi. The new assembly also has an improved representation of the subtelomeric regions, which account for nearly 40% of the sequence. Within the subtelomeres, we identified more than 1300 Plasmodium interspersed repeat ( pir) genes, as well as a striking expansion of 36 methyltransferase pseudogenes that originated from a single copy on chromosome 9.The manually curated PcyM reference genome sequence is an important new resource for the malaria research community. The high quality and contiguity of the data have enabled the discovery of a novel expansion of methyltransferase in the subtelomeres, and illustrates the new comparative genomics capabilities that are being unlocked by complete reference genomes.

July 19, 2019  |  

The Aegilops tauschii genome reveals multiple impacts of transposons.

Wheat is an important global crop with an extremely large and complex genome that contains more transposable elements (TEs) than any other known crop species. Here, we generated a chromosome-scale, high-quality reference genome of Aegilops tauschii, the donor of the wheat D genome, in which 92.5% sequences have been anchored to chromosomes. Using this assembly, we accurately characterized genic loci, gene expression, pseudogenes, methylation, recombination ratios, microRNAs and especially TEs on chromosomes. In addition to the discovery of a wave of very recent gene duplications, we detected that TEs occurred in about half of the genes, and found that such genes are expressed at lower levels than those without TEs, presumably because of their elevated methylation levels. We mapped all wheat molecular markers and constructed a high-resolution integrated genetic map corresponding to genome sequences, thereby placing previously detected agronomically important genes/quantitative trait loci (QTLs) on the Ae. tauschii genome for the first time.

July 7, 2019  |  

Evolution of novel wood decay mechanisms in Agaricales revealed by the genome sequences of Fistulina hepatica and Cylindrobasidium torrendii.

Wood decay mechanisms in Agaricomycotina have been traditionally separated in two categories termed white and brown rot. Recently the accuracy of such a dichotomy has been questioned. Here, we present the genome sequences of the white-rot fungus Cylindrobasidium torrendii and the brown-rot fungus Fistulina hepatica both members of Agaricales, combining comparative genomics and wood decay experiments. C. torrendii is closely related to the white-rot root pathogen Armillaria mellea, while F. hepatica is related to Schizophyllum commune, which has been reported to cause white rot. Our results suggest that C. torrendii and S. commune are intermediate between white-rot and brown-rot fungi, but at the same time they show characteristics of decay that resembles soft rot. Both species cause weak wood decay and degrade all wood components but leave the middle lamella intact. Their gene content related to lignin degradation is reduced, similar to brown-rot fungi, but both have maintained a rich array of genes related to carbohydrate degradation, similar to white-rot fungi. These characteristics appear to have evolved from white-rot ancestors with stronger ligninolytic ability. F. hepatica shows characteristics of brown rot both in terms of wood decay genes found in its genome and the decay that it causes. However, genes related to cellulose degradation are still present, which is a plesiomorphic characteristic shared with its white-rot ancestors. Four wood degradation-related genes, homologs of which are frequently lost in brown-rot fungi, show signs of pseudogenization in the genome of F. hepatica. These results suggest that transition toward a brown-rot lifestyle could be an ongoing process in F. hepatica. Our results reinforce the idea that wood decay mechanisms are more diverse than initially thought and that the dichotomous separation of wood decay mechanisms in Agaricomycotina into white rot and brown rot should be revisited. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Mycoplasma synoviae strain WVU 1853T.

A hybrid sequence assembly of the complete Mycoplasma synoviae type strain WVU 1853T genome was compared to that of strain MS53. The findings support prior conclusions about M. synoviae, based on the genome of that otherwise uncharacterized field strain, and provide the first evidence of epigenetic modifications in M. synoviae.

July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus hypervirulent strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia.

USA300 is a predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain causing significant morbidity and mortality. We present here the full annotated genome of a USA300 hypervirulent clinical strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia, to gain a better understanding of USA300 hypervirulence. Copyright © 2017 McClure and Zhang.

July 7, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing offers path to more accurate drug metabolism profiles

In the complex drug discovery process, one of the looming questions for any new compound is how it will be metabolised in a human bodyWhi|e there are several methods for evaluating this, one of the most common involves CYP2D6,the enzyme encoded by the cytochrome P450—2D6 gene.This enzyme is involved in metabolising a quarter of all commonly used medications, making it an important target for ADME and pharmacogenomics studies. It is known to activate some drugs and to play a role in the deactivation or excretion of others.

July 7, 2019  |  

Copy number variation probes inform diverse applications

A major contributor to inter-individual genomic variability is copy number variation (CNV). CNVs change the diploid status of the DNA, involve one or multiple genes, and may disrupt coding regions, affect regulatory elements, or change gene dosage. While some of these changes may have no phenotypic consequences, others underlie disease, explain evolutionary processes, or impact the response to medication.

July 7, 2019  |  

Horizontal gene acquisitions, mobile element proliferation, and genome decay in the host-restricted plant pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila.

Modern industrial agriculture depends on high-density cultivation of genetically similar crop plants, creating favorable conditions for the emergence of novel pathogens with increased fitness in managed compared with ecologically intact settings. Here, we present the genome sequence of six strains of the cucurbit bacterial wilt pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila (Enterobacteriaceae) isolated from infected squash plants in New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Michigan. These genomes exhibit a high proportion of recent horizontal gene acquisitions, invasion and remarkable amplification of mobile genetic elements, and pseudogenization of approximately 20% of the coding sequences. These genome attributes indicate that E. tracheiphila recently emerged as a host-restricted pathogen. Furthermore, chromosomal rearrangements associated with phage and transposable element proliferation contribute to substantial differences in gene content and genetic architecture between the six E. tracheiphila strains and other Erwinia species. Together, these data lead us to hypothesize that E. tracheiphila has undergone recent evolution through both genome decay (pseudogenization) and genome expansion (horizontal gene transfer and mobile element amplification). Despite evidence of dramatic genomic changes, the six strains are genetically monomorphic, suggesting a recent population bottleneck and emergence into E. tracheiphila’s current ecological niche. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

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