June 1, 2021  |  

Using the PacBio IsoSeq method to search for novel colorectal cancer biomarkers

Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) and its precursor lesions (adenomas) is crucial to reduce mortality rates. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a non-invasive CRC screening test that detects the blood-derived protein hemoglobin. However, FIT sensitivity is suboptimal especially in detection of CRC precursor lesions. As adenoma-to-carcinoma progression is accompanied by alternative splicing, tumor-specific proteins derived from alternatively spliced RNA transcripts might serve as candidate biomarkers for CRC detection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of differentially expressed splice variants by the proteogenomic pipeline Splicify.

Proteogenomics, i.e. comprehensive integration of genomics and proteomics data, is a powerful approach identifying novel protein biomarkers. This is especially the case for proteins that differ structurally between disease and control conditions. As tumor development is associated with aberrant splicing, we focus on this rich source of cancer specific biomarkers. To this end, we developed a proteogenomic pipeline, Splicify, which is able to detect differentially expressed protein isoforms. Splicify is based on integrating RNA massive parallel sequencing data and tandem mass spectrometry proteomics data to identify protein isoforms resulting from differential splicing between two conditions. Proof of concept was obtained by applying Splicify to RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry data obtained from colorectal cancer cell line SW480, before and after siRNA-mediated down-modulation of the splicing factors SF3B1 and SRSF1. These analyses revealed 2172 and 149 differentially expressed isoforms, respectively, with peptide confirmation upon knock-down of SF3B1 and SRSF1 compared to their controls. Splice variants identified included RAC1, OSBPL3, MKI67 and SYK. One additional sample was analyzed by PacBio Iso-Seq full-length transcript sequencing after SF3B1 down-modulation. This analysis verified the alternative splicing identified by Splicify and in addition identified novel splicing events that were not represented in the human reference genome annotation. Therefore, Splicify offers a validated proteogenomic data analysis pipeline for identification of disease specific protein biomarkers resulting from mRNA alternative splicing. Splicify is publicly available on GitHub (https://github.com/NKI-TGO/SPLICIFY) and suitable to address basic research questions using pre-clinical model systems as well as translational research questions using patient-derived samples, e.g. allowing to identify clinically relevant biomarkers. Copyright © 2017, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


July 19, 2019  |  

Diversity and activity of alternative nitrogenases in sequenced genomes and coastal environments.

The nitrogenase enzyme, which catalyzes the reduction of N2 gas to NH4(+), occurs as three separate isozyme that use Mo, Fe-only, or V. The majority of global nitrogen fixation is attributed to the more efficient ‘canonical’ Mo-nitrogenase, whereas Fe-only and V-(‘alternative’) nitrogenases are often considered ‘backup’ enzymes, used when Mo is limiting. Yet, the environmental distribution and diversity of alternative nitrogenases remains largely unknown. We searched for alternative nitrogenase genes in sequenced genomes and used PacBio sequencing to explore the diversity of canonical (nifD) and alternative (anfD and vnfD) nitrogenase amplicons in two coastal environments: the Florida Everglades and Sippewissett Marsh (MA). Genome-based searches identified an additional 25 species and 10 genera not previously known to encode alternative nitrogenases. Alternative nitrogenase amplicons were found in both Sippewissett Marsh and the Florida Everglades and their activity was further confirmed using newly developed isotopic techniques. Conserved amino acid sequences corresponding to cofactor ligands were also analyzed in anfD and vnfD amplicons, offering insight into environmental variants of these motifs. This study increases the number of available anfD and vnfD sequences ~20-fold and allows for the first comparisons of environmental Mo-, Fe-only, and V-nitrogenase diversity. Our results suggest that alternative nitrogenases are maintained across a range of organisms and environments and that they can make important contributions to nitrogenase diversity and nitrogen fixation.


July 19, 2019  |  

Firefly genomes illuminate parallel origins of bioluminescence in beetles.

Fireflies and their luminous courtships have inspired centuries of scientific study. Today firefly luciferase is widely used in biotechnology, but the evolutionary origin of bioluminescence within beetles remains unclear. To shed light on this long-standing question, we sequenced the genomes of two firefly species that diverged over 100 million-years-ago: the North American Photinus pyralis and Japanese Aquatica lateralis. To compare bioluminescent origins, we also sequenced the genome of a related click beetle, the Caribbean Ignelater luminosus, with bioluminescent biochemistry near-identical to fireflies, but anatomically unique light organs, suggesting the intriguing hypothesis of parallel gains of bioluminescence. Our analyses support independent gains of bioluminescence in fireflies and click beetles, and provide new insights into the genes, chemical defenses, and symbionts that evolved alongside their luminous lifestyle.© 2018, Fallon et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Mucinivorans hirudinis gen. nov., sp. nov., an anaerobic, mucin-degrading bacterium isolated from the digestive tract of the medicinal leech Hirudo verbana.

Three anaerobic bacterial strains were isolated from the digestive tract of the medicinal leech Hirudo verbana, using mucin as the primary carbon and energy source. These strains, designated M3(T), M4 and M6, were Gram-stain-negative, non-spore-forming and non-motile. Cells were elongated bacilli approximately 2.4 µm long and 0.6 µm wide. Growth only occurred anaerobically under mesophilic and neutral pH conditions. All three strains could utilize multiple simple and complex sugars as carbon sources, with glucose fermented to acid by-products. The DNA G+C contents of strains M3(T), M4 and M6 were 44.9, 44.8 and 44.8 mol%, respectively. The major cellular fatty acid of strain M3(T) was iso-C15?:?0. Phylogenetic analysis of full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the three strains shared >99?% similarity with each other and represent a new lineage within the family Rikenellaceae of the order Bacteroidales, phylum Bacteroidetes. The most closely related bacteria to strain M3(T) based on 16S rRNA gene sequences were Rikenella microfusus DSM 15922(T) (87.3?% similarity) and Alistipes finegoldii AHN 2437(T) (87.4?%). On the basis of phenotypic, genotypic and physiological evidence, strains M3(T), M4 and M6 are proposed as representing a novel species of a new genus within the family Rikenellaceae, for which the name Mucinivorans hirudinis gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain of Mucinivorans hirudinis is M3(T) (?=?ATCC BAA-2553(T)?=?DSM 27344(T)). © 2015 IUMS.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole-genome sequences of Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates exhibiting decreased meropenem susceptibility.

We report here paired isogenic Burkholderia pseudomallei genomes obtained from three patients receiving intravenous meropenem for melioidosis treatment, with post-meropenem isolates developing decreased susceptibility. Two genomes were finished, and four were drafted to improved high-quality standard. These genomes will be used to identify meropenem resistance mechanisms in B. pseudomallei. Copyright © 2017 Price et al.


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