September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular genetic diversity and characterization of conjugation genes in the fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is the etiologic agent of “white spot”, a commercially important disease of freshwater fish. As a parasitic ciliate, I. multifiliis infects numerous host species across a broad geographic range. Although Ichthyophthirius outbreaks are difficult to control, recent sequencing of the I. multifiliis genome has revealed a number of potential metabolic pathways for therapeutic intervention, along with likely vaccine targets for disease prevention. Nonetheless, major gaps exist in our understanding of both the life cycle and population structure of I. multifiliis in the wild. For example, conjugation has never been described in this species, and it is unclear whether I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction, despite the presence of a germline micronucleus. In addition, no good methods exist to distinguish strains, leaving phylogenetic relationships between geographic isolates completely unresolved. Here, we compared nucleotide sequences of SSUrDNA, mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit I and cox-1 genes, and 14 somatic SNP sites from nine I. multifiliis isolates obtained from four different states in the US since 1995. The mitochondrial sequences effectively distinguished the isolates from one another and divided them into at least two genetically distinct groups. Furthermore, none of the nine isolates shared the same composition of the 14 somatic SNP sites, suggesting that I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction at some point in its life cycle. Finally, compared to the well-studied free-living ciliates Tetrahymena thermophila and Paramecium tetraurelia, I. multifiliis has lost 38% and 29%, respectively, of 16 experimentally confirmed conjugation-related genes, indicating that mechanistic differences in sexual reproduction are likely to exist between I. multifiliis and other ciliate species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Amplification and thrifty single-molecule sequencing of recurrent somatic structural variations.

Deletion of tumor-suppressor genes as well as other genomic rearrangements pervade cancer genomes across numerous types of solid tumor and hematologic malignancies. However, even for a specific rearrangement, the breakpoints may vary between individuals, such as the recurrent CDKN2A deletion. Characterizing the exact breakpoints for structural variants (SVs) is useful for designating patient-specific tumor biomarkers. We propose AmBre (Amplification of Breakpoints), a method to target SV breakpoints occurring in samples composed of heterogeneous tumor and germline DNA. Additionally, AmBre validates SVs called by whole-exome/genome sequencing and hybridization arrays. AmBre involves a PCR-based approach to amplify the DNA segment containing an SV’s breakpoint and then confirms breakpoints using sequencing by Pacific Biosciences RS. To amplify breakpoints with PCR, primers tiling specified target regions are carefully selected with a simulated annealing algorithm to minimize off-target amplification and maximize efficiency at capturing all possible breakpoints within the target regions. To confirm correct amplification and obtain breakpoints, PCR amplicons are combined without barcoding and simultaneously long-read sequenced using a single SMRT cell. Our algorithm efficiently separates reads based on breakpoints. Each read group supporting the same breakpoint corresponds with an amplicon and a consensus amplicon sequence is called. AmBre was used to discover CDKN2A deletion breakpoints in cancer cell lines: A549, CEM, Detroit562, MOLT4, MCF7, and T98G. Also, we successfully assayed RUNX1-RUNX1T1 reciprocal translocations by finding both breakpoints in the Kasumi-1 cell line. AmBre successfully targets SVs where DNA harboring the breakpoints are present in 1:1000 mixtures.

July 19, 2019  |  

Chaos of rearrangements in the mating-type chromosomes of the anther-smut fungus Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae.

Sex chromosomes in plants and animals and fungal mating-type chromosomes often show exceptional genome features, with extensive suppression of homologous recombination and cytological differentiation between members of the diploid chromosome pair. Despite strong interest in the genetics of these chromosomes, their large regions of suppressed recombination often are enriched in transposable elements and therefore can be challenging to assemble. Here we show that the latest improvements of the PacBio sequencing yield assembly of the whole genome of the anther-smut fungus, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (the pathogenic fungus causing anther-smut disease of Silene latifolia), into finished chromosomes or chromosome arms, even for the repeat-rich mating-type chromosomes and centromeres. Suppressed recombination of the mating-type chromosomes is revealed to span nearly 90% of their lengths, with extreme levels of rearrangements, transposable element accumulation, and differentiation between the two mating types. We observed no correlation between allelic divergence and physical position in the nonrecombining regions of the mating-type chromosomes. This may result from gene conversion or from rearrangements of ancient evolutionary strata, i.e., successive steps of suppressed recombination. Centromeres were found to be composed mainly of copia-like transposable elements and to possess specific minisatellite repeats identical between the different chromosomes. We also identified subtelomeric motifs. In addition, extensive signs of degeneration were detected in the nonrecombining regions in the form of transposable element accumulation and of hundreds of gene losses on each mating-type chromosome. Furthermore, our study highlights the potential of the latest breakthrough PacBio chemistry to resolve complex genome architectures. Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.

July 7, 2019  |  

A gapless, unambiguous genome sequence of the Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain EDL933.

Escherichia coli EDL933 is the prototypic strain for enterohemorrhagic E. coli serotype O157:H7, associated with deadly food-borne outbreaks. Because the publicly available sequence of the EDL933 genome has gaps and >6,000 ambiguous base calls, we here present an updated high-quality, unambiguous genome sequence with no assembly gaps. Copyright © 2014 Latif et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequencing and analysis of the first complete genome of Lactobacillus kunkeei strain MP2, an Apis mellifera gut isolate

Background. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most important pollinator in agriculture worldwide. However, the number of honey bees has fallen significantly since 2006, becoming a huge ecological problem nowadays. The principal cause is CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder, characterized by the seemingly spontaneous abandonment of hives by their workers. One of the characteristics of CCD in honey bees is the alteration of the bacterial communities in their gastrointestinal tract, mainly due to the decrease of Firmicutes populations, such as the Lactobacilli. At this time, the causes of these alterations remain unknown. We recently isolated a strain of Lactobacillus kunkeei (L. kunkeei strain MP2) from the gut of Chilean honey bees. L. kunkeei, is one of the most commonly isolated bacterium from the honey bee gut and is highly versatile in different ecological niches. In this study, we aimed to elucidate in detail, the L. kunkeei genetic background and perform a comparative genome analysis with other Lactobacillus species. Methods. L. kunkeei MP2 was originally isolated from the guts of Chilean A. mellifera individuals. Genome sequencing was done using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time sequencing technology. De novo assembly was performed using Celera assembler. The genome was annotated using Prokka, and functional information was added using the EggNOG 3.1 database. In addition, genomic islands were predicted using IslandViewer, and pro-phage sequences using PHAST. Comparisons between L. kunkeei MP2 with other L. kunkeei, and Lactobacillus strains were done using Roary. Results. The complete genome of L. kunkeei MP2 comprises one circular chromosome of 1,614,522 nt. with a GC content of 36,9%. Pangenome analysis with 16 L. kunkeei strains, identified 113 unique genes, most of them related to phage insertions. A large and unique region of L. kunkeei MP2 genome contains several genes that encode for phage structural protein and replication components. Comparative analysis of MP2 with other Lactobacillus species, identified several unique genes of L. kunkeei MP2 related with metabolism, biofilm generation, survival under stress conditions, and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Discussion. The presence of multiple mobile genetic elements, including phage sequences, suggest a high degree of genetic variability in L. kunkeei. Its versatility and ability to survive in different ecological niches (bee guts, flowers, fruits among others) could be given by its genetic capacity to change and adapt to different environments. L. kunkeei could be a new source of Lactobacillus with beneficial properties. Indeed, L. kunkeei MP2 could play an important role in honey bee nutrition through the synthesis of components as isoprenoids.

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