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July 1, 2019

Functional genomics of the rapidly replicating bacterium Vibrio natriegens by CRISPRi.

The fast-growing Gram-negative bacterium Vibrio natriegens is an attractive microbial system for molecular biology and biotechnology due to its remarkably short generation time1,2 and metabolic prowess3,4. However, efforts to uncover and utilize the mechanisms underlying its rapid growth are hampered by the scarcity of functional genomic data. Here, we develop a pooled genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) interference (CRISPRi) screen to identify a minimal set of genes required for rapid wild-type growth. Targeting 4,565 (99.7%) of predicted protein-coding genes, our screen uncovered core genes comprising putative essential and growth-supporting genes that are enriched for respiratory pathways. We…

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December 1, 2018

DNA Methylation by Restriction Modification Systems Affects the Global Transcriptome Profile in Borrelia burgdorferi.

Prokaryote restriction modification (RM) systems serve to protect bacteria from potentially detrimental foreign DNA. Recent evidence suggests that DNA methylation by the methyltransferase (MTase) components of RM systems can also have effects on transcriptome profiles. The type strain of the causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi B31, possesses two RM systems with N6-methyladenosine (m6A) MTase activity, which are encoded by the bbe02 gene located on linear plasmid lp25 and bbq67 on lp56. The specific recognition and/or methylation sequences had not been identified for either of these B. burgdorferi MTases, and it was not previously known whether these RM systems…

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October 1, 2018

Cas9-mediated allelic exchange repairs compound heterozygous recessive mutations in mice.

We report a genome-editing strategy to correct compound heterozygous mutations, a common genotype in patients with recessive genetic disorders. Adeno-associated viral vector delivery of Cas9 and guide RNA induces allelic exchange and rescues the disease phenotype in mouse models of hereditary tyrosinemia type I and mucopolysaccharidosis type I. This approach recombines non-mutated genetic information present in two heterozygous alleles into one functional allele without using donor DNA templates.

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August 1, 2018

Ultradeep single-molecule real-time sequencing of HIV envelope reveals complete compartmentalization of highly macrophage-tropic R5 proviral variants in brain and CXCR4-using variants in immune and peripheral tissues.

Despite combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV+ patients still develop neurological disorders, which may be due to persistent HIV infection and selective evolution in brain tissues. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology offers an improved opportunity to study the relationship among HIV isolates in the brain and lymphoid tissues because it is capable of generating thousands of long sequence reads in a single run. Here, we used SMRT sequencing to generate ~?50,000 high-quality full-length HIV envelope sequences (>?2200 bp) from seven autopsy tissues from an HIV+/cART+ subject, including three brain and four non-brain sites. Sanger sequencing was used for comparison with SMRT data…

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January 29, 2018

The genome of the Hi5 germ cell line from Trichoplusia ni, an agricultural pest and novel model for small RNA biology.

We report a draft assembly of the genome of Hi5 cells from the lepidopteran insect pest,Trichoplusia ni, assigning 90.6% of bases to one of 28 chromosomes and predicting 14,037 protein-coding genes. Chemoreception and detoxification gene families revealT. ni-specific gene expansions that may explain its widespread distribution and rapid adaptation to insecticides. Transcriptome and small RNA data from thorax, ovary, testis, and the germline-derived Hi5 cell line show distinct expression profiles for 295 microRNA- and >393 piRNA-producing loci, as well as 39 genes encoding small RNA pathway proteins. Nearly all of the W chromosome is devoted to piRNA production, andT. nisiRNAs…

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January 29, 2018

Streamlined ex vivo and in vivo genome editing in mouse embryos using recombinant adeno-associated viruses.

Recent advances using CRISPR-Cas9 approaches have dramatically enhanced the ease for genetic manipulation in rodents. Notwithstanding, the methods to deliver nucleic acids into pre-implantation embryos have hardly changed since the original description of mouse transgenesis more than 30 years ago. Here we report a novel strategy to generate genetically modified mice by transduction of CRISPR-Cas9 components into pre-implantation mouse embryos via recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs). Using this approach, we efficiently generated a variety of targeted mutations in explanted embryos, including indel events produced by non-homologous end joining and tailored mutations using homology-directed repair. We also achieved gene modification in vivo…

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June 7, 2017

Short DNA hairpins compromise recombinant adeno-associated virus genome homogeneity.

Short hairpin (sh)RNAs delivered by recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are valuable tools to study gene function in vivo and a promising gene therapy platform. Our data show that incorporation of shRNA transgenes into rAAV constructs reduces vector yield and produces a population of truncated and defective genomes. We demonstrate that sequences with hairpins or hairpin-like structures drive the generation of truncated AAV genomes through a polymerase redirection mechanism during viral genome replication. Our findings reveal the importance of genomic secondary structure when optimizing viral vector designs. We also discovered that shDNAs could be adapted to act as surrogate mutant inverted terminal…

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June 1, 2017

Extensive horizontal gene transfer in cheese-associated bacteria.

Acquisition of genes through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) allows microbes to rapidly gain new capabilities and adapt to new or changing environments. Identifying widespread HGT regions within multispecies microbiomes can pinpoint the molecular mechanisms that play key roles in microbiome assembly. We sought to identify horizontally transferred genes within a model microbiome, the cheese rind. Comparing 31 newly sequenced and 134 previously sequenced bacterial isolates from cheese rinds, we identified over 200 putative horizontally transferred genomic regions containing 4733 protein coding genes. The largest of these regions are enriched for genes involved in siderophore acquisition, and are widely distributed in…

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January 12, 2017

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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October 8, 2016

Transgenerational attenuation of opioid self-administration as a consequence of adolescent morphine exposure.

The United States is in the midst of an opiate epidemic, with abuse of prescription and illegal opioids increasing steadily over the past decade. While it is clear that there is a genetic component to opioid addiction, there is a significant portion of heritability that cannot be explained by genetics alone. The current study was designed to test the hypothesis that maternal exposure to opioids prior to pregnancy alters abuse liability in subsequent generations. Female adolescent Sprague Dawley rats were administered morphine at increasing doses (5-25 mg/kg, s.c.) or saline for 10 days (P30-39). During adulthood, animals were bred with drug-naïve…

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March 21, 2016

A role for the bacterial GATC methylome in antibiotic stress survival.

Antibiotic resistance is an increasingly serious public health threat. Understanding pathways allowing bacteria to survive antibiotic stress may unveil new therapeutic targets. We explore the role of the bacterial epigenome in antibiotic stress survival using classical genetic tools and single-molecule real-time sequencing to characterize genomic methylation kinetics. We find that Escherichia coli survival under antibiotic pressure is severely compromised without adenine methylation at GATC sites. Although the adenine methylome remains stable during drug stress, without GATC methylation, methyl-dependent mismatch repair (MMR) is deleterious and, fueled by the drug-induced error-prone polymerase Pol IV, overwhelms cells with toxic DNA breaks. In multiple…

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September 1, 2015

Microplitis demolitor bracovirus proviral loci and clustered replication genes exhibit distinct DNA amplification patterns during replication.

Polydnaviruses are large, double-stranded DNA viruses that are beneficial symbionts of parasitoid wasps. Polydnaviruses in the genus Bracovirus (BVs) persist in wasps as proviruses, and their genomes consist of two functional components referred to as proviral segments and nudivirus-like genes. Prior studies established that the DNA domains where proviral segments reside are amplified during replication and that segments within amplified loci are circularized before packaging into nucleocapsids. One DNA domain where nudivirus-like genes are located is also amplified but never packaged into virions. We recently sequenced the genome of the braconid Microplitis demolitor, which carries M. demolitor bracovirus (MdBV). Here,…

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May 7, 2015

DNA methylation on N6-adenine in C. elegans.

In mammalian cells, DNA methylation on the fifth position of cytosine (5mC) plays an important role as an epigenetic mark. However, DNA methylation was considered to be absent in C. elegans because of the lack of detectable 5mC, as well as homologs of the cytosine DNA methyltransferases. Here, using multiple approaches, we demonstrate the presence of adenine N(6)-methylation (6mA) in C. elegans DNA. We further demonstrate that this modification increases trans-generationally in a paradigm of epigenetic inheritance. Importantly, we identify a DNA demethylase, NMAD-1, and a potential DNA methyltransferase, DAMT-1, which regulate 6mA levels and crosstalk between methylations of histone…

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April 1, 2015

Human gene-centered transcription factor networks for enhancers and disease variants.

Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) comprising interactions between transcription factors (TFs) and regulatory loci control development and physiology. Numerous disease-associated mutations have been identified, the vast majority residing in non-coding regions of the genome. As current GRN mapping methods test one TF at a time and require the use of cells harboring the mutation(s) of interest, they are not suitable to identify TFs that bind to wild-type and mutant loci. Here, we use gene-centered yeast one-hybrid (eY1H) assays to interrogate binding of 1,086 human TFs to 246 enhancers, as well as to 109 non-coding disease mutations. We detect both loss and…

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December 8, 2014

Complete genome sequence of the lignin-degrading bacterium Klebsiella sp. strain BRL6-2.

In an effort to discover anaerobic bacteria capable of lignin degradation, we isolated Klebsiella sp. strain BRL6-2 on minimal media with alkali lignin as the sole carbon source. This organism was isolated anaerobically from tropical forest soils collected from the Bisley watershed at the Ridge site in the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, USA, part of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Station. At this site, the soils experience strong fluctuations in redox potential and are characterized by cycles of iron oxidation and reduction. Genome sequencing was targeted because of its ability to grow on lignin anaerobically and lignocellulolytic…

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