June 1, 2021  |  

Improving the reference with a diversity panel of sequence-resolved structural variation

Although the accuracy of the human reference genome is critical for basic and clinical research, structural variants (SVs) have been difficult to assess because data capable of resolving them have been limited. To address potential bias, we sequenced a diversity panel of nine human genomes to high depth using long-read, single-molecule, real-time sequencing data. Systematically identifying and merging SVs =50 bp in length for these nine and one public genome yielded 83,909 sequence-resolved insertions, deletions, and inversions. Among these, 2,839 (2.0 Mbp) are shared among all discovery genomes with an additional 13,349 (6.9 Mbp) present in the majority of humans, indicating minor alleles or errors in the reference, which is partially explained by an enrichment for GC-content and repetitive DNA. Genotyping 83% of these in 290 additional genomes confirms that at least one allele of the most common SVs in unique euchromatin are now sequence-resolved. We observe a 9-fold increase within 5 Mbp of chromosome telomeric ends and correlation with de novo single-nucleotide variant mutations showing that such variation is nonrandomly distributed defining potential hotspots of mutation. We identify SVs affecting coding and noncoding regulatory loci improving annotation and interpretation of functional variation. To illustrate the utility of sequence-resolved SVs in resequencing experiments, we mapped 30 diverse high-coverage Illumina-sequenced samples to GRCh38 with and without contigs containing SV insertions as alternate sequences, and we found these additional sequences recover 6.4% of unmapped reads. For reads mapped within the SV insertion, 25.7% have a better mapping quality, and 18.7% improved by 1,000-fold or more. We reveal 72,964 occurrences of 15,814 unique variants that were not discoverable with the reference sequence alone, and we note that 7% of the insertions contain an SV in at least one sample indicating that there are additional alleles in the population that remain to be discovered. These data provide the framework to construct a canonical human reference and a resource for developing advanced representations capable of capturing allelic diversity. We present a summary of our findings and discuss ideas for revealing variation that was once difficult to ascertain.


April 21, 2020  |  

Draft Genome Sequences of Flavobacterium columnare Strains ARS1 and BGFS27, Isolated from Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus).

Flavobacterium columnare strain BGFS27 was isolated from an apparently healthy wild channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) collected from the Mobile River in 2005. F. columnare strain ARS1 was isolated from a channel catfish suffering from columnaris disease in a commercial farm in 1996. BGFS27 belongs to genomovar II (genetic group 2), while ARS1 belongs to genomovar III (genetic group 3). Here, we report the draft genome sequences of F. columnare BGFS27 and ARS1, obtained by PacBio sequencing.Copyright © 2019 Cai and Arias.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Sequence of Streptomyces cavourensis 1AS2a, a Rhizobacterium Isolated from the Brazilian Cerrado Biome.

Streptomyces cavourensis strain 1AS2a, isolated from wheat rhizosphere in the Brazilian Neotropical savanna, exhibits strong antimicrobial activities. Its genome comprises 7,600,475?bp with 6,590 open reading frames (ORFs) that reveal 30 biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). It provides a genetic basis for further research of the potential of this strain for the production of antimicrobial compounds.Copyright © 2019 Vargas Hoyos et al.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of Mauritian cynomolgus macaque Fc?R alleles using long-read sequencing.

The Fc?Rs are immune cell surface proteins that bind IgG and facilitate cytokine production, phagocytosis, and Ab-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Fc?Rs play a critical role in immunity; variation in these genes is implicated in autoimmunity and other diseases. Cynomolgus macaques are an excellent animal model for many human diseases, and Mauritian cynomolgus macaques (MCMs) are particularly useful because of their restricted genetic diversity. Previous studies of MCM immune gene diversity have focused on the MHC and killer cell Ig-like receptor. In this study, we characterize Fc?R diversity in 48 MCMs using PacBio long-read sequencing to identify novel alleles of each of the four expressed MCM Fc?R genes. We also developed a high-throughput Fc?R genotyping assay, which we used to determine allele frequencies and identify Fc?R haplotypes in more than 500 additional MCMs. We found three alleles for Fc?R1A, seven each for Fc?R2A and Fc?R2B, and four for Fc?R3A; these segregate into eight haplotypes. We also assessed whether different Fc?R alleles confer different Ab-binding affinities by surface plasmon resonance and found minimal difference in binding affinities across alleles for a panel of wild type and Fc-engineered human IgG. This work suggests that although MCMs may not fully represent the diversity of Fc?R responses in humans, they may offer highly reproducible results for mAb therapy and toxicity studies. Copyright © 2018 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.


April 21, 2020  |  

Global distribution of mating types shows limited opportunities for mating across populations of fungi causing boxwood blight disease.

Boxwood blight is a disease threat to natural and managed landscapes worldwide. To determine mating potential of the fungi responsible for the disease, Calonectria pseudonaviculata and C. henricotiae, we characterized their mating-type (MAT) loci. Genomes of C. henricotiae, C. pseudonaviculata and two other Calonectria species (C. leucothoes, C. naviculata) were sequenced and used to design PCR tests for mating-type from 268 isolates collected from four continents. All four Calonectria species have a MAT locus that is structurally consistent with the organization found in heterothallic ascomycetes, with just one idiomorph per individual isolate. Mating type was subdivided by species: all C. henricotiae isolates possessed the MAT1-1 idiomorph, whereas all C. pseudonaviculata isolates possessed the MAT1-2 idiomorph. To determine the potential for divergence at the MAT1 locus to present a barrier to interspecific hybridization, evolutionary analysis was conducted. Phylogenomic estimates showed that C. henricotiae and C. pseudonaviculata diverged approximately 2.1 Mya. However, syntenic comparisons, phylogenetic analyses, and estimates of nucleotide divergence across the MAT1 locus and proximal genes identified minimal divergence in this region of the genome. These results show that in North America and parts of Europe, where only C. pseudonaviculata resides, mating is constrained by the absence of MAT1-1. In regions of Europe where C. henricotiae and C. pseudonaviculata currently share the same host and geographic range, it remains to be determined whether or not these two recently diverged species are able to overcome species barriers to mate.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


October 23, 2019  |  

AAV-mediated delivery of zinc finger nucleases targeting hepatitis B virus inhibits active replication.

Despite an existing effective vaccine, hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains a major public health concern. There are effective suppressive therapies for HBV, but they remain expensive and inaccessible to many, and not all patients respond well. Furthermore, HBV can persist as genomic covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) that remains in hepatocytes even during otherwise effective therapy and facilitates rebound in patients after treatment has stopped. Therefore, the need for an effective treatment that targets active and persistent HBV infections remains. As a novel approach to treat HBV, we have targeted the HBV genome for disruption to prevent viral reactivation and replication. We generated 3 zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) that target sequences within the HBV polymerase, core and X genes. Upon the formation of ZFN-induced DNA double strand breaks (DSB), imprecise repair by non-homologous end joining leads to mutations that inactivate HBV genes. We delivered HBV-specific ZFNs using self-complementary adeno-associated virus (scAAV) vectors and tested their anti-HBV activity in HepAD38 cells. HBV-ZFNs efficiently disrupted HBV target sites by inducing site-specific mutations. Cytotoxicity was seen with one of the ZFNs. scAAV-mediated delivery of a ZFN targeting HBV polymerase resulted in complete inhibition of HBV DNA replication and production of infectious HBV virions in HepAD38 cells. This effect was sustained for at least 2 weeks following only a single treatment. Furthermore, high specificity was observed for all ZFNs, as negligible off-target cleavage was seen via high-throughput sequencing of 7 closely matched potential off-target sites. These results show that HBV-targeted ZFNs can efficiently inhibit active HBV replication and suppress the cellular template for HBV persistence, making them promising candidates for eradication therapy.


October 23, 2019  |  

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated scanning for regulatory elements required for HPRT1 expression via thousands of large, programmed genomic deletions.

The extent to which non-coding mutations contribute to Mendelian disease is a major unknown in human genetics. Relatedly, the vast majority of candidate regulatory elements have yet to be functionally validated. Here, we describe a CRISPR-based system that uses pairs of guide RNAs (gRNAs) to program thousands of kilobase-scale deletions that deeply scan across a targeted region in a tiling fashion (“ScanDel”). We applied ScanDel to HPRT1, the housekeeping gene underlying Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, an X-linked recessive disorder. Altogether, we programmed 4,342 overlapping 1 and 2 kb deletions that tiled 206 kb centered on HPRT1 (including 87 kb upstream and 79 kb downstream) with median 27-fold redundancy per base. We functionally assayed programmed deletions in parallel by selecting for loss of HPRT function with 6-thioguanine. As expected, sequencing gRNA pairs before and after selection confirmed that all HPRT1 exons are needed. However, HPRT1 function was robust to deletion of any intergenic or deeply intronic non-coding region, indicating that proximal regulatory sequences are sufficient for HPRT1 expression. Although our screen did identify the disruption of exon-proximal non-coding sequences (e.g., the promoter) as functionally consequential, long-read sequencing revealed that this signal was driven by rare, imprecise deletions that extended into exons. Our results suggest that no singular distal regulatory element is required for HPRT1 expression and that distal mutations are unlikely to contribute substantially to Lesch-Nyhan syndrome burden. Further application of ScanDel could shed light on the role of regulatory mutations in disease at other loci while also facilitating a deeper understanding of endogenous gene regulation. Copyright © 2017 American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Limited effects of variable-retention harvesting on fungal communities decomposing fine roots in coastal temperate rainforests.

Fine root litter is the principal source of carbon stored in forest soils and a dominant source of carbon for fungal decomposers. Differences in decomposer capacity between fungal species may be important determinants of fine-root decomposition rates. Variable-retention harvesting (VRH) provides refuge for ectomycorrhizal fungi, but its influence on fine-root decomposers is unknown, as are the effects of functional shifts in these fungal communities on carbon cycling. We compared fungal communities decomposing fine roots (in litter bags) under VRH, clear-cut, and uncut stands at two sites (6 and 13 years postharvest) and two decay stages (43 days and 1 year after burial) in Douglas fir forests in coastal British Columbia, Canada. Fungal species and guilds were identified from decomposed fine roots using high-throughput sequencing. Variable retention had short-term effects on ß-diversity; harvest treatment modified the fungal community composition at the 6-year-postharvest site, but not at the 13-year-postharvest site. Ericoid and ectomycorrhizal guilds were not more abundant under VRH, but stand age significantly structured species composition. Guild composition varied by decay stage, with ruderal species later replaced by saprotrophs and ectomycorrhizae. Ectomycorrhizal abundance on decomposing fine roots may partially explain why fine roots typically decompose more slowly than surface litter. Our results indicate that stand age structures fine-root decomposers but that decay stage is more important in structuring the fungal community than shifts caused by harvesting. The rapid postharvest recovery of fungal communities decomposing fine roots suggests resiliency within this community, at least in these young regenerating stands in coastal British Columbia.IMPORTANCE Globally, fine roots are a dominant source of carbon in forest soils, yet the fungi that decompose this material and that drive the sequestration or respiration of this carbon remain largely uncharacterized. Fungi vary in their capacity to decompose plant litter, suggesting that fungal community composition is an important determinant of decomposition rates. Variable-retention harvesting is a forestry practice that modifies fungal communities by providing refuge for ectomycorrhizal fungi. We evaluated the effects of variable retention and clear-cut harvesting on fungal communities decomposing fine roots at two sites (6 and 13 years postharvest), at two decay stages (43 days and 1 year), and in uncut stands in temperate rainforests. Harvesting impacts on fungal community composition were detected only after 6 years after harvest. We suggest that fungal community composition may be an important factor that reduces fine-root decomposition rates relative to those of above-ground plant litter, which has important consequences for forest carbon cycling. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Recurrent structural variation, clustered sites of selection, and disease risk for the complement factor H (CFH) gene family.

Structural variation and single-nucleotide variation of the complement factor H (CFH) gene family underlie several complex genetic diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (AHUS). To understand its diversity and evolution, we performed high-quality sequencing of this ~360-kbp locus in six primate lineages, including multiple human haplotypes. Comparative sequence analyses reveal two distinct periods of gene duplication leading to the emergence of four CFH-related (CFHR) gene paralogs (CFHR2 and CFHR4 ~25-35 Mya and CFHR1 and CFHR3 ~7-13 Mya). Remarkably, all evolutionary breakpoints share a common ~4.8-kbp segment corresponding to an ancestral CFHR gene promoter that has expanded independently throughout primate evolution. This segment is recurrently reused and juxtaposed with a donor duplication containing exons 8 and 9 from ancestral CFH, creating four CFHR fusion genes that include lineage-specific members of the gene family. Combined analysis of >5,000 AMD cases and controls identifies a significant burden of a rare missense mutation that clusters at the N terminus of CFH [P = 5.81 × 10-8, odds ratio (OR) = 9.8 (3.67-Infinity)]. A bipolar clustering pattern of rare nonsynonymous mutations in patients with AMD (P < 10-3) and AHUS (P = 0.0079) maps to functional domains that show evidence of positive selection during primate evolution. Our structural variation analysis in >2,400 individuals reveals five recurrent rearrangement breakpoints that show variable frequency among AMD cases and controls. These data suggest a dynamic and recurrent pattern of mutation critical to the emergence of new CFHR genes but also in the predisposition to complex human genetic disease phenotypes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Major histocompatibility complex haplotyping and long-amplicon allele discovery in cynomolgus macaques from Chinese breeding facilities.

Very little is currently known about the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region of cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis; Mafa) from Chinese breeding centers. We performed comprehensive MHC class I haplotype analysis of 100 cynomolgus macaques from two different centers, with animals from different reported original geographic origins (Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Cambodian/Indonesian mixed-origin). Many of the samples were of known relation to each other (sire, dam, and progeny sets), making it possible to characterize lineage-level haplotypes in these animals. We identified 52 Mafa-A and 74 Mafa-B haplotypes in this cohort, many of which were restricted to specific sample origins. We also characterized full-length MHC class I transcripts using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. This technology allows for complete read-through of unfragmented MHC class I transcripts (~1100 bp in length), so no assembly is required to unambiguously resolve novel full-length sequences. Overall, we identified 311 total full-length transcripts in a subset of 72 cynomolgus macaques from these Chinese breeding facilities; 130 of these sequences were novel and an additional 115 extended existing short database sequences to span the complete open reading frame. This significantly expands the number of Mafa-A, Mafa-B, and Mafa-I full-length alleles in the official cynomolgus macaque MHC class I database. The PacBio technique described here represents a general method for full-length allele discovery and genotyping that can be extended to other complex immune loci such as MHC class II, killer immunoglobulin-like receptors, and Fc gamma receptors.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multi-platform assessment of transcriptome profiling using RNA-seq in the ABRF next-generation sequencing study.

High-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) greatly expands the potential for genomics discoveries, but the wide variety of platforms, protocols and performance capabilitites has created the need for comprehensive reference data. Here we describe the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities next-generation sequencing (ABRF-NGS) study on RNA-seq. We carried out replicate experiments across 15 laboratory sites using reference RNA standards to test four protocols (poly-A-selected, ribo-depleted, size-selected and degraded) on five sequencing platforms (Illumina HiSeq, Life Technologies PGM and Proton, Pacific Biosciences RS and Roche 454). The results show high intraplatform (Spearman rank R > 0.86) and inter-platform (R > 0.83) concordance for expression measures across the deep-count platforms, but highly variable efficiency and cost for splice junction and variant detection between all platforms. For intact RNA, gene expression profiles from rRNA-depletion and poly-A enrichment are similar. In addition, rRNA depletion enables effective analysis of degraded RNA samples. This study provides a broad foundation for cross-platform standardization, evaluation and improvement of RNA-seq.


September 22, 2019  |  

Novel full-length major histocompatibility complex class I allele discovery and haplotype definition in pig-tailed macaques.

Pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina, Mane) are important models for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) studies. Their infectability with minimally modified HIV makes them a uniquely valuable animal model to mimic human infection with HIV and progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, variation in the pig-tailed macaque major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and the impact of individual transcripts on the pathogenesis of HIV and other infectious diseases is understudied compared to that of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. In this study, we used Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing to describe full-length MHC class I (MHC-I) transcripts for 194 pig-tailed macaques from three breeding centers. We then used the full-length sequences to infer Mane-A and Mane-B haplotypes containing groups of MHC-I transcripts that co-segregate due to physical linkage. In total, we characterized full-length open reading frames (ORFs) for 313 Mane-A, Mane-B, and Mane-I sequences that defined 86 Mane-A and 106 Mane-B MHC-I haplotypes. Pacific Biosciences technology allows us to resolve these Mane-A and Mane-B haplotypes to the level of synonymous allelic variants. The newly defined haplotypes and transcript sequences containing full-length ORFs provide an important resource for infectious disease researchers as certain MHC haplotypes have been shown to provide exceptional control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) replication and prevention of AIDS-like disease in nonhuman primates. The increased allelic resolution provided by Pacific Biosciences sequencing also benefits transplant research by allowing researchers to more specifically match haplotypes between donors and recipients to the level of nonsynonymous allelic variation, thus reducing the risk of graft-versus-host disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic structural variations affecting virulence during clonal expansion of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae biovar 3 in Europe.

Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) biovar 3 caused pandemic bacterial canker of Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia deliciosa since 2008. In Europe, the disease spread rapidly in the kiwifruit cultivation areas from a single introduction. In this study, we investigated the genomic diversity of Psa biovar 3 strains during the primary clonal expansion in Europe using single molecule real-time (SMRT), Illumina and Sanger sequencing technologies. We recorded evidences of frequent mobilization and loss of transposon Tn6212, large chromosome inversions, and ectopic integration of IS sequences (remarkably ISPsy31, ISPsy36, and ISPsy37). While no phenotype change associated with Tn6212 mobilization could be detected, strains CRAFRU 12.29 and CRAFRU 12.50 did not elicit the hypersensitivity response (HR) on tobacco and eggplant leaves and were limited in their growth in kiwifruit leaves due to insertion of ISPsy31 and ISPsy36 in the hrpS and hrpR genes, respectively, interrupting the hrp cluster. Both strains had been isolated from symptomatic plants, suggesting coexistence of variant strains with reduced virulence together with virulent strains in mixed populations. The structural differences caused by rearrangements of self-genetic elements within European and New Zealand strains were comparable in number and type to those occurring among the European strains, in contrast with the significant difference in terms of nucleotide polymorphisms. We hypothesize a relaxation, during clonal expansion, of the selection limiting the accumulation of deleterious mutations associated with genome structural variation due to transposition of mobile elements. This consideration may be relevant when evaluating strategies to be adopted for epidemics management.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole genome sequence and comparative analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi MM1.

Lyme disease is caused by spirochaetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genospecies. Complete genome assemblies are available for fewer than ten strains of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, the primary cause of Lyme disease in North America. MM1 is a sensu stricto strain originally isolated in the midwestern United States. Aside from a small number of genes, the complete genome sequence of this strain has not been reported. Here we present the complete genome sequence of MM1 in relation to other sensu stricto strains and in terms of its Multi Locus Sequence Typing. Our results indicate that MM1 is a new sequence type which contains a conserved main chromosome and 15 plasmids. Our results include the first contiguous 28.5 kb assembly of lp28-8, a linear plasmid carrying the vls antigenic variation system, from a Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto strain.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multiplex assessment of protein variant abundance by massively parallel sequencing.

Determining the pathogenicity of genetic variants is a critical challenge, and functional assessment is often the only option. Experimentally characterizing millions of possible missense variants in thousands of clinically important genes requires generalizable, scalable assays. We describe variant abundance by massively parallel sequencing (VAMP-seq), which measures the effects of thousands of missense variants of a protein on intracellular abundance simultaneously. We apply VAMP-seq to quantify the abundance of 7,801 single-amino-acid variants of PTEN and TPMT, proteins in which functional variants are clinically actionable. We identify 1,138 PTEN and 777 TPMT variants that result in low protein abundance, and may be pathogenic or alter drug metabolism, respectively. We observe selection for low-abundance PTEN variants in cancer, and show that p.Pro38Ser, which accounts for ~10% of PTEN missense variants in melanoma, functions via a dominant-negative mechanism. Finally, we demonstrate that VAMP-seq is applicable to other genes, highlighting its generalizability.


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