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January 1, 2019

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…

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December 1, 2018

Relationship between Alzheimer’s disease-associated SNPs within the CLU gene, local DNA methylation and episodic verbal memory in healthy and schizophrenia subjects.

Genetic variation may impact on local DNA methylation patterns. Therefore, information about allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) within disease-related loci has been proposed to be useful for the interpretation of GWAS results. To explore mechanisms that may underlie associations between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and schizophrenia risk CLU gene and verbal memory, one of the most affected cognitive domains in both conditions, we studied DNA methylation in a region between AD-associated SNPs rs9331888 and rs9331896 in 72 healthy individuals and 73 schizophrenia patients. Using single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing we assessed the haplotype-dependent ASM in this region. We then investigated whether its methylation…

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November 1, 2018

Assembly of a complete genome sequence for Gemmata obscuriglobus reveals a novel prokaryotic rRNA operon gene architecture.

Gemmata obscuriglobus is a Gram-negative bacterium with several intriguing biological features. Here, we present a complete, de novo whole genome assembly for G. obscuriglobus which consists of a single, circular 9 Mb chromosome, with no plasmids detected. The genome was annotated using the NCBI Prokaryotic Genome Annotation pipeline to generate common gene annotations. Analysis of the rRNA genes revealed three interesting features for a bacterium. First, linked G. obscuriglobus rrn operons have a unique gene order, 23S-5S-16S, compared to typical prokaryotic rrn operons (16S-23S-5S). Second, G. obscuriglobus rrn operons can either be linked or unlinked (a 16S gene is in a…

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October 16, 2018

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,…

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October 1, 2018

A multiplex homology-directed DNA repair assay reveals the impact of more than 1,000 BRCA1 missense substitution variants on protein function.

Loss-of-function pathogenic variants in BRCA1 confer a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for sequence changes in BRCA1 frequently reveals a missense variant for which the impact on cancer risk and on the molecular function of BRCA1 is unknown. Functional BRCA1 is required for the homology-directed repair (HDR) of double-strand DNA breaks, a critical activity for maintaining genome integrity and tumor suppression. Here, we describe a multiplex HDR reporter assay for concurrently measuring the effects of hundreds of variants of BRCA1 for their role in DNA repair. Using this assay, we characterized the effects of 1,056 amino acid…

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September 1, 2018

Methylation of the reelin gene promoter in peripheral blood and its relationship with the cognitive function of schizophrenia patients.

There is a decrease in the expression of the reelin gene (RELN) in the brain of schizophrenia patients, which can underlie observed cognitive abnormalities. It is suggested that this decrease is caused by the hypermethylation of the RELN promoter. The aim of the study was to investigate methylation of the RELN promoter in the peripheral blood of schizophrenia patients and its association with their cognitive deficits. A modified SMRT-BS (single-molecule real-time bisulfite sequencing) was used. We determined the methylation rate of 170 CpG sites within a 1465 bp DNA region containing the entire CpG island in the RELN promoter in…

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June 1, 2018

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…

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June 1, 2018

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…

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May 1, 2018

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…

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April 22, 2018

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,…

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April 5, 2018

A multiplexed homology-directed DNA repair assay reveals the impact of ~1,700 BRCA1 variants on protein function

Loss-of-function mutations in BRCA1 confer a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Genetic testing for mutations in the BRCA1 gene frequently reveals a missense variant for which the impact on the molecular function of the BRCA1 protein is unknown. Functional BRCA1 is required for homology directed repair (HDR) of double-strand DNA breaks, a key activity for maintaining genome integrity and tumor suppression. Here we describe a multiplex HDR reporter assay to simultaneously measure the effect of hundreds of variants of BRCA1 on its role in DNA repair. Using this assay, we measured the effects of ~1,700 amino acid substitutions in…

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February 1, 2018

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…

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December 3, 2017

Unlocking the biological potential of Euglena gracilis: evolution, cell biology and significance to parasitism

Photosynthetic euglenids are major components of aquatic ecosystems and relatives of trypanosomes. Euglena gracilis has considerable biotechnological potential and great adaptability, but exploitation remains hampered by the absence of a comprehensive gene catalogue. We address this by genome, RNA and protein sequencing: the E. gracilis genome is >2Gb, with 36,526 predicted proteins. Large lineage-specific paralog families are present, with evidence for flexibility in environmental monitoring, divergent mechanisms for metabolic control, and novel solutions for adaptation to extreme environments. Contributions from photosynthetic eukaryotes to the nuclear genome, consistent with the shopping bag model are found, together with transitions between kinetoplastid and…

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December 1, 2017

Comparative genome analysis of programmed DNA elimination in nematodes.

Programmed DNA elimination is a developmentally regulated process leading to the reproducible loss of specific genomic sequences. DNA elimination occurs in unicellular ciliates and a variety of metazoans, including invertebrates and vertebrates. In metazoa, DNA elimination typically occurs in somatic cells during early development, leaving the germline genome intact. Reference genomes for metazoa that undergo DNA elimination are not available. Here, we generated germline and somatic reference genome sequences of the DNA eliminating pig parasitic nematode Ascaris suum and the horse parasite Parascaris univalens. In addition, we carried out in-depth analyses of DNA elimination in the parasitic nematode of humans,…

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