September 22, 2019  |  

Egg case silk gene sequences from Argiope spiders: Evidence for multiple loci and a loss of function between paralogs.

Spiders swath their eggs with silk to protect developing embryos and hatchlings. Egg case silks, like other fibrous spider silks, are primarily composed of proteins called spidroins (spidroin = spider-fibroin). Silks, and thus spidroins, are important throughout the lives of spiders, yet the evolution of spidroin genes has been relatively understudied. Spidroin genes are notoriously difficult to sequence because they are typically very long (= 10 kb of coding sequence) and highly repetitive. Here, we investigate the evolution of spider silk genes through long-read sequencing of Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) clones. We demonstrate that the silver garden spiderArgiope argentatahas multiple egg case spidroin loci with a loss of function at one locus. We also use degenerate PCR primers to search the genomic DNA of congeneric species and find evidence for multiple egg case spidroin loci in otherArgiopespiders. Comparative analyses show that these multiple loci are more similar at the nucleotide level within a species than between species. This pattern is consistent with concerted evolution homogenizing gene copies within a genome. More complicated explanations include convergent evolution or recent independent gene duplications within each species. Copyright © 2018 Chaw et al.

September 22, 2019  |  

The draft genome assembly of Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus supports identification of novel allergen isoforms in Dermatophagoides species.

Background: Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (DP) and Dermatophagoides farinae (DF) are highly similar disease-asso- ciated mites with frequently overlapping geographic distributions. A draft genome of DP was assembled to identify the candidate allergens in DP that are homologous to those in DF, investigate allergen isoforms, and facilitate comparisons with related Acari. Methods: PacBio and Illumina whole-genome sequencing was performed on DP. Assembly and reconstruction of the genomes were optimized for isoform identification in a heterogeneous population. Bioinformatic analyses of Acari genomes were performed. Results: The predicted size of the DP nuclear genome is 52.5 Mb. A predicted set of 19,368 proteins was identified, including all 19 currently recognized allergens from this species. Orthologs for 12 allergens established for DF were found. The population of DP mites showed a high level of heterozygosity that allowed the identification of 43 new isoforms for both established and candidate allergens in DP including a new isoform for the major allergen Der p 23. Reanalyzing the previous DF data assuming heterozygosity, 14 new allergen isoforms could be identified. Some new isoforms were observed in both species, suggesting that these isoforms predated speciation. The high quality of both genomes allowed an examination of synteny which showed that many allergen orthologs are physically clustered but with species-specific exon/intron structures. Comparative genomic analyses of other Acariformes mites showed that most of the allergen homologs are widely conserved within this Superorder. Conclusions: Candidate allergens in DP were identified to facilitate future serological studies. While DP and DF are highly similar genetically, species-specific allergen isoforms exist to facilitate molecular differentiation.

September 21, 2019  |  

A Sequel to Sanger: amplicon sequencing that scales.

Although high-throughput sequencers (HTS) have largely displaced their Sanger counterparts, the short read lengths and high error rates of most platforms constrain their utility for amplicon sequencing. The present study tests the capacity of single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing implemented on the SEQUEL platform to overcome these limitations, employing 658 bp amplicons of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene as a model system.By examining templates from more than 5000 species and 20,000 specimens, the performance of SMRT sequencing was tested with amplicons showing wide variation in GC composition and varied sequence attributes. SMRT and Sanger sequences were very similar, but SMRT sequencing provided more complete coverage, especially for amplicons with homopolymer tracts. Because it can characterize amplicon pools from 10,000 DNA extracts in a single run, the SEQUEL can reduce greatly reduce sequencing costs in comparison to first (Sanger) and second generation platforms (Illumina, Ion).SMRT analysis generates high-fidelity sequences from amplicons with varying GC content and is resilient to homopolymer tracts. Analytical costs are low, substantially less than those for first or second generation sequencers. When implemented on the SEQUEL platform, SMRT analysis enables massive amplicon characterization because each instrument can recover sequences from more than 5 million DNA extracts a year.

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