September 22, 2019  |  

Repeat elements organise 3D genome structure and mediate transcription in the filamentous fungus Epichloë festucae.

Structural features of genomes, including the three-dimensional arrangement of DNA in the nucleus, are increasingly seen as key contributors to the regulation of gene expression. However, studies on how genome structure and nuclear organisation influence transcription have so far been limited to a handful of model species. This narrow focus limits our ability to draw general conclusions about the ways in which three-dimensional structures are encoded, and to integrate information from three-dimensional data to address a broader gamut of biological questions. Here, we generate a complete and gapless genome sequence for the filamentous fungus, Epichloë festucae. We use Hi-C data to examine the three-dimensional organisation of the genome, and RNA-seq data to investigate how Epichloë genome structure contributes to the suite of transcriptional changes needed to maintain symbiotic relationships with the grass host. Our results reveal a genome in which very repeat-rich blocks of DNA with discrete boundaries are interspersed by gene-rich sequences that are almost repeat-free. In contrast to other species reported to date, the three-dimensional structure of the genome is anchored by these repeat blocks, which act to isolate transcription in neighbouring gene-rich regions. Genes that are differentially expressed in planta are enriched near the boundaries of these repeat-rich blocks, suggesting that their three-dimensional orientation partly encodes and regulates the symbiotic relationship formed by this organism.


September 22, 2019  |  

The genomic architecture and molecular evolution of ant odorant receptors.

The massive expansions of odorant receptor (OR) genes in ant genomes are notable examples of rapid genome evolution and adaptive gene duplication. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to gene family expansion remain poorly understood, partly because available ant genomes are fragmentary. Here, we present a highly contiguous, chromosome-level assembly of the clonal raider ant genome, revealing the largest known OR repertoire in an insect. While most ant ORs originate via local tandem duplication, we also observe several cases of dispersed duplication followed by tandem duplication in the most rapidly evolving OR clades. We found that areas of unusually high transposable element density (TE islands) were depauperate in ORs in the clonal raider ant, and found no evidence for retrotransposition of ORs. However, OR loci were enriched for transposons relative to the genome as a whole, potentially facilitating tandem duplication by unequal crossing over. We also found that ant OR genes are highly AT-rich compared to other genes. In contrast, in flies, OR genes are dispersed and largely isolated within the genome, and we find that fly ORs are not AT-rich. The genomic architecture and composition of ant ORs thus show convergence with the unrelated vertebrate ORs rather than the related fly ORs. This might be related to the greater gene numbers and/or potential similarities in gene regulation between ants and vertebrates as compared to flies.© 2018 McKenzie and Kronauer; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cryptocurrencies and Zero Mode Wave guides: An unclouded path to a more contiguous Cannabis sativa L. genome assembly

We describe the use ofa Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) to crypto- fund the single molecule sequencing and publication ofa Type ll Cannabis plant. This resulted in the construction of the most contiguous Cannabis genome assembly to date. The combined use of the Dash cryptocurrency, DAOs, and Pacific Biosciences sequencing delivered a 1.03 Gb genome with a N50 of 665Kb in 77 days from funding to public upload. This represents a 230 fold improvement in the contiguity of the first cannabis assemblies in 2011 and a 4 fold improvement over all cannabis assemblies to date. 34Gb ofadditional sequencing pushed the assembly to a N50 of 3.8Mb. Hi-C data from Phase Genomics further scaffolded the assembly to 35 contigs at an N50 of 74Mb but requires additional curation. The genome is partially phased and larger than previously reported (2N : 1.33Gb). The CBCA, THCA and CBDA synthase gene clusters have been phased onto respective contigs demonstrating tandem repeat expansions.


September 22, 2019  |  

MadID, a versatile approach to map protein-DNA interactions, highlights telomere-nuclear envelope contact sites in human cells.

Mapping the binding sites of DNA- or chromatin-interacting proteins is essential to understanding biological processes. DNA adenine methyltransferase identification (DamID) has emerged as a comprehensive method to map genome-wide occupancy of proteins of interest. A caveat of DamID is the specificity of Dam methyltransferase for GATC motifs that are not homogenously distributed in the genome. Here, we developed an optimized method named MadID, using proximity labeling of DNA by the methyltransferase M.EcoGII. M.EcoGII mediates N6-adenosine methylation in any DNA sequence context, resulting in deeper and unbiased coverage of the genome. We demonstrate, using m6A-specific immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing, that MadID is a robust method to identify protein-DNA interactions at the whole-genome level. Using MadID, we revealed contact sites between human telomeres, repetitive sequences devoid of GATC sites, and the nuclear envelope. Overall, MadID opens the way to identification of binding sites in genomic regions that were largely inaccessible. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic and genetic insights into a cosmopolitan fungus, Paecilomyces variotii (Eurotiales).

Species in the genus Paecilomyces, a member of the fungal order Eurotiales, are ubiquitous in nature and impact a variety of human endeavors. Here, the biology of one common species, Paecilomyces variotii, was explored using genomics and functional genetics. Sequencing the genome of two isolates revealed key genome and gene features in this species. A striking feature of the genome was the two-part nature, featuring large stretches of DNA with normal GC content separated by AT-rich regions, a hallmark of many plant-pathogenic fungal genomes. These AT-rich regions appeared to have been mutated by repeat-induced point (RIP) mutations. We developed methods for genetic transformation of P. variotii, including forward and reverse genetics as well as crossing techniques. Using transformation and crossing, RIP activity was identified, demonstrating for the first time that RIP is an active process within the order Eurotiales. A consequence of RIP is likely reflected by a reduction in numbers of genes within gene families, such as in cell wall degradation, and reflected by growth limitations on P. variotii on diverse carbon sources. Furthermore, using these transformation tools we characterized a conserved protein containing a domain of unknown function (DUF1212) and discovered it is involved in pigmentation.


September 21, 2019  |  

The kinetoplastid-infecting Bodo saltans virus (BsV), a window into the most abundant giant viruses in the sea.

Giant viruses are ecologically important players in aquatic ecosystems that have challenged concepts of what constitutes a virus. Herein, we present the giant Bodo saltans virus (BsV), the first characterized representative of the most abundant group of giant viruses in ocean metagenomes, and the first isolate of a klosneuvirus, a subgroup of the Mimiviridae proposed from metagenomic data. BsV infects an ecologically important microzooplankton, the kinetoplastid Bodo saltans. Its 1.39 Mb genome encodes 1227 predicted ORFs, including a complex replication machinery. Yet, much of its translational apparatus has been lost, including all tRNAs. Essential genes are invaded by homing endonuclease-encoding self-splicing introns that may defend against competing viruses. Putative anti-host factors show extensive gene duplication via a genomic accordion indicating an ongoing evolutionary arms race and highlighting the rapid evolution and genomic plasticity that has led to genome gigantism and the enigma that is giant viruses.© 2018, Deeg et al.


September 21, 2019  |  

Nonhybrid, finished microbial genome assemblies from long-read SMRT sequencing data.

We present a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP) for high-quality de novo microbial genome assemblies using only a single, long-insert shotgun DNA library in conjunction with Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. Our method uses the longest reads as seeds to recruit all other reads for construction of highly accurate preassembled reads through a directed acyclic graph-based consensus procedure, which we follow with assembly using off-the-shelf long-read assemblers. In contrast to hybrid approaches, HGAP does not require highly accurate raw reads for error correction. We demonstrate efficient genome assembly for several microorganisms using as few as three SMRT Cell zero-mode waveguide arrays of sequencing and for BACs using just one SMRT Cell. Long repeat regions can be successfully resolved with this workflow. We also describe a consensus algorithm that incorporates SMRT sequencing primary quality values to produce de novo genome sequence exceeding 99.999% accuracy.


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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