September 22, 2019  |  

Microsatellites from Fosterella christophii (Bromeliaceae) by de novo transcriptome sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences RS platform.

Microsatellite markers were developed in Fosterella christophii (Bromeliaceae) to investigate the genetic diversity and population structure within the F. micrantha group, comprising F. christophii, F. micrantha, and F. villosula.Full-length cDNAs were isolated from F. christophii and sequenced on a Pacific Biosciences RS platform. A total of 1590 high-quality consensus isoforms were assembled into 971 unigenes containing 421 perfect microsatellites. Thirty primer sets were designed, of which 13 revealed a high level of polymorphism in three populations of F. christophii, with four to nine alleles per locus. Each of these 13 loci cross-amplified in the closely related species F. micrantha and F. villosula, with one to six and one to 11 alleles per locus, respectively.The new markers are promising tools to study the population genetics of F. christophii and to discover species boundaries within the F. micrantha group.


September 22, 2019  |  

Improving eukaryotic genome annotation using single molecule mRNA sequencing.

The advantages of Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) single-molecule real-time (SMRT) technology include long reads, low systematic bias, and high consensus read accuracy. Here we use these attributes to improve on the genome annotation of the parasitic hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum using PacBio RNA-Seq.We sequenced 192,888 circular consensus sequences (CCS) derived from cDNAs generated using the CloneTech SMARTer system. These SMARTer-SMRT libraries were normalized and size-selected providing a robust population of expressed structural genes for subsequent genome annotation. We demonstrate PacBio mRNA sequences based genome annotation improvement, compared to genome annotation using conventional sequencing-by-synthesis alone, by identifying 1609 (9.2%) new genes, extended the length of 3965 (26.7%) genes and increased the total genomic exon length by 1.9 Mb (12.4%). Non-coding sequence representation (primarily from UTRs based on dT reverse transcription priming) was particularly improved, increasing in total length by fifteen-fold, by increasing both the length and number of UTR exons. In addition, the UTR data provided by these CCS allowed for the identification of a novel SL2 splice leader sequence for A. ceylanicum and an increase in the number and proportion of functionally annotated genes. RNA-seq data also confirmed some of the newly annotated genes and gene features.Overall, PacBio data has supported a significant improvement in gene annotation in this genome, and is an appealing alternative or complementary technique for genome annotation to the other transcript sequencing technologies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Characterization of the dynamic transcriptome of a herpesvirus with long-read Single Molecule Real-Time Sequencing.

Herpesvirus gene expression is co-ordinately regulated and sequentially ordered during productive infection. The viral genes can be classified into three distinct kinetic groups: immediate-early, early, and late classes. In this study, a massively parallel sequencing technique that is based on PacBio Single Molecule Real-time sequencing platform, was used for quantifying the poly(A) fraction of the lytic transcriptome of pseudorabies virus (PRV) throughout a 12-hour interval of productive infection on PK-15 cells. Other approaches, including microarray, real-time RT-PCR and Illumina sequencing are capable of detecting only the aggregate transcriptional activity of particular genomic regions, but not individual herpesvirus transcripts. However, SMRT sequencing allows for a distinction between transcript isoforms, including length- and splice variants, as well as between overlapping polycistronic RNA molecules. The non-amplified Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq) method was used to analyse the kinetic properties of the lytic PRV transcripts and to then classify them accordingly. Additionally, the present study demonstrates the general utility of long-read sequencing for the time-course analysis of global gene expression in practically any organism.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of a novel fusion transcript between human relaxin-1 (RLN1) and human relaxin-2 (RLN2) in prostate cancer.

Simultaneous expression of highly homologous RLN1 and RLN2 genes in prostate impairs their accurate delineation. We used PacBio SMRT sequencing and RNA-Seq in LNCaP cells in order to dissect the expression of RLN1 and RLN2 variants. We identified a novel fusion transcript comprising the RLN1 and RLN2 genes and found evidence of its expression in the normal and prostate cancer tissues. The RLN1-RLN2 fusion putatively encodes RLN2 isoform with the deleted secretory signal peptide. The identification of the fusion transcript provided information to determine unique RLN1-RLN2 fusion and RLN1 regions. The RLN1-RLN2 fusion was co-expressed with RLN1 in LNCaP cells, but the two gene products were inversely regulated by androgens. We showed that RLN1 is underrepresented in common PCa cell lines in comparison to normal and PCa tissue. The current study brings a highly relevant update to the relaxin field, and will encourage further studies of RLN1 and RLN2 in PCa and broader. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Screening and genomic characterization of filamentous hemagglutinin-deficient Bordetella pertussis.

Despite high vaccine coverage, pertussis cases in the United States have increased over the last decade. Growing evidence suggests that disease resurgence results, in part, from genetic divergence of circulating strain populations away from vaccine references. The United States employs acellular vaccines exclusively, and current Bordetella pertussis isolates are predominantly deficient in at least one immunogen, pertactin (Prn). First detected in the United States retrospectively in a 1994 isolate, the rapid spread of Prn deficiency is likely vaccine driven, raising concerns about whether other acellular vaccine immunogens experience similar pressures, as further antigenic changes could potentially threaten vaccine efficacy. We developed an electrochemiluminescent antibody capture assay to monitor the production of the acellular vaccine immunogen filamentous hemagglutinin (Fha). Screening 722 U.S. surveillance isolates collected from 2010 to 2016 identified two that were both Prn and Fha deficient. Three additional Fha-deficient laboratory strains were also identified from a historic collection of 65 isolates dating back to 1935. Whole-genome sequencing of deficient isolates revealed putative, underlying genetic changes. Only four isolates harbored mutations to known genes involved in Fha production, highlighting the complexity of its regulation. The chromosomes of two Fha-deficient isolates included unexpected structural variation that did not appear to influence Fha production. Furthermore, insertion sequence disruption of fhaB was also detected in a previously identified pertussis toxin-deficient isolate that still produced normal levels of Fha. These results demonstrate the genetic potential for additional vaccine immunogen deficiency and underscore the importance of continued surveillance of circulating B. pertussis evolution in response to vaccine pressure. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

The Egyptian rousette genome reveals unexpected features of bat antiviral immunity.

Bats harbor many viruses asymptomatically, including several notorious for causing extreme virulence in humans. To identify differences between antiviral mechanisms in humans and bats, we sequenced, assembled, and analyzed the genome of Rousettus aegyptiacus, a natural reservoir of Marburg virus and the only known reservoir for any filovirus. We found an expanded and diversified KLRC/KLRD family of natural killer cell receptors, MHC class I genes, and type I interferons, which dramatically differ from their functional counterparts in other mammals. Such concerted evolution of key components of bat immunity is strongly suggestive of novel modes of antiviral defense. An evaluation of the theoretical function of these genes suggests that an inhibitory immune state may exist in bats. Based on our findings, we hypothesize that tolerance of viral infection, rather than enhanced potency of antiviral defenses, may be a key mechanism by which bats asymptomatically host viruses that are pathogenic in humans. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Natural selection in bats with historical exposure to white-nose syndrome

Hibernation allows animals to survive periods of resource scarcity by reducing their energy expenditure through decreased metabolism. However, hibernators become susceptible to psychrophilic pathogens if they cannot mount an efficient immune response to infection. While Nearctic bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) suffer high mortality, related Palearctic taxa are better able to survive the disease than their Nearctic counterparts. We hypothesised that WNS exerted historical selective pressure in Palearctic bats, resulting in genomic changes that promote infection tolerance.


September 22, 2019  |  

A complete Leishmania donovani reference genome identifies novel genetic variations associated with virulence.

Leishmania donovani is responsible for visceral leishmaniasis, a neglected and lethal parasitic disease with limited treatment options and no vaccine. The study of L. donovani has been hindered by the lack of a high-quality reference genome and this can impact experimental outcomes including the identification of virulence genes, drug targets and vaccine development. We therefore generated a complete genome assembly by deep sequencing using a combination of second generation (Illumina) and third generation (PacBio) sequencing technologies. Compared to the current L. donovani assembly, the genome assembly reported within resulted in the closure over 2,000 gaps, the extension of several chromosomes up to telomeric repeats and the re-annotation of close to 15% of protein coding genes and the annotation of hundreds of non-coding RNA genes. It was possible to correctly assemble the highly repetitive A2 and Amastin virulence gene clusters. A comparative sequence analysis using the improved reference genome confirmed 70 published and identified 15 novel genomic differences between closely related visceral and atypical cutaneous disease-causing L. donovani strains providing a more complete map of genes associated with virulence and visceral organ tropism. Bioinformatic tools including protein variation effect analyzer and basic local alignment search tool were used to prioritize a list of potential virulence genes based on mutation severity, gene conservation and function. This complete genome assembly and novel information on virulence factors will support the identification of new drug targets and the development of a vaccine for L. donovani.


July 19, 2019  |  

Preparation of next-generation DNA sequencing libraries from ultra-low amounts of input DNA: Application to single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences RS II.

We have developed and validated an amplification-free method for generating DNA sequencing libraries from very low amounts of input DNA (500 picograms – 20 nanograms) for single- molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II sequencer. The common challenge of high input requirements for single-molecule sequencing is overcome by using a carrier DNA in conjunction with optimized sequencing preparation conditions and re-use of the MagBead-bound complex. Here we describe how this method can be used to produce sequencing yields comparable to those generated from standard input amounts, but by using 1000-fold less starting material.


July 19, 2019  |  

Hamburger polyomaviruses.

Epidemiological studies have suggested that consumption of beef may correlate with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. One hypothesis to explain this proposed link might be the presence of a carcinogenic infectious agent capable of withstanding cooking. Polyomaviruses are a ubiquitous family of thermostable non-enveloped DNA viruses that are known to be carcinogenic. Using virion enrichment, rolling circle amplification (RCA) and next-generation sequencing, we searched for polyomaviruses in meat samples purchased from several supermarkets. Ground beef samples were found to contain three polyomavirus species. One species, bovine polyomavirus 1 (BoPyV1), was originally discovered as a contaminant in laboratory FCS. A previously unknown species, BoPyV2, occupies the same clade as human Merkel cell polyomavirus and raccoon polyomavirus, both of which are carcinogenic in their native hosts. A third species, BoPyV3, is related to human polyomaviruses 6 and 7. Examples of additional DNA virus families, including herpesviruses, adenoviruses, circoviruses and gyroviruses were also detected either in ground beef samples or in comparison samples of ground pork and ground chicken. The results suggest that the virion enrichment/RCA approach is suitable for random detection of essentially any DNA virus with a detergent-stable capsid. It will be important for future studies to address the possibility that animal viruses commonly found in food might be associated with disease.


July 19, 2019  |  

Emergence of ebola virus escape variants in infected nonhuman primates treated with the MB-003 antibody cocktail.

MB-003, a plant-derived monoclonal antibody cocktail used effectively in treatment of Ebola virus infection in non-human primates, was unable to protect two of six animals when initiated 1 or 2 days post-infection. We characterized a mechanism of viral escape in one of the animals, after observation of two clusters of genomic mutations that resulted in five nonsynonymous mutations in the monoclonal antibody target sites. These mutations were linked to a reduction in antibody binding and later confirmed to be present in a viral isolate that was not neutralized in vitro. Retrospective evaluation of a second independent study allowed the identification of a similar case. Four SNPs in previously identified positions were found in this second fatality, suggesting that genetic drift could be a potential cause for treatment failure. These findings highlight the importance selecting different target domains for each component of the cocktail to minimize the potential for viral escape. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome analysis of the fruiting body forming myxobacterium Chondromyces crocatus reveals high potential for natural product biosynthesis.

Here we report the first complete genome sequence of the type strain of the myxobacterial genus Chondromyces – Chondromyces crocatus Cm c5. It presents one of the largest prokaryotic genomes featuring a single circular chromosome and no plasmids. Analysis revealed an enlarged set of tRNA genes, along with reduced pressure on preferred codon usage compared to other bacterial genomes. The large coding capacity and the plethora of encoded secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters is in line with the capability of Cm c5 to produce an arsenal of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and cytotoxic compounds. Known pathways of the ajudazol, chondramide, chondrochloren, crocacin, crocapeptin and thuggacin compound families are complemented by many more natural compound biosynthetic gene clusters in the chromosome. Whole-genome comparison of the fruiting-body forming type-strain (Cm c5 = DSM 14714) to an accustomed laboratory strain which has lost this ability (Cm c5 fr-) revealed genetic changes in three loci. In addition to the low synteny found with the closest sequenced representative of the same family, Sorangium cellulosum, extensive genetic information duplication, and broad application of eukaryotic-type signal transduction systems are hallmarks of this 11.3 Mbp prokaryotic genome. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

DNA methylation on N(6)-adenine in mammalian embryonic stem cells.

It has been widely accepted that 5-methylcytosine is the only form of DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. Here we identify N(6)-methyladenine as another form of DNA modification in mouse embryonic stem cells. Alkbh1 encodes a demethylase for N(6)-methyladenine. An increase of N(6)-methyladenine levels in Alkbh1-deficient cells leads to transcriptional silencing. N(6)-methyladenine deposition is inversely correlated with the evolutionary age of LINE-1 transposons; its deposition is strongly enriched at young (<1.5 million years old) but not old (>6 million years old) L1 elements. The deposition of N(6)-methyladenine correlates with epigenetic silencing of such LINE-1 transposons, together with their neighbouring enhancers and genes, thereby resisting the gene activation signals during embryonic stem cell differentiation. As young full-length LINE-1 transposons are strongly enriched on the X chromosome, genes located on the X chromosome are also silenced. Thus, N(6)-methyladenine developed a new role in epigenetic silencing in mammalian evolution distinct from its role in gene activation in other organisms. Our results demonstrate that N(6)-methyladenine constitutes a crucial component of the epigenetic regulation repertoire in mammalian genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Polymerase specific error rates and profiles identified by single molecule sequencing.

DNA polymerases have an innate error rate which is polymerase and DNA context specific. Historically the mutational rate and profiles have been measured using a variety of methods, each with their own technical limitations. Here we used the unique properties of single molecule sequencing to evaluate the mutational rate and profiles of six DNA polymerases at the sequence level. In addition to accurately determining mutations in double strands, single molecule sequencing also captures direction specific transversions and transitions through the analysis of heteroduplexes. Not only did the error rates vary, but also the direction specific transitions differed among polymerases. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome structural diversity among 31 Bordetella pertussis isolates from two recent U.S. whooping cough statewide epidemics

During 2010 and 2012, California and Vermont, respectively, experienced statewide epidemics of pertussis with differences seen in the demographic affected, case clinical presentation, and molecular epidemiology of the circulating strains. To overcome limitations of the current molecular typing methods for pertussis, we utilized whole-genome sequencing to gain a broader understanding of how current circulating strains are causing large epidemics. Through the use of combined next-generation sequencing technologies, this study compared de novo, single-contig genome assemblies from 31 out of 33 Bordetella pertussis isolates collected during two separate pertussis statewide epidemics and 2 resequenced vaccine strains. Final genome architecture assemblies were verified with whole-genome optical mapping. Sixteen distinct genome rearrangement profiles were observed in epidemic isolate genomes, all of which were distinct from the genome structures of the two resequenced vaccine strains. These rearrangements appear to be mediated by repetitive sequence elements, such as high-copy-number mobile genetic elements and rRNA operons. Additionally, novel and previously identified single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in 10 virulence-related genes in the epidemic isolates. Whole-genome variation analysis identified state-specific variants, and coding regions bearing nonsynonymous mutations were classified into functional annotated orthologous groups. Comprehensive studies on whole genomes are needed to understand the resurgence of pertussis and develop novel tools to better characterize the molecular epidemiology of evolving B.~pertussis populations.IMPORTANCE Pertussis, or whooping cough, is the most poorly controlled vaccine-preventable bacterial disease in the United States, which has experienced a resurgence for more than a decade. Once viewed as a monomorphic pathogen, B.~pertussis strains circulating during epidemics exhibit diversity visible on a genome structural level, previously undetectable by traditional sequence analysis using short-read technologies. For the first time, we combine short- and long-read sequencing platforms with restriction optical mapping for single-contig, de novo assembly of 31 isolates to investigate two geographically and temporally independent U.S. pertussis epidemics. These complete genomes reshape our understanding of B.~pertussis evolution and strengthen molecular epidemiology toward one day understanding the resurgence of pertussis.


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