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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Informational Guide: What’s the value of sequencing full-length RNA transcripts?

The study of genomics has revolutionized our understanding of science, but the field of transcriptomics grew with the need to explore the functional impacts of genetic variation. While different tissues in an organism may share the same genomic DNA, they can differ greatly in what regions are transcribed into RNA and in their patterns of RNA processing. By reviewing the history of transcriptomics, we can see the advantages of RNA sequencing using a full-length transcript approach become clearer.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

ASHG Virtual Poster: The MHC Diversity in Africa Project (MDAP) pilot – 125 African high resolution HLA types from 5 populations

In this ASHG 2016 poster video, Martin Pollard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge describes an ambitious project to better represent natural variation in the complex MHC region by sequencing the locus in thousands of people from various populations in Africa. A pilot project in five populations has already revealed a lot of diversity in the region, which is important for human disease, vaccine response, and organ transplantation. Pollard says SMRT Sequencing is the only technology that can deliver the full-length haplotypes necessary to identify complete variation in this highly polymorphic complex. Plus: plans to…

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Webinar: A paradigm shift in HLA sequencing: from exons to high-resolution allele-level HLA yyping

Human MHC class I genes HLA-A, -B, -C, and class II genes HLA -DR, -DQ, and -DP play a critical role in the immune system as primary factors responsible for organ transplant rejection. Additionally, the HLA genes are important targets for clinical and drug sensitivity research because of their direct or linkage-based association with several diseases, including cancer, and autoimmune diseases. HLA genes are highly polymorphic, and their diversity originates from exonic combinations as well as recombination events. With full-length gene sequencing, a significant increase of new alleles in the HLA database is expected, stressing the need for high-resolution sequencing.…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Complex alternative splicing patterns in hematopoietic cell subpopulations revealed by third-generation long reads.

Background: Alternative splicing expands the repertoire of gene functions and is a signature for different cell populations. Here we characterize the transcriptome of human bone marrow subpopulations including progenitor cells to understand their contribution to homeostasis and pathological conditions such as atherosclerosis and tumor metastasis. To obtain full-length transcript structures, we utilized long reads in addition to RNA-seq for estimating isoform diversity and abundance. Method: Freshly harvested, viable human bone marrow tissues were extracted from discarded harvesting equipment and separated into total bone marrow (total), lineage-negative (lin-) progenitor cells and differentiated cells (lin+) by magnetic bead sorting with antibodies to…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Phased full-length SMRT Sequencing of HLA DPB1

Aim: In contrast to exon-based HLA-typing approaches, whole gene genotyping crucially depends on full-length sequences submitted to the IMGT/HLA Database. Currently, full-length sequences are provided for only 7 out of 520 HLA-DPB1 alleles. Therefore, we developed a fully phased whole-gene sequencing approach for DPB1, to facilitate further exploration of the allelic structure at this locus. Methods: Primers were developed flanking the UTR-regions of DPB1 resulting in a 12 kb amplicon. Using a 4-primer approach, secondary primers containing barcodes were combined with the gene-specific primers to obtain barcoded full-gene amplicons in a single amplification step. Amplicons were pooled, purified, and ligated…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Full-length sequencing of HLA class I genes of more than 1000 samples provides deep insights into sequence variability

Aim: The vast majority of donor typing relies on sequencing exons 2 and 3 of HLA class I genes (HLA-A, -B, -C). With such an approach certain allele combinations do not result in the anticipated “high resolution” (G-code) typing, due to the lack of exon-phasing information. To resolve ambiguous typing results for a haplotype frequency project, we established a whole gene sequencing approach for HLA class I, facilitating also an estimation of the degree of sequence variability outside the commonly sequenced exons. Methods: Primers were developed flanking the UTR regions resulting in similar amplicon lengths of 4.2-4.4 kb. Using a…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Immune regions are no longer incomprehensible with SMRT Sequencing

The complex immune regions of the genome, including MHC and KIR, contain large copy number variants (CNVs), a high density of genes, hyper-polymorphic gene alleles, and conserved extended haplotypes (CEH) with enormous linkage disequilibrium (LDs). This level of complexity and inherent biases of short-read sequencing make it challenging for extracting immune region haplotype information from reference-reliant, shotgun sequencing and GWAS methods. As NGS based genome and exome sequencing and SNP arrays have become a routine for population studies, numerous efforts are being made for developing software to extract and or impute the immune gene information from these datasets. Despite these…

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The MHC Diversity in Africa Project (MDAP) pilot – 125 African high resolution HLA types from 5 populations

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC), or human leukocyte antigen (HLA) in humans, is a highly diverse gene family with a key role in immune response to disease; and has been implicated in auto-immune disease, cancer, infectious disease susceptibility, and vaccine response. It has clinical importance in the field of solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, where donors and recipient matching of HLA types is key to transplanted organ outcomes. The Sanger based typing (SBT) methods currently used in clinical practice do not capture the full diversity across this region, and require specific reference sequences to deconvolute ambiguity in HLA types.…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Diversification and Evolution of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium during Intestinal Domination.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. This is particularly true in immunocompromised patients, where the damage to the microbiota caused by antibiotics can lead to VRE domination of the intestine, increasing a patient’s risk for bloodstream infection. In previous studies we observed that the intestinal domination by VRE of patients hospitalized to receive allogeneic bone marrow transplantation can persist for weeks, but little is known about subspecies diversification and evolution during prolonged domination. Here we combined a longitudinal analysis of patient data and in vivo experiments to reveal previously unappreciated subspecies dynamics during VRE domination…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) Full-Length RNA-Sequencing Reveals Novel and Distinct mRNA Isoforms in Human Bone Marrow Cell Subpopulations.

Hematopoietic cells are continuously replenished from progenitor cells that reside in the bone marrow. To evaluate molecular changes during this process, we analyzed the transcriptomes of freshly harvested human bone marrow progenitor (lineage-negative) and differentiated (lineage-positive) cells by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) full-length RNA-sequencing. This analysis revealed a ~5-fold higher number of transcript isoforms than previously detected and showed a distinct composition of individual transcript isoforms characteristic for bone marrow subpopulations. A detailed analysis of messenger RNA (mRNA) isoforms transcribed from the ANXA1 and EEF1A1 loci confirmed their distinct composition. The expression of proteins predicted from the transcriptome analysis was evaluated…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genome-Wide Screening for Enteric Colonization Factors in Carbapenem-Resistant ST258 Klebsiella pneumoniae.

A diverse, antibiotic-naive microbiota prevents highly antibiotic-resistant microbes, including carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-Kp), from achieving dense colonization of the intestinal lumen. Antibiotic-mediated destruction of the microbiota leads to expansion of CR-Kp in the gut, markedly increasing the risk of bacteremia in vulnerable patients. While preventing dense colonization represents a rational approach to reduce intra- and interpatient dissemination of CR-Kp, little is known about pathogen-associated factors that enable dense growth and persistence in the intestinal lumen. To identify genetic factors essential for dense colonization of the gut by CR-Kp, we constructed a highly saturated transposon mutant library with >150,000 unique mutations…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Immunogenetic factors driving formation of ultralong VH CDR3 in Bos taurus antibodies.

The antibody repertoire of Bos taurus is characterized by a subset of variable heavy (VH) chain regions with ultralong third complementarity determining regions (CDR3) which, compared to other species, can provide a potent response to challenging antigens like HIV env. These unusual CDR3 can range to over seventy highly diverse amino acids in length and form unique ß-ribbon ‘stalk’ and disulfide bonded ‘knob’ structures, far from the typical antigen binding site. The genetic components and processes for forming these unusual cattle antibody VH CDR3 are not well understood. Here we analyze sequences of Bos taurus antibody VH domains and find…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Next generation sequencing characterizes HLA diversity in a registry population from the Netherlands.

Next generation DNA sequencing is used to determine the HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB1, -DRB3/4/5, and -DQB1 assignments of 1009 unrelated volunteers for the unrelated donor registry in The Netherlands. The analysis characterizes all HLA exons and introns for class I alleles; at least exons 2 to 3 for HLA-DRB1; and exons 2 to 6 for HLA-DQB1. Of the distinct alleles present, there are 229 class I and 71 class II; 36 of these alleles are novel. The majority (approximately 98%) of the cumulative allele frequency at each locus is contributed by alleles that appear three or more times. Alleles encoding…

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