September 22, 2019  |  

Interactive analysis of Long-read RNA isoforms with Iso-Seq Browser

Background: Long-read RNA sequencing, such as Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq method, enables generation of sequencing reads that are 10 kilobases or even longer. These reads are ideal for discovering splice junctions and resolving full-length gene transcripts without time-consuming and error-prone techniques such as transcript assembly and junction inference. Results: Iso-Seq Browser is a Web-based visual analytics tool for long-read RNA sequencing data produced by Pacific Biosciences isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) techniques. Key features of the Iso-Seq Browser are: 1) an exon-only web-based interface with zooming and exon highlighting for exploring reference gene transcripts and novel gene isoforms, 2) automated grouping of transcripts and isoforms by similarity, 3) many customization features for data exploration and creating publication ready figures, and 4) exporting selected isoforms into fasta files for further analysis. Iso-Seq Browser is written in Python using several scientific libraries. The application and analyses described in this paper are freely available to both academic and commercial users at https://github.com/goeckslab/isoseq-browser Conclusions: Iso-Seq Browser enables interactive genome-wide visual analysis of long RNA sequence reads. Through visualization, highlighting, clustering, and filtering of gene isoforms, ISB makes it simple to identify novel isoforms and novel isoform features such as exons, introns and untranslated regions.


September 22, 2019  |  

Influenza virus infection causes global RNAPII termination defects.

Viral infection perturbs host cells and can be used to uncover regulatory mechanisms controlling cellular responses and susceptibility to infections. Using cell biological, biochemical, and genetic tools, we reveal that influenza A virus (IAV) infection induces global transcriptional defects at the 3′ ends of active host genes and RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) run-through into extragenic regions. Deregulated RNAPII leads to expression of aberrant RNAs (3′ extensions and host-gene fusions) that ultimately cause global transcriptional downregulation of physiological transcripts, an effect influencing antiviral response and virulence. This phenomenon occurs with multiple strains of IAV, is dependent on influenza NS1 protein, and can be modulated by SUMOylation of an intrinsically disordered region (IDR) of NS1 expressed by the 1918 pandemic IAV strain. Our data identify a strategy used by IAV to suppress host gene expression and indicate that polymorphisms in IDRs of viral proteins can affect the outcome of an infection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-Molecule Long-Read Sequencing of Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. Transcriptome: Identification of Aroma-Related Genes

Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. is an economically important tree species that is resistant to drought and infertility, and has potential medicinal and edible value. However, comprehensive genomic data are not yet available for this species, limiting its potential utility for medicinal use, breeding programs, and cultivation. Transcriptome sequencing provides an effective approach to remedying this shortcoming. Herein, single-molecule long-read sequencing and next-generation sequencingapproacheswereusedinparalleltoobtaintranscriptisoformstructureandgenefunctional informationinZ.bungeanum. Intotal, 282,101readsofinserts(ROIs)wereidentified, including134,074 full-length non-chimeric reads, among which 65,711 open reading frames (ORFs), 50,135 simple sequence repeats (SSRs), and 1492 long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were detected. Functional annotation revealed metabolic pathways related to aroma components and color characteristics in Z. bungeanum. Unexpectedly, 30 transcripts were annotated as genes involved in regulating the pathogenesis of breast and colorectal cancers. This work provides a comprehensive transcriptome resource for Z. bungeanum, and lays a foundation for the further investigation and utilization of Zanthoxylum resources.


September 22, 2019  |  

Extensive alternative splicing of KIR transcripts.

The killer-cell Ig-like receptors (KIR) form a multigene entity involved in modulating immune responses through interactions with MHC class I molecules. The complexity of the KIR cluster is reflected by, for instance, abundant levels of allelic polymorphism, gene copy number variation, and stochastic expression profiles. The current transcriptome study involving human and macaque families demonstrates that KIR family members are also subjected to differential levels of alternative splicing, and this seems to be gene dependent. Alternative splicing may result in the partial or complete skipping of exons, or the partial inclusion of introns, as documented at the transcription level. This post-transcriptional process can generate multiple isoforms from a single KIR gene, which diversifies the characteristics of the encoded proteins. For example, alternative splicing could modify ligand interactions, cellular localization, signaling properties, and the number of extracellular domains of the receptor. In humans, we observed abundant splicing for KIR2DL4, and to a lesser extent in the lineage III KIR genes. All experimentally documented splice events are substantiated by in silico splicing strength predictions. To a similar extent, alternative splicing is observed in rhesus macaques, a species that shares a close evolutionary relationship with humans. Splicing profiles of Mamu-KIR1D and Mamu-KIR2DL04 displayed a great diversity, whereas Mamu-KIR3DL20 (lineage V) is consistently spliced to generate a homolog of human KIR2DL5 (lineage I). The latter case represents an example of convergent evolution. Although just a single KIR splice event is shared between humans and macaques, the splicing mechanisms are similar, and the predicted consequences are comparable. In conclusion, alternative splicing adds an additional layer of complexity to the KIR gene system in primates, and results in a wide structural and functional variety of KIR receptors and its isoforms, which may play a role in health and disease.


September 22, 2019  |  

Extensive allele-specific translational regulation in hybrid mice.

Translational regulation is mediated through the interaction between diffusible trans-factors and cis-elements residing within mRNA transcripts. In contrast to extensively studied transcriptional regulation, cis-regulation on translation remains underexplored. Using deep sequencing-based transcriptome and polysome profiling, we globally profiled allele-specific translational efficiency for the first time in an F1 hybrid mouse. Out of 7,156 genes with reliable quantification of both alleles, we found 1,008 (14.1%) exhibiting significant allelic divergence in translational efficiency. Systematic analysis of sequence features of the genes with biased allelic translation revealed that local RNA secondary structure surrounding the start codon and proximal out-of-frame upstream AUGs could affect translational efficiency. Finally, we observed that the cis-effect was quantitatively comparable between transcriptional and translational regulation. Such effects in the two regulatory processes were more frequently compensatory, suggesting that the regulation at the two levels could be coordinated in maintaining robustness of protein expression. © 2015 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.


September 22, 2019  |  

The state of play in higher eukaryote gene annotation.

A genome sequence is worthless if it cannot be deciphered; therefore, efforts to describe – or ‘annotate’ – genes began as soon as DNA sequences became available. Whereas early work focused on individual protein-coding genes, the modern genomic ocean is a complex maelstrom of alternative splicing, non-coding transcription and pseudogenes. Scientists – from clinicians to evolutionary biologists – need to navigate these waters, and this has led to the design of high-throughput, computationally driven annotation projects. The catalogues that are being produced are key resources for genome exploration, especially as they become integrated with expression, epigenomic and variation data sets. Their creation, however, remains challenging.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bat biology, genomes, and the Bat1K project: To generate chromosome-level genomes for all living bat species.

Bats are unique among mammals, possessing some of the rarest mammalian adaptations, including true self-powered flight, laryngeal echolocation, exceptional longevity, unique immunity, contracted genomes, and vocal learning. They provide key ecosystem services, pollinating tropical plants, dispersing seeds, and controlling insect pest populations, thus driving healthy ecosystems. They account for more than 20% of all living mammalian diversity, and their crown-group evolutionary history dates back to the Eocene. Despite their great numbers and diversity, many species are threatened and endangered. Here we announce Bat1K, an initiative to sequence the genomes of all living bat species (n~1,300) to chromosome-level assembly. The Bat1K genome consortium unites bat biologists (>148 members as of writing), computational scientists, conservation organizations, genome technologists, and any interested individuals committed to a better understanding of the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the unique adaptations of bats. Our aim is to catalog the unique genetic diversity present in all living bats to better understand the molecular basis of their unique adaptations; uncover their evolutionary history; link genotype with phenotype; and ultimately better understand, promote, and conserve bats. Here we review the unique adaptations of bats and highlight how chromosome-level genome assemblies can uncover the molecular basis of these traits. We present a novel sequencing and assembly strategy and review the striking societal and scientific benefits that will result from the Bat1K initiative.


September 22, 2019  |  

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 pathogenic or alter drug metabolism, respectively. We observe selection for low-abundance PTEN variants in cancer, and show that p.Pro38Ser, which accounts for ~10% of PTEN missense variants in melanoma, functions via a dominant-negative mechanism. Finally, we demonstrate that VAMP-seq is applicable to other genes, highlighting its generalizability.


September 22, 2019  |  

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 substitutions in the first 192 residues of BRCA1. Benchmarking these results against variants with known effects on DNA repair function or on cancer predisposition, we demonstrate accurate discrimination of loss-of-function versus benign missense variants. We anticipate that this assay can be used to functionally characterize BRCA1 missense variants at scale, even before the variants are observed in results from genetic testing. Copyright © 2018 American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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