October 23, 2019  |  

Galactofuranose in Mycoplasma mycoides is important for membrane integrity and conceals adhesins but does not contribute to serum resistance.

Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) and subsp. mycoides (Mmm) are important ruminant pathogens worldwide causing diseases such as pleuropneumonia, mastitis and septicaemia. They express galactofuranose residues on their surface, but their role in pathogenesis has not yet been determined. The M.?mycoides genomes contain up to several copies of the glf gene, which encodes an enzyme catalysing the last step in the synthesis of galactofuranose. We generated a deletion of the glf gene in a strain of Mmc using genome transplantation and tandem repeat endonuclease coupled cleavage (TREC) with yeast as an intermediary host for the genome editing. As expected, the resulting YCp1.1-?glf strain did not produce the galactofuranose-containing glycans as shown by immunoblots and immuno-electronmicroscopy employing a galactofuranose specific monoclonal antibody. The mutant lacking galactofuranose exhibited a decreased growth rate and a significantly enhanced adhesion to small ruminant cells. The mutant was also ‘leaking’ as revealed by a ß-galactosidase-based assay employing a membrane impermeable substrate. These findings indicate that galactofuranose-containing polysaccharides conceal adhesins and are important for membrane integrity. Unexpectedly, the mutant strain showed increased serum resistance. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


October 23, 2019  |  

Efficient genome editing of a facultative thermophile using mesophilic spCas9.

Well-developed genetic tools for thermophilic microorganisms are scarce, despite their industrial and scientific relevance. Whereas highly efficient CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing is on the rise in prokaryotes, it has never been employed in a thermophile. Here, we apply Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 (spCas9)-based genome editing to a moderate thermophile, i.e., Bacillus smithii, including a gene deletion, gene knockout via insertion of premature stop codons, and gene insertion. We show that spCas9 is inactive in vivo above 42 °C, and we employ the wide temperature growth range of B. smithii as an induction system for spCas9 expression. Homologous recombination with plasmid-borne editing templates is performed at 45-55 °C, when spCas9 is inactive. Subsequent transfer to 37 °C allows for counterselection through production of active spCas9, which introduces lethal double-stranded DNA breaks to the nonedited cells. The developed method takes 4 days with 90, 100, and 20% efficiencies for gene deletion, knockout, and insertion, respectively. The major advantage of our system is the limited requirement for genetic parts: only one plasmid, one selectable marker, and a promoter are needed, and the promoter does not need to be inducible or well-characterized. Hence, it can be easily applied for genome editing purposes in both mesophilic and thermophilic nonmodel organisms with a limited genetic toolbox and ability to grow at, or tolerate, temperatures of 37 and at or above 42 °C.


October 23, 2019  |  

Efficient CRISPR/Cas9-mediated editing of trinucleotide repeat expansion in myotonic dystrophy patient-derived iPS and myogenic cells.

CRISPR/Cas9 is an attractive platform to potentially correct dominant genetic diseases by gene editing with unprecedented precision. In the current proof-of-principle study, we explored the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene-editing in myotonic dystrophy type-1 (DM1), an autosomal-dominant muscle disorder, by excising the CTG-repeat expansion in the 3′-untranslated-region (UTR) of the human myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) gene in DM1 patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (DM1-iPSC), DM1-iPSC-derived myogenic cells and DM1 patient-specific myoblasts. To eliminate the pathogenic gain-of-function mutant DMPK transcript, we designed a dual guide RNA based strategy that excises the CTG-repeat expansion with high efficiency, as confirmed by Southern blot and single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. Correction efficiencies up to 90% could be attained in DM1-iPSC as confirmed at the clonal level, following ribonucleoprotein (RNP) transfection of CRISPR/Cas9 components without the need for selective enrichment. Expanded CTG repeat excision resulted in the disappearance of ribonuclear foci, a quintessential cellular phenotype of DM1, in the corrected DM1-iPSC, DM1-iPSC-derived myogenic cells and DM1 myoblasts. Consequently, the normal intracellular localization of the muscleblind-like splicing regulator 1 (MBNL1) was restored, resulting in the normalization of splicing pattern of SERCA1. This study validates the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing of repeat expansions.


September 22, 2019  |  

A chromosome conformation capture ordered sequence of the barley genome.

Cereal grasses of the Triticeae tribe have been the major food source in temperate regions since the dawn of agriculture. Their large genomes are characterized by a high content of repetitive elements and large pericentromeric regions that are virtually devoid of meiotic recombination. Here we present a high-quality reference genome assembly for barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). We use chromosome conformation capture mapping to derive the linear order of sequences across the pericentromeric space and to investigate the spatial organization of chromatin in the nucleus at megabase resolution. The composition of genes and repetitive elements differs between distal and proximal regions. Gene family analyses reveal lineage-specific duplications of genes involved in the transport of nutrients to developing seeds and the mobilization of carbohydrates in grains. We demonstrate the importance of the barley reference sequence for breeding by inspecting the genomic partitioning of sequence variation in modern elite germplasm, highlighting regions vulnerable to genetic erosion.


September 22, 2019  |  

Searching for convergent pathways in autism spectrum disorders: insights from human brain transcriptome studies.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most heritable neuropsychiatric conditions. The complex genetic landscape of the disorder includes both common and rare variants at hundreds of genetic loci. This marked heterogeneity has thus far hampered efforts to develop genetic diagnostic panels and targeted pharmacological therapies. Here, we give an overview of the current literature on the genetic basis of ASD, and review recent human brain transcriptome studies and their role in identifying convergent pathways downstream of the heterogeneous genetic variants. We also discuss emerging evidence on the involvement of non-coding genomic regions and non-coding RNAs in ASD.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptional adaptations during long-term persistence of Staphylococcus aureus in the airways of a cystic fibrosis patient.

The lungs of Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are often colonized and/or infected by Staphylococcus aureus for years, mostly by one predominant clone. For long-term survival in this environment, S. aureus needs to adapt during its interactions with host factors, antibiotics, and other pathogens. Here, we study long-term transcriptional as well as genomic adaptations of an isogenic pair of S. aureus isolates from a single patient using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). Mimicking in vivo conditions, we cultivated the S. aureus isolates using artificial sputum medium before harvesting RNA for subsequent analysis. We confirmed our RNA-Seq data using quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR and additionally investigated intermediate isolates from the same patient representing in total 13.2 years of persistence in the CF airways. Comparative RNA-Seq analysis of the first and the last (“late”) isolate revealed significant differences in the late isolate after 13.2 years of persistence. Of the 2545 genes expressed in both isolates that were cultivated aerobically, 256 genes were up- and 161 were down-regulated with a minimum 2-fold change (2f). Focusing on 25 highly (=8f) up- (n=9) or down- (n=16) regulated genes, we identified several genes encoding for virulence factors involved in immune evasion, bacterial spread or secretion (e.g. spa, sak, and esxA). Moreover, these genes displayed similar expression trends under aerobic, microaerophilic and anaerobic conditions. Further qRT-PCR-experiments of highly up- or down-regulated genes within intermediate S. aureus isolates resulted in different gene expression patterns over the years. Using sequencing analysis of the differently expressed genes and their upstream regions in the late S. aureus isolate resulted in only few genomic alterations. Comparative transcriptomic analysis revealed adaptive changes affecting mainly genes involved in host-pathogen interaction. Although the underlying mechanisms were not known, our results suggest adaptive processes beyond genomic mutations triggered by local factors rather than by activation of global regulators. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Increasing sorghum yields by seed treatment with an aqueous extract of the plant Eclipta alba may involve a dual mechanism of hydropriming and suppression of fungal pathogens

Background Soaking of sorghum seeds for six hours in an aqueous extract of Eclipta alba has been shown to increase the yield of sorghum in field experiments. The effect on yield is known to depend on field location and a mechanism involving pathogen suppression has been proposed. However, it has not been clear to which extent the same effect can be obtained by soaking of seeds in pure water (hydropriming). To address this question, fifty eight field tests were conducted comparing no treatment of seeds, hydropriming and treatment with plant extract. Experiments were distributed over three years in Burkina Faso on three locations previously showing a positive yield response to the plant extract. Results Despite strong variation across locations and years, a mean yield increase of 19.6% was found for hydropriming compared to no treatment (p?


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-read sequencing of the coffee bean transcriptome reveals the diversity of full-length transcripts.

Polyploidization contributes to the complexity of gene expression, resulting in numerous related but different transcripts. This study explored the transcriptome diversity and complexity of the tetraploid Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) bean. Long-read sequencing (LRS) by Pacbio Isoform sequencing (Iso-seq) was used to obtain full-length transcripts without the difficulty and uncertainty of assembly required for reads from short-read technologies. The tetraploid transcriptome was annotated and compared with data from the sub-genome progenitors. Caffeine and sucrose genes were targeted for case analysis. An isoform-level tetraploid coffee bean reference transcriptome with 95 995 distinct transcripts (average 3236 bp) was obtained. A total of 88 715 sequences (92.42%) were annotated with BLASTx against NCBI non-redundant plant proteins, including 34 719 high-quality annotations. Further BLASTn analysis against NCBI non-redundant nucleotide sequences, Coffea canephora coding sequences with UTR, C. arabica ESTs, and Rfam resulted in 1213 sequences without hits, were potential novel genes in coffee. Longer UTRs were captured, especially in the 5?UTRs, facilitating the identification of upstream open reading frames. The LRS also revealed more and longer transcript variants in key caffeine and sucrose metabolism genes from this polyploid genome. Long sequences (>10 kilo base) were poorly annotated. LRS technology shows the limitation of previous studies. It provides an important tool to produce a reference transcriptome including more of the diversity of full-length transcripts to help understand the biology and support the genetic improvement of polyploid species such as coffee.© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Discovery of a divergent HPIV4 from respiratory secretions using second and third generation metagenomic sequencing.

Molecular detection of viruses has been aided by high-throughput sequencing, permitting the genomic characterization of emerging strains. In this study, we comprehensively screened 500 respiratory secretions from children with upper and/or lower respiratory tract infections for viral pathogens. The viruses detected are described, including a divergent human parainfluenza virus type 4 from GS FLX pyrosequencing of 92 specimens. Complete full-genome characterization of the virus followed, using Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing. Subsequent “primer walking” combined with Sanger sequencing validated the RS platform’s utility in viral sequencing from complex clinical samples. Comparative genomics reveals the divergent strain clusters with the only completely sequenced HPIV4a subtype. However, it also exhibits various structural features present in one of the HPIV4b reference strains, opening questions regarding their lifecycle and evolutionary relationships among these viruses. Clinical data from patients infected with the strain, as well as viral prevalence estimates using real-time PCR, is also described.


September 22, 2019  |  

Antagonism between Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes and its genomic basis.

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis live in close proximity on human skin, and both bacterial species can be isolated from normal and acne vulgaris-affected skin sites. The antagonistic interactions between the two species are poorly understood, as well as the potential significance of bacterial interferences for the skin microbiota. Here, we performed simultaneous antagonism assays to detect inhibitory activities between multiple isolates of the two species. Selected strains were sequenced to identify the genomic basis of their antimicrobial phenotypes.First, we screened 77 P. acnes strains isolated from healthy and acne-affected skin, and representing all known phylogenetic clades (I, II, and III), for their antimicrobial activities against 12?S. epidermidis isolates. One particular phylogroup (I-2) exhibited a higher antimicrobial activity than other P. acnes phylogroups. All genomes of type I-2 strains carry an island encoding the biosynthesis of a thiopeptide with possible antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis. Second, 20?S. epidermidis isolates were examined for inhibitory activity against 25 P. acnes strains. The majority of S. epidermidis strains were able to inhibit P. acnes. Genomes of S. epidermidis strains with strong, medium and no inhibitory activities against P. acnes were sequenced. Genome comparison underlined the diversity of S. epidermidis and detected multiple clade- or strain-specific mobile genetic elements encoding a variety of functions important in antibiotic and stress resistance, biofilm formation and interbacterial competition, including bacteriocins such as epidermin. One isolate with an extraordinary antimicrobial activity against P. acnes harbors a functional ESAT-6 secretion system that might be involved in the antimicrobial activity against P. acnes via the secretion of polymorphic toxins.Taken together, our study suggests that interspecies interactions could potentially jeopardize balances in the skin microbiota. In particular, S. epidermidis strains possess an arsenal of different mechanisms to inhibit P. acnes. However, if such interactions are relevant in skin disorders such as acne vulgaris remains questionable, since no difference in the antimicrobial activity against, or the sensitivity towards S. epidermidis could be detected between health- and acne-associated strains of P. acnes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluation of PacBio sequencing for full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene classification.

Currently, bacterial 16S rRNA gene analyses are based on sequencing of individual variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene (Kozich, et al Appl Environ Microbiol 79:5112-5120, 2013).This short read approach can introduce biases. Thus, full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is needed to reduced biases. A new alternative for full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is offered by PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) technology. The aim of our study was to validate PacBio P6 sequencing chemistry using three approaches: 1) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from a single bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus to analyze error modes and to optimize the bioinformatics pipeline; 2) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from a pool of 50 different bacterial colonies from human stool samples to compare with full-length bacterial 16S rRNA capillary sequence; and 3) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes from 11 vaginal microbiome samples and compare with in silico selected bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene region and with bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene regions sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq.Our optimized bioinformatics pipeline for PacBio sequence analysis was able to achieve an error rate of 0.007% on the Staphylococcus aureus full-length 16S rRNA gene. Capillary sequencing of the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from the pool of 50 colonies from stool identified 40 bacterial species of which up to 80% could be identified by PacBio full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Analysis of the human vaginal microbiome using the bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene region on MiSeq generated 129 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from which 70 species could be identified. For the PacBio, 36,000 sequences from over 58,000 raw reads could be assigned to a barcode, and the in silico selected bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene region generated 154 OTUs grouped into 63 species, of which 62% were shared with the MiSeq dataset. The PacBio full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene datasets generated 261 OTUs, which were grouped into 52 species, of which 54% were shared with the MiSeq dataset. Alpha diversity index reported a higher diversity in the MiSeq dataset.The PacBio sequencing error rate is now in the same range of the previously widely used Roche 454 sequencing platform and current MiSeq platform. Species-level microbiome analysis revealed some inconsistencies between the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene capillary sequencing and PacBio sequencing.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcript profiling of a bitter variety of narrow-leafed lupin to discover alkaloid biosynthetic genes.

Lupins (Lupinus spp.) are nitrogen-fixing legumes that accumulate toxic alkaloids in their protein-rich beans. These anti-nutritional compounds belong to the family of quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs), which are of interest to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. To unleash the potential of lupins as protein crops and as sources of QAs, a thorough understanding of the QA pathway is needed. However, only the first enzyme in the pathway, lysine decarboxylase (LDC), is known. Here, we report the transcriptome of a high-QA variety of narrow-leafed lupin (L. angustifolius), obtained using eight different tissues and two different sequencing technologies. In addition, we present a list of 33 genes that are closely co-expressed with LDC and that represent strong candidates for involvement in lupin alkaloid biosynthesis. One of these genes encodes a copper amine oxidase able to convert the product of LDC, cadaverine, into 1-piperideine, as shown by heterologous expression and enzyme assays. Kinetic analysis revealed a low KM value for cadaverine, supporting a role as the second enzyme in the QA pathway. Our transcriptomic data set represents a crucial step towards the discovery of enzymes, transporters, and regulators involved in lupin alkaloid biosynthesis.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single cell genomic study of Dehalococcoidetes species from deep-sea sediments of the Peruvian Margin.

The phylum Chloroflexi is one of the most frequently detected phyla in the subseafloor of the Pacific Ocean margins. Dehalogenating Chloroflexi (Dehalococcoidetes) was originally discovered as the key microorganisms mediating reductive dehalogenation via their key enzymes reductive dehalogenases (Rdh) as sole mode of energy conservation in terrestrial environments. The frequent detection of Dehalococcoidetes-related 16S rRNA and rdh genes in the marine subsurface implies a role for dissimilatory dehalorespiration in this environment; however, the two genes have never been linked to each other. To provide fundamental insights into the metabolism, genomic population structure and evolution of marine subsurface Dehalococcoidetes sp., we analyzed a non-contaminated deep-sea sediment core sample from the Peruvian Margin Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) site 1230, collected 7.3?m below the seafloor by a single cell genomic approach. We present for the first time single cell genomic data on three deep-sea Chloroflexi (Dsc) single cells from a marine subsurface environment. Two of the single cells were considered to be part of a local Dehalococcoidetes population and assembled together into a 1.38-Mb genome, which appears to be at least 85% complete. Despite a high degree of sequence-level similarity between the shared proteins in the Dsc and terrestrial Dehalococcoidetes, no evidence for catabolic reductive dehalogenation was found in Dsc. The genome content is however consistent with a strictly anaerobic organotrophic or lithotrophic lifestyle.


September 22, 2019  |  

The effects of probiotics administration on the milk production, milk components and fecal bacteria microbiota of dairy cows

Probiotics administration can improve host health. This study aims to determine the effects of probiotics (Lactobacillus casei Zhang and Lactobacillus plantarum P-8) administration on milk production, milk functional components, milk composition, and fecal microbiota of dairy cows. Variations in the fecal bacteria microbiota between treatments were assessed based on 16S rRNA profiles determined by PacBio single molecule real-time sequencing technology. The probiotics supplementation significantly increased the milk production and the contents of milk immunoglobulin G (IgG), lactoferrin (LTF), lysozyme (LYS) and lactoperoxidase (LP), while the somatic cell counts (SCC) significantly decreased (P < 0.01). However, no significant difference was found in the milk fat, protein and lactose contents (P > 0.05). Although the probiotics supplementation did not change the fecal bacteria richness and diversity, significantly more rumen fermentative bacteria (Bacteroides, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Clostridium, Coprococcus and Dorea) and beneficial bacteria (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii) were found in the probiotics treatment group. Meanwhile, some opportunistic pathogens e.g. Bacillus cereus, Cronobacter sakazakii and Alkaliphilus oremlandii, were suppressed. Additionally, we found some correlations between the milk production, milk components and fecal bacteria. To sum up, our study demonstrated the beneficial effects of probiotics application in improving the quality and quantity of cow milk production.


September 22, 2019  |  

Elevated expression of a minor isoform of ANK3 is a risk factor for bipolar disorder.

Ankyrin-3 (ANK3) is one of the few genes that have been consistently identified as associated with bipolar disorder by multiple genome-wide association studies. However, the exact molecular basis of the association remains unknown. A rare loss-of-function splice-site SNP (rs41283526*G) in a minor isoform of ANK3 (incorporating exon ENSE00001786716) was recently identified as protective of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This suggests that an elevated expression of this isoform may be involved in the etiology of the disorders. In this study, we used novel approaches and data sets to test this hypothesis. First, we strengthen the statistical evidence supporting the allelic association by replicating the protective effect of the minor allele of rs41283526 in three additional large independent samples (meta-analysis p-values: 6.8E-05 for bipolar disorder and 8.2E-04 for schizophrenia). Second, we confirm the hypothesis that both bipolar and schizophrenia patients have a significantly higher expression of this isoform than controls (p-values: 3.3E-05 for schizophrenia and 9.8E-04 for bipolar type I). Third, we determine the transcription start site for this minor isoform by Pacific Biosciences sequencing of full-length cDNA and show that it is primarily expressed in the corpus callosum. Finally, we combine genotype and expression data from a large Norwegian sample of psychiatric patients and controls, and show that the risk alleles in ANK3 identified by bipolar disorder GWAS are located near the transcription start site of this isoform and are significantly associated with its elevated expression. Together, these results point to the likely molecular mechanism underlying ANK3´s association with bipolar disorder.


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