October 23, 2019  |  

Accurate identification and quantification of DNA species by next-generation sequencing in adeno-associated viral vectors produced in insect cells.

Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors have proven excellent tools for the treatment of many genetic diseases and other complex diseases. However, the illegitimate encapsidation of DNA contaminants within viral particles constitutes a major safety concern for rAAV-based therapies. Moreover, the development of rAAV vectors for early-phase clinical trials has revealed the limited accuracy of the analytical tools used to characterize these new and complex drugs. Although most published data concerning residual DNA in rAAV preparations have been generated by quantitative PCR, we have developed a novel single-strand virus sequencing (SSV-Seq) method for quantification of DNA contaminants in AAV vectors produced in mammalian cells by next-generation sequencing (NGS). Here, we describe the adaptation of SSV-Seq for the accurate identification and quantification of DNA species in rAAV stocks produced in insect cells. We found that baculoviral DNA was the most abundant contaminant, representing less than 2.1% of NGS reads regardless of serotype (2, 8, or rh10). Sf9 producer cell DNA was detected at low frequency (=0.03%) in rAAV lots. Advanced computational analyses revealed that (1) baculoviral sequences close to the inverted terminal repeats preferentially underwent illegitimate encapsidation, and (2) single-nucleotide variants were absent from the rAAV genome. The high-throughput sequencing protocol described here enables effective DNA quality control of rAAV vectors produced in insect cells, and is adapted to conform with regulatory agency safety requirements.


October 23, 2019  |  

Function-based identification of mammalian enhancers using site-specific integration.

The accurate and comprehensive identification of functional regulatory sequences in mammalian genomes remains a major challenge. Here we describe site-specific integration fluorescence-activated cell sorting followed by sequencing (SIF-seq), an unbiased, medium-throughput functional assay for the discovery of distant-acting enhancers. Targeted single-copy genomic integration into pluripotent cells, reporter assays and flow cytometry are coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing to enable parallel screening of large numbers of DNA sequences. By functionally interrogating >500 kilobases (kb) of mouse and human sequence in mouse embryonic stem cells for enhancer activity we identified enhancers at pluripotency loci including NANOG. In in vitro-differentiated cardiomyocytes and neural progenitor cells, we identified cardiac enhancers and neuronal enhancers, respectively. SIF-seq is a powerful and flexible method for de novo functional identification of mammalian enhancers in a potentially wide variety of cell types.


September 22, 2019  |  

Integrated DNA methylome and transcriptome analysis reveals the ethylene-induced flowering pathway genes in pineapple.

Ethylene has long been used to promote flowering in pineapple production. Ethylene-induced flowering is dose dependent, with a critical threshold level of ethylene response factors needed to trigger flowering. The mechanism of ethylene-induced flowering is still unclear. Here, we integrated isoform sequencing (iso-seq), Illumina short-reads sequencing and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) to explore the early changes of transcriptomic and DNA methylation in pineapple following high-concentration ethylene (HE) and low-concentration ethylene (LE) treatment. Iso-seq produced 122,338 transcripts, including 26,893 alternative splicing isoforms, 8,090 novel transcripts and 12,536 candidate long non-coding RNAs. The WGBS results suggested a decrease in CG methylation and increase in CHH methylation following HE treatment. The LE and HE treatments induced drastic changes in transcriptome and DNA methylome, with LE inducing the initial response to flower induction and HE inducing the subsequent response. The dose-dependent induction of FLOWERING LOCUS T-like genes (FTLs) may have contributed to dose-dependent flowering induction in pineapple by ethylene. Alterations in DNA methylation, lncRNAs and multiple genes may be involved in the regulation of FTLs. Our data provided a landscape of the transcriptome and DNA methylome and revealed a candidate network that regulates flowering time in pineapple, which may promote further studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification by high-throughput imaging of the histone methyltransferase EHMT2 as an epigenetic regulator of VEGFA alternative splicing.

Recent evidence points to a role of chromatin in regulation of alternative pre-mRNA splicing (AS). In order to identify novel chromatin regulators of AS, we screened an RNAi library of chromatin proteins using a cell-based high-throughput in vivo assay. We identified a set of chromatin proteins that regulate AS. Using simultaneous genome-wide expression and AS analysis, we demonstrate distinct and non-overlapping functions of these chromatin modifiers on transcription and AS. Detailed mechanistic characterization of one dual function chromatin modifier, the H3K9 methyltransferase EHMT2 (G9a), identified VEGFA as a major chromatin-mediated AS target. Silencing of EHMT2, or its heterodimer partner EHMT1, affects AS by promoting exclusion of VEGFA exon 6a, but does not alter total VEGFA mRNA levels. The epigenetic regulatory mechanism of AS by EHMT2 involves an adaptor system consisting of the chromatin modulator HP1?, which binds methylated H3K9 and recruits splicing regulator SRSF1. The epigenetic regulation of VEGFA is physiologically relevant since EHMT2 is transcriptionally induced in response to hypoxia and triggers concomitant changes in AS of VEGFA. These results characterize a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism of AS and they demonstrate separate roles of epigenetic modifiers in transcription and alternative splicing. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research 2014. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.


September 22, 2019  |  

Stalking a lethal superbug by whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetics: Influence on unraveling a major hospital outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae.

From July 2010-April 2013, Leipzig University Hospital experienced the largest outbreak of a Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase 2 (KPC-2)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (KPC-2-Kp) strain observed in Germany to date. After termination of the outbreak, we aimed to reconstruct transmission pathways by phylogenetics based on whole-genome sequencing (WGS).One hundred seventeen KPC-2-Kp isolates from 89 outbreak patients, 5 environmental KPC-2-Kp isolates, and 24 K pneumoniae strains not linked to the outbreak underwent WGS. Phylogenetic analysis was performed blinded to clinical data and based on the genomic reads.A patient from Greece was confirmed as the source of the outbreak. Transmission pathways for 11 out of 89 patients (12.4%) were plausibly explained by descriptive epidemiology, applying strict definitions. Five of these and an additional 15 (ie, 20 out of 89 patients [22.5%]) were confirmed by phylogenetics. The rate of phylogenetically confirmed transmissions increased significantly from 8 out of 66 (12.1% for the time period before) to 12 out of 23 patients (52.2% for the time period after; P?<.001) after implementation of systematic screening for KPC-2-Kp (33,623 screening investigations within 11 months). Using descriptive epidemiology, systematic screening showed no significant effect (7 out of 66 [10.6%] vs 4 out of 23 [17.4%] patients; P?=?.465). The phylogenetic analysis supported the assumption that a contaminated positioning pillow served as a reservoir for the persistence of KPC-2-Kp.Effective phylogenetic identification of transmissions requires systematic microbiologic screening. Extensive screening and phylogenetic analysis based on WGS should be started as soon as possible in a bacterial outbreak situation. Copyright © 2018 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Characterization of plasmids harboring blaCTX-M and blaCMY genes in E. coli from French broilers.

Resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESC) is a global health issue. The aim of this study was to analyze and compare plasmids coding for resistance to ESC isolated from 16 avian commensal and 17 avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) strains obtained respectively at slaughterhouse or from diseased broilers in 2010-2012. Plasmid DNA was used to transform E. coli DH5alpha, and the resistances of the transformants were determined. The sequences of the ESC-resistance plasmids prepared from transformants were obtained by Illumina (33 plasmids) or PacBio (1 plasmid). Results showed that 29 of these plasmids contained the blaCTX-M-1 gene and belonged to the IncI1/ST3 type, with 27 and 20 of them carrying the sul2 or tet(A) genes respectively. Despite their diverse origins, several plasmids showed very high percentages of identity. None of the blaCTX-M-1-containing plasmid contained APEC virulence genes, although some of them were detected in the parental strains. Three plasmids had the blaCMY-2 gene, but no other resistance gene. They belonged to IncB/O/K/Z-like or IncFIA/FIB replicon types. The blaCMY-2 IncFIA/FIB plasmid was obtained from a strain isolated from a diseased broiler and also containing a blaCTX-M-1 IncI1/ST3 plasmid. Importantly APEC virulence genes (sitA-D, iucA-D, iutA, hlyF, ompT, etsA-C, iss, iroB-E, iroN, cvaA-C and cvi) were detected on the blaCMY-2 plasmid. In conclusion, our results show the dominance and high similarity of blaCTX-M-1 IncI1/ST3 plasmids, and the worrying presence of APEC virulence genes on a blaCMY-2 plasmid.


September 22, 2019  |  

The sea lamprey germline genome provides insights into programmed genome rearrangement and vertebrate evolution.

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) serves as a comparative model for reconstructing vertebrate evolution. To enable more informed analyses, we developed a new assembly of the lamprey germline genome that integrates several complementary data sets. Analysis of this highly contiguous (chromosome-scale) assembly shows that both chromosomal and whole-genome duplications have played significant roles in the evolution of ancestral vertebrate and lamprey genomes, including chromosomes that carry the six lamprey HOX clusters. The assembly also contains several hundred genes that are reproducibly eliminated from somatic cells during early development in lamprey. Comparative analyses show that gnathostome (mouse) homologs of these genes are frequently marked by polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs) in embryonic stem cells, suggesting overlaps in the regulatory logic of somatic DNA elimination and bivalent states that are regulated by early embryonic PRCs. This new assembly will enhance diverse studies that are informed by lampreys’ unique biology and evolutionary/comparative perspective.


September 22, 2019  |  

The DNA methylome of the hyperthermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.

DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification observed in the genomic DNA (gDNA) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Methylated nucleobases, N6-methyl-adenine (m6A), N4-methyl-cytosine (m4C), and 5-methyl-cytosine (m5C), detected on gDNA represent the discrimination mark between self and non-self DNA when they are part of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea). In addition, m5C in Eukaryotes and m6A in Bacteria play an important role in the regulation of key cellular processes. Although archaeal genomes present modified bases as in the two other domains of life, the significance of DNA methylations as regulatory mechanisms remains largely uncharacterized in Archaea. Here, we began by investigating the DNA methylome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The strategy behind this initial study entailed the use of combined digestion assays, dot blots, and genome resequencing, which utilizes specific restriction enzymes, antibodies specifically raised against m6A and m5C and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, respectively, to identify DNA methylations occurring in exponentially growing cells. The previously identified restriction-modification system, specific of S. acidocaldarius, was confirmed by digestion assay and SMRT sequencing while, the presence of m6A was revealed by dot blot and identified on the characteristic Dam motif by SMRT sequencing. No m5C was detected by dot blot under the conditions tested. Furthermore, by comparing the distribution of both detected methylations along the genome and, by analyzing DNA methylation profiles in synchronized cells, we investigated in which cellular pathways, in particular the cell cycle, this m6A methylation could be a key player. The analysis of sequencing data rejected a role for m6A methylation in another defense system and also raised new questions about a potential involvement of this modification in the regulation of other biological functions in S. acidocaldarius.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative heterochromatin profiling reveals conserved and unique epigenome signatures linked to adaptation and development of malaria parasites.

Heterochromatin-dependent gene silencing is central to the adaptation and survival of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, allowing clonally variant gene expression during blood infection in humans. By assessing genome-wide heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) occupancy, we present a comprehensive analysis of heterochromatin landscapes across different Plasmodium species, strains, and life cycle stages. Common targets of epigenetic silencing include fast-evolving multi-gene families encoding surface antigens and a small set of conserved HP1-associated genes with regulatory potential. Many P. falciparum heterochromatic genes are marked in a strain-specific manner, increasing the parasite’s adaptive capacity. Whereas heterochromatin is strictly maintained during mitotic proliferation of asexual blood stage parasites, substantial heterochromatin reorganization occurs in differentiating gametocytes and appears crucial for the activation of key gametocyte-specific genes and adaptation of erythrocyte remodeling machinery. Collectively, these findings provide a catalog of heterochromatic genes and reveal conserved and specialized features of epigenetic control across the genus Plasmodium. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Draft genome of the Peruvian scallop Argopecten purpuratus.

The Peruvian scallop, Argopecten purpuratus, is mainly cultured in southern Chile and Peru was introduced into China in the last century. Unlike other Argopecten scallops, the Peruvian scallop normally has a long life span of up to 7 to 10 years. Therefore, researchers have been using it to develop hybrid vigor. Here, we performed whole genome sequencing, assembly, and gene annotation of the Peruvian scallop, with an important aim to develop genomic resources for genetic breeding in scallops.A total of 463.19-Gb raw DNA reads were sequenced. A draft genome assembly of 724.78 Mb was generated (accounting for 81.87% of the estimated genome size of 885.29 Mb), with a contig N50 size of 80.11 kb and a scaffold N50 size of 1.02 Mb. Repeat sequences were calculated to reach 33.74% of the whole genome, and 26,256 protein-coding genes and 3,057 noncoding RNAs were predicted from the assembly.We generated a high-quality draft genome assembly of the Peruvian scallop, which will provide a solid resource for further genetic breeding and for the analysis of the evolutionary history of this economically important scallop.


September 22, 2019  |  

Parallels between experimental and natural evolution of legume symbionts.

The emergence of symbiotic interactions has been studied using population genomics in nature and experimental evolution in the laboratory, but the parallels between these processes remain unknown. Here we compare the emergence of rhizobia after the horizontal transfer of a symbiotic plasmid in natural populations of Cupriavidus taiwanensis, over 10 MY ago, with the experimental evolution of symbiotic Ralstonia solanacearum for a few hundred generations. In spite of major differences in terms of time span, environment, genetic background, and phenotypic achievement, both processes resulted in rapid genetic diversification dominated by purifying selection. We observe no adaptation in the plasmid carrying the genes responsible for the ecological transition. Instead, adaptation was associated with positive selection in a set of genes that led to the co-option of the same quorum-sensing system in both processes. Our results provide evidence for similarities in experimental and natural evolutionary transitions and highlight the potential of comparisons between both processes to understand symbiogenesis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Footprints of parasitism in the genome of the parasitic flowering plant Cuscuta campestris.

A parasitic lifestyle, where plants procure some or all of their nutrients from other living plants, has evolved independently in many dicotyledonous plant families and is a major threat for agriculture globally. Nevertheless, no genome sequence of a parasitic plant has been reported to date. Here we describe the genome sequence of the parasitic field dodder, Cuscuta campestris. The genome contains signatures of a fairly recent whole-genome duplication and lacks genes for pathways superfluous to a parasitic lifestyle. Specifically, genes needed for high photosynthetic activity are lost, explaining the low photosynthesis rates displayed by the parasite. Moreover, several genes involved in nutrient uptake processes from the soil are lost. On the other hand, evidence for horizontal gene transfer by way of genomic DNA integration from the parasite’s hosts is found. We conclude that the parasitic lifestyle has left characteristic footprints in the C. campestris genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

A high-quality genome sequence of Rosa chinensis to elucidate ornamental traits.

Rose is the world’s most important ornamental plant, with economic, cultural and symbolic value. Roses are cultivated worldwide and sold as garden roses, cut flowers and potted plants. Roses are outbred and can have various ploidy levels. Our objectives were to develop a high-quality reference genome sequence for the genus Rosa by sequencing a doubled haploid, combining long and short reads, and anchoring to a high-density genetic map, and to study the genome structure and genetic basis of major ornamental traits. We produced a doubled haploid rose line (‘HapOB’) from Rosa chinensis ‘Old Blush’ and generated a rose genome assembly anchored to seven pseudo-chromosomes (512?Mb with N50 of 3.4?Mb and 564 contigs). The length of 512?Mb represents 90.1-96.1% of the estimated haploid genome size of rose. Of the assembly, 95% is contained in only 196 contigs. The anchoring was validated using high-density diploid and tetraploid genetic maps. We delineated hallmark chromosomal features, including the pericentromeric regions, through annotation of transposable element families and positioned centromeric repeats using fluorescent in situ hybridization. The rose genome displays extensive synteny with the Fragaria vesca genome, and we delineated only two major rearrangements. Genetic diversity was analysed using resequencing data of seven diploid and one tetraploid Rosa species selected from various sections of the genus. Combining genetic and genomic approaches, we identified potential genetic regulators of key ornamental traits, including prickle density and the number of flower petals. A rose APETALA2/TOE homologue is proposed to be the major regulator of petal number in rose. This reference sequence is an important resource for studying polyploidization, meiosis and developmental processes, as we demonstrated for flower and prickle development. It will also accelerate breeding through the development of molecular markers linked to traits, the identification of the genes underlying them and the exploitation of synteny across Rosaceae.


September 22, 2019  |  

Unrestrained markerless trait stacking in Nannochloropsis gaditana through combined genome editing and marker recycling technologies.

Robust molecular tool kits in model and industrial microalgae are key to efficient targeted manipulation of endogenous and foreign genes in the nuclear genome for basic research and, as importantly, for the development of algal strains to produce renewable products such as biofuels. While Cas9-mediated gene knockout has been demonstrated in a small number of algal species with varying efficiency, the ability to stack traits or generate knockout mutations in two or more loci are often severely limited by selectable agent availability. This poses a critical hurdle in developing production strains, which require stacking of multiple traits, or in probing functionally redundant gene families. Here, we combine Cas9 genome editing with an inducible Cre recombinase in the industrial alga Nannochloropsis gaditana to generate a strain, NgCas9+Cre+, in which the potentially unlimited stacking of knockouts and addition of new genes is readily achievable. Cre-mediated marker recycling is first demonstrated in the removal of the selectable marker and GFP reporter transgenes associated with the Cas9/Cre construct in NgCas9+Cre+ Next, we show the proof-of-concept generation of a markerless knockout in a gene encoding an acyl-CoA oxidase (Aco1), as well as the markerless recapitulation of a 2-kb insert in the ZnCys gene 5′-UTR, which results in a doubling of wild-type lipid productivity. Finally, through an industrially oriented process, we generate mutants that exhibit up to ~50% reduction in photosynthetic antennae size by markerless knockout of seven genes in the large light-harvesting complex gene family. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic variation among and within six Juglans species.

Genomic analysis in Juglans (walnuts) is expected to transform the breeding and agricultural production of both nuts and lumber. To that end, we report here the determination of reference sequences for six additional relatives of Juglans regia: Juglans sigillata (also from section Dioscaryon), Juglans nigra, Juglans microcarpa, Juglans hindsii (from section Rhysocaryon), Juglans cathayensis (from section Cardiocaryon), and the closely related Pterocarya stenoptera While these are ‘draft’ genomes, ranging in size between 640Mbp and 990Mbp, their contiguities and accuracies can support powerful annotations of genomic variation that are often the foundation of new avenues of research and breeding. We annotated nucleotide divergence and synteny by creating complete pairwise alignments of each reference genome to the remaining six. In addition, we have re-sequenced a sample of accessions from four Juglans species (including regia). The variation discovered in these surveys comprises a critical resource for experimentation and breeding, as well as a solid complementary annotation. To demonstrate the potential of these resources the structural and sequence variation in and around the polyphenol oxidase loci, PPO1 and PPO2 were investigated. As reported for other seed crops variation in this gene is implicated in the domestication of walnuts. The apparently Juglandaceae specific PPO1 duplicate shows accelerated divergence and an excess of amino acid replacement on the lineage leading to accessions of the domesticated nut crop species, Juglans regia and sigillata. Copyright © 2018 Stevens et al.


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