September 22, 2019  |  

Targeted genotyping of variable number tandem repeats with adVNTR.

Whole-genome sequencing is increasingly used to identify Mendelian variants in clinical pipelines. These pipelines focus on single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and also structural variants, while ignoring more complex repeat sequence variants. Here, we consider the problem of genotyping Variable Number Tandem Repeats (VNTRs), composed of inexact tandem duplications of short (6-100 bp) repeating units. VNTRs span 3% of the human genome, are frequently present in coding regions, and have been implicated in multiple Mendelian disorders. Although existing tools recognize VNTR carrying sequence, genotyping VNTRs (determining repeat unit count and sequence variation) from whole-genome sequencing reads remains challenging. We describe a method, adVNTR, that uses hidden Markov models to model each VNTR, count repeat units, and detect sequence variation. adVNTR models can be developed for short-read (Illumina) and single-molecule (Pacific Biosciences [PacBio]) whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing, and show good results on multiple simulated and real data sets.© 2018 Bakhtiari et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic insights into virulence mechanisms of Leishmania donovani: evidence from an atypical strain.

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease with diverse clinical phenotypes, determined by parasite, host and vector interactions. Despite the advances in molecular biology and the availability of more Leishmania genome references in recent years, the association between parasite species and distinct clinical phenotypes remains poorly understood. We present a genomic comparison of an atypical variant of Leishmania donovani from a South Asian focus, where it mostly causes cutaneous form of leishmaniasis.Clinical isolates from six cutaneous leishmaniasis patients (CL-SL); 2 of whom were poor responders to antimony (CL-PR), and two visceral leishmaniasis patients (VL-SL) were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq platform. Chromosome aneuploidy was observed in both groups but was more frequent in CL-SL. 248 genes differed by 2 fold or more in copy number among the two groups. Genes involved in amino acid use (LdBPK_271940) and energy metabolism (LdBPK_271950), predominated the VL-SL group with the same distribution pattern reflected in gene tandem arrays. Genes encoding amastins were present in higher copy numbers in VL-SL and CL-PR as well as being among predicted pseudogenes in CL-SL. Both chromosome and SNP profiles showed CL-SL and VL-SL to form two distinct groups. While expected heterozygosity was much higher in VL-SL, SNP allele frequency patterns did not suggest potential recent recombination breakpoints. The SNP/indel profile obtained using the more recently generated PacBio sequence did not vary markedly from that based on the standard LdBPK282A1 reference. Several genes previously associated with resistance to antimonials were observed in higher copy numbers in the analysis of CL-PR. H-locus amplification was seen in one cutaneous isolate which however did not belong to the CL-PR group.The data presented suggests that intra species variations at chromosome and gene level are more likely to influence differences in tropism as well as response to treatment, and contributes to greater understanding of parasite molecular mechanisms underpinning these differences. These findings should be substantiated with a larger sample number and expression/functional studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Leishmania genome dynamics during environmental adaptation reveal strain-specific differences in gene copy number variation, karyotype instability, and telomeric amplification.

Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania adapt to environmental change through chromosome and gene copy number variations. Only little is known about external or intrinsic factors that govern Leishmania genomic adaptation. Here, by conducting longitudinal genome analyses of 10 new Leishmania clinical isolates, we uncovered important differences in gene copy number among genetically highly related strains and revealed gain and loss of gene copies as potential drivers of long-term environmental adaptation in the field. In contrast, chromosome rather than gene amplification was associated with short-term environmental adaptation to in vitro culture. Karyotypic solutions were highly reproducible but unique for a given strain, suggesting that chromosome amplification is under positive selection and dependent on species- and strain-specific intrinsic factors. We revealed a progressive increase in read depth towards the chromosome ends for various Leishmania isolates, which may represent a nonclassical mechanism of telomere maintenance that can preserve integrity of chromosome ends during selection for fast in vitro growth. Together our data draw a complex picture of Leishmania genomic adaptation in the field and in culture, which is driven by a combination of intrinsic genetic factors that generate strain-specific phenotypic variations, which are under environmental selection and allow for fitness gain.IMPORTANCE Protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania cause severe human and veterinary diseases worldwide, termed leishmaniases. A hallmark of Leishmania biology is its capacity to adapt to a variety of unpredictable fluctuations inside its human host, notably pharmacological interventions, thus, causing drug resistance. Here we investigated mechanisms of environmental adaptation using a comparative genomics approach by sequencing 10 new clinical isolates of the L. donovani, L. major, and L. tropica complexes that were sampled across eight distinct geographical regions. Our data provide new evidence that parasites adapt to environmental change in the field and in culture through a combination of chromosome and gene amplification that likely causes phenotypic variation and drives parasite fitness gains in response to environmental constraints. This novel form of gene expression regulation through genomic change compensates for the absence of classical transcriptional control in these early-branching eukaryotes and opens new venues for biomarker discovery. Copyright © 2018 Bussotti et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

Conjugative transfer of a novel Staphylococcal plasmid encoding the biocide resistance gene, qacA.

Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI). Some S. aureus strains harbor plasmids that carry genes that affect resistance to biocides. Among these genes, qacA encodes the QacA Multidrug Efflux Pump that imparts decreased susceptibility to chlorhexidine, a biocide used ubiquitously in healthcare facilities. Furthermore, chlorhexidine has been considered as a S. aureus decolonization strategy in community settings. We previously conducted a chlorhexidine-based SSTI prevention trial among Ft. Benning Army trainees. Analysis of a clinical isolate (C02) from that trial identified a novel qacA-positive plasmid, pC02. Prior characterization of qacA-containing plasmids is limited and conjugative transfer of those plasmids has not been demonstrated. Given the implications of increased biocide resistance, herein we characterized pC02. In silico analysis identified genes typically associated with conjugative plasmids. Moreover, pC02 was efficiently transferred to numerous S. aureus strains and to Staphylococcus epidermidis. We screened additional qacA-positive S. aureus clinical isolates and pC02 was present in 27% of those strains; other unique qacA-harboring plasmids were also identified. Ten strains were subjected to whole genome sequencing. Sequence analysis combined with plasmid screening studies suggest that qacA-containing strains are transmitted among military personnel at Ft. Benning and that strains carrying qacA are associated with SSTIs within this population. The identification of a novel mechanism of qacA conjugative transfer among Staphylococcal strains suggests a possible future increase in the prevalence of antiseptic tolerant bacterial strains, and an increase in the rate of infections in settings where these agents are commonly used.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of two diploid wild relatives of cultivated sweetpotato reveal targets for genetic improvement

Sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] is a globally important staple food crop, especially for sub-Saharan Africa. Agronomic improvement of sweetpotato has lagged behind other major food crops due to a lack of genomic and genetic resources and inherent challenges in breeding a heterozygous, clonally propagated polyploid. Here, we report the genome sequences of its two diploid relatives, I. trifida and I. triloba, and show that these high-quality genome assemblies are robust references for hexaploid sweetpotato. Comparative and phylogenetic analyses reveal insights into the ancient whole-genome triplication history of Ipomoea and evolutionary relationships within the Batatas complex. Using resequencing data from 16 genotypes widely used in African breeding programs, genes and alleles associated with carotenoid biosynthesis in storage roots are identified, which may enable efficient breeding of varieties with high provitamin A content. These resources will facilitate genome-enabled breeding in this important food security crop.


September 22, 2019  |  

Impact of index hopping and bias towards the reference allele on accuracy of genotype calls from low-coverage sequencing.

Inherent sources of error and bias that affect the quality of sequence data include index hopping and bias towards the reference allele. The impact of these artefacts is likely greater for low-coverage data than for high-coverage data because low-coverage data has scant information and many standard tools for processing sequence data were designed for high-coverage data. With the proliferation of cost-effective low-coverage sequencing, there is a need to understand the impact of these errors and bias on resulting genotype calls from low-coverage sequencing.We used a dataset of 26 pigs sequenced both at 2× with multiplexing and at 30× without multiplexing to show that index hopping and bias towards the reference allele due to alignment had little impact on genotype calls. However, pruning of alternative haplotypes supported by a number of reads below a predefined threshold, which is a default and desired step of some variant callers for removing potential sequencing errors in high-coverage data, introduced an unexpected bias towards the reference allele when applied to low-coverage sequence data. This bias reduced best-guess genotype concordance of low-coverage sequence data by 19.0 absolute percentage points.We propose a simple pipeline to correct the preferential bias towards the reference allele that can occur during variant discovery and we recommend that users of low-coverage sequence data be wary of unexpected biases that may be produced by bioinformatic tools that were designed for high-coverage sequence data.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida, Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), a worldwide parasite of social bee colonies, provides insights into detoxification and herbivory.

The small hive beetle (Aethina tumida; ATUMI) is an invasive parasite of bee colonies. ATUMI feeds on both fruits and bee nest products, facilitating its spread and increasing its impact on honey bees and other pollinators. We have sequenced and annotated the ATUMI genome, providing the first genomic resources for this species and for the Nitidulidae, a beetle family that is closely related to the extraordinarily species-rich clade of beetles known as the Phytophaga. ATUMI thus provides a contrasting view as a neighbor for one of the most successful known animal groups.We present a robust genome assembly and a gene set possessing 97.5% of the core proteins known from the holometabolous insects. The ATUMI genome encodes fewer enzymes for plant digestion than the genomes of wood-feeding beetles but nonetheless shows signs of broad metabolic plasticity. Gustatory receptors are few in number compared to other beetles, especially receptors with known sensitivity (in other beetles) to bitter substances. In contrast, several gene families implicated in detoxification of insecticides and adaptation to diverse dietary resources show increased copy numbers. The presence and diversity of homologs involved in detoxification differ substantially from the bee hosts of ATUMI.Our results provide new insights into the genomic basis for local adaption and invasiveness in ATUMI and a blueprint for control strategies that target this pest without harming their honey bee hosts. A minimal set of gustatory receptors is consistent with the observation that, once a host colony is invaded, food resources are predictable. Unique detoxification pathways and pathway members can help identify which treatments might control this species even in the presence of honey bees, which are notoriously sensitive to pesticides.


September 22, 2019  |  

CompStor Novos: a low cost yet fast assembly-based variant calling for personal genomes

Application of assembly methods for personal genome analysis from next generation sequencing data has been limited by the requirement for an expensive supercomputer hardware or long computation times when using ordinary resources. We describe CompStor Novos, achieving supercomputer-class performance in de novo assembly computation time on standard server hardware, based on a tiered-memory algorithm. Run on commercial off-the-shelf servers, Novos assembly is more precise and 10-20 times faster than that of existing assembly algorithms. Furthermore, we integrated Novos into a variant calling pipeline and demonstrate that both compute times and precision of calling point variants and indels compare well with standard alignment-based pipelines. Additionally, assembly eliminates bias in the estimation of allele frequency for indels and naturally enables discovery of breakpoints for structural variants with base pair resolution. Thus, Novos bridges the gap between alignment-based and assembly-based genome analyses. Extension and adaption of its underlying algorithm will help quickly and fully harvest information in sequencing reads for personal genome reconstruction.


September 21, 2019  |  

The advantages of SMRT sequencing.

Of the current next-generation sequencing technologies, SMRT sequencing is sometimes overlooked. However, attributes such as long reads, modified base detection and high accuracy make SMRT a useful technology and an ideal approach to the complete sequencing of small genomes.


September 21, 2019  |  

Discovery and genotyping of structural variation from long-read haploid genome sequence data.

In an effort to more fully understand the full spectrum of human genetic variation, we generated deep single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing data from two haploid human genomes. By using an assembly-based approach (SMRT-SV), we systematically assessed each genome independently for structural variants (SVs) and indels resolving the sequence structure of 461,553 genetic variants from 2 bp to 28 kbp in length. We find that >89% of these variants have been missed as part of analysis of the 1000 Genomes Project even after adjusting for more common variants (MAF > 1%). We estimate that this theoretical human diploid differs by as much as ~16 Mbp with respect to the human reference, with long-read sequencing data providing a fivefold increase in sensitivity for genetic variants ranging in size from 7 bp to 1 kbp compared with short-read sequence data. Although a large fraction of genetic variants were not detected by short-read approaches, once the alternate allele is sequence-resolved, we show that 61% of SVs can be genotyped in short-read sequence data sets with high accuracy. Uncoupling discovery from genotyping thus allows for the majority of this missed common variation to be genotyped in the human population. Interestingly, when we repeat SV detection on a pseudodiploid genome constructed in silico by merging the two haploids, we find that ~59% of the heterozygous SVs are no longer detected by SMRT-SV. These results indicate that haploid resolution of long-read sequencing data will significantly increase sensitivity of SV detection.© 2017 Huddleston et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 21, 2019  |  

Identification of a novel RASD1 somatic mutation in a USP8-mutated corticotroph adenoma.

Cushing’s disease (CD) is caused by pituitary corticotroph adenomas that secrete excess adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). In these tumors, somatic mutations in the gene USP8 have been identified as recurrent and pathogenic and are the sole known molecular driver for CD. Although other somatic mutations were reported in these studies, their contribution to the pathogenesis of CD remains unexplored. No molecular drivers have been established for a large proportion of CD cases and tumor heterogeneity has not yet been investigated using genomics methods. Also, even in USP8-mutant tumors, a possibility may exist of additional contributing mutations, following a paradigm from other neoplasm types where multiple somatic alterations contribute to neoplastic transformation. The current study utilizes whole-exome discovery sequencing on the Illumina platform, followed by targeted amplicon-validation sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform, to interrogate the somatic mutation landscape in a corticotroph adenoma resected from a CD patient. In this USP8-mutated tumor, we identified an interesting somatic mutation in the gene RASD1, which is a component of the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor signaling system. This finding may provide insight into a novel mechanism involving loss of feedback control to the corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor and subsequent deregulation of ACTH production in corticotroph tumors.


September 21, 2019  |  

Long-read genome sequencing identifies causal structural variation in a Mendelian disease.

PurposeCurrent clinical genomics assays primarily utilize short-read sequencing (SRS), but SRS has limited ability to evaluate repetitive regions and structural variants. Long-read sequencing (LRS) has complementary strengths, and we aimed to determine whether LRS could offer a means to identify overlooked genetic variation in patients undiagnosed by SRS.MethodsWe performed low-coverage genome LRS to identify structural variants in a patient who presented with multiple neoplasia and cardiac myxomata, in whom the results of targeted clinical testing and genome SRS were negative.ResultsThis LRS approach yielded 6,971 deletions and 6,821 insertions?>?50?bp. Filtering for variants that are absent in an unrelated control and overlap a disease gene coding exon identified three deletions and three insertions. One of these, a heterozygous 2,184?bp deletion, overlaps the first coding exon of PRKAR1A, which is implicated in autosomal dominant Carney complex. RNA sequencing demonstrated decreased PRKAR1A expression. The deletion was classified as pathogenic based on guidelines for interpretation of sequence variants.ConclusionThis first successful application of genome LRS to identify a pathogenic variant in a patient suggests that LRS has significant potential for the identification of disease-causing structural variation. Larger studies will ultimately be required to evaluate the potential clinical utility of LRS.


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