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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

User Group Meeting: Unbiased characterization of metagenome composition and function using HiFi sequencing on the PacBio Sequel II System

In this PacBio User Group Meeting presentation, PacBio scientist Meredith Ashby shared several examples of analysis — from full-length 16S sequencing to shotgun sequencing — showing how SMRT Sequencing enables accurate representation for metagenomics and microbiome characterization, in some cases even without fully assembling genomes. New updates will provide users with a dedicated microbial assembly pipeline, optimized for all classes of bacteria, as well as increased multiplexing on the Sequel II System, now with 48 validated barcoded adapters. That throughput could reduce the cost of microbial analysis substantially.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Webinar: Unbiased, efficient characterization of metagenome functions with PacBio HiFi sequencing

Understanding interactions among plants and the complex communities of organisms living on, in and around them requires more than one experimental approach. A new method for de novo metagenome assembly, PacBio HiFi sequencing, has unique strengths for determining the functional capacity of metagenomes. With HiFi sequencing, the accuracy and median read length of unassembled data outperforms the quality metrics for many existing assemblies generated with other technologies, enabling cost-competitive recovery of full-length genes and operons even from rare species. When paired with the ability to close the genomes of even challenging isolates like Xanthomonas, the PacBio Sequel II System is…

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Webinar: Bioinformatics lunch & learn – Better assemblies of bacterial genomes and plasmids with the new microbial assembly pipeline in SMRT Link v8.0

Microbial Assembly is our latest pipeline, specifically designed to assemble bacterial genomes (between 2 and 10 Mb) and plasmids. This pipeline includes the implementation of a new, circular-aware read alignment tool (Raptor), among other algorithmic improvements, which will be covered in this webinar. The topics covered include, staged assembly of bacterial chromosomes and plasmids, implementation of Raptor, a circular-aware read aligner, himeric read detection, origin of replication orientation, troubleshooting and more.

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Case Study: Sequencing an historic bacterial collection for the future

The UK’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) is a unique collection of more than 5,000 expertly preserved and authenticated bacterial cultures, many of historical significance. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest established collection of its type anywhere in the world, with a history of its own that has reflected — and contributed to — the evolution of microbiology for more than 100 years.

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Thursday, November 12, 2020

Infographic: A brief history of microbiology

Our understanding of microbiology has evolved enormously over the last 150 years. Few institutions have witnessed our collective progress more closely than the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). In fact, the collection itself is a record of the many milestones microbiologists have crossed, building on the discoveries of those who came before. To date, 60% of NCTC’s historic collection now has a closed, finished reference genome, thanks to PacBio Single Molecule, Real- Time (SMRT) Sequencing. We are excited to be their partner in crossing this latest milestone on their quest to improve human and animal health by understanding the…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Novel Bacteriophage Exclusion (BREX) System Encoded by the pglX Gene in Lactobacillus casei Zhang.

The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a novel prokaryotic defense system against bacteriophages. To our knowledge, no study has systematically characterized the function of the BREX system in lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic bacterium originating from koumiss. By using single-molecule real-time sequencing, we previously identified N6-methyladenine (m6A) signatures in the genome of L. casei Zhang and a putative methyltransferase (MTase), namely, pglX This work further analyzed the genomic locus near the pglX gene and identified it as a component of the BREX system. To decipher the biological role of pglX, an L. casei Zhang pglX mutant…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Complete genome sequence of Helicobacter pylori B128 7.13 and a single-step method for the generation of unmarked mutations.

Helicobacter pylori represents an interesting model of bacterial pathogenesis given that most infections are asymptomatic, while a minority of infections cause severe gastric disease. H pylori strain B128 7.13 is used extensively to understand H pylori pathophysiology. Due to extensive restriction-modification systems, the fact that only some H pylori strains are naturally transformable, the inability of common plasmid and transposon vectors to replicate in this bacterium, as well as the limited number of antibiotic cassettes that are functional in H pylori, there are relatively few genetic tools for the mutagenesis of this bacterium.Here, we use PacBio and Illumina sequencing to reveal the complete genome…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

a-Difluoromethylornithine reduces gastric carcinogenesis by causing mutations in Helicobacter pylori cagY.

Infection by Helicobacter pylori is the primary cause of gastric adenocarcinoma. The most potent H. pylori virulence factor is cytotoxin-associated gene A (CagA), which is translocated by a type 4 secretion system (T4SS) into gastric epithelial cells and activates oncogenic signaling pathways. The gene cagY encodes for a key component of the T4SS and can undergo gene rearrangements. We have shown that the cancer chemopreventive agent a-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), known to inhibit the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase, reduces H. pylori-mediated gastric cancer incidence in Mongolian gerbils. In the present study, we questioned whether DFMO might directly affect H. pylori pathogenicity. We show…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Biomimetic hydroxyapatite nanocrystals are an active carrier for Salmonella bacteriophages.

The use of bacteriophages represents a valid alternative to conventional antimicrobial treatments, overcoming the widespread bacterial antibiotic resistance phenomenon. In this work, we evaluated whether biomimetic hydroxyapatite (HA) nanocrystals are able to enhance some properties of bacteriophages. The final goal of this study was to demonstrate that biomimetic HA nanocrystals can be used for bacteriophage delivery in the context of bacterial infections, and contribute – at the same time – to enhance some of the biological properties of the same bacteriophages such as stability, preservation, antimicrobial activity, and so on.Phage isolation and characterization were carried out by using Mitomycin C…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression,…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genome-wide systematic identification of methyltransferase recognition and modification patterns.

Genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation patterns using single molecule real-time DNA sequencing has boosted the number of publicly available methylomes. However, there is a lack of tools coupling methylation patterns and the corresponding methyltransferase genes. Here we demonstrate a high-throughput method for coupling methyltransferases with their respective motifs, using automated cloning and analysing the methyltransferases in vectors carrying a strain-specific cassette containing all potential target sites. To validate the method, we analyse the genomes of the thermophile Moorella thermoacetica and the mesophile Acetobacterium woodii, two acetogenic bacteria having substantially modified genomes with 12 methylation motifs and a total of 23…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Strain-level metagenomic assignment and compositional estimation for long reads with MetaMaps.

Metagenomic sequence classification should be fast, accurate and information-rich. Emerging long-read sequencing technologies promise to improve the balance between these factors but most existing methods were designed for short reads. MetaMaps is a new method, specifically developed for long reads, capable of mapping a long-read metagenome to a comprehensive RefSeq database with >12,000 genomes in 94% accuracy for species-level read assignment and r2?>?0.97 for the estimation of sample composition on both simulated and real data when the sample genomes or close relatives are present in the classification database. To address novel species and genera, which are comparatively harder to predict,…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Within-host evolution of Helicobacter pylori shaped by niche-specific adaptation, intragastric migrations and selective sweeps.

The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori displays extensive genetic diversity. While H. pylori is known to evolve during infection, population dynamics inside the gastric environment have not been extensively investigated. Here we obtained gastric biopsies from multiple stomach regions of 16 H. pylori-infected adults, and analyze the genomes of 10 H. pylori isolates from each biopsy. Phylogenetic analyses suggest location-specific evolution and bacterial migration between gastric regions. Migration is significantly more frequent between the corpus and the fundus than with the antrum, suggesting that physiological differences between antral and oxyntic mucosa contribute to spatial partitioning of H. pylori populations. Associations between H. pylori…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Single-molecule sequencing detection of N6-methyladenine in microbial reference materials.

The DNA base modification N6-methyladenine (m6A) is involved in many pathways related to the survival of bacteria and their interactions with hosts. Nanopore sequencing offers a new, portable method to detect base modifications. Here, we show that a neural network can improve m6A detection at trained sequence contexts compared to previously published methods using deviations between measured and expected current values as each adenine travels through a pore. The model, implemented as the mCaller software package, can be extended to detect known or confirm suspected methyltransferase target motifs based on predictions of methylation at untrained contexts. We use PacBio, Oxford…

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