October 23, 2019  |  

A high quality assembly of the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome reveals the structure of two sex determination regions.

Tilapias are the second most farmed fishes in the world and a sustainable source of food. Like many other fish, tilapias are sexually dimorphic and sex is a commercially important trait in these fish. In this study, we developed a significantly improved assembly of the tilapia genome using the latest genome sequencing methods and show how it improves the characterization of two sex determination regions in two tilapia species.A homozygous clonal XX female Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was sequenced to 44X coverage using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT sequencing. Dozens of candidate de novo assemblies were generated and an optimal assembly (contig NG50 of 3.3Mbp) was selected using principal component analysis of likelihood scores calculated from several paired-end sequencing libraries. Comparison of the new assembly to the previous O. niloticus genome assembly reveals that recently duplicated portions of the genome are now well represented. The overall number of genes in the new assembly increased by 27.3%, including a 67% increase in pseudogenes. The new tilapia genome assembly correctly represents two recent vasa gene duplication events that have been verified with BAC sequencing. At total of 146Mbp of additional transposable element sequence are now assembled, a large proportion of which are recent insertions. Large centromeric satellite repeats are assembled and annotated in cichlid fish for the first time. Finally, the new assembly identifies the long-range structure of both a ~9Mbp XY sex determination region on LG1 in O. niloticus, and a ~50Mbp WZ sex determination region on LG3 in the related species O. aureus.This study highlights the use of long read sequencing to correctly assemble recent duplications and to characterize repeat-filled regions of the genome. The study serves as an example of the need for high quality genome assemblies and provides a framework for identifying sex determining genes in tilapia and related fish species.


October 23, 2019  |  

Short DNA hairpins compromise recombinant adeno-associated virus genome homogeneity.

Short hairpin (sh)RNAs delivered by recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are valuable tools to study gene function in vivo and a promising gene therapy platform. Our data show that incorporation of shRNA transgenes into rAAV constructs reduces vector yield and produces a population of truncated and defective genomes. We demonstrate that sequences with hairpins or hairpin-like structures drive the generation of truncated AAV genomes through a polymerase redirection mechanism during viral genome replication. Our findings reveal the importance of genomic secondary structure when optimizing viral vector designs. We also discovered that shDNAs could be adapted to act as surrogate mutant inverted terminal repeats (mTRs), sequences that were previously thought to be required for functional self-complementary AAV vectors. The use of shDNAs as artificial mTRs opens the door to engineering a new generation of AAV vectors with improved potency, genetic stability, and safety for both preclinical studies and human gene therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc.


October 23, 2019  |  

Improved production of propionic acid using genome shuffling.

Traditionally derived from fossil fuels, biological production of propionic acid has recently gained interest. Propionibacterium species produce propionic acid as their main fermentation product. Production of other organic acids reduces propionic acid yield and productivity, pointing to by-products gene-knockout strategies as a logical solution to increase yield. However, removing by-product formation has seen limited success due to our inability to genetically engineer the best producing strains (i.e. Propionibacterium acidipropionici). To overcome this limitation, random mutagenesis continues to be the best path towards improving strains for biological propionic acid production. Recent advances in next generation sequencing opened new avenues to understand improved strains. In this work, we use genome shuffling on two wild type strains to generate a better propionic acid producing strain. Using next generation sequencing, we mapped the genomic changes leading to the improved phenotype. The best strain produced 25% more propionic acid than the wild type strain. Sequencing of the strains showed that genomic changes were restricted to single point mutations and gene duplications in well-conserved regions in the genomes. Such results confirm the involvement of gene conversion in genome shuffling as opposed to long genomic insertions. © 2016 The Authors. Biotechnology Journal published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


October 23, 2019  |  

Adeno-associated virus genome population sequencing achieves full vector genome resolution and reveals human-vector chimeras

Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-based gene therapy has entered a phase of clinical translation and commercialization. Despite this progress, vector integrity following production is often overlooked. Compromised vectors may negatively impact therapeutic efficacy and safety. Using single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing, we can comprehensively profile packaged genomes as a single intact molecule and directly assess vector integrity without extensive preparation. We have exploited this methodology to profile all heterogeneic populations of self-complementary AAV genomes via bioinformatics pipelines and have coined this approach AAV-genome population sequencing (AAV-GPseq). The approach can reveal the relative distribution of truncated genomes versus full-length genomes in vector preparations. Preparations that seemingly show high genome homogeneity by gel electrophoresis are revealed to consist of less than 50% full-length species. With AAV-GPseq, we can also detect many reverse-packaged genomes that encompass sequences originating from plasmid backbone, as well as sequences from packaging and helper plasmids. Finally, we detect host-cell genomic sequences that are chimeric with inverted terminal repeat (ITR)-containing vector sequences. We show that vector populations can contain between 1.3% and 2.3% of this type of undesirable genome. These discoveries redefine quality control standards for viral vector preparations and highlight the degree of foreign products in rAAV-based therapeutic vectors.


September 22, 2019  |  

The Epstein-Barr virus miR-BHRF1 microRNAs regulate viral gene expression in cis.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) miR-BHRF1 microRNA (miRNA) cluster has been shown to facilitate B-cell transformation and promote the rapid growth of the resultant lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). However, we find that expression of physiological levels of the miR-BHRF1 miRNAs in LCLs transformed with a miR-BHRF1 null mutant (?123) fails to increase their growth rate. We demonstrate that the pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 stem-loops are present in the 3’UTR of transcripts encoding EBNA-LP and that excision of pre-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 by Drosha destabilizes these mRNAs and reduces expression of the encoded protein. Therefore, mutational inactivation of pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 in the ?123 mutant upregulates the expression of not only EBNA-LP but also EBNA-LP-regulated mRNAs and proteins, including LMP1. We hypothesize that this overexpression causes the reduced transformation capacity of the ?123 EBV mutant. Thus, in addition to regulating cellular mRNAs in trans, miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 also regulate EBNA-LP mRNA expression in cis. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

SMRT-Cappable-seq reveals complex operon variants in bacteria.

Current methods for genome-wide analysis of gene expression require fragmentation of original transcripts into small fragments for short-read sequencing. In bacteria, the resulting fragmented information hides operon complexity. Additionally, in vivo processing of transcripts confounds the accurate identification of the 5′ and 3′ ends of operons. Here we develop a methodology called SMRT-Cappable-seq that combines the isolation of un-fragmented primary transcripts with single-molecule long read sequencing. Applied to E. coli, this technology results in an accurate definition of the transcriptome with 34% of known operons from RegulonDB being extended by at least one gene. Furthermore, 40% of transcription termination sites have read-through that alters the gene content of the operons. As a result, most of the bacterial genes are present in multiple operon variants reminiscent of eukaryotic splicing. By providing such granularity in the operon structure, this study represents an important resource for the study of prokaryotic gene network and regulation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Global dissection of alternative splicing uncovers transcriptional diversity in tissues and associates with the flavonoid pathway in tea plant (Camellia sinensis).

Alternative splicing (AS) regulates mRNA at the post-transcriptional level to change gene function in organisms. However, little is known about the AS and its roles in tea plant (Camellia sinensis), widely cultivated for making a popular beverage tea.In our study, the AS landscape and dynamics were characterized in eight tissues (bud, young leaf, summer mature leaf, winter old leaf, stem, root, flower, fruit) of tea plant by Illumina RNA-Seq and confirmed by Iso-Seq. The most abundant AS (~?20%) was intron retention and involved in RNA processes. The some alternative splicings were found to be tissue specific in stem and root etc. Thirteen co-expressed modules of AS transcripts were identified, which revealed a similar pattern between the bud and young leaves as well as a distinct pattern between seasons. AS events of structural genes including anthocyanidin reductase and MYB transcription factors were involved in biosynthesis of flavonoid, especially in vegetative tissues. The AS isoforms rather than the full-length ones were the major transcripts involved in flavonoid synthesis pathway, and is positively correlated with the catechins content conferring the tea taste. We propose that the AS is an important functional mechanism in regulating flavonoid metabolites.Our study provides the insight into the AS events underlying tea plant’s uniquely different developmental process and highlights the important contribution and efficacy of alternative splicing regulatory function to biosynthesis of flavonoids.


September 22, 2019  |  

Dynamic transcriptome profiling dataset of vaccinia virus obtained from long-read sequencing techniques.

Poxviruses are large DNA viruses that infect humans and animals. Vaccinia virus (VACV) has been applied as a live vaccine for immunization against smallpox, which was eradicated by 1980 as a result of worldwide vaccination. VACV is the prototype of poxviruses in the investigation of the molecular pathogenesis of the virus. Short-read sequencing methods have revolutionized transcriptomics; however, they are not efficient in distinguishing between the RNA isoforms and transcript overlaps. Long-read sequencing (LRS) is much better suited to solve these problems and also allow direct RNA sequencing. Despite the scientific relevance of VACV, no LRS data have been generated for the viral transcriptome to date.For the deep characterization of the VACV RNA profile, various LRS platforms and library preparation approaches were applied. The raw reads were mapped to the VACV reference genome and also to the host (Chlorocebus sabaeus) genome. In this study, we applied the Pacific Biosciences RSII and Sequel platforms, which altogether resulted in 937,531 mapped reads of inserts (1.42 Gb), while we obtained 2,160,348 aligned reads (1.75 Gb) from the different library preparation methods using the MinION device from Oxford Nanopore Technologies.By applying cutting-edge technologies, we were able to generate a large dataset that can serve as a valuable resource for the investigation of the dynamic VACV transcriptome, the virus-host interactions, and RNA base modifications. These data can provide useful information for novel gene annotations in the VACV genome. Our dataset can also be used to analyze the currently available LRS platforms, library preparation methods, and bioinformatics pipelines.


September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular genetic diversity and characterization of conjugation genes in the fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is the etiologic agent of “white spot”, a commercially important disease of freshwater fish. As a parasitic ciliate, I. multifiliis infects numerous host species across a broad geographic range. Although Ichthyophthirius outbreaks are difficult to control, recent sequencing of the I. multifiliis genome has revealed a number of potential metabolic pathways for therapeutic intervention, along with likely vaccine targets for disease prevention. Nonetheless, major gaps exist in our understanding of both the life cycle and population structure of I. multifiliis in the wild. For example, conjugation has never been described in this species, and it is unclear whether I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction, despite the presence of a germline micronucleus. In addition, no good methods exist to distinguish strains, leaving phylogenetic relationships between geographic isolates completely unresolved. Here, we compared nucleotide sequences of SSUrDNA, mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit I and cox-1 genes, and 14 somatic SNP sites from nine I. multifiliis isolates obtained from four different states in the US since 1995. The mitochondrial sequences effectively distinguished the isolates from one another and divided them into at least two genetically distinct groups. Furthermore, none of the nine isolates shared the same composition of the 14 somatic SNP sites, suggesting that I. multifiliis undergoes sexual reproduction at some point in its life cycle. Finally, compared to the well-studied free-living ciliates Tetrahymena thermophila and Paramecium tetraurelia, I. multifiliis has lost 38% and 29%, respectively, of 16 experimentally confirmed conjugation-related genes, indicating that mechanistic differences in sexual reproduction are likely to exist between I. multifiliis and other ciliate species. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-molecule long-read transcriptome profiling of Platysternon megacephalum mitochondrial genome with gene rearrangement and control region duplication.

Platysternon megacephalum is the sole living representative of the poorly studied turtle lineage Platysternidae. Their mitochondrial genome has been subject to gene rearrangement and control region duplication, resulting in a unique mitochondrial gene order in vertebrates. In this study, we sequenced the first full-length turtle (P. megacephalum) liver transcriptome using single-molecule real-time sequencing to study the transcriptional mechanisms of its mitochondrial genome. ND5 and ND6 anti-sense (ND6AS) forms a single transcript with the same expression in the human mitochondrial genome, but here we demonstrated differential expression of the rearranged ND5 and ND6AS genes in P. megacephalum. And some polycistronic transcripts were also reported in this study. Notably, we detected some novel long non-coding RNAs with alternative polyadenylation from the duplicated control region, and a novel ND6AS transcript composed of a long non-coding sequence, ND6AS, and tRNA-GluAS. These results provide the first description of a mtDNA transcriptome with gene rearrangement and control region duplication. These findings further our understanding of the fundamental concepts of mitochondrial gene transcription and RNA processing, and provide a new insight into the mechanism of transcription regulation of the mitochondrial genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

A high-quality annotated transcriptome of swine peripheral blood.

High throughput gene expression profiling assays of peripheral blood are widely used in biomedicine, as well as in animal genetics and physiology research. Accurate, comprehensive, and precise interpretation of such high throughput assays relies on well-characterized reference genomes and/or transcriptomes. However, neither the reference genome nor the peripheral blood transcriptome of the pig have been sufficiently assembled and annotated to support such profiling assays in this emerging biomedical model organism. We aimed to assemble published and novel RNA-seq data to provide a comprehensive, well-annotated blood transcriptome for pigs by integrating a de novo assembly with a genome-guided assembly.A de novo and a genome-guided transcriptome of porcine whole peripheral blood was assembled with ~162 million pairs of paired-end and ~183 million single-end, trimmed and normalized Illumina RNA-seq reads (~6 billion initial reads from 146 RNA-seq libraries) from five independent studies by using the Trinity and Cufflinks software, respectively. We then removed putative transcripts (PTs) of low confidence from both assemblies and merged the remaining PTs into an integrated transcriptome consisting of 132,928 PTs, with 126,225 (~95%) PTs from the de novo assembly and more than 91% of PTs spliced. In the integrated transcriptome, ~90% and 63% of PTs had significant sequence similarity to sequences in the NCBI NT and NR databases, respectively; 68,754 (~52%) PTs were annotated with 15,965 unique gene ontology (GO) terms; and 7618 PTs annotated with Enzyme Commission codes were assigned to 134 pathways curated by the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG). Full exon-intron junctions of 17,528 PTs were validated by PacBio IsoSeq full-length cDNA reads from 3 other porcine tissues, NCBI pig RefSeq mRNAs and transcripts from Ensembl Sscrofa10.2 annotation. Completeness of the 5′ termini of 37,569 PTs was validated by public cap analysis of gene expression (CAGE) data. By comparison to the Ensembl transcripts, we found that (1) the deduced precursors of 54,402 PTs shared at least one intron or exon with those of 18,437 Ensembl transcripts; (2) 12,262 PTs had both longer 5′ and 3′ termini than their maximally overlapping Ensembl transcripts; and (3) 41,838 spliced PTs were totally missing from the Sscrofa10.2 annotation. Similar results were obtained when the PTs were compared to the pig NCBI RefSeq mRNA collection.We built, validated and annotated a comprehensive porcine blood transcriptome with significant improvement over the annotation of Ensembl Sscrofa10.2 and the pig NCBI RefSeq mRNAs, and laid a foundation for blood-based high throughput transcriptomic assays in pigs and for advancing annotation of the pig genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

ALE: a generic assembly likelihood evaluation framework for assessing the accuracy of genome and metagenome assemblies.

Researchers need general purpose methods for objectively evaluating the accuracy of single and metagenome assemblies and for automatically detecting any errors they may contain. Current methods do not fully meet this need because they require a reference, only consider one of the many aspects of assembly quality or lack statistical justification, and none are designed to evaluate metagenome assemblies.In this article, we present an Assembly Likelihood Evaluation (ALE) framework that overcomes these limitations, systematically evaluating the accuracy of an assembly in a reference-independent manner using rigorous statistical methods. This framework is comprehensive, and integrates read quality, mate pair orientation and insert length (for paired-end reads), sequencing coverage, read alignment and k-mer frequency. ALE pinpoints synthetic errors in both single and metagenomic assemblies, including single-base errors, insertions/deletions, genome rearrangements and chimeric assemblies presented in metagenomes. At the genome level with real-world data, ALE identifies three large misassemblies from the Spirochaeta smaragdinae finished genome, which were all independently validated by Pacific Biosciences sequencing. At the single-base level with Illumina data, ALE recovers 215 of 222 (97%) single nucleotide variants in a training set from a GC-rich Rhodobacter sphaeroides genome. Using real Pacific Biosciences data, ALE identifies 12 of 12 synthetic errors in a Lambda Phage genome, surpassing even Pacific Biosciences’ own variant caller, EviCons. In summary, the ALE framework provides a comprehensive, reference-independent and statistically rigorous measure of single genome and metagenome assembly accuracy, which can be used to identify misassemblies or to optimize the assembly process.ALE is released as open source software under the UoI/NCSA license at http://www.alescore.org. It is implemented in C and Python.


September 22, 2019  |  

A novel enrichment strategy reveals unprecedented number of novel transcription start sites at single base resolution in a model prokaryote and the gut microbiome.

The initiating nucleotide found at the 5′ end of primary transcripts has a distinctive triphosphorylated end that distinguishes these transcripts from all other RNA species. Recognizing this distinction is key to deconvoluting the primary transcriptome from the plethora of processed transcripts that confound analysis of the transcriptome. The currently available methods do not use targeted enrichment for the 5’end of primary transcripts, but rather attempt to deplete non-targeted RNA.We developed a method, Cappable-seq, for directly enriching for the 5′ end of primary transcripts and enabling determination of transcription start sites at single base resolution. This is achieved by enzymatically modifying the 5′ triphosphorylated end of RNA with a selectable tag. We first applied Cappable-seq to E. coli, achieving up to 50 fold enrichment of primary transcripts and identifying an unprecedented 16539 transcription start sites (TSS) genome-wide at single base resolution. We also applied Cappable-seq to a mouse cecum sample and identified TSS in a microbiome.Cappable-seq allows for the first time the capture of the 5′ end of primary transcripts. This enables a unique robust TSS determination in bacteria and microbiomes.  In addition to and beyond TSS determination, Cappable-seq depletes ribosomal RNA and reduces the complexity of the transcriptome to a single quantifiable tag per transcript enabling digital profiling of gene expression in any microbiome.


September 22, 2019  |  

A survey of transcriptome complexity in Sus scrofa using single-molecule long-read sequencing.

Alternative splicing (AS) and fusion transcripts produce a vast expansion of transcriptomes and proteomes diversity. However, the reliability of these events and the extend of epigenetic mechanisms have not been adequately addressed due to its limitation of uncertainties about the complete structure of mRNA. Here we combined single-molecule real-time sequencing, Illumina RNA-seq and DNA methylation data to characterize the landscapes of DNA methylation on AS, fusion isoforms formation and lncRNA feature and further to unveil the transcriptome complexity of pig. Our analysis identified an unprecedented scale of high-quality full-length isoforms with over 28,127 novel isoforms from 26,881 novel genes. More than 92,000 novel AS events were detected and intron retention predominated in AS model, followed by exon skipping. Interestingly, we found that DNA methylation played an important role in generating various AS isoforms by regulating splicing sites, promoter regions and first exons. Furthermore, we identified a large of fusion transcripts and novel lncRNAs, and found that DNA methylation of the promoter and gene body could regulate lncRNA expression. Our results significantly improved existed gene models of pig and unveiled that pig AS and epigenetic modify were more complex than previously thought.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptomic study of Herpes simplex virus type-1 using full-length sequencing techniques

Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) is a human pathogenic member of the Alphaherpesvirinae subfamily of herpesviruses. The HSV-1 genome is a large double-stranded DNA specifying about 85 protein coding genes. The latest surveys have demonstrated that the HSV-1 transcriptome is much more complex than it had been thought before. Here, we provide a long-read sequencing dataset, which was generated by using the RSII and Sequel systems from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio), as well as MinION sequencing system from Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT). This dataset contains 39,096 reads of inserts (ROIs) mapped to the HSV-1 genome (X14112) in RSII sequencing, while Sequel sequencing yielded 77,851 ROIs. The MinION cDNA sequencing altogether resulted in 158,653 reads, while the direct RNA-seq produced 16,516 reads. This dataset can be utilized for the identification of novel HSV RNAs and transcripts isoforms, as well as for the comparison of the quality and length of the sequencing reads derived from the currently available long- read sequencing platforms. The various library preparation approaches can also be compared with each other.


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