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  |  

An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire.

Cultivated bacteria such as actinomycetes are a highly useful source of biomedically important natural products. However, such ‘talented’ producers represent only a minute fraction of the entire, mostly uncultivated, prokaryotic diversity. The uncultured majority is generally perceived as a large, untapped resource of new drug candidates, but so far it is unknown whether taxa containing talented bacteria indeed exist. Here we report the single-cell- and metagenomics-based discovery of such producers. Two phylotypes of the candidate genus ‘Entotheonella’ with genomes of greater than 9 megabases and multiple, distinct biosynthetic gene clusters co-inhabit the chemically and microbially rich marine sponge Theonella swinhoei. Almost all bioactive polyketides and peptides known from this animal were attributed to a single phylotype. ‘Entotheonella’ spp. are widely distributed in sponges and belong to an environmental taxon proposed here as candidate phylum ‘Tectomicrobia’. The pronounced bioactivities and chemical uniqueness of ‘Entotheonella’ compounds provide significant opportunities for ecological studies and drug discovery.


September 22, 2019  |  

The standard operating procedure of the DOE-JGI Microbial Genome Annotation Pipeline (MGAP v.4).

The DOE-JGI Microbial Genome Annotation Pipeline performs structural and functional annotation of microbial genomes that are further included into the Integrated Microbial Genome comparative analysis system. MGAP is applied to assembled nucleotide sequence datasets that are provided via the IMG submission site. Dataset submission for annotation first requires project and associated metadata description in GOLD. The MGAP sequence data processing consists of feature prediction including identification of protein-coding genes, non-coding RNAs and regulatory RNA features, as well as CRISPR elements. Structural annotation is followed by assignment of protein product names and functions.


September 22, 2019  |  

A near complete snapshot of the Zea mays seedling transcriptome revealed from ultra-deep sequencing.

RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) enables in-depth exploration of transcriptomes, but typical sequencing depth often limits its comprehensiveness. In this study, we generated nearly 3 billion RNA-Seq reads, totaling 341 Gb of sequence, from a Zea mays seedling sample. At this depth, a near complete snapshot of the transcriptome was observed consisting of over 90% of the annotated transcripts, including lowly expressed transcription factors. A novel hybrid strategy combining de novo and reference-based assemblies yielded a transcriptome consisting of 126,708 transcripts with 88% of expressed known genes assembled to full-length. We improved current annotations by adding 4,842 previously unannotated transcript variants and many new features, including 212 maize transcripts, 201 genes, 10 genes with undocumented potential roles in seedlings as well as maize lineage specific gene fusion events. We demonstrated the power of deep sequencing for large transcriptome studies by generating a high quality transcriptome, which provides a rich resource for the research community.


September 22, 2019  |  

Species-level bacterial community profiling of the healthy sinonasal microbiome using Pacific Biosciences sequencing of full-length 16S rRNA genes.

Pan-bacterial 16S rRNA microbiome surveys performed with massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies have transformed community microbiological studies. Current 16S profiling methods, however, fail to provide sufficient taxonomic resolution and accuracy to adequately perform species-level associative studies for specific conditions. This is due to the amplification and sequencing of only short 16S rRNA gene regions, typically providing for only family- or genus-level taxonomy. Moreover, sequencing errors often inflate the number of taxa present. Pacific Biosciences’ (PacBio’s) long-read technology in particular suffers from high error rates per base. Herein, we present a microbiome analysis pipeline that takes advantage of PacBio circular consensus sequencing (CCS) technology to sequence and error correct full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes, which provides high-fidelity species-level microbiome data.Analysis of a mock community with 20 bacterial species demonstrated 100% specificity and sensitivity with regard to taxonomic classification. Examination of a 250-plus species mock community demonstrated correct species-level classification of >?90% of taxa, and relative abundances were accurately captured. The majority of the remaining taxa were demonstrated to be multiply, incorrectly, or incompletely classified. Using this methodology, we examined the microgeographic variation present among the microbiomes of six sinonasal sites, by both swab and biopsy, from the anterior nasal cavity to the sphenoid sinus from 12 subjects undergoing trans-sphenoidal hypophysectomy. We found greater variation among subjects than among sites within a subject, although significant within-individual differences were also observed. Propiniobacterium acnes (recently renamed Cutibacterium acnes) was the predominant species throughout, but was found at distinct relative abundances by site.Our microbial composition analysis pipeline for single-molecule real-time 16S rRNA gene sequencing (MCSMRT, https://github.com/jpearl01/mcsmrt ) overcomes deficits of standard marker gene-based microbiome analyses by using CCS of entire 16S rRNA genes to provide increased taxonomic and phylogenetic resolution. Extensions of this approach to other marker genes could help refine taxonomic assignments of microbial species and improve reference databases, as well as strengthen the specificity of associations between microbial communities and dysbiotic states.


September 22, 2019  |  

Robust and effective methodologies for cryopreservation and DNA extraction from anaerobic gut fungi.

Cell storage and DNA isolation are essential to developing an expanded suite of microorganisms for biotechnology. However, many features of non-model microbes, such as an anaerobic lifestyle and rigid cell wall, present formidable challenges to creating strain repositories and extracting high quality genomic DNA. Here, we establish accessible, high efficiency, and robust techniques to store lignocellulolytic anaerobic gut fungi long term without specialized equipment. Using glycerol as a cryoprotectant, gut fungal isolates were preserved for a minimum of 23 months at -80 °C. Unlike previously reported approaches, this improved protocol is non-toxic and rapid, with samples surviving twice as long with negligible growth impact. Genomic DNA extraction for these isolates was optimized to yield samples compatible with next generation sequencing platforms (e.g. Illumina, PacBio). Popular DNA isolation kits and precipitation protocols yielded preps that were unsuitable for sequencing due to carbohydrate contaminants from the chitin-rich cell wall and extensive energy reserves of gut fungi. To address this, we identified a proprietary method optimized for hardy plant samples that rapidly yielded DNA fragments in excess of 10 kb with minimal RNA, protein or carbohydrate contamination. Collectively, these techniques serve as fundamental tools to manipulate powerful biomass-degrading gut fungi and improve their accessibility among researchers. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  |  

Widespread polycistronic transcripts in fungi revealed by single-molecule mRNA sequencing.

Genes in prokaryotic genomes are often arranged into clusters and co-transcribed into polycistronic RNAs. Isolated examples of polycistronic RNAs were also reported in some higher eukaryotes but their presence was generally considered rare. Here we developed a long-read sequencing strategy to identify polycistronic transcripts in several mushroom forming fungal species including Plicaturopsis crispa, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Trametes versicolor, and Gloeophyllum trabeum. We found genome-wide prevalence of polycistronic transcription in these Agaricomycetes, involving up to 8% of the transcribed genes. Unlike polycistronic mRNAs in prokaryotes, these co-transcribed genes are also independently transcribed. We show that polycistronic transcription may interfere with expression of the downstream tandem gene. Further comparative genomic analysis indicates that polycistronic transcription is conserved among a wide range of mushroom forming fungi. In summary, our study revealed, for the first time, the genome prevalence of polycistronic transcription in a phylogenetic range of higher fungi. Furthermore, we systematically show that our long-read sequencing approach and combined bioinformatics pipeline is a generic powerful tool for precise characterization of complex transcriptomes that enables identification of mRNA isoforms not recovered via short-read assembly.


September 22, 2019  |  

Hybrid error correction and de novo assembly of single-molecule sequencing reads.

Single-molecule sequencing instruments can generate multikilobase sequences with the potential to greatly improve genome and transcriptome assembly. However, the error rates of single-molecule reads are high, which has limited their use thus far to resequencing bacteria. To address this limitation, we introduce a correction algorithm and assembly strategy that uses short, high-fidelity sequences to correct the error in single-molecule sequences. We demonstrate the utility of this approach on reads generated by a PacBio RS instrument from phage, prokaryotic and eukaryotic whole genomes, including the previously unsequenced genome of the parrot Melopsittacus undulatus, as well as for RNA-Seq reads of the corn (Zea mays) transcriptome. Our long-read correction achieves >99.9% base-call accuracy, leading to substantially better assemblies than current sequencing strategies: in the best example, the median contig size was quintupled relative to high-coverage, second-generation assemblies. Greater gains are predicted if read lengths continue to increase, including the prospect of single-contig bacterial chromosome assembly.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic and metabolic diversity of Marine Group I Thaumarchaeota in the mesopelagic of two subtropical gyres.

Marine Group I (MGI) Thaumarchaeota are one of the most abundant and cosmopolitan chemoautotrophs within the global dark ocean. To date, no representatives of this archaeal group retrieved from the dark ocean have been successfully cultured. We used single cell genomics to investigate the genomic and metabolic diversity of thaumarchaea within the mesopelagic of the subtropical North Pacific and South Atlantic Ocean. Phylogenetic and metagenomic recruitment analysis revealed that MGI single amplified genomes (SAGs) are genetically and biogeographically distinct from existing thaumarchaea cultures obtained from surface waters. Confirming prior studies, we found genes encoding proteins for aerobic ammonia oxidation and the hydrolysis of urea, which may be used for energy production, as well as genes involved in 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate and oxidative tricarboxylic acid pathways. A large proportion of protein sequences identified in MGI SAGs were absent in the marine cultures Cenarchaeum symbiosum and Nitrosopumilus maritimus, thus expanding the predicted protein space for this archaeal group. Identifiable genes located on genomic islands with low metagenome recruitment capacity were enriched in cellular defense functions, likely in response to viral infections or grazing. We show that MGI Thaumarchaeota in the dark ocean may have more flexibility in potential energy sources and adaptations to biotic interactions than the existing, surface-ocean cultures.


September 22, 2019  |  

Anthropogenic N deposition alters the composition of expressed class II fungal peroxidases.

Here, we present evidence that ca. 20 years of experimental N deposition altered the composition of lignin-decaying class II peroxidases expressed by forest floor fungi, a response which has occurred concurrently with reductions in plant litter decomposition and a rapid accumulation of soil organic matter. This finding suggests that anthropogenic N deposition has induced changes in the biological mediation of lignin decay, the rate limiting step in plant litter decomposition. Thus, an altered composition of transcripts for a critical gene that is associated with terrestrial C cycling may explain the increased soil C storage under long-term increases in anthropogenic N deposition.IMPORTANCE Fungal class II peroxidases are enzymes that mediate the rate-limiting step in the decomposition of plant material, which involves the oxidation of lignin and other polyphenols. In field experiments, anthropogenic N deposition has increased soil C storage in forests, a result which could potentially arise from anthropogenic N-induced changes in the composition of class II peroxidases expressed by the fungal community. In this study, we have gained unique insight into how anthropogenic N deposition, a widespread agent of global change, affects the expression of a functional gene encoding an enzyme that plays a critical role in a biologically mediated ecosystem process. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

In vitro characterization of phenylacetate decarboxylase, a novel enzyme catalyzing toluene biosynthesis in an anaerobic microbial community.

Anaerobic bacterial biosynthesis of toluene from phenylacetate was reported more than two decades ago, but the biochemistry underlying this novel metabolism has never been elucidated. Here we report results of in vitro characterization studies of a novel phenylacetate decarboxylase from an anaerobic, sewage-derived enrichment culture that quantitatively produces toluene from phenylacetate; complementary metagenomic and metaproteomic analyses are also presented. Among the noteworthy findings is that this enzyme is not the well-characterized clostridial p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylase (CsdBC). However, the toluene synthase under study appears to be able to catalyze both phenylacetate and p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylation. Observations suggesting that phenylacetate and p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylation in complex cell-free extracts were catalyzed by the same enzyme include the following: (i) the specific activity for both substrates was comparable in cell-free extracts, (ii) the two activities displayed identical behavior during chromatographic separation of cell-free extracts, (iii) both activities were irreversibly inactivated upon exposure to O2, and (iv) both activities were similarly inhibited by an amide analog of p-hydroxyphenylacetate. Based upon these and other data, we hypothesize that the toluene synthase reaction involves a glycyl radical decarboxylase. This first-time study of the phenylacetate decarboxylase reaction constitutes an important step in understanding and ultimately harnessing it for making bio-based toluene.


September 22, 2019  |  

Cultivation and sequencing of rumen microbiome members from the Hungate1000 Collection.

Productivity of ruminant livestock depends on the rumen microbiota, which ferment indigestible plant polysaccharides into nutrients used for growth. Understanding the functions carried out by the rumen microbiota is important for reducing greenhouse gas production by ruminants and for developing biofuels from lignocellulose. We present 410 cultured bacteria and archaea, together with their reference genomes, representing every cultivated rumen-associated archaeal and bacterial family. We evaluate polysaccharide degradation, short-chain fatty acid production and methanogenesis pathways, and assign specific taxa to functions. A total of 336 organisms were present in available rumen metagenomic data sets, and 134 were present in human gut microbiome data sets. Comparison with the human microbiome revealed rumen-specific enrichment for genes encoding de novo synthesis of vitamin B12, ongoing evolution by gene loss and potential vertical inheritance of the rumen microbiome based on underrepresentation of markers of environmental stress. We estimate that our Hungate genome resource represents ~75% of the genus-level bacterial and archaeal taxa present in the rumen.


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