September 21, 2019  |  

Retrotransposons are the major contributors to the expansion of the Drosophila ananassae Muller F element.

The discordance between genome size and the complexity of eukaryotes can partly be attributed to differences in repeat density. The Muller F element (~5.2 Mb) is the smallest chromosome in Drosophila melanogaster, but it is substantially larger (>18.7 Mb) in D. ananassae To identify the major contributors to the expansion of the F element and to assess their impact, we improved the genome sequence and annotated the genes in a 1.4-Mb region of the D. ananassae F element, and a 1.7-Mb region from the D element for comparison. We find that transposons (particularly LTR and LINE retrotransposons) are major contributors to this expansion (78.6%), while Wolbachia sequences integrated into the D. ananassae genome are minor contributors (0.02%). Both D. melanogaster and D. ananassae F-element genes exhibit distinct characteristics compared to D-element genes (e.g., larger coding spans, larger introns, more coding exons, and lower codon bias), but these differences are exaggerated in D. ananassae Compared to D. melanogaster, the codon bias observed in D. ananassae F-element genes can primarily be attributed to mutational biases instead of selection. The 5′ ends of F-element genes in both species are enriched in dimethylation of lysine 4 on histone 3 (H3K4me2), while the coding spans are enriched in H3K9me2. Despite differences in repeat density and gene characteristics, D. ananassae F-element genes show a similar range of expression levels compared to genes in euchromatic domains. This study improves our understanding of how transposons can affect genome size and how genes can function within highly repetitive domains. Copyright © 2017 Leung et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

High-quality assembly of an individual of Yoruban descent

De novo assembly of human genomes is now a tractable effort due in part to advances in sequencing and mapping technologies. We use PacBio single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing and BioNano genomic maps to construct the first de novo assembly of NA19240, a Yoruban individual from Africa. This chromosome-scaffolded assembly of 3.08 Gb with a contig N50 of 7.25 Mb and a scaffold N50 of 78.6 Mb represents one of the most contiguous high-quality human genomes. We utilize a BAC library derived from NA19240 DNA and novel haplotype-resolving sequencing technologies and algorithms to characterize regions of complex genomic architecture that are normally lost due to compression to a linear haploid assembly. Our results demonstrate that multiple technologies are still necessary for complete genomic representation, particularly in regions of highly identical segmental duplications. Additionally, we show that diploid assembly has utility in improving the quality of de novo human genome assemblies.


July 19, 2019  |  

A new chicken genome assembly provides insight into avian genome structure.

The importance of the Gallus gallus (chicken) as a model organism and agricultural animal merits a continuation of sequence assembly improvement efforts. We present a new version of the chicken genome assembly (Gallus_gallus-5.0; GCA_000002315.3), built from combined long single molecule sequencing technology, finished BACs, and improved physical maps. In overall assembled bases, we see a gain of 183 Mb, including 16.4 Mb in placed chromosomes with a corresponding gain in the percentage of intact repeat elements characterized. Of the 1.21 Gb genome, we include three previously missing autosomes, GGA30, 31, and 33, and improve sequence contig length 10-fold over the previous Gallus_gallus-4.0. Despite the significant base representation improvements made, 138 Mb of sequence is not yet located to chromosomes. When annotated for gene content, Gallus_gallus-5.0 shows an increase of 4679 annotated genes (2768 noncoding and 1911 protein-coding) over those in Gallus_gallus-4.0. We also revisited the question of what genes are missing in the avian lineage, as assessed by the highest quality avian genome assembly to date, and found that a large fraction of the original set of missing genes are still absent in sequenced bird species. Finally, our new data support a detailed map of MHC-B, encompassing two segments: one with a highly stable gene copy number and another in which the gene copy number is highly variable. The chicken model has been a critical resource for many other fields of study, and this new reference assembly will substantially further these efforts. Copyright © 2017 Warren et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evolution of coreceptor utilization to escape CCR5 antagonist therapy.

The HIV-1 envelope interacts with coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4 in a dynamic, multi-step process, its molecular details not clearly delineated. Use of CCR5 antagonists results in tropism shift and therapeutic failure. Here we describe a novel approach using full-length patient-derived gp160 quasispecies libraries cloned into HIV-1 molecular clones, their separation based on phenotypic tropism in vitro, and deep sequencing of the resultant variants for structure-function analyses. Analysis of functionally validated envelope sequences from patients who failed CCR5 antagonist therapy revealed determinants strongly associated with coreceptor specificity, especially at the gp120-gp41 and gp41-gp41 interaction surfaces that invite future research on the roles of subunit interaction and envelope trimer stability in coreceptor usage. This study identifies important structure-function relationships in HIV-1 envelope, and demonstrates proof of concept for a new integrated analysis method that facilitates laboratory discovery of resistant mutants to aid in development of other therapeutic agents. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Interchromosomal core duplicons drive both evolutionary instability and disease susceptibility of the Chromosome 8p23.1 region.

Recurrent rearrangements of Chromosome 8p23.1 are associated with congenital heart defects and developmental delay. The complexity of this region has led to inconsistencies in the current reference assembly, confounding studies of genetic variation. Using comparative sequence-based approaches, we generated a high-quality 6.3-Mbp alternate reference assembly of an inverted Chromosome 8p23.1 haplotype. Comparison with nonhuman primates reveals a 746-kbp duplicative transposition and two separate inversion events that arose in the last million years of human evolution. The breakpoints associated with these rearrangements map to an ape-specific interchromosomal core duplicon that clusters at sites of evolutionary inversion (P = 7.8 × 10(-5)). Refinement of microdeletion breakpoints identifies a subgroup of patients that map to the same interchromosomal core involved in the evolutionary formation of the duplication blocks. Our results define a higher-order genomic instability element that has shaped the structure of specific chromosomes during primate evolution contributing to rearrangements associated with inversion and disease.© 2016 Mohajeri et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


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