June 1, 2021  |  

A comprehensive lincRNA analysis: From conifers to trees

We have produced an updated annotation of the Norway spruce genome on the basis of an in siliconormalised set of RNA-Seq data obtained from 1,529 samples and comprising 15.5 billion paired-end Illumina HiSeq reads complemented by 18Mbp of PacBio cDNA data (3.2M sequences). In addition to augmenting and refining the previous protein coding gene annotation, here we focus on the addition of long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) and micro RNA (miRNA) genes. In addition to non-coding loci, our analyses also identified protein coding genes that had been missed by the initial genome annotation and enabled us to update the annotation of existing gene models. In particular, splice variant information, as supported by PacBio sequencing reads, has been added to the current annotation and previously fragmented gene models have been merged by scaffolding disjoint genomic scaffolds on the basis of transcript evidence. Using this refined annotation, a targeted analysis of the lincRNAs enabled their classification as i) deeply conserved, ii) conserved in seed plants iii) gymnosperm/conifer specific. Concurrently, complementary analyses were performed as part of the aspen genome project and the results of a comparative analysis of the lincRNAs conserved in both Norway spruce and Eurasian aspen enabled us to identify conserved and diverged expression profiles. At present, we are delving further into the expression results with the aim to functionally annotate the lincRNA genes, by developing a co-expression network analyses based GO annotation.


June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT-Cappable-seq reveals the complex operome of bacteria

SMRT-Cappable-seq combines the isolation of full-length prokaryotic primary transcripts with long read sequencing technology. It is the first experimental methodology to sequence entire prokaryotic transcripts. It identifies the transcription start site and termination site, thereby directly defines the operon structures genome-wide in prokaryotes. Applied to E.coli, SMRT-Cappable-seq identifies a total of ~2300 operons, among which ~900 are novel. Importantly, our result reveals a pervasive read-through of previous experimentally validated transcription termination sites. Termination read-through represents a powerful strategy to control gene expression. Taken together this data provides a first glance at the complexity of the ‘operome’ in bacteria and presents an invaluable resource for understanding gene regulation and function in bacteria.


June 1, 2021  |  

Full-length cDNA sequencing of prokaryotic transcriptome and metatranscriptome samples

Next-generation sequencing has become a useful tool for studying transcriptomes. However, these methods typically rely on sequencing short fragments of cDNA, then attempting to assemble the pieces into full-length transcripts. Here, we describe a method that uses PacBio long reads to sequence full-length cDNAs from individual transcriptomes and metatranscriptome samples. We have adapted the PacBio Iso-Seq protocol for use with prokaryotic samples by incorporating RNA polyadenylation and rRNA-depletion steps. In conjunction with SMRT Sequencing, which has average readlengths of 10-15 kb, we are able to sequence entire transcripts, including polycistronic RNAs, in a single read. Here, we show full-length bacterial transcriptomes with the ability to visualize transcription of operons. In the area of metatranscriptomics, long reads reveal unambiguous gene sequences without the need for post-sequencing transcript assembly. We also show full-length bacterial transcripts sequenced after being treated with NEB’s Cappable-Seq, which is an alternative method for depleting rRNA and enriching for full-length transcripts with intact 5’ ends. Combining Cappable-Seq with PacBio long reads allows for the detection of transcription start sites, with the additional benefit of sequencing entire transcripts.


April 21, 2020  |  

A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.

Chemical defense against predators is widespread in natural ecosystems. Occasionally, taxonomically distant organisms share the same defense chemical. Here, we describe an unusual tripartite marine symbiosis, in which an intracellular bacterial symbiont (“Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens”) uses a diverse array of biosynthetic enzymes to convert simple substrates into a library of complex molecules (the kahalalides) for chemical defense of the host, the alga Bryopsis sp., against predation. The kahalalides are subsequently hijacked by a third partner, the herbivorous mollusk Elysia rufescens, and employed similarly for defense. “Ca E. kahalalidefaciens” has lost many essential traits for free living and acts as a factory for kahalalide production. This interaction between a bacterium, an alga, and an animal highlights the importance of chemical defense in the evolution of complex symbioses.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Relative Performance of MinION (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) versus Sequel (Pacific Biosciences) Third-Generation Sequencing Instruments in Identification of Agricultural and Forest Fungal Pathogens.

Culture-based molecular identification methods have revolutionized detection of pathogens, yet these methods are slow and may yield inconclusive results from environmental materials. The second-generation sequencing tools have much-improved precision and sensitivity of detection, but these analyses are costly and may take several days to months. Of the third-generation sequencing techniques, the portable MinION device (Oxford Nanopore Technologies) has received much attention because of its small size and possibility of rapid analysis at reasonable cost. Here, we compare the relative performances of two third-generation sequencing instruments, MinION and Sequel (Pacific Biosciences), in identification and diagnostics of fungal and oomycete pathogens from conifer (Pinaceae) needles and potato (Solanum tuberosum) leaves and tubers. We demonstrate that the Sequel instrument is efficient for metabarcoding of complex samples, whereas MinION is not suited for this purpose due to a high error rate and multiple biases. However, we find that MinION can be utilized for rapid and accurate identification of dominant pathogenic organisms and other associated organisms from plant tissues following both amplicon-based and PCR-free metagenomics approaches. Using the metagenomics approach with shortened DNA extraction and incubation times, we performed the entire MinION workflow, from sample preparation through DNA extraction, sequencing, bioinformatics, and interpretation, in 2.5 h. We advocate the use of MinION for rapid diagnostics of pathogens and potentially other organisms, but care needs to be taken to control or account for multiple potential technical biases.IMPORTANCE Microbial pathogens cause enormous losses to agriculture and forestry, but current combined culturing- and molecular identification-based detection methods are too slow for rapid identification and application of countermeasures. Here, we develop new and rapid protocols for Oxford Nanopore MinION-based third-generation diagnostics of plant pathogens that greatly improve the speed of diagnostics. However, due to high error rate and technical biases in MinION, the Pacific BioSciences Sequel platform is more useful for in-depth amplicon-based biodiversity monitoring (metabarcoding) from complex environmental samples.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa small colony variants derived from a chronic infection model.

Phenotypic change is a hallmark of bacterial adaptation during chronic infection. In the case of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in patients with cystic fibrosis, well-characterized phenotypic variants include mucoid and small colony variants (SCVs). It has previously been shown that SCVs can be reproducibly isolated from the murine lung following the establishment of chronic infection with mucoid P. aeruginosa strain NH57388A. Using a combination of single-molecule real-time (PacBio) and Illumina sequencing we identify a large genomic inversion in the SCV through recombination between homologous regions of two rRNA operons and an associated truncation of one of the 16S rRNA genes and suggest this may be the genetic switch for conversion to the SCV phenotype. This phenotypic conversion is associated with large-scale transcriptional changes distributed throughout the genome. This global rewiring of the cellular transcriptomic output results in changes to normally differentially regulated genes that modulate resistance to oxidative stress, central metabolism and virulence. These changes are of clinical relevance because the appearance of SCVs during chronic infection is associated with declining lung function.


April 21, 2020  |  

Metatranscriptomic evidence for classical and RuBisCO-mediated CO2 reduction to methane facilitated by direct interspecies electron transfer in a methanogenic system.

In a staged anaerobic fluidized-bed ceramic membrane bioreactor, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses were performed to decipher the microbial interactions on the granular activated carbon. Metagenome bins, representing the predominating microbes in the bioreactor: syntrophic propionate-oxidizing bacteria (SPOB), acetoclastic Methanothrix concilii, and exoelectrogenic Geobacter lovleyi, were successfully recovered for the reconstruction and analysis of metabolic pathways involved in the transformation of fatty acids to methane. In particular, SPOB degraded propionate into acetate, which was further converted into methane and CO2 by M. concilii via the acetoclastic methanogenesis. Concurrently, G. lovleyi oxidized acetate into CO2, releasing electrons into the extracellular environment. By accepting these electrons through direct interspecies electron transfer (DIET), M. concilii was capable of performing CO2 reduction for further methane formation. Most notably, an alternative RuBisCO-mediated CO2 reduction (the reductive hexulose-phosphate (RHP) pathway) is transcriptionally-active in M. concilii. This RHP pathway enables M. concilii dominance and energy gain by carbon fixation and methanogenesis, respectively via a methyl-H4MPT intermediate, constituting the third methanogenesis route. The complete acetate reduction (2 mole methane formation/1 mole acetate consumption), coupling of acetoclastic methanogenesis and two CO2 reduction pathways, are thermodynamically favorable even under very low substrate condition (down to to 10-5?M level). Such tight interactions via both mediated and direct interspecies electron transfer (MIET and DIET), induced by the conductive GAC promote the overall efficiency of bioenergy processes.


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