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  |  

Metagenomic binning and association of plasmids with bacterial host genomes using DNA methylation.

Shotgun metagenomics methods enable characterization of microbial communities in human microbiome and environmental samples. Assembly of metagenome sequences does not output whole genomes, so computational binning methods have been developed to cluster sequences into genome ‘bins’. These methods exploit sequence composition, species abundance, or chromosome organization but cannot fully distinguish closely related species and strains. We present a binning method that incorporates bacterial DNA methylation signatures, which are detected using single-molecule real-time sequencing. Our method takes advantage of these endogenous epigenetic barcodes to resolve individual reads and assembled contigs into species- and strain-level bins. We validate our method using synthetic and real microbiome sequences. In addition to genome binning, we show that our method links plasmids and other mobile genetic elements to their host species in a real microbiome sample. Incorporation of DNA methylation information into shotgun metagenomics analyses will complement existing methods to enable more accurate sequence binning.


September 22, 2019  |  

The methylome of the gut microbiome: disparate Dam methylation patterns in intestinal Bacteroides dorei

Despite the large interest in the human microbiome in recent years, there are no reports of bacterial DNA methylation in the microbiome. Here metagenomic sequencing using the Pacific Biosciences platform allowed for rapid identification of bacterial GATC methylation status of a bacterial species in human stool samples. For this work, two stool samples were chosen that were dominated by a single species, Bacteroides dorei. Based on 16S rRNA analysis, this species represented over 45% of the bacteria present in these two samples. The B. dorei genome sequence from these samples was determined and the GATC methylation sites mapped. The Bacteroides dorei genome from one subject lacked any GATC methylation and lacked the DNA adenine methyltransferase genes. In contrast, B. dorei from another subject contained 20,551 methylated GATC sites. Of the 4970 open reading frames identified in the GATC methylated B. dorei genome, 3184 genes were methylated as well as 1735 GATC methylations in intergenic regions. These results suggest that DNA methylation patterns are important to consider in multi-omic analyses of microbiome samples seeking to discover the diversity of bacterial functions and may differ between disease states.


September 22, 2019  |  

Uncovering full-length transcript isoforms of sugarcane cultivar Khon Kaen 3 using single-molecule long-read sequencing.

Sugarcane is an important global food crop and energy resource. To facilitate the sugarcane improvement program, genome and gene information are important for studying traits at the molecular level. Most currently available transcriptome data for sugarcane were generated using second-generation sequencing platforms, which provide short reads. The de novo assembled transcripts from these data are limited in length, and hence may be incomplete and inaccurate, especially for long RNAs.We generated a transcriptome dataset of leaf tissue from a commercial Thai sugarcane cultivar Khon Kaen 3 (KK3) using PacBio RS II single-molecule long-read sequencing by the Iso-Seq method. Short-read RNA-Seq data were generated from the same RNA sample using the Ion Proton platform for reducing base calling errors.A total of 119,339 error-corrected transcripts were generated with the N50 length of 3,611 bp, which is on average longer than any previously reported sugarcane transcriptome dataset. 110,253 sequences (92.4%) contain an open reading frame (ORF) of at least 300 bp long with ORF N50 of 1,416 bp. The mean lengths of 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions in 73,795 sequences with complete ORFs are 1,249 and 1,187 bp, respectively. 4,774 transcripts are putatively novel full-length transcripts which do not match with a previous Iso-Seq study of sugarcane. We annotated the functions of 68,962 putative full-length transcripts with at least 90% coverage when compared with homologous protein coding sequences in other plants.The new catalog of transcripts will be useful for genome annotation, identification of splicing variants, SNP identification, and other research pertaining to the sugarcane improvement program. The putatively novel transcripts suggest unique features of KK3, although more data from different tissues and stages of development are needed to establish a reference transcriptome of this cultivar.


September 22, 2019  |  

An improved assembly and annotation of the allohexaploid wheat genome identifies complete families of agronomic genes and provides genomic evidence for chromosomal translocations.

Advances in genome sequencing and assembly technologies are generating many high-quality genome sequences, but assemblies of large, repeat-rich polyploid genomes, such as that of bread wheat, remain fragmented and incomplete. We have generated a new wheat whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly using a combination of optimized data types and an assembly algorithm designed to deal with large and complex genomes. The new assembly represents >78% of the genome with a scaffold N50 of 88.8 kb that has a high fidelity to the input data. Our new annotation combines strand-specific Illumina RNA-seq and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) full-length cDNAs to identify 104,091 high-confidence protein-coding genes and 10,156 noncoding RNA genes. We confirmed three known and identified one novel genome rearrangements. Our approach enables the rapid and scalable assembly of wheat genomes, the identification of structural variants, and the definition of complete gene models, all powerful resources for trait analysis and breeding of this key global crop. © 2017 Clavijo et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


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  |  

Differential increases of specific FMR1 mRNA isoforms in premutation carriers.

Over 40% of male and ~16% of female carriers of a premutation FMR1 allele (55-200 CGG repeats) will develop fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, an adult onset neurodegenerative disorder, while about 20% of female carriers will develop fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency. Marked elevation in FMR1 mRNA transcript levels has been observed with premutation alleles, and RNA toxicity due to increased mRNA levels is the leading molecular mechanism proposed for these disorders. However, although the FMR1 gene undergoes alternative splicing, it is unknown whether all or only some of the isoforms are overexpressed in premutation carriers and which isoforms may contribute to the premutation pathology.To address this question, we have applied a long-read sequencing approach using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and qRT-PCR. Our SMRT sequencing analysis performed on peripheral blood mononuclear cells, fibroblasts and brain tissue samples derived from premutation carriers and controls revealed the existence of 16 isoforms of 24 predicted variants. Although the relative abundance of all mRNA isoforms was significantly increased in the premutation group, as expected based on the bulk increase in mRNA levels, there was a disproportionate (fourfold to sixfold) increase, relative to the overall increase in mRNA, in the abundance of isoforms spliced at both exons 12 and 14, specifically Iso10 and Iso10b, containing the complete exon 15 and differing only in splicing in exon 17.These findings suggest that RNA toxicity may arise from a relative increase of all FMR1 mRNA isoforms. Interestingly, the Iso10 and Iso10b mRNA isoforms, lacking the C-terminal functional sites for fragile X mental retardation protein function, are the most increased in premutation carriers relative to normal, suggesting a functional relevance in the pathology of FMR1-associated disorders. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.


September 22, 2019  |  

Alternative polyadenylation: methods, findings, and impacts.

Alternative polyadenylation (APA), a phenomenon that RNA molecules with different 3′ ends originate from distinct polyadenylation sites of a single gene, is emerging as a mechanism widely used to regulate gene expression. In the present review, we first summarized various methods prevalently adopted in APA study, mainly focused on the next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based techniques specially designed for APA identification, the related bioinformatics methods, and the strategies for APA study in single cells. Then we summarized the main findings and advances so far based on these methods, including the preferences of alternative polyA (pA) site, the biological processes involved, and the corresponding consequences. We especially categorized the APA changes discovered so far and discussed their potential functions under given conditions, along with the possible underlying molecular mechanisms. With more in-depth studies on extensive samples, more signatures and functions of APA will be revealed, and its diverse roles will gradually heave in sight. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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  |  

The third revolution in sequencing technology.

Forty years ago the advent of Sanger sequencing was revolutionary as it allowed complete genome sequences to be deciphered for the first time. A second revolution came when next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies appeared, which made genome sequencing much cheaper and faster. However, NGS methods have several drawbacks and pitfalls, most notably their short reads. Recently, third-generation/long-read methods appeared, which can produce genome assemblies of unprecedented quality. Moreover, these technologies can directly detect epigenetic modifications on native DNA and allow whole-transcript sequencing without the need for assembly. This marks the third revolution in sequencing technology. Here we review and compare the various long-read methods. We discuss their applications and their respective strengths and weaknesses and provide future perspectives. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Separation and parallel sequencing of the genomes and transcriptomes of single cells using G&T-seq.

Parallel sequencing of a single cell’s genome and transcriptome provides a powerful tool for dissecting genetic variation and its relationship with gene expression. Here we present a detailed protocol for G&T-seq, a method for separation and parallel sequencing of genomic DNA and full-length polyA(+) mRNA from single cells. We provide step-by-step instructions for the isolation and lysis of single cells; the physical separation of polyA(+) mRNA from genomic DNA using a modified oligo-dT bead capture and the respective whole-transcriptome and whole-genome amplifications; and library preparation and sequence analyses of these amplification products. The method allows the detection of thousands of transcripts in parallel with the genetic variants captured by the DNA-seq data from the same single cell. G&T-seq differs from other currently available methods for parallel DNA and RNA sequencing from single cells, as it involves physical separation of the DNA and RNA and does not require bespoke microfluidics platforms. The process can be implemented manually or through automation. When performed manually, paired genome and transcriptome sequencing libraries from eight single cells can be produced in ~3 d by researchers experienced in molecular laboratory work. For users with experience in the programming and operation of liquid-handling robots, paired DNA and RNA libraries from 96 single cells can be produced in the same time frame. Sequence analysis and integration of single-cell G&T-seq DNA and RNA data requires a high level of bioinformatics expertise and familiarity with a wide range of informatics tools.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptome profiling using single-molecule direct RNA sequencing approach for in-depth understanding of genes in secondary metabolism pathways of Camellia sinensis.

Characteristic secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, theanine and caffeine, are important components of Camellia sinensis, and their biosynthesis has attracted widespread interest. Previous studies on the biosynthesis of these major secondary metabolites using next-generation sequencing technologies limited the accurately prediction of full-length (FL) splice isoforms. Herein, we applied single-molecule sequencing to pooled tea plant tissues, to provide a more complete transcriptome of C. sinensis. Moreover, we identified 94 FL transcripts and four alternative splicing events for enzyme-coding genes involved in the biosynthesis of flavonoids, theanine and caffeine. According to the comparison between long-read isoforms and assemble transcripts, we improved the quality and accuracy of genes sequenced by short-read next-generation sequencing technology. The resulting FL transcripts, together with the improved assembled transcripts and identified alternative splicing events, enhance our understanding of genes involved in the biosynthesis of characteristic secondary metabolites in C. sinensis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Computational identification of novel genes: current and future perspectives.

While it has long been thought that all genomic novelties are derived from the existing material, many genes lacking homology to known genes were found in recent genome projects. Some of these novel genes were proposed to have evolved de novo, ie, out of noncoding sequences, whereas some have been shown to follow a duplication and divergence process. Their discovery called for an extension of the historical hypotheses about gene origination. Besides the theoretical breakthrough, increasing evidence accumulated that novel genes play important roles in evolutionary processes, including adaptation and speciation events. Different techniques are available to identify genes and classify them as novel. Their classification as novel is usually based on their similarity to known genes, or lack thereof, detected by comparative genomics or against databases. Computational approaches are further prime methods that can be based on existing models or leveraging biological evidences from experiments. Identification of novel genes remains however a challenging task. With the constant software and technologies updates, no gold standard, and no available benchmark, evaluation and characterization of genomic novelty is a vibrant field. In this review, the classical and state-of-the-art tools for gene prediction are introduced. The current methods for novel gene detection are presented; the methodological strategies and their limits are discussed along with perspective approaches for further studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

The role of MHC-E in T cell immunity is conserved among humans, rhesus macaques, and cynomolgus macaques.

MHC-E is a highly conserved nonclassical MHC class Ib molecule that predominantly binds and presents MHC class Ia leader sequence-derived peptides for NK cell regulation. However, MHC-E also binds pathogen-derived peptide Ags for presentation to CD8+ T cells. Given this role in adaptive immunity and its highly monomorphic nature in the human population, HLA-E is an attractive target for novel vaccine and immunotherapeutic modalities. Development of HLA-E-targeted therapies will require a physiologically relevant animal model that recapitulates HLA-E-restricted T cell biology. In this study, we investigated MHC-E immunobiology in two common nonhuman primate species, Indian-origin rhesus macaques (RM) and Mauritian-origin cynomolgus macaques (MCM). Compared to humans and MCM, RM expressed a greater number of MHC-E alleles at both the population and individual level. Despite this difference, human, RM, and MCM MHC-E molecules were expressed at similar levels across immune cell subsets, equivalently upregulated by viral pathogens, and bound and presented identical peptides to CD8+ T cells. Indeed, SIV-specific, Mamu-E-restricted CD8+ T cells from RM recognized antigenic peptides presented by all MHC-E molecules tested, including cross-species recognition of human and MCM SIV-infected CD4+ T cells. Thus, MHC-E is functionally conserved among humans, RM, and MCM, and both RM and MCM represent physiologically relevant animal models of HLA-E-restricted T cell immunobiology. Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

A comprehensive fungi-specific 18S rRNA gene sequence primer toolkit suited for diverse research issues and sequencing platforms.

Several fungi-specific primers target the 18S rRNA gene sequence, one of the prominent markers for fungal classification. The design of most primers goes back to the last decades. Since then, the number of sequences in public databases increased leading to the discovery of new fungal groups and changes in fungal taxonomy. However, no reevaluation of primers was carried out and relevant information on most primers is missing. With this study, we aimed to develop an 18S rRNA gene sequence primer toolkit allowing an easy selection of the best primer pair appropriate for different sequencing platforms, research aims (biodiversity assessment versus isolate classification) and target groups.We performed an intensive literature research, reshuffled existing primers into new pairs, designed new Illumina-primers, and annealing blocking oligonucleotides. A final number of 439 primer pairs were subjected to in silico PCRs. Best primer pairs were selected and experimentally tested. The most promising primer pair with a small amplicon size, nu-SSU-1333-5’/nu-SSU-1647-3′ (FF390/FR-1), was successful in describing fungal communities by Illumina sequencing. Results were confirmed by a simultaneous metagenomics and eukaryote-specific primer approach. Co-amplification occurred in all sample types but was effectively reduced by blocking oligonucleotides.The compiled data revealed the presence of an enormous diversity of fungal 18S rRNA gene primer pairs in terms of fungal coverage, phylum spectrum and co-amplification. Therefore, the primer pair has to be carefully selected to fulfill the requirements of the individual research projects. The presented primer toolkit offers comprehensive lists of 164 primers, 439 primer combinations, 4 blocking oligonucleotides, and top primer pairs holding all relevant information including primer’s characteristics and performance to facilitate primer pair selection.


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