July 19, 2019  |  

The methylomes of six bacteria.

Six bacterial genomes, Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, Chromohalobacter salexigens, Vibrio breoganii 1C-10, Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni 81-176 and C. jejuni NCTC 11168, all of which had previously been sequenced using other platforms were re-sequenced using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing specifically to analyze their methylomes. In every case a number of new N(6)-methyladenine ((m6)A) and N(4)-methylcytosine ((m4)C) methylation patterns were discovered and the DNA methyltransferases (MTases) responsible for those methylation patterns were assigned. In 15 cases, it was possible to match MTase genes with MTase recognition sequences without further sub-cloning. Two Type I restriction systems required sub-cloning to differentiate their recognition sequences, while four MTase genes that were not expressed in the native organism were sub-cloned to test for viability and recognition sequences. Two of these proved active. No attempt was made to detect 5-methylcytosine ((m5)C) recognition motifs from the SMRT® sequencing data because this modification produces weaker signals using current methods. However, all predicted (m6)A and (m4)C MTases were detected unambiguously. This study shows that the addition of SMRT sequencing to traditional sequencing approaches gives a wealth of useful functional information about a genome showing not only which MTase genes are active but also revealing their recognition sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

The complex methylome of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.

The genome of Helicobacter pylori is remarkable for its large number of restriction-modification (R-M) systems, and strain-specific diversity in R-M systems has been suggested to limit natural transformation, the major driving force of genetic diversification in H. pylori. We have determined the comprehensive methylomes of two H. pylori strains at single base resolution, using Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT®) sequencing. For strains 26695 and J99-R3, 17 and 22 methylated sequence motifs were identified, respectively. For most motifs, almost all sites occurring in the genome were detected as methylated. Twelve novel methylation patterns corresponding to nine recognition sequences were detected (26695, 3; J99-R3, 6). Functional inactivation, correction of frameshifts as well as cloning and expression of candidate methyltransferases (MTases) permitted not only the functional characterization of multiple, yet undescribed, MTases, but also revealed novel features of both Type I and Type II R-M systems, including frameshift-mediated changes of sequence specificity and the interaction of one MTase with two alternative specificity subunits resulting in different methylation patterns. The methylomes of these well-characterized H. pylori strains will provide a valuable resource for future studies investigating the role of H. pylori R-M systems in limiting transformation as well as in gene regulation and host interaction.


July 19, 2019  |  

Modeling kinetic rate variation in third generation DNA sequencing data to detect putative modifications to DNA bases.

Current generation DNA sequencing instruments are moving closer to seamlessly sequencing genomes of entire populations as a routine part of scientific investigation. However, while significant inroads have been made identifying small nucleotide variation and structural variations in DNA that impact phenotypes of interest, progress has not been as dramatic regarding epigenetic changes and base-level damage to DNA, largely due to technological limitations in assaying all known and unknown types of modifications at genome scale. Recently, single-molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing has been reported to identify kinetic variation (KV) events that have been demonstrated to reflect epigenetic changes of every known type, providing a path forward for detecting base modifications as a routine part of sequencing. However, to date no statistical framework has been proposed to enhance the power to detect these events while also controlling for false-positive events. By modeling enzyme kinetics in the neighborhood of an arbitrary location in a genomic region of interest as a conditional random field, we provide a statistical framework for incorporating kinetic information at a test position of interest as well as at neighboring sites that help enhance the power to detect KV events. The performance of this and related models is explored, with the best-performing model applied to plasmid DNA isolated from Escherichia coli and mitochondrial DNA isolated from human brain tissue. We highlight widespread kinetic variation events, some of which strongly associate with known modification events, while others represent putative chemically modified sites of unknown types.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complex interplay among DNA modification, noncoding RNA expression and protein-coding RNA expression in Salvia miltiorrhiza chloroplast genome.

Salvia miltiorrhiza is one of the most widely used medicinal plants. As a first step to develop a chloroplast-based genetic engineering method for the over-production of active components from S. miltiorrhiza, we have analyzed the genome, transcriptome, and base modifications of the S. miltiorrhiza chloroplast. Total genomic DNA and RNA were extracted from fresh leaves and then subjected to strand-specific RNA-Seq and Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing analyses. Mapping the RNA-Seq reads to the genome assembly allowed us to determine the relative expression levels of 80 protein-coding genes. In addition, we identified 19 polycistronic transcription units and 136 putative antisense and intergenic noncoding RNA (ncRNA) genes. Comparison of the abundance of protein-coding transcripts (cRNA) with and without overlapping antisense ncRNAs (asRNA) suggest that the presence of asRNA is associated with increased cRNA abundance (p<0.05). Using the SMRT Portal software (v1.3.2), 2687 potential DNA modification sites and two potential DNA modification motifs were predicted. The two motifs include a TATA box-like motif (CPGDMM1, "TATANNNATNA"), and an unknown motif (CPGDMM2 "WNYANTGAW"). Specifically, 35 of the 97 CPGDMM1 motifs (36.1%) and 91 of the 369 CPGDMM2 motifs (24.7%) were found to be significantly modified (p<0.01). Analysis of genes downstream of the CPGDMM1 motif revealed the significantly increased abundance of ncRNA genes that are less than 400 bp away from the significantly modified CPGDMM1motif (p<0.01). Taking together, the present study revealed a complex interplay among DNA modifications, ncRNA and cRNA expression in chloroplast genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

Detecting DNA modifications from SMRT sequencing data by modeling sequence context dependence of polymerase kinetic.

DNA modifications such as methylation and DNA damage can play critical regulatory roles in biological systems. Single molecule, real time (SMRT) sequencing technology generates DNA sequences as well as DNA polymerase kinetic information that can be used for the direct detection of DNA modifications. We demonstrate that local sequence context has a strong impact on DNA polymerase kinetics in the neighborhood of the incorporation site during the DNA synthesis reaction, allowing for the possibility of estimating the expected kinetic rate of the enzyme at the incorporation site using kinetic rate information collected from existing SMRT sequencing data (historical data) covering the same local sequence contexts of interest. We develop an Empirical Bayesian hierarchical model for incorporating historical data. Our results show that the model could greatly increase DNA modification detection accuracy, and reduce requirement of control data coverage. For some DNA modifications that have a strong signal, a control sample is not even needed by using historical data as alternative to control. Thus, sequencing costs can be greatly reduced by using the model. We implemented the model in a R package named seqPatch, which is available at https://github.com/zhixingfeng/seqPatch.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comprehensive methylome characterization of Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae at single-base resolution.

In the bacterial world, methylation is most commonly associated with restriction-modification systems that provide a defense mechanism against invading foreign genomes. In addition, it is known that methylation plays functionally important roles, including timing of DNA replication, chromosome partitioning, DNA repair, and regulation of gene expression. However, full DNA methylome analyses are scarce due to a lack of a simple methodology for rapid and sensitive detection of common epigenetic marks (ie N(6)-methyladenine (6 mA) and N(4)-methylcytosine (4 mC)), in these organisms. Here, we use Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing to determine the methylomes of two related human pathogen species, Mycoplasma genitalium G-37 and Mycoplasma pneumoniae M129, with single-base resolution. Our analysis identified two new methylation motifs not previously described in bacteria: a widespread 6 mA methylation motif common to both bacteria (5′-CTAT-3′), as well as a more complex Type I m6A sequence motif in M. pneumoniae (5′-GAN(7)TAY-3’/3′-CTN(7)ATR-5′). We identify the methyltransferase responsible for the common motif and suggest the one involved in M. pneumoniae only. Analysis of the distribution of methylation sites across the genome of M. pneumoniae suggests a potential role for methylation in regulating the cell cycle, as well as in regulation of gene expression. To our knowledge, this is one of the first direct methylome profiling studies with single-base resolution from a bacterial organism.


July 19, 2019  |  

Exploring the roles of DNA methylation in the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1.

We performed whole-genome analyses of DNA methylation in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 to examine its possible role in regulating gene expression and other cellular processes. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing revealed extensive methylation of adenine (N6mA) throughout the genome. These methylated bases were located in five sequence motifs, including three novel targets for type I restriction/modification enzymes. The sequence motifs targeted by putative methyltranferases were determined via SMRT sequencing of gene knockout mutants. In addition, we found that S. oneidensis MR-1 cultures grown under various culture conditions displayed different DNA methylation patterns. However, the small number of differentially methylated sites could not be directly linked to the much larger number of differentially expressed genes under these conditions, suggesting that DNA methylation is not a major regulator of gene expression in S. oneidensis MR-1. The enrichment of methylated GATC motifs in the origin of replication indicates that DNA methylation may regulate genome replication in a manner similar to that seen in Escherichia coli. Furthermore, comparative analyses suggest that many Gammaproteobacteria, including all members of the Shewanellaceae family, may also utilize DNA methylation to regulate genome replication.


July 19, 2019  |  

Global methylation state at base-pair resolution of the Caulobacter genome throughout the cell cycle.

The Caulobacter DNA methyltransferase CcrM is one of five master cell-cycle regulators. CcrM is transiently present near the end of DNA replication when it rapidly methylates the adenine in hemimethylated GANTC sequences. The timing of transcription of two master regulator genes and two cell division genes is controlled by the methylation state of GANTC sites in their promoters. To explore the global extent of this regulatory mechanism, we determined the methylation state of the entire chromosome at every base pair at five time points in the cell cycle using single-molecule, real-time sequencing. The methylation state of 4,515 GANTC sites, preferentially positioned in intergenic regions, changed progressively from full to hemimethylation as the replication forks advanced. However, 27 GANTC sites remained unmethylated throughout the cell cycle, suggesting that these protected sites could participate in epigenetic regulatory functions. An analysis of the time of activation of every cell-cycle regulatory transcription start site, coupled to both the position of a GANTC site in their promoter regions and the time in the cell cycle when the GANTC site transitions from full to hemimethylation, allowed the identification of 59 genes as candidates for epigenetic regulation. In addition, we identified two previously unidentified N(6)-methyladenine motifs and showed that they maintained a constant methylation state throughout the cell cycle. The cognate methyltransferase was identified for one of these motifs as well as for one of two 5-methylcytosine motifs.


July 19, 2019  |  

qDNAmod: a statistical model-based tool to reveal intercellular heterogeneity of DNA modification from SMRT sequencing data.

In an isogenic cell population, phenotypic heterogeneity among individual cells is common and critical for survival of the population under different environment conditions. DNA modification is an important epigenetic factor that can regulate phenotypic heterogeneity. The single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology provides a unique platform for detecting a wide range of DNA modifications, including N6-methyladenine (6-mA), N4-methylcytosine (4-mC) and 5-methylcytosine (5-mC). Here we present qDNAmod, a novel bioinformatic tool for genome-wide quantitative profiling of intercellular heterogeneity of DNA modification from SMRT sequencing data. It is capable of estimating proportion of isogenic haploid cells, in which the same loci of the genome are differentially modified. We tested the reliability of qDNAmod with the SMRT sequencing data of Streptococcus pneumoniae strain ST556. qDNAmod detected extensive intercellular heterogeneity of DNA methylation (6-mA) in a clonal population of ST556. Subsequent biochemical analyses revealed that the recognition sequences of two type I restriction–modification (R-M) systems are responsible for the intercellular heterogeneity of DNA methylation initially identified by qDNAmod. qDNAmod thus represents a valuable tool for studying intercellular phenotypic heterogeneity from genome-wide DNA modification.


July 19, 2019  |  

Going beyond five bases in DNA sequencing.

DNA sequencing has provided a wealth of information about biological systems, but thus far has focused on the four canonical bases, and 5-methylcytosine through comparison of the genomic DNA sequence to a transformed four-base sequence obtained after treatment with bisulfite. However, numerous other chemical modifications to the nucleotides are known to control fundamental life functions, influence virulence of pathogens, and are associated with many diseases. These modifications cannot be accessed with traditional sequencing methods. In this opinion, we highlight several emerging single-molecule sequencing techniques that have the potential to directly detect many types of DNA modifications as an integral part of the sequencing protocol. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

A comparative analysis of methylome profiles of Campylobacter jejuni sheep abortion isolate and gastroenteric strains using PacBio data.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of human gastrointestinal disease and small ruminant abortions in the United States. The recent emergence of a highly virulent, tetracycline-resistant C. jejuni subsp. jejuni sheep abortion clone (clone SA) in the United States, and that strain’s association with human disease, has resulted in a heightened awareness of the zoonotic potential of this organism. Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time sequencing technology was used to explore the variation in the genome-wide methylation patterns of the abortifacient clone SA (IA3902) and phenotypically distinct gastrointestinal-specific C. jejuni strains (NCTC 11168 and 81-176). Several notable differences were discovered that distinguished the methylome of IA3902 from that of 11168 and 81-176: identification of motifs novel to IA3902, genome-specific hypo- and hypermethylated regions, strain level variability in genes methylated, and differences in the types of methylation motifs present in each strain. These observations suggest a possible role of methylation in the contrasting disease presentations of these three C. jejuni strains. In addition, the methylation profiles between IA3902 and a luxS mutant were explored to determine if variations in methylation patterns could be identified that might explain the role of LuxS-dependent methyl recycling in IA3902 abortifacient potential.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome-wide methylation patterns in Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovars.

The methylation of DNA bases plays an important role in numerous biological processes including development, gene expression, and DNA replication. Salmonella is an important foodborne pathogen, and methylation in Salmonella is implicated in virulence. Using single molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA-sequencing, we sequenced and assembled the complete genomes of eleven Salmonella enterica isolates from nine different serovars, and analysed the whole-genome methylation patterns of each genome. We describe 16 distinct N6-methyladenine (m6A) methylated motifs, one N4-methylcytosine (m4C) motif, and one combined m6A-m4C motif. Eight of these motifs are novel, i.e., they have not been previously described. We also identified the methyltransferases (MTases) associated with 13 of the motifs. Some motifs are conserved across all Salmonella serovars tested, while others were found only in a subset of serovars. Eight of the nine serovars contained a unique methylated motif that was not found in any other serovar (most of these motifs were part of Type I restriction modification systems), indicating the high diversity of methylation patterns present in Salmonella.


July 19, 2019  |  

Specificity of the ModA11, ModA12 and ModD1 epigenetic regulator N6-adenine DNA methyltransferases of Neisseria meningitidis.

Phase variation (random ON/OFF switching) of gene expression is a common feature of host-adapted pathogenic bacteria. Phase variably expressed N(6)-adenine DNA methyltransferases (Mod) alter global methylation patterns resulting in changes in gene expression. These systems constitute phase variable regulons called phasevarions. Neisseria meningitidis phasevarions regulate genes including virulence factors and vaccine candidates, and alter phenotypes including antibiotic resistance. The target site recognized by these Type III N(6)-adenine DNA methyltransferases is not known. Single molecule, real-time (SMRT) methylome analysis was used to identify the recognition site for three key N. meningitidis methyltransferases: ModA11 (exemplified by M.NmeMC58I) (5′-CGY M6A: G-3′), ModA12 (exemplified by M.Nme77I, M.Nme18I and M.Nme579II) (5′-AC M6A: CC-3′) and ModD1 (exemplified by M.Nme579I) (5′-CC M6A: GC-3′). Restriction inhibition assays and mutagenesis confirmed the SMRT methylome analysis. The ModA11 site is complex and atypical and is dependent on the type of pyrimidine at the central position, in combination with the bases flanking the core recognition sequence 5′-CGY M6A: G-3′. The observed efficiency of methylation in the modA11 strain (MC58) genome ranged from 4.6% at 5′-GCGC M6A: GG-3′ sites, to 100% at 5′-ACGT M6A: GG-3′ sites. Analysis of the distribution of modified sites in the respective genomes shows many cases of association with intergenic regions of genes with altered expression due to phasevarion switching. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

An adenine code for DNA: A second life for N6-methyladenine.

DNA N6-methyladenine (6mA) protects against restriction enzymes in bacteria. However, isolated reports have suggested additional activities and its presence in other organisms, such as unicellular eukaryotes. New data now find that 6mA may have a gene regulatory function in green alga, worm, and fly, suggesting m6A as a potential “epigenetic” mark. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

The complete methylome of Helicobacter pylori UM032.

The genome of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori encodes a large number of DNA methyltransferases (MTases), some of which are shared among many strains, and others of which are unique to a given strain. The MTases have potential roles in the survival of the bacterium. In this study, we sequenced a Malaysian H. pylori clinical strain, designated UM032, by using a combination of PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) and Illumina MiSeq next generation sequencing platforms, and used the SMRT data to characterize the set of methylated bases (the methylome).The N4-methylcytosine and N6-methyladenine modifications detected at single-base resolution using SMRT technology revealed 17 methylated sequence motifs corresponding to one Type I and 16 Type II restriction-modification (R-M) systems. Previously unassigned methylation motifs were now assigned to their respective MTases-coding genes. Furthermore, one gene that appears to be inactive in the H. pylori UM032 genome during normal growth was characterized by cloning.Consistent with previously-studied H. pylori strains, we show that strain UM032 contains a relatively large number of R-M systems, including some MTase activities with novel specificities. Additional studies are underway to further elucidating the biological significance of the R-M systems in the physiology and pathogenesis of H. pylori.


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