October 23, 2019  |  

A high quality assembly of the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome reveals the structure of two sex determination regions.

Tilapias are the second most farmed fishes in the world and a sustainable source of food. Like many other fish, tilapias are sexually dimorphic and sex is a commercially important trait in these fish. In this study, we developed a significantly improved assembly of the tilapia genome using the latest genome sequencing methods and show how it improves the characterization of two sex determination regions in two tilapia species.A homozygous clonal XX female Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was sequenced to 44X coverage using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT sequencing. Dozens of candidate de novo assemblies were generated and an optimal assembly (contig NG50 of 3.3Mbp) was selected using principal component analysis of likelihood scores calculated from several paired-end sequencing libraries. Comparison of the new assembly to the previous O. niloticus genome assembly reveals that recently duplicated portions of the genome are now well represented. The overall number of genes in the new assembly increased by 27.3%, including a 67% increase in pseudogenes. The new tilapia genome assembly correctly represents two recent vasa gene duplication events that have been verified with BAC sequencing. At total of 146Mbp of additional transposable element sequence are now assembled, a large proportion of which are recent insertions. Large centromeric satellite repeats are assembled and annotated in cichlid fish for the first time. Finally, the new assembly identifies the long-range structure of both a ~9Mbp XY sex determination region on LG1 in O. niloticus, and a ~50Mbp WZ sex determination region on LG3 in the related species O. aureus.This study highlights the use of long read sequencing to correctly assemble recent duplications and to characterize repeat-filled regions of the genome. The study serves as an example of the need for high quality genome assemblies and provides a framework for identifying sex determining genes in tilapia and related fish species.


October 23, 2019  |  

Short DNA hairpins compromise recombinant adeno-associated virus genome homogeneity.

Short hairpin (sh)RNAs delivered by recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are valuable tools to study gene function in vivo and a promising gene therapy platform. Our data show that incorporation of shRNA transgenes into rAAV constructs reduces vector yield and produces a population of truncated and defective genomes. We demonstrate that sequences with hairpins or hairpin-like structures drive the generation of truncated AAV genomes through a polymerase redirection mechanism during viral genome replication. Our findings reveal the importance of genomic secondary structure when optimizing viral vector designs. We also discovered that shDNAs could be adapted to act as surrogate mutant inverted terminal repeats (mTRs), sequences that were previously thought to be required for functional self-complementary AAV vectors. The use of shDNAs as artificial mTRs opens the door to engineering a new generation of AAV vectors with improved potency, genetic stability, and safety for both preclinical studies and human gene therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc.


October 23, 2019  |  

Streamlined ex vivo and in vivo genome editing in mouse embryos using recombinant adeno-associated viruses.

Recent advances using CRISPR-Cas9 approaches have dramatically enhanced the ease for genetic manipulation in rodents. Notwithstanding, the methods to deliver nucleic acids into pre-implantation embryos have hardly changed since the original description of mouse transgenesis more than 30 years ago. Here we report a novel strategy to generate genetically modified mice by transduction of CRISPR-Cas9 components into pre-implantation mouse embryos via recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs). Using this approach, we efficiently generated a variety of targeted mutations in explanted embryos, including indel events produced by non-homologous end joining and tailored mutations using homology-directed repair. We also achieved gene modification in vivo by direct delivery of rAAV particles into the oviduct of pregnant females. Our approach greatly simplifies the generation of genetically modified mice and, more importantly, opens the door for streamlined gene editing in other mammalian species.


October 23, 2019  |  

Development of a Novel Reference Transcriptome for Scleractinian Coral Porites lutea Using Single-Molecule Long-Read Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq)

Elevation in seawater temperature associated with global climate change has caused coral bleaching problems and posed a significant threat to coral health and survival worldwide. Several studies have explored the effects of thermal stress on changes in gene expression levels of both coral hosts and their algal endosymbionts and provided evidences suggesting that corals could acclimatize to environmental stressors through differential regulation of their gene expression (Desalvo et al., 2008, 2010; Császár et al., 2009; Rodriguez-Lanetty et al., 2009; Polato et al., 2010; Meyer et al., 2011; Kenkel et al., 2013). Such information is crucial for understanding the adaptive capacity of the coral holobionts (Hughes et al., 2003). The availability of transcriptome data from a number of coral species and their associated Symbiodinium allows us to probe the molecular stress response of the organisms to heat stress (Traylor-Knowles et al., 2011; Moya et al., 2012; Kenkel et al., 2013; Shinzato et al., 2014; Kitchen et al., 2015; Anderson et al., 2016; Davies et al., 2016). Here, we report the first reference transcriptome for a scleractinian coral Porites lutea, one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific (Yeemin et al., 2009). We applied both short-read Ion S5 RNA sequencing and long-read Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) isoform sequencing (Iso-seq) to generate transcriptome sequences of P. lutea under normal and heat stress conditions. The key advantage of PacBio’s Iso-seq technology lies within its ability to capture full-length mRNA sequences. These full-length transcripts enable the identification of novel genes/isoforms and the detection of alternative splice variants, which have been shown to be overrepresented in stress responses (Iida et al., 2004; Reddy et al., 2013; Liu and Guo, 2017). We envision that this reference transcriptome will provide a coral research community a valuable resource for investigating changes in gene expression under various biotic/abiotic stress conditions.


October 23, 2019  |  

Molecular barcoding of viral vectors enables mapping and optimization of mRNA trans-splicing.

Genome editing has proven to be highly potent in the generation of functional gene knockouts in dividing cells. In the CNS however, efficient technologies to repair sequences are yet to materialize. Reprogramming on the mRNA level is an attractive alternative as it provides means to perform in situ editing of coding sequences without nuclease dependency. Furthermore, de novo sequences can be inserted without the requirement of homologous recombination. Such reprogramming would enable efficient editing in quiescent cells (e.g., neurons) with an attractive safety profile for translational therapies. In this study, we applied a novel molecular-barcoded screening assay to investigate RNA trans-splicing in mammalian neurons. Through three alternative screening systems in cell culture and in vivo, we demonstrate that factors determining trans-splicing are reproducible regardless of the screening system. With this screening, we have located the most permissive trans-splicing sequences targeting an intron in the Synapsin I gene. Using viral vectors, we were able to splice full-length fluorophores into the mRNA while retaining very low off-target expression. Furthermore, this approach also showed evidence of functionality in the mouse striatum. However, in its current form, the trans-splicing events are stochastic and the overall activity lower than would be required for therapies targeting loss-of-function mutations. Nevertheless, the herein described barcode-based screening assay provides a unique possibility to screen and map large libraries in single animals or cell assays with very high precision.© 2018 Davidsson et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.


October 23, 2019  |  

Identification and expression analysis of chemosensory genes in the citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax

The citrus fruit fly Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax is a major and devastating agricultural pest in Asian subtropical countries. Previous studies have shown that B. minax interacts with hosts via an efficient chemosensory system. However, knowledge regarding the molecular components of the B. minax chemosensory system has not yet been well established. Herein, based on our newly generated whole-genome dataset for B. minax and by comparison with the characterized genomes of 6 other fruit fly species, we identified, for the first time, a total of 25 putative odorant-binding receptors (OBPs), 4 single-copy chemosensory proteins (CSPs) and 53 candidate odorant receptors (ORs). To further survey the expression of these candidate genes, the transcriptomes from three developmental stages (larvae, pupae and adults) of B. minax and Bactrocera dorsalis were analyzed. We found that 1) at the adult developmental stage, there were 14 highly expressed OBPs (FPKM>100) in B. dorsalis and 7 highly expressed OBPs in B. minax; 2) the expression of CSP3 and CSP4 in adult B. dorsalis was higher than that in B. minax; and 3) most of the OR genes exhibited low expression at the three developmental stages in both species. This study on the identification of the chemosensory system of B. minax not only enriches the existing research on insect olfactory receptors but also provides new targets for preventative control and ecological regulation of B. minax in the future.


October 23, 2019  |  

Improved production of propionic acid using genome shuffling.

Traditionally derived from fossil fuels, biological production of propionic acid has recently gained interest. Propionibacterium species produce propionic acid as their main fermentation product. Production of other organic acids reduces propionic acid yield and productivity, pointing to by-products gene-knockout strategies as a logical solution to increase yield. However, removing by-product formation has seen limited success due to our inability to genetically engineer the best producing strains (i.e. Propionibacterium acidipropionici). To overcome this limitation, random mutagenesis continues to be the best path towards improving strains for biological propionic acid production. Recent advances in next generation sequencing opened new avenues to understand improved strains. In this work, we use genome shuffling on two wild type strains to generate a better propionic acid producing strain. Using next generation sequencing, we mapped the genomic changes leading to the improved phenotype. The best strain produced 25% more propionic acid than the wild type strain. Sequencing of the strains showed that genomic changes were restricted to single point mutations and gene duplications in well-conserved regions in the genomes. Such results confirm the involvement of gene conversion in genome shuffling as opposed to long genomic insertions. © 2016 The Authors. Biotechnology Journal published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


October 23, 2019  |  

Alternative splicing profile and sex-preferential gene expression in the female and male Pacific abalone Haliotis discus hannai.

In order to characterize the female or male transcriptome of the Pacific abalone and further increase genomic resources, we sequenced the mRNA of full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries derived from pooled tissues of female and male Haliotis discus hannai by employing the Iso-Seq protocol of the PacBio RSII platform. We successfully assembled whole full-length cDNA sequences and constructed a transcriptome database that included isoform information. After clustering, a total of 15,110 and 12,145 genes that coded for proteins were identified in female and male abalones, respectively. A total of 13,057 putative orthologs were retained from each transcriptome in abalones. Overall Gene Ontology terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways analyzed in each database showed a similar composition between sexes. In addition, a total of 519 and 391 isoforms were genome-widely identified with at least two isoforms from female and male transcriptome databases. We found that the number of isoforms and their alternatively spliced patterns are variable and sex-dependent. This information represents the first significant contribution to sex-preferential genomic resources of the Pacific abalone. The availability of whole female and male transcriptome database and their isoform information will be useful to improve our understanding of molecular responses and also for the analysis of population dynamics in the Pacific abalone.


October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.


October 23, 2019  |  

Adeno-associated virus genome population sequencing achieves full vector genome resolution and reveals human-vector chimeras

Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-based gene therapy has entered a phase of clinical translation and commercialization. Despite this progress, vector integrity following production is often overlooked. Compromised vectors may negatively impact therapeutic efficacy and safety. Using single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing, we can comprehensively profile packaged genomes as a single intact molecule and directly assess vector integrity without extensive preparation. We have exploited this methodology to profile all heterogeneic populations of self-complementary AAV genomes via bioinformatics pipelines and have coined this approach AAV-genome population sequencing (AAV-GPseq). The approach can reveal the relative distribution of truncated genomes versus full-length genomes in vector preparations. Preparations that seemingly show high genome homogeneity by gel electrophoresis are revealed to consist of less than 50% full-length species. With AAV-GPseq, we can also detect many reverse-packaged genomes that encompass sequences originating from plasmid backbone, as well as sequences from packaging and helper plasmids. Finally, we detect host-cell genomic sequences that are chimeric with inverted terminal repeat (ITR)-containing vector sequences. We show that vector populations can contain between 1.3% and 2.3% of this type of undesirable genome. These discoveries redefine quality control standards for viral vector preparations and highlight the degree of foreign products in rAAV-based therapeutic vectors.


October 23, 2019  |  

Cas9-mediated allelic exchange repairs compound heterozygous recessive mutations in mice.

We report a genome-editing strategy to correct compound heterozygous mutations, a common genotype in patients with recessive genetic disorders. Adeno-associated viral vector delivery of Cas9 and guide RNA induces allelic exchange and rescues the disease phenotype in mouse models of hereditary tyrosinemia type I and mucopolysaccharidosis type I. This approach recombines non-mutated genetic information present in two heterozygous alleles into one functional allele without using donor DNA templates.


October 23, 2019  |  

The genome of common long-arm octopus Octopus minor.

The common long-arm octopus (Octopus minor) is found in mudflats of subtidal zones and faces numerous environmental challenges. The ability to adapt its morphology and behavioral repertoire to diverse environmental conditions makes the species a promising model for understanding genomic adaptation and evolution in cephalopods.The final genome assembly of O. minor is 5.09 Gb, with a contig N50 size of 197 kb and longest size of 3.027 Mb, from a total of 419 Gb raw reads generated using the Pacific Biosciences RS II platform. We identified 30,010 genes; 44.43% of the genome is composed of repeat elements. The genome-wide phylogenetic tree indicated the divergence time between O. minor and Octopus bimaculoides was estimated to be 43 million years ago based on single-copy orthologous genes. In total, 178 gene families are expanded in O. minor in the 14 bilaterian species.We found that the O. minor genome was larger than that of closely related O. bimaculoides, and this difference could be explained by enlarged introns and recently diversified transposable elements. The high-quality O. minor genome assembly provides a valuable resource for understanding octopus genome evolution and the molecular basis of adaptations to mudflats.


October 23, 2019  |  

Chromosomal-level assembly of yellow catfish genome using third-generation DNA sequencing and Hi-C analysis.

The yellow catfish, Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, belonging to the Siluriformes order, is an economically important freshwater aquaculture fish species in Asia, especially in Southern China. The aquaculture industry has recently been facing tremendous challenges in germplasm degeneration and poor disease resistance. As the yellow catfish exhibits notable sex dimorphism in growth, with adult males about two- to three-fold bigger than females, the way in which the aquaculture industry takes advantage of such sex dimorphism is another challenge. To address these issues, a high-quality reference genome of the yellow catfish would be a very useful resource.To construct a high-quality reference genome for the yellow catfish, we generated 51.2 Gb short reads and 38.9 Gb long reads using Illumina and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platforms, respectively. The sequencing data were assembled into a 732.8 Mb genome assembly with a contig N50 length of 1.1 Mb. Additionally, we applied Hi-C technology to identify contacts among contigs, which were then used to assemble contigs into scaffolds, resulting in a genome assembly with 26 chromosomes and a scaffold N50 length of 25.8 Mb. Using 24,552 protein-coding genes annotated in the yellow catfish genome, the phylogenetic relationships of the yellow catfish with other teleosts showed that yellow catfish separated from the common ancestor of channel catfish ~81.9 million years ago. We identified 1,717 gene families to be expanded in the yellow catfish, and those gene families are mainly enriched in the immune system, signal transduction, glycosphingolipid biosynthesis, and fatty acid biosynthesis.Taking advantage of Illumina, PacBio, and Hi-C technologies, we constructed the first high-quality chromosome-level genome assembly for the yellow catfish P. fulvidraco. The genomic resources generated in this work not only offer a valuable reference genome for functional genomics studies of yellow catfish to decipher the economic traits and sex determination but also provide important chromosome information for genome comparisons in the wider evolutionary research community.


September 22, 2019  |  

Acidipropionibacterium virtanenii sp. nov., isolated from malted barley.

A Gram-stain-positive, catalase-positive and pleomorphic rod organism was isolated from malted barley in Finland, classified initially by partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing and originally deposited in the VTT Culture Collection as a strain of Propionibacterium acidipropionici (currently Acidipropionibacterium acidipropionici). The subsequent comparison of the whole 16S rRNA gene with other representatives of the genus Acidipropionibacterium revealed that the strain belongs to a novel species, most closely related to Acidipropionibacterium microaerophilum and Acidipropionibacterium acidipropionici, with similarity values of 98.46 and 98.31?%, respectively. The whole genome sequencing using PacBio RS II platform allowed further comparison of the genome with all of the other DNA sequences available for the type strains of the Acidipropionibacterium species. Those comparisons revealed the highest similarity of strain JS278T to A. acidipropionici, which was confirmed by the average nucleotide identity analysis. The genome of strain JS278T is intermediate in size compared to the A. acidipropionici and Acidipropionibacterium jensenii at 3?432?872?bp, the G+C?content is 68.4?mol%. The strain fermented a wide range of carbon sources, and produced propionic acid as the major fermentation product. Besides its poor ability to grow at 37?°C and positive catalase reaction, the observed phenotype was almost indistinguishable from those of A. acidipropionici and A. jensenii. Based on our findings, we conclude that the organism represents a novel member of the genus Acidipropionibacterium, for which we propose the name Acidipropionibacteriumvirtanenii sp. nov. The type strain is JS278T (=VTT E-113202T=DSM 106790T).


September 22, 2019  |  

The transcriptome of human pluripotent stem cells.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) are in vitro derivatives of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst and are characterized by an undifferentiated and pluripotent state that can be perpetuated in time, indefinitely. hESCs provide a unique opportunity to both dissect the molecular mechanisms that are predisposed to the maintenance of pluripotency and model the ability to initiate differentiation and cell commitment within the developing embryo. To fully understand these mechanisms, it is necessary to accurately identify the specific transcriptome of hESCs. Many distinct gene annotation methods, such as cDNA and EST sequencing and RNA-Seq, have been used to identify the transcriptome of hESCs. Lately, we developed a new tool (IDP) to integrate the hybrid sequencing data to characterize a more reliable and comprehensive hESC transcriptome with discoveries of many novel transcripts. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


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