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Sunday, October 25, 2020

User Group Meeting: Unbiased characterization of metagenome composition and function using HiFi sequencing on the PacBio Sequel II System

In this PacBio User Group Meeting presentation, PacBio scientist Meredith Ashby shared several examples of analysis — from full-length 16S sequencing to shotgun sequencing — showing how SMRT Sequencing enables accurate representation for metagenomics and microbiome characterization, in some cases even without fully assembling genomes. New updates will provide users with a dedicated microbial assembly pipeline, optimized for all classes of bacteria, as well as increased multiplexing on the Sequel II System, now with 48 validated barcoded adapters. That throughput could reduce the cost of microbial analysis substantially.

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Webinar: Unbiased, efficient characterization of metagenome functions with PacBio HiFi sequencing

Understanding interactions among plants and the complex communities of organisms living on, in and around them requires more than one experimental approach. A new method for de novo metagenome assembly, PacBio HiFi sequencing, has unique strengths for determining the functional capacity of metagenomes. With HiFi sequencing, the accuracy and median read length of unassembled data outperforms the quality metrics for many existing assemblies generated with other technologies, enabling cost-competitive recovery of full-length genes and operons even from rare species. When paired with the ability to close the genomes of even challenging isolates like Xanthomonas, the PacBio Sequel II System is…

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Webinar: Bioinformatics lunch & learn – Better assemblies of bacterial genomes and plasmids with the new microbial assembly pipeline in SMRT Link v8.0

Microbial Assembly is our latest pipeline, specifically designed to assemble bacterial genomes (between 2 and 10 Mb) and plasmids. This pipeline includes the implementation of a new, circular-aware read alignment tool (Raptor), among other algorithmic improvements, which will be covered in this webinar. The topics covered include, staged assembly of bacterial chromosomes and plasmids, implementation of Raptor, a circular-aware read aligner, himeric read detection, origin of replication orientation, troubleshooting and more.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Application Note: Microbial multiplexing workflow on the Sequel System

Obtaining microbial genomes with the highest accuracy and contiguity is extremely important when exploring the functional impact of genetic and epigenetic variants on a genome-wide scale. A comprehensive view of the bacterial genome, including genes, regulatory regions, IS elements, phage integration sites, and base modifications is vital to understanding key traits such as antibiotic resistance, virulence, and metabolism. SMRT Sequencing provides complete genomes, often assembled into a single contig. Our streamlined microbial multiplexing procedure for the Sequel System, from library preparation to genome assembly, can be completed with less than 8 hours bench time. Starting with high-quality genomic DNA (gDNA),…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Transcriptional initiation of a small RNA, not R-loop stability, dictates the frequency of pilin antigenic variation in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sole causative agent of gonorrhea, constitutively undergoes diversification of the Type IV pilus. Gene conversion occurs between one of the several donor silent copies located in distinct loci and the recipient pilE gene, encoding the major pilin subunit of the pilus. A guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA structure and a cis-acting sRNA (G4-sRNA) are located upstream of the pilE gene and both are required for pilin antigenic variation (Av). We show that the reduced sRNA transcription lowers pilin Av frequencies. Extended transcriptional elongation is not required for Av, since limiting the transcript to 32 nt allows for normal…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genomic characterization of Kerstersia gyiorum SWMUKG01, an isolate from a patient with respiratory infection in China.

The Gram-negative bacterium Kerstersia gyiorum, a potential etiological agent of clinical infections, was isolated from several human patients presenting clinical symptoms. Its significance as a possible pathogen has been previously overlooked as no disease has thus far been definitively associated with this bacterium. To better understand how the organism contributes to the infectious disease, we determined the complete genomic sequence of K. gyiorum SWMUKG01, the first clinical isolate from southwest China.The genomic data obtained displayed a single circular chromosome of 3, 945, 801 base pairs in length, which contains 3, 441 protein-coding genes, 55 tRNA genes and 9 rRNA genes.…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Phylogenetic relationships and regional spread of meningococcal strains in the meningitis belt, 2011-2016.

Historically, the major cause of meningococcal epidemics in the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa has been Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A (NmA), but the incidence has been substantially reduced since the introduction of a serogroup A conjugate vaccine starting in 2010. We performed whole-genome sequencing on isolates collected post-2010 to assess their phylogenetic relationships and inter-country transmission.A total of 716 invasive meningococcal isolates collected between 2011 and 2016 from 11 meningitis belt countries were whole-genome sequenced for molecular characterization by the three WHO Collaborating Centers for Meningitis.We identified three previously-reported clonal complexes (CC): CC11 (n?=?434), CC181 (n?=?62) and CC5 (n?=?90) primarily…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Heteroresistance to the model antimicrobial peptide polymyxin B in the emerging Neisseria meningitidis lineage 11.2 urethritis clade: mutations in the pilMNOPQ operon.

Clusters of Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) urethritis among primarily heterosexual males in multiple US cities have been attributed to a unique non-encapsulated meningococcal clade (the US Nm urethritis clade, US_NmUC) within the hypervirulent clonal complex 11. Resistance to antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a key feature of urogenital pathogenesis of the closely related species, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The US_NmUC isolates were found to be highly resistant to the model AMP, polymyxin B (PmB, MICs 64-256 µg ml-1 ). The isolates also demonstrated stable subpopulations of heteroresistant colonies that showed near total resistant to PmB (MICs 384-1024 µg ml-1 ) and colistin (MIC 256 µg ml-1 ) as well as…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Deciphering bacterial epigenomes using modern sequencing technologies.

Prokaryotic DNA contains three types of methylation: N6-methyladenine, N4-methylcytosine and 5-methylcytosine. The lack of tools to analyse the frequency and distribution of methylated residues in bacterial genomes has prevented a full understanding of their functions. Now, advances in DNA sequencing technology, including single-molecule, real-time sequencing and nanopore-based sequencing, have provided new opportunities for systematic detection of all three forms of methylated DNA at a genome-wide scale and offer unprecedented opportunities for achieving a more complete understanding of bacterial epigenomes. Indeed, as the number of mapped bacterial methylomes approaches 2,000, increasing evidence supports roles for methylation in regulation of gene expression,…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Development of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing and beyond

The development of clustered regularly interspaced short-palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas systems for genome editing has transformed the way life science research is conducted and holds enormous potential for the treatment of disease as well as for many aspects of biotech- nology. Here, I provide a personal perspective on the development of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing within the broader context of the field and discuss our work to discover novel Cas effectors and develop them into additional molecular tools. The initial demonstra- tion of Cas9-mediated genome editing launched the development of many other technologies, enabled new lines of biological inquiry, and motivated…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Single-molecule sequencing detection of N6-methyladenine in microbial reference materials.

The DNA base modification N6-methyladenine (m6A) is involved in many pathways related to the survival of bacteria and their interactions with hosts. Nanopore sequencing offers a new, portable method to detect base modifications. Here, we show that a neural network can improve m6A detection at trained sequence contexts compared to previously published methods using deviations between measured and expected current values as each adenine travels through a pore. The model, implemented as the mCaller software package, can be extended to detect known or confirm suspected methyltransferase target motifs based on predictions of methylation at untrained contexts. We use PacBio, Oxford…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Gen2Epi: an automated whole-genome sequencing pipeline for linking full genomes to antimicrobial susceptibility and molecular epidemiological data in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Recent adva1nces in whole genome sequencing (WGS) based technologies have facilitated multi-step applications for predicting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and investigating the molecular epidemiology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. However, generating full scaffolds of N. gonorrhoeae genomes from short reads, and the assignment of molecular epidemiological information (NG-MLST, NG-MAST, and NG-STAR) to multiple assembled samples, is challenging due to required manual tasks such as annotating antimicrobial resistance determinants with standard nomenclature for a large number of genomes.We present Gen2Epi, a pipeline that assembles short reads into full scaffolds and automatically assigns molecular epidemiological and AMR information to the assembled genomes. Gen2Epi is a…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Streamlines SMRTbell library generation using addition-only, single tube strategy for all library types reduces time to results

We have streamlined the SMRTbell library generation protocols with improved workflows to deliver seamless end-to-end solutions from sample to analysis. A key improvement is the development of a single-tube reaction strategy that shortened hands-on time needed to generate each SMRTbell library, reduced time-consuming AM Pure purification steps, and minimized sample-handling induced gDNA damage to improve the integrity of long-insert SMRTbell templates for sequencing. The improved protocols support all large-insert genomic libraries, multiplexed microbial genomes, and amplicon sequencing. These advances enable completion of library preparation in less than a day (approximately 4 hours) and opens opportunities for automated library preparation for…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Unbiased characterization of metagenome composition and function using HiFi sequencing on the PacBio Sequel II System

Recent work comparing metagenomic sequencing methods indicates that a comprehensive picture of the taxonomic and functional diversity of complex communities will be difficult to achieve with short-read technology alone. While the lower cost of short reads has enabled greater sequencing depth, the greater contiguity of long-read assemblies and lack of GC bias in SMRT Sequencing has enabled better gene finding. However, since long-read assembly requires high coverage for error correction, the benefits of unbiased coverage have in the past been lost for low abundance species. SMRT Sequencing performance improvements and the introduction of the Sequel II System has enabled a…

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