July 19, 2019  |  

Microsatellite marker discovery using single molecule real-time circular consensus sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences RS.

Microsatellite sequences are important markers for population genetics studies. In the past, the development of adequate microsatellite primers has been cumbersome. However with the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies, marker identification in genomes of non-model species has been greatly simplified. Here we describe microsatellite discovery on a Pacific Biosciences single molecule real-time sequencer. For the Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons), we identified 316 microsatellite loci in a single genome shotgun sequencing experiment. We found that the capability of handling large insert sizes and high quality circular consensus sequences provides an advantage over short read technologies for primer design. Combined with a straightforward amplification-free library preparation, PacBio sequencing is an economically viable alternative for microsatellite discovery and subsequent PCR primer design.


July 19, 2019  |  

Validation of ITD mutations in FLT3 as a therapeutic target in human acute myeloid leukaemia.

Effective targeted cancer therapeutic development depends upon distinguishing disease-associated ‘driver’ mutations, which have causative roles in malignancy pathogenesis, from ‘passenger’ mutations, which are dispensable for cancer initiation and maintenance. Translational studies of clinically active targeted therapeutics can definitively discriminate driver from passenger lesions and provide valuable insights into human cancer biology. Activating internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations in FLT3 (FLT3-ITD) are detected in approximately 20% of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients and are associated with a poor prognosis. Abundant scientific and clinical evidence, including the lack of convincing clinical activity of early FLT3 inhibitors, suggests that FLT3-ITD probably represents a passenger lesion. Here we report point mutations at three residues within the kinase domain of FLT3-ITD that confer substantial in vitro resistance to AC220 (quizartinib), an active investigational inhibitor of FLT3, KIT, PDGFRA, PDGFRB and RET; evolution of AC220-resistant substitutions at two of these amino acid positions was observed in eight of eight FLT3-ITD-positive AML patients with acquired resistance to AC220. Our findings demonstrate that FLT3-ITD can represent a driver lesion and valid therapeutic target in human AML. AC220-resistant FLT3 kinase domain mutants represent high-value targets for future FLT3 inhibitor development efforts.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome sequencing and comparative genomics provides insights on the evolutionary dynamics and pathogenic potential of different H-serotypes of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104.

Various H-serotypes of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O104, including H4, H7, H21, and H¯, have been associated with sporadic cases of illness and have caused food-borne outbreaks globally. In the U.S., STEC O104:H21 caused an outbreak associated with milk in 1994. However, there is little known on the evolutionary origins of STEC O104 strains, and how genotypic diversity contributes to pathogenic potential of various O104 H-antigen serotypes isolated from different ecological niches and/or geographical regions.Two STEC O104:H21 (milk outbreak strain) and O104:H7 (cattle isolate) strains were shot-gun sequenced, and the genomes were closed. The intimin (eae) gene, involved in the attaching-effacing phenotype of diarrheagenic E. coli, was not found in either strain. Examining various O104 genome sequences, we found that two “complete” left and right end portions of the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) pathogenicity island were present in 13 O104 strains; however, the central portion of LEE was missing, where the eae gene is located. In O104:H4 strains, the missing central portion of the LEE locus was replaced by a pathogenicity island carrying the aidA (adhesin involved in diffuse adherence) gene and antibiotic resistance genes commonly carried on plasmids. Enteroaggregative E. coli-specific virulence genes and European outbreak O104:H4-specific stx2-encoding Escherichia P13374 or Escherichia TL-2011c bacteriophages were missing in some of the O104:H4 genome sequences available from public databases. Most of the genomic variations in the strains examined were due to the presence of different mobile genetic elements, including prophages and genomic island regions. The presence of plasmids carrying virulence-associated genes may play a role in the pathogenic potential of O104 strains.The two strains sequenced in this study (O104:H21 and O104:H7) are genetically more similar to each other than to the O104:H4 strains that caused an outbreak in Germany in 2011 and strains found in Central Africa. A hypothesis on strain evolution and pathogenic potential of various H-serotypes of E. coli O104 strains is proposed.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete bypass of restriction systems for major Staphylococcus aureus lineages.

Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent global nosocomial and community-acquired bacterial pathogen. A strong restriction barrier presents a major hurdle for the introduction of recombinant DNA into clinical isolates of S. aureus. Here, we describe the construction and characterization of the IMXXB series of Escherichia coli strains that mimic the type I adenine methylation profiles of S. aureus clonal complexes 1, 8, 30, and ST93. The IMXXB strains enable direct, high-efficiency transformation and streamlined genetic manipulation of major S. aureus lineages.The genetic manipulation of clinical S. aureus isolates has been hampered due to the presence of restriction modification barriers that detect and subsequently degrade inappropriately methylated DNA. Current methods allow the introduction of plasmid DNA into a limited subset of S. aureus strains at high efficiency after passage of plasmid DNA through the restriction-negative, modification-proficient strain RN4220. Here, we have constructed and validated a suite of E. coli strains that mimic the adenine methylation profiles of different clonal complexes and show high-efficiency plasmid DNA transfer. The ability to bypass RN4220 will reduce the cost and time involved for plasmid transfer into S. aureus. The IMXXB series of E. coli strains should expedite the process of mutant construction in diverse genetic backgrounds and allow the application of new techniques to the genetic manipulation of S. aureus. Copyright © 2015 Monk et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Host genome integration and giant virus-induced reactivation of the virophage mavirus.

Endogenous viral elements are increasingly found in eukaryotic genomes, yet little is known about their origins, dynamics, or function. Here we provide a compelling example of a DNA virus that readily integrates into a eukaryotic genome where it acts as an inducible antiviral defence system. We found that the virophage mavirus, a parasite of the giant Cafeteria roenbergensis virus (CroV), integrates at multiple sites within the nuclear genome of the marine protozoan Cafeteria roenbergensis. The endogenous mavirus is structurally and genetically similar to eukaryotic DNA transposons and endogenous viruses of the Maverick/Polinton family. Provirophage genes are not constitutively expressed, but are specifically activated by superinfection with CroV, which induces the production of infectious mavirus particles. Virophages can inhibit the replication of mimivirus-like giant viruses and an anti-viral protective effect of provirophages on their hosts has been hypothesized. We find that provirophage-carrying cells are not directly protected from CroV; however, lysis of these cells releases infectious mavirus particles that are then able to suppress CroV replication and enhance host survival during subsequent rounds of infection. The microbial host-parasite interaction described here involves an altruistic aspect and suggests that giant-virus-induced activation of provirophages might be ecologically relevant in natural protist populations.


July 19, 2019  |  

Examining sources of error in PCR by single-molecule sequencing.

Next-generation sequencing technology has enabled the detection of rare genetic or somatic mutations and contributed to our understanding of disease progression and evolution. However, many next-generation sequencing technologies first rely on DNA amplification, via the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), as part of sample preparation workflows. Mistakes made during PCR appear in sequencing data and contribute to false mutations that can ultimately confound genetic analysis. In this report, a single-molecule sequencing assay was used to comprehensively catalog the different types of errors introduced during PCR, including polymerase misincorporation, structure-induced template-switching, PCR-mediated recombination and DNA damage. In addition to well-characterized polymerase base substitution errors, other sources of error were found to be equally prevalent. PCR-mediated recombination by Taq polymerase was observed at the single-molecule level, and surprisingly found to occur as frequently as polymerase base substitution errors, suggesting it may be an underappreciated source of error for multiplex amplification reactions. Inverted repeat structural elements in lacZ caused polymerase template-switching between the top and bottom strands during replication and the frequency of these events were measured for different polymerases. For very accurate polymerases, DNA damage introduced during temperature cycling, and not polymerase base substitution errors, appeared to be the major contributor toward mutations occurring in amplification products. In total, we analyzed PCR products at the single-molecule level and present here a more complete picture of the types of mistakes that occur during DNA amplification.


July 19, 2019  |  

Deletion-bias in DNA double-strand break repair differentially contributes to plant genome shrinkage.

In order to prevent genome instability, cells need to be protected by a number of repair mechanisms, including DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. The extent to which DSB repair, biased towards deletions or insertions, contributes to evolutionary diversification of genome size is still under debate. We analyzed mutation spectra in Arabidopsis thaliana and in barley (Hordeum vulgare) by PacBio sequencing of three DSB-targeted loci each, uncovering repair via gene conversion, single strand annealing (SSA) or nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Furthermore, phylogenomic comparisons between A. thaliana and two related species were used to detect naturally occurring deletions during Arabidopsis evolution. Arabidopsis thaliana revealed significantly more and larger deletions after DSB repair than barley, and barley displayed more and larger insertions. Arabidopsis displayed a clear net loss of DNA after DSB repair, mainly via SSA and NHEJ. Barley revealed a very weak net loss of DNA, apparently due to less active break-end resection and easier copying of template sequences into breaks. Comparative phylogenomics revealed several footprints of SSA in the A. thaliana genome. Quantitative assessment of DNA gain and loss through DSB repair processes suggests deletion-biased DSB repair causing ongoing genome shrinking in A. thaliana, whereas genome size in barley remains nearly constant.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


July 19, 2019  |  

Widespread adenine N6-methylation of active genes in fungi.

N6-methyldeoxyadenine (6mA) is a noncanonical DNA base modification present at low levels in plant and animal genomes, but its prevalence and association with genome function in other eukaryotic lineages remains poorly understood. Here we report that abundant 6mA is associated with transcriptionally active genes in early-diverging fungal lineages. Using single-molecule long-read sequencing of 16 diverse fungal genomes, we observed that up to 2.8% of all adenines were methylated in early-diverging fungi, far exceeding levels observed in other eukaryotes and more derived fungi. 6mA occurred symmetrically at ApT dinucleotides and was concentrated in dense methylated adenine clusters surrounding the transcriptional start sites of expressed genes; its distribution was inversely correlated with that of 5-methylcytosine. Our results show a striking contrast in the genomic distributions of 6mA and 5-methylcytosine and reinforce a distinct role for 6mA as a gene-expression-associated epigenomic mark in eukaryotes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Tessaracoccus sp. strain T2.5-30 isolated from 139.5 meters deep on the subsurface of the Iberian Pyritic Belt.

Here, we report the complete genome sequence of Tessaracoccus sp. strain T2.5-30, which consists of a chromosome with 3.2 Mbp, 70.4% G+C content, and 3,005 coding DNA sequences. The strain was isolated from a rock core retrieved at a depth of 139.5 m in the subsurface of the Iberian Pyritic Belt (Spain). Copyright © 2017 Leandro et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative and functional genomics of the Lactococcus lactis taxon; insights into evolution and niche adaptation.

Lactococcus lactis is among the most widely studied lactic acid bacterial species due to its long history of safe use and economic importance to the dairy industry, where it is exploited as a starter culture in cheese production.In the current study, we report on the complete sequencing of 16 L. lactis subsp. lactis and L. lactis subsp. cremoris genomes. The chromosomal features of these 16 L. lactis strains in conjunction with 14 completely sequenced, publicly available lactococcal chromosomes were assessed with particular emphasis on discerning the L. lactis subspecies division, evolution and niche adaptation. The deduced pan-genome of L. lactis was found to be closed, indicating that the representative data sets employed for this analysis are sufficient to fully describe the genetic diversity of the taxon.Niche adaptation appears to play a significant role in governing the genetic content of each L. lactis subspecies, while (differential) genome decay and redundancy in the dairy niche is also highlighted.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT Gate: A method for validation of synthetic constructs on Pacific Biosciences sequencing platforms.

Current DNA assembly methods are prone to sequence errors, requiring rigorous quality control (QC) to identify incorrect assemblies or synthesized constructs. Such errors can lead to misinterpretation of phenotypes. Because of this intrinsic problem, routine QC analysis is generally performed on three or more clones using a combination of restriction endonuclease assays, colony PCR, and Sanger sequencing. However, as new automation methods emerge that enable high-throughput assembly, QC using these techniques has become a major bottleneck. Here, we describe a quick and affordable methodology for the QC of synthetic constructs. Our method involves a one-pot digestion-ligation DNA assembly reaction, based on the Golden Gate assembly methodology, that is coupled with Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time (PacBio SMRT) sequencing technology.


July 19, 2019  |  

Characterisation of MHC class I genes in the koala.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations are on the decline across the majority of Australia’s mainland. Two major diseases threatening the long-term survival of affected koala populations are caused by obligate intracellular pathogens: Chlamydia and koala retrovirus (KoRV). To improve our understanding of the koala immune system, we characterised their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes, which are centrally involved in presenting foreign peptides derived from intracellular pathogens to cytotoxic T cells. A total of 11 class I genes were identified in the koala genome. Three genes, Phci-UA, UB and UC, showed relatively high genetic variability and were expressed in all 12 examined tissues, whereas the other eight genes had tissue-specific expression and limited polymorphism. Evidence of diversifying selection was detected in Phci-UA and UC, while gene conversion may have played a role in creating new alleles at Phci-UB. We propose that Phci-UA, UB and UC are likely classical MHC genes of koalas, and further research is needed to understand their role in koala chlamydial and KoRV infections.


July 19, 2019  |  

Long-read genome sequence assembly provides insight into ongoing retroviral invasion of the koala germline.

The koala retrovirus (KoRV) is implicated in several diseases affecting the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). KoRV provirus can be present in the genome of koalas as an endogenous retrovirus (present in all cells via germline integration) or as exogenous retrovirus responsible for somatic integrations of proviral KoRV (present in a limited number of cells). This ongoing invasion of the koala germline by KoRV provides a powerful opportunity to assess the viral strategies used by KoRV in an individual. Analysis of a high-quality genome sequence of a single koala revealed 133 KoRV integration sites. Most integrations contain full-length, endogenous provirus; KoRV-A subtype. The second most frequent integrations contain an endogenous recombinant element (recKoRV) in which most of the KoRV protein-coding region has been replaced with an ancient, endogenous retroelement. A third set of integrations, with very low sequence coverage, may represent somatic cell integrations of KoRV-A, KoRV-B and two recently designated additional subgroups, KoRV-D and KoRV-E. KoRV-D and KoRV-E are missing several genes required for viral processing, suggesting they have been transmitted as defective viruses. Our results represent the first comprehensive analyses of KoRV integration and variation in a single animal and provide further insights into the process of retroviral-host species interactions.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals the chromosome-scale genomic architecture of the nematode model organism Pristionchus pacificus.

The nematode Pristionchus pacificus is an established model for integrative evolutionary biology and comparative studies with Caenorhabditis elegans. While an existing genome draft facilitated the identification of several genes controlling various developmental processes, its high degree of fragmentation complicated virtually all genomic analyses. Here, we present a de novo genome assembly from single-molecule, long-read sequencing data consisting of 135 P. pacificus contigs. When combined with a genetic linkage map, 99% of the assembly could be ordered and oriented into six chromosomes. This allowed us to robustly characterize chromosomal patterns of gene density, repeat content, nucleotide diversity, linkage disequilibrium, and macrosynteny in P. pacificus. Despite widespread conservation of synteny between P. pacificus and C. elegans, we identified one major translocation from an autosome to the sex chromosome in the lineage leading to C. elegans. This highlights the potential of the chromosome-scale assembly for future genomic studies of P. pacificus. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Prevalence of subtilase cytotoxin-encoding subAB variants among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from wild ruminants and sheep differs from that of cattle and pigs and is predominated by the new allelic variant subAB2-2.

Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) is an AB5 toxin produced by Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains usually lacking the eae gene product intimin. Three allelic variants of SubAB encoding genes have been described: subAB1, located on a plasmid, subAB2-1, located on the pathogenicity island SE-PAI and subAB2-2 located in an outer membrane efflux protein (OEP) region. SubAB is becoming increasingly recognized as a toxin potentially involved in human pathogenesis. Ruminants and cattle have been identified as reservoirs of subAB-positive STEC. The presence of the three subAB allelic variants was investigated by PCR for 152 STEC strains originating from chamois, ibex, red deer, roe deer, cattle, sheep and pigs. Overall, subAB genes were detected in 45.5% of the strains. Prevalence was highest for STEC originating from ibex (100%), chamois (92%) and sheep (65%). None of the STEC of bovine or of porcine origin tested positive for subAB. None of the strains tested positive for subAB1. The allelic variant subAB2-2 was detected the most commonly, with 51.4% possessing subAb2-1 together with subAB2-2. STEC of ovine origin, serotypes O91:H- and O128:H2, the saa gene, which encodes for the autoagglutinating adhesin and stx2b were significantly associated with subAB-positive STEC. Our results suggest that subAB2-1 and subAB2-2 is widespread among STEC from wild ruminants and sheep and may be important as virulence markers in STEC pathogenic to humans. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


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