June 1, 2021  |  

Getting the most out of your PacBio libraries with size selection.

PacBio RS II sequencing chemistries provide read lengths beyond 20 kb with high consensus accuracy. The long read lengths of P4-C2 chemistry and demonstrated consensus accuracy of 99.999% are ideal for applications such as de novo assembly, targeted sequencing and isoform sequencing. The recently launched P5-C3 chemistry generates even longer reads with N50 often >10,000 bp, making it the best choice for scaffolding and spanning structural rearrangements. With these chemistry advances, PacBio’s read length performance is now primarily determined by the SMRTbell library itself. Size selection of a high-quality, sheared 20 kb library using the BluePippin™ System has been demonstrated to increase the N50 read length by as much as 5 kb with C3 chemistry. BluePippin size selection or a more stringent AMPure® PB selection cutoff can be used to recover long fragments from degraded genomic material. The selection of chemistries, P4-C2 versus P5-C3, is highly dependent on the final size distribution of the SMRTbell library and experimental goals. PacBio’s long read lengths also allow for the sequencing of full-length cDNA libraries at single-molecule resolution. However, longer transcripts are difficult to detect due to lower abundance, amplification bias, and preferential loading of smaller SMRTbell constructs. Without size selection, most sequenced transcripts are 1-1.5 kb. Size selection dramatically increases the number of transcripts >1.5 kb, and is essential for >3 kb transcripts.


September 22, 2019  |  

MEGAN-LR: new algorithms allow accurate binning and easy interactive exploration of metagenomic long reads and contigs.

There are numerous computational tools for taxonomic or functional analysis of microbiome samples, optimized to run on hundreds of millions of short, high quality sequencing reads. Programs such as MEGAN allow the user to interactively navigate these large datasets. Long read sequencing technologies continue to improve and produce increasing numbers of longer reads (of varying lengths in the range of 10k-1M bps, say), but of low quality. There is an increasing interest in using long reads in microbiome sequencing, and there is a need to adapt short read tools to long read datasets.We describe a new LCA-based algorithm for taxonomic binning, and an interval-tree based algorithm for functional binning, that are explicitly designed for long reads and assembled contigs. We provide a new interactive tool for investigating the alignment of long reads against reference sequences. For taxonomic and functional binning, we propose to use LAST to compare long reads against the NCBI-nr protein reference database so as to obtain frame-shift aware alignments, and then to process the results using our new methods.All presented methods are implemented in the open source edition of MEGAN, and we refer to this new extension as MEGAN-LR (MEGAN long read). We evaluate the LAST+MEGAN-LR approach in a simulation study, and on a number of mock community datasets consisting of Nanopore reads, PacBio reads and assembled PacBio reads. We also illustrate the practical application on a Nanopore dataset that we sequenced from an anammox bio-rector community.This article was reviewed by Nicola Segata together with Moreno Zolfo, Pete James Lockhart and Serghei Mangul.This work extends the applicability of the widely-used metagenomic analysis software MEGAN to long reads. Our study suggests that the presented LAST+MEGAN-LR pipeline is sufficiently fast and accurate.


September 22, 2019  |  

A whole genome assembly of the horn fly, Haematobia irritans, and prediction of genes with roles in metabolism and sex determination.

Haematobia irritans, commonly known as the horn fly, is a globally distributed blood-feeding pest of cattle that is responsible for significant economic losses to cattle producers. Chemical insecticides are the primary means for controlling this pest but problems with insecticide resistance have become common in the horn fly. To provide a foundation for identification of genomic loci for insecticide resistance and for discovery of new control technology, we report the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the horn fly genome. The assembled genome is 1.14 Gb, comprising 76,616 scaffolds with N50 scaffold length of 23 Kb. Using RNA-Seq data, we have predicted 34,413 gene models of which 19,185 have been assigned functional annotations. Comparative genomics analysis with the Dipteran flies Musca domestica L., Drosophila melanogaster, and Lucilia cuprina, show that the horn fly is most closely related to M. domestica, sharing 8,748 orthologous clusters followed by D. melanogaster and L. cuprina, sharing 7,582 and 7,490 orthologous clusters respectively. We also identified a gene locus for the sodium channel protein in which mutations have been previously reported that confers target site resistance to the most common class of pesticides used in fly control. Additionally, we identified 276 genomic loci encoding members of metabolic enzyme gene families such as cytochrome P450s, esterases and glutathione S-transferases, and several genes orthologous to sex determination pathway genes in other Dipteran species. Copyright © 2018 Konganti et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo genome assembly of Oryza granulata reveals rapid genome expansion and adaptive evolution

The wild relatives of rice have adapted to different ecological environments and constitute a useful reservoir of agronomic traits for genetic improvement. Here we present the ~777?Mb de novo assembled genome sequence of Oryza granulata. Recent bursts of long-terminal repeat retrotransposons, especially RIRE2, led to a rapid twofold increase in genome size after O. granulata speciation. Universal centromeric tandem repeats are absent within its centromeres, while gypsy-type LTRs constitute the main centromere-specific repetitive elements. A total of 40,116 protein-coding genes were predicted in O. granulata, which is close to that of Oryza sativa. Both the copy number and function of genes involved in photosynthesis and energy production have undergone positive selection during the evolution of O. granulata, which might have facilitated its adaptation to the low light habitats. Together, our findings reveal the rapid genome expansion, distinctive centromere organization, and adaptive evolution of O. granulata.


September 22, 2019  |  

Involvement of Burkholderiaceae and sulfurous volatiles in disease-suppressive soils.

Disease-suppressive soils are ecosystems in which plants suffer less from root infections due to the activities of specific microbial consortia. The characteristics of soils suppressive to specific fungal root pathogens are comparable to those of adaptive immunity in animals, as reported by Raaijmakers and Mazzola (Science 352:1392-3, 2016), but the mechanisms and microbial species involved in the soil suppressiveness are largely unknown. Previous taxonomic and metatranscriptome analyses of a soil suppressive to the fungal root pathogen Rhizoctonia solani revealed that members of the Burkholderiaceae family were more abundant and more active in suppressive than in non-suppressive soils. Here, isolation, phylogeny, and soil bioassays revealed a significant disease-suppressive activity for representative isolates of Burkholderia pyrrocinia, Paraburkholderia caledonica, P. graminis, P. hospita, and P. terricola. In vitro antifungal activity was only observed for P. graminis. Comparative genomics and metabolite profiling further showed that the antifungal activity of P. graminis PHS1 was associated with the production of sulfurous volatile compounds encoded by genes not found in the other four genera. Site-directed mutagenesis of two of these genes, encoding a dimethyl sulfoxide reductase and a cysteine desulfurase, resulted in a loss of antifungal activity both in vitro and in situ. These results indicate that specific members of the Burkholderiaceae family contribute to soil suppressiveness via the production of sulfurous volatile compounds.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole genome sequencing and microsatellite analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum E5 NF54 strain show that the var, rifin and stevor gene families follow Mendelian inheritance.

Plasmodium falciparum exhibits a high degree of inter-isolate genetic diversity in its variant surface antigen (VSA) families: P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1, repetitive interspersed family (RIFIN) and subtelomeric variable open reading frame (STEVOR). The role of recombination for the generation of this diversity is a subject of ongoing research. Here the genome of E5, a sibling of the 3D7 genome strain is presented. Short and long read whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques (Ilumina, Pacific Bioscience) and a set of 84 microsatellites (MS) were employed to characterize the 3D7 and non-3D7 parts of the E5 genome. This is the first time that VSA genes in sibling parasites were analysed with long read sequencing technology.Of the 5733 E5 genes only 278 genes, mostly var and rifin/stevor genes, had no orthologues in the 3D7 genome. WGS and MS analysis revealed that chromosomal crossovers occurred at a rate of 0-3 per chromosome. var, stevor and rifin genes were inherited within the respective non-3D7 or 3D7 chromosomal context. 54 of the 84 MS PCR fragments correctly identified the respective MS as 3D7- or non-3D7 and this correlated with var and rifin/stevor gene inheritance in the adjacent chromosomal regions. E5 had 61 var and 189 rifin/stevor genes. One large non-chromosomal recombination event resulted in a new var gene on chromosome 14. The remainder of the E5 3D7-type subtelomeric and central regions were identical to 3D7.The data show that the rifin/stevor and var gene families represent the most diverse compartments of the P. falciparum genome but that the majority of var genes are inherited without alterations within their respective parental chromosomal context. Furthermore, MS genotyping with 54 MS can successfully distinguish between two sibling progeny of a natural P. falciparum cross and thus can be used to investigate identity by descent in field isolates.


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  |  

PacBio-LITS: a large-insert targeted sequencing method for characterization of human disease-associated chromosomal structural variations.

Generation of long (>5 Kb) DNA sequencing reads provides an approach for interrogation of complex regions in the human genome. Currently, large-insert whole genome sequencing (WGS) technologies from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) enable analysis of chromosomal structural variations (SVs), but the cost to achieve the required sequence coverage across the entire human genome is high.We developed a method (termed PacBio-LITS) that combines oligonucleotide-based DNA target-capture enrichment technologies with PacBio large-insert library preparation to facilitate SV studies at specific chromosomal regions. PacBio-LITS provides deep sequence coverage at the specified sites at substantially reduced cost compared with PacBio WGS. The efficacy of PacBio-LITS is illustrated by delineating the breakpoint junctions of low copy repeat (LCR)-associated complex structural rearrangements on chr17p11.2 in patients diagnosed with Potocki-Lupski syndrome (PTLS; MIM#610883). We successfully identified previously determined breakpoint junctions in three PTLS cases, and also were able to discover novel junctions in repetitive sequences, including LCR-mediated breakpoints. The new information has enabled us to propose mechanisms for formation of these structural variants.The new method leverages the cost efficiency of targeted capture-sequencing as well as the mappability and scaffolding capabilities of long sequencing reads generated by the PacBio platform. It is therefore suitable for studying complex SVs, especially those involving LCRs, inversions, and the generation of chimeric Alu elements at the breakpoints. Other genomic research applications, such as haplotype phasing and small insertion and deletion validation could also benefit from this technology.


July 19, 2019  |  

CGGBP1 mitigates cytosine methylation at repetitive DNA sequences.

CGGBP1 is a repetitive DNA-binding transcription regulator with target sites at CpG-rich sequences such as CGG repeats and Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs. The role of CGGBP1 as a possible mediator of CpG methylation however remains unknown. At CpG-rich sequences cytosine methylation is a major mechanism of transcriptional repression. Concordantly, gene-rich regions typically carry lower levels of CpG methylation than the repetitive elements. It is well known that at interspersed repeats Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs high levels of CpG methylation constitute a transcriptional silencing and retrotransposon inactivating mechanism.Here, we have studied genome-wide CpG methylation with or without CGGBP1-depletion. By high throughput sequencing of bisulfite-treated genomic DNA we have identified CGGBP1 to be a negative regulator of CpG methylation at repetitive DNA sequences. In addition, we have studied CpG methylation alterations on Alu and L1 retrotransposons in CGGBP1-depleted cells using a novel bisulfite-treatment and high throughput sequencing approach.The results clearly show that CGGBP1 is a possible bidirectional regulator of CpG methylation at Alus, and acts as a repressor of methylation at L1 retrotransposons.


July 19, 2019  |  

Identification of a common risk haplotype for canine idiopathic epilepsy in the ADAM23 gene.

Idiopathic epilepsy is a common neurological disease in human and domestic dogs but relatively few risk genes have been identified to date. The seizure characteristics, including focal and generalised seizures, are similar between the two species, with gene discovery facilitated by the reduced genetic heterogeneity of purebred dogs. We have recently identified a risk locus for idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd breed on a 4.4 megabase region on CFA37.We have expanded a previous study replicating the association with a combined analysis of 157 cases and 179 controls in three additional breeds: Schipperke, Finnish Spitz and Beagle (pc?=?2.9e-07, pGWAS?=?1.74E-02). A targeted resequencing of the 4.4 megabase region in twelve Belgian Shepherd cases and twelve controls with opposite haplotypes identified 37 case-specific variants within the ADAM23 gene. Twenty-seven variants were validated in 285 cases and 355 controls from four breeds, resulting in a strong replication of the ADAM23 locus (praw?=?2.76e-15) and the identification of a common 28 kb-risk haplotype in all four breeds. Risk haplotype was present in frequencies of 0.49-0.7 in the breeds, suggesting that ADAM23 is a low penetrance risk gene for canine epilepsy.These results implicate ADAM23 in common canine idiopathic epilepsy, although the causative variant remains yet to be identified. ADAM23 plays a role in synaptic transmission and interacts with known epilepsy genes, LGI1 and LGI2, and should be considered as a candidate gene for human epilepsies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing combined with optical mapping yields completely finished fungal genome.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have increased the scalability, speed, and resolution of genomic sequencing and, thus, have revolutionized genomic studies. However, eukaryotic genome sequencing initiatives typically yield considerably fragmented genome assemblies. Here, we assessed various state-of-the-art sequencing and assembly strategies in order to produce a contiguous and complete eukaryotic genome assembly, focusing on the filamentous fungus Verticillium dahliae. Compared with Illumina-based assemblies of the V. dahliae genome, hybrid assemblies that also include PacBio-generated long reads establish superior contiguity. Intriguingly, provided that sufficient sequence depth is reached, assemblies solely based on PacBio reads outperform hybrid assemblies and even result in fully assembled chromosomes. Furthermore, the addition of optical map data allowed us to produce a gapless and complete V. dahliae genome assembly of the expected eight chromosomes from telomere to telomere. Consequently, we can now study genomic regions that were previously not assembled or poorly assembled, including regions that are populated by repetitive sequences, such as transposons, allowing us to fully appreciate an organism’s biological complexity. Our data show that a combination of PacBio-generated long reads and optical mapping can be used to generate complete and gapless assemblies of fungal genomes.Studying whole-genome sequences has become an important aspect of biological research. The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has nowadays brought genomic science within reach of most research laboratories, including those that study nonmodel organisms. However, most genome sequencing initiatives typically yield (highly) fragmented genome assemblies. Nevertheless, considerable relevant information related to genome structure and evolution is likely hidden in those nonassembled regions. Here, we investigated a diverse set of strategies to obtain gapless genome assemblies, using the genome of a typical ascomycete fungus as the template. Eventually, we were able to show that a combination of PacBio-generated long reads and optical mapping yields a gapless telomere-to-telomere genome assembly, allowing in-depth genome analyses to facilitate functional studies into an organism’s biology. Copyright © 2015 Faino et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

The power of Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing technology in the de novo assembly of a eukaryotic genome.

Second-generation sequencers (SGS) have been game-changing, achieving cost-effective whole genome sequencing in many non-model organisms. However, a large portion of the genomes still remains unassembled. We reconstructed azuki bean (Vigna angularis) genome using single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology and achieved the best contiguity and coverage among currently assembled legume crops. The SMRT-based assembly produced 100 times longer contigs with 100 times smaller amount of gaps compared to the SGS-based assemblies. A detailed comparison between the assemblies revealed that the SMRT-based assembly enabled a more comprehensive gene annotation than the SGS-based assemblies where thousands of genes were missing or fragmented. A chromosome-scale assembly was generated based on the high-density genetic map, covering 86% of the azuki bean genome. We demonstrated that SMRT technology, though still needed support of SGS data, achieved a near-complete assembly of a eukaryotic genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

Rapid sequencing of complete env genes from primary HIV-1 samples

The ability to study rapidly evolving viral populations has been constrained by the read length of next-generation sequencing approaches and the sampling depth of single-genome amplification methods. Here, we develop and characterize a method using Pacific Biosciences Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology to sequence multiple, intact full-length human immunodeficiency virus-1 env genes amplified from viral RNA populations circulating in blood, and provide computational tools for analyzing and visualizing these data.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of two sequential Candida glabrata clinical isolates.

Candida glabrata is an important fungal pathogen which develops rapid antifungal resistance in treated patients. It is known that azole treatments lead to antifungal resistance in this fungal species and that multidrug efflux transporters are involved in this process. Specific mutations in the transcriptional regulator PDR1 result in upregulation of the transporters. In addition, we showed that the PDR1 mutations can contribute to enhance virulence in animal models. In this study, we were interested to compare genomes of two specific C. glabrata-related isolates, one of which was azole susceptible (DSY562) while the other was azole resistant (DSY565). DSY565 contained a PDR1 mutation (L280F) and was isolated after a time-lapse of 50 d of azole therapy. We expected that genome comparisons between both isolates could reveal additional mutations reflecting host adaptation or even additional resistance mechanisms. The PacBio technology used here yielded 14 major contigs (sizes 0.18-1.6 Mb) and mitochondrial genomes from both DSY562 and DSY565 isolates that were highly similar to each other. Comparisons of the clinical genomes with the published CBS138 genome indicated important genome rearrangements, but not between the clinical strains. Among the unique features, several retrotransposons were identified in the genomes of the investigated clinical isolates. DSY562 and DSY565 each contained a large set of adhesin-like genes (101 and 107, respectively), which exceed by far the number of reported adhesins (63) in the CBS138 genome. Comparison between DSY562 and DSY565 yielded 17 nonsynonymous SNPs (among which the was the expected PDR1 mutation) as well as small size indels in coding regions (11) but mainly in adhesin-like genes. The genomes contained a DNA mismatch repair allele of MSH2 known to be involved in the so-called hyper-mutator phenotype of this yeast species and the number of accumulated mutations between both clinical isolates is consistent with the presence of a MSH2 defect. In conclusion, this study is the first to compare genomes of C. glabrata sequential clinical isolates using the PacBio technology as an approach. The genomes of these isolates taken in the same patient at two different time points exhibited limited variations, even if submitted to the host pressure. Copyright © 2017 Vale-Silva et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

An improved Plasmodium cynomolgi genome assembly reveals an unexpected methyltransferase gene expansion.

Plasmodium cynomolgi, a non-human primate malaria parasite species, has been an important model parasite since its discovery in 1907. Similarities in the biology of P. cynomolgi to the closely related, but less tractable, human malaria parasite P. vivax make it the model parasite of choice for liver biology and vaccine studies pertinent to P. vivax malaria. Molecular and genome-scale studies of P. cynomolgi have relied on the current reference genome sequence, which remains highly fragmented with 1,649 unassigned scaffolds and little representation of the subtelomeres.  Methods: Using long-read sequence data (Pacific Biosciences SMRT technology), we assembled and annotated a new reference genome sequence, PcyM, sourced from an Indian rhesus monkey. We compare the newly assembled genome sequence with those of several other Plasmodium species, including a re-annotated P. coatneyi assembly.The new PcyM genome assembly is of significantly higher quality than the existing reference, comprising only 56 pieces, no gaps and an improved average gene length. Detailed manual curation has ensured a comprehensive annotation of the genome with 6,632 genes, nearly 1,000 more than previously attributed to P. cynomolgi. The new assembly also has an improved representation of the subtelomeric regions, which account for nearly 40% of the sequence. Within the subtelomeres, we identified more than 1300 Plasmodium interspersed repeat ( pir) genes, as well as a striking expansion of 36 methyltransferase pseudogenes that originated from a single copy on chromosome 9.The manually curated PcyM reference genome sequence is an important new resource for the malaria research community. The high quality and contiguity of the data have enabled the discovery of a novel expansion of methyltransferase in the subtelomeres, and illustrates the new comparative genomics capabilities that are being unlocked by complete reference genomes.


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