July 19, 2019  |  

Polymerase specific error rates and profiles identified by single molecule sequencing.

DNA polymerases have an innate error rate which is polymerase and DNA context specific. Historically the mutational rate and profiles have been measured using a variety of methods, each with their own technical limitations. Here we used the unique properties of single molecule sequencing to evaluate the mutational rate and profiles of six DNA polymerases at the sequence level. In addition to accurately determining mutations in double strands, single molecule sequencing also captures direction specific transversions and transitions through the analysis of heteroduplexes. Not only did the error rates vary, but also the direction specific transitions differed among polymerases. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Chromosomal-level assembly of the Asian seabass genome using long sequence reads and multi-layered scaffolding.

We report here the ~670 Mb genome assembly of the Asian seabass (Lates calcarifer), a tropical marine teleost. We used long-read sequencing augmented by transcriptomics, optical and genetic mapping along with shared synteny from closely related fish species to derive a chromosome-level assembly with a contig N50 size over 1 Mb and scaffold N50 size over 25 Mb that span ~90% of the genome. The population structure of L. calcarifer species complex was analyzed by re-sequencing 61 individuals representing various regions across the species’ native range. SNP analyses identified high levels of genetic diversity and confirmed earlier indications of a population stratification comprising three clades with signs of admixture apparent in the South-East Asian population. The quality of the Asian seabass genome assembly far exceeds that of any other fish species, and will serve as a new standard for fish genomics.


July 19, 2019  |  

Next generation sequencing of Actinobacteria for the discovery of novel natural products.

Like many fields of the biosciences, actinomycete natural products research has been revolutionised by next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS). Hundreds of new genome sequences from actinobacteria are made public every year, many of them as a result of projects aimed at identifying new natural products and their biosynthetic pathways through genome mining. Advances in these technologies in the last five years have meant not only a reduction in the cost of whole genome sequencing, but also a substantial increase in the quality of the data, having moved from obtaining a draft genome sequence comprised of several hundred short contigs, sometimes of doubtful reliability, to the possibility of obtaining an almost complete and accurate chromosome sequence in a single contig, allowing a detailed study of gene clusters and the design of strategies for refactoring and full gene cluster synthesis. The impact that these technologies are having in the discovery and study of natural products from actinobacteria, including those from the marine environment, is only starting to be realised. In this review we provide a historical perspective of the field, analyse the strengths and limitations of the most relevant technologies, and share the insights acquired during our genome mining projects.


July 19, 2019  |  

Accelerated cloning of a potato late blight-resistance gene using RenSeq and SMRT sequencing.

Global yields of potato and tomato crops have fallen owing to potato late blight disease, which is caused by Phytophthora infestans. Although most commercial potato varieties are susceptible to blight, many wild potato relatives show variation for resistance and are therefore a potential source of Resistance to P. infestans (Rpi) genes. Resistance breeding has exploited Rpi genes from closely related tuber-bearing potato relatives, but is laborious and slow. Here we report that the wild, diploid non-tuber-bearing Solanum americanum harbors multiple Rpi genes. We combine resistance (R) gene sequence capture (RenSeq) with single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing (SMRT RenSeq) to clone Rpi-amr3i. This technology should enable de novo assembly of complete nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich repeat receptor (NLR) genes, their regulatory elements and complex multi-NLR loci from uncharacterized germplasm. SMRT RenSeq can be applied to rapidly clone multiple R genes for engineering pathogen-resistant crops.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome structural diversity among 31 Bordetella pertussis isolates from two recent U.S. whooping cough statewide epidemics

During 2010 and 2012, California and Vermont, respectively, experienced statewide epidemics of pertussis with differences seen in the demographic affected, case clinical presentation, and molecular epidemiology of the circulating strains. To overcome limitations of the current molecular typing methods for pertussis, we utilized whole-genome sequencing to gain a broader understanding of how current circulating strains are causing large epidemics. Through the use of combined next-generation sequencing technologies, this study compared de novo, single-contig genome assemblies from 31 out of 33 Bordetella pertussis isolates collected during two separate pertussis statewide epidemics and 2 resequenced vaccine strains. Final genome architecture assemblies were verified with whole-genome optical mapping. Sixteen distinct genome rearrangement profiles were observed in epidemic isolate genomes, all of which were distinct from the genome structures of the two resequenced vaccine strains. These rearrangements appear to be mediated by repetitive sequence elements, such as high-copy-number mobile genetic elements and rRNA operons. Additionally, novel and previously identified single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in 10 virulence-related genes in the epidemic isolates. Whole-genome variation analysis identified state-specific variants, and coding regions bearing nonsynonymous mutations were classified into functional annotated orthologous groups. Comprehensive studies on whole genomes are needed to understand the resurgence of pertussis and develop novel tools to better characterize the molecular epidemiology of evolving B.~pertussis populations.IMPORTANCE Pertussis, or whooping cough, is the most poorly controlled vaccine-preventable bacterial disease in the United States, which has experienced a resurgence for more than a decade. Once viewed as a monomorphic pathogen, B.~pertussis strains circulating during epidemics exhibit diversity visible on a genome structural level, previously undetectable by traditional sequence analysis using short-read technologies. For the first time, we combine short- and long-read sequencing platforms with restriction optical mapping for single-contig, de novo assembly of 31 isolates to investigate two geographically and temporally independent U.S. pertussis epidemics. These complete genomes reshape our understanding of B.~pertussis evolution and strengthen molecular epidemiology toward one day understanding the resurgence of pertussis.


July 19, 2019  |  

Large deletions at the SHOX locus in the pseudoautosomal region are associated with skeletal atavism in Shetland ponies.

Skeletal atavism in Shetland ponies is a heritable disorder characterized by abnormal growth of the ulna and fibula that extend the carpal and tarsal joints, respectively. This causes abnormal skeletal structure, impaired movements, and affected foals are usually euthanized. In order to identify the causal mutation we subjected six confirmed Swedish cases and a DNA pool consisting of 21 control individuals to whole genome resequencing. We screened for polymorphisms where the cases and the control pool were fixed for opposite alleles and observed this signature for only 25 SNPs, most of which were scattered on genome assembly unassigned scaffolds. Read depth analysis at these loci revealed homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for two partially overlapping large deletions in the pseudoautosomal region (PAR) of chromosome X/Y in cases but not in the control pool. One of these deletions removes the entire coding region of the SHOX gene and both deletions remove parts of the CRLF2 gene located downstream of SHOX. The horse reference assembly of the PAR is highly fragmented, and in order to characterize this region we sequenced bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology. This considerably improved the assembly and enabled size estimations of the two deletions to 160-180 kb and 60-80 kb, respectively. Complete association between the presence of these deletions and disease status was verified in eight other affected horses. The result of the present study is consistent with previous studies in humans showing crucial importance of SHOX for normal skeletal development. Copyright © 2016 Author et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Separate F-type plasmids have shaped the evolution of the H30 subclone of Escherichia coli sequence type 131.

The extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) H30 subclone of sequence type 131 (ST131-H30) has emerged abruptly as a dominant lineage of ExPEC responsible for human disease. The ST131-H30 lineage has been well described phylogenetically, yet its plasmid complement is not fully understood. Here, single-molecule, real-time sequencing was used to generate the complete plasmid sequences of ST131-H30 isolates and those belonging to other ST131 clades. Comparative analyses revealed separate F-type plasmids that have shaped the evolution of the main fluoroquinolone-resistant ST131-H30 clades. Specifically, an F1:A2:B20 plasmid is strongly associated with the H30R/C1 clade, whereas an F2:A1:B- plasmid is associated with the H30Rx/C2 clade. A series of plasmid gene losses, gains, and rearrangements involving IS26 likely led to the current plasmid complements within each ST131-H30 sublineage, which contain several overlapping gene clusters with putative functions in virulence and fitness, suggesting plasmid-mediated convergent evolution. Evidence suggests that the H30Rx/C2-associated F2:A1:B- plasmid type was present in strains ancestral to the acquisition of fluoroquinolone resistance and prior to the introduction of a multidrug resistance-encoding gene cassette harboring bla CTX-M-15. In vitro experiments indicated a host strain-independent low frequency of plasmid transfer, differential levels of plasmid stability even between closely related ST131-H30 strains, and possible epistasis for carriage of these plasmids within the H30R/Rx lineages. IMPORTANCE A clonal lineage of Escherichia coli known as ST131 has emerged as a dominating strain type causing extraintestinal infections in humans. The evolutionary history of ST131 E. coli is now well understood. However, the role of plasmids in ST131’s evolutionary history is poorly defined. This study utilized real-time, single-molecule sequencing to compare plasmids from various current and historical lineages of ST131. From this work, it was determined that a series of plasmid gains, losses, and recombinational events has led to the currently circulating plasmids of ST131 strains. These plasmids appear to have evolved to acquire similar gene clusters on multiple occasions, suggesting possible plasmid-mediated convergent evolution leading to evolutionary success. These plasmids also appear to be better suited to exist in specific strains of ST131 due to coadaptive mutations. Overall, a series of events has enabled the evolution of ST131 plasmids, possibly contributing to the lineage’s success.


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  |  

The mitochondrial genome map of Nelumbo nucifera reveals ancient evolutionary features.

Nelumbo nucifera is an evolutionary relic from the Late Cretaceous period. Sequencing the N. nucifera mitochondrial genome is important for elucidating the evolutionary characteristics of basal eudicots. Here, the N. nucifera mitochondrial genome was sequenced using single molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT), and the mitochondrial genome map was constructed after de novo assembly and annotation. The results showed that the 524,797-bp N. nucifera mitochondrial genome has a total of 63 genes, including 40 protein-coding genes, three rRNA genes and 20 tRNA genes. Fifteen collinear gene clusters were conserved across different plant species. Approximately 700 RNA editing sites in the protein-coding genes were identified. Positively selected genes were identified with selection pressure analysis. Nineteen chloroplast-derived fragments were identified, and seven tRNAs were derived from the chloroplast. These results suggest that the N. nucifera mitochondrial genome retains evolutionarily conserved characteristics, including ancient gene content and gene clusters, high levels of RNA editing, and low levels of chloroplast-derived fragment insertions. As the first publicly available basal eudicot mitochondrial genome, the N. nucifera mitochondrial genome facilitates further analysis of the characteristics of basal eudicots and provides clues of the evolutionary trajectory from basal angiosperms to advanced eudicots.


July 19, 2019  |  

High throughput random mutagenesis and Single Molecule Real Time Sequencing of the muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor.

High throughput random mutagenesis is a powerful tool to identify which residues are important for the function of a protein, and gain insight into its structure-function relation. The human muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor was used to test whether this technique previously used for monomeric receptors can be applied to a pentameric ligand-gated ion channel. A mutant library for the a1 subunit of the channel was generated by error-prone PCR, and full length sequences of all 2816 mutants were retrieved using single molecule real time sequencing. Each a1 mutant was co-transfected with wildtype ß1, d, and e subunits, and the channel function characterized by an ion flux assay. To test whether the strategy could map the structure-function relation of this receptor, we attempted to identify mutations that conferred resistance to competitive antagonists. Mutant hits were defined as receptors that responded to the nicotinic agonist epibatidine, but were not inhibited by either a-bungarotoxin or tubocurarine. Eight a1 subunit mutant hits were identified, six of which contained mutations at position Y233 or V275 in the transmembrane domain. Three single point mutations (Y233N, Y233H, and V275M) were studied further, and found to enhance the potencies of five channel agonists tested. This suggests that the mutations made the channel resistant to the antagonists, not by impairing antagonist binding, but rather by producing a gain-of-function phenotype, e.g. increased agonist sensitivity. Our data show that random high throughput mutagenesis is applicable to multimeric proteins to discover novel functional mutants, and outlines the benefits of using single molecule real time sequencing with regards to quality control of the mutant library as well as downstream mutant data interpretation.


July 19, 2019  |  

De novo assembly and phasing of a Korean human genome.

Advances in genome assembly and phasing provide an opportunity to investigate the diploid architecture of the human genome and reveal the full range of structural variation across population groups. Here we report the de novo assembly and haplotype phasing of the Korean individual AK1 (ref. 1) using single-molecule real-time sequencing, next-generation mapping, microfluidics-based linked reads, and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequencing approaches. Single-molecule sequencing coupled with next-generation mapping generated a highly contiguous assembly, with a contig N50 size of 17.9?Mb and a scaffold N50 size of 44.8?Mb, resolving 8 chromosomal arms into single scaffolds. The de novo assembly, along with local assemblies and spanning long reads, closes 105 and extends into 72 out of 190 euchromatic gaps in the reference genome, adding 1.03?Mb of previously intractable sequence. High concordance between the assembly and paired-end sequences from 62,758 BAC clones provides strong support for the robustness of the assembly. We identify 18,210 structural variants by direct comparison of the assembly with the human reference, identifying thousands of breakpoints that, to our knowledge, have not been reported before. Many of the insertions are reflected in the transcriptome and are shared across the Asian population. We performed haplotype phasing of the assembly with short reads, long reads and linked reads from whole-genome sequencing and with short reads from 31,719 BAC clones, thereby achieving phased blocks with an N50 size of 11.6?Mb. Haplotigs assembled from single-molecule real-time reads assigned to haplotypes on phased blocks covered 89% of genes. The haplotigs accurately characterized the hypervariable major histocompatability complex region as well as demonstrating allele configuration in clinically relevant genes such as CYP2D6. This work presents the most contiguous diploid human genome assembly so far, with extensive investigation of unreported and Asian-specific structural variants, and high-quality haplotyping of clinically relevant alleles for precision medicine.


July 19, 2019  |  

Extraction of high-molecular-weight genomic DNA for long-read sequencing of single molecules.

De novo sequencing of complex genomes is one of the main challenges for researchers seeking high-quality reference sequences. Many de novo assemblies are based on short reads, producing fragmented genome sequences. Third-generation sequencing, with read lengths >10 kb, will improve the assembly of complex genomes, but these techniques require high-molecular-weight genomic DNA (gDNA), and gDNA extraction protocols used for obtaining smaller fragments for short-read sequencing are not suitable for this purpose. Methods of preparing gDNA for bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries could be adapted, but these approaches are time-consuming, and commercial kits for these methods are expensive. Here, we present a protocol for rapid, inexpensive extraction of high-molecular-weight gDNA from bacteria, plants, and animals. Our technique was validated using sunflower leaf samples, producing a mean read length of 12.6 kb and a maximum read length of 80 kb.


July 19, 2019  |  

Full-length mitochondrial-DNA sequencing on the PacBio RSII.

Conventional mitochondrial-DNA (MT DNA) sequencing approaches use Sanger sequencing of 20-40 partially overlapping PCR fragments per individual, which is a time- and resource-consuming process. We have developed a high-throughput, accurate, fast, and cost-effective human MT DNA sequencing approach. In this setup we first generate long-range PCR products for two partially overlapping 7.7 and 9.2 kb MT DNA-specific amplicons, add sample-specific barcodes, and sequence these on the PacBio RSII system to obtain full-length MT DNA sequences for genotyping/haplotyping purposes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Targeted capture and sequencing of gene-sized DNA molecules.

Targeted capture provides an efficient and sensitive means for sequencing specific genomic regions in a high-throughput manner. To date, this method has mostly been used to capture exons from the genome (the exome) using short insert libraries and short-read sequencing technology, enabling the identification of genetic variants or new members of large gene families. Sequencing larger molecules results in the capture of whole genes, including intronic and intergenic sequences that are typically more polymorphic and allow the resolution of the gene structure of homologous genes, which are often clustered together on the chromosome. Here, we describe an improved method for the capture and single-molecule sequencing of DNA molecules as large as 7 kb by means of size selection and optimized PCR conditions. Our approach can be used to capture, sequence, and distinguish between similar members of the NB-LRR gene family-key genes in plant immune systems.


July 19, 2019  |  

The establishment and diversification of epidemic-associated serogroup W meningococcus in the African meningitis belt, 1994 to 2012.

Epidemics of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) caused by meningococcal serogroup A have been eliminated from the sub-Saharan African so-called “meningitis belt” by the meningococcal A conjugate vaccine (MACV), and yet, other serogroups continue to cause epidemics. Neisseria meningitidis serogroup W remains a major cause of disease in the region, with most isolates belonging to clonal complex 11 (CC11). Here, the genetic variation within and between epidemic-associated strains was assessed by sequencing the genomes of 92 N. meningitidis serogroup W isolates collected between 1994 and 2012 from both sporadic and epidemic IMD cases, 85 being from selected meningitis belt countries. The sequenced isolates belonged to either CC175 (n = 9) or CC11 (n = 83). The CC11 N. meningitidis serogroup W isolates belonged to a single lineage comprising four major phylogenetic subclades. Separate CC11 N. meningitidis serogroup W subclades were associated with the 2002 and 2012 Burkina Faso epidemics. The subclade associated with the 2012 epidemic included isolates found in Burkina Faso and Mali during 2011 and 2012, which descended from a strain very similar to the Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca)-related Saudi Arabian outbreak strain from 2000. The phylogeny of isolates from 2012 reflected their geographic origin within Burkina Faso, with isolates from the Malian border region being closely related to the isolates from Mali. Evidence of ongoing evolution, international transmission, and strain replacement stresses the importance of maintaining N. meningitidis surveillance in Africa following the MACV implementation. IMPORTANCE Meningococcal disease (meningitis and bloodstream infections) threatens millions of people across the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa. A vaccine introduced in 2010 protects against Africa’s then-most common cause of meningococcal disease, N. meningitidis serogroup A. However, other serogroups continue to cause epidemics in the region-including serogroup W. The rapid identification of strains that have been associated with prior outbreaks can improve the assessment of outbreak risk and enable timely preparation of public health responses, including vaccination. Phylogenetic analysis of newly sequenced serogroup W strains isolated from 1994 to 2012 identified two groups of strains linked to large epidemics in Burkina Faso, one being descended from a strain that caused an outbreak during the Hajj pilgrimage in 2000. We find that applying whole-genome sequencing to meningococcal disease surveillance collections improves the discrimination among strains, even within a single nation-wide epidemic, which can be used to better understand pathogen spread.


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