July 19, 2019  |  

Reconstructing complex regions of genomes using long-read sequencing technology.

Obtaining high-quality sequence continuity of complex regions of recent segmental duplication remains one of the major challenges of finishing genome assemblies. In the human and mouse genomes, this was achieved by targeting large-insert clones using costly and laborious capillary-based sequencing approaches. Sanger shotgun sequencing of clone inserts, however, has now been largely abandoned, leaving most of these regions unresolved in newer genome assemblies generated primarily by next-generation sequencing hybrid approaches. Here we show that it is possible to resolve regions that are complex in a genome-wide context but simple in isolation for a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods using long-read single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing and assembly technology from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio). We sequenced and assembled BAC clones corresponding to a 1.3-Mbp complex region of chromosome 17q21.31, demonstrating 99.994% identity to Sanger assemblies of the same clones. We targeted 44 differences using Illumina sequencing and find that PacBio and Sanger assemblies share a comparable number of validated variants, albeit with different sequence context biases. Finally, we targeted a poorly assembled 766-kbp duplicated region of the chimpanzee genome and resolved the structure and organization for a fraction of the cost and time of traditional finishing approaches. Our data suggest a straightforward path for upgrading genomes to a higher quality finished state.

July 19, 2019  |  

A near-complete haplotype-phased genome of the dikaryotic wheat stripe rust fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici reveals high interhaplotype diversity.

A long-standing biological question is how evolution has shaped the genomic architecture of dikaryotic fungi. To answer this, high-quality genomic resources that enable haplotype comparisons are essential. Short-read genome assemblies for dikaryotic fungi are highly fragmented and lack haplotype-specific information due to the high heterozygosity and repeat content of these genomes. Here, we present a diploid-aware assembly of the wheat stripe rust fungus Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici based on long reads using the FALCON-Unzip assembler. Transcriptome sequencing data sets were used to infer high-quality gene models and identify virulence genes involved in plant infection referred to as effectors. This represents the most complete Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici genome assembly to date (83 Mb, 156 contigs, N50 of 1.5 Mb) and provides phased haplotype information for over 92% of the genome. Comparisons of the phase blocks revealed high interhaplotype diversity of over 6%. More than 25% of all genes lack a clear allelic counterpart. When we investigated genome features that potentially promote the rapid evolution of virulence, we found that candidate effector genes are spatially associated with conserved genes commonly found in basidiomycetes. Yet, candidate effectors that lack an allelic counterpart are more distant from conserved genes than allelic candidate effectors and are less likely to be evolutionarily conserved within the P. striiformis species complex and Pucciniales In summary, this haplotype-phased assembly enabled us to discover novel genome features of a dikaryotic plant-pathogenic fungus previously hidden in collapsed and fragmented genome assemblies.IMPORTANCE Current representations of eukaryotic microbial genomes are haploid, hiding the genomic diversity intrinsic to diploid and polyploid life forms. This hidden diversity contributes to the organism’s evolutionary potential and ability to adapt to stress conditions. Yet, it is challenging to provide haplotype-specific information at a whole-genome level. Here, we take advantage of long-read DNA sequencing technology and a tailored-assembly algorithm to disentangle the two haploid genomes of a dikaryotic pathogenic wheat rust fungus. The two genomes display high levels of nucleotide and structural variations, which lead to allelic variation and the presence of genes lacking allelic counterparts. Nonallelic candidate effector genes, which likely encode important pathogenicity factors, display distinct genome localization patterns and are less likely to be evolutionary conserved than those which are present as allelic pairs. This genomic diversity may promote rapid host adaptation and/or be related to the age of the sequenced isolate since last meiosis. Copyright © 2018 Schwessinger et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome determination and analysis of Acholeplasma oculi strain 19L, highlighting the loss of basic genetic features in the Acholeplasmataceae.

BACKGROUND: Acholeplasma oculi belongs to the Acholeplasmataceae family, comprising the genera Acholeplasma and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’. Acholeplasmas are ubiquitous saprophytic bacteria. Several isolates are derived from plants or animals, whereas phytoplasmas are characterised as intracellular parasitic pathogens of plant phloem and depend on insect vectors for their spread. The complete genome sequences for eight strains of this family have been resolved so far, all of which were determined depending on clone-based sequencing. RESULTS:The A. oculi strain 19L chromosome was sequenced using two independent approaches. The first approach comprised sequencing by synthesis (Illumina) in combination with Sanger sequencing, while single molecule real time sequencing (PacBio) was used in the second. The genome was determined to be 1,587,120bp in size. Sequencing by synthesis resulted in six large genome fragments, while the single molecule real time sequencing approach yielded one circular chromosome sequence. High-quality sequences were obtained by both strategies differing in six positions, which are interpreted as reliable variations present in the culture population. Our genome analysis revealed 1,471 protein-coding genes and highlighted the absence of the F1FO-type Na+ ATPase system and GroEL/ES chaperone. Comparison of the four available Acholeplasma sequences revealed a core-genome encoding 703 proteins and a pan-genome of 2,867 proteins. CONCLUSIONS:The application of two state-of-the-art sequencing technologies highlights the potential of single molecule real time sequencing for complete genome determination. Comparative genome analyses revealed that the process of losing particular basic genetic features during genome reduction occurs in both genera, as indicated for several phytoplasma strains and at least A. oculi. The loss of the F1FO-type Na+ ATPase system may separate Acholeplasmataceae from other Mollicutes, while the loss of those genes encoding the chaperone GroEL/ES is not a rare exception in this bacterial class.

July 7, 2019  |  

Bacteriophages are the major drivers of Shigella flexneri serotype 1c genome plasticity: a complete genome analysis.

Shigella flexneri is the primary cause of bacillary dysentery in the developing countries. S. flexneri serotype 1c is a novel serotype, which is found to be endemic in many developing countries, but little is known about its genomic architecture and virulence signatures. We have sequenced for the first time, the complete genome of S. flexneri serotype 1c strain Y394, to provide insights into its diversity and evolution.We generated a high-quality reference genome of S. flexneri serotype 1c using the hybrid methods of long-read single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology and short-read MiSeq (Illumina) sequencing technology. The Y394 chromosome is 4.58 Mb in size and shares the basic genomic features with other S. flexneri complete genomes. However, it possesses unique and highly modified O-antigen structure comprising of three distinct O-antigen modifying gene clusters that potentially came from three different bacteriophages. It also possesses a large number of hypothetical unique genes compared to other S. flexneri genomes.Despite a high level of structural and functional similarities of Y394 genome with other S. flexneri genomes, there are marked differences in the pathogenic islands. The diversity in the pathogenic islands suggests that these bacterial pathogens are well adapted to respond to the selection pressures during their evolution, which might contribute to the differences in their virulence potential.

July 7, 2019  |  

Pectobacterium polaris sp. nov., isolated from potato (Solanum tuberosum).

The genus Pectobacterium, which belongs to the bacterial family Enterobacteriaceae, contains numerous species that cause soft rot diseases in a wide range of plants. The species Pectobacterium carotovorum is highly heterogeneous, indicating a need for re-evaluation and a better classification of the species. PacBio was used for sequencing of two soft-rot-causing bacterial strains (NIBIO1006T and NIBIO1392), initially identified as P. carotovorumstrains by fatty acid analysis and sequencing of three housekeeping genes (dnaX, icdA and mdh). Their taxonomic relationship to other Pectobacterium species was determined and the distance from any described species within the genus Pectobacterium was less than 94?% average nucleotide identity (ANI). Based on ANI, phylogenetic data and genome-to-genome distance, strains NIBIO1006T, NIBIO1392 and NCPPB3395 are suggested to represent a novel species of the genus Pectobacterium, for which the name Pectobacterium polaris sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is NIBIO1006T (=DSM 105255T=NCPPB 4611T).

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