April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic basis of functional variability in adhesion G protein-coupled receptors.

The enormous sizes of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) go along with complex genomic exon-intron architectures giving rise to multiple mRNA variants. There is a need for a comprehensive catalog of aGPCR variants for proper evaluation of the complex functions of aGPCRs found in structural, in vitro and animal model studies. We used an established bioinformatics pipeline to extract, quantify and visualize mRNA variants of aGPCRs from deeply sequenced transcriptomes. Data analysis showed that aGPCRs have multiple transcription start sites even within introns and that tissue-specific splicing is frequent. On average, 19 significantly expressed transcript variants are derived from a given aGPCR gene. The domain architecture of the N terminus encoded by transcript variants often differs and N termini without or with an incomplete seven-helix transmembrane anchor as well as separate seven-helix transmembrane domains are frequently derived from aGPCR genes. Experimental analyses of selected aGPCR transcript variants revealed marked functional differences. Our analysis has an impact on a rational design of aGPCR constructs for structural analyses and gene-deficient mouse lines and provides new support for independent functions of both, the large N terminus and the transmembrane domain of aGPCRs.


April 21, 2020  |  

Closing the Yield Gap for Cannabis: A Meta-Analysis of Factors Determining Cannabis Yield.

Until recently, the commercial production of Cannabis sativa was restricted to varieties that yielded high-quality fiber while producing low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the last few years, a number of jurisdictions have legalized the production of medical and/or recreational cannabis with higher levels of THC, and other jurisdictions seem poised to follow suit. Consequently, demand for industrial-scale production of high yield cannabis with consistent cannabinoid profiles is expected to increase. In this paper we highlight that currently, projected annual production of cannabis is based largely on facility size, not yield per square meter. This meta-analysis of cannabis yields reported in scientific literature aimed to identify the main factors contributing to cannabis yield per plant, per square meter, and per W of lighting electricity. In line with previous research we found that variety, plant density, light intensity and fertilization influence cannabis yield and cannabinoid content; we also identified pot size, light type and duration of the flowering period as predictors of yield and THC accumulation. We provide insight into the critical role of light intensity, quality, and photoperiod in determining cannabis yields, with particular focus on the potential for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to improve growth and reduce energy requirements. We propose that the vast amount of genomics data currently available for cannabis can be used to better understand the effect of genotype on yield. Finally, we describe diversification that is likely to emerge in cannabis growing systems and examine the potential role of plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for growth promotion, regulation of cannabinoid biosynthesis, and biocontrol.


October 23, 2019  |  

Creating and evaluating accurate CRISPR-Cas9 scalpels for genomic surgery.

The simplicity of site-specific genome targeting by type II clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9 nucleases, along with their robust activity profile, has changed the landscape of genome editing. These favorable properties have made the CRISPR-Cas9 system the technology of choice for sequence-specific modifications in vertebrate systems. For many applications, whether the focus is on basic science investigations or therapeutic efficacy, activity and precision are important considerations when one is choosing a nuclease platform, target site and delivery method. Here we review recent methods for increasing the activity and accuracy of Cas9 and assessing the extent of off-target cleavage events.


October 23, 2019  |  

Structural determination of the broadly reactive anti-IGHV1-69 anti-idiotypic antibody G6 and its idiotope.

The heavy chain IGHV1-69 germline gene exhibits a high level of polymorphism and shows biased use in protective antibody (Ab) responses to infections and vaccines. It is also highly expressed in several B cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases. G6 is an anti-idiotypic monoclonal Ab that selectively binds to IGHV1-69 heavy chain germline gene 51p1 alleles that have been implicated in these Ab responses and disease processes. Here, we determine the co-crystal structure of humanized G6 (hG6.3) in complex with anti-influenza hemagglutinin stem-directed broadly neutralizing Ab D80. The core of the hG6.3 idiotope is a continuous string of CDR-H2 residues starting with M53 and ending with N58. G6 binding studies demonstrate the remarkable breadth of binding to 51p1 IGHV1-69 Abs with diverse CDR-H3, light chain, and antigen binding specificities. These studies detail the broad expression of the G6 cross-reactive idiotype (CRI) that further define its potential role in precision medicine. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide transcriptome profiling of the medicinal plant Zanthoxylum planispinum using a single-molecule direct RNA sequencing approach.

High-throughput RNA sequencing has revolutionized transcriptome-based studies of candidate genes, key pathways and gene regulation in non-model organisms. We analyzed full-length cDNA sequences in Zanthoxylum planispinum (Z. planispinum), a medicinal herb in major parts of East Asia. The full-length mRNA derived from tissues of leaf, early fruit and maturing fruit stage were sequenced using PacBio RSII platform to identify isoform transcriptome. We obtained 51,402 unigenes, with average 1781?bp per gene in 82.473?Mb gene lengths. Among 51,402, 3963 unigenes showed variety of isoform. By selection of one representative gene among each of the various isoforms, we finalized 46,306 unique gene set for this herb. We identified 76 cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and related isoforms that are of the wide diversity in the molecular function and biological process. These transcriptome data of Z. planispinum will provide a good resource to study metabolic engineering for the production of valuable medicinal drugs and phytochemicals. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

Researches on transcriptome sequencing in the study of traditional Chinese medicine

Due to its incomparable advantages, the application of transcriptome sequencing in the study of traditional Chinese medicine attracts more and more attention of researchers, which greatly promote the development of traditional Chinese medicine. In this paper, the applications of transcriptome sequencing in traditional Chinese medicine were summarized by reviewing recent related papers.


September 22, 2019  |  

Androgen receptor variant AR-V9 is co-expressed with AR-V7 in prostate cancer metastases and predicts abiraterone resistance.

Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) variant AR-V7 is a ligand-independent transcription factor that promotes prostate cancer resistance to AR-targeted therapies.  Accordingly, efforts are underway to develop strategies for monitoring and inhibiting AR-V7 in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).  The purpose of this study was to understand whether other AR variants may be co-expressed with AR-V7 and promote resistance to AR-targeted therapies. Experimental Design:  We utilized complementary short- and long-read sequencing of intact AR mRNA isoforms to characterize AR expression in CRPC models.  Co-expression of AR-V7 and AR-V9 mRNA in CRPC metastases and circulating tumor cells was assessed by RNA-seq and RT-PCR, respectively.  Expression of AR-V9 protein in CRPC models was evaluated with polyclonal antisera.  Multivariate analysis was performed to test whether AR variant mRNA expression in metastatic tissues was associated with a 12-week progression-free survival endpoint in a prospective clinical trial of 78 CRPC-stage patients initiating therapy with the androgen synthesis inhibitor, abiraterone acetate. Results: AR-V9 was frequently co-expressed with AR-V7.  Both AR variant species were found to share a common 3′ terminal cryptic exon, which rendered AR-V9 susceptible to experimental manipulations that were previously-thought to target AR-V7 uniquely.  AR-V9 promoted ligand-independent growth of prostate cancer cells.  High AR-V9 mRNA expression in CRPC metastases was predictive of primary resistance to abiraterone acetate (HR = 4.0, 95% CI = 1.31-12.2, P = 0.02).   Conclusions:  AR-V9 may be an important component of therapeutic resistance in CRPC. Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.


September 22, 2019  |  

Influenza virus infection causes global RNAPII termination defects.

Viral infection perturbs host cells and can be used to uncover regulatory mechanisms controlling cellular responses and susceptibility to infections. Using cell biological, biochemical, and genetic tools, we reveal that influenza A virus (IAV) infection induces global transcriptional defects at the 3′ ends of active host genes and RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) run-through into extragenic regions. Deregulated RNAPII leads to expression of aberrant RNAs (3′ extensions and host-gene fusions) that ultimately cause global transcriptional downregulation of physiological transcripts, an effect influencing antiviral response and virulence. This phenomenon occurs with multiple strains of IAV, is dependent on influenza NS1 protein, and can be modulated by SUMOylation of an intrinsically disordered region (IDR) of NS1 expressed by the 1918 pandemic IAV strain. Our data identify a strategy used by IAV to suppress host gene expression and indicate that polymorphisms in IDRs of viral proteins can affect the outcome of an infection.


September 22, 2019  |  

Gut microbiota, nitric oxide, and microglia as prerequisites for neurodegenerative disorders.

Regulating fluctuating endogenous nitric oxide (NO) levels is necessary for proper physiological functions. Aberrant NO pathways are implicated in a number of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease. The mechanism of NO in oxidative and nitrosative stress with pathological consequences involves reactions with reactive oxygen species (e.g., superoxide) to form the highly reactive peroxynitrite, hydrogen peroxide, hypochloride ions and hydroxyl radical. NO levels are typically regulated by endogenous nitric oxide synthases (NOS), and inflammatory iNOS is implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, in which elevated NO mediates axonal degeneration and activates cyclooxygenases to provoke neuroinflammation. NO also instigates a down-regulated secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is essential for neuronal survival, development and differentiation, synaptogenesis, and learning and memory. The gut-brain axis denotes communication between the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the GI tract and the central nervous system (CNS) of the brain, and the modes of communication include the vagus nerve, passive diffusion and carrier by oxyhemoglobin. Amyloid precursor protein that forms amyloid beta plaques in AD is normally expressed in the ENS by gut bacteria, but when amyloid beta accumulates, it compromises CNS functions. Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica are among the many bacterial strains that express and secrete amyloid proteins and contribute to AD pathogenesis. Gut microbiota is essential for regulating microglia maturation and activation, and activated microglia secrete significant amounts of iNOS. Pharmacological interventions and lifestyle modifications to rectify aberrant NO signaling in AD include NOS inhibitors, NMDA receptor antagonists, potassium channel modulators, probiotics, diet, and exercise.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genome and evolution of the shade-requiring medicinal herb Panax ginseng.

Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer, reputed as the king of medicinal herbs, has slow growth, long generation time, low seed production and complicated genome structure that hamper its study. Here, we unveil the genomic architecture of tetraploid P. ginseng by de novo genome assembly, representing 2.98 Gbp with 59 352 annotated genes. Resequencing data indicated that diploid Panax species diverged in association with global warming in Southern Asia, and two North American species evolved via two intercontinental migrations. Two whole genome duplications (WGD) occurred in the family Araliaceae (including Panax) after divergence with the Apiaceae, the more recent one contributing to the ability of P. ginseng to overwinter, enabling it to spread broadly through the Northern Hemisphere. Functional and evolutionary analyses suggest that production of pharmacologically important dammarane-type ginsenosides originated in Panax and are produced largely in shoot tissues and transported to roots; that newly evolved P. ginseng fatty acid desaturases increase freezing tolerance; and that unprecedented retention of chlorophyll a/b binding protein genes enables efficient photosynthesis under low light. A genome-scale metabolic network provides a holistic view of Panax ginsenoside biosynthesis. This study provides valuable resources for improving medicinal values of ginseng either through genomics-assisted breeding or metabolic engineering.© 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

The features of mucosa-associated microbiota in primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Little is known about the role of the microbiome in primary sclerosing cholangitis.To explore the mucosa-associated microbiota in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) patients across different locations in the gut, and to compare it with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-only patients and healthy controls.Biopsies from the terminal ileum, right colon, and left colon were collected from patients and healthy controls undergoing colonoscopy. Microbiota profiling using bacterial 16S rRNA sequencing was performed on all biopsies.Forty-four patients were recruited: 20 with PSC (19 with PSC-IBD and one with PSC-only), 15 with IBD-only and nine healthy controls. The overall microbiome profile was similar throughout different locations in the gut. No differences in the global microbiome profile were found. However, we observed significant PSC-associated enrichment in Barnesiellaceae at the family level, and in Blautia and an unidentified Barnesiellaceae at the genus level. At the operational taxa unit level, most shifts in PSC were observed in Clostridiales and Bacteroidales orders, with approximately 86% of shifts occurring within the former order.The overall microbiota profile was similar across multiple locations in the gut from the same individual regardless of disease status. In this study, the mucosa associated-microbiota of patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis was characterised by enrichment of Blautia and Barnesiellaceae and by major shifts in operational taxa units within Clostridiales order.© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Use of a draft genome of coffee (Coffea arabica) to identify SNPs associated with caffeine content.

Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) has a small gene pool limiting genetic improvement. Selection for caffeine content within this gene pool would be assisted by identification of the genes controlling this important trait. Sequencing of DNA bulks from 18 genotypes with extreme high- or low-caffeine content from a population of 232 genotypes was used to identify linked polymorphisms. To obtain a reference genome, a whole genome assembly of arabica coffee (variety K7) was achieved by sequencing using short read (Illumina) and long-read (PacBio) technology. Assembly was performed using a range of assembly tools resulting in 76 409 scaffolds with a scaffold N50 of 54 544 bp and a total scaffold length of 1448 Mb. Validation of the genome assembly using different tools showed high completeness of the genome. More than 99% of transcriptome sequences mapped to the C. arabica draft genome, and 89% of BUSCOs were present. The assembled genome annotated using AUGUSTUS yielded 99 829 gene models. Using the draft arabica genome as reference in mapping and variant calling allowed the detection of 1444 nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with caffeine content. Based on Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes pathway-based analysis, 65 caffeine-associated SNPs were discovered, among which 11 SNPs were associated with genes encoding enzymes involved in the conversion of substrates, which participate in the caffeine biosynthesis pathways. This analysis demonstrated the complex genetic control of this key trait in coffee.© 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessment of the physicochemical properties and bacterial composition of Lactobacillus plantarum and Enterococcus faecium-fermented Astragalus membranaceus using single molecule, real-time sequencing technology.

We investigated if fermentation with probiotic cultures could improve the production of health-promoting biological compounds in Astragalus membranaceus. We tested the probiotics Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus plantarum and Enterococcus faecium?+?Lactobacillus plantarum and applied PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) to evaluate the quality of Astragalus fermentation. We found that the production rates of acetic acid, methylacetic acid, aethyl acetic acid and lactic acid using E. faecium?+?L. plantarum were 1866.24?mg/kg on day 15, 203.80?mg/kg on day 30, 996.04?mg/kg on day 15, and 3081.99?mg/kg on day 20, respectively. Other production rates were: polysaccharides, 9.43%, 8.51%, and 7.59% on day 10; saponins, 19.6912?mg/g, 21.6630?mg/g and 20.2084?mg/g on day 15; and flavonoids, 1.9032?mg/g, 2.0835?mg/g, and 1.7086?mg/g on day 20 using E. faecium, L. plantarum and E. faecium?+?L. plantarum, respectively. SMRT was used to analyze microbial composition, and we found that E. faecium and L. plantarum were the most prevalent species after fermentation for 3 days. E. faecium?+?L. plantarum gave more positive effects than single strains in the Astragalus solid state fermentation process. Our data demonstrated that the SMRT sequencing platform is applicable to quality assessment of Astragalus fermentation.


September 22, 2019  |  

A genomic case study of mixed fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.

Mixed fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (mFL-HCC) is a rare liver tumor defined by the presence of both pure FL-HCC and conventional HCC components, represents up to 25% of cases of FL-HCC, and has been associated with worse prognosis. Recent genomic characterization of pure FL-HCC identified a highly recurrent transcript fusion (DNAJB1:PRKACA) not found in conventional HCC.We performed exome and transcriptome sequencing of a case of mFL-HCC. A novel BAC-capture approach was developed to identify a 400 kb deletion as the underlying genomic mechanism for a DNAJB1:PRKACA fusion in this case. A sensitive Nanostring Elements assay was used to screen for this transcript fusion in a second case of mFL-HCC, 112 additional HCC samples and 44 adjacent non-tumor liver samples.We report the first comprehensive genomic analysis of a case of mFL-HCC. No common HCC-associated mutations were identified. The very low mutation rate of this case, large number of mostly single-copy, long-range copy number variants, and high expression of ERBB2 were more consistent with previous reports of pure FL-HCC than conventional HCC. In particular, the DNAJB1:PRKACA fusion transcript specifically associated with pure FL-HCC was detected at very high expression levels. Subsequent analysis revealed the presence of this fusion in all primary and metastatic samples, including those with mixed or conventional HCC pathology. A second case of mFL-HCC confirmed our finding that the fusion was detectable in conventional components. An expanded screen identified a third case of fusion-positive HCC, which upon review, also had both conventional and fibrolamellar features. This screen confirmed the absence of the fusion in all conventional HCC and adjacent non-tumor liver samples.These results indicate that mFL-HCC is similar to pure FL-HCC at the genomic level and the DNAJB1:PRKACA fusion can be used as a diagnostic tool for both pure and mFL-HCC.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Alternative isoform analysis of Ttc8 expression in the rat pineal gland using a multi-platform sequencing approach reveals neural regulation.

Alternative isoform regulation (AIR) vastly increases transcriptome diversity and plays an important role in numerous biological processes and pathologies. However, the detection and analysis of isoform-level differential regulation is difficult, particularly in the face of complex and incompletely-annotated transcriptomes. Here we have used Illumina short-read/high-throughput RNA-Seq to identify 55 genes that exhibit neurally-regulated AIR in the pineal gland, and then used two other complementary experimental platforms to further study and characterize the Ttc8 gene, which is involved in Bardet-Biedl syndrome and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa. Use of the JunctionSeq analysis tool led to the detection of several novel exons and splice junctions in this gene, including two novel alternative transcription start sites which were found to display disproportionately strong neurally-regulated differential expression in several independent experiments. These high-throughput sequencing results were validated and augmented via targeted qPCR and long-read Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing. We confirmed the existence of numerous novel splice junctions and the selective upregulation of the two novel start sites. In addition, we identified more than 20 novel isoforms of the Ttc8 gene that are co-expressed in this tissue. By using information from multiple independent platforms we not only greatly reduce the risk of errors, biases, and artifacts influencing our results, we also are able to characterize the regulation and splicing of the Ttc8 gene more deeply and more precisely than would be possible via any single platform. The hybrid method outlined here represents a powerful strategy in the study of the transcriptome.


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