September 22, 2019  |  

Rapid infectious disease identification by next-generation DNA sequencing.

Currently, there is a critical need to rapidly identify infectious organisms in clinical samples. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) could surmount the deficiencies of culture-based methods; however, there are no standardized, automated programs to process NGS data. To address this deficiency, we developed the Rapid Infectious Disease Identification (RIDI™) system. The system requires minimal guidance, which reduces operator errors. The system is compatible with the three major NGS platforms. It automatically interfaces with the sequencing system, detects their data format, configures the analysis type, applies appropriate quality control, and analyzes the results. Sequence information is characterized using both the NCBI database and RIDI™ specific databases. RIDI™ was designed to identify high probability sequence matches and more divergent matches that could represent different or novel species. We challenged the system using defined American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) reference standards of 27 species, both individually and in varying combinations. The system was able to rapidly detect known organisms in <12h with multi-sample throughput. The system accurately identifies 99.5% of the DNA sequence reads at the genus-level and 75.3% at the species-level in reference standards. It has a limit of detection of 146cells/ml in simulated clinical samples, and is also able to identify the components of polymicrobial samples with 16.9% discrepancy at the genus-level and 31.2% at the species-level. Thus, the system's effectiveness may exceed current methods, especially in situations where culture methods could produce false negatives or where rapid results would influence patient outcomes. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Microbial phylogenetic profiling with the Pacific Biosciences sequencing platform.

High-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons has revolutionized the capacity and depth of microbial community profiling. Several sequencing platforms are available, but most phylogenetic studies are performed on the 454-pyrosequencing platform because its longer reads can give finer phylogenetic resolution. The Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) sequencing platform is significantly less expensive per run, does not rely on amplification for library generation, and generates reads that are, on average, four times longer than those from 454 (C2 chemistry), but the resulting high error rates appear to preclude its use in phylogenetic profiling. Recently, however, the PacBio platform was used to characterize four electrosynthetic microbiomes to the genus-level for less than USD 1,000 through the use of PacBio’s circular consensus sequence technology. Here, we describe in greater detail: 1) the output from successful 16S rRNA gene amplicon profiling with PacBio, 2) how the analysis was contingent upon several alterations to standard bioinformatic quality control workflows, and 3) the advantages and disadvantages of using the PacBio platform for community profiling.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluating the mobility potential of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes without metagenomics.

Antibiotic resistance genes are ubiquitous in the environment. However, only a fraction of them are mobile and able to spread to pathogenic bacteria. Until now, studying the mobility of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes has been challenging due to inadequate sensitivity and difficulties in contig assembly of metagenome based methods. We developed a new cost and labor efficient method based on Inverse PCR and long read sequencing for studying mobility potential of environmental resistance genes. We applied Inverse PCR on sediment samples and identified 79 different MGE clusters associated with the studied resistance genes, including novel mobile genetic elements, co-selected resistance genes and a new putative antibiotic resistance gene. The results show that the method can be used in antibiotic resistance early warning systems. In comparison to metagenomics, Inverse PCR was markedly more sensitive and provided more data on resistance gene mobility and co-selected resistances.


September 22, 2019  |  

Next-generation approaches to advancing eco-immunogenomic research in critically endangered primates.

High-throughput sequencing platforms are generating massive amounts of genomic data from nonmodel species, and these data sets are valuable resources that can be mined to advance a number of research areas. An example is the growing amount of transcriptome data that allow for examination of gene expression in nonmodel species. Here, we show how publicly available transcriptome data from nonmodel primates can be used to design novel research focused on immunogenomics. We mined transcriptome data from the world’s most endangered group of primates, the lemurs of Madagascar, for sequences corresponding to immunoglobulins. Our results confirmed homology between strepsirrhine and haplorrhine primate immunoglobulins and allowed for high-throughput sequencing of expressed antibodies (Ig-seq) in Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli). Using both Pacific Biosciences RS and Ion Torrent PGM sequencing, we performed Ig-seq on two individuals of Coquerel’s sifaka. We generated over 150 000 sequences of expressed antibodies, allowing for molecular characterization of the antigen-binding region. Our analyses suggest that similar VDJ expression patterns exist across all primates, with sequences closely related to the human VH 3 immunoglobulin family being heavily represented in sifaka antibodies. Moreover, the antigen-binding region of sifaka antibodies exhibited similar amino acid variation with respect to haplorrhine primates. Our study represents the first attempt to characterize sequence diversity of the expressed antibody repertoire in a species of lemur. We anticipate that methods similar to ours will provide the framework for investigating the adaptive immune response in wild populations of other nonmodel organisms and can be used to advance the burgeoning field of eco-immunology. © 2014 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  |  

Somatic APP gene recombination in Alzheimer’s disease and normal neurons.

The diversity and complexity of the human brain are widely assumed to be encoded within a constant genome. Somatic gene recombination, which changes germline DNA sequences to increase molecular diversity, could theoretically alter this code but has not been documented in the brain, to our knowledge. Here we describe recombination of the Alzheimer’s disease-related gene APP, which encodes amyloid precursor protein, in human neurons, occurring mosaically as thousands of variant ‘genomic cDNAs’ (gencDNAs). gencDNAs lacked introns and ranged from full-length cDNA copies of expressed, brain-specific RNA splice variants to myriad smaller forms that contained intra-exonic junctions, insertions, deletions, and/or single nucleotide variations. DNA in situ hybridization identified gencDNAs within single neurons that were distinct from wild-type loci and absent from non-neuronal cells. Mechanistic studies supported neuronal ‘retro-insertion’ of RNA to produce gencDNAs; this process involved transcription, DNA breaks, reverse transcriptase activity, and age. Neurons from individuals with sporadic Alzheimer’s disease showed increased gencDNA diversity, including eleven mutations known to be associated with familial Alzheimer’s disease that were absent from healthy neurons. Neuronal gene recombination may allow ‘recording’ of neural activity for selective ‘playback’ of preferred gene variants whose expression bypasses splicing; this has implications for cellular diversity, learning and memory, plasticity, and diseases of the human brain.


September 22, 2019  |  

Interaction between the microbiome and TP53 in human lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer diagnosis worldwide and the number one cause of cancer deaths. Exposure to cigarette smoke, the primary risk factor in lung cancer, reduces epithelial barrier integrity and increases susceptibility to infections. Herein, we hypothesize that somatic mutations together with cigarette smoke generate a dysbiotic microbiota that is associated with lung carcinogenesis. Using lung tissue from 33 controls and 143 cancer cases, we conduct 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) bacterial gene sequencing, with RNA-sequencing data from lung cancer cases in The Cancer Genome Atlas serving as the validation cohort.Overall, we demonstrate a lower alpha diversity in normal lung as compared to non-tumor adjacent or tumor tissue. In squamous cell carcinoma specifically, a separate group of taxa are identified, in which Acidovorax is enriched in smokers. Acidovorax temporans is identified within tumor sections by fluorescent in situ hybridization and confirmed by two separate 16S rRNA strategies. Further, these taxa, including Acidovorax, exhibit higher abundance among the subset of squamous cell carcinoma cases with TP53 mutations, an association not seen in adenocarcinomas.The results of this comprehensive study show both microbiome-gene and microbiome-exposure interactions in squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer tissue. Specifically, tumors harboring TP53 mutations, which can impair epithelial function, have a unique bacterial consortium that is higher in relative abundance in smoking-associated tumors of this type. Given the significant need for clinical diagnostic tools in lung cancer, this study may provide novel biomarkers for early detection.


September 22, 2019  |  

The first whole transcriptomic exploration of pre-oviposited early chicken embryos using single and bulked embryonic RNA-sequencing.

The chicken is a valuable model organism, especially in evolutionary and embryology research because its embryonic development occurs in the egg. However, despite its scientific importance, no transcriptome data have been generated for deciphering the early developmental stages of the chicken because of practical and technical constraints in accessing pre-oviposited embryos.Here, we determine the entire transcriptome of pre-oviposited avian embryos, including oocyte, zygote, and intrauterine embryos from Eyal-giladi and Kochav stage I (EGK.I) to EGK.X collected using a noninvasive approach for the first time. We also compare RNA-sequencing data obtained using a bulked embryo sequencing and single embryo/cell sequencing technique. The raw sequencing data were preprocessed with two genome builds, Galgal4 and Galgal5, and the expression of 17,108 and 26,102 genes was quantified in the respective builds. There were some differences between the two techniques, as well as between the two genome builds, and these were affected by the emergence of long intergenic noncoding RNA annotations.The first transcriptome datasets of pre-oviposited early chicken embryos based on bulked and single embryo sequencing techniques will serve as a valuable resource for investigating early avian embryogenesis, for comparative studies among vertebrates, and for novel gene annotation in the chicken genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

De novo assembly and characterizing of the culm-derived meta-transcriptome from the polyploid sugarcane genome based on coding transcripts

Sugarcane biomass has been used for sugar, bioenergy and biomaterial production. The majority of the sugarcane biomass comes from the culm, which makes it important to understand the genetic control of biomass production in this part of the plant. A meta-transcriptome of the culm was obtained in an earlier study by using about one billion paired-end (150 bp) reads of deep RNA sequencing of samples from 20 diverse sugarcane genotypes and combining de novo assemblies from different assemblers and different settings. Although many genes could be recovered, this resulted in a large combined assembly which created the need for clustering to reduce transcript redundancy while maintaining gene content. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of the effect of different assembly settings and clustering methods on de novo assembly, annotation and transcript profiling focusing especially on the coding transcripts from the highly polyploid sugarcane genome. The new coding sequence-based transcript clustering resulted in a better representation of transcripts compared to the earlier approach, having 121,987 contigs, which included 78,052 main and 43,935 alternative transcripts. About 73%, 67%, 61% and 10% of the transcriptome was annotated against the NCBI NR protein database, GO terms, orthologous groups and KEGG orthologies, respectively. Using this set for a differential gene expression analysis between the young and mature sugarcane culm tissues, a total of 822 transcripts were found to be differentially expressed, including key transcripts involved in sugar/fiber accumulation in sugarcane. In the context of the lack of a whole genome sequence for sugarcane, the availability of a well annotated culm-derived meta-transcriptome through deep sequencing provides useful information on coding genes specific to the sugarcane culm and will certainly contribute to understanding the process of carbon partitioning, and biomass accumulation in the sugarcane culm.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assessment of an organ-specific de novo transcriptome of the nematode trap-crop, Solanum sisymbriifolium

Solanum sisymbriifolium, also known as “Litchi Tomato” or “Sticky Nightshade,” is an undomesticated and poorly researched plant related to potato and tomato. Unlike the latter species, S. sisymbriifolium induces eggs of the cyst nematode, Globodera pallida, to hatch and migrate into its roots, but then arrests further nematode maturation. In order to provide researchers with a partial blueprint of its genetic make-up so that the mechanism of this response might be identified, we used single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing to compile a high quality de novo transcriptome of 41,189 unigenes drawn from individually sequenced bud, root, stem, and leaf RNA populations. Functional annotation and BUSCO analysis showed that this transcriptome was surprisingly complete, even though it represented genes expressed at a single time point. By sequencing the 4 organ libraries separately, we found we could get a reliable snapshot of transcript distributions in each organ. A divergent site analysis of the merged transcriptome indicated that this species might have undergone a recent genome duplication and re-diploidization. Further analysis indicated that the plant then retained a disproportionate number of genes associated with photosynthesis and amino acid metabolism in comparison to genes with characteristics of R-proteins or involved in secondary metabolism. The former processes may have given S. sisymbriifolium a bigger competitive advantage than the latter did. Copyright © 2018 Wixom et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

First draft genome of an iconic clownfish species (Amphiprion frenatus).

Clownfishes (or anemonefishes) form an iconic group of coral reef fishes, principally known for their mutualistic interaction with sea anemones. They are characterized by particular life history traits, such as a complex social structure and mating system involving sequential hermaphroditism, coupled with an exceptionally long lifespan. Additionally, clownfishes are considered to be one of the rare groups to have experienced an adaptive radiation in the marine environment. Here, we assembled and annotated the first genome of a clownfish species, the tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus). We obtained 17,801 assembled scaffolds, containing a total of 26,917 genes. The completeness of the assembly and annotation was satisfying, with 96.5% of the Actinopterygii Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs (BUSCOs) being retrieved in A. frenatus assembly. The quality of the resulting assembly is comparable to other bony fish assemblies. This resource is valuable for advancing studies of the particular life history traits of clownfishes, as well as being useful for population genetic studies and the development of new phylogenetic markers. It will also open the way to comparative genomics. Indeed, future genomic comparison among closely related fishes may provide means to identify genes related to the unique adaptations to different sea anemone hosts, as well as better characterize the genomic signatures of an adaptive radiation.© 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics reveals cotton-specific virulence factors in flexible genomic regions in Verticillium dahliae and evidence of horizontal gene transfer from Fusarium.

Verticillium dahliae isolates are most virulent on the host from which they were originally isolated. Mechanisms underlying these dominant host adaptations are currently unknown. We sequenced the genome of V. dahliae Vd991, which is highly virulent on its original host, cotton, and performed comparisons with the reference genomes of JR2 (from tomato) and VdLs.17 (from lettuce). Pathogenicity-related factor prediction, orthology and multigene family classification, transcriptome analyses, phylogenetic analyses, and pathogenicity experiments were performed. The Vd991 genome harbored several exclusive, lineage-specific (LS) genes within LS regions (LSRs). Deletion mutants of the seven genes within one LSR (G-LSR2) in Vd991 were less virulent only on cotton. Integration of G-LSR2 genes individually into JR2 and VdLs.17 resulted in significantly enhanced virulence on cotton but did not affect virulence on tomato or lettuce. Transcription levels of the seven LS genes in Vd991 were higher during the early stages of cotton infection, as compared with other hosts. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that G-LSR2 was acquired from Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum through horizontal gene transfer. Our results provide evidence that horizontal gene transfer from Fusarium to Vd991 contributed significantly to its adaptation to cotton and may represent a significant mechanism in the evolution of an asexual plant pathogen.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Translating genomics into practice for real-time surveillance and response to carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: evidence from a complex multi-institutional KPC outbreak.

Until recently, Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae were rarely identified in Australia. Following an increase in the number of incident cases across the state of Victoria, we undertook a real-time combined genomic and epidemiological investigation. The scope of this study included identifying risk factors and routes of transmission, and investigating the utility of genomics to enhance traditional field epidemiology for informing management of established widespread outbreaks.All KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates referred to the state reference laboratory from 2012 onwards were included. Whole-genome sequencing was performed in parallel with a detailed descriptive epidemiological investigation of each case, using Illumina sequencing on each isolate. This was complemented with PacBio long-read sequencing on selected isolates to establish high-quality reference sequences and interrogate characteristics of KPC-encoding plasmids.Initial investigations indicated that the outbreak was widespread, with 86 KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates (K. pneumoniae 92%) identified from 35 different locations across metropolitan and rural Victoria between 2012 and 2015. Initial combined analyses of the epidemiological and genomic data resolved the outbreak into distinct nosocomial transmission networks, and identified healthcare facilities at the epicentre of KPC transmission. New cases were assigned to transmission networks in real-time, allowing focussed infection control efforts. PacBio sequencing confirmed a secondary transmission network arising from inter-species plasmid transmission. Insights from Bayesian transmission inference and analyses of within-host diversity informed the development of state-wide public health and infection control guidelines, including interventions such as an intensive approach to screening contacts following new case detection to minimise unrecognised colonisation.A real-time combined epidemiological and genomic investigation proved critical to identifying and defining multiple transmission networks of KPC Enterobacteriaceae, while data from either investigation alone were inconclusive. The investigation was fundamental to informing infection control measures in real-time and the development of state-wide public health guidelines on carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae surveillance and management.


September 22, 2019  |  

A validation approach of an end-to-end whole genome sequencing workflow for source tracking of Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS), using high throughput sequencing technology, reveals the complete sequence of the bacterial genome in a few days. WGS is increasingly being used for source tracking, pathogen surveillance and outbreak investigation due to its high discriminatory power. In the food industry, WGS used for source tracking is beneficial to support contamination investigations. Despite its increased use, no standards or guidelines are available today for the use of WGS in outbreak and/or trace-back investigations. Here we present a validation of our complete (end-to-end) WGS workflow for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica including: subculture of isolates, DNA extraction, sequencing and bioinformatics analysis. This end-to-end WGS workflow was evaluated according to the following performance criteria: stability, repeatability, reproducibility, discriminatory power, and epidemiological concordance. The current study showed that few single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) were observed for L. monocytogenes and S. enterica when comparing genome sequences from five independent colonies from the first subculture and five independent colonies after the tenth subculture. Consequently, the stability of the WGS workflow for L. monocytogenes and S. enterica was demonstrated despite the few genomic variations that can occur during subculturing steps. Repeatability and reproducibility were also demonstrated. The WGS workflow was shown to have a high discriminatory power and has the ability to show genetic relatedness. Additionally, the WGS workflow was able to reproduce published outbreak investigation results, illustrating its capability of showing epidemiological concordance. The current study proposes a validation approach comprising all steps of a WGS workflow and demonstrates that the workflow can be applied to L. monocytogenes or S. enterica.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic comparison between members of the Salinibacteraceae family, and description of a new species of Salinibacter (Salinibacter altiplanensis sp. nov.) isolated from high altitude hypersaline environments of the Argentinian Altiplano.

The application of tandem MALDI-TOF MS screening with 16S rRNA gene sequencing of selected isolates has been demonstrated to be an excellent approach for retrieving novelty from large-scale culturing. The application of such methodologies in different hypersaline samples allowed the isolation of the culture-recalcitrant Salinibacter ruber second phylotype (EHB-2) for the first time, as well as a new species recently isolated from the Argentinian Altiplano hypersaline lakes. In this study, the genome sequences of the different species of the phylum Rhodothermaeota were compared and the genetic repertoire along the evolutionary gradient was analyzed together with each intraspecific variability. Altogether, the results indicated an open pan-genome for the family Salinibacteraceae, as well as the codification of relevant traits such as diverse rhodopsin genes, CRISPR-Cas systems and spacers, and one T6SS secretion system that could give ecological advantages to an EHB-2 isolate. For the new Salinibacter species, we propose the name Salinibacter altiplanensis sp. nov. (the designated type strain is AN15T=CECT 9105T=IBRC-M 11031T). Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


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