October 23, 2019  |  

ParLECH: Parallel Long-Read Error Correction with Hadoop

Long-read sequencing is emerging as a promising sequencing technology because it can tackle the short length limitation of second-generation sequencing, which has dominated the sequencing market in past years. However, it has substantially higher error rates compared to short-read sequencing (e.g., 13% vs. 0.1%), and its sequencing cost per base is typically more expensive than that of short-read sequencing. To address these limitations, we present a distributed hybrid error correction framework, called ParLECH, that is scalable and cost-efficient for PacBio long reads. For correcting the errors in the long reads, ParLECH utilizes the Illumina short reads that have the low error rate with high coverage at low cost. To efficiently analyze the high-throughput Illumina short reads, ParLECH is equipped with Hadoop and a distributed NoSQL system. To further improve the accuracy, ParLECH utilizes the k-mer coverage information of the Illumina short reads. Specifically, we develop a distributed version of the widest path algorithm, which maximizes the minimum k-mer coverage in a path of the de Bruijn graph constructed from the Illumina short reads. We replace an error region in a long read with its corresponding widest path. Our experimental results show that ParLECH can handle large-scale real-world datasets in a scalable and accurate manner. Using ParLECH, we can process a 312 GB human genome PacBio dataset, with a 452 GB Illumina dataset, on 128 nodes in less than 29 hours.


October 23, 2019  |  

Vector design Tour de Force: integrating combinatorial and rational approaches to derive novel adeno-associated virus variants.

Methodologies to improve existing adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy include either rational approaches or directed evolution to derive capsid variants characterized by superior transduction efficiencies in targeted tissues. Here, we integrated both approaches in one unified design strategy of “virtual family shuffling” to derive a combinatorial capsid library whereby only variable regions on the surface of the capsid are modified. Individual sublibraries were first assembled in order to preselect compatible amino acid residues within restricted surface-exposed regions to minimize the generation of dead-end variants. Subsequently, the successful families were interbred to derive a combined library of ~8?×?10(5) complexity. Next-generation sequencing of the packaged viral DNA revealed capsid surface areas susceptible to directed evolution, thus providing guidance for future designs. We demonstrated the utility of the library by deriving an AAV2-based vector characterized by a 20-fold higher transduction efficiency in murine liver, now equivalent to that of AAV8.


October 23, 2019  |  

Galactofuranose in Mycoplasma mycoides is important for membrane integrity and conceals adhesins but does not contribute to serum resistance.

Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) and subsp. mycoides (Mmm) are important ruminant pathogens worldwide causing diseases such as pleuropneumonia, mastitis and septicaemia. They express galactofuranose residues on their surface, but their role in pathogenesis has not yet been determined. The M.?mycoides genomes contain up to several copies of the glf gene, which encodes an enzyme catalysing the last step in the synthesis of galactofuranose. We generated a deletion of the glf gene in a strain of Mmc using genome transplantation and tandem repeat endonuclease coupled cleavage (TREC) with yeast as an intermediary host for the genome editing. As expected, the resulting YCp1.1-?glf strain did not produce the galactofuranose-containing glycans as shown by immunoblots and immuno-electronmicroscopy employing a galactofuranose specific monoclonal antibody. The mutant lacking galactofuranose exhibited a decreased growth rate and a significantly enhanced adhesion to small ruminant cells. The mutant was also ‘leaking’ as revealed by a ß-galactosidase-based assay employing a membrane impermeable substrate. These findings indicate that galactofuranose-containing polysaccharides conceal adhesins and are important for membrane integrity. Unexpectedly, the mutant strain showed increased serum resistance. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


October 23, 2019  |  

A high quality assembly of the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) genome reveals the structure of two sex determination regions.

Tilapias are the second most farmed fishes in the world and a sustainable source of food. Like many other fish, tilapias are sexually dimorphic and sex is a commercially important trait in these fish. In this study, we developed a significantly improved assembly of the tilapia genome using the latest genome sequencing methods and show how it improves the characterization of two sex determination regions in two tilapia species.A homozygous clonal XX female Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) was sequenced to 44X coverage using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) SMRT sequencing. Dozens of candidate de novo assemblies were generated and an optimal assembly (contig NG50 of 3.3Mbp) was selected using principal component analysis of likelihood scores calculated from several paired-end sequencing libraries. Comparison of the new assembly to the previous O. niloticus genome assembly reveals that recently duplicated portions of the genome are now well represented. The overall number of genes in the new assembly increased by 27.3%, including a 67% increase in pseudogenes. The new tilapia genome assembly correctly represents two recent vasa gene duplication events that have been verified with BAC sequencing. At total of 146Mbp of additional transposable element sequence are now assembled, a large proportion of which are recent insertions. Large centromeric satellite repeats are assembled and annotated in cichlid fish for the first time. Finally, the new assembly identifies the long-range structure of both a ~9Mbp XY sex determination region on LG1 in O. niloticus, and a ~50Mbp WZ sex determination region on LG3 in the related species O. aureus.This study highlights the use of long read sequencing to correctly assemble recent duplications and to characterize repeat-filled regions of the genome. The study serves as an example of the need for high quality genome assemblies and provides a framework for identifying sex determining genes in tilapia and related fish species.


October 23, 2019  |  

Accurate identification and quantification of DNA species by next-generation sequencing in adeno-associated viral vectors produced in insect cells.

Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors have proven excellent tools for the treatment of many genetic diseases and other complex diseases. However, the illegitimate encapsidation of DNA contaminants within viral particles constitutes a major safety concern for rAAV-based therapies. Moreover, the development of rAAV vectors for early-phase clinical trials has revealed the limited accuracy of the analytical tools used to characterize these new and complex drugs. Although most published data concerning residual DNA in rAAV preparations have been generated by quantitative PCR, we have developed a novel single-strand virus sequencing (SSV-Seq) method for quantification of DNA contaminants in AAV vectors produced in mammalian cells by next-generation sequencing (NGS). Here, we describe the adaptation of SSV-Seq for the accurate identification and quantification of DNA species in rAAV stocks produced in insect cells. We found that baculoviral DNA was the most abundant contaminant, representing less than 2.1% of NGS reads regardless of serotype (2, 8, or rh10). Sf9 producer cell DNA was detected at low frequency (=0.03%) in rAAV lots. Advanced computational analyses revealed that (1) baculoviral sequences close to the inverted terminal repeats preferentially underwent illegitimate encapsidation, and (2) single-nucleotide variants were absent from the rAAV genome. The high-throughput sequencing protocol described here enables effective DNA quality control of rAAV vectors produced in insect cells, and is adapted to conform with regulatory agency safety requirements.


October 23, 2019  |  

Development of a Novel Reference Transcriptome for Scleractinian Coral Porites lutea Using Single-Molecule Long-Read Isoform Sequencing (Iso-Seq)

Elevation in seawater temperature associated with global climate change has caused coral bleaching problems and posed a significant threat to coral health and survival worldwide. Several studies have explored the effects of thermal stress on changes in gene expression levels of both coral hosts and their algal endosymbionts and provided evidences suggesting that corals could acclimatize to environmental stressors through differential regulation of their gene expression (Desalvo et al., 2008, 2010; Császár et al., 2009; Rodriguez-Lanetty et al., 2009; Polato et al., 2010; Meyer et al., 2011; Kenkel et al., 2013). Such information is crucial for understanding the adaptive capacity of the coral holobionts (Hughes et al., 2003). The availability of transcriptome data from a number of coral species and their associated Symbiodinium allows us to probe the molecular stress response of the organisms to heat stress (Traylor-Knowles et al., 2011; Moya et al., 2012; Kenkel et al., 2013; Shinzato et al., 2014; Kitchen et al., 2015; Anderson et al., 2016; Davies et al., 2016). Here, we report the first reference transcriptome for a scleractinian coral Porites lutea, one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific (Yeemin et al., 2009). We applied both short-read Ion S5 RNA sequencing and long-read Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) isoform sequencing (Iso-seq) to generate transcriptome sequences of P. lutea under normal and heat stress conditions. The key advantage of PacBio’s Iso-seq technology lies within its ability to capture full-length mRNA sequences. These full-length transcripts enable the identification of novel genes/isoforms and the detection of alternative splice variants, which have been shown to be overrepresented in stress responses (Iida et al., 2004; Reddy et al., 2013; Liu and Guo, 2017). We envision that this reference transcriptome will provide a coral research community a valuable resource for investigating changes in gene expression under various biotic/abiotic stress conditions.


October 23, 2019  |  

Alternative splicing profile and sex-preferential gene expression in the female and male Pacific abalone Haliotis discus hannai.

In order to characterize the female or male transcriptome of the Pacific abalone and further increase genomic resources, we sequenced the mRNA of full-length complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries derived from pooled tissues of female and male Haliotis discus hannai by employing the Iso-Seq protocol of the PacBio RSII platform. We successfully assembled whole full-length cDNA sequences and constructed a transcriptome database that included isoform information. After clustering, a total of 15,110 and 12,145 genes that coded for proteins were identified in female and male abalones, respectively. A total of 13,057 putative orthologs were retained from each transcriptome in abalones. Overall Gene Ontology terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways analyzed in each database showed a similar composition between sexes. In addition, a total of 519 and 391 isoforms were genome-widely identified with at least two isoforms from female and male transcriptome databases. We found that the number of isoforms and their alternatively spliced patterns are variable and sex-dependent. This information represents the first significant contribution to sex-preferential genomic resources of the Pacific abalone. The availability of whole female and male transcriptome database and their isoform information will be useful to improve our understanding of molecular responses and also for the analysis of population dynamics in the Pacific abalone.


October 23, 2019  |  

High resolution profiling of coral-associated bacterial communities using full-length 16S rRNA sequence data from PacBio SMRT sequencing system.

Coral reefs are a complex ecosystem consisting of coral animals and a vast array of associated symbionts including the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium, fungi, viruses and bacteria. Several studies have highlighted the importance of coral-associated bacteria and their fundamental roles in fitness and survival of the host animal. The scleractinian coral Porites lutea is one of the dominant reef-builders in the Indo-West Pacific. Currently, very little is known about the composition and structure of bacterial communities across P. lutea reefs. The purpose of this study is twofold: to demonstrate the advantages of using PacBio circular consensus sequencing technology in microbial community studies and to investigate the diversity and structure of P. lutea-associated microbiome in the Indo-Pacific. This is the first metagenomic study of marine environmental samples that utilises the PacBio sequencing system to capture full-length 16S rRNA sequences. We observed geographically distinct coral-associated microbial profiles between samples from the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. Despite the geographical and environmental impacts on the coral-host interactions, we identified a conserved community of bacteria that were present consistently across diverse reef habitats. Finally, we demonstrated the superior performance of full-length 16S rRNA sequences in resolving taxonomic uncertainty of coral associates at the species level.


October 23, 2019  |  

Adeno-associated virus genome population sequencing achieves full vector genome resolution and reveals human-vector chimeras

Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-based gene therapy has entered a phase of clinical translation and commercialization. Despite this progress, vector integrity following production is often overlooked. Compromised vectors may negatively impact therapeutic efficacy and safety. Using single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing, we can comprehensively profile packaged genomes as a single intact molecule and directly assess vector integrity without extensive preparation. We have exploited this methodology to profile all heterogeneic populations of self-complementary AAV genomes via bioinformatics pipelines and have coined this approach AAV-genome population sequencing (AAV-GPseq). The approach can reveal the relative distribution of truncated genomes versus full-length genomes in vector preparations. Preparations that seemingly show high genome homogeneity by gel electrophoresis are revealed to consist of less than 50% full-length species. With AAV-GPseq, we can also detect many reverse-packaged genomes that encompass sequences originating from plasmid backbone, as well as sequences from packaging and helper plasmids. Finally, we detect host-cell genomic sequences that are chimeric with inverted terminal repeat (ITR)-containing vector sequences. We show that vector populations can contain between 1.3% and 2.3% of this type of undesirable genome. These discoveries redefine quality control standards for viral vector preparations and highlight the degree of foreign products in rAAV-based therapeutic vectors.


September 22, 2019  |  

The transcriptome of human pluripotent stem cells.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) are in vitro derivatives of the inner cell mass of the blastocyst and are characterized by an undifferentiated and pluripotent state that can be perpetuated in time, indefinitely. hESCs provide a unique opportunity to both dissect the molecular mechanisms that are predisposed to the maintenance of pluripotency and model the ability to initiate differentiation and cell commitment within the developing embryo. To fully understand these mechanisms, it is necessary to accurately identify the specific transcriptome of hESCs. Many distinct gene annotation methods, such as cDNA and EST sequencing and RNA-Seq, have been used to identify the transcriptome of hESCs. Lately, we developed a new tool (IDP) to integrate the hybrid sequencing data to characterize a more reliable and comprehensive hESC transcriptome with discoveries of many novel transcripts. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Leveraging multiple transcriptome assembly methods for improved gene structure annotation.

The performance of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) aligners and assemblers varies greatly across different organisms and experiments, and often the optimal approach is not known beforehand.Here, we show that the accuracy of transcript reconstruction can be boosted by combining multiple methods, and we present a novel algorithm to integrate multiple RNA-seq assemblies into a coherent transcript annotation. Our algorithm can remove redundancies and select the best transcript models according to user-specified metrics, while solving common artifacts such as erroneous transcript chimerisms.We have implemented this method in an open-source Python3 and Cython program, Mikado, available on GitHub.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio metabarcoding of Fungi and other eukaryotes: errors, biases and perspectives.

Second-generation, high-throughput sequencing methods have greatly improved our understanding of the ecology of soil microorganisms, yet the short barcodes (< 500 bp) provide limited taxonomic and phylogenetic information for species discrimination and taxonomic assignment. Here, we utilized the third-generation Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RSII and Sequel instruments to evaluate the suitability of full-length internal transcribed spacer (ITS) barcodes and longer rRNA gene amplicons for metabarcoding Fungi, Oomycetes and other eukaryotes in soil samples. Metabarcoding revealed multiple errors and biases: Taq polymerase substitution errors and mis-incorporating indels in sequencing homopolymers constitute major errors; sequence length biases occur during PCR, library preparation, loading to the sequencing instrument and quality filtering; primer-template mismatches bias the taxonomic profile when using regular and highly degenerate primers. The RSII and Sequel platforms enable the sequencing of amplicons up to 3000 bp, but the sequence quality remains slightly inferior to Illumina sequencing especially in longer amplicons. The full ITS barcode and flanking rRNA small subunit gene greatly improve taxonomic identification at the species and phylum levels, respectively. We conclude that PacBio sequencing provides a viable alternative for metabarcoding of organisms that are of relatively low diversity, require > 500-bp barcode for reliable identification or when phylogenetic approaches are intended.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

A global survey of alternative splicing in allopolyploid cotton: landscape, complexity and regulation.

Alternative splicing (AS) is a crucial regulatory mechanism in eukaryotes, which acts by greatly increasing transcriptome diversity. The extent and complexity of AS has been revealed in model plants using high-throughput next-generation sequencing. However, this technique is less effective in accurately identifying transcript isoforms in polyploid species because of the high sequence similarity between coexisting subgenomes. Here we characterize AS in the polyploid species cotton. Using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule long-read isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq), we developed an integrated pipeline for Iso-Seq transcriptome data analysis (https://github.com/Nextomics/pipeline-for-isoseq). We identified 176 849 full-length transcript isoforms from 44 968 gene models and updated gene annotation. These data led us to identify 15 102 fibre-specific AS events and estimate that c. 51.4% of homoeologous genes produce divergent isoforms in each subgenome. We reveal that AS allows differential regulation of the same gene by miRNAs at the isoform level. We also show that nucleosome occupancy and DNA methylation play a role in defining exons at the chromatin level. This study provides new insights into the complexity and regulation of AS, and will enhance our understanding of AS in polyploid species. Our methodology for Iso-Seq data analysis will be a useful reference for the study of AS in other species.© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluating approaches to find exon chains based on long reads.

Transcript prediction can be modeled as a graph problem where exons are modeled as nodes and reads spanning two or more exons are modeled as exon chains. Pacific Biosciences third-generation sequencing technology produces significantly longer reads than earlier second-generation sequencing technologies, which gives valuable information about longer exon chains in a graph. However, with the high error rates of third-generation sequencing, aligning long reads correctly around the splice sites is a challenging task. Incorrect alignments lead to spurious nodes and arcs in the graph, which in turn lead to incorrect transcript predictions. We survey several approaches to find the exon chains corresponding to long reads in a splicing graph, and experimentally study the performance of these methods using simulated data to allow for sensitivity/precision analysis. Our experiments show that short reads from second-generation sequencing can be used to significantly improve exon chain correctness either by error-correcting the long reads before splicing graph creation, or by using them to create a splicing graph on which the long-read alignments are then projected. We also study the memory and time consumption of various modules, and show that accurate exon chains lead to significantly increased transcript prediction accuracy.The simulated data and in-house scripts used for this article are available at http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/group/gsa/exon-chains/exon-chains-bib.tar.bz2.


September 22, 2019  |  

neoantigenR: An annotation based pipeline for tumor neoantigen identification from sequencing data

Studies indicate that more than 90% of human genes are alternatively spliced, suggesting the complexity of the transcriptome assembly and analysis. The splicing process is often disrupted, resulting in both functional and non-functional end-products (Sveen et al. 2016) in many cancers. Harnessing the immune system to fight against malignant cancers carrying aberrantly mutated or spliced products is becoming a promising approach to cancer therapy. Advances in immune checkpoint blockade have elicited adaptive immune responses with promising clinical responses to treatments against human malignancies (Tumor Neoantigens in Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy 2017). Emerging data suggest that recognition of patient-specific mutation-associated cancer antigens (i.e. from alternative splicing isoforms) may allow scientists to dissect the immune response in the activity of clinical immunotherapies (Schumacher and Schreiber 2015). The advent of high-throughput sequencing technology has provided a comprehensive view of both splicing aberrations and somatic mutations across a range of human malignancies, allowing for a deeper understanding of the interplay of various disease mechanisms. Meanwhile, studies show that the number of transcript isoforms reported to date may be limited by the short-read sequencing due to the inherit limitation of transcriptome reconstruction algorithms, whereas long-read sequencing is able to significantly improve the detection of alternative splicing variants since there is no need to assemble full-length transcripts from short reads. The analysis of these high-throughput long-read sequencing data may permit a systematic view of tumor specific peptide epitopes (also known as neoantigens) that could serve as targets for immunotherapy (Tumor Neoantigens in Personalized Cancer Immunotherapy 2017). Currently, there is no software pipeline available that can efficiently produce mutation-associated cancer antigens from raw high-throughput sequencing data on patient tumor DNA (The Problem with Neoantigen Prediction 2017). In addressing this issue, we introduce a R package that allows the discoveries of peptide epitope candidates, which are the tumor-specific peptide fragments containing potential functional neoantigens. These peptide epitopes consist of structure variants including insertion, deletions, alternative sequences, and peptides from nonsynonymous mutations. Analysis of these precursor candidates with widely used tools such as netMHC allows for the accurate in-silico prediction of neoantigens. The pipeline named neoantigeR is currently hosted in https://github.com/ICBI/neoantigeR.


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