July 19, 2019  |  

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to “phase 3 finished” status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes, we present here an automated approach to finishing using long-reads from the Pacific Biosciences RS (PacBio) platform. Our algorithm and associated software tool, PBJelly, (publicly available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/pb-jelly/) automates the finishing process using long sequence reads in a reference-guided assembly process. PBJelly also provides “lift-over” co-ordinate tables to easily port existing annotations to the upgraded assembly. Using PBJelly and long PacBio reads, we upgraded the draft genome sequences of a simulated Drosophila melanogaster, the version 2 draft Drosophila pseudoobscura, an assembly of the Assemblathon 2.0 budgerigar dataset, and a preliminary assembly of the Sooty mangabey. With 24× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads, we addressed 99% of gaps and were able to close 69% and improve 12% of all gaps in D. pseudoobscura. With 4× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads we saw reads address 63% of gaps in our budgerigar assembly, of which 32% were closed and 63% improved. With 6.8× mapped coverage of mangabey PacBio long-reads we addressed 97% of gaps and closed 66% of addressed gaps and improved 19%. The accuracy of gap closure was validated by comparison to Sanger sequencing on gaps from the original D. pseudoobscura draft assembly and shown to be dependent on initial reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome-wide mapping of methylated adenine residues in pathogenic Escherichia coli using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing allows the systematic detection of chemical modifications such as methylation but has not previously been applied on a genome-wide scale. We used this approach to detect 49,311 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues and 1,407 putative 5-methylcytosine (m5C) residues in the genome of a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. We obtained strand-specific information for methylation sites and a quantitative assessment of the frequency of methylation at each modified position. We deduced the sequence motifs recognized by the methyltransferase enzymes present in this strain without prior knowledge of their specificity. Furthermore, we found that deletion of a phage-encoded methyltransferase-endonuclease (restriction-modification; RM) system induced global transcriptional changes and led to gene amplification, suggesting that the role of RM systems extends beyond protecting host genomes from foreign DNA.


July 19, 2019  |  

Parallel confocal detection of single molecules in real time.

The confocal detection principle is extended to a highly parallel optical system that continuously analyzes thousands of concurrent sample locations. This is achieved through the use of a holographic laser illumination multiplexer combined with a confocal pinhole array before a prism dispersive element used to provide spectroscopic information from each confocal volume. The system is demonstrated to detect and identify single fluorescent molecules from each of several thousand independent confocal volumes in real time.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparison of single-molecule sequencing and hybrid approaches for finishing the genome of Clostridium autoethanogenum and analysis of CRISPR systems in industrial relevant Clostridia.

Clostridium autoethanogenum strain JA1-1 (DSM 10061) is an acetogen capable of fermenting CO, CO2 and H2 (e.g. from syngas or waste gases) into biofuel ethanol and commodity chemicals such as 2,3-butanediol. A draft genome sequence consisting of 100 contigs has been published.A closed, high-quality genome sequence for C. autoethanogenum DSM10061 was generated using only the latest single-molecule DNA sequencing technology and without the need for manual finishing. It is assigned to the most complex genome classification based upon genome features such as repeats, prophage, nine copies of the rRNA gene operons. It has a low G + C content of 31.1%. Illumina, 454, Illumina/454 hybrid assemblies were generated and then compared to the draft and PacBio assemblies using summary statistics, CGAL, QUAST and REAPR bioinformatics tools and comparative genomic approaches. Assemblies based upon shorter read DNA technologies were confounded by the large number repeats and their size, which in the case of the rRNA gene operons were ~5 kb. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Paloindromic Repeats) systems among biotechnologically relevant Clostridia were classified and related to plasmid content and prophages. Potential associations between plasmid content and CRISPR systems may have implications for historical industrial scale Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol (ABE) fermentation failures and future large scale bacterial fermentations. While C. autoethanogenum contains an active CRISPR system, no such system is present in the closely related Clostridium ljungdahlii DSM 13528. A common prophage inserted into the Arg-tRNA shared between the strains suggests a common ancestor. However, C. ljungdahlii contains several additional putative prophages and it has more than double the amount of prophage DNA compared to C. autoethanogenum. Other differences include important metabolic genes for central metabolism (as an additional hydrogenase and the absence of a phophoenolpyruvate synthase) and substrate utilization pathway (mannose and aromatics utilization) that might explain phenotypic differences between C. autoethanogenum and C. ljungdahlii.Single molecule sequencing will be increasingly used to produce finished microbial genomes. The complete genome will facilitate comparative genomics and functional genomics and support future comparisons between Clostridia and studies that examine the evolution of plasmids, bacteriophage and CRISPR systems.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative analysis of tandem repeats from hundreds of species reveals unique insights into centromere evolution.

Centromeres are essential for chromosome segregation, yet their DNA sequences evolve rapidly. In most animals and plants that have been studied, centromeres contain megabase-scale arrays of tandem repeats. Despite their importance, very little is known about the degree to which centromere tandem repeats share common properties between different species across different phyla. We used bioinformatic methods to identify high-copy tandem repeats from 282 species using publicly available genomic sequence and our own data.Our methods are compatible with all current sequencing technologies. Long Pacific Biosciences sequence reads allowed us to find tandem repeat monomers up to 1,419 bp. We assumed that the most abundant tandem repeat is the centromere DNA, which was true for most species whose centromeres have been previously characterized, suggesting this is a general property of genomes. High-copy centromere tandem repeats were found in almost all animal and plant genomes, but repeat monomers were highly variable in sequence composition and length. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of sequence homology showed little evidence of sequence conservation beyond approximately 50 million years of divergence. We find that despite an overall lack of sequence conservation, centromere tandem repeats from diverse species showed similar modes of evolution.While centromere position in most eukaryotes is epigenetically determined, our results indicate that tandem repeats are highly prevalent at centromeres of both animal and plant genomes. This suggests a functional role for such repeats, perhaps in promoting concerted evolution of centromere DNA across chromosomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Advantages of Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing in high-GC content genomes.

Next-generation sequencing has become the most widely used sequencing technology in genomics research, but it has inherent drawbacks when dealing with high-GC content genomes. Recently, single-molecule real-time sequencing technology (SMRT) was introduced as a third-generation sequencing strategy to compensate for this drawback. Here, we report that the unbiased and longer read length of SMRT sequencing markedly improved genome assembly with high GC content via gap filling and repeat resolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Characterization of DNA methyltransferase specificities using single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing.

DNA methylation is the most common form of DNA modification in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. We have applied the method of single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing that is capable of direct detection of modified bases at single-nucleotide resolution to characterize the specificity of several bacterial DNA methyltransferases (MTases). In addition to previously described SMRT sequencing of N6-methyladenine and 5-methylcytosine, we show that N4-methylcytosine also has a specific kinetic signature and is therefore identifiable using this approach. We demonstrate for all three prokaryotic methylation types that SMRT sequencing confirms the identity and position of the methylated base in cases where the MTase specificity was previously established by other methods. We then applied the method to determine the sequence context and methylated base identity for three MTases with unknown specificities. In addition, we also find evidence of unanticipated MTase promiscuity with some enzymes apparently also modifying sequences that are related, but not identical, to the cognate site.


July 19, 2019  |  

Efficient and accurate whole genome assembly and methylome profiling of E. coli.

With the price of next generation sequencing steadily decreasing, bacterial genome assembly is now accessible to a wide range of researchers. It is therefore necessary to understand the best methods for generating a genome assembly, specifically, which combination of sequencing and bioinformatics strategies result in the most accurate assemblies. Here, we sequence three E. coli strains on the Illumina MiSeq, Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM, and Pacific Biosciences RS. We then perform genome assemblies on all three datasets alone or in combination to determine the best methods for the assembly of bacterial genomes.Three E. coli strains – BL21(DE3), Bal225, and DH5a – were sequenced to a depth of 100× on the MiSeq and Ion Torrent machines and to at least 125× on the PacBio RS. Four assembly methods were examined and compared. The previously published BL21(DE3) genome [GenBank:AM946981.2], allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of each of the BL21(DE3) assemblies. BL21(DE3) PacBio-only assemblies resulted in a 90% reduction in contigs versus short read only assemblies, while N50 numbers increased by over 7-fold. Strikingly, the number of SNPs in PacBio-only assemblies were less than half that seen with short read assemblies (~20 SNPs vs. ~50 SNPs) and indels also saw dramatic reductions (~2 indel >5 bp in PacBio-only assemblies vs. ~12 for short-read only assemblies). Assemblies that used a mixture of PacBio and short read data generally fell in between these two extremes. Use of PacBio sequencing reads also allowed us to call covalent base modifications for the three strains. Each of the strains used here had a known covalent base modification genotype, which was confirmed by PacBio sequencing.Using data generated solely from the Pacific Biosciences RS, we were able to generate the most complete and accurate de novo assemblies of E. coli strains. We found that the addition of other sequencing technology data offered no improvements over use of PacBio data alone. In addition, the sequencing data from the PacBio RS allowed for sensitive and specific calling of covalent base modifications.


July 19, 2019  |  

Landscape of standing variation for tandem duplications in Drosophila yakuba and Drosophila simulans.

We have used whole genome paired-end Illumina sequence data to identify tandem duplications in 20 isofemale lines of Drosophila yakuba and 20 isofemale lines of D. simulans and performed genome wide validation with PacBio long molecule sequencing. We identify 1,415 tandem duplications that are segregating in D. yakuba as well as 975 duplications in D. simulans, indicating greater variation in D. yakuba. Additionally, we observe high rates of secondary deletions at duplicated sites, with 8% of duplicated sites in D. simulans and 17% of sites in D. yakuba modified with deletions. These secondary deletions are consistent with the action of the large loop mismatch repair system acting to remove polymorphic tandem duplication, resulting in rapid dynamics of gain and loss in duplicated alleles and a richer substrate of genetic novelty than has been previously reported. Most duplications are present in only single strains, suggesting that deleterious impacts are common. Drosophila simulans shows larger numbers of whole gene duplications in comparison to larger proportions of gene fragments in D. yakuba. Drosophila simulans displays an excess of high-frequency variants on the X chromosome, consistent with adaptive evolution through duplications on the D. simulans X or demographic forces driving duplicates to high frequency. We identify 78 chimeric genes in D. yakuba and 38 chimeric genes in D. simulans, as well as 143 cases of recruited noncoding sequence in D. yakuba and 96 in D. simulans, in agreement with rates of chimeric gene origination in D. melanogaster. Together, these results suggest that tandem duplications often result in complex variation beyond whole gene duplications that offers a rich substrate of standing variation that is likely to contribute both to detrimental phenotypes and disease, as well as to adaptive evolutionary change. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Differing patterns of selection and geospatial genetic diversity within two leading Plasmodium vivax candidate vaccine antigens.

Although Plasmodium vivax is a leading cause of malaria around the world, only a handful of vivax antigens are being studied for vaccine development. Here, we investigated genetic signatures of selection and geospatial genetic diversity of two leading vivax vaccine antigens–Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 1 (pvmsp-1) and Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp). Using scalable next-generation sequencing, we deep-sequenced amplicons of the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1 (n?=?44) and the complete gene of pvcsp (n?=?47) from Cambodian isolates. These sequences were then compared with global parasite populations obtained from GenBank. Using a combination of statistical and phylogenetic methods to assess for selection and population structure, we found strong evidence of balancing selection in the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1, which varied significantly over the length of the gene, consistent with immune-mediated selection. In pvcsp, the highly variable central repeat region also showed patterns consistent with immune selection, which were lacking outside the repeat. The patterns of selection seen in both genes differed from their P. falciparum orthologs. In addition, we found that, similar to merozoite antigens from P. falciparum malaria, genetic diversity of pvmsp-1 sequences showed no geographic clustering, while the non-merozoite antigen, pvcsp, showed strong geographic clustering. These findings suggest that while immune selection may act on both vivax vaccine candidate antigens, the geographic distribution of genetic variability differs greatly between these two genes. The selective forces driving this diversification could lead to antigen escape and vaccine failure. Better understanding the geographic distribution of genetic variability in vaccine candidate antigens will be key to designing and implementing efficacious vaccines.


July 19, 2019  |  

The methylomes of six bacteria.

Six bacterial genomes, Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, Chromohalobacter salexigens, Vibrio breoganii 1C-10, Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni 81-176 and C. jejuni NCTC 11168, all of which had previously been sequenced using other platforms were re-sequenced using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing specifically to analyze their methylomes. In every case a number of new N(6)-methyladenine ((m6)A) and N(4)-methylcytosine ((m4)C) methylation patterns were discovered and the DNA methyltransferases (MTases) responsible for those methylation patterns were assigned. In 15 cases, it was possible to match MTase genes with MTase recognition sequences without further sub-cloning. Two Type I restriction systems required sub-cloning to differentiate their recognition sequences, while four MTase genes that were not expressed in the native organism were sub-cloned to test for viability and recognition sequences. Two of these proved active. No attempt was made to detect 5-methylcytosine ((m5)C) recognition motifs from the SMRT® sequencing data because this modification produces weaker signals using current methods. However, all predicted (m6)A and (m4)C MTases were detected unambiguously. This study shows that the addition of SMRT sequencing to traditional sequencing approaches gives a wealth of useful functional information about a genome showing not only which MTase genes are active but also revealing their recognition sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

A benchmark study on error assessment and quality control of CCS reads derived from the PacBio RS.

PacBio RS, a newly emerging third-generation DNA sequencing platform, is based on a real-time, single-molecule, nano-nitch sequencing technology that can generate very long reads (up to 20-kb) in contrast to the shorter reads produced by the first and second generation sequencing technologies. As a new platform, it is important to assess the sequencing error rate, as well as the quality control (QC) parameters associated with the PacBio sequence data. In this study, a mixture of 10 prior known, closely related DNA amplicons were sequenced using the PacBio RS sequencing platform. After aligning Circular Consensus Sequence (CCS) reads derived from the above sequencing experiment to the known reference sequences, we found that the median error rate was 2.5% without read QC, and improved to 1.3% with an SVM based multi-parameter QC method. In addition, a De Novo assembly was used as a downstream application to evaluate the effects of different QC approaches. This benchmark study indicates that even though CCS reads are post error-corrected it is still necessary to perform appropriate QC on CCS reads in order to produce successful downstream bioinformatics analytical results.


July 19, 2019  |  

The complex methylome of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.

The genome of Helicobacter pylori is remarkable for its large number of restriction-modification (R-M) systems, and strain-specific diversity in R-M systems has been suggested to limit natural transformation, the major driving force of genetic diversification in H. pylori. We have determined the comprehensive methylomes of two H. pylori strains at single base resolution, using Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT®) sequencing. For strains 26695 and J99-R3, 17 and 22 methylated sequence motifs were identified, respectively. For most motifs, almost all sites occurring in the genome were detected as methylated. Twelve novel methylation patterns corresponding to nine recognition sequences were detected (26695, 3; J99-R3, 6). Functional inactivation, correction of frameshifts as well as cloning and expression of candidate methyltransferases (MTases) permitted not only the functional characterization of multiple, yet undescribed, MTases, but also revealed novel features of both Type I and Type II R-M systems, including frameshift-mediated changes of sequence specificity and the interaction of one MTase with two alternative specificity subunits resulting in different methylation patterns. The methylomes of these well-characterized H. pylori strains will provide a valuable resource for future studies investigating the role of H. pylori R-M systems in limiting transformation as well as in gene regulation and host interaction.


July 19, 2019  |  

A window into third-generation sequencing.

First- and second-generation sequencing technologies have led the way in revolutionizing the field of genomics and beyond, motivating an astonishing number of scientific advances, including enabling a more complete understanding of whole genome sequences and the information encoded therein, a more complete characterization of the methylome and transcriptome and a better understanding of interactions between proteins and DNA. Nevertheless, there are sequencing applications and aspects of genome biology that are presently beyond the reach of current sequencing technologies, leaving fertile ground for additional innovation in this space. In this review, we describe a new generation of single-molecule sequencing technologies (third-generation sequencing) that is emerging to fill this space, with the potential for dramatically longer read lengths, shorter time to result and lower overall cost.


July 19, 2019  |  

In vivo generation of DNA sequence diversity for cellular barcoding.

Heterogeneity is a ubiquitous feature of biological systems. A complete understanding of such systems requires a method for uniquely identifying and tracking individual components and their interactions with each other. We have developed a novel method of uniquely tagging individual cells in vivo with a genetic ‘barcode’ that can be recovered by DNA sequencing. Our method is a two-component system comprised of a genetic barcode cassette whose fragments are shuffled by Rci, a site-specific DNA invertase. The system is highly scalable, with the potential to generate theoretical diversities in the billions. We demonstrate the feasibility of this technique in Escherichia coli. Currently, this method could be employed to track the dynamics of populations of microbes through various bottlenecks. Advances of this method should prove useful in tracking interactions of cells within a network, and/or heterogeneity within complex biological samples.© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


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