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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Defining cell identity with single cell omics.

Cells are a fundamental unit of life, and the ability to study the phenotypes and behaviors of individual cells is crucial to understanding the workings of complex biological systems. Cell phenotypes (epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic) exhibit dramatic heterogeneity between and within the different cell types and states underlying cellular functional diversity. Cell genotypes can also display heterogeneity throughout an organism, in the form of somatic genetic variation-most notably in the emergence and evolution of tumors. Recent technical advances in single-cell isolation and the development of omics approaches sensitive enough to reveal these aspects of cell identity have enabled a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Avian transcriptomics: opportunities and challenges

Recent developments in next-generation sequencing technologies have greatly facilitated the study of whole transcriptomes in model and non-model species. Studying the transcriptome and how it changes across a variety of biological conditions has had major implications for our understanding of how the genome is regulated in different contexts, and how to interpret adaptations and the phenotype of an organism. The aim of this review is to highlight the potential of these new technologies for the study of avian transcriptomics, and to summarise how transcriptomics has been applied in ornithology. A total of 81 peer-reviewed scientific articles that used transcriptomics to…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Single-cell (meta-)genomics of a dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii reveals genomic plasticity.

The genus Thiomargarita includes the world’s largest bacteria. But as uncultured organisms, their physiology, metabolism, and basis for their gigantism are not well understood. Thus, a genomics approach, applied to a single Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii cell was employed to explore the genetic potential of one of these enigmatic giant bacteria. The Thiomargarita cell was obtained from an assemblage of budding Ca. T. nelsonii attached to a provannid gastropod shell from Hydrate Ridge, a methane seep offshore of Oregon, USA. Here we present a manually curated genome of Bud S10 resulting from a hybrid assembly of long Pacific Biosciences and short…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Genomic insights into the acid adaptation of novel methanotrophs enriched from acidic forest soils.

Soil acidification is accelerated by anthropogenic and agricultural activities, which could significantly affect global methane cycles. However, detailed knowledge of the genomic properties of methanotrophs adapted to acidic soils remains scarce. Using metagenomic approaches, we analyzed methane-utilizing communities enriched from acidic forest soils with pH 3 and 4, and recovered near-complete genomes of proteobacterial methanotrophs. Novel methanotroph genomes designated KS32 and KS41, belonging to two representative clades of methanotrophs (Methylocystis of Alphaproteobacteria and Methylobacter of Gammaproteobacteria), were dominant. Comparative genomic analysis revealed diverse systems of membrane transporters for ensuring pH homeostasis and defense against toxic chemicals. Various potassium transporter systems,…

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Sunday, 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…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Extensive horizontal gene transfer in cheese-associated bacteria.

Acquisition of genes through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) allows microbes to rapidly gain new capabilities and adapt to new or changing environments. Identifying widespread HGT regions within multispecies microbiomes can pinpoint the molecular mechanisms that play key roles in microbiome assembly. We sought to identify horizontally transferred genes within a model microbiome, the cheese rind. Comparing 31 newly sequenced and 134 previously sequenced bacterial isolates from cheese rinds, we identified over 200 putative horizontally transferred genomic regions containing 4733 protein coding genes. The largest of these regions are enriched for genes involved in siderophore acquisition, and are widely distributed in…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Next generation sequencing data of a defined microbial mock community.

Generating sequence data of a defined community composed of organisms with complete reference genomes is indispensable for the benchmarking of new genome sequence analysis methods, including assembly and binning tools. Moreover the validation of new sequencing library protocols and platforms to assess critical components such as sequencing errors and biases relies on such datasets. We here report the next generation metagenomic sequence data of a defined mock community (Mock Bacteria ARchaea Community; MBARC-26), composed of 23 bacterial and 3 archaeal strains with finished genomes. These strains span 10 phyla and 14 classes, a range of GC contents, genome sizes, repeat…

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Sunday, 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.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Interpreting microbial biosynthesis in the genomic age: Biological and practical considerations.

Genome mining has become an increasingly powerful, scalable, and economically accessible tool for the study of natural product biosynthesis and drug discovery. However, there remain important biological and practical problems that can complicate or obscure biosynthetic analysis in genomic and metagenomic sequencing projects. Here, we focus on limitations of available technology as well as computational and experimental strategies to overcome them. We review the unique challenges and approaches in the study of symbiotic and uncultured systems, as well as those associated with biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) assembly and product prediction. Finally, to explore sequencing parameters that affect the recovery and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Novel exons and splice variants in the human antibody heavy chain identified by single cell and single molecule sequencing.

Antibody heavy chains contain a variable and a constant region. The constant region of the antibody heavy chain is encoded by multiple groups of exons which define the isotype and therefore many functional characteristics of the antibody. We performed both single B cell RNAseq and long read single molecule sequencing of antibody heavy chain transcripts and were able to identify novel exons for IGHA1 and IGHA2 as well as novel isoforms for IGHM antibody heavy chain.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cow-to-mouse fecal transplantations suggest intestinal microbiome as one cause of mastitis.

Mastitis, which affects nearly all lactating mammals including human, is generally thought to be caused by local infection of the mammary glands. For treatment, antibiotics are commonly prescribed, which however are of concern in both treatment efficacy and neonate safety. Here, using bovine mastitis which is the most costly disease in the dairy industry as a model, we showed that intestinal microbiota alone can lead to mastitis.Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from mastitis, but not healthy cows, to germ-free (GF) mice resulted in mastitis symptoms in mammary gland and inflammations in serum, spleen, and colon. Probiotic intake in parallel with FMT…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Shannon: an information-optimal de novo RNA-Seq assembler

De novo assembly of short RNA-Seq reads into transcripts is challenging due to sequence similarities in transcriptomes arising from gene duplications and alternative splicing of transcripts. We present Shannon, an RNA-Seq assembler with an optimality guarantee derived from principles of information theory: Shannon reconstructs nearly all information-theoretically reconstructable transcripts. Shannon is based on a theory we develop for de novo RNA-Seq assembly that reveals differing abundances among transcripts to be the key, rather than the barrier, to effective assembly. The assembly problem is formulated as a sparsest-flow problem on a transcript graph, and the heart of Shannon is a novel…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A single-cell genome for Thiovulum sp.

We determined a significant fraction of the genome sequence of a representative of Thiovulum, the uncultivated genus of colorless sulfur Epsilonproteobacteria, by analyzing the genome sequences of four individual cells collected from phototrophic mats from Elkhorn Slough, California. These cells were isolated utilizing a microfluidic laser-tweezing system, and their genomes were amplified by multiple-displacement amplification prior to sequencing. Thiovulum is a gradient bacterium found at oxic-anoxic marine interfaces and noted for its distinctive morphology and rapid swimming motility. The genomic sequences of the four individual cells were assembled into a composite genome consisting of 221 contigs covering 2.083 Mb including…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Direct chromosome-length haplotyping by single-cell sequencing.

Haplotypes are fundamental to fully characterize the diploid genome of an individual, yet methods to directly chart the unique genetic makeup of each parental chromosome are lacking. Here we introduce single-cell DNA template strand sequencing (Strand-seq) as a novel approach to phasing diploid genomes along the entire length of all chromosomes. We demonstrate this by building a complete haplotype for a HapMap individual (NA12878) at high accuracy (concordance 99.3%), without using generational information or statistical inference. By use of this approach, we mapped all meiotic recombination events in a family trio with high resolution (median range ~14 kb) and phased…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Discovery of enzymes for toluene synthesis from anoxic microbial communities.

Microbial toluene biosynthesis was reported in anoxic lake sediments more than three decades ago, but the enzyme catalyzing this biochemically challenging reaction has never been identified. Here we report the toluene-producing enzyme PhdB, a glycyl radical enzyme of bacterial origin that catalyzes phenylacetate decarboxylation, and its cognate activating enzyme PhdA, a radical S-adenosylmethionine enzyme, discovered in two distinct anoxic microbial communities that produce toluene. The unconventional process of enzyme discovery from a complex microbial community (>300,000 genes), rather than from a microbial isolate, involved metagenomics- and metaproteomics-enabled biochemistry, as well as in vitro confirmation of activity with recombinant enzymes. This…

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