October 23, 2019  |  

Molecular barcoding of viral vectors enables mapping and optimization of mRNA trans-splicing.

Genome editing has proven to be highly potent in the generation of functional gene knockouts in dividing cells. In the CNS however, efficient technologies to repair sequences are yet to materialize. Reprogramming on the mRNA level is an attractive alternative as it provides means to perform in situ editing of coding sequences without nuclease dependency. Furthermore, de novo sequences can be inserted without the requirement of homologous recombination. Such reprogramming would enable efficient editing in quiescent cells (e.g., neurons) with an attractive safety profile for translational therapies. In this study, we applied a novel molecular-barcoded screening assay to investigate RNA trans-splicing in mammalian neurons. Through three alternative screening systems in cell culture and in vivo, we demonstrate that factors determining trans-splicing are reproducible regardless of the screening system. With this screening, we have located the most permissive trans-splicing sequences targeting an intron in the Synapsin I gene. Using viral vectors, we were able to splice full-length fluorophores into the mRNA while retaining very low off-target expression. Furthermore, this approach also showed evidence of functionality in the mouse striatum. However, in its current form, the trans-splicing events are stochastic and the overall activity lower than would be required for therapies targeting loss-of-function mutations. Nevertheless, the herein described barcode-based screening assay provides a unique possibility to screen and map large libraries in single animals or cell assays with very high precision.© 2018 Davidsson et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.

September 22, 2019  |  

Recent developments in using advanced sequencing technologies for the genomic studies of lignin and cellulose degrading microorganisms.

Lignin is a complex polyphenyl aromatic compound which exists in tight associations with cellulose and hemicellulose to form plant primary and secondary cell wall. Lignocellulose is an abundant renewable biomaterial present on the earth. It has gained much attention in the scientific community in recent years because of its potential applications in bio-based industries. Microbial degradation of lignocellulose polymers was well studied in wood decaying fungi. Based on the plant materials they degrade these fungi were classified as white rot, brown rot and soft rot. However, some groups of bacteria belonging to the actinomycetes, a-proteobacteria and ß-proteobacteria were also found to be efficient in degrading lignocellulosic biomass but not well understood unlike the fungi. In this review we focus on recent advancements deployed for finding and understanding the lignocellulose degradation by microorganisms. Conventional molecular methods like sequencing 16s rRNA and Inter Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions were used for identification and classification of microbes. Recent progression in genomics mainly next generation sequencing technologies made the whole genome sequencing of microbes possible in a great ease. The whole genome sequence studies reveals high quality information about genes and canonical pathways involved in the lignin and other cell wall components degradation.

September 22, 2019  |  

Flow cytometry analysis of Clostridium beijerinckii NRRL B-598 populations exhibiting different phenotypes induced by changes in cultivation conditions.

Biobutanol production by clostridia via the acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) pathway is a promising future technology in bioenergetics , but identifying key regulatory mechanisms for this pathway is essential in order to construct industrially relevant strains with high tolerance and productivity. We have applied flow cytometric analysis to C. beijerinckii NRRL B-598 and carried out comparative screening of physiological changes in terms of viability under different cultivation conditions to determine its dependence on particular stages of the life cycle and the concentration of butanol.Dual staining by propidium iodide (PI) and carboxyfluorescein diacetate (CFDA) provided separation of cells into four subpopulations with different abilities to take up PI and cleave CFDA, reflecting different physiological states. The development of a staining pattern during ABE fermentation showed an apparent decline in viability, starting at the pH shift and onset of solventogenesis, although an appreciable proportion of cells continued to proliferate. This was observed for sporulating as well as non-sporulating phenotypes at low solvent concentrations, suggesting that the increase in percentage of inactive cells was not a result of solvent toxicity or a transition from vegetative to sporulating stages. Additionally, the sporulating phenotype was challenged with butanol and cultivation with a lower starting pH was performed; in both these experiments similar trends were obtained-viability declined after the pH breakpoint, independent of the actual butanol concentration in the medium. Production characteristics of both sporulating and non-sporulating phenotypes were comparable, showing that in C. beijerinckii NRRL B-598, solventogenesis was not conditional on sporulation.We have shown that the decline in C. beijerinckii NRRL B-598 culture viability during ABE fermentation was not only the result of accumulated toxic metabolites, but might also be associated with a special survival strategy triggered by pH change.

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