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 iterative flow-decomposition algorithm. This algorithm provably solves the information-theoretically reconstructable instances in linear-time even though the general sparsest-flow problem is NP-hard. Shannon also incorporates several additional new algorithmic advances: a new error-correction algorithm based on successive cancelation, a multi-bridging algorithm that carefully utilizes read information in the k-mer de Bruijn graph, and an approximate graph partitioning algorithm to split the transcriptome de Bruijn graph into smaller components. In tests on large RNA-Seq datasets, Shannon obtains significant increases in sensitivity along with improvements in specificity in comparison to state-of-the-art assemblers.


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  |  

Long-read sequencing of human cytomegalovirus transcriptome reveals RNA isoforms carrying distinct coding potentials.

The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous, human pathogenic herpesvirus. The complete viral genome is transcriptionally active during infection; however, a large part of its transcriptome has yet to be annotated. In this work, we applied the amplified isoform sequencing technique from Pacific Biosciences to characterize the lytic transcriptome of HCMV strain Towne varS. We developed a pipeline for transcript annotation using long-read sequencing data. We identified 248 transcriptional start sites, 116 transcriptional termination sites and 80 splicing events. Using this information, we have annotated 291 previously undescribed or only partially annotated transcript isoforms, including eight novel antisense transcripts and their isoforms, as well as a novel transcript (RS2) in the short repeat region, partially antisense to RS1. Similarly to other organisms, we discovered a high transcriptional diversity in HCMV, with many transcripts only slightly differing from one another. Comparing our transcriptome profiling results to an earlier ribosome footprint analysis, we have concluded that the majority of the transcripts contain multiple translationally active ORFs, and also that most isoforms contain unique combinations of ORFs. Based on these results, we propose that one important function of this transcriptional diversity may be to provide a regulatory mechanism at the level of translation.


September 22, 2019  |  

ISOdb: A comprehensive database of full-length isoforms generated by Iso-Seq.

The accurate landscape of transcript isoforms plays an important role in the understanding of gene function and gene regulation. However, building complete transcripts is very challenging for short reads generated using next-generation sequencing. Fortunately, isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) using single-molecule sequencing technologies, such as PacBio SMRT, provides long reads spanning entire transcript isoforms which do not require assembly. Therefore, we have developed ISOdb, a comprehensive resource database for hosting and carrying out an in-depth analysis of Iso-Seq datasets and visualising the full-length transcript isoforms. The current version of ISOdb has collected 93 publicly available Iso-Seq samples from eight species and presents the samples in two levels: (1) sample level, including metainformation, long read distribution, isoform numbers, and alternative splicing (AS) events of each sample; (2) gene level, including the total isoforms, novel isoform number, novel AS number, and isoform visualisation of each gene. In addition, ISOdb provides a user interface in the website for uploading sample information to facilitate the collection and analysis of researchers’ datasets. Currently, ISOdb is the first repository that offers comprehensive resources and convenient public access for hosting, analysing, and visualising Iso-Seq data, which is freely available.


September 22, 2019  |  

High-throughput annotation of full-length long noncoding RNAs with capture long-read sequencing.

Accurate annotation of genes and their transcripts is a foundation of genomics, but currently no annotation technique combines throughput and accuracy. As a result, reference gene collections remain incomplete-many gene models are fragmentary, and thousands more remain uncataloged, particularly for long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). To accelerate lncRNA annotation, the GENCODE consortium has developed RNA Capture Long Seq (CLS), which combines targeted RNA capture with third-generation long-read sequencing. Here we present an experimental reannotation of the GENCODE intergenic lncRNA populations in matched human and mouse tissues that resulted in novel transcript models for 3,574 and 561 gene loci, respectively. CLS approximately doubled the annotated complexity of targeted loci, outperforming existing short-read techniques. Full-length transcript models produced by CLS enabled us to definitively characterize the genomic features of lncRNAs, including promoter and gene structure, and protein-coding potential. Thus, CLS removes a long-standing bottleneck in transcriptome annotation and generates manual-quality full-length transcript models at high-throughput scales.


September 22, 2019  |  

Sooty mangabey genome sequence provides insight into AIDS resistance in a natural SIV host.

In contrast to infections with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in humans and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in macaques, SIV infection of a natural host, sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys), is non-pathogenic despite high viraemia. Here we sequenced and assembled the genome of a captive sooty mangabey. We conducted genome-wide comparative analyses of transcript assemblies from C. atys and AIDS-susceptible species, such as humans and macaques, to identify candidates for host genetic factors that influence susceptibility. We identified several immune-related genes in the genome of C. atys that show substantial sequence divergence from macaques or humans. One of these sequence divergences, a C-terminal frameshift in the toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) gene of C. atys, is associated with a blunted in vitro response to TLR-4 ligands. In addition, we found a major structural change in exons 3-4 of the immune-regulatory protein intercellular adhesion molecule 2 (ICAM-2); expression of this variant leads to reduced cell surface expression of ICAM-2. These data provide a resource for comparative genomic studies of HIV and/or SIV pathogenesis and may help to elucidate the mechanisms by which SIV-infected sooty mangabeys avoid AIDS.


September 22, 2019  |  

Nondestructive, base-resolution sequencing of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine using a DNA deaminase.

Here we present APOBEC-coupled epigenetic sequencing (ACE-seq), a bisulfite-free method for localizing 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) at single-base resolution with low DNA input. The method builds on the observation that AID/APOBEC family DNA deaminase enzymes can potently discriminate between cytosine modification states and exploits the non-destructive nature of enzymatic, rather than chemical, deamination. ACE-seq yielded high-confidence 5hmC profiles with at least 1,000-fold less DNA input than conventional methods. Applying ACE-seq to generate a base-resolution map of 5hmC in tissue-derived cortical excitatory neurons, we found that 5hmC was almost entirely confined to CG dinucleotides. The whole-genome map permitted cytosine, 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5hmC to be parsed and revealed genomic features that diverged from global patterns, including enhancers and imprinting control regions with high and low 5hmC/5mC ratios, respectively. Enzymatic deamination overcomes many challenges posed by bisulfite-based methods, thus expanding the scope of epigenome profiling to include scarce samples and opening new lines of inquiry regarding the role of cytosine modifications in genome biology.


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