September 22, 2019  |  

Assessing the gene content of the megagenome: sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana).

Sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana Douglas) is within the subgenus Strobus with an estimated genome size of 31 Gbp. Transcriptomic resources are of particular interest in conifers due to the challenges presented in their megagenomes for gene identification. In this study, we present the first comprehensive survey of the P. lambertiana transcriptome through deep sequencing of a variety of tissue types to generate more than 2.5 billion short reads. Third generation, long reads generated through PacBio Iso-Seq has been included for the first time in conifers to combat the challenges associated with de novo transcriptome assembly. A technology comparison is provided here contribute to the otherwise scarce comparisons of 2nd and 3rd generation transcriptome sequencing approaches in plant species. In addition, the transcriptome reference was essential for gene model identification and quality assessment in the parallel project responsible for sequencing and assembly of the entire genome. In this study, the transcriptomic data was also used to address some of the questions surrounding lineage-specific Dicer-like proteins in conifers. These proteins play a role in the control of transposable element proliferation and the related genome expansion in conifers. Copyright © 2016 Author et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

In vitro characterization of phenylacetate decarboxylase, a novel enzyme catalyzing toluene biosynthesis in an anaerobic microbial community.

Anaerobic bacterial biosynthesis of toluene from phenylacetate was reported more than two decades ago, but the biochemistry underlying this novel metabolism has never been elucidated. Here we report results of in vitro characterization studies of a novel phenylacetate decarboxylase from an anaerobic, sewage-derived enrichment culture that quantitatively produces toluene from phenylacetate; complementary metagenomic and metaproteomic analyses are also presented. Among the noteworthy findings is that this enzyme is not the well-characterized clostridial p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylase (CsdBC). However, the toluene synthase under study appears to be able to catalyze both phenylacetate and p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylation. Observations suggesting that phenylacetate and p-hydroxyphenylacetate decarboxylation in complex cell-free extracts were catalyzed by the same enzyme include the following: (i) the specific activity for both substrates was comparable in cell-free extracts, (ii) the two activities displayed identical behavior during chromatographic separation of cell-free extracts, (iii) both activities were irreversibly inactivated upon exposure to O2, and (iv) both activities were similarly inhibited by an amide analog of p-hydroxyphenylacetate. Based upon these and other data, we hypothesize that the toluene synthase reaction involves a glycyl radical decarboxylase. This first-time study of the phenylacetate decarboxylase reaction constitutes an important step in understanding and ultimately harnessing it for making bio-based toluene.


September 22, 2019  |  

PacBio sequencing and its applications.

Single-molecule, real-time sequencing developed by Pacific BioSciences offers longer read lengths than the second-generation sequencing (SGS) technologies, making it well-suited for unsolved problems in genome, transcriptome, and epigenetics research. The highly-contiguous de novo assemblies using PacBio sequencing can close gaps in current reference assemblies and characterize structural variation (SV) in personal genomes. With longer reads, we can sequence through extended repetitive regions and detect mutations, many of which are associated with diseases. Moreover, PacBio transcriptome sequencing is advantageous for the identification of gene isoforms and facilitates reliable discoveries of novel genes and novel isoforms of annotated genes, due to its ability to sequence full-length transcripts or fragments with significant lengths. Additionally, PacBio’s sequencing technique provides information that is useful for the direct detection of base modifications, such as methylation. In addition to using PacBio sequencing alone, many hybrid sequencing strategies have been developed to make use of more accurate short reads in conjunction with PacBio long reads. In general, hybrid sequencing strategies are more affordable and scalable especially for small-size laboratories than using PacBio Sequencing alone. The advent of PacBio sequencing has made available much information that could not be obtained via SGS alone. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Production and hosting by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


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 work expands the known catalytic range of glycyl radical enzymes (only seven reaction types had been characterized previously) and aromatic-hydrocarbon-producing enzymes, and will enable first-time biochemical synthesis of an aromatic fuel hydrocarbon from renewable resources, such as lignocellulosic biomass, rather than from petroleum.


September 22, 2019  |  

CagY-dependent regulation of type IV secretion in Helicobacter pylori is associated with alterations in integrin binding.

Strains of Helicobacter pylori that cause ulcer or gastric cancer typically express a type IV secretion system (T4SS) encoded by the cag pathogenicity island (cagPAI). CagY is an ortholog of VirB10 that, unlike other VirB10 orthologs, has a large middle repeat region (MRR) with extensive repetitive sequence motifs, which undergo CD4+ T cell-dependent recombination during infection of mice. Recombination in the CagY MRR reduces T4SS function, diminishes the host inflammatory response, and enables the bacteria to colonize at a higher density. Since CagY is known to bind human a5ß1 integrin, we tested the hypothesis that recombination in the CagY MRR regulates T4SS function by modulating binding to a5ß1 integrin. Using a cell-free microfluidic assay, we found that H. pylori binding to a5ß1 integrin under shear flow is dependent on the CagY MRR, but independent of the presence of the T4SS pili, which are only formed when H. pylori is in contact with host cells. Similarly, expression of CagY in the absence of other T4SS genes was necessary and sufficient for whole bacterial cell binding to a5ß1 integrin. Bacteria with variant cagY alleles that reduced T4SS function showed comparable reduction in binding to a5ß1 integrin, although CagY was still expressed on the bacterial surface. We speculate that cagY-dependent modulation of H. pylori T4SS function is mediated by alterations in binding to a5ß1 integrin, which in turn regulates the host inflammatory response so as to maximize persistent infection.IMPORTANCE Infection with H. pylori can cause peptic ulcers and is the most important risk factor for gastric cancer, the third most common cause of cancer death worldwide. The major H. pylori virulence factor that determines whether infection causes disease or asymptomatic colonization is the type IV secretion system (T4SS), a sort of molecular syringe that injects bacterial products into gastric epithelial cells and alters host cell physiology. We previously showed that recombination in CagY, an essential T4SS component, modulates the function of the T4SS. Here we found that these recombination events produce parallel changes in specific binding to a5ß1 integrin, a host cell receptor that is essential for T4SS-dependent translocation of bacterial effectors. We propose that CagY-dependent binding to a5ß1 integrin acts like a molecular rheostat that alters T4SS function and modulates the host immune response to promote persistent infection. Copyright © 2018 Skoog et al.


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