June 1, 2021  |  

A comparison of 454 GS FLX Ti and PacBio RS in the context of characterizing HIV-1 intra-host diversity.

PacBio 2013 User Group Meeting Presentation Slides: Lance Hepler from UC San Diego’s Center for AIDS Research used the PacBio RS to study intra-host diversity in HIV-1. He compared PacBio’s performance to that of 454® sequencer, the platform he and his team previously used. Hepler noted that in general, there was strong agreement between the platforms; where results differed, he said that PacBio data had significantly better reproducibility and accuracy. “PacBio does not suffer from local coverage loss post-processing, whereas 454 has homopolymer problems,” he noted. Hepler said they are moving away from using 454 in favor of the PacBio system.


April 21, 2020  |  

The ADEP Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 Reveals an Accessory clpP Gene as a Novel Antibiotic Resistance Factor.

The increasing threat posed by multiresistant bacterial pathogens necessitates the discovery of novel antibacterials with unprecedented modes of action. ADEP1, a natural compound produced by Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, is the prototype for a new class of acyldepsipeptide (ADEP) antibiotics. ADEP antibiotics deregulate the proteolytic core ClpP of the bacterial caseinolytic protease, thereby exhibiting potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including multiresistant pathogens. ADEP1 and derivatives, here collectively called ADEP, have been previously investigated for their antibiotic potency against different species, structure-activity relationship, and mechanism of action; however, knowledge on the biosynthesis of the natural compound and producer self-resistance have remained elusive. In this study, we identified and analyzed the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in S. hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, which comprises two NRPSs, genes necessary for the biosynthesis of (4S,2R)-4-methylproline, and a type II polyketide synthase (PKS) for the assembly of highly reduced polyenes. While no resistance factor could be identified within the gene cluster itself, we discovered an additional clpP homologous gene (named clpPADEP) located further downstream of the biosynthetic genes, separated from the biosynthetic gene cluster by several transposable elements. Heterologous expression of ClpPADEP in three ADEP-sensitive Streptomyces species proved its role in conferring ADEP resistance, thereby revealing a novel type of antibiotic resistance determinant.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) represent a promising new class of potent antibiotics and, at the same time, are valuable tools to study the molecular functioning of their target, ClpP, the proteolytic core of the bacterial caseinolytic protease. Here, we present a straightforward purification procedure for ADEP1 that yields substantial amounts of the pure compound in a time- and cost-efficient manner, which is a prerequisite to conveniently study the antimicrobial effects of ADEP and the operating mode of bacterial ClpP machineries in diverse bacteria. Identification and characterization of the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 enables future bioinformatics screenings for similar gene clusters and/or subclusters to find novel natural compounds with specific substructures. Most strikingly, we identified a cluster-associated clpP homolog (named clpPADEP) as an ADEP resistance gene. ClpPADEP constitutes a novel bacterial resistance factor that alone is necessary and sufficient to confer high-level ADEP resistance to Streptomyces across species.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Long-read amplicon denoising.

Long-read next-generation amplicon sequencing shows promise for studying complete genes or genomes from complex and diverse populations. Current long-read sequencing technologies have challenging error profiles, hindering data processing and incorporation into downstream analyses. Here we consider the problem of how to reconstruct, free of sequencing error, the true sequence variants and their associated frequencies from PacBio reads. Called ‘amplicon denoising’, this problem has been extensively studied for short-read sequencing technologies, but current solutions do not always successfully generalize to long reads with high indel error rates. We introduce two methods: one that runs nearly instantly and is very accurate for medium length reads and high template coverage, and another, slower method that is more robust when reads are very long or coverage is lower. On two Mock Virus Community datasets with ground truth, each sequenced on a different PacBio instrument, and on a number of simulated datasets, we compare our two approaches to each other and to existing algorithms. We outperform all tested methods in accuracy, with competitive run times even for our slower method, successfully discriminating templates that differ by a just single nucleotide. Julia implementations of Fast Amplicon Denoising (FAD) and Robust Amplicon Denoising (RAD), and a webserver interface, are freely available. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Vaccine-induced protection from homologous tier 2 SHIV challenge in nonhuman primates depends on serum-neutralizing antibody titers.

Passive administration of HIV neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) can protect macaques from hard-to-neutralize (tier 2) chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) challenge. However, conditions for nAb-mediated protection after vaccination have not been established. Here, we selected groups of 6 rhesus macaques with either high or low serum nAb titers from a total of 78 animals immunized with recombinant native-like (SOSIP) Env trimers. Repeat intrarectal challenge with homologous tier 2 SHIVBG505 led to rapid infection in unimmunized and low-titer animals. High-titer animals, however, demonstrated protection that was gradually lost as nAb titers waned over time. An autologous serum ID50 nAb titer of ~1:500 afforded more than 90% protection from medium-dose SHIV infection. In contrast, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and T cell activity did not correlate with protection. Therefore, Env protein-based vaccination strategies can protect against hard-to-neutralize SHIV challenge in rhesus macaques by inducing tier 2 nAbs, provided appropriate neutralizing titers can be reached and maintained. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid and Focused Maturation of a VRC01-Class HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Lineage Involves Both Binding and Accommodation of the N276-Glycan.

The VH1-2 restricted VRC01-class of antibodies targeting the HIV envelope CD4 binding site are a major focus of HIV vaccine strategies. However, a detailed analysis of VRC01-class antibody development has been limited by the rare nature of these responses during natural infection and the lack of longitudinal sampling of such responses. To inform vaccine strategies, we mapped the development of a VRC01-class antibody lineage (PCIN63) in the subtype C infected IAVI Protocol C neutralizer PC063. PCIN63 monoclonal antibodies had the hallmark VRC01-class features and demonstrated neutralization breadth similar to the prototype VRC01 antibody, but were 2- to 3-fold less mutated. Maturation occurred rapidly within ~24 months of emergence of the lineage and somatic hypermutations accumulated at key contact residues. This longitudinal study of broadly neutralizing VRC01-class antibody lineage reveals early binding to the N276-glycan during affinity maturation, which may have implications for vaccine design.Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Analysis of gut microbiota – An ever changing landscape.

In the last two decades, the field of metagenomics has greatly expanded due to improvement in sequencing technologies allowing for a more comprehensive characterization of microbial communities. The use of these technologies has led to an unprecedented understanding of human, animal, and environmental microbiomes and have shown that the gut microbiota are comparable to an organ that is intrinsically linked with a variety of diseases. Characterization of microbial communities using next-generation sequencing-by-synthesis approaches have revealed important shifts in microbiota associated with debilitating diseases such as Clostridium difficile infection. But due to limitations in sequence read length, primer biases, and the quality of databases, genus- and species-level classification have been difficult. Third-generation technologies, such as Pacific Biosciences’ single molecule, real-time (SMRT) approach, allow for unbiased, more specific identification of species that are likely clinically relevant. Comparison of Illumina next-generation characterization and SMRT sequencing of samples from patients treated for C. difficile infection revealed similarities in community composition at the phylum and family levels, but SMRT sequencing further allowed for species-level characterization – permitting a better understanding of the microbial ecology of this disease. Thus, as sequencing technologies continue to advance, new species-level insights can be gained in the study of complex and clinically-relevant microbial communities.


September 22, 2019  |  

Gene presence-absence polymorphism in castrating anther-smut fungi: Recent gene Gains and Phylogeographic Structure.

Gene presence-absence polymorphisms segregating within species are a significant source of genetic variation but have been little investigated to date in natural populations. In plant pathogens, the gain or loss of genes encoding proteins interacting directly with the host, such as secreted proteins, probably plays an important role in coevolution and local adaptation. We investigated gene presence-absence polymorphism in populations of two closely related species of castrating anther-smut fungi, Microbotryum lychnidis-dioicae (MvSl) and M. silenes-dioicae (MvSd), from across Europe, on the basis of Illumina genome sequencing data and high-quality genome references. We observed presence-absence polymorphism for 186 autosomal genes (2% of all genes) in MvSl, and only 51 autosomal genes in MvSd. Distinct genes displayed presence-absence polymorphism in the two species. Genes displaying presence-absence polymorphism were frequently located in subtelomeric and centromeric regions and close to repetitive elements, and comparison with outgroups indicated that most were present in a single species, being recently acquired through duplications in multiple-gene families. Gene presence-absence polymorphism in MvSl showed a phylogeographic structure corresponding to clusters detected based on SNPs. In addition, gene absence alleles were rare within species and skewed toward low-frequency variants. These findings are consistent with a deleterious or neutral effect for most gene presence-absence polymorphism. Some of the observed gene loss and gain events may however be adaptive, as suggested by the putative functions of the corresponding encoded proteins (e.g., secreted proteins) or their localization within previously identified selective sweeps. The adaptive roles in plant and anther-smut fungi interactions of candidate genes however need to be experimentally tested in future studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

A reference genome of the Chinese hamster based on a hybrid assembly strategy.

Accurate and complete genome sequences are essential in biotechnology to facilitate genome-based cell engineering efforts. The current genome assemblies for Cricetulus griseus, the Chinese hamster, are fragmented and replete with gap sequences and misassemblies, consistent with most short-read-based assemblies. Here, we completely resequenced C. griseus using single molecule real time sequencing and merged this with Illumina-based assemblies. This generated a more contiguous and complete genome assembly than either technology alone, reducing the number of scaffolds by >28-fold, with 90% of the sequence in the 122 longest scaffolds. Most genes are now found in single scaffolds, including up- and downstream regulatory elements, enabling improved study of noncoding regions. With >95% of the gap sequence filled, important Chinese hamster ovary cell mutations have been detected in draft assembly gaps. This new assembly will be an invaluable resource for continued basic and pharmaceutical research.© 2018 The Authors. Biotechnology and Bioengineering Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

Changes in the genetic requirements for microbial interactions with increasing community complexity.

Microbial community structure and function rely on complex interactions whose underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. To investigate these interactions in a simple microbiome, we introduced E. coli into an experimental community based on a cheese rind and identified the differences in E. coli’s genetic requirements for growth in interactive and non-interactive contexts using Random Barcode Transposon Sequencing (RB-TnSeq) and RNASeq. Genetic requirements varied among pairwise growth conditions and between pairwise and community conditions. Our analysis points to mechanisms by which growth conditions change as a result of increasing community complexity and suggests that growth within a community relies on a combination of pairwise and higher-order interactions. Our work provides a framework for using the model organism E. coli as a readout to investigate microbial interactions regardless of the genetic tractability of members of the studied ecosystem.© 2018, Morin et al.


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