April 21, 2020  |  

A robust benchmark for germline structural variant detection

New technologies and analysis methods are enabling genomic structural variants (SVs) to be detected with ever-increasing accuracy, resolution, and comprehensiveness. Translating these methods to routine research and clinical practice requires robust benchmark sets. We developed the first benchmark set for identification of both false negative and false positive germline SVs, which complements recent efforts emphasizing increasingly comprehensive characterization of SVs. To create this benchmark for a broadly consented son in a Personal Genome Project trio with broadly available cells and DNA, the Genome in a Bottle (GIAB) Consortium integrated 19 sequence-resolved variant calling methods, both alignment- and de novo assembly-based, from short-, linked-, and long-read sequencing, as well as optical and electronic mapping. The final benchmark set contains 12745 isolated, sequence-resolved insertion and deletion calls =50 base pairs (bp) discovered by at least 2 technologies or 5 callsets, genotyped as heterozygous or homozygous variants by long reads. The Tier 1 benchmark regions, for which any extra calls are putative false positives, cover 2.66 Gbp and 9641 SVs supported by at least one diploid assembly. Support for SVs was assessed using svviz with short-, linked-, and long-read sequence data. In general, there was strong support from multiple technologies for the benchmark SVs, with 90 % of the Tier 1 SVs having support in reads from more than one technology. The Mendelian genotype error rate was 0.3 %, and genotype concordance with manual curation was >98.7 %. We demonstrate the utility of the benchmark set by showing it reliably identifies both false negatives and false positives in high-quality SV callsets from short-, linked-, and long-read sequencing and optical mapping.


April 21, 2020  |  

Hidden genomic evolution in a morphospecies-The landscape of rapidly evolving genes in Tetrahymena.

A morphospecies is defined as a taxonomic species based wholly on morphology, but often morphospecies consist of clusters of cryptic species that can be identified genetically or molecularly. The nature of the evolutionary novelty that accompanies speciation in a morphospecies is an intriguing question. Morphospecies are particularly common among ciliates, a group of unicellular eukaryotes that separates 2 kinds of nuclei-the silenced germline nucleus (micronucleus [MIC]) and the actively expressed somatic nucleus (macronucleus [MAC])-within a common cytoplasm. Because of their very similar morphologies, members of the Tetrahymena genus are considered a morphospecies. We explored the hidden genomic evolution within this genus by performing a comprehensive comparative analysis of the somatic genomes of 10 species and the germline genomes of 2 species of Tetrahymena. These species show high genetic divergence; phylogenomic analysis suggests that the genus originated about 300 million years ago (Mya). Seven universal protein domains are preferentially included among the species-specific (i.e., the youngest) Tetrahymena genes. In particular, leucine-rich repeat (LRR) genes make the largest contribution to the high level of genome divergence of the 10 species. LRR genes can be sorted into 3 different age groups. Parallel evolutionary trajectories have independently occurred among LRR genes in the different Tetrahymena species. Thousands of young LRR genes contain tandem arrays of exactly 90-bp exons. The introns separating these exons show a unique, extreme phase 2 bias, suggesting a clonal origin and successive expansions of 90-bp-exon LRR genes. Identifying LRR gene age groups allowed us to document a Tetrahymena intron length cycle. The youngest 90-bp exon LRR genes in T. thermophila are concentrated in pericentromeric and subtelomeric regions of the 5 micronuclear chromosomes, suggesting that these regions act as genome innovation centers. Copies of a Tetrahymena Long interspersed element (LINE)-like retrotransposon are very frequently found physically adjacent to 90-bp exon/intron repeat units of the youngest LRR genes. We propose that Tetrahymena species have used a massive exon-shuffling mechanism, involving unequal crossing over possibly in concert with retrotransposition, to create the unique 90-bp exon array LRR genes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Anthropogenic N deposition, fungal gene expression, and an increasing soil carbon sink in the Northern Hemisphere.

Terrestrial ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere are a globally important sink for anthropogenic CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, slowing its accumulation as well as the pace of climate warming. With the use of a long-term field experiment (ca. 20 yr), we show that the expression of fungal class II peroxidase genes, which encode enzymes mediating the rate-limiting step of organic matter decay, are significantly downregulated (-60 to -80%) because of increases in anthropogenic N deposition; this response was consistent with a decline in extracellular peroxidase enzyme activity in soil, the slowing of organic-matter decay, and greater soil C storage. The reduction in peroxidase expression we document here occurred in the absence of a compositional shift in metabolically active fungi, indicating that an overall reduction in peroxidase expression underlies the slowing of decay and increases in soil C storage. This molecular mechanism has global implications for soil C storage and should be represented in coupled climate-biogeochemical models simulating the influence of enhanced terrestrial C storage on atmospheric CO2 and the future climate of an N-enriched Earth. © 2019 by the Ecological Society of America.


April 21, 2020  |  

Gut pathobionts underlie intestinal barrier dysfunction and liver T helper 17 cell immune response in primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic inflammatory liver disease and its frequent complication with ulcerative colitis highlights the pathogenic role of epithelial barrier dysfunction. Intestinal barrier dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of PSC, yet its underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here, we identify Klebsiella pneumonia in the microbiota of patients with PSC and demonstrate that K.?pneumoniae disrupts the epithelial barrier to initiate bacterial translocation and liver inflammatory responses. Gnotobiotic mice inoculated with PSC-derived microbiota exhibited T helper 17 (TH17) cell responses in the liver and increased susceptibility to hepatobiliary injuries. Bacterial culture of mesenteric lymph nodes in these mice isolated K.?pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis and Enterococcus gallinarum, which were prevalently detected in patients with PSC. A bacterial-organoid co-culture system visualized the epithelial-damaging effect of PSC-derived K.?pneumoniae that was associated with bacterial translocation and susceptibility to TH17-mediated hepatobiliary injuries. We also show that antibiotic treatment ameliorated the TH17 immune response induced by PSC-derived microbiota. These results highlight the role of pathobionts in intestinal barrier dysfunction and liver inflammation, providing insights into therapeutic strategies for PSC.


April 21, 2020  |  

Alternative polyadenylation coordinates embryonic development, sexual dimorphism and longitudinal growth in Xenopus tropicalis.

RNA alternative polyadenylation contributes to the complexity of information transfer from genome to phenome, thus amplifying gene function. Here, we report the first X. tropicalis resource with 127,914 alternative polyadenylation (APA) sites derived from embryos and adults. Overall, APA networks play central roles in coordinating the maternal-zygotic transition (MZT) in embryos, sexual dimorphism in adults and longitudinal growth from embryos to adults. APA sites coordinate reprogramming in embryos before the MZT, but developmental events after the MZT due to zygotic genome activation. The APA transcriptomes of young adults are more variable than growing adults and male frog APA transcriptomes are more divergent than females. The APA profiles of young females were similar to embryos before the MZT. Enriched pathways in developing embryos were distinct across the MZT and noticeably segregated from adults. Briefly, our results suggest that the minimal functional units in genomes are alternative transcripts as opposed to genes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Interspecies conservation of organisation and function between nonhomologous regional centromeres.

Despite the conserved essential function of centromeres, centromeric DNA itself is not conserved. The histone-H3 variant, CENP-A, is the epigenetic mark that specifies centromere identity. Paradoxically, CENP-A normally assembles on particular sequences at specific genomic locations. To gain insight into the specification of complex centromeres, here we take an evolutionary approach, fully assembling genomes and centromeres of related fission yeasts. Centromere domain organization, but not sequence, is conserved between Schizosaccharomyces pombe, S. octosporus and S. cryophilus with a central CENP-ACnp1 domain flanked by heterochromatic outer-repeat regions. Conserved syntenic clusters of tRNA genes and 5S rRNA genes occur across the centromeres of S. octosporus and S. cryophilus, suggesting conserved function. Interestingly, nonhomologous centromere central-core sequences from S. octosporus and S. cryophilus are recognized in S. pombe, resulting in cross-species establishment of CENP-ACnp1 chromatin and functional kinetochores. Therefore, despite the lack of sequence conservation, Schizosaccharomyces centromere DNA possesses intrinsic conserved properties that promote assembly of CENP-A chromatin.


April 21, 2020  |  

Multi-platform discovery of haplotype-resolved structural variation in human genomes.

The incomplete identification of structural variants (SVs) from whole-genome sequencing data limits studies of human genetic diversity and disease association. Here, we apply a suite of long-read, short-read, strand-specific sequencing technologies, optical mapping, and variant discovery algorithms to comprehensively analyze three trios to define the full spectrum of human genetic variation in a haplotype-resolved manner. We identify 818,054 indel variants (<50?bp) and 27,622 SVs (=50?bp) per genome. We also discover 156 inversions per genome and 58 of the inversions intersect with the critical regions of recurrent microdeletion and microduplication syndromes. Taken together, our SV callsets represent a three to sevenfold increase in SV detection compared to most standard high-throughput sequencing studies, including those from the 1000 Genomes Project. The methods and the dataset presented serve as a gold standard for the scientific community allowing us to make recommendations for maximizing structural variation sensitivity for future genome sequencing studies.


April 21, 2020  |  

Origin and recent expansion of an endogenous gammaretroviral lineage in domestic and wild canids.

Vertebrate genomes contain a record of retroviruses that invaded the germlines of ancestral hosts and are passed to offspring as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). ERVs can impact host function since they contain the necessary sequences for expression within the host. Dogs are an important system for the study of disease and evolution, yet no substantiated reports of infectious retroviruses in dogs exist. Here, we utilized Illumina whole genome sequence data to assess the origin and evolution of a recently active gammaretroviral lineage in domestic and wild canids.We identified numerous recently integrated loci of a canid-specific ERV-Fc sublineage within Canis, including 58 insertions that were absent from the reference assembly. Insertions were found throughout the dog genome including within and near gene models. By comparison of orthologous occupied sites, we characterized element prevalence across 332 genomes including all nine extant canid species, revealing evolutionary patterns of ERV-Fc segregation among species as well as subpopulations.Sequence analysis revealed common disruptive mutations, suggesting a predominant form of ERV-Fc spread by trans complementation of defective proviruses. ERV-Fc activity included multiple circulating variants that infected canid ancestors from the last 20 million to within 1.6 million years, with recent bursts of germline invasion in the sublineage leading to wolves and dogs.


September 22, 2019  |  

TACO produces robust multisample transcriptome assemblies from RNA-seq.

Accurate transcript structure and abundance inference from RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data is foundational for molecular discovery. Here we present TACO, a computational method to reconstruct a consensus transcriptome from multiple RNA-seq data sets. TACO employs novel change-point detection to demarcate transcript start and end sites, leading to improved reconstruction accuracy compared with other tools in its class. The tool is available at http://tacorna.github.io and can be readily incorporated into RNA-seq analysis workflows.


September 22, 2019  |  

Differential responses of total and active soil microbial communities to long-term experimental N deposition

Abstract The relationship between total and metabolically active soil microbial communities can provide insight into how these communities are impacted by environmental change, which may impact the flow of energy and cycling of nutrients in the future. For example, the anthropogenic release of biologically available N has dramatically increased over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan, USA, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. A microbial mechanism underlies this response, as compositional changes in the soil microbial community have been concomitantly documented with these biogeochemical changes. Here, we co-extracted DNA and RNA from decaying leaf litter to determine if experimental atmospheric N deposition has lowered the diversity and altered the composition of the whole communities of bacteria and fungi (i.e., DNA-based) and well as its active members (i.e., RNA-based). In our experiment, experimental N deposition did not affect the composition, diversity, or richness of the total forest floor fungal community, but did lower the diversity (-8%), as well as altered the composition of the active fungal community. In contrast, neither the total nor active forest floor bacterial community was significantly affected by experimental N deposition. Our results suggest that future rates of atmospheric N deposition can fundamentally alter the organization of the saprotrophic soil fungal community, key mediators of C cycling in terrestrial environments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Impacts of experimentally accelerated forest succession on belowground plant and fungal communities

Understanding how soil processes, belowground plant and fungal species composition, and nutrient cycles are altered by disturbances is essential for understanding the role forests play in mitigating global climate change. Here we ask: How are root and fungal communities altered in a mid-successional forest during shifts in dominant tree species composition? This study utilizes the Forest Accelerated Succession ExperimenT (FASET) at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) as a platform for addressing this question. FASET consists of a 39-ha treatment in which all mature early successional aspen (Populus spp.) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) were killed by stem-girdling in 2008. Four years after girdling, neither overall fungal diversity indices, plant diversity indices, nor root biomass differed between girdled (treated) and non-girdled (reference) stands. However, experimental advancement of succession by removal of aspen and birch resulted in 1) a shift in fungal functional groups, with significantly less ectomycorrhizal fungi, 2) a trend toward less arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and 3) a significant increase in the proportion of saprotrophs in girdled stands. In addition to shifts in functional groups between treated and untreated stands, ectomycorrhizal fungi proportions were negatively correlated with NH4+ and total dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in soil. This research illustrates the propensity for disturbances in forest ecosystems to shift fungal community composition, which has implications for carbon storage and nutrient cycling in soils under future climate scenarios.


September 22, 2019  |  

Soil microbial communities are shaped by plant-driven changes in resource availability during secondary succession.

Although we understand the ecological processes eliciting changes in plant community composition during secondary succession, we do not understand whether co-occurring changes in plant detritus shape saprotrophic microbial communities in soil. In this study, we investigated soil microbial composition and function across an old-field chronosequence ranging from 16 to 86 years following agricultural abandonment, as well as three forests representing potential late-successional ecosystems. Fungal and bacterial community composition was quantified from ribosomal DNA, and insight into the functional potential of the microbial community to decay plant litter was gained from shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Accumulation of soil organic matter across the chronosequence exerted a positive and significant effect on fungal phylogenetic ß-diversity and the activity of extracellular enzymes with lignocellulolytic activity. In addition, the increasing abundance of lignin-rich C4 grasses was positively related to the composition of fungal genes with lignocellulolytic function, thereby linking plant community composition, litter biochemistry, and microbial community function. However, edaphic properties were the primary agent shaping bacterial communities, as bacterial ß-diversity and variation in functional gene composition displayed a significant and positive relationship to soil pH across the chronosequence. The late-successional forests were compositionally distinct from the oldest old fields, indicating that substantial changes occur in soil microbial communities as old fields give way to forests. Taken together, our observations demonstrate that plants govern the turnover of soil fungal communities and functional characteristics during secondary succession, due to the continual input of detritus and differences in litter biochemistry among plant species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Sequencing 16S rRNA gene fragments using the PacBio SMRT DNA sequencing system.

Over the past 10 years, microbial ecologists have largely abandoned sequencing 16S rRNA genes by the Sanger sequencing method and have instead adopted highly parallelized sequencing platforms. These new platforms, such as 454 and Illumina’s MiSeq, have allowed researchers to obtain millions of high quality but short sequences. The result of the added sequencing depth has been significant improvements in experimental design. The tradeoff has been the decline in the number of full-length reference sequences that are deposited into databases. To overcome this problem, we tested the ability of the PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) DNA sequencing platform to generate sequence reads from the 16S rRNA gene. We generated sequencing data from the V4, V3-V5, V1-V3, V1-V5, V1-V6, and V1-V9 variable regions from within the 16S rRNA gene using DNA from a synthetic mock community and natural samples collected from human feces, mouse feces, and soil. The mock community allowed us to assess the actual sequencing error rate and how that error rate changed when different curation methods were applied. We developed a simple method based on sequence characteristics and quality scores to reduce the observed error rate for the V1-V9 region from 0.69 to 0.027%. This error rate is comparable to what has been observed for the shorter reads generated by 454 and Illumina’s MiSeq sequencing platforms. Although the per base sequencing cost is still significantly more than that of MiSeq, the prospect of supplementing reference databases with full-length sequences from organisms below the limit of detection from the Sanger approach is exciting.


September 22, 2019  |  

Initial colonization, community assembly and ecosystem function: fungal colonist traits and litter biochemistry mediate decay rate.

Priority effects are an important ecological force shaping biotic communities and ecosystem processes, in which the establishment of early colonists alters the colonization success of later-arriving organisms via competitive exclusion and habitat modification. However, we do not understand which biotic and abiotic conditions lead to strong priority effects and lasting historical contingencies. Using saprotrophic fungi in a model leaf decomposition system, we investigated whether compositional and functional consequences of initial colonization were dependent on initial colonizer traits, resource availability or a combination thereof. To test these ideas, we factorially manipulated leaf litter biochemistry and initial fungal colonist identity, quantifying subsequent community composition, using neutral genetic markers, and community functional characteristics, including enzyme potential and leaf decay rates. During the first 3 months, initial colonist respiration rate and physiological capacity to degrade plant detritus were significant determinants of fungal community composition and leaf decay, indicating that rapid growth and lignolytic potential of early colonists contributed to altered trajectories of community assembly. Further, initial colonization on oak leaves generated increasingly divergent trajectories of fungal community composition and enzyme potential, indicating stronger initial colonizer effects on energy-poor substrates. Together, these observations provide evidence that initial colonization effects, and subsequent consequences on litter decay, are dependent upon substrate biochemistry and physiological traits within a regional species pool. Because microbial decay of plant detritus is important to global C storage, our results demonstrate that understanding the mechanisms by which initial conditions alter priority effects during community assembly may be key to understanding the drivers of ecosystem-level processes. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of putative coffee rust mycoparasites using single molecule DNA sequencing of infected pustules.

The interaction of crop pests with their natural enemies is a fundament to their control. Natural enemies of fungal pathogens of crops are poorly known relative to those of insect pests despite the diversity of fungal pathogens and their economic importance. Currently, many regions across Latin America are experiencing unprecedented epidemics of coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix). Identification of natural enemies of coffee rust could aid in developing management strategies or in pinpointing species that could be used for biocontrol. Here we characterize fungal communities associated with coffee rust lesions by single molecule DNA sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA barcodes from leaf discs (˜28 mm(2)) containing rust lesions and control discs with no rust lesions. The leaf disc communities were hyper-diverse in fungi, with up to 57 taxa per control disc, and the diversity was only slightly reduced in rust-infected discs. However, geography had a greater influence on the fungal community than whether the disk was infected by coffee rust. Through comparisons between control and rust-infected leaf discs, as well as taxonomic criteria, we identified 15 putative mycoparasitic fungi. These fungi are concentrated in fungal family Cordycipitaceae and order Tremellales. These data emphasize the complexity of fungal diversity of unknown ecological function within a leaf that might influence plant disease epidemics or lead to the development of species for biocontrol of fungal disease. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


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