July 19, 2019  |  

Mind the gap: upgrading genomes with Pacific Biosciences RS long-read sequencing technology.

Many genomes have been sequenced to high-quality draft status using Sanger capillary electrophoresis and/or newer short-read sequence data and whole genome assembly techniques. However, even the best draft genomes contain gaps and other imperfections due to limitations in the input data and the techniques used to build draft assemblies. Sequencing biases, repetitive genomic features, genomic polymorphism, and other complicating factors all come together to make some regions difficult or impossible to assemble. Traditionally, draft genomes were upgraded to “phase 3 finished” status using time-consuming and expensive Sanger-based manual finishing processes. For more facile assembly and automated finishing of draft genomes, we present here an automated approach to finishing using long-reads from the Pacific Biosciences RS (PacBio) platform. Our algorithm and associated software tool, PBJelly, (publicly available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/pb-jelly/) automates the finishing process using long sequence reads in a reference-guided assembly process. PBJelly also provides “lift-over” co-ordinate tables to easily port existing annotations to the upgraded assembly. Using PBJelly and long PacBio reads, we upgraded the draft genome sequences of a simulated Drosophila melanogaster, the version 2 draft Drosophila pseudoobscura, an assembly of the Assemblathon 2.0 budgerigar dataset, and a preliminary assembly of the Sooty mangabey. With 24× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads, we addressed 99% of gaps and were able to close 69% and improve 12% of all gaps in D. pseudoobscura. With 4× mapped coverage of PacBio long-reads we saw reads address 63% of gaps in our budgerigar assembly, of which 32% were closed and 63% improved. With 6.8× mapped coverage of mangabey PacBio long-reads we addressed 97% of gaps and closed 66% of addressed gaps and improved 19%. The accuracy of gap closure was validated by comparison to Sanger sequencing on gaps from the original D. pseudoobscura draft assembly and shown to be dependent on initial reference quality.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparison of single-molecule sequencing and hybrid approaches for finishing the genome of Clostridium autoethanogenum and analysis of CRISPR systems in industrial relevant Clostridia.

Clostridium autoethanogenum strain JA1-1 (DSM 10061) is an acetogen capable of fermenting CO, CO2 and H2 (e.g. from syngas or waste gases) into biofuel ethanol and commodity chemicals such as 2,3-butanediol. A draft genome sequence consisting of 100 contigs has been published.A closed, high-quality genome sequence for C. autoethanogenum DSM10061 was generated using only the latest single-molecule DNA sequencing technology and without the need for manual finishing. It is assigned to the most complex genome classification based upon genome features such as repeats, prophage, nine copies of the rRNA gene operons. It has a low G + C content of 31.1%. Illumina, 454, Illumina/454 hybrid assemblies were generated and then compared to the draft and PacBio assemblies using summary statistics, CGAL, QUAST and REAPR bioinformatics tools and comparative genomic approaches. Assemblies based upon shorter read DNA technologies were confounded by the large number repeats and their size, which in the case of the rRNA gene operons were ~5 kb. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Paloindromic Repeats) systems among biotechnologically relevant Clostridia were classified and related to plasmid content and prophages. Potential associations between plasmid content and CRISPR systems may have implications for historical industrial scale Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol (ABE) fermentation failures and future large scale bacterial fermentations. While C. autoethanogenum contains an active CRISPR system, no such system is present in the closely related Clostridium ljungdahlii DSM 13528. A common prophage inserted into the Arg-tRNA shared between the strains suggests a common ancestor. However, C. ljungdahlii contains several additional putative prophages and it has more than double the amount of prophage DNA compared to C. autoethanogenum. Other differences include important metabolic genes for central metabolism (as an additional hydrogenase and the absence of a phophoenolpyruvate synthase) and substrate utilization pathway (mannose and aromatics utilization) that might explain phenotypic differences between C. autoethanogenum and C. ljungdahlii.Single molecule sequencing will be increasingly used to produce finished microbial genomes. The complete genome will facilitate comparative genomics and functional genomics and support future comparisons between Clostridia and studies that examine the evolution of plasmids, bacteriophage and CRISPR systems.


July 19, 2019  |  

Efficient and accurate whole genome assembly and methylome profiling of E. coli.

With the price of next generation sequencing steadily decreasing, bacterial genome assembly is now accessible to a wide range of researchers. It is therefore necessary to understand the best methods for generating a genome assembly, specifically, which combination of sequencing and bioinformatics strategies result in the most accurate assemblies. Here, we sequence three E. coli strains on the Illumina MiSeq, Life Technologies Ion Torrent PGM, and Pacific Biosciences RS. We then perform genome assemblies on all three datasets alone or in combination to determine the best methods for the assembly of bacterial genomes.Three E. coli strains – BL21(DE3), Bal225, and DH5a – were sequenced to a depth of 100× on the MiSeq and Ion Torrent machines and to at least 125× on the PacBio RS. Four assembly methods were examined and compared. The previously published BL21(DE3) genome [GenBank:AM946981.2], allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of each of the BL21(DE3) assemblies. BL21(DE3) PacBio-only assemblies resulted in a 90% reduction in contigs versus short read only assemblies, while N50 numbers increased by over 7-fold. Strikingly, the number of SNPs in PacBio-only assemblies were less than half that seen with short read assemblies (~20 SNPs vs. ~50 SNPs) and indels also saw dramatic reductions (~2 indel >5 bp in PacBio-only assemblies vs. ~12 for short-read only assemblies). Assemblies that used a mixture of PacBio and short read data generally fell in between these two extremes. Use of PacBio sequencing reads also allowed us to call covalent base modifications for the three strains. Each of the strains used here had a known covalent base modification genotype, which was confirmed by PacBio sequencing.Using data generated solely from the Pacific Biosciences RS, we were able to generate the most complete and accurate de novo assemblies of E. coli strains. We found that the addition of other sequencing technology data offered no improvements over use of PacBio data alone. In addition, the sequencing data from the PacBio RS allowed for sensitive and specific calling of covalent base modifications.


July 19, 2019  |  

Landscape of standing variation for tandem duplications in Drosophila yakuba and Drosophila simulans.

We have used whole genome paired-end Illumina sequence data to identify tandem duplications in 20 isofemale lines of Drosophila yakuba and 20 isofemale lines of D. simulans and performed genome wide validation with PacBio long molecule sequencing. We identify 1,415 tandem duplications that are segregating in D. yakuba as well as 975 duplications in D. simulans, indicating greater variation in D. yakuba. Additionally, we observe high rates of secondary deletions at duplicated sites, with 8% of duplicated sites in D. simulans and 17% of sites in D. yakuba modified with deletions. These secondary deletions are consistent with the action of the large loop mismatch repair system acting to remove polymorphic tandem duplication, resulting in rapid dynamics of gain and loss in duplicated alleles and a richer substrate of genetic novelty than has been previously reported. Most duplications are present in only single strains, suggesting that deleterious impacts are common. Drosophila simulans shows larger numbers of whole gene duplications in comparison to larger proportions of gene fragments in D. yakuba. Drosophila simulans displays an excess of high-frequency variants on the X chromosome, consistent with adaptive evolution through duplications on the D. simulans X or demographic forces driving duplicates to high frequency. We identify 78 chimeric genes in D. yakuba and 38 chimeric genes in D. simulans, as well as 143 cases of recruited noncoding sequence in D. yakuba and 96 in D. simulans, in agreement with rates of chimeric gene origination in D. melanogaster. Together, these results suggest that tandem duplications often result in complex variation beyond whole gene duplications that offers a rich substrate of standing variation that is likely to contribute both to detrimental phenotypes and disease, as well as to adaptive evolutionary change. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

A benchmark study on error assessment and quality control of CCS reads derived from the PacBio RS.

PacBio RS, a newly emerging third-generation DNA sequencing platform, is based on a real-time, single-molecule, nano-nitch sequencing technology that can generate very long reads (up to 20-kb) in contrast to the shorter reads produced by the first and second generation sequencing technologies. As a new platform, it is important to assess the sequencing error rate, as well as the quality control (QC) parameters associated with the PacBio sequence data. In this study, a mixture of 10 prior known, closely related DNA amplicons were sequenced using the PacBio RS sequencing platform. After aligning Circular Consensus Sequence (CCS) reads derived from the above sequencing experiment to the known reference sequences, we found that the median error rate was 2.5% without read QC, and improved to 1.3% with an SVM based multi-parameter QC method. In addition, a De Novo assembly was used as a downstream application to evaluate the effects of different QC approaches. This benchmark study indicates that even though CCS reads are post error-corrected it is still necessary to perform appropriate QC on CCS reads in order to produce successful downstream bioinformatics analytical results.


July 19, 2019  |  

An evaluation of the PacBio RS platform for sequencing and de novo assembly of a chloroplast genome.

Second generation sequencing has permitted detailed sequence characterisation at the whole genome level of a growing number of non-model organisms, but the data produced have short read-lengths and biased genome coverage leading to fragmented genome assemblies. The PacBio RS long-read sequencing platform offers the promise of increased read length and unbiased genome coverage and thus the potential to produce genome sequence data of a finished quality containing fewer gaps and longer contigs. However, these advantages come at a much greater cost per nucleotide and with a perceived increase in error-rate. In this investigation, we evaluated the performance of the PacBio RS sequencing platform through the sequencing and de novo assembly of the Potentilla micrantha chloroplast genome.Following error-correction, a total of 28,638 PacBio RS reads were recovered with a mean read length of 1,902 bp totalling 54,492,250 nucleotides and representing an average depth of coverage of 320× the chloroplast genome. The dataset covered the entire 154,959 bp of the chloroplast genome in a single contig (100% coverage) compared to seven contigs (90.59% coverage) recovered from an Illumina data, and revealed no bias in coverage of GC rich regions. Post-assembly the data were largely concordant with the Illumina data generated and allowed 187 ambiguities in the Illumina data to be resolved. The additional read length also permitted small differences in the two inverted repeat regions to be assigned unambiguously.This is the first report to our knowledge of a chloroplast genome assembled de novo using PacBio sequence data. The PacBio RS data generated here were assembled into a single large contig spanning the P. micrantha chloroplast genome, with a higher degree of accuracy than an Illumina dataset generated at a much greater depth of coverage, due to longer read lengths and lower GC bias in the data. The results we present suggest PacBio data will be of immense utility for the development of genome sequence assemblies containing fewer unresolved gaps and ambiguities and a significantly smaller number of contigs than could be produced using short-read sequence data alone.


July 19, 2019  |  

Validation of ITD mutations in FLT3 as a therapeutic target in human acute myeloid leukaemia.

Effective targeted cancer therapeutic development depends upon distinguishing disease-associated ‘driver’ mutations, which have causative roles in malignancy pathogenesis, from ‘passenger’ mutations, which are dispensable for cancer initiation and maintenance. Translational studies of clinically active targeted therapeutics can definitively discriminate driver from passenger lesions and provide valuable insights into human cancer biology. Activating internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations in FLT3 (FLT3-ITD) are detected in approximately 20% of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients and are associated with a poor prognosis. Abundant scientific and clinical evidence, including the lack of convincing clinical activity of early FLT3 inhibitors, suggests that FLT3-ITD probably represents a passenger lesion. Here we report point mutations at three residues within the kinase domain of FLT3-ITD that confer substantial in vitro resistance to AC220 (quizartinib), an active investigational inhibitor of FLT3, KIT, PDGFRA, PDGFRB and RET; evolution of AC220-resistant substitutions at two of these amino acid positions was observed in eight of eight FLT3-ITD-positive AML patients with acquired resistance to AC220. Our findings demonstrate that FLT3-ITD can represent a driver lesion and valid therapeutic target in human AML. AC220-resistant FLT3 kinase domain mutants represent high-value targets for future FLT3 inhibitor development efforts.


July 19, 2019  |  

The utility of PacBio circular consensus sequencing for characterizing complex gene families in non-model organisms.

Molecular characterization of highly diverse gene families can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult, especially when considering the potential for relatively large numbers of paralogs and/or pseudogenes. Here we investigate the utility of Pacific Biosciences single molecule real-time (SMRT) circular consensus sequencing (CCS) as an alternative to traditional cloning and Sanger sequencing PCR amplicons for gene family characterization. We target vomeronasal gene receptors, one of the most diverse gene families in mammals, with the goal of better understanding intra-specific V1R diversity of the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). Our study compares intragenomic variation for two V1R subfamilies found in the mouse lemur. Specifically, we compare gene copy variation within and between two individuals of M. murinus as characterized by different methods for nucleotide sequencing. By including the same individual animal from which the M. murinus draft genome was derived, we are able to cross-validate gene copy estimates from Sanger sequencing versus CCS methods.We generated 34,088 high quality circular consensus sequences of two diverse V1R subfamilies (here referred to as V1RI and V1RIX) from two individuals of Microcebus murinus. Using a minimum threshold of 7× coverage, we recovered approximately 90% of V1RI sequences previously identified in the draft M. murinus genome (59% being identical at all nucleotide positions). When low coverage sequences were considered (i.e. < 7× coverage) 100% of V1RI sequences identified in the draft genome were recovered. At least 13 putatively novel V1R loci were also identified using CCS technology.Recent upgrades to the Pacific Biosciences RS instrument have improved the CCS technology and offer an alternative to traditional sequencing approaches. Our results suggest that the Microcebus murinus V1R repertoire has been underestimated in the draft genome. In addition to providing an improved understanding of V1R diversity in the mouse lemur, this study demonstrates the utility of CCS technology for characterizing complex regions of the genome. We anticipate that long-read sequencing technologies such as PacBio SMRT will allow for the assembly of multigene family clusters and serve to more accurately characterize patterns of gene copy variation in large gene families, thus revealing novel micro-evolutionary patterns within non-model organisms.


July 19, 2019  |  

The architecture of a scrambled genome reveals massive levels of genomic rearrangement during development.

Programmed DNA rearrangements in the single-celled eukaryote Oxytricha trifallax completely rewire its germline into a somatic nucleus during development. This elaborate, RNA-mediated pathway eliminates noncoding DNA sequences that interrupt gene loci and reorganizes the remaining fragments by inversions and permutations to produce functional genes. Here, we report the Oxytricha germline genome and compare it to the somatic genome to present a global view of its massive scale of genome rearrangements. The remarkably encrypted genome architecture contains >3,500 scrambled genes, as well as >800 predicted germline-limited genes expressed, and some posttranslationally modified, during genome rearrangements. Gene segments for different somatic loci often interweave with each other. Single gene segments can contribute to multiple, distinct somatic loci. Terminal precursor segments from neighboring somatic loci map extremely close to each other, often overlapping. This genome assembly provides a draft of a scrambled genome and a powerful model for studies of genome rearrangement. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing and genome assembly of a clinical specimen of Loa loa, the causative agent of loiasis.

More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries.Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts.The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Full-length haplotype reconstruction to infer the structure of heterogeneous virus populations.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies enable new insights into the diversity of virus populations within their hosts. Diversity estimation is currently restricted to single-nucleotide variants or to local fragments of no more than a few hundred nucleotides defined by the length of sequence reads. To study complex heterogeneous virus populations comprehensively, novel methods are required that allow for complete reconstruction of the individual viral haplotypes. Here, we show that assembly of whole viral genomes of ~8600 nucleotides length is feasible from mixtures of heterogeneous HIV-1 strains derived from defined combinations of cloned virus strains and from clinical samples of an HIV-1 superinfected individual. Haplotype reconstruction was achieved using optimized experimental protocols and computational methods for amplification, sequencing and assembly. We comparatively assessed the performance of the three NGS platforms 454 Life Sciences/Roche, Illumina and Pacific Biosciences for this task. Our results prove and delineate the feasibility of NGS-based full-length viral haplotype reconstruction and provide new tools for studying evolution and pathogenesis of viruses.© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Evolutionary dynamics of Vibrio cholerae O1 following a single-source introduction to Haiti.

Prior to the epidemic that emerged in Haiti in October of 2010, cholera had not been documented in this country. After its introduction, a strain of Vibrio cholerae O1 spread rapidly throughout Haiti, where it caused over 600,000 cases of disease and >7,500 deaths in the first two years of the epidemic. We applied whole-genome sequencing to a temporal series of V. cholerae isolates from Haiti to gain insight into the mode and tempo of evolution in this isolated population of V. cholerae O1. Phylogenetic and Bayesian analyses supported the hypothesis that all isolates in the sample set diverged from a common ancestor within a time frame that is consistent with epidemiological observations. A pangenome analysis showed nearly homogeneous genomic content, with no evidence of gene acquisition among Haiti isolates. Nine nearly closed genomes assembled from continuous-long-read data showed evidence of genome rearrangements and supported the observation of no gene acquisition among isolates. Thus, intrinsic mutational processes can account for virtually all of the observed genetic polymorphism, with no demonstrable contribution from horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Consistent with this, the 12 Haiti isolates tested by laboratory HGT assays were severely impaired for transformation, although unlike previously characterized noncompetent V. cholerae isolates, each expressed hapR and possessed a functional quorum-sensing system. Continued monitoring of V. cholerae in Haiti will illuminate the processes influencing the origin and fate of genome variants, which will facilitate interpretation of genetic variation in future epidemics.Vibrio cholerae is the cause of substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide, with over three million cases of disease each year. An understanding of the mode and rate of evolutionary change is critical for proper interpretation of genome sequence data and attribution of outbreak sources. The Haiti epidemic provides an unprecedented opportunity to study an isolated, single-source outbreak of Vibrio cholerae O1 over an established time frame. By using multiple approaches to assay genetic variation, we found no evidence that the Haiti strain has acquired any genes by horizontal gene transfer, an observation that led us to discover that it is also poorly transformable. We have found no evidence that environmental strains have played a role in the evolution of the outbreak strain.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome reference and sequence variation in the large repetitive central exon of human MUC5AC.

Despite modern sequencing efforts, the difficulty in assembly of highly repetitive sequences has prevented resolution of human genome gaps, including some in the coding regions of genes with important biological functions. One such gene, MUC5AC, encodes a large, secreted mucin, which is one of the two major secreted mucins in human airways. The MUC5AC region contains a gap in the human genome reference (hg19) across the large, highly repetitive, and complex central exon. This exon is predicted to contain imperfect tandem repeat sequences and multiple conserved cysteine-rich (CysD) domains. To resolve the MUC5AC genomic gap, we used high-fidelity long PCR followed by single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. This technology yielded long sequence reads and robust coverage that allowed for de novo sequence assembly spanning the entire repetitive region. Furthermore, we used SMRT sequencing of PCR amplicons covering the central exon to identify genetic variation in four individuals. The results demonstrated the presence of segmental duplications of CysD domains, insertions/deletions (indels) of tandem repeats, and single nucleotide variants. Additional studies demonstrated that one of the identified tandem repeat insertions is tagged by nonexonic single nucleotide polymorphisms. Taken together, these data illustrate the successful utility of SMRT sequencing long reads for de novo assembly of large repetitive sequences to fill the gaps in the human genome. Characterization of the MUC5AC gene and the sequence variation in the central exon will facilitate genetic and functional studies for this critical airway mucin.


July 19, 2019  |  

Inhibitors of the tick-borne, hemorrhagic fever-associated flaviviruses.

No antiviral therapies are available for the tick-borne flaviviruses associated with hemorrhagic fevers: Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV), both classical and the Alkhurma hemorrhagic fever virus (AHFV) subtype, and Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus (OHFV). We tested compounds reported to have antiviral activity against members of the Flaviviridae family for their ability to inhibit AHFV replication. 6-Azauridine (6-azaU), 2′-C-methylcytidine (2′-CMC), and interferon alpha 2a (IFN-a2a) inhibited the replication of AHFV and also KFDV, OHFV, and Powassan virus. The combination of IFN-a2a and 2′-CMC exerted an additive antiviral effect on AHFV, and the combination of IFN-a2a and 6-azaU was moderately synergistic. The combination of 2′-CMC and 6-azaU was complex, being strongly synergistic but with a moderate level of antagonism. The antiviral activity of 6-azaU was reduced by the addition of cytidine but not guanosine, suggesting that it acted by inhibiting pyrimidine biosynthesis. To investigate the mechanism of action of 2′-CMC, AHFV variants with reduced susceptibility to 2′-CMC were selected. We used a replicon system to assess the substitutions present in the selected AHFV population. A double NS5 mutant, S603T/C666S, and a triple mutant, S603T/C666S/M644V, were more resistant to 2′-CMC than the wild-type replicon. The S603T/C666S mutant had a reduced level of replication which was increased when M644V was also present, although the replication of this triple mutant was still below that of the wild type. The S603 and C666 residues were predicted to lie in the active site of the AHFV NS5 polymerase, implicating the catalytic center of the enzyme as the binding site for 2′-CMC. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Whole genome complete resequencing of Bacillus subtilis natto by combining long reads with high-quality short reads.

De novo microbial genome sequencing reached a turning point with third-generation sequencing (TGS) platforms, and several microbial genomes have been improved by TGS long reads. Bacillus subtilis natto is closely related to the laboratory standard strain B. subtilis Marburg 168, and it has a function in the production of the traditional Japanese fermented food “natto.” The B. subtilis natto BEST195 genome was previously sequenced with short reads, but it included some incomplete regions. We resequenced the BEST195 genome using a PacBio RS sequencer, and we successfully obtained a complete genome sequence from one scaffold without any gaps, and we also applied Illumina MiSeq short reads to enhance quality. Compared with the previous BEST195 draft genome and Marburg 168 genome, we found that incomplete regions in the previous genome sequence were attributed to GC-bias and repetitive sequences, and we also identified some novel genes that are found only in the new genome.


Talk with an expert

If you have a question, need to check the status of an order, or are interested in purchasing an instrument, we're here to help.