ResearchPad - dna-libraries https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Rediscovering an old foe: Optimised molecular methods for DNA extraction and sequencing applications for fungarium specimens of powdery mildew (Erysiphales)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14476 The purpose of this study was to identify a reliable DNA extraction protocol to use on 25-year-old powdery mildew specimens from the reference collection VPRI in order to produce high quality sequences suitable to address taxonomic phylogenetic questions. We tested 13 extraction protocols and two library preparation kits and found the combination of the E.Z.N.A.® Forensic DNA kit for DNA extraction and the NuGen Ovation® Ultralow System library preparation kit was the most suitable for this purpose.

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<![CDATA[Identification of early fruit development reference genes in plum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N34728444-bb7f-4d99-8469-dd5c2a1110fc

An RNAseq study of early fruit development and stone development in plum, Prunus domestica, was mined to identify sets of genes that could be used to normalize expression studies in early fruit development. The expression values of genes previously identified from Prunus as reference genes were first extracted and found to vary considerably in endocarp tissue relative to whole fruit tissue. Nine other genes were chosen that varied less than 2-fold amongst the 20 RNAseq libraries of early fruit development and endocarp tissues. These gene were tested on a series of developmental plum fruit samples to determine if any could be used as a reference gene in the analyses of fruit-based tissues in plum. The three most stable genes as determined using RefFinder were IPGD (imidazole glycerol-phosphate dehydratase), HAM1 (histone acetyltransferase) and SNX1 (sorting nexin 1). These were further tested to analyze genes expressed differentially in endocarp tissue between normal and minimal endocarp cultivars. To determine the universality of those nine genes as fruit development reference genes, three other data sets of RNAseq from peach and apple were analyzed to determine the reference gene expression. Multiple genes exhibited tissue specific patterns of expression while one gene, the SNX1, emerged as possessing a universal pattern between the Rosaceae species, at all developmental stages, and tissue types tested. The results suggest that the use of existing RNAseq data to identify standard genes can provide stable reference genes for a specific tissues or experimental conditions under exploration.

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<![CDATA[How “simple” methodological decisions affect interpretation of population structure based on reduced representation library DNA sequencing: A case study using the lake whitefish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3bb2bc39-24d6-4fe3-98ed-f97dea058c57

Reduced representation (RRL) sequencing approaches (e.g., RADSeq, genotyping by sequencing) require decisions about how much to invest in genome coverage and sequencing depth, as well as choices of values for adjustable bioinformatics parameters. To empirically explore the importance of these “simple” methodological decisions, we generated two independent sequencing libraries for the same 142 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) using a nextRAD RRL approach: (1) a larger number of loci at low sequencing depth based on a 9mer (library A); and (2) fewer loci at higher sequencing depth based on a 10mer (library B). The fish were selected from populations with different levels of expected genetic subdivision. Each library was analyzed using the STACKS pipeline followed by three types of population structure assessment (FST, DAPC and ADMIXTURE) with iterative increases in the stringency of sequencing depth and missing data requirements, as well as more specific a priori population maps. Library B was always able to resolve strong population differentiation in all three types of assessment regardless of the selected parameters, largely due to retention of more loci in analyses. In contrast, library A produced more variable results; increasing the minimum sequencing depth threshold (-m) resulted in a reduced number of retained loci, and therefore lost resolution at high -m values for FST and ADMIXTURE, but not DAPC. When detecting fine population differentiation, the population map influenced the number of loci and missing data, which generated artefacts in all downstream analyses tested. Similarly, when examining fine scale population subdivision, library B was robust to changing parameters but library A lost resolution depending on the parameter set. We used library B to examine actual subdivision in our study populations. All three types of analysis found complete subdivision among populations in Lake Huron, ON and Dore Lake, SK, Canada using 10,640 SNP loci. Weak population subdivision was detected in Lake Huron with fish from sites in the north-west, Search Bay, North Point and Hammond Bay, showing slight differentiation. Overall, we show that apparently simple decisions about library construction and bioinformatics parameters can have important impacts on the interpretation of population subdivision. Although potentially more costly on a per-locus basis, early investment in striking a balance between the number of loci and sequencing effort is well worth the reduced genomic coverage for population genetics studies. More conservative stringency settings on STACKS parameters lead to a final dataset that was more consistent and robust when examining both weak and strong population differentiation. Overall, we recommend that researchers approach “simple” methodological decisions with caution, especially when working on non-model species for the first time.

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<![CDATA[Testing of library preparation methods for transcriptome sequencing of real life glioblastoma and brain tissue specimens: A comparative study with special focus on long non-coding RNAs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b26afd5eed0c484289e7d

Current progress in the field of next-generation transcriptome sequencing have contributed significantly to the study of various malignancies including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Differential sequencing of transcriptomes of patients and non-tumor controls has a potential to reveal novel transcripts with significant role in GBM. One such candidate group of molecules are long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) which have been proved to be involved in processes such as carcinogenesis, epigenetic modifications and resistance to various therapeutic approaches. To maximize the value of transcriptome sequencing, a proper protocol for library preparation from tissue-derived RNA needs to be found which would produce high quality transcriptome sequencing data and increase the number of detected lncRNAs. It is important to mention that success of library preparation is determined by the quality of input RNA, which is in case of real-life tissue specimens very often altered in comparison to high quality RNA commonly used by manufacturers for development of library preparation chemistry. In the present study, we used GBM and non-tumor brain tissue specimens and compared three different commercial library preparation kits, namely NEXTflex Rapid Directional qRNA-Seq Kit (Bioo Scientific), SENSE Total RNA-Seq Library Prep Kit (Lexogen) and NEBNext Ultra II Directional RNA Library Prep Kit for Illumina (NEB). Libraries generated using SENSE kit were characterized by the most normal distribution of normalized average GC content, the least amount of over-represented sequences and the percentage of ribosomal RNA reads (0.3–1.5%) and highest numbers of uniquely mapped reads and reads aligning to coding regions. However, NEBNext kit performed better having relatively low duplication rates, even transcript coverage and the highest number of hits in Ensembl database for every biotype of our interest including lncRNAs. Our results indicate that out of three approaches the NEBNext library preparation kit was most suitable for the study of lncRNAs via transcriptome sequencing. This was further confirmed by highly consistent data reached in an independent validation on an expanded cohort.

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<![CDATA[Low-cost cross-taxon enrichment of mitochondrial DNA using in-house synthesised RNA probes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e92ed5eed0c48496f93a

Hybridization capture with in-solution oligonucleotide probes has quickly become the preferred method for enriching specific DNA loci from degraded or ancient samples prior to high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Several companies synthesize sets of probes for in-solution hybridization capture, but these commercial reagents are usually expensive. Methods for economical in-house probe synthesis have been described, but they do not directly address one of the major advantages of commercially synthesised probes: that probe sequences matching many species can be synthesised in parallel and pooled. The ability to make “phylogenetically diverse” probes increases the cost-effectiveness of commercial probe sets, as they can be used across multiple projects (or for projects involving multiple species). However, it is labour-intensive to replicate this with in-house methods, as template molecules must first be generated for each species of interest. While it has been observed that probes can be used to enrich for phylogenetically distant targets, the ability of this effect to compensate for the lack of phylogenetically diverse probes in in-house synthesised probe sets has not been tested. In this study, we present a refined protocol for in-house RNA probe synthesis and evaluated the ability of probes generated using this method from a single species to successfully enrich for the target locus in phylogenetically distant species. We demonstrated that probes synthesized using long-range PCR products from a placental mammal mitochondrion (Bison spp.) could be used to enrich for mitochondrial DNA in birds and marsupials (but not plants). Importantly, our results were obtained for approximately a third of the cost of similar commercially available reagents.

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<![CDATA[Miniaturization and optimization of 384-well compatible RNA sequencing library preparation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7c2d5eed0c48438688b

Preparation of high-quality sequencing libraries is a costly and time-consuming component of metagenomic next generation sequencing (mNGS). While the overall cost of sequencing has dropped significantly over recent years, the reagents needed to prepare sequencing samples are likely to become the dominant expense in the process. Furthermore, libraries prepared by hand are subject to human variability and needless waste due to limitations of manual pipetting volumes. Reduction of reaction volumes, combined with sub-microliter automated dispensing of reagents without consumable pipette tips, has the potential to provide significant advantages. Here, we describe the integration of several instruments, including the Labcyte Echo 525 acoustic liquid handler and the iSeq and NovaSeq Illumina sequencing platforms, to miniaturize and automate mNGS library preparation, significantly reducing the cost and the time required to prepare samples. Through the use of External RNA Controls Consortium (ERCC) spike-in RNAs, we demonstrated the fidelity of the miniaturized preparation to be equivalent to full volume reactions. Furthermore, detection of viral and microbial species from cell culture and patient samples was also maintained in the miniaturized libraries. For 384-well mNGS library preparations, we achieved cost savings of over 80% in materials and reagents alone, and reduced preparation time by 90% compared to manual approaches, without compromising quality or representation within the library.

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<![CDATA[Synthetic STARR-seq reveals how DNA shape and sequence modulate transcriptional output and noise]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c256c83d5eed0c484474f5a

The binding of transcription factors to short recognition sequences plays a pivotal role in controlling the expression of genes. The sequence and shape characteristics of binding sites influence DNA binding specificity and have also been implicated in modulating the activity of transcription factors downstream of binding. To quantitatively assess the transcriptional activity of tens of thousands of designed synthetic sites in parallel, we developed a synthetic version of STARR-seq (synSTARR-seq). We used the approach to systematically analyze how variations in the recognition sequence of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) affect transcriptional regulation. Our approach resulted in the identification of a novel highly active functional GR binding sequence and revealed that sequence variation both within and flanking GR’s core binding site can modulate GR activity without apparent changes in DNA binding affinity. Notably, we found that the sequence composition of variants with similar activity profiles was highly diverse. In contrast, groups of variants with similar activity profiles showed specific DNA shape characteristics indicating that DNA shape may be a better predictor of activity than DNA sequence. Finally, using single cell experiments with individual enhancer variants, we obtained clues indicating that the architecture of the response element can independently tune expression mean and cell-to cell variability in gene expression (noise). Together, our studies establish synSTARR as a powerful method to systematically study how DNA sequence and shape modulate transcriptional output and noise.

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<![CDATA[Rapid and highly-specific generation of targeted DNA sequencing libraries enabled by linking capture probes with universal primers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117be8d5eed0c48469adc4

Targeted Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is being adopted increasingly broadly in many research, commercial and clinical settings. Currently used target capture methods, however, typically require complex and lengthy (sometimes multi-day) workflows that complicates their use in certain applications. In addition, small panels for high sequencing depth applications such as liquid biopsy typically have low on-target rates, resulting in unnecessarily high sequencing cost. We have developed a novel targeted sequencing library preparation method, named Linked Target Capture (LTC), which replaces typical multi-day target capture workflows with a single-day, combined ‘target-capture-PCR’ workflow. This approach uses physically linked capture probes and PCR primers and is expected to work with panel sizes from 100 bp to >10 Mbp. It reduces the time and complexity of the capture workflow, eliminates long hybridization and wash steps and enables rapid library construction and target capture. High on-target read fractions are achievable due to repeated sequence selection in the target-capture-PCR step, thus lowering sequencing cost. We have demonstrated this technology on sample types including cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) derived DNA, capturing a 35-gene pan-cancer panel, and therein detecting single nucleotide variants, copy number variants, insertions, deletions and gene fusions. With the integration of unique molecular identifiers (UMIs), variants as low as 0.25% abundance were detected, limited by input mass and sequencing depth. Additionally, sequencing libraries were prepared in less than eight hours from extracted DNA to loaded sequencer, demonstrating that LTC holds promise as a broadly applicable tool for rapid, cost-effective and high performance targeted sequencing.

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<![CDATA[Deepbinner: Demultiplexing barcoded Oxford Nanopore reads with deep convolutional neural networks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfdb372d5eed0c4845c990b

Multiplexing, the simultaneous sequencing of multiple barcoded DNA samples on a single flow cell, has made Oxford Nanopore sequencing cost-effective for small genomes. However, it depends on the ability to sort the resulting sequencing reads by barcode, and current demultiplexing tools fail to classify many reads. Here we present Deepbinner, a tool for Oxford Nanopore demultiplexing that uses a deep neural network to classify reads based on the raw electrical read signal. This ‘signal-space’ approach allows for greater accuracy than existing ‘base-space’ tools (Albacore and Porechop) for which signals must first be converted to DNA base calls, itself a complex problem that can introduce noise into the barcode sequence. To assess Deepbinner and existing tools, we performed multiplex sequencing on 12 amplicons chosen for their distinguishability. This allowed us to establish a ground truth classification for each read based on internal sequence alone. Deepbinner had the lowest rate of unclassified reads (7.8%) and the highest demultiplexing precision (98.5% of classified reads were correctly assigned). It can be used alone (to maximise the number of classified reads) or in conjunction with other demultiplexers (to maximise precision and minimise false positive classifications). We also found cross-sample chimeric reads (0.3%) and evidence of barcode switching (0.3%) in our dataset, which likely arise during library preparation and may be detrimental for quantitative studies that use multiplexing. Deepbinner is open source (GPLv3) and available at https://github.com/rrwick/Deepbinner.

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<![CDATA[Response of Spring Diatoms to CO2 Availability in the Western North Pacific as Determined by Next-Generation Sequencing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daccab0ee8fa60bb4a9e

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have enabled us to determine phytoplankton community compositions at high resolution. However, few studies have adopted this approach to assess the responses of natural phytoplankton communities to environmental change. Here, we report the impact of different CO2 levels on spring diatoms in the Oyashio region of the western North Pacific as estimated by NGS of the diatom-specific rbcL gene (DNA), which encodes the large subunit of RubisCO. We also examined the abundance and composition of rbcL transcripts (cDNA) in diatoms to assess their physiological responses to changing CO2 levels. A short-term (3-day) incubation experiment was carried out on-deck using surface Oyashio waters under different pCO2 levels (180, 350, 750, and 1000 μatm) in May 2011. During the incubation, the transcript abundance of the diatom-specific rbcL gene decreased with an increase in seawater pCO2 levels. These results suggest that CO2 fixation capacity of diatoms decreased rapidly under elevated CO2 levels. In the high CO2 treatments (750 and 1000 μatm), diversity of diatom-specific rbcL gene and its transcripts decreased relative to the control treatment (350 μatm), as well as contributions of Chaetocerataceae, Thalassiosiraceae, and Fragilariaceae to the total population, but the contributions of Bacillariaceae increased. In the low CO2 treatment, contributions of Bacillariaceae also increased together with other eukaryotes. These suggest that changes in CO2 levels can alter the community composition of spring diatoms in the Oyashio region. Overall, the NGS technology provided us a deeper understanding of the response of diatoms to changes in CO2 levels in terms of their community composition, diversity, and photosynthetic physiology.

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<![CDATA[Differential transcriptome analysis supports Rhodnius montenegrensis and Rhodnius robustus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) as distinct species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc5b0

Chagas disease is one of the main parasitic diseases found in Latin America and it is estimated that between six and seven million people are infected worldwide. Its etiologic agent, the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is transmitted by triatomines, some of which from the genus Rhodnius. Twenty species are currently recognized in this genus, including some closely related species with low levels of morphological differentiation, such as Rhodnius montenegrensis and Rhodnius robustus. In order to investigate genetic differences between these two species, we generated large-scale RNA-sequencing data (consisting of four RNA-seq libraries) from the heads and salivary glands of males of R. montenegrensis and R. robustus. Transcriptome assemblies produced for each species resulted in 64,952 contigs for R. montenegrensis and 70,894 contigs for R. robustus, with N50 of approximately 2,100 for both species. SNP calling based on the more complete R. robustus assembly revealed 3,055 fixed interspecific differences and 216 transcripts with high levels of divergence which contained only fixed differences between the two species. A gene ontology enrichment analysis revealed that these highly differentiated transcripts were enriched for eight GO terms related to AP-2 adaptor complex, as well as other interesting genes that could be involved in their differentiation. The results show that R. montenegrensis and R. robustus have a substantial quantity of fixed interspecific polymorphisms, which suggests a high degree of genetic divergence between the two species and likely corroborates the species status of R. montenegrensis.

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<![CDATA[DNApi: A De Novo Adapter Prediction Algorithm for Small RNA Sequencing Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafcab0ee8fa60bc5296

With the rapid accumulation of publicly available small RNA sequencing datasets, third-party meta-analysis across many datasets is becoming increasingly powerful. Although removing the 3´ adapter is an essential step for small RNA sequencing analysis, the adapter sequence information is not always available in the metadata. The information can be also erroneous even when it is available. In this study, we developed DNApi, a lightweight Python software package that predicts the 3´ adapter sequence de novo and provides the user with cleansed small RNA sequences ready for down stream analysis. Tested on 539 publicly available small RNA libraries accompanied with 3´ adapter sequences in their metadata, DNApi shows near-perfect accuracy (98.5%) with fast runtime (~2.85 seconds per library) and efficient memory usage (~43 MB on average). In addition to 3´ adapter prediction, it is also important to classify whether the input small RNA libraries were already processed, i.e. the 3´ adapters were removed. DNApi perfectly judged that given another batch of datasets, 192 publicly available processed libraries were “ready-to-map” small RNA sequence. DNApi is compatible with Python 2 and 3, and is available at https://github.com/jnktsj/DNApi. The 731 small RNA libraries used for DNApi evaluation were from human tissues and were carefully and manually collected. This study also provides readers with the curated datasets that can be integrated into their studies.

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<![CDATA[Deep Sequencing Reveals Low Incidence of Endogenous LINE-1 Retrotransposition in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da80ab0ee8fa60b9a26a

Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) retrotransposition induces insertional mutations that can result in diseases. It was recently shown that the copy number of L1 and other retroelements is stable in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However, by using an engineered reporter construct over-expressing L1, another study suggests that reprogramming activates L1 mobility in iPSCs. Given the potential of human iPSCs in therapeutic applications, it is important to clarify whether these cells harbor somatic insertions resulting from endogenous L1 retrotransposition. Here, we verified L1 expression during and after reprogramming as well as potential somatic insertions driven by the most active human endogenous L1 subfamily (L1Hs). Our results indicate that L1 over-expression is initiated during the reprogramming process and is subsequently sustained in isolated clones. To detect potential somatic insertions in iPSCs caused by L1Hs retotransposition, we used a novel sequencing strategy. As opposed to conventional sequencing direction, we sequenced from the 3′ end of L1Hs to the genomic DNA, thus enabling the direct detection of the polyA tail signature of retrotransposition for verification of true insertions. Deep coverage sequencing thus allowed us to detect seven potential somatic insertions with low read counts from two iPSC clones. Negative PCR amplification in parental cells, presence of a polyA tail and absence from seven L1 germline insertion databases highly suggested true somatic insertions in iPSCs. Furthermore, these insertions could not be detected in iPSCs by PCR, likely due to low abundance. We conclude that L1Hs retrotransposes at low levels in iPSCs and therefore warrants careful analyses for genotoxic effects.

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<![CDATA[Improving the Conservation of Mediterranean Chondrichthyans: The ELASMOMED DNA Barcode Reference Library]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdce9a

Cartilaginous fish are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic stressors and environmental change because of their K-selected reproductive strategy. Accurate data from scientific surveys and landings are essential to assess conservation status and to develop robust protection and management plans. Currently available data are often incomplete or incorrect as a result of inaccurate species identifications, due to a high level of morphological stasis, especially among closely related taxa. Moreover, several diagnostic characters clearly visible in adult specimens are less evident in juveniles. Here we present results generated by the ELASMOMED Consortium, a regional network aiming to sample and DNA-barcode the Mediterranean Chondrichthyans with the ultimate goal to provide a comprehensive DNA barcode reference library. This library will support and improve the molecular taxonomy of this group and the effectiveness of management and conservation measures. We successfully barcoded 882 individuals belonging to 42 species (17 sharks, 24 batoids and one chimaera), including four endemic and several threatened ones. Morphological misidentifications were found across most orders, further confirming the need for a comprehensive DNA barcoding library as a valuable tool for the reliable identification of specimens in support of taxonomist who are reviewing current identification keys. Despite low intraspecific variation among their barcode sequences and reduced samples size, five species showed preliminary evidence of phylogeographic structure. Overall, the ELASMOMED initiative further emphasizes the key role accurate DNA barcoding libraries play in establishing reliable diagnostic species specific features in otherwise taxonomically problematic groups for biodiversity management and conservation actions.

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<![CDATA[High Throughput Sequencing of Extracellular RNA from Human Plasma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8dab0ee8fa60b9e9de

The presence and relative stability of extracellular RNAs (exRNAs) in biofluids has led to an emerging recognition of their promise as ‘liquid biopsies’ for diseases. Most prior studies on discovery of exRNAs as disease-specific biomarkers have focused on microRNAs (miRNAs) using technologies such as qRT-PCR and microarrays. The recent application of next-generation sequencing to discovery of exRNA biomarkers has revealed the presence of potential novel miRNAs as well as other RNA species such as tRNAs, snoRNAs, piRNAs and lncRNAs in biofluids. At the same time, the use of RNA sequencing for biofluids poses unique challenges, including low amounts of input RNAs, the presence of exRNAs in different compartments with varying degrees of vulnerability to isolation techniques, and the high abundance of specific RNA species (thereby limiting the sensitivity of detection of less abundant species). Moreover, discovery in human diseases often relies on archival biospecimens of varying age and limiting amounts of samples. In this study, we have tested RNA isolation methods to optimize profiling exRNAs by RNA sequencing in individuals without any known diseases. Our findings are consistent with other recent studies that detect microRNAs and ribosomal RNAs as the major exRNA species in plasma. Similar to other recent studies, we found that the landscape of biofluid microRNA transcriptome is dominated by several abundant microRNAs that appear to comprise conserved extracellular miRNAs. There is reasonable correlation of sets of conserved miRNAs across biological replicates, and even across other data sets obtained at different investigative sites. Conversely, the detection of less abundant miRNAs is far more dependent on the exact methodology of RNA isolation and profiling. This study highlights the challenges in detecting and quantifying less abundant plasma miRNAs in health and disease using RNA sequencing platforms.

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<![CDATA[Automated high throughput nucleic acid purification from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples for next generation sequence analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be01fe

Curation and storage of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples are standard procedures in hospital pathology laboratories around the world. Many thousands of such samples exist and could be used for next generation sequencing analysis. Retrospective analyses of such samples are important for identifying molecular correlates of carcinogenesis, treatment history and disease outcomes. Two major hurdles in using FFPE material for sequencing are the damaged nature of the nucleic acids and the labor-intensive nature of nucleic acid purification. These limitations and a number of other issues that span multiple steps from nucleic acid purification to library construction are addressed here. We optimized and automated a 96-well magnetic bead-based extraction protocol that can be scaled to large cohorts and is compatible with automation. Using sets of 32 and 91 individual FFPE samples respectively, we generated libraries from 100 ng of total RNA and DNA starting amounts with 95–100% success rate. The use of the resulting RNA in micro-RNA sequencing was also demonstrated. In addition to offering the potential of scalability and rapid throughput, the yield obtained with lower input requirements makes these methods applicable to clinical samples where tissue abundance is limiting.

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<![CDATA[Assessing DNA Barcodes for Species Identification in North American Reptiles and Amphibians in Natural History Collections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5ed6

Background

High rates of species discovery and loss have led to the urgent need for more rapid assessment of species diversity in the herpetofauna. DNA barcoding allows for the preliminary identification of species based on sequence divergence. Prior DNA barcoding work on reptiles and amphibians has revealed higher biodiversity counts than previously estimated due to cases of cryptic and undiscovered species. Past studies have provided DNA barcodes for just 14% of the North American herpetofauna, revealing the need for expanded coverage.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study extends the DNA barcode reference library for North American herpetofauna, assesses the utility of this approach in aiding species delimitation, and examines the correspondence between current species boundaries and sequence clusters designated by the BIN system. Sequences were obtained from 730 specimens, representing 274 species (43%) from the North American herpetofauna. Mean intraspecific divergences were 1% and 3%, while average congeneric sequence divergences were 16% and 14% in amphibians and reptiles, respectively. BIN assignments corresponded with current species boundaries in 79% of amphibians, 100% of turtles, and 60% of squamates. Deep divergences (>2%) were noted in 35% of squamate and 16% of amphibian species, and low divergences (<2%) occurred in 12% of reptiles and 23% of amphibians, patterns reflected in BIN assignments. Sequence recovery declined with specimen age, and variation in recovery success was noted among collections. Within collections, barcodes effectively flagged seven mislabeled tissues, and barcode fragments were recovered from five formalin-fixed specimens.

Conclusions/Significance

This study demonstrates that DNA barcodes can effectively flag errors in museum collections, while BIN splits and merges reveal taxa belonging to deeply diverged or hybridizing lineages. This study is the first effort to compile a reference library of DNA barcodes for herpetofauna on a continental scale.

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<![CDATA[Herbivore-induced chemical and molecular responses of the kelps Laminaria digitata and Lessonia spicata]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc725

Kelps are founding species of temperate marine ecosystems, living in intertidal coastal areas where they are often challenged by generalist and specialist herbivores. As most sessile organisms, kelps develop defensive strategies to restrain grazing damage and preserve their own fitness during interactions with herbivores. To decipher some inducible defense and signaling mechanisms, we carried out metabolome and transcriptome analyses in two emblematic kelp species, Lessonia spicata from South Pacific coasts and Laminaria digitata from North Atlantic, when challenged with their main specialist herbivores. Mass spectrometry based metabolomics revealed large metabolic changes induced in these two brown algae following challenges with their own specialist herbivores. Targeted metabolic profiling of L. spicata further showed that free fatty acid (FFA) and amino acid (AA) metabolisms were particularly regulated under grazing. An early stress response was illustrated by the accumulation of Sulphur containing amino acids in the first twelve hours of herbivory pressure. At latter time periods (after 24 hours), we observed FFA liberation and eicosanoid oxylipins synthesis likely representing metabolites related to stress. Global transcriptomic analysis identified sets of candidate genes specifically induced by grazing in both kelps. qPCR analysis of the top candidate genes during a 48-hours time course validated the results. Most of these genes were particularly activated by herbivore challenge after 24 hours, suggesting that transcriptional reprogramming could be operated at this time period. We demonstrated the potential utility of these genes as molecular markers for herbivory by measuring their inductions in grazed individuals of field harvested L. digitata and L. spicata. By unravelling the regulation of some metabolites and genes following grazing pressure in two kelps representative of the two hemispheres, this work contributes to provide a set of herbivore-induced chemical and molecular responses in kelp species, showing similar inducible responses upon specialist herbivores in their respective ecosystems.

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<![CDATA[Small RNA Profiling in Dengue Virus 2-Infected Aedes Mosquito Cells Reveals Viral piRNAs and Novel Host miRNAs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7aab0ee8fa60b982dc

In Aedes mosquitoes, infections with arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) trigger or modulate the expression of various classes of viral and host-derived small RNAs, including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), PIWI interacting RNAs (piRNAs), and microRNAs (miRNAs). Viral siRNAs are at the core of the antiviral RNA interference machinery, one of the key pathways that limit virus replication in invertebrates. Besides siRNAs, Aedes mosquitoes and cells derived from these insects produce arbovirus-derived piRNAs, the best studied examples being viruses from the Togaviridae or Bunyaviridae families. Host miRNAs modulate the expression of a large number of genes and their levels may change in response to viral infections. In addition, some viruses, mostly with a DNA genome, express their own miRNAs to regulate host and viral gene expression. Here, we perform a comprehensive analysis of both viral and host-derived small RNAs in Aedes aegypti Aag2 cells infected with dengue virus 2 (DENV), a member of the Flaviviridae family. Aag2 cells are competent in producing all three types of small RNAs and provide a powerful tool to explore the crosstalk between arboviral infection and the distinct RNA silencing pathways. Interestingly, besides the well-characterized DENV-derived siRNAs, a specific population of viral piRNAs was identified in infected Aag2 cells. Knockdown of Piwi5, Ago3 and, to a lesser extent, Piwi6 results in reduction of vpiRNA levels, providing the first genetic evidence that Aedes PIWI proteins produce DENV-derived small RNAs. In contrast, we do not find convincing evidence for the production of virus-derived miRNAs. Neither do we find that host miRNA expression is strongly changed upon DENV2 infection. Finally, our deep-sequencing analyses detect 30 novel Aedes miRNAs, complementing the repertoire of regulatory small RNAs in this important vector species.

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<![CDATA[QuickLib, a method for building fully synthetic plasmid libraries by seamless cloning of degenerate oligonucleotides]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc47c

Incorporation of synthetic degenerate oligonucleotides into plasmids for building highly diverse genetic libraries requires efficient and quantitative DNA manipulation. We present a fast and seamless method for generating libraries of PCR-synthesized plasmids designed with a degenerate sequence and short overlapping ends. Our method called QuickLib should find many applications in synthetic biology; as an example, we easily prepared genetic libraries of Escherichia coli expressing billions of different backbone cyclic peptides.

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