[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the widespread availability of high-throughput sequencing technologies, sequencing projects have become pervasive in the molecular life sciences. The huge bulk of data generated daily must be analyzed further by biologists with skills in bioinformatics and by "embedded bioinformaticians," i.e., bioinformaticians integrated in wet lab research groups. Thus, students interested in molecular life sciences must be trained in the main steps of genomics: sequencing, assembly, annotation and analysis. To reach that goal, a practical course has been set up for master students at the University of Lausanne: the "Sequence a genome" class. At the beginning of the academic year, a few bacterial species whose genome is unknown are provided to the students, who sequence and assemble the genome(s) and perform manual annotation. Here, we report the progress of the first class from September 2010 to June 2011 and the results obtained by seven master students who specifically assembled and annotated the genome of Estrella lausannensis, an obligate intracellular bacterium related to Chlamydia. The draft genome of Estrella is composed of 29 scaffolds encompassing 2,819,825 bp that encode for 2233 putative proteins. Estrella also possesses a 9136 bp plasmid that encodes for 14 genes, among which we found an integrase and a toxin/antitoxin module. Like all other members of the Chlamydiales order, Estrella possesses a highly conserved type III secretion system, considered as a key virulence factor. The annotation of the Estrella genome also allowed the characterization of the metabolic abilities of this strictly intracellular bacterium. Altogether, the students provided the scientific community with the Estrella genome sequence and a preliminary understanding of the biology of this recently-discovered bacterial genus, while learning to use cutting-edge technologies for sequencing and to perform bioinformatics analyses.
Frontiers in Microbiology 02/2015; 6:101. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00101 · 3.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas knackmussii B13 was the first strain to be isolated in 1974 that could degrade chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. This discovery was the prologue for subsequent characterization of numerous bacterial metabolic pathways, for genetic and biochemical studies, and which spurred ideas for pollutant bioremediation. In this study we determined the complete genome sequence of B13 using next generation sequencing technologies and optical mapping. Genome annotation indicated that B13 has a variety of metabolic pathways for degrading monoaromatic hydrocarbons including chlorobenzoate, aminophenol, anthranilate, and hydroxyquinol, but not polyaromatic compounds. Comparative genome analysis revealed that B13 is closest to Pseudomonas denitrificans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The B13 genome contains at least 8 genomic islands (prophages and integrative conjugative elements - ICE), which were absent in closely related pseudomonads. We confirm that two ICE are identical copies of the 103-kb self-transmissible element ICEclc that carries the genes for chlorocatechol metabolism. Comparison of ICEclc showed it is composed of a variable and a "core" region, which is very conserved among proteobacterial genomes, suggesting a widely distributed family of so far uncharacterized ICE. Resequencing of two spontaneous B13 mutants revealed a number of single nucleotide substitutions, as well as excision of a large 220 kb region and a prophage, which drastically change the host metabolic capacity and survivability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genotyping and molecular characterization of drug resistance mechanisms in Mycobacterium leprae enables disease transmission and drug resistance trends to be monitored. In the present study, we performed genome-wide analysis of Airaku-3, a multidrug resistant strain with an unknown mechanism of resistance to rifampicin. We identified 12 unique non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) including two in the transporter-encoding ctpC and ctpI genes. In addition, two SNPs were found that improve the resolution of SNP-based genotyping, particularly for Venezuelan and South-East Asian strains of M. leprae. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the mechanism(s) of resistance to the RAF-inhibitor vemurafenib, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the genetic alterations occurring in metastatic lesions from a patient with a BRAFV600E-mutant cutaneous melanoma who, after a first response, underwent subsequent rechallenge with this drug.
We obtained blood and tissue samples from a patient diagnosed with a BRAFV600E-mutant cutaneous melanoma that was treated with vemurafenib and achieved a near-complete response. At progression, he received additional lines of chemo/immunotherapy and was successfully re-challenged with vemurafenib. Exome and RNA sequencing were performed on a pre-treatment tumor and two subcutaneous resistant metastases, one that was present at baseline and previously responded to vemurafenib (PV1), and one that appeared de novo after reintroduction of the drug (PV2). A culture established from PV1 was also analyzed.
We identified two NRAS activating somatic mutations, Q61R and Q61K, affecting two main subpopulations in the metastasis PV1, and a BRAF alternative splicing, involving exons 4-10, in the metastasis PV2. These alterations, known to confer resistance to RAF inhibitors, were tumor-specific, mutually exclusive, and were not detected in pre-treatment tumor samples. In addition, the oncogenic PIK3CAH1047R mutation was detected in a subpopulation of PV1, but this mutation did not appear to play a major role in vemurafenib resistance in this metastasis.
This work describes the co-existence within the same patient of different molecular mechanisms of resistance to vemurafenib affecting different metastatic sites. These findings have direct implications for the clinical management of BRAF-mutant melanoma.
Clinical Cancer Research 08/2013; 19(20). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0661 · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kenny-Caffey syndrome (KCS) and the similar but more severe osteocraniostenosis (OCS) are genetic conditions characterized by impaired skeletal development with small and dense bones, short stature, and primary hypoparathyroidism with hypocalcemia. We studied five individuals with KCS and five with OCS and found that all of them had heterozygous mutations in FAM111A. One mutation was identified in four unrelated individuals with KCS, and another one was identified in two unrelated individuals with OCS; all occurred de novo. Thus, OCS and KCS are allelic disorders of different severity. FAM111A codes for a 611 amino acid protein with homology to trypsin-like peptidases. Although FAM111A has been found to bind to the large T-antigen of SV40 and restrict viral replication, its native function is unknown. Molecular modeling of FAM111A shows that residues affected by KCS and OCS mutations do not map close to the active site but are clustered on a segment of the protein and are at, or close to, its outer surface, suggesting that the pathogenesis involves the interaction with as yet unidentified partner proteins rather than impaired catalysis. FAM111A appears to be crucial to a pathway that governs parathyroid hormone production, calcium homeostasis, and skeletal development and growth.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2013; 92(6). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.04.020 · 10.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sphingomonas wittichii RW1 is a dibenzofuran and dibenzodioxin-degrading bacterium with potentially interesting properties for bioaugmentation of contaminated sites. In order to understand the capacity of the microorganism to survive in the environment we used a genome-wide transposon scanning approach. RW1 transposon libraries were generated with around 22 000 independent insertions. Libraries were grown for an average of 50 generations (five successive passages in batch liquid medium) with salicylate as sole carbon and energy source in presence or absence of salt stress at -1.5 MPa. Alternatively, libraries were grown in sand with salicylate, at 50% water holding capacity, for 4 and 10 days (equivalent to 7 generations). Library DNA was recovered from the different growth conditions and scanned by ultrahigh throughput sequencing for the positions and numbers of inserted transposed kanamycin resistance gene. No transposon reads were recovered in 579 genes (10% of all annotated genes in the RW1 genome) in any of the libraries, suggesting those to be essential for survival under the used conditions. Libraries recovered from sand differed strongly from those incubated in liquid batch medium. In particular, important functions for survival of cells in sand at the short term concerned nutrient scavenging, energy metabolism and motility. In contrast to this, fatty acid metabolism and oxidative stress response were essential for longer term survival of cells in sand. Comparison to transcriptome data suggested important functions in sand for flagellar movement, pili synthesis, trehalose and polysaccharide synthesis and putative cell surface antigen proteins. Interestingly, a variety of genes were also identified, interruption of which cause significant increase in fitness during growth on salicylate. One of these was an Lrp family transcription regulator and mutants in this gene covered more than 90% of the total library after 50 generations of growth on salicylate. Our results demonstrate the power of genome-wide transposon scanning approaches for analysis of complex traits.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interactions of cell-autonomous circadian oscillators with diurnal cycles govern the temporal compartmentalization of cell physiology in mammals. To understand the transcriptional and epigenetic basis of diurnal rhythms in mouse liver genome-wide, we generated temporal DNA occupancy profiles by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) as well as profiles of the histone modifications H3K4me3 and H3K36me3. We used these data to quantify the relationships of phases and amplitudes between different marks. We found that rhythmic Pol II recruitment at promoters rather than rhythmic transition from paused to productive elongation underlies diurnal gene transcription, a conclusion further supported by modeling. Moreover, Pol II occupancy preceded mRNA accumulation by 3 hours, consistent with mRNA half-lives. Both methylation marks showed that the epigenetic landscape is highly dynamic and globally remodeled during the 24-hour cycle. While promoters of transcribed genes had tri-methylated H3K4 even at their trough activity times, tri-methylation levels reached their peak, on average, 1 hour after Pol II. Meanwhile, rhythms in tri-methylation of H3K36 lagged transcription by 3 hours. Finally, modeling profiles of Pol II occupancy and mRNA accumulation identified three classes of genes: one showing rhythmicity both in transcriptional and mRNA accumulation, a second class with rhythmic transcription but flat mRNA levels, and a third with constant transcription but rhythmic mRNAs. The latter class emphasizes widespread temporally gated posttranscriptional regulation in the mouse liver.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of novel transcription factors associated with antifungal response may allow the discovery of fungus-specific targets for new therapeutic strategies. A collection of 241 Candida albicans transcriptional regulator mutants was screened for altered susceptibility to fluconazole, caspofungin, amphotericin B, and 5-fluorocytosine. Thirteen of these mutants not yet identified in terms of their role in antifungal response were further investigated, and the function of one of them, a mutant of orf19.6102 (RCA1), was characterized by transcriptome analysis. Strand-specific RNA sequencing and phenotypic tests assigned Rca1 as the regulator of hyphal formation through the cyclic AMP/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) signaling pathway and the transcription factor Efg1, but also probably through its interaction with a transcriptional repressor, most likely Tup1. The mechanisms responsible for the high level of resistance to caspofungin and fluconazole observed resulting from RCA1 deletion were investigated. From our observations, we propose that caspofungin resistance was the consequence of the deregulation of cell wall gene expression and that fluconazole resistance was linked to the modulation of the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway activity. In conclusion, our large-scale screening of a C. albicans transcription factor mutant collection allowed the identification of new effectors of the response to antifungals. The functional characterization of Rca1 assigned this transcription factor and its downstream targets as promising candidates for the development of new therapeutic strategies, as Rca1 influences host sensing, hyphal development, and antifungal response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic mRNA transcription and turnover is controlled by an enzymatic machinery that includes RNA polymerase II and the 3' to 5' exosome. The activity of these protein complexes is modulated by additional factors, such as the nuclear RNA polymerase II-associated factor 1 (Paf1c) and the cytoplasmic Superkiller (SKI) complex, respectively. Their components are conserved across uni- as well as multi-cellular organisms, including yeast, Arabidopsis, and humans. Among them, SKI8 displays multiple facets on top of its cytoplasmic role in the SKI complex. For instance, nuclear yeast ScSKI8 has an additional function in meiotic recombination, whereas nuclear human hSKI8 (unlike ScSKI8) associates with Paf1c. The Arabidopsis SKI8 homolog VERNALIZATION INDEPENDENT 3 (VIP3) has been found in Paf1c as well; however, whether it also has a role in the SKI complex remains obscure so far. We found that transgenic VIP3-GFP, which complements a novel vip3 mutant allele, localizes to both nucleus and cytoplasm. Consistently, biochemical analyses suggest that VIP3-GFP associates with the SKI complex. A role of VIP3 in the turnover of nuclear encoded mRNAs is supported by random-primed RNA sequencing of wild-type and vip3 seedlings, which indicates mRNA stabilization in vip3. Another SKI subunit homolog mutant, ski2, displays a dwarf phenotype similar to vip3. However, unlike vip3, it displays neither early flowering nor flower development phenotypes, suggesting that the latter reflect VIP3's role in Paf1c. Surprisingly then, transgenic ScSKI8 rescued all aspects of the vip3 phenotype, suggesting that the dual role of SKI8 depends on species-specific cellular context.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed exome sequencing to detect somatic mutations in protein-coding regions in seven melanoma cell lines and donor-matched germline cells. All melanoma samples had high numbers of somatic mutations, which showed the hallmark of UV-induced DNA repair. Such a hallmark was absent in tumor sample-specific mutations in two metastases derived from the same individual. Two melanomas with non-canonical BRAF mutations harbored gain-of-function MAP2K1 and MAP2K2 (MEK1 and MEK2, respectively) mutations, resulting in constitutive ERK phosphorylation and higher resistance to MEK inhibitors. Screening a larger cohort of individuals with melanoma revealed the presence of recurring somatic MAP2K1 and MAP2K2 mutations, which occurred at an overall frequency of 8%. Furthermore, missense and nonsense somatic mutations were frequently found in three candidate melanoma genes, FAT4, LRP1B and DSC1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A fast and reliable assay for the identification of dermatophyte fungi and nondermatophyte fungi (NDF) in onychomycosis is essential, since NDF are especially difficult to cure using standard treatment. Diagnosis is usually based on both direct microscopic examination of nail scrapings and macroscopic and microscopic identification of the infectious fungus in culture assays. In the last decade, PCR assays have been developed for the direct detection of fungi in nail samples. In this study, we describe a PCR-terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) assay to directly and routinely identify the infecting fungi in nails. Fungal DNA was easily extracted using a commercial kit after dissolving nail fragments in an Na(2)S solution. Trichophyton spp., as well as 12 NDF, could be unambiguously identified by the specific restriction fragment size of 5'-end-labeled amplified 28S DNA. This assay enables the distinction of different fungal infectious agents and their identification in mixed infections. Infectious agents could be identified in 74% (162/219) of cases in which the culture results were negative. The PCR-TRFLP assay described here is simple and reliable. Furthermore, it has the possibility to be automated and thus routinely applied to the rapid diagnosis of a large number of clinical specimens in dermatology laboratories.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ants have evolved very complex societies and are key ecosystem members. Some ants, such as the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, are also major pests. Here, we present a draft genome of S. invicta, assembled from Roche 454 and Illumina sequencing reads obtained from a focal haploid male and his brothers. We used comparative genomic methods to obtain insight into the unique features of the S. invicta genome. For example, we found that this genome harbors four adjacent copies of vitellogenin. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that an ancestral vitellogenin gene first underwent a duplication that was followed by possibly independent duplications of each of the daughter vitellogenins. The vitellogenin genes have undergone subfunctionalization with queen- and worker-specific expression, possibly reflecting differential selection acting on the queen and worker castes. Additionally, we identified more than 400 putative olfactory receptors of which at least 297 are intact. This represents the largest repertoire reported so far in insects. S. invicta also harbors an expansion of a specific family of lipid-processing genes, two putative orthologs to the transformer/feminizer sex differentiation gene, a functional DNA methylation system, and a single putative telomerase ortholog. EST data indicate that this S. invicta telomerase ortholog has at least four spliceforms that differ in their use of two sets of mutually exclusive exons. Some of these and other unique aspects of the fire ant genome are likely linked to the complex social behavior of this species.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2011; 108(14):5679-84. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1009690108 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Profiling microRNA (miRNA) expression is of widespread interest given the critical role of miRNAs in many cellular functions. Profiling can be achieved via hybridization-based (microarrays), sequencing-based, or amplification-based (quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, qPCR) technologies. Among these, microarrays face the significant challenge of accurately distinguishing between mature and immature miRNA forms, and different vendors have developed different methods to meet this challenge. Here we measure differential miRNA expression using the Affymetrix, Agilent, and Illumina microarray platforms, as well as qPCR (Applied Biosystems) and ultra high-throughput sequencing (Illumina). We show that the differential expression measurements are more divergent when the three types of microarrays are compared than when the Agilent microarray, qPCR, and sequencing technology measurements are compared, which exhibit a good overall concordance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of small polymorphisms from next generation sequencing short read data is relatively easy, but detection of larger deletions is less straightforward. Here, we analyzed four divergent Arabidopsis accessions and found that intersection of absent short read coverage with weak tiling array hybridization signal reliably flags deletions. Interestingly, individual deletions were frequently observed in two or more of the accessions examined, suggesting that variation in gene content partly reflects a common history of deletion events.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reductive evolution and massive pseudogene formation have shaped the 3.31-Mb genome of Mycobacterium leprae, an unculturable obligate pathogen that causes leprosy in humans. The complete genome sequence of M. leprae strain Br4923 from Brazil was obtained by conventional methods (6x coverage), and Illumina resequencing technology was used to obtain the sequences of strains Thai53 (38x coverage) and NHDP63 (46x coverage) from Thailand and the United States, respectively. Whole-genome comparisons with the previously sequenced TN strain from India revealed that the four strains share 99.995% sequence identity and differ only in 215 polymorphic sites, mainly SNPs, and by 5 pseudogenes. Sixteen interrelated SNP subtypes were defined by genotyping both extant and extinct strains of M. leprae from around the world. The 16 SNP subtypes showed a strong geographical association that reflects the migration patterns of early humans and trade routes, with the Silk Road linking Europe to China having contributed to the spread of leprosy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although dermatophytes are the most common agents of superficial mycoses in humans and animals, the molecular basis of the pathogenicity of these fungi is largely unknown. In vitro digestion of keratin by dermatophytes is associated with the secretion of multiple proteases, which are assumed to be responsible for their particular specialization to colonize and degrade keratinized host structures during infection. To investigate the role of individual secreted proteases in dermatophytosis, a guinea pig infection model was established for the zoophilic dermatophyte Arthroderma benhamiae, which causes highly inflammatory cutaneous infections in humans and rodents. By use of a cDNA microarray covering approximately 20-25 % of the A. benhamiae genome and containing sequences of at least 23 protease genes, we revealed a distinct in vivo protease gene expression profile in the fungal cells, which was surprisingly different from the pattern elicited during in vitro growth on keratin. Instead of the major in vitro -expressed proteases, others were activated specifically during infection. These enzymes are therefore suggested to fulfil important functions that are not exclusively associated with the degradation of keratin. Most notably, the gene encoding the serine protease subtilisin 6, which is a known major allergen in the related dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum and putatively linked to host inflammation, was found to be the most strongly upregulated gene during infection. In addition, our approach identified other candidate pathogenicity-related factors in A. benhamiae, such as genes encoding key enzymes of the glyoxylate cycle and an opsin-related protein. Our work provides what we believe to be the first broad-scale gene expression profile in human pathogenic dermatophytes during infection, and points to putative virulence-associated mechanisms that make these micro-organisms the most successful aetiological agents of superficial mycoses.