Stephen W Turner

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., Menlo Park, California, United States

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Publications (25)280.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A gene-level targeted enrichment method for direct detection of epigenetic modifications is described. The approach is demonstrated on the CGG-repeat region of the FMR1 gene, for which large repeat expansions, hitherto refractory to sequencing, are known to cause fragile X syndrome. In addition to achieving a single-locus enrichment of nearly 700,000-fold, the elimination of all amplification steps removes PCR-induced bias in the repeat count and preserves the native epigenetic modifications of the DNA. In conjunction with the single-molecule real-time sequencing approach, this enrichment method enables direct readout of the methylation status and the CGG repeat number of the FMR1 allele(s) for a clonally derived cell line. The current method avoids potential biases introduced through chemical modification and/or amplification methods for indirect detection of CpG methylation events.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Molecular Genetics and Genomics

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Biophysical Journal
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    Joseph Larkin · Mathieu Foquet · Stephen W Turner · Jonas Korlach · Meni Wanunu
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a hybrid nanopore/zero-mode waveguide device for single-molecule fluorescence and DNA sequencing applications. The device is a freestanding solid-state membrane with sub-5 nm nanopores that reversibly delivers individual biomolecules to the base of 70 nm diameter waveguides for interrogation. Rapid and reversible molecular loading is achieved by controlling the voltage across the device. Using this device we demonstrate protein and DNA loading with efficiency that is orders of magnitude higher than diffusion-based molecular loading.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Nano Letters
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial phosphorothioate (PT) DNA modifications are incorporated by Dnd proteins A-E and often function with DndF-H as a restriction-modification (R-M) system, as in Escherichia coli B7A. However, bacteria such as Vibrio cyclitrophicus FF75 lack dndF-H, which points to other PT functions. Here we report two novel, orthogonal technologies to map PTs across the genomes of B7A and FF75 with >90% agreement: single molecule, real-time sequencing and deep sequencing of iodine-induced cleavage at PT (ICDS). In B7A, we detect PT on both strands of GpsAAC/GpsTTC motifs, but with only 12% of 40,701 possible sites modified. In contrast, PT in FF75 occurs as a single-strand modification at CpsCA, again with only 14% of 160,541 sites modified. Single-molecule analysis indicates that modification could be partial at any particular genomic site even with active restriction by DndF-H, with direct interaction of modification proteins with GAAC/GTTC sites demonstrated with oligonucleotides. These results point to highly unusual target selection by PT-modification proteins and rule out known R-M mechanisms.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: Obtaining high-quality sequence continuity of complex regions of recent segmental duplication remains one of the major challenges of finishing genome assemblies. In the human and mouse genomes, this was achieved by targeting large-insert clones using costly and laborious capillary-based sequencing approaches. Sanger shotgun sequencing of clone inserts, however, has now been largely abandoned leaving most of these regions unresolved in newer genome assemblies generated primarily by next-generation sequencing hybrid approaches. Here we show that it is possible to resolve regions that are complex in a genome-wide context but simple in isolation for a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods using long-read single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing and assembly technology from Pacific Biosciences (PacBio). We sequenced and assembled BAC clones corresponding to a 1.3 Mbp complex region of chromosome 17q21.31, demonstrating 99.994% identity to Sanger assemblies of the same clones. We targeted 44 differences using Illumina sequencing and find that PacBio and Sanger assemblies share a comparable number of validated variants, albeit with different sequence context biases. Finally, we targeted a poorly assembled 766 kbp duplicated region of the chimpanzee genome and resolved the structure and organization for a fraction of the cost and time of traditional finishing approaches. Our data suggest a straightforward path for upgrading genomes to a higher quality finished state.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Genome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Zero-mode waveguides provide a powerful technology for studying single-molecule real-time dynamics of biological systems at physiological ligand concentrations. We customized a commercial zero-mode waveguide-based DNA sequencer for use as a versatile instrument for single-molecule fluorescence detection and showed that the system provides long fluorophore lifetimes with good signal to noise and low spectral cross-talk. We then used a ribosomal translation assay to show real-time fluidic delivery during data acquisition, showing it is possible to follow the conformation and composition of thousands of single biomolecules simultaneously through four spectral channels. This instrument allows high-throughput multiplexed dynamics of single-molecule biological processes over long timescales. The instrumentation presented here has broad applications to single-molecule studies of biological systems and is easily accessible to the biophysical community.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: The Caulobacter DNA methyltransferase CcrM is one of five master cell-cycle regulators. CcrM is transiently present near the end of DNA replication when it rapidly methylates the adenine in hemimethylated GANTC sequences. The timing of transcription of two master regulator genes and two cell division genes is controlled by the methylation state of GANTC sites in their promoters. To explore the global extent of this regulatory mechanism, we determined the methylation state of the entire chromosome at every base pair at five time points in the cell cycle using single-molecule, real-time sequencing. The methylation state of 4,515 GANTC sites, preferentially positioned in intergenic regions, changed progressively from full to hemimethylation as the replication forks advanced. However, 27 GANTC sites remained unmethylated throughout the cell cycle, suggesting that these protected sites could participate in epigenetic regulatory functions. An analysis of the time of activation of every cell-cycle regulatory transcription start site, coupled to both the position of a GANTC site in their promoter regions and the time in the cell cycle when the GANTC site transitions from full to hemimethylation, allowed the identification of 59 genes as candidates for epigenetic regulation. In addition, we identified two previously unidentified N(6)-methyladenine motifs and showed that they maintained a constant methylation state throughout the cell cycle. The cognate methyltransferase was identified for one of these motifs as well as for one of two 5-methylcytosine motifs.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: We present a hierarchical genome-assembly process (HGAP) for high-quality de novo microbial genome assemblies using only a single, long-insert shotgun DNA library in conjunction with Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. Our method uses the longest reads as seeds to recruit all other reads for construction of highly accurate preassembled reads through a directed acyclic graph-based consensus procedure, which we follow with assembly using off-the-shelf long-read assemblers. In contrast to hybrid approaches, HGAP does not require highly accurate raw reads for error correction. We demonstrate efficient genome assembly for several microorganisms using as few as three SMRT Cell zero-mode waveguide arrays of sequencing and for BACs using just one SMRT Cell. Long repeat regions can be successfully resolved with this workflow. We also describe a consensus algorithm that incorporates SMRT sequencing primary quality values to produce de novo genome sequence exceeding 99.999% accuracy.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Nature Methods
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    ABSTRACT: Background Zero-mode waveguides (ZMWs) are photonic nanostructures that create highly confined optical observation volumes, thereby allowing single-molecule-resolved biophysical studies at relatively high concentrations of fluorescent molecules. This principle has been successfully applied in single-molecule, real-time (SMRT®) DNA sequencing for the detection of DNA sequences and DNA base modifications. In contrast, RNA sequencing methods cannot provide sequence and RNA base modifications concurrently as they rely on complementary DNA (cDNA) synthesis by reverse transcription followed by sequencing of cDNA. Thus, information on RNA modifications is lost during the process of cDNA synthesis. Results Here we describe an application of SMRT technology to follow the activity of reverse transcriptase enzymes synthesizing cDNA on thousands of single RNA templates simultaneously in real time with single nucleotide turnover resolution using arrays of ZMWs. This method thereby obtains information from the RNA template directly. The analysis of the kinetics of the reverse transcriptase can be used to identify RNA base modifications, shown by example for N6-methyladenine (m6A) in oligonucleotides and in a specific mRNA extracted from total cellular mRNA. Furthermore, the real-time reverse transcriptase dynamics informs about RNA secondary structure and its rearrangements, as demonstrated on a ribosomal RNA and an mRNA template. Conclusions Our results highlight the feasibility of studying RNA modifications and RNA structural rearrangements in ZMWs in real time. In addition, they suggest that technology can be developed for direct RNA sequencing provided that the reverse transcriptase is optimized to resolve homonucleotide stretches in RNA.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Nanobiotechnology
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    ABSTRACT: Background DNA methylation serves as an important epigenetic mark in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. In eukaryotes, the most common epigenetic mark is 5-methylcytosine, whereas prokaryotes can have 6-methyladenine, 4-methylcytosine, or 5-methylcytosine. Single-molecule, real-time sequencing is capable of directly detecting all three types of modified bases. However, the kinetic signature of 5-methylcytosine is subtle, which presents a challenge for detection. We investigated whether conversion of 5-methylcytosine to 5-carboxylcytosine using the enzyme Tet1 would enhance the kinetic signature, thereby improving detection. Results We characterized the kinetic signatures of various cytosine modifications, demonstrating that 5-carboxylcytosine has a larger impact on the local polymerase rate than 5-methylcytosine. Using Tet1-mediated conversion, we show improved detection of 5-methylcytosine using in vitro methylated templates and apply the method to the characterization of 5-methylcytosine sites in the genomes of Escherichia coli MG1655 and Bacillus halodurans C-125. Conclusions We have developed a method for the enhancement of directly detecting 5-methylcytosine during single-molecule, real-time sequencing. Using Tet1 to convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-carboxylcytosine improves the detection rate of this important epigenetic marker, thereby complementing the set of readily detectable microbial base modifications, and enhancing the ability to interrogate eukaryotic epigenetic markers.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Biology
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    ABSTRACT: In the bacterial world, methylation is most commonly associated with restriction-modification systems that provide a defense mechanism against invading foreign genomes. In addition, it is known that methylation plays functionally important roles, including timing of DNA replication, chromosome partitioning, DNA repair, and regulation of gene expression. However, full DNA methylome analyses are scarce due to a lack of a simple methodology for rapid and sensitive detection of common epigenetic marks (ie N(6)-methyladenine (6 mA) and N(4)-methylcytosine (4 mC)), in these organisms. Here, we use Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing to determine the methylomes of two related human pathogen species, Mycoplasma genitalium G-37 and Mycoplasma pneumoniae M129, with single-base resolution. Our analysis identified two new methylation motifs not previously described in bacteria: a widespread 6 mA methylation motif common to both bacteria (5'-CTAT-3'), as well as a more complex Type I m6A sequence motif in M. pneumoniae (5'-GAN(7)TAY-3'/3'-CTN(7)ATR-5'). We identify the methyltransferase responsible for the common motif and suggest the one involved in M. pneumoniae only. Analysis of the distribution of methylation sites across the genome of M. pneumoniae suggests a potential role for methylation in regulating the cell cycle, as well as in regulation of gene expression. To our knowledge, this is one of the first direct methylome profiling studies with single-base resolution from a bacterial organism.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · PLoS Genetics
  • Jonas Korlach · Stephen W. Turner

    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Six bacterial genomes, Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, Chromohalobacter salexigens, Vibrio breoganii 1C-10, Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni 81-176 and C. jejuni NCTC 11168, all of which had previously been sequenced using other platforms were re-sequenced using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing specifically to analyze their methylomes. In every case a number of new N6-methyladenine (m6A) and N4-methylcytosine (m4C) methylation patterns were discovered and the DNA methyltransferases (MTases) responsible for those methylation patterns were assigned. In 15 cases, it was possible to match MTase genes with MTase recognition sequences without further sub-cloning. Two Type I restriction systems required sub-cloning to differentiate their recognition sequences, while four MTase genes that were not expressed in the native organism were sub-cloned to test for viability and recognition sequences. Two of these proved active. No attempt was made to detect 5-methylcytosine (m5C) recognition motifs from the SMRT® sequencing data because this modification produces weaker signals using current methods. However, all predicted m6A and m4C MTases were detected unambiguously. This study shows that the addition of SMRT sequencing to traditional sequencing approaches gives a wealth of useful functional information about a genome showing not only which MTase genes are active but also revealing their recognition sequences.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: We exploit the optical and spatial features of subwavelength nanostructures to examine individual receptors on the plasma membrane of living cells. Receptors were sequestered in portions of the membrane projected into zero-mode waveguides. Using single-step photobleaching of green fluorescent protein incorporated into individual subunits, the resulting spatial isolation was used to measure subunit stoichiometry in α4β4 and α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine and P2X2 ATP receptors. We also show that nicotine and cytisine have differential effects on α4β2 stoichiometry.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Nano Letters
  • Jonas Korlach · Stephen W Turner
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    ABSTRACT: DNA sequencing has provided a wealth of information about biological systems, but thus far has focused on the four canonical bases, and 5-methylcytosine through comparison of the genomic DNA sequence to a transformed four-base sequence obtained after treatment with bisulfite. However, numerous other chemical modifications to the nucleotides are known to control fundamental life functions, influence virulence of pathogens, and are associated with many diseases. These modifications cannot be accessed with traditional sequencing methods. In this opinion, we highlight several emerging single-molecule sequencing techniques that have the potential to directly detect many types of DNA modifications as an integral part of the sequencing protocol.
    No preview · Article · May 2012 · Current Opinion in Structural Biology
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    Tyson A Clark · Kristi E Spittle · Stephen W Turner · Jonas Korlach
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    ABSTRACT: Products of various forms of DNA damage have been implicated in a variety of important biological processes, such as aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. Therefore, there exists great interest to develop methods for interrogating damaged DNA in the context of sequencing. Here, we demonstrate that single-molecule, real-time (SMRT®) DNA sequencing can directly detect damaged DNA bases in the DNA template - as a by-product of the sequencing method - through an analysis of the DNA polymerase kinetics that are altered by the presence of a modified base. We demonstrate the sequencing of several DNA templates containing products of DNA damage, including 8-oxoguanine, 8-oxoadenine, O6-methylguanine, 1-methyladenine, O4-methylthymine, 5-hydroxycytosine, 5-hydroxyuracil, 5-hydroxymethyluracil, or thymine dimers, and show that these base modifications can be readily detected with single-modification resolution and DNA strand specificity. We characterize the distinct kinetic signatures generated by these DNA base modifications.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Genome Integrity
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    ABSTRACT: We describe strand-specific, base-resolution detection of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) in genomic DNA with single-molecule sensitivity, combining a bioorthogonal, selective chemical labeling method of 5-hmC with single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing. The chemical labeling not only allows affinity enrichment of 5-hmC-containing DNA fragments but also enhances the kinetic signal of 5-hmC during SMRT sequencing. We applied the approach to sequence 5-hmC in a genomic DNA sample with high confidence.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Nature Methods
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    Kevin J Travers · Chen-Shan Chin · David R Rank · John S Eid · Stephen W Turner
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    ABSTRACT: A novel template design for single-molecule sequencing is introduced, a structure we refer to as a SMRTbell™ template. This structure consists of a double-stranded portion, containing the insert of interest, and a single-stranded hairpin loop on either end, which provides a site for primer binding. Structurally, this format resembles a linear double-stranded molecule, and yet it is topologically circular. When placed into a single-molecule sequencing reaction, the SMRTbell template format enables a consensus sequence to be obtained from multiple passes on a single molecule. Furthermore, this consensus sequence is obtained from both the sense and antisense strands of the insert region. In this article, we present a universal method for constructing these templates, as well as an application of their use. We demonstrate the generation of high-quality consensus accuracy from single molecules, as well as the use of SMRTbell templates in the identification of rare sequence variants.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2010 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the direct detection of DNA methylation, without bisulfite conversion, through single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. In SMRT sequencing, DNA polymerases catalyze the incorporation of fluorescently labeled nucleotides into complementary nucleic acid strands. The arrival times and durations of the resulting fluorescence pulses yield information about polymerase kinetics and allow direct detection of modified nucleotides in the DNA template, including N6-methyladenine, 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine. Measurement of polymerase kinetics is an intrinsic part of SMRT sequencing and does not adversely affect determination of primary DNA sequence. The various modifications affect polymerase kinetics differently, allowing discrimination between them. We used these kinetic signatures to identify adenine methylation in genomic samples and found that, in combination with circular consensus sequencing, they can enable single-molecule identification of epigenetic modifications with base-pair resolution. This method is amenable to long read lengths and will likely enable mapping of methylation patterns in even highly repetitive genomic regions.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2010 · Nature Methods
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    ABSTRACT: Translation by the ribosome occurs by a complex mechanism involving the coordinated interaction of multiple nucleic acid and protein ligands. Here we use zero-mode waveguides (ZMWs) and sophisticated detection instrumentation to allow real-time observation of translation at physiologically relevant micromolar ligand concentrations. Translation at each codon is monitored by stable binding of transfer RNAs (tRNAs)-labelled with distinct fluorophores-to translating ribosomes, which allows direct detection of the identity of tRNA molecules bound to the ribosome and therefore the underlying messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence. We observe the transit of tRNAs on single translating ribosomes and determine the number of tRNA molecules simultaneously bound to the ribosome, at each codon of an mRNA molecule. Our results show that ribosomes are only briefly occupied by two tRNA molecules and that release of deacylated tRNA from the exit (E) site is uncoupled from binding of aminoacyl-tRNA site (A-site) tRNA and occurs rapidly after translocation. The methods outlined here have broad application to the study of mRNA sequences, and the mechanism and regulation of translation.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2010 · Nature