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In JoVE (1)

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Articles by Mark Novotny in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

The Green Monster Process for the Generation of Yeast Strains Carrying Multiple Gene Deletions

1Department of Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy, J. Craig Venter Institute, 2Department of Microbial and Environmental Genomics, J. Craig Venter Institute, 3Donnelly Centre & Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, 4Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mt Sinai Hospital


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The Green Monster method enables the rapid assembly of multiple deletions marked with a reporter gene encoding green fluorescent protein. This method is based on driving yeast strains through repeated cycles of sexual assortment of deletions and fluorescence-based enrichment of cells carrying more deletions.

Other articles by Mark Novotny on PubMed

A 768-lane Microfabricated System for High-throughput DNA Sequencing

A 768-lane DNA sequencing system based on microfluidic plates has been designed as a near-term successor to 96-lane capillary arrays. Electrophoretic separations are implemented for the first time in large-format (25 cm x 50 cm) microdevices, with the objective of proving realistic read length, parallelism, and the scaled sample requirements for long-read de novo sequencing. Two 384-lane plates are alternatively cycled between electrophoresis and regeneration via a robotic pipettor. A total of greater than 172000 bases, 99% accuracy (corresponding to quality score 20) is achieved for each iteration of a 384 lane plate. At current operating conditions, this implies a system throughput exceeding 4 megabases of raw sequence (Phred 20) per day on the new platform. Standard operation is at "1/32x" Sanger chemistry, equal to typical genome center operation on mature capillary array machines, and a 16-fold improvement in scaling relative to previous microfabricated devices. Experiments provide evidence that sample concentration can be further reduced to 1/256x Sanger chemistry in the microdevice. Life-testing indicates a usable life of >150 hours (more than 50 runs) for the 384 lane plates. The combined advances, particularly those in read length and sample requirement, directly address the cost model requirements for adaptation of the new technology as the next step beyond capillary array instruments.

Genomic Sequencing of Single Microbial Cells from Environmental Samples

Recently developed techniques allow genomic DNA sequencing from single microbial cells [Lasken RS: Single-cell genomic sequencing using multiple displacement amplification. Curr Opin Microbiol 2007, 10:510-516]. Here, we focus on research strategies for putting these methods into practice in the laboratory setting. An immediate consequence of single-cell sequencing is that it provides an alternative to culturing organisms as a prerequisite for genomic sequencing. The microgram amounts of DNA required as template are amplified from a single bacterium by a method called multiple displacement amplification (MDA) avoiding the need to grow cells. The ability to sequence DNA from individual cells will likely have an immense impact on microbiology considering the vast numbers of novel organisms, which have been inaccessible unless culture-independent methods could be used. However, special approaches have been necessary to work with amplified DNA. MDA may not recover the entire genome from the single copy present in most bacteria. Also, some sequence rearrangements can occur during the DNA amplification reaction. Over the past two years many research groups have begun to use MDA, and some practical approaches to single-cell sequencing have been developed. We review the consensus that is emerging on optimum methods, reliability of amplified template, and the proper interpretation of 'composite' genomes which result from the necessity of combining data from several single-cell MDA reactions in order to complete the assembly. Preferred laboratory methods are considered on the basis of experience at several large sequencing centers where >70% of genomes are now often recovered from single cells. Methods are reviewed for preparation of bacterial fractions from environmental samples, single-cell isolation, DNA amplification by MDA, and DNA sequencing.

Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, Tolerability, and Safety of a Novel Sorbitol Dehydrogenase Inhibitor in Healthy Participants

Increased glucose flux through the polyol pathway and the resultant oxidative stress is thought to be a major mechanistic contributor to microvascular diabetic complications. Inhibition of flux through this pathway can be blocked through inhibition of either of 2 enzymes, aldose reductase (AR) or sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH). This report describes the pharmacokinetics, biomarker pharmacodynamics, and safety of CP-642,931, a potent and specific sorbitol dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDI). CP-642,931 was administered for 7 days to 57 healthy volunteers in doses ranging from 1 to 35 mg daily. After the 35-mg dose, CP-642,931 showed a t((1/2)) of 20.1 hours and t(max) at 0.5 to 1.25 hours. After a 35-mg dose, maximum inhibition of SDH was 91% (on days 1 and 7), and maximum serum sorbitol increase was 152-fold on day 7 compared to control. Five participants discontinued the study due to adverse events, including myalgia, muscle spasm, and muscle fatigue. All symptoms resolved in all but 1 participant, who continued to report intermittent muscle fasciculations upon follow-up. In conclusion, CP-642,931 is a potent and specific SDI that is rapidly absorbed through the oral route and effectively inhibits SDH. However, the drug is not well tolerated due to adverse neuromuscular effects.

Single Virus Genomics: a New Tool for Virus Discovery

Whole genome amplification and sequencing of single microbial cells has significantly influenced genomics and microbial ecology by facilitating direct recovery of reference genome data. However, viral genomics continues to suffer due to difficulties related to the isolation and characterization of uncultivated viruses. We report here on a new approach called 'Single Virus Genomics', which enabled the isolation and complete genome sequencing of the first single virus particle. A mixed assemblage comprised of two known viruses; E. coli bacteriophages lambda and T4, were sorted using flow cytometric methods and subsequently immobilized in an agarose matrix. Genome amplification was then achieved in situ via multiple displacement amplification (MDA). The complete lambda phage genome was recovered with an average depth of coverage of approximately 437X. The isolation and genome sequencing of uncultivated viruses using Single Virus Genomics approaches will enable researchers to address questions about viral diversity, evolution, adaptation and ecology that were previously unattainable.

Going Deeper: Metagenome of a Hadopelagic Microbial Community

The paucity of sequence data from pelagic deep-ocean microbial assemblages has severely restricted molecular exploration of the largest biome on Earth. In this study, an analysis is presented of a large-scale 454-pyrosequencing metagenomic dataset from a hadopelagic environment from 6,000 m depth within the Puerto Rico Trench (PRT). A total of 145 Mbp of assembled sequence data was generated and compared to two pelagic deep ocean metagenomes and two representative surface seawater datasets from the Sargasso Sea. In a number of instances, all three deep metagenomes displayed similar trends, but were most magnified in the PRT, including enrichment in functions for two-component signal transduction mechanisms and transcriptional regulation. Overrepresented transporters in the PRT metagenome included outer membrane porins, diverse cation transporters, and di- and tri-carboxylate transporters that matched well with the prevailing catabolic processes such as butanoate, glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism. A surprisingly high abundance of sulfatases for the degradation of sulfated polysaccharides were also present in the PRT. The most dramatic adaptational feature of the PRT microbes appears to be heavy metal resistance, as reflected in the large numbers of transporters present for their removal. As a complement to the metagenome approach, single-cell genomic techniques were utilized to generate partial whole-genome sequence data from four uncultivated cells from members of the dominant phyla within the PRT, Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Planctomycetes. The single-cell sequence data provided genomic context for many of the highly abundant functional attributes identified from the PRT metagenome, as well as recruiting heavily the PRT metagenomic sequence data compared to 172 available reference marine genomes. Through these multifaceted sequence approaches, new insights have been provided into the unique functional attributes present in microbes residing in a deeper layer of the ocean far removed from the more productive sun-drenched zones above.

Efficient De Novo Assembly of Single-cell Bacterial Genomes from Short-read Data Sets

Whole genome amplification by the multiple displacement amplification (MDA) method allows sequencing of DNA from single cells of bacteria that cannot be cultured. Assembling a genome is challenging, however, because MDA generates highly nonuniform coverage of the genome. Here we describe an algorithm tailored for short-read data from single cells that improves assembly through the use of a progressively increasing coverage cutoff. Assembly of reads from single Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus cells captures >91% of genes within contigs, approaching the 95% captured from an assembly based on many E. coli cells. We apply this method to assemble a genome from a single cell of an uncultivated SAR324 clade of Deltaproteobacteria, a cosmopolitan bacterial lineage in the global ocean. Metabolic reconstruction suggests that SAR324 is aerobic, motile and chemotaxic. Our approach enables acquisition of genome assemblies for individual uncultivated bacteria using only short reads, providing cell-specific genetic information absent from metagenomic studies.

Genomic Insights to SAR86, an Abundant and Uncultivated Marine Bacterial Lineage

Bacteria in the 16S rRNA clade SAR86 are among the most abundant uncultivated constituents of microbial assemblages in the surface ocean for which little genomic information is currently available. Bioinformatic techniques were used to assemble two nearly complete genomes from marine metagenomes and single-cell sequencing provided two more partial genomes. Recruitment of metagenomic data shows that these SAR86 genomes substantially increase our knowledge of non-photosynthetic bacteria in the surface ocean. Phylogenomic analyses establish SAR86 as a basal and divergent lineage of γ-proteobacteria, and the individual genomes display a temperature-dependent distribution. Modestly sized at 1.25-1.7 Mbp, the SAR86 genomes lack several pathways for amino-acid and vitamin synthesis as well as sulfate reduction, trends commonly observed in other abundant marine microbes. SAR86 appears to be an aerobic chemoheterotroph with the potential for proteorhodopsin-based ATP generation, though the apparent lack of a retinal biosynthesis pathway may require it to scavenge exogenously-derived pigments to utilize proteorhodopsin. The genomes contain an expanded capacity for the degradation of lipids and carbohydrates acquired using a wealth of tonB-dependent outer membrane receptors. Like the abundant planktonic marine bacterial clade SAR11, SAR86 exhibits metabolic streamlining, but also a distinct carbon compound specialization, possibly avoiding competition.

Sequence Analysis of a Complete 1.66 Mb Prochlorococcus Marinus MED4 Genome Cloned in Yeast

Marine cyanobacteria of the genus Prochlorococcus represent numerically dominant photoautotrophs residing throughout the euphotic zones in the open oceans and are major contributors to the global carbon cycle. Prochlorococcus has remained a genetically intractable bacterium due to slow growth rates and low transformation efficiencies using standard techniques. Our recent successes in cloning and genetically engineering the AT-rich, 1.1 Mb Mycoplasma mycoides genome in yeast encouraged us to explore similar methods with Prochlorococcus. Prochlorococcus MED4 has an AT-rich genome, with a GC content of 30.8%, similar to that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (38%), and contains abundant yeast replication origin consensus sites (ACS) evenly distributed around its 1.66 Mb genome. Unlike Mycoplasma cells, which use the UGA codon for tryptophane, Prochlorococcus uses the standard genetic code. Despite this, we observed no toxic effects of several partial and 15 whole Prochlorococcus MED4 genome clones in S. cerevisiae. Sequencing of a Prochlorococcus genome purified from yeast identified 14 single base pair missense mutations, one frameshift, one single base substitution to a stop codon and one dinucleotide transversion compared to the donor genomic DNA. We thus provide evidence of transformation, replication and maintenance of this 1.66 Mb intact bacterial genome in S. cerevisiae.

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