BackgroundDeep shotgun sequencing on next generation sequencing (NGS) platforms has contributed significant amounts of data to enrich our understanding of genomes, transcriptomes, amplified single-cell genomes, and metagenomes. However, deep coverage variations in short-read data sets and high sequencing error rates of modern sequencers present new computational challenges in data interpretation, including mapping and de novo assembly. New lab techniques such as multiple displacement amplification (MDA) of single cells and sequence independent single primer amplification (SISPA) allow for sequencing of organisms that cannot be cultured, but generate highly variable coverage due to amplification biases.ResultsHere we introduce NeatFreq, a software tool that reduces a data set to more uniform coverage by clustering and selecting from reads binned by their median kmer frequency (RMKF) and uniqueness. Previous algorithms normalize read coverage based on RMKF, but do not include methods for the preferred selection of (1) extremely low coverage regions produced by extremely variable sequencing of random-primed products and (2) 2-sided paired-end sequences. The algorithm increases the incorporation of the most unique, lowest coverage, segments of a genome using an error-corrected data set. NeatFreq was applied to bacterial, viral plaque, and single-cell sequencing data. The algorithm showed an increase in the rate at which the most unique reads in a genome were included in the assembled consensus while also reducing the count of duplicative and erroneous contigs (strings of high confidence overlaps) in the deliverable consensus. The results obtained from conventional Overlap-Layout-Consensus (OLC) were compared to simulated multi-de Bruijn graph assembly alternatives trained for variable coverage input using sequence before and after normalization of coverage. Coverage reduction was shown to increase processing speed and reduce memory requirements when using conventional bacterial assembly algorithms.ConclusionsThe normalization of deep coverage spikes, which would otherwise inhibit consensus resolution, enables High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) assembly projects to consistently run to completion with existing assembly software. The NeatFreq software package is free, open source and available at https://github.com/bioh4x/NeatFreq.
The vast majority of microbial species remain uncultivated and, until recently, about half of all known bacterial phyla were identified only from their 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence. With the advent of single-cell sequencing, genomes of uncultivated species are rapidly filling in unsequenced branches of the microbial phylogenetic tree. The wealth of new insights gained from these previously inaccessible groups is providing a deeper understanding of their basic biology, taxonomy and evolution, as well as their diverse roles in environmental ecosystems and human health.
It has recently been established that synthesis of double-stranded cDNA can be done from a single cell for use in DNA sequencing. Global gene expression can be quantified from the number of reads mapping to each gene, and mutations and mRNA splicing variants determined from the sequence reads. Here we demonstrate that this method of transcriptomic analysis can be done using the extremely low levels of mRNA in a single nucleus, isolated from a mouse neural progenitor cell line and from dissected hippocampal tissue. This method is characterized by excellent coverage and technical reproducibility. On average, more than 16,000 of the 24,057 mouse protein-coding genes were detected from single nuclei, and the amount of gene-expression variation was similar when measured between single nuclei and single cells. Several major advantages of the method exist: first, nuclei, compared with whole cells, have the advantage of being easily isolated from complex tissues and organs, such as those in the CNS. Second, the method can be widely applied to eukaryotic species, including those of different kingdoms. The method also provides insight into regulatory mechanisms specific to the nucleus. Finally, the method enables dissection of regulatory events at the single-cell level; pooling of 10 nuclei or 10 cells obscures some of the variability measured in transcript levels, implying that single nuclei and cells will be extremely useful in revealing the physiological state and interconnectedness of gene regulation in a manner that avoids the masking inherent to conventional transcriptomics using bulk cells or tissues.
We used single-cell genomic approaches to map DNA copy number variation (CNV) in neurons obtained from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines and postmortem human brains. We identified aneuploid neurons, as well as numerous subchromosomal CNVs in euploid neurons. Neurotypic hiPSC-derived neurons had larger CNVs than fibroblasts, and several large deletions were found in hiPSC-derived neurons but not in matched neural progenitor cells. Single-cell sequencing of endogenous human frontal cortex neurons revealed that 13 to 41% of neurons have at least one megabase-scale de novo CNV, that deletions are twice as common as duplications, and that a subset of neurons have highly aberrant genomes marked by multiple alterations. Our results show that mosaic CNV is abundant in human neurons.
Recent advances in single-cell genomics provide an alternative to largely gene-centric metagenomics studies, enabling whole-genome sequencing of uncultivated bacteria. However, single-cell assembly projects are challenging due to (i) the highly nonuniform read coverage and (ii) a greatly elevated number of chimeric reads and read pairs. While recently developed single-cell assemblers have addressed the former challenge, methods for assembling highly chimeric reads remain poorly explored. We present algorithms for identifying chimeric edges and resolving complex bulges in de Bruijn graphs, which significantly improve single-cell assemblies. We further describe applications of the single-cell assembler SPAdes to a new approach for capturing and sequencing "microbial dark matter" that forms small pools of randomly selected single cells (called a mini-metagenome) and further sequences all genomes from the mini-metagenome at once. On single-cell bacterial datasets, SPAdes improves on the recently developed E+V-SC and IDBA-UD assemblers specifically designed for single-cell sequencing. For standard (cultivated monostrain) datasets, SPAdes also improves on A5, ABySS, CLC, EULER-SR, Ray, SOAPdenovo, and Velvet. Thus, recently developed single-cell assemblers not only enable single-cell sequencing, but also improve on conventional assemblers on their own turf. SPAdes is available for free online download under a GPLv2 license.
The "dark matter of life" describes microbes and even entire divisions of bacterial phyla that have evaded cultivation and have yet to be sequenced. We present a genome from the globally distributed but elusive candidate phylum TM6 and uncover its metabolic potential. TM6 was detected in a biofilm from a sink drain within a hospital restroom by analyzing cells using a highly automated single-cell genomics platform. We developed an approach for increasing throughput and effectively improving the likelihood of sampling rare events based on forming small random pools of single-flow-sorted cells, amplifying their DNA by multiple displacement amplification and sequencing all cells in the pool, creating a "mini-metagenome." A recently developed single-cell assembler, SPAdes, in combination with contig binning methods, allowed the reconstruction of genomes from these mini-metagenomes. A total of 1.07 Mb was recovered in seven contigs for this member of TM6 (JCVI TM6SC1), estimated to represent 90% of its genome. High nucleotide identity between a total of three TM6 genome drafts generated from pools that were independently captured, amplified, and assembled provided strong confirmation of a correct genomic sequence. TM6 is likely a Gram-negative organism and possibly a symbiont of an unknown host (nonfree living) in part based on its small genome, low-GC content, and lack of biosynthesis pathways for most amino acids and vitamins. Phylogenomic analysis of conserved single-copy genes confirms that TM6SC1 is a deeply branching phylum.
Whole genome amplification and sequencing of single microbial cells enables genomic characterization without the need of cultivation (1-3). Viruses, which are ubiquitous and the most numerous entities on our planet (4) and important in all environments (5), have yet to be revealed via similar approaches. Here we describe an approach for isolating and characterizing the genomes of single virions called Single Virus Genomics (SVG). SVG utilizes flow cytometry to isolate individual viruses and whole genome amplification to obtain high molecular weight genomic DNA (gDNA) that can be used in subsequent sequencing reactions.
Although biofilms have been shown to be reservoirs of pathogens, our knowledge of the microbial diversity in biofilms within critical areas, such as health care facilities, is limited. Available methods for pathogen identification and strain typing have some inherent restrictions. In particular, culturing will yield only a fraction of the species present, PCR of virulence or marker genes is mainly focused on a handful of known species, and shotgun metagenomics is limited in the ability to detect strain variations. In this study, we present a single-cell genome sequencing approach to address these limitations and demonstrate it by specifically targeting bacterial cells within a complex biofilm from a hospital bathroom sink drain. A newly developed, automated platform was used to generate genomic DNA by the multiple displacement amplification (MDA) technique from hundreds of single cells in parallel. MDA reactions were screened and classified by 16S rRNA gene PCR sequence, which revealed a broad range of bacteria covering 25 different genera representing environmental species, human commensals, and opportunistic human pathogens. Here we focus on the recovery of a nearly complete genome representing a novel strain of the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis JCVI SC001) using the single-cell assembly tool SPAdes. Single-cell genomics is becoming an accepted method to capture novel genomes, primarily in the marine and soil environments. Here we show for the first time that it also enables comparative genomic analysis of strain variation in a pathogen captured from complex biofilm samples in a healthcare facility.
The majority of microbial genomic diversity remains unexplored. This is largely due to our inability to culture most microorganisms in isolation, which is a prerequisite for traditional genome sequencing. Single-cell sequencing has allowed researchers to circumvent this limitation. DNA is amplified directly from a single cell using the whole-genome amplification technique of multiple displacement amplification (MDA). However, MDA from a single chromosome copy suffers from amplification bias and a large loss of specificity from even very small amounts of DNA contamination, which makes assembling a genome difficult and completely finishing a genome impossible except in extraordinary circumstances. Gel microdrop cultivation allows culturing of a diverse microbial community and provides hundreds to thousands of genetically identical cells as input for an MDA reaction. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by comparing sequencing results of gel microdroplets and single cells following MDA. Bias is reduced in the MDA reaction and genome sequencing, and assembly is greatly improved when using gel microdroplets. We acquired multiple near-complete genomes for two bacterial species from human oral and stool microbiome samples. A significant amount of genome diversity, including single nucleotide polymorphisms and genome recombination, is discovered. Gel microdroplets offer a powerful and high-throughput technology for assembling whole genomes from complex samples and for probing the pan-genome of naturally occurring populations.
We describe the complete genome sequences of four closely related Hydrogenobaculum sp. isolates (? 99.7% 16S rRNA gene identity) that were isolated from the outflow channel of Dragon Spring (DS), Norris Geyser Basin, in Yellowstone National Park (YNP), WY. The genomes range in size from 1,552,607 to 1,552,931 bp, contain 1,667 to 1,676 predicted genes, and are highly syntenic. There are subtle differences among the DS isolates, which as a group are different from Hydrogenobaculum sp. strain Y04AAS1 that was previously isolated from a geographically distinct YNP geothermal feature. Genes unique to the DS genomes encode arsenite [As(III)] oxidation, NADH-ubiquinone-plastoquinone (complex I), NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase chain, a DNA photolyase, and elements of a type II secretion system. Functions unique to strain Y04AAS1 include thiosulfate metabolism, nitrate respiration, and mercury resistance determinants. DS genomes contain seven CRISPR loci that are almost identical but are different from the single CRISPR locus in strain Y04AAS1. Other differences between the DS and Y04AAS1 genomes include average nucleotide identity (94.764%) and percentage conserved DNA (80.552%). Approximately half of the genes unique to Y04AAS1 are predicted to have been acquired via horizontal gene transfer. Fragment recruitment analysis and marker gene searches demonstrated that the DS metagenome was more similar to the DS genomes than to the Y04AAS1 genome, but that the DS community is likely comprised of a continuum of Hydrogenobaculum genotypes that span from the DS genomes described here to an Y04AAS1-like organism, which appears to represent a distinct ecotype relative to the DS genomes characterized.
There is increasing evidence that the phenotypic effects of genomic sequence variants are best understood in terms of variant haplotypes rather than as isolated polymorphisms. Haplotype analysis is also critically important for uncovering population histories and for the study of evolutionary genetics. Although the sequencing of individual human genomes to reveal personal collections of sequence variants is now well established, there has been slower progress in the phasing of these variants into pairs of haplotypes along each pair of chromosomes. Here, we have developed a distinct approach to haplotyping that can yield chromosome-length haplotypes, including the vast majority of heterozygous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in an individual human genome. This approach exploits the haploid nature of sperm cells and employs a combination of genotyping and low-coverage sequencing on a short-read platform. In addition to generating chromosome-length haplotypes, the approach can directly identify recombination events (averaging 1.1 per chromosome) with a median resolution of <100 kb.
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 ?-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.
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.
Filamentous cyanobacteria of the genus Lyngbya are important contributors to coral reef ecosystems, occasionally forming dominant cover and impacting the health of many other co-occurring organisms. Moreover, they are extraordinarily rich sources of bioactive secondary metabolites, with 35% of all reported cyanobacterial natural products deriving from this single pantropical genus. However, the true natural product potential and life strategies of Lyngbya strains are poorly understood because of phylogenetic ambiguity, lack of genomic information, and their close associations with heterotrophic bacteria and other cyanobacteria. To gauge the natural product potential of Lyngbya and gain insights into potential microbial interactions, we sequenced the genome of Lyngbya majuscula 3L, a Caribbean strain that produces the tubulin polymerization inhibitor curacin A and the molluscicide barbamide, using a combination of Sanger and 454 sequencing approaches. Whereas ? 293,000 nucleotides of the draft genome are putatively dedicated to secondary metabolism, this is far too few to encode a large suite of Lyngbya metabolites, suggesting Lyngbya metabolites are strain specific and may be useful in species delineation. Our analysis revealed a complex gene regulatory network, including a large number of sigma factors and other regulatory proteins, indicating an enhanced ability for environmental adaptation or microbial associations. Although Lyngbya species are reported to fix nitrogen, nitrogenase genes were not found in the genome or by PCR of genomic DNA. Subsequent growth experiments confirmed that L. majuscula 3L is unable to fix atmospheric nitrogen. These unanticipated life history characteristics challenge current views of the genus Lyngbya.
Filamentous marine cyanobacteria are extraordinarily rich sources of structurally novel, biomedically relevant natural products. To understand their biosynthetic origins as well as produce increased supplies and analog molecules, access to the clustered biosynthetic genes that encode for the assembly enzymes is necessary. Complicating these efforts is the universal presence of heterotrophic bacteria in the cell wall and sheath material of cyanobacteria obtained from the environment and those grown in uni-cyanobacterial culture. Moreover, the high similarity in genetic elements across disparate secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways renders imprecise current gene cluster targeting strategies and contributes sequence complexity resulting in partial genome coverage. Thus, it was necessary to use a dual-method approach of single-cell genomic sequencing based on multiple displacement amplification (MDA) and metagenomic library screening. Here, we report the identification of the putative apratoxin. A biosynthetic gene cluster, a potent cancer cell cytotoxin with promise for medicinal applications. The roughly 58 kb biosynthetic gene cluster is composed of 12 open reading frames and has a type I modular mixed polyketide synthase/nonribosomal peptide synthetase (PKS/NRPS) organization and features loading and off-loading domain architecture never previously described. Moreover, this work represents the first successful isolation of a complete biosynthetic gene cluster from Lyngbya bouillonii, a tropical marine cyanobacterium renowned for its production of diverse bioactive secondary metabolites.
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.
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.
Detection of bacterial nucleic acids in synovial fluid following total joint arthroplasty with suspected infection can be difficult; among other technical challenges, inhibitors in the specimens require extensive sample preparation and can diminish assay sensitivity even using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods. To address this problem a simple protocol for prior use of multiple displacement amplification (MDA) as an adjunct to PCR was established and tested on both purified S. aureus DNA as well as on clinical samples known to contain S. aureus nucleic acids.
Among eukaryotes, four major phytoplankton lineages are responsible for marine photosynthesis; prymnesiophytes, alveolates, stramenopiles, and prasinophytes. Contributions by individual taxa, however, are not well known, and genomes have been analyzed from only the latter two lineages. Tiny "picoplanktonic" members of the prymnesiophyte lineage have long been inferred to be ecologically important but remain poorly characterized. Here, we examine pico-prymnesiophyte evolutionary history and ecology using cultivation-independent methods. 18S rRNA gene analysis showed pico-prymnesiophytes belonged to broadly distributed uncultivated taxa. Therefore, we used targeted metagenomics to analyze uncultured pico-prymnesiophytes sorted by flow cytometry from subtropical North Atlantic waters. The data reveal a composite nuclear-encoded gene repertoire with strong green-lineage affiliations, which contrasts with the evolutionary history indicated by the plastid genome. Measured pico-prymnesiophyte growth rates were rapid in this region, resulting in primary production contributions similar to the cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. On average, pico-prymnesiophytes formed 25% of global picophytoplankton biomass, with differing contributions in five biogeographical provinces spanning tropical to subpolar systems. Elements likely contributing to success include high gene density and genes potentially involved in defense and nutrient uptake. Our findings have implications reaching beyond pico-prymnesiophytes, to the prasinophytes and stramenopiles. For example, prevalence of putative Ni-containing superoxide dismutases (SODs), instead of Fe-containing SODs, seems to be a common adaptation among eukaryotic phytoplankton for reducing Fe quotas in low-Fe modern oceans. Moreover, highly mosaic gene repertoires, although compositionally distinct for each major eukaryotic lineage, now seem to be an underlying facet of successful marine phytoplankton.
Large amounts of DNA are frequently required for use in detection assays and genomic analysis. The limited availability of DNA can be a critical obstacle to meeting research and clinical needs. DNA amplification methods are often required to generate sufficient material from small specimens or environmental samples with low DNA content. The MDA (multiple displacement amplification) reaction is increasingly the method of choice for many applications because of its extensive coverage of the genome, the generation of extremely long DNA products compared with older whole genome amplification methods and the high DNA yields, even from exceedingly low amounts of starting material. Remarkably, MDA enables genomic sequencing even from single microbial cells. Some of the uses of MDA and its strengths and limitations will be discussed.
Phenotypes for a gene deletion are often revealed only when the mutation is tested in a particular genetic background or environmental condition(1,2). There are examples where many genes need to be deleted to unmask hidden gene functions(3,4). Despite the potential for important discoveries, genetic interactions involving three or more genes are largely unexplored. Exhaustive searches of multi-mutant interactions would be impractical due to the sheer number of possible combinations of deletions. However, studies of selected sets of genes, such as sets of paralogs with a greater a priori chance of sharing a common function, would be informative. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, gene knockout is accomplished by replacing a gene with a selectable marker via homologous recombination. Because the number of markers is limited, methods have been developed for removing and reusing the same marker(5,6,7,8,9,10). However, sequentially engineering multiple mutations using these methods is time-consuming because the time required scales linearly with the number of deletions to be generated. Here we describe the Green Monster method for routinely engineering multiple deletions in yeast(11). In this method, a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter integrated into deletions is used to quantitatively label strains according to the number of deletions contained in each strain (Figure 1). Repeated rounds of assortment of GFP-marked deletions via yeast mating and meiosis coupled with flow-cytometric enrichment of strains carrying more of these deletions lead to the accumulation of deletions in strains (Figure 2). Performing multiple processes in parallel, with each process incorporating one or more deletions per round, reduces the time required for strain construction. The first step is to prepare haploid single-mutants termed ProMonsters, each of which carries a GFP reporter in a deleted locus and one of the toolkit loci-either Green Monster GMToolkit-a or GMToolkit-? at the can1? locus (Figure 3). Using strains from the yeast deletion collection(12), GFP-marked deletions can be conveniently generated by replacing the common KanMX4 cassette existing in these strains with a universal GFP-URA3 fragment. Each GMToolkit contains: either the a- or ?-mating-type-specific haploid selection marker(1) and exactly one of the two markers that, when both GMToolkits are present, collectively allow for selection of diploids. The second step is to carry out the sexual cycling through which deletion loci can be combined within a single cell by the random assortment and/or meiotic recombination that accompanies each cycle of mating and sporulation.
Sequencing DNA from single cells has opened new windows onto the microbial world. It is becoming routine to sequence bacterial species directly from environmental samples or clinical specimens without the need to develop cultivation methods. Recent technical improvements often allow nearly complete genome assembly from these otherwise inaccessible species. New bioinformatics methods are also improving genome assembly from single cells. The use of single-cell sequencing in combination with metagenomic analysis is also emerging as a powerful new strategy to analyse bacterial communities. Here, the technical developments that have enabled single-cell sequencing, as well as some of the most exciting applications of this approach from the past few years, are reviewed.
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