Background. Targeted enrichment improves coverage of highly mutable viruses at low concentration in complex samples. Degenerate primers that anneal to conserved regions can facilitate amplification of divergent, low concentration variants, even when the strain present is unknown. Results. A tool for designing multiplex sets of degenerate sequencing primers to tile overlapping amplicons across multiple whole genomes is described. The new script, run_tiled_primers, is part of the PriMux software. Primers were designed for each segment of South American hemorrhagic fever viruses, tick-borne encephalitis, Henipaviruses, Arenaviruses, Filoviruses, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, Rift Valley fever virus, and Japanese encephalitis virus. Each group is highly diverse with as little as 5% genome consensus. Primer sets were computationally checked for nontarget cross reactions against the NCBI nucleotide sequence database. Primers for murine hepatitis virus were demonstrated in the lab to specifically amplify selected genes from a laboratory cultured strain that had undergone extensive passage in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions. This software should help researchers design multiplex sets of primers for targeted whole genome enrichment prior to sequencing to obtain better coverage of low titer, divergent viruses. Applications include viral discovery from a complex background and improved sensitivity and coverage of rapidly evolving strains or variants in a gene family.
Pairing up primers to amplify desired targets and avoid undesired cross reactions can be a combinatorial challenge. Effective prediction of specificity and inclusivity from multiplexed primers and TaqMan®/Luminex® probes is a critical step in PCR design.
Vaccinations against the encephalitic alphaviruses (western, eastern, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus) are of significant interest to biological defense, public health, and agricultural communities alike. Although vaccines licensed for veterinary applications are used in the Western Hemisphere and attenuated or inactivated viruses have been used under Investigational New Drug status to protect at-risk personnel, there are currently no licensed vaccines for use in humans. Here, we will discuss the need for a trivalent vaccine that can protect humans against all three viruses, recent progress to such a vaccine, and a strategy to continue development to Food and Drug Administration licensure.
Combat wound healing and resolution are highly affected by the resident microbial flora. We therefore sought to achieve comprehensive detection of microbial populations in wounds using novel genomic technologies and bioinformatics analyses. We employed a microarray capable of detecting all sequenced pathogens for interrogation of 124 wound samples from extremity injuries in combat-injured U.S. service members. A subset of samples was also processed via next-generation sequencing and metagenomic analysis. Array analysis detected microbial targets in 51% of all wound samples, with Acinetobacter baumannii being the most frequently detected species. Multiple Pseudomonas species were also detected in tissue biopsy specimens. Detection of the Acinetobacter plasmid pRAY correlated significantly with wound failure, while detection of enteric-associated bacteria was associated significantly with successful healing. Whole-genome sequencing revealed broad microbial biodiversity between samples. The total wound bioburden did not associate significantly with wound outcome, although temporal shifts were observed over the course of treatment. Given that standard microbiological methods do not detect the full range of microbes in each wound, these data emphasize the importance of supplementation with molecular techniques for thorough characterization of wound-associated microbes. Future application of genomic protocols for assessing microbial content could allow application of specialized care through early and rapid identification and management of critical patterns in wound bioburden.
Ancient human remains of paleopathological interest typically contain highly degraded DNA in which pathogenic taxa are often minority components, making sequence-based metagenomic characterization costly. Microarrays may hold a potential solution to these challenges, offering a rapid, affordable, and highly informative snapshot of microbial diversity in complex samples without the lengthy analysis and/or high cost associated with high-throughput sequencing. Their versatility is well established for modern clinical specimens, but they have yet to be applied to ancient remains. Here we report bacterial profiles of archaeological and historical human remains using the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA). The array successfully identified previously-verified bacterial human pathogens, including Vibrio cholerae (cholera) in a 19th century intestinal specimen and Yersinia pestis ("Black Death" plague) in a medieval tooth, which represented only minute fractions (0.03% and 0.08% alignable high-throughput shotgun sequencing reads) of their respective DNA content. This demonstrates that the LLMDA can identify primary and/or co-infecting bacterial pathogens in ancient samples, thereby serving as a rapid and inexpensive paleopathological screening tool to study health across both space and time.
In 2010, researchers reported that the two US-licensed rotavirus vaccines contained DNA or DNA fragments from porcine circovirus (PCV). Although PCV, a common virus among pigs, is not thought to cause illness in humans, these findings raised several safety concerns. In this study, we sought to determine whether viruses, including PCV, could be detected in ileal tissue samples of children vaccinated with one of the two rotavirus vaccines. A broad spectrum, novel DNA detection technology, the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA), was utilized, and confirmation of viral pathogens using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was conducted. The LLMDA technology was recently used to identify PCV from one rotavirus vaccine. Ileal tissue samples were analyzed from 21 subjects, aged 15-62 months. PCV was not detected in any ileal tissue samples by the LLMDA or PCR. LLMDA identified a human rotavirus A from one of the vaccinated subjects, which is likely due to a recent infection from a wild type rotavirus. LLMDA also identified human parechovirus, a common gastroenteritis viral infection, from two subjects. Additionally, LLMDA detected common gastrointestinal bacterial organisms from the Enterobacteriaceae, Bacteroidaceae, and Streptococcaceae families from several subjects. This study provides a survey of viral and bacterial pathogens from pediatric ileal samples, and may shed light on future studies to identify pathogen associations with pediatric vaccinations.
Microarrays have proven to be useful in rapid detection of many viruses and bacteria. Pathogen detection microarrays have been used to diagnose viral and bacterial infections in clinical samples and to evaluate the safety of biological drug materials. A multiplexed version of the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA) was developed and evaluated with minimum detectable concentrations for pure unamplified DNA viruses, along with mixtures of viral and bacterial DNA subjected to different whole genome amplification protocols. In addition the performance of the array was tested when hybridization time was reduced from 17 h to 1h. The LLMDA was able to detect unamplified vaccinia virus DNA at a concentration of 14 fM, or 100,000 genome copies in 12 ?L of sample. With amplification, positive identification was made with only 100 genome copies of input material. When tested against human stool samples from patients with acute gastroenteritis, the microarray detected common gastroenteritis viral and bacterial infections such as rotavirus and E. coli. Accurate detection was found but with a 4-fold drop in sensitivity for a 1h compared to a 17 h hybridization. The array detected 2 ng (equivalent concentration of 15.6 fM) of labeled DNA from a virus with 1h hybridization without any amplification, and was able to identify the components of a mixture of viruses and bacteria at species and in some cases strain level resolution. Sensitivity improved by three orders of magnitude with random whole genome amplification prior to hybridization; for instance, the array detected a DNA virus with only 20 fg or 100 genome copies as input. This multiplexed microarray is an efficient tool to analyze clinical and environmental samples for the presence of multiple viral and bacterial pathogens rapidly.
Emerging viruses are usually endemic to tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, but increased global travel, climate change and changes in lifestyle are believed to contribute to the spread of these viruses into new regions. Many of these viruses cause similar disease symptoms as other emerging viruses or common infections, making these unexpected pathogens difficult to diagnose. Broad-spectrum pathogen detection microarrays containing probes for all sequenced viruses and bacteria can provide rapid identification of viruses, guiding decisions about treatment and appropriate case management. We report a modified Whole Transcriptome Amplification (WTA) method that increases unbiased amplification, particular of RNA viruses. Using this modified WTA method, we tested the specificity and sensitivity of the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA) against a wide range of emerging viruses present in both non-clinical and clinical samples using two different microarray data analysis methods.
Deep metagenomic sequencing of biological samples has the potential to recover otherwise difficult-to-detect microorganisms and accurately characterize biological samples with limited prior knowledge of sample contents. Existing metagenomic taxonomic classification algorithms, however, do not scale well to analyze large metagenomic datasets, and balancing classification accuracy with computational efficiency presents a fundamental challenge.
Microarrays to characterize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) provide a cost-effective and rapid method (under 24h) to genotype microbes as an alternative to sequencing. We developed a pipeline for SNP discovery and microarray design that scales to 100s of microbial genomes. Here we tested various SNP probe design strategies against 8 sequenced isolates of Bacillus anthracis to compare sequence and microarray data. The best strategy allowed probe length to vary within 32-40 bp to equalize hybridization free energy. This strategy resulted in a call rate of 99.52% and concordance rate of 99.86% for finished genomes. Other probe design strategies averaged substantially lower call rates (94.65-96.41%) and slightly lower concordance rates (99.64-99.80%). These rates were lower for draft than finished genomes, consistent with higher incidence of sequencing errors and gaps. Highly accurate SNP calls were possible in complex soil and blood backgrounds down to 1000 copies, and moderately accurate SNP calls down to 100 spiked copies. The closest genome to the spiked strain was correctly identified at only 10 spiked copies. Discrepancies between sequence and array data did not alter the SNP-based phylogeny, regardless of the probe design strategy, indicating that SNP arrays can accurately place unsequenced isolates on a phylogeny.
Microbial genotyping is essential for forensic discrimination of pathogen strains, tracing epidemics, and understanding evolutionary processes. Phylogenetic analyses were performed and genotyping assays designed for five viral species complexes or genera: Western, Eastern, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses, hantavirus segments L, M, and S, and orthopoxviruses. For each group, sequence alignments and phylogenetic trees were built. PCR signatures composed of primer pairs or TaqMan™ triplets were designed and mapped to nodes of the trees for sub-type or strain specific PCR-based identification. In addition, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified and mapped to trees, and SNP microarray probes were designed to enable highly multiplexed genotyping of an unsequenced sample by hybridization. SNP-based trees corresponded well with MSA trees. Near-perfect isolate resolution was possible for all viruses analyzed computationally using either SNPs or PCR signatures. More tree nodes were represented by SNP loci than by PCR signatures, as PCR signatures often represented subsets of strains not corresponding to a branch. However, while PCR genotyping is possible, the number of PCR signatures needed to characterize an unknown can be very large. SNP microarrays are a suitable alternative, as arrays enable highly multiplexed, high resolution genotyping of an unknown in a single hybridization assay.
Decades after the eradication of smallpox, its etiological agent, variola virus (VARV), remains a threat as a potential bioweapon. Outbreaks of smallpox around the time of the global eradication effort exhibited variable case fatality rates (CFRs), likely attributable in part to complex viral genetic determinants of smallpox virulence. We aimed to identify genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CFR. We evaluated unadjusted and outbreak geographic location-adjusted models of single SNPs and two- and three-way interactions between SNPs.
Effective use of rapid and inexpensive whole genome sequencing for microbes requires fast, memory efficient bioinformatics tools for sequence comparison. The kSNP v2 software finds single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in whole genome data. kSNP v2 has numerous improvements over kSNP v1 including SNP gene annotation; better scaling for draft genomes available as assembled contigs or raw, unassembled reads; a tool to identify the optimal value of k; distribution of packages of executables for Linux and Mac OS X for ease of installation and user-friendly use; and a detailed User Guide. SNP discovery is based on k-mer analysis, and requires no multiple sequence alignment or the selection of a single reference genome. Most target sets with hundreds of genomes complete in minutes to hours. SNP phylogenies are built by maximum likelihood, parsimony, and distance, based on all SNPs, only core SNPs, or SNPs present in some intermediate user-specified fraction of targets. The SNP-based trees that result are consistent with known taxonomy. kSNP v2 can handle many gigabases of sequence in a single run, and if one or more annotated genomes are included in the target set, SNPs are annotated with protein coding and other information (UTRs, etc.) from Genbank file(s). We demonstrate application of kSNP v2 on sets of viral and bacterial genomes, and discuss in detail analysis of a set of 68 finished E. coli and Shigella genomes and a set of the same genomes to which have been added 47 assemblies and four "raw read" genomes of H104:H4 strains from the recent European E. coli outbreak that resulted in both bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), and caused at least 50 deaths.
We study the detection of mutations, sequencing errors, and homologous recombination events (HREs) in a set of closely related microbial genomes. We base the model on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and break the genomes into blocks to handle the rearrangement problem. Then we apply a dynamic programming algorithm to model whether changes within each block are likely a result of mutations, sequencing errors, or HREs. Results from simulation experiments show that we can detect 31%-61% of HREs and the precision of our detection is about 48%-90% depending on the rates of mutation and missing data. The HREfinder software for predicting HREs in a set of whole genomes is available as open source (http://sourceforge.net/projects/hrefinder/).
Bacillus anthracis is the potentially lethal etiologic agent of anthrax disease, and is a significant concern in the realm of biodefense. One of the cornerstones of an effective biodefense strategy is the ability to detect infectious agents with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity in the context of a complex sample background. The nature of the B. anthracis genome, however, renders specific detection difficult, due to close homology with B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. We therefore elected to determine the efficacy of next-generation sequencing analysis and microarrays for detection of B. anthracis in an environmental background. We applied next-generation sequencing to titrated genome copy numbers of B. anthracis in the presence of background nucleic acid extracted from aerosol and soil samples. We found next-generation sequencing to be capable of detecting as few as 10 genomic equivalents of B. anthracis DNA per nanogram of background nucleic acid. Detection was accomplished by mapping reads to either a defined subset of reference genomes or to the full GenBank database. Moreover, sequence data obtained from B. anthracis could be reliably distinguished from sequence data mapping to either B. cereus or B. thuringiensis. We also demonstrated the efficacy of a microbial census microarray in detecting B. anthracis in the same samples, representing a cost-effective and high-throughput approach, complementary to next-generation sequencing. Our results, in combination with the capacity of sequencing for providing insights into the genomic characteristics of complex and novel organisms, suggest that these platforms should be considered important components of a biosurveillance strategy.
We developed an extendable open-source Loop-mediated isothermal AMPlification (LAMP) signature design program called LAVA (LAMP Assay Versatile Analysis). LAVA was created in response to limitations of existing LAMP signature programs.
CONFERENCE PROCEEDING Proceedings of the PDA/FDA Adventitious Viruses in Biologics: Detection and Mitigation Strategies Workshop in Bethesda, MD, USA; December 1-3, 2010 Guest Editors: Arifa Khan (Bethesda, MD), Patricia Hughes (Bethesda, MD) and Michael Wiebe (San Francisco, CA) We designed the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA), which contains 388,000 DNA probes. This array can detect any sequenced viruses or bacteria within 24 h. In addition, the oligonucleotide probes were selected to enable detection of novel, divergent species with homology to sequenced organisms. We recently used this array to identify an adventitious virus from a vaccine product. We have also used this array to detect viral and bacterial infections from various human clinical samples. Broad-spectrum microbial detection microarrays are efficient and cost-effective tools to rapidly screen cell bank samples, raw materials, vaccine samples, and clinical samples to ensure drug, food, and health safety in the United States and worldwide.
Identifying the bacteria and viruses present in a complex sample is useful in disease diagnostics, product safety, environmental characterization, and research. Array-based methods have proven utility to detect in a single assay at a reasonable cost any microbe from the thousands that have been sequenced.
Metagenomics and a panmicrobial microarray were used to examine eight live-attenuated viral vaccines. Viral nucleic acids in trivalent oral poliovirus (OPV), rubella, measles, yellow fever, varicella-zoster, multivalent measles/mumps/rubella, and two rotavirus live vaccines were partially purified, randomly amplified, and pyrosequenced. Over half a million sequence reads were generated covering from 20 to 99% of the attenuated viral genomes at depths reaching up to 8,000 reads per nucleotides. Mutations and minority variants, relative to vaccine strains, not known to affect attenuation were detected in OPV, mumps virus, and varicella-zoster virus. The anticipated detection of endogenous retroviral sequences from the producer avian and primate cells was confirmed. Avian leukosis virus (ALV), previously shown to be noninfectious for humans, was present as RNA in viral particles, while simian retrovirus (SRV) was present as genetically defective DNA. Rotarix, an orally administered rotavirus vaccine, contained porcine circovirus-1 (PCV1), a highly prevalent nonpathogenic pig virus, which has not been shown to be infectious in humans. Hybridization of vaccine nucleic acids to a panmicrobial microarray confirmed the presence of endogenous retroviral and PCV1 nucleic acids. Deep sequencing and microarrays can therefore detect attenuated virus sequence changes, minority variants, and adventitious viruses and help maintain the current safety record of live-attenuated viral vaccines.
We describe a Multiplex Primer Prediction (MPP) algorithm to build multiplex compatible primer sets to amplify all members of large, diverse and unalignable sets of target sequences. The MPP algorithm is scalable to larger target sets than other available software, and it does not require a multiple sequence alignment. We applied it to questions in viral detection, and demonstrated that there are no universally conserved priming sequences among viruses and that it could require an unfeasibly large number of primers ( approximately 3700 18-mers or approximately 2000 10-mers) to generate amplicons from all sequenced viruses. We then designed primer sets separately for each viral family, and for several diverse species such as foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) segments of influenza A virus, Norwalk virus, and HIV-1. We empirically demonstrated the application of the software with a multiplex set of 16 short (10 nt) primers designed to amplify the Poxviridae family to produce a specific amplicon from vaccinia virus.
Finding the amino acid mutations that affect the severity of influenza infections remains an open and challenging problem. Of special interest is better understanding how current circulating influenza strains could evolve into a new pandemic strain. Influenza proteomes from distinct viral phenotype classes were searched for class specific amino acid mutations conserved in past pandemics, using reverse engineered linear classifiers.
PriMux is a new software package for selecting multiplex compatible, degenerate primers and probes to detect diverse targets such as viruses. It requires no multiple sequence alignment, instead applying k-mer algorithms, hence it scales well for large target sets and saves user effort from curating sequences into alignable groups. PriMux has the capability to predict degenerate primers as well as probes suitable for TaqMan or other primer/probe triplet assay formats, or simply probes for microarray or other single-oligo assay formats. PriMux employs suffix array methods for efficient calculations on oligos 10-~100 nt in length. TaqMan® primers and probes for each segment of Rift Valley fever virus were designed using PriMux, and lab testing comparing signatures designed using PriMux versus those designed using traditional methods demonstrated equivalent or better sensitivity for the PriMux-designed signatures compared to traditional signatures. In addition, we used PriMux to design TaqMan® primers and probes for unalignable or poorly alignable groups of targets: that is, all segments of Rift Valley fever virus analyzed as a single target set of 198 sequences, or all 2863 Dengue virus genomes for all four serotypes available at the time of our analysis. The PriMux software is available as open source from http://sourceforge.net/projects/PriMux.
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