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1.  Highly sensitive amplicon-based transcript quantification by semiconductor sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):565.
Background
In clinical and basic research custom panels for transcript profiling are gaining importance because only project specific informative genes are interrogated. This approach reduces costs and complexity of data analysis and allows multiplexing of samples. Polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) based TaqMan assays have high sensitivity but suffer from a limited dynamic range and sample throughput. Hence, there is a gap for a technology able to measure expression of large gene sets in multiple samples.
Results
We have adapted a commercially available mRNA quantification assay (AmpliSeq-RNA) that measures mRNA abundance based on the frequency of PCR amplicons determined by high-throughput semiconductor sequencing. This approach allows for parallel, accurate quantification of about 1000 transcripts in multiple samples covering a dynamic range of five orders of magnitude. Using samples derived from a well-characterized stem cell differentiation model, we obtained a good correlation (r = 0.78) of transcript levels measured by AmpliSeq-RNA and DNA-microarrays. A significant portion of low abundant transcripts escapes detection by microarrays due to limited sensitivity. Standard quantitative RNA sequencing of the same samples confirms expression of low abundant genes with an overall correlation coefficient of r = 0.87. Based on digital AmpliSeq-RNA imaging we show switches of signaling cascades at four time points during differentiation of stem cells into cardiomyocytes.
Conclusions
The AmpliSeq-RNA technology adapted to high-throughput semiconductor sequencing allows robust transcript quantification based on amplicon frequency. Multiplexing of at least 900 parallel PCR reactions is feasible because sequencing-based quantification eliminates artefacts coming from off-target amplification. Using this approach, RNA quantification and detection of genetic variations can be performed in the same experiment.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-565
PMCID: PMC4101174  PMID: 24997760
Semiconductor RNA sequencing; Digital transcript imaging; Multiplex analysis
2.  Next generation sequencing gives an insight into the characteristics of highly selected breeds versus non-breed horses in the course of domestication 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):562.
Background
Domestication has shaped the horse and lead to a group of many different types. Some have been under strong human selection while others developed in close relationship with nature. The aim of our study was to perform next generation sequencing of breed and non-breed horses to provide an insight into genetic influences on selective forces.
Results
Whole genome sequencing of five horses of four different populations revealed 10,193,421 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 1,361,948 insertion/deletion polymorphisms (indels). In comparison to horse variant databases and previous reports, we were able to identify 3,394,883 novel SNPs and 868,525 novel indels. We analyzed the distribution of individual variants and found significant enrichment of private mutations in coding regions of genes involved in primary metabolic processes, anatomical structures, morphogenesis and cellular components in non-breed horses and in contrast to that private mutations in genes affecting cell communication, lipid metabolic process, neurological system process, muscle contraction, ion transport, developmental processes of the nervous system and ectoderm in breed horses.
Conclusions
Our next generation sequencing data constitute an important first step for the characterization of non-breed in comparison to breed horses and provide a large number of novel variants for future analyses. Functional annotations suggest specific variants that could play a role for the characterization of breed or non-breed horses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-562) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-562
PMCID: PMC4097168  PMID: 24996778
3.  A genome-wide association study of immune response traits in Canadian Holstein cattle 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):559.
Background
Breeding for enhanced immune response (IR) has been suggested as a tool to improve inherent animal health. Dairy cows with superior antibody-mediated (AMIR) and cell-mediated immune responses (CMIR) have been demonstrated to have a lower occurrence of many diseases including mastitis. Adaptive immune response traits are heritable, and it is, therefore, possible to breed for improved IR, decreasing the occurrence of disease. The objective of this study was to perform genome-wide association studies to determine differences in genetic profiles among Holstein cows classified as High or Low for AMIR and CMIR. From a total of 680 cows with immune response phenotypes, 163 cows for AMIR (81 High and 82 Low) and 140 for CMIR (75 High and 65 Low) were selectively genotyped using the Illumina Bovine SNP50 BeadChip. Results were validated using an unrelated population of 164 Holstein bulls IR phenotyped for AMIR and 146 for CMIR.
Results
A generalized quasi likelihood score method was used to determine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and chromosomal regions associated with immune response. After applying a 5% chromosomal false discovery rate, 186 SNPs were significantly associated with AMIR. The majority (93%) of significant markers were on chromosome 23, with a similar peak found in the bull population. For CMIR, 21 SNP markers remained significant. Candidate genes within 250,000 base pairs of significant SNPs were identified to determine biological pathways associated with AMIR and CMIR. Various pathways were identified, including the antigen processing and presentation pathway, important in host defense. Candidate genes included those within the bovine Major Histocompatability Complex such as BoLA-DQ, BoLA-DR and the non-classical BoLA-NC1 for AMIR and BoLA-DQ for CMIR, the complement system including C2 and C4 for AMIR and C1q for CMIR, and cytokines including IL-17A, IL17F for AMIR and IL-17RA for CMIR and tumor necrosis factor for both AMIR and CMIR. Additional genes associated with CMIR included galectins 1, 2 and 3, BCL2 and β-defensin.
Conclusions
The significant genetic variation associated with AMIR and CMIR in this study may imply feasibility to include immune response in genomic breeding indices as an approach to improve inherent animal health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-559
PMCID: PMC4099479  PMID: 24996426
Immune response; Dairy cattle; Health; Genome-wide association study; Antibody; Mastitis; Major histocompatability complex; Cytokine
4.  The accuracy of prediction of genomic selection in elite hybrid rye populations surpasses the accuracy of marker-assisted selection and is equally augmented by multiple field evaluation locations and test years 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):556.
Background
Marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genomic selection (GS) based on genome-wide marker data provide powerful tools to predict the genotypic value of selection material in plant breeding. However, case-to-case optimization of these approaches is required to achieve maximum accuracy of prediction with reasonable input.
Results
Based on extended field evaluation data for grain yield, plant height, starch content and total pentosan content of elite hybrid rye derived from testcrosses involving two bi-parental populations that were genotyped with 1048 molecular markers, we compared the accuracy of prediction of MAS and GS in a cross-validation approach. MAS delivered generally lower and in addition potentially over-estimated accuracies of prediction than GS by ridge regression best linear unbiased prediction (RR-BLUP). The grade of relatedness of the plant material included in the estimation and test sets clearly affected the accuracy of prediction of GS. Within each of the two bi-parental populations, accuracies differed depending on the relatedness of the respective parental lines. Across populations, accuracy increased when both populations contributed to estimation and test set. In contrast, accuracy of prediction based on an estimation set from one population to a test set from the other population was low despite that the two bi-parental segregating populations under scrutiny shared one parental line. Limiting the number of locations or years in field testing reduced the accuracy of prediction of GS equally, supporting the view that to establish robust GS calibration models a sufficient number of test locations is of similar importance as extended testing for more than one year.
Conclusions
In hybrid rye, genomic selection is superior to marker-assisted selection. However, it achieves high accuracies of prediction only for selection candidates closely related to the plant material evaluated in field trials, resulting in a rather pessimistic prognosis for distantly related material. Both, the numbers of evaluation locations and testing years in trials contribute equally to prediction accuracy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-556) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-556
PMCID: PMC4101178  PMID: 24997166
Marker-assisted selection; Genomic selection; Cross-validation; Hybrid rye; Relatedness; Evaluation locations; Testing years
5.  Design and development of exome capture sequencing for the domestic pig (Sus scrofa) 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):550.
Background
The domestic pig (Sus scrofa) is both an important livestock species and a model for biomedical research. Exome sequencing has accelerated identification of protein-coding variants underlying phenotypic traits in human and mouse. We aimed to develop and validate a similar resource for the pig.
Results
We developed probe sets to capture pig exonic sequences based upon the current Ensembl pig gene annotation supplemented with mapped expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and demonstrated proof-of-principle capture and sequencing of the pig exome in 96 pigs, encompassing 24 capture experiments. For most of the samples at least 10x sequence coverage was achieved for more than 90% of the target bases. Bioinformatic analysis of the data revealed over 236,000 high confidence predicted SNPs and over 28,000 predicted indels.
Conclusions
We have achieved coverage statistics similar to those seen with commercially available human and mouse exome kits. Exome capture in pigs provides a tool to identify coding region variation associated with production traits, including loss of function mutations which may explain embryonic and neonatal losses, and to improve genomic assemblies in the vicinity of protein coding genes in the pig.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-550) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-550
PMCID: PMC4099480  PMID: 24988888
6.  Genome-wide identification of the Fermentome; genes required for successful and timely completion of wine-like fermentation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):552.
Background
Wine fermentation is a harsh ecological niche to which wine yeast are well adapted. The initial high osmotic pressure and acidity of grape juice is followed by nutrient depletion and increasing concentrations of ethanol as the fermentation progresses. Yeast’s adaptation to these and many other environmental stresses, enables successful completion of high-sugar fermentations. Earlier transcriptomic and growth studies have tentatively identified genes important for high-sugar fermentation. Whilst useful, such studies did not consider extended growth (>5 days) in a temporally dynamic multi-stressor environment such as that found in many industrial fermentation processes. Here, we identify genes whose deletion has minimal or no effect on growth, but results in failure to achieve timely completion of the fermentation of a chemically defined grape juice with 200 g L−1 total sugar.
Results
Micro- and laboratory-scale experimental fermentations were conducted to identify 72 clones from ~5,100 homozygous diploid single-gene yeast deletants, which exhibited protracted fermentation in a high-sugar medium. Another 21 clones (related by gene function, but initially eliminated from the screen because of possible growth defects) were also included. Clustering and numerical enrichment of genes annotated to specific Gene Ontology (GO) terms highlighted the vacuole’s role in ion homeostasis and pH regulation, through vacuole acidification.
Conclusion
We have identified 93 genes whose deletion resulted in the duration of fermentation being at least 20% longer than the wild type. An extreme phenotype, ‘stuck’ fermentation, was also observed when DOA4, NPT1, PLC1, PTK2, SIN3, SSQ1, TPS1, TPS2 or ZAP1 were deleted. These 93 Fermentation Essential Genes (FEG) are required to complete an extended high-sugar (wine-like) fermentation. Their importance is highlighted in our Fermentation Relevant Yeast Genes (FRYG) database, generated from literature and the fermentation-relevant phenotypic characteristics of null mutants described in the Saccharomyces Genome Database. The 93-gene set is collectively referred to as the ‘Fermentome’. The fact that 10 genes highlighted in this study have not previously been linked to fermentation-related stresses, supports our experimental rationale. These findings, together with investigations of the genetic diversity of industrial strains, are crucial for understanding the mechanisms behind yeast’s response and adaptation to stresses imposed during high-sugar fermentations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-552) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-552
PMCID: PMC4099481  PMID: 24993029
7.  Global analysis of the ovarian microRNA transcriptome: implication for miR-2 and miR-133 regulation of oocyte meiosis in the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Crustacea:Decapoda) 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):547.
Background
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that downregulate gene expression by base pairing to the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Up to now, rare information for the miRNAs is available in decapod crustaceans. Our previous studies showed that many miRNA-binding sites are present in the 3′-UTR of the cyclin B in the Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis, suggesting that the translation or post-transcription of the crab cyclin B might be regulated by miRNAs during meiosis of oocyte.
Results
To identify ovarian miRNAs in the mitten crab, ovarian small RNAs were subjected to high-throughput sequencing using an Illumina Genome Analyzer. Of 14,631,328 reads, 55 known miRNAs representing 44 miRNA families were identified and 136 novel miRNA candidates were predicted. The 5′ seed sequences of four miRNAs, miR-2, miR-7, miR-79 and miR-133, were revealed to complementary to miRNA binding sites in 3′-UTR of the cyclin B. Quantitative real time PCR analysis showed that miR-2 and miR-133 are much more abundant in the first metaphase (MI) of meiosis than in germinal vesicle (GV) stage. But their increasing expressions are independent of induction of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Further expression analysis using double-luciferase reporter genes assay showed that miR-2 and miR-133 can downregulate the 3′-UTRs of the crab cyclin B gene, indicating that they could inhibit the translation of the cyclin B. Western blot analysis confirmed that cyclin B protein is completely disappeared in fertilized egg at the metaphase-anaphase transition of meiosis I, suggesting that miR-2 and miR-133 could function in destruction of cyclin B near the end of MI.
Conclusions
A high number of miRNAs have been identified from the crab ovarian small RNA transcriptom for the first time. miR-2 and miR-133 exhibit differential expression during the meiotic maturation of the oocytes and have activity in regulating the 3′-UTR of the crab cyclin B gene. This result is inconsistent with recent finding that miRNA activity is globally suppressed in mouse oocytes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-547) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-547
PMCID: PMC4092226  PMID: 24984770
Ovary; MicroRNA transcriptome; Oocyte meiosis; Chinese mitten crab
8.  A comprehensive analysis of piRNAs from adult human testis and their relationship with genes and mobile elements 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):545.
Background
Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a recently discovered class of small non-coding RNAs whose best-understood function is to repress mobile element (ME) activity in animal germline. To date, nearly all piRNA studies have been conducted in model organisms and little is known about piRNA diversity, target specificity and biological function in human.
Results
Here we performed high-throughput sequencing of piRNAs from three human adult testis samples. We found that more than 81% of the ~17 million putative piRNAs mapped to ~6,000 piRNA-producing genomic clusters using a relaxed definition of clusters. A set of human protein-coding genes produces a relatively large amount of putative piRNAs from their 3’UTRs, and are significantly enriched for certain biological processes, suggestive of non-random sampling by the piRNA biogenesis machinery. Up to 16% of putative piRNAs mapped to a few hundred annotated long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) genes, suggesting that some lncRNA genes can act as piRNA precursors. Among major ME families, young families of LTR and endogenous retroviruses have a greater association with putative piRNAs than other MEs. In addition, piRNAs preferentially mapped to specific regions in the consensus sequences of several ME (sub)families and some piRNA mapping peaks showed patterns consistent with the “ping-pong” cycle of piRNA targeting and amplification.
Conclusions
Overall our data provide a comprehensive analysis and improved annotation of human piRNAs in adult human testes and shed new light into the relationship of piRNAs with protein-coding genes, lncRNAs, and mobile genetic elements in human.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-545) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-545
PMCID: PMC4094622  PMID: 24981367
Human piRNA; piRNA cluster; Protein coding gene; Mobile element; High-throughput sequencing
9.  Evaluating the accuracy of AIM panels at quantifying genome ancestry 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):543.
Background
There is a growing interest among geneticists in developing panels of Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) aimed at measuring the biogeographical ancestry of individual genomes. The efficiency of these panels is commonly tested empirically by contrasting self-reported ancestry with the ancestry estimated from these panels.
Results
Using SNP data from HapMap we carried out a simulation-based study aimed at measuring the effect of SNP coverage on the estimation of genome ancestry. For three of the main continental groups (Africans, East Asians, Europeans) ancestry was first estimated using the whole HapMap SNP database as a proxy for global genome ancestry; these estimates were subsequently compared to those obtained from pre-designed AIM panels. Panels that consider >400 AIMs capture genome ancestry reasonably well, while those containing a few dozen AIMs show a large variability in ancestry estimates. Curiously, 500-1,000 SNPs selected at random from the genome provide an unbiased estimate of genome ancestry and perform as well as any AIM panel of similar size. In simulated scenarios of population admixture, panels containing few AIMs also show important deficiencies to measure genome ancestry.
Conclusions
The results indicate that the ability to estimate genome ancestry is strongly dependent on the number of AIMs used, and not primarily on their individual informativeness. Caution should be taken when making individual (medical, forensic, or anthropological) inferences based on AIMs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-543) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-543
PMCID: PMC4101176  PMID: 24981136
Genomics; SNPs; AIMs; Ancestry
10.  Cholesterol depletion induces transcriptional changes during skeletal muscle differentiation 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):544.
Background
Myoblasts undergo major changes in their plasma membrane during the initial steps of skeletal muscle differentiation, including major alterations in the distribution of cholesterol. Cholesterol is involved in crucial membrane functions, such as fluidity, and permeability, and in the organization of specialized membrane microdomains (or lipid rafts). We have previously shown that alterations in cholesterol levels in myoblasts induce changes in proliferation and differentiation, which involves activation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. In this study we used methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MbCD) to extract cholesterol from the membrane of chick skeletal muscle cells grown in culture. Using Ion Torrent-based sequencing, we compared the transcriptome of untreated and MbCD treated cells. Our aim was to define the genes that are expressed in these two conditions and relate their expression to cellular functions.
Results
Over 5.7 million sequences were obtained, representing 671.38 Mb of information. mRNA transcriptome profiling of myogenic cells after cholesterol depletion revealed alterations in transcripts involved in the regulation of apoptosis, focal adhesion, phagosome, tight junction, cell cycle, lysosome, adherens junctions, gap junctions, p53 signaling pathway, endocytosis, autophagy and actin cytoskeleton. Lim domain only protein 7 mRNA was found to be the highest up-regulated feature after cholesterol depletion.
Conclusions
This is the first study on the effects of membrane cholesterol depletion in mRNA expression in myogenic cells. Our data shows that alterations in the availability of plasma membrane cholesterol lead to transcriptional changes in myogenic cells. The knowledge of the genes involved in the cellular response to cholesterol depletion could contribute to our understanding of skeletal muscle differentiation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-544) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-544
PMCID: PMC4092213  PMID: 24981252
11.  High-resolution association mapping of number of teats in pigs reveals regions controlling vertebral development 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):542.
Background
Selection pressure on the number of teats has been applied to be able to provide enough teats for the increase in litter size in pigs. Although many QTL were reported, they cover large chromosomal regions and the functional mutations and their underlying biological mechanisms have not yet been identified. To gain a better insight in the genetic architecture of the trait number of teats, we performed a genome-wide association study by genotyping 936 Large White pigs using the Illumina PorcineSNP60 Beadchip. The analysis is based on deregressed breeding values to account for the dense family structure and a Bayesian approach for estimation of the SNP effects.
Results
The genome-wide association study resulted in 212 significant SNPs. In total, 39 QTL regions were defined including 170 SNPs on 13 Sus scrofa chromosomes (SSC) of which 5 regions on SSC7, 9, 10, 12 and 14 were highly significant. All significantly associated regions together explain 9.5% of the genetic variance where a QTL on SSC7 explains the most genetic variance (2.5%). For the five highly significant QTL regions, a search for candidate genes was performed. The most convincing candidate genes were VRTN and Prox2 on SSC7, MPP7, ARMC4, and MKX on SSC10, and vertebrae δ-EF1 on SSC12. All three QTL contain candidate genes which are known to be associated with vertebral development. In the new QTL regions on SSC9 and SSC14, no obvious candidate genes were identified.
Conclusions
Five major QTL were found at high resolution on SSC7, 9, 10, 12, and 14 of which the QTL on SSC9 and SSC14 are the first ones to be reported on these chromosomes. The significant SNPs found in this study could be used in selection to increase number of teats in pigs, so that the increasing number of live-born piglets can be nursed by the sow. This study points to common genetic mechanisms regulating number of vertebrae and number of teats.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-542) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-542
PMCID: PMC4092218  PMID: 24981054
Pigs; Number of teats; Vertebrae; Genome-wide association study; Somites; De-regressed breeding values
12.  ChIPseek, a web-based analysis tool for ChIP data 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):539.
Background
Chromatin is a dynamic but highly regulated structure. DNA-binding proteins such as transcription factors, epigenetic and chromatin modifiers are responsible for regulating specific gene expression pattern and may result in different phenotypes. To reveal the identity of the proteins associated with the specific region on DNA, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) is the most widely used technique. ChIP assay followed by next generation sequencing (ChIP-seq) or microarray (ChIP-chip) is often used to study patterns of protein-binding profiles in different cell types and in cancer samples on a genome-wide scale. However, only a limited number of bioinformatics tools are available for ChIP datasets analysis.
Results
We present ChIPseek, a web-based tool for ChIP data analysis providing summary statistics in graphs and offering several commonly demanded analyses. ChIPseek can provide statistical summary of the dataset including histogram of peak length distribution, histogram of distances to the nearest transcription start site (TSS), and pie chart (or bar chart) of genomic locations for users to have a comprehensive view on the dataset for further analysis. For examining the potential functions of peaks, ChIPseek provides peak annotation, visualization of peak genomic location, motif identification, sequence extraction, and comparison between datasets. Beyond that, ChIPseek also offers users the flexibility to filter peaks and re-analyze the filtered subset of peaks. ChIPseek supports 20 different genome assemblies for 12 model organisms including human, mouse, rat, worm, fly, frog, zebrafish, chicken, yeast, fission yeast, Arabidopsis, and rice. We use demo datasets to demonstrate the usage and intuitive user interface of ChIPseek.
Conclusions
ChIPseek provides a user-friendly interface for biologists to analyze large-scale ChIP data without requiring any programing skills. All the results and figures produced by ChIPseek can be downloaded for further analysis. The analysis tools built into ChIPseek, especially the ones for selecting and examine a subset of peaks from ChIP data, provides invaluable helps for exploring the high through-put data from either ChIP-seq or ChIP-chip. ChIPseek is freely available at http://chipseek.cgu.edu.tw.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-539
PMCID: PMC4092222  PMID: 24974934
ChIP-seq; ChIP-chip; Analysis tool; Web-services; Peak annotation; Motif identification; Filter tools; Comparison
13.  Distribution of segmental duplications in the context of higher order chromatin organisation of human chromosome 7 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):537.
Background
Segmental duplications (SDs) are not evenly distributed along chromosomes. The reasons for this biased susceptibility to SD insertion are poorly understood. Accumulation of SDs is associated with increased genomic instability, which can lead to structural variants and genomic disorders such as the Williams-Beuren syndrome. Despite these adverse effects, SDs have become fixed in the human genome. Focusing on chromosome 7, which is particularly rich in interstitial SDs, we have investigated the distribution of SDs in the context of evolution and the three dimensional organisation of the chromosome in order to gain insights into the mutual relationship of SDs and chromatin topology.
Results
Intrachromosomal SDs preferentially accumulate in those segments of chromosome 7 that are homologous to marmoset chromosome 2. Although this formerly compact segment has been re-distributed to three different sites during primate evolution, we can show by means of public data on long distance chromatin interactions that these three intervals, and consequently the paralogous SDs mapping to them, have retained their spatial proximity in the nucleus. Focusing on SD clusters implicated in the aetiology of the Williams-Beuren syndrome locus we demonstrate by cross-species comparison that these SDs have inserted at the borders of a topological domain and that they flank regions with distinct DNA conformation.
Conclusions
Our study suggests a link of nuclear architecture and the propagation of SDs across chromosome 7, either by promoting regional SD insertion or by contributing to the establishment of higher order chromatin organisation themselves. The latter could compensate for the high risk of structural rearrangements and thus may have contributed to their evolutionary fixation in the human genome.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-537) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-537
PMCID: PMC4092221  PMID: 24973960
Higher order chromatin organisation; Segmental duplication; Williams-Beuren syndrome; Chromosome evolution; Hi-C
14.  The complete genome of Burkholderia phenoliruptrix strain BR3459a, a symbiont of Mimosa flocculosa: highlighting the coexistence of symbiotic and pathogenic genes 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):535.
Background
Burkholderia species play an important ecological role related to xenobiosis, the promotion of plant growth, the biocontrol of agricultural diseases, and symbiotic and non-symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation. Here, we highlight our study as providing the first complete genome of a symbiotic strain of B. phenoliruptrix, BR3459a (=CLA1), which was originally isolated in Brazil from nodules of Mimosa flocculosa and is effective in fixing nitrogen in association with this leguminous species.
Results
Genomic comparisons with other pathogenic and non-pathogenic Burkholderia strains grouped B. phenoliruptrix BR3459a with plant-associated beneficial and environmental species, although it shares a high percentage of its gene repertoire with species of the B. cepacia complex (Bcc) and "pseudomallei" group. The genomic analyses showed that the bce genes involved in exopolysaccharide production are clustered together in the same genomic region, constituting part of the Group III cluster of non-pathogenic bacteria. Regarding environmental stresses, we highlight genes that might be relevant in responses to osmotic, heat, cold and general stresses. Furthermore, a number of particularly interesting genes involved in the machinery of the T1SS, T2SS, T3SS, T4ASS and T6SS secretion systems were identified. The xenobiotic properties of strain BR3459a were also investigated, and some enzymes involved in the degradation of styrene, nitrotoluene, dioxin, chlorocyclohexane, chlorobenzene and caprolactam were identified. The genomic analyses also revealed a large number of antibiotic-related genes, the most important of which were correlated with streptomycin and novobiocin. The symbiotic plasmid showed high sequence identity with the symbiotic plasmid of B. phymatum. Additionally, comparative analysis of 545 housekeeping genes among pathogenic and non-pathogenic Burkholderia species strongly supports the definition of a new genus for the second branch, which would include BR3459a.
Conclusions
The analyses of B. phenoliruptrix BR3459a showed key property of fixing nitrogen that together with genes for high tolerance to environmental stresses might explain a successful strategy of symbiosis in the tropics. The strain also harbours interesting sets of genes with biotechnological potential. However, the resemblance of certain genes to those of pathogenic Burkholderia raise concerns about large-scale applications in agriculture or for bioremediation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-535) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-535
PMCID: PMC4101177  PMID: 24972629
Burkholderia phenoliruptrix; Comparative genomics; Nitrogen-fixing and pathogenic Burkholderia
15.  Identification of cis-regulatory modules encoding temporal dynamics during development 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):534.
Background
Developmental transcriptional regulatory networks are circuits of transcription factors (TFs) and cis-acting DNA elements (Cis Regulatory Modules, CRMs) that dynamically control expression of downstream genes. Comprehensive knowledge of these networks is an essential step towards our understanding of developmental processes. However, this knowledge is mostly based on genome-wide mapping of transcription factor binding sites, and therefore requires prior knowledge regarding the TFs involved in the network.
Results
Focusing on how temporal control of gene expression is integrated within a developmental network, we applied an in silico approach to discover regulatory motifs and CRMs of co-expressed genes, with no prior knowledge about the involved TFs. Our aim was to identify regulatory motifs and potential trans-acting factors which regulate the temporal expression of co-expressed gene sets during a particular process of organogenesis, namely adult heart formation in Drosophila. Starting from whole genome tissue specific expression dynamics, we used an in silico method, cisTargetX, to predict TF binding motifs and CRMs. Potential Nuclear Receptor (NR) binding motifs were predicted to control the temporal expression profile of a gene set with increased expression levels during mid metamorphosis. The predicted CRMs and NR motifs were validated in vivo by reporter gene essays. In addition, we provide evidence that three NRs modulate CRM activity and behave as temporal regulators of target enhancers.
Conclusions
Our approach was successful in identifying CRMs and potential TFs acting on the temporal regulation of target genes. In addition, our results suggest a modular architecture of the regulatory machinery, in which the temporal and spatial regulation can be uncoupled and encoded by distinct CRMs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-534) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-534
PMCID: PMC4097164  PMID: 24972496
Cis-regulatory modules; Temporal control; Motif discovery; Transcription; Drosophila metamorphosis; Cardiogenesis
16.  Profile of whole blood gene expression following immune stimulation in a wild passerine 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):533.
Background
Immunoecology aims to explain variation among hosts in the strength and efficacy of immunological defences in natural populations. This requires development of biomarkers of the activation of the immune system so that they can be collected non-lethally and sampled from small amounts of easily obtainable tissue. We used transcriptome profiling in wild greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) to detect whole blood transcripts that most profoundly indicate upregulation of antimicrobial defences during acute phase response. The more general aim of this study was to obtain a functional annotation of a substantial portion of the greenfinch transcriptome that would enable to gain access to more specific genomic tools in subsequent studies. The birds received either bacterial lipopolysaccharide or saline injections and RNA-seq transcriptional profiling was performed 12 h after treatment to provide initial functional annotation of the transcriptome and assess whole blood response to immune stimulation.
Results
A total of 66,084 transcripts were obtained from de novo Trinty assembly, out of which 23,153 could be functionally annotated. Only 1,911 of these were significantly upregulated or downregulated. The manipulation caused marked upregulation of several transcripts related to immune activation. These included avian-specific antimicrobial agents avidin and gallinacin, but also some more general host response genes, such as serum amyloid A protein, lymphocyte antigen 75 and copper-transporting ATPase 1. However, links with avian immunity for most differentially regulated transcripts remained rather hypothetical, as a large set of differentially expressed transcripts lacked functional annotation.
Conclusions
This appears to be the first large scale transcriptional profiling of immune function in passerine birds. The transcriptomic data obtained suggest novel markers for the assessment of the immunological state of wild passerines. Characterizing the function of those possible novel infection markers would assist future vertebrate genome annotation. The extensive sequence information collected enables to identify possible target and housekeeping genes needed to gain access to more specific genomic tools in future studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-533) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-533
PMCID: PMC4092216  PMID: 24972896
17.  Unraveling the effect of genomic structural changes in the rhesus macaque - implications for the adaptive role of inversions 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):530.
Background
By reshuffling genomes, structural genomic reorganizations provide genetic variation on which natural selection can work. Understanding the mechanisms underlying this process has been a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. In this context, our purpose in this study is to characterize the genomic regions involved in structural rearrangements between human and macaque genomes and determine their influence on meiotic recombination as a way to explore the adaptive role of genome shuffling in mammalian evolution.
Results
We first constructed a highly refined map of the structural rearrangements and evolutionary breakpoint regions in the human and rhesus macaque genomes based on orthologous genes and whole-genome sequence alignments. Using two different algorithms, we refined the genomic position of known rearrangements previously reported by cytogenetic approaches and described new putative micro-rearrangements (inversions and indels) in both genomes. A detailed analysis of the rhesus macaque genome showed that evolutionary breakpoints are in gene-rich regions, being enriched in GO terms related to immune system. We also identified defense-response genes within a chromosome inversion fixed in the macaque lineage, underlying the relevance of structural genomic changes in evolutionary and/or adaptation processes. Moreover, by combining in silico and experimental approaches, we studied the recombination pattern of specific chromosomes that have suffered rearrangements between human and macaque lineages.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that adaptive alleles – in this case, genes involved in the immune response – might have been favored by genome rearrangements in the macaque lineage.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-530) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-530
PMCID: PMC4082625  PMID: 24969235
Genome shuffling; Inversions; Macaque; Recombination; Adaptation; Meiosis; Tandem repeats; Evolutionary breakpoints
18.  Conservation in first introns is positively associated with the number of exons within genes and the presence of regulatory epigenetic signals 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):526.
Background
Genomes of higher eukaryotes have surprisingly long first introns and in some cases, the first introns have been shown to have higher conservation relative to other introns. However, the functional relevance of conserved regions in the first introns is poorly understood. Leveraging the recent ENCODE data, here we assess potential regulatory roles of conserved regions in the first intron of human genes.
Results
We first show that relative to other downstream introns, the first introns are enriched for blocks of highly conserved sequences. We also found that the first introns are enriched for several chromatin marks indicative of active regulatory regions and this enrichment of regulatory marks is correlated with enrichment of conserved blocks in the first intron; the enrichments of conservation and regulatory marks in first intron are not entirely explained by a general, albeit variable, bias for certain marks toward the 5’ end of introns. Interestingly, conservation as well as proportions of active regulatory chromatin marks in the first intron of a gene correlates positively with the numbers of exons in the gene but the correlation is significantly weakened in second introns and negligible beyond the second intron. The first intron conservation is also positively correlated with the gene’s expression level in several human tissues. Finally, a gene-wise analysis shows significant enrichments of active chromatin marks in conserved regions of first introns, relative to the conserved regions in other introns of the same gene.
Conclusions
Taken together, our analyses strongly suggest that first introns are enriched for active transcriptional regulatory signals under purifying selection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-526) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-526
PMCID: PMC4085337  PMID: 24964727
19.  Comparative genomics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST239: distinct geographical variants in Beijing and Hong Kong 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):529.
Background
The ST239 lineage is a globally disseminated, multiply drug-resistant hospital-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA). We performed whole-genome sequencing of representative HA-MRSA isolates of the ST239 lineage from bacteremic patients in hospitals in Hong Kong (HK) and Beijing (BJ) and compared them with three published complete genomes of ST239, namely T0131, TW20 and JKD6008. Orthologous gene group (OGG) analyses of the Hong Kong and Beijing cluster strains were also undertaken.
Results
Homology analysis, based on highest-percentage nucleotide identity, indicated that HK isolates were closely related to TW20, whereas BJ isolates were more closely related to T0131 from Tianjin. Phylogenetic analysis, incorporating a total of 30 isolates from different continents, revealed that strains from HK clustered with TW20 into the ‘Asian clade’, whereas BJ isolates and T0131 clustered closely with strains of the ‘Turkish clade’ from Eastern Europe. HK isolates contained the typical φSPβ-like prophage with the SasX gene similar to TW20. In contrast, BJ isolates contained a unique 15 kb PT1028-like prophage but lacked φSPβ-like and φSA1 prophages. Besides distinct mobile genetic elements (MGE) in the two clusters, OGG analyses and whole-genome alignment of these clusters highlighted differences in genes located in the core genome, including the identification of single nucleotide deletions in several genes, resulting in frameshift mutations and the subsequent predicted truncation of encoded proteins involved in metabolism and antimicrobial resistance.
Conclusions
Comparative genomics, based on de novo assembly and deep sequencing of HK and BJ strains, revealed different origins of the ST239 lineage in northern and southern China and identified differences between the two clades at single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), core gene and MGE levels. The results suggest that ST239 strains isolated in Hong Kong since the 1990s belong to the Asian clade, present mainly in southern Asia, whereas those that emerged in northern China were of a distinct origin, reflecting the complexity of dissemination and the dynamic evolution of this ST239 lineage.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-529) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-529
PMCID: PMC4085340  PMID: 24969089
MRSA; Beijing; Hong Kong; Genome; Orthologous gene groups; ST239
20.  Bioinformatic analysis of ciliary transition zone proteins reveals insights into the evolution of ciliopathy networks 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):531.
Background
Cilia are critical for diverse functions, from motility to signal transduction, and ciliary dysfunction causes inherited diseases termed ciliopathies. Several ciliopathy proteins influence developmental signalling and aberrant signalling explains many ciliopathy phenotypes. Ciliary compartmentalisation is essential for function, and the transition zone (TZ), found at the proximal end of the cilium, has recently emerged as a key player in regulating this process. Ciliary compartmentalisation is linked to two protein complexes, the MKS and NPHP complexes, at the TZ that consist largely of ciliopathy proteins, leading to the hypothesis that ciliopathy proteins affect signalling by regulating ciliary content. However, there is no consensus on complex composition, formation, or the contribution of each component.
Results
Using bioinformatics, we examined the evolutionary patterns of TZ complex proteins across the extant eukaryotic supergroups, in both ciliated and non-ciliated organisms. We show that TZ complex proteins are restricted to the proteomes of ciliated organisms and identify a core conserved group (TMEM67, CC2D2A, B9D1, B9D2, AHI1 and a single TCTN, plus perhaps MKS1) which are present in >50% of all ciliate/flagellate organisms analysed in each supergroup. The smaller NPHP complex apparently evolved later than the larger MKS complex; this result may explain why RPGRIP1L, which forms the linker between the two complexes, is not one of the core conserved proteins. We also uncovered a striking correlation between lack of TZ proteins in non-seed land plants and loss of TZ-specific ciliary Y-links that link microtubule doublets to the membrane, consistent with the interpretation that these proteins are structural components of Y-links, or regulators of their formation.
Conclusions
This bioinformatic analysis represents the first systematic analysis of the cohort of TZ complex proteins across eukaryotic evolution. Given the near-ubiquity of only 6 proteins across ciliated eukaryotes, we propose that the MKS complex represents a dynamic complex built around these 6 proteins and implicated in Y-link formation and ciliary permeability.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-531) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-531
PMCID: PMC4092220  PMID: 24969356
(3–10); Ciliopathy; Cilia; Transition zone; Compartmentalisation; Permeability; MKS; NPHP; Evolution
21.  Examining the condition-specific antisense transcription in S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):521.
Background
Recent studies have demonstrated that antisense transcription is pervasive in budding yeasts and is conserved between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. paradoxus. While studies have examined antisense transcripts of S. cerevisiae for inverse expression in stationary phase and stress conditions, there is a lack of comprehensive analysis of the conditional specific evolutionary characteristics of antisense transcription between yeasts. Here we attempt to decipher the evolutionary relationship of antisense transcription of S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus cultured in mid log, early stationary phase, and heat shock conditions.
Results
Massively parallel sequencing of sequence strand-specific cDNA library was performed from RNA isolated from S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus cells at mid log, stationary phase and heat shock conditions. We performed this analysis using a stringent set of sense ORF transcripts and non-coding antisense transcripts that were expressed in all the three conditions, as well as in both species. We found the divergence of the condition-specific anti-sense transcription levels is higher than that in condition-specific sense transcription levels, suggesting that antisense transcription played a potential role in adapting to different conditions. Furthermore, 43% of sense-antisense pairs demonstrated inverse expression in either stationary phase or heat shock conditions relative to the mid log conditions. In addition, a large part of sense-antisense pairs (67%), which demonstrated inverse expression, were highly conserved between the two species. Our results were also concordant with known functional analyses from previous studies and with the evidence from mechanistic experiments of role of individual genes.
Conclusions
By performing a genome-scale computational analysis, we have tried to evaluate the role of antisense transcription in mediating sense transcription under different environmental conditions across and in two related yeast species. Our findings suggest that antisense regulation could control expression of the corresponding sense transcript via inverse expression under a range of different circumstances.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-521) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-521
PMCID: PMC4082610  PMID: 24965678
Antisense RNA; Evolution; Budding yeast; Stress
22.  Thermal plasticity of the miRNA transcriptome during Senegalese sole development 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):525.
Background
Several miRNAs are known to control myogenesis in vertebrates. Some of them are specifically expressed in muscle while others have a broader tissue expression but are still involved in establishing the muscle phenotype. In teleosts, water temperature markedly affects embryonic development and larval growth. It has been previously shown that higher embryonic temperatures promoted faster development and increased size of Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) larvae relatively to a lower temperature. The role of miRNAs in thermal-plasticity of growth is hitherto unknown. Hence, we have used high-throughput SOLiD sequencing to determine potential changes in the miRNA transcriptome in Senegalese sole embryos that were incubated at 15°C or 21°C until hatching and then reared at a common temperature of 21°C.
Results
We have identified 320 conserved miRNAs in Senegalese sole, of which 48 had not been previously described in teleosts. mir-17a-5p, mir-26a, mir-130c, mir-206-3p, mir-181a-5p, mir-181a-3p and mir-199a-5p expression levels were further validated by RT- qPCR. The majority of miRNAs were dynamically expressed during early development, with peaks of expression at pre-metamorphosis or metamorphosis. Also, a higher incubation temperature (21°C) was associated with expression of some miRNAs positively related with growth (e.g., miR-17a, miR-181-5p and miR-206) during segmentation and at hatching. Target prediction revealed that these miRNAs may regulate myogenesis through MAPK and mTOR pathways. Expression of miRNAs involved in lipid metabolism and energy production (e.g., miR-122) also differed between temperatures. A miRNA that can potentially target calpain (miR-181-3p), and therefore negatively regulate myogenesis, was preferentially expressed during segmentation at 15°C compared to 21°C.
Conclusions
Temperature has a strong influence on expression of miRNAs during embryonic and larval development in fish. Higher expression levels of miR-17a, miR-181-5p and miR-206-3p and down-regulation of miR-181a-3p at 21°C may promote myogenesis and are in agreement with previous studies in Senegalese sole, which reported enhanced growth at higher embryonic temperatures compared to 15°C. Moreover, miRNAs involved in lipid metabolism and energy production may also contribute to increased larval growth at 21°C compared to 15°C. Taken together, our data indicate that miRNAs may play a role in temperature-induced phenotypic plasticity of growth in teleosts.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-525) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-525
PMCID: PMC4097167  PMID: 24966054
Solea senegalensis; miRNA; Embryonic temperature; Myogenesis; Growth; Epigenetics
23.  Evaluation and optimisation of indel detection workflows for ion torrent sequencing of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):516.
Background
The Ion Torrent PGM is a popular benchtop sequencer that shows promise in replacing conventional Sanger sequencing as the gold standard for mutation detection. Despite the PGM’s reported high accuracy in calling single nucleotide variations, it tends to generate many false positive calls in detecting insertions and deletions (indels), which may hinder its utility for clinical genetic testing.
Results
Recently, the proprietary analytical workflow for the Ion Torrent sequencer, Torrent Suite (TS), underwent a series of upgrades. We evaluated three major upgrades of TS by calling indels in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Our analysis revealed that false negative indels could be generated by TS under both default calling parameters and parameters adjusted for maximum sensitivity. However, indel calling with the same data using the open source variant callers, GATK and SAMtools showed that false negatives could be minimised with the use of appropriate bioinformatics analysis. Furthermore, we identified two variant calling measures, Quality-by-Depth (QD) and VARiation of the Width of gaps and inserts (VARW), which substantially reduced false positive indels, including non-homopolymer associated errors without compromising sensitivity. In our best case scenario that involved the TMAP aligner and SAMtools, we achieved 100% sensitivity, 99.99% specificity and 29% False Discovery Rate (FDR) in indel calling from all 23 samples, which is a good performance for mutation screening using PGM.
Conclusions
New versions of TS, BWA and GATK have shown improvements in indel calling sensitivity and specificity over their older counterpart. However, the variant caller of TS exhibits a lower sensitivity than GATK and SAMtools. Our findings demonstrate that although indel calling from PGM sequences may appear to be noisy at first glance, proper computational indel calling analysis is able to maximize both the sensitivity and specificity at the single base level, paving the way for the usage of this technology for future clinical genetic testing.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-516) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-516
PMCID: PMC4079958  PMID: 24962530
Mutation detection; Indels; Next generation sequencing; BRCA1; BRCA2; Ion Torrent; Variant calling; Workflow
24.  Global analysis of ZNF217 chromatin occupancy in the breast cancer cell genome reveals an association with ERalpha 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):520.
Background
The ZNF217 gene, encoding a C2H2 zinc finger protein, is located at 20q13 and found amplified and overexpressed in greater than 20% of breast tumors. Current studies indicate ZNF217 drives tumorigenesis, yet the regulatory mechanisms of ZNF217 are largely unknown. Because ZNF217 associates with chromatin modifying enzymes, we postulate that ZNF217 functions to regulate specific gene signaling networks. Here, we present a large-scale functional genomic analysis of ZNF217, which provides insights into the regulatory role of ZNF217 in MCF7 breast cancer cells.
Results
ChIP-seq analysis reveals that the majority of ZNF217 binding sites are located at distal regulatory regions associated with the chromatin marks H3K27ac and H3K4me1. Analysis of ChIP-seq transcription factor binding sites shows clustering of ZNF217 with FOXA1, GATA3 and ERalpha binding sites, supported by the enrichment of corresponding motifs for the ERalpha-associated cis-regulatory sequences. ERalpha expression highly correlates with ZNF217 in lysates from breast tumors (n = 15), and ERalpha co-precipitates ZNF217 and its binding partner CtBP2 from nuclear extracts. Transcriptome profiling following ZNF217 depletion identifies differentially expressed genes co-bound by ZNF217 and ERalpha; gene ontology suggests a role for ZNF217-ERalpha in expression programs associated with ER+ breast cancer studies found in the Molecular Signature Database. Data-mining of expression data from breast cancer patients correlates ZNF217 with reduced overall survival.
Conclusions
Our genome-wide ZNF217 data suggests a functional role for ZNF217 at ERalpha target genes. Future studies will investigate whether ZNF217 expression contributes to aberrant ERalpha regulatory events in ER+ breast cancer and hormone resistance.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-520) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-520
PMCID: PMC4082627  PMID: 24962896
Breast cancer; ZNF217; ERalpha; GATA3; FOXA1; ChIP-seq; RNA-seq; Endocrine resistance
25.  A 24-48 h fed Amblyomma americanum tick saliva immuno-proteome 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):518.
Background
Multiple tick saliva proteins, the majority of which are unknown, confer tick resistance in repeatedly infested animals. The objective of this study was to identify the 24-48 h fed Amblyomma americanum tick saliva immuno-proteome. The 24-48 h tick-feeding phase is critical to tick parasitism as it precedes important events in tick biology, blood meal feeding and disease agent transmission. Fed male, 24 and 96 h fed female phage display cDNA expression libraries were biopanned using rabbit antibodies to 24 and 48 h fed A. americanum female tick saliva proteins. Biopanned immuno-cDNA libraries were subjected to next generation sequencing, de novo assembly, and bioinformatic analysis.
Results
More than 800 transcripts that code for 24-48 h fed A. americanum immuno-proteins are described. Of the 895 immuno-proteins, 52% (464/895) were provisionally identified based on matches in GenBank. Of these, ~19% (86/464) show high level of identity to other tick hypothetical proteins, and the rest include putative proteases (serine, cysteine, leukotriene A-4 hydrolase, carboxypeptidases, and metalloproteases), protease inhibitors (serine and cysteine protease inhibitors, tick carboxypeptidase inhibitor), and transporters and/or ligand binding proteins (histamine binding/lipocalin, fatty acid binding, calreticulin, hemelipoprotein, IgG binding protein, ferritin, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, and evasin). Others include enzymes (glutathione transferase, cytochrome oxidase, protein disulfide isomerase), ribosomal proteins, and those of miscellaneous functions (histamine release factor, selenoproteins, tetraspanin, defensin, heat shock proteins).
Conclusions
Data here demonstrate that A. americanum secretes a complex cocktail of immunogenic tick saliva proteins during the first 24-48 h of feeding. Of significance, previously validated immunogenic tick saliva proteins including AV422 protein, calreticulin, histamine release factor, histamine binding/lipocalins, selenoproteins, and paramyosin were identified in this screen, supporting the specificity of the approach in this study. While descriptive, this study opens opportunities for in-depth tick feeding physiology studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-518) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-518
PMCID: PMC4099483  PMID: 24962723
Amblyomma americanum; Tick saliva proteins; Biopanning; Immuno-proteome

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