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1.  Sequencing of the Dutch Elm Disease Fungus Genome Using the Roche/454 GS-FLX Titanium System in a Comparison of Multiple Genomics Core Facilities 
As part of the DNA Sequencing Research Group of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, we have tested the reproducibility of the Roche/454 GS-FLX Titanium System at five core facilities. Experience with the Roche/454 system ranged from <10 to >340 sequencing runs performed. All participating sites were supplied with an aliquot of a common DNA preparation and were requested to conduct sequencing at a common loading condition. The evaluation of sequencing yield and accuracy metrics was assessed at a single site. The study was conducted using a laboratory strain of the Dutch elm disease fungus Ophiostoma novo-ulmi strain H327, an ascomycete, vegetatively haploid fungus with an estimated genome size of 30–50 Mb. We show that the Titanium System is reproducible, with some variation detected in loading conditions, sequencing yield, and homopolymer length accuracy. We demonstrate that reads shorter than the theoretical minimum length are of lower overall quality and not simply truncated reads. The O. novo-ulmi H327 genome assembly is 31.8 Mb and is comprised of eight chromosome-length linear scaffolds, a circular mitochondrial conti of 66.4 kb, and a putative 4.2-kb linear plasmid. We estimate that the nuclear genome encodes 8613 protein coding genes, and the mitochondrion encodes 15 genes and 26 tRNAs.
doi:10.7171/jbt.12-2401-005
PMCID: PMC3526337  PMID: 23542132
massively parallel DNA sequencing; fungal genomics; Ophiostoma novo-ulmi
2.  Sequencing of the Dutch Elm Disease Fungus Genome Using the Roche/454 GS-FLX Titanium System in a Comparison of Multiple Genomics Core Facilities 
As part of the DNA Sequencing Research Group of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, we have tested the reproducibility of the Roche/454 GS-FLX Titanium System at five core facilities. Experience with the Roche/454 system ranged from <10 to >340 sequencing runs performed. All participating sites were supplied with an aliquot of a common DNA preparation and were requested to conduct sequencing at a common loading condition. The evaluation of sequencing yield and accuracy metrics was assessed at a single site. The study was conducted using a laboratory strain of the Dutch elm disease fungus Ophiostoma novo-ulmi strain H327, an ascomycete, vegetatively haploid fungus with an estimated genome size of 30–50 Mb. We show that the Titanium System is reproducible, with some variation detected in loading conditions, sequencing yield, and homopolymer length accuracy. We demonstrate that reads shorter than the theoretical minimum length are of lower overall quality and not simply truncated reads. The O. novo-ulmi H327 genome assembly is 31.8 Mb and is comprised of eight chromosome-length linear scaffolds, a circular mitochondrial conti of 66.4 kb, and a putative 4.2-kb linear plasmid. We estimate that the nuclear genome encodes 8613 protein coding genes, and the mitochondrion encodes 15 genes and 26 tRNAs.
doi:10.7171/jbt.12-2401-005
PMCID: PMC3526337  PMID: 23542132
massively parallel DNA sequencing; fungal genomics; Ophiostoma novo-ulmi
3.  In Vivo Anti-HIV Activity of the Heparin-Activated Serine Protease Inhibitor Antithrombin III Encapsulated in Lymph-Targeting Immunoliposomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48234.
Endogenous serine protease inhibitors (serpins) are anti-inflammatory mediators with multiple biologic functions. Several serpins have been reported to modulate HIV pathogenesis, or exhibit potent anti-HIV activity in vitro, but the efficacy of serpins as therapeutic agents for HIV in vivo has not yet been demonstrated. In the present study, we show that heparin-activated antithrombin III (hep-ATIII), a member of the serpin family, significantly inhibits lentiviral replication in a non-human primate model. We further demonstrate greater than one log10 reduction in plasma viremia in the nonhuman primate system by loading of hep-ATIII into anti-HLA-DR immunoliposomes, which target tissue reservoirs of viral replication. We also demonstrate the utility of hep-ATIIII as a potential salvage agent for HIV strains resistant to standard anti-retroviral treatment. Finally, we applied gene-expression arrays to analyze hep-ATIII-induced host cell interactomes and found that downstream of hep-ATIII, two independent gene networks were modulated by host factors prostaglandin synthetase-2, ERK1/2 and NFκB. Ultimately, understanding how serpins, such as hep-ATIII, regulate host responses during HIV infection may reveal new avenues for therapeutic intervention.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048234
PMCID: PMC3487854  PMID: 23133620
4.  Short RNA half-lives in the slow-growing marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus 
Genome Biology  2010;11(5):R54.
Background
RNA turnover plays an important role in the gene regulation of microorganisms and influences their speed of acclimation to environmental changes. We investigated whole-genome RNA stability of Prochlorococcus, a relatively slow-growing marine cyanobacterium doubling approximately once a day, which is extremely abundant in the oceans.
Results
Using a combination of microarrays, quantitative RT-PCR and a new fitting method for determining RNA decay rates, we found a median half-life of 2.4 minutes and a median decay rate of 2.6 minutes for expressed genes - twofold faster than that reported for any organism. The shortest transcript half-life (33 seconds) was for a gene of unknown function, while some of the longest (approximately 18 minutes) were for genes with high transcript levels. Genes organized in operons displayed intriguing mRNA decay patterns, such as increased stability, and delayed onset of decay with greater distance from the transcriptional start site. The same phenomenon was observed on a single probe resolution for genes greater than 2 kb.
Conclusions
We hypothesize that the fast turnover relative to the slow generation time in Prochlorococcus may enable a swift response to environmental changes through rapid recycling of nucleotides, which could be advantageous in nutrient poor oceans. Our growing understanding of RNA half-lives will help us interpret the growing bank of metatranscriptomic studies of wild populations of Prochlorococcus. The surprisingly complex decay patterns of large transcripts reported here, and the method developed to describe them, will open new avenues for the investigation and understanding of RNA decay for all organisms.
doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-5-r54
PMCID: PMC2897979  PMID: 20482874
5.  Choreography of the Transcriptome, Photophysiology, and Cell Cycle of a Minimal Photoautotroph, Prochlorococcus 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(4):e5135.
The marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus MED4 has the smallest genome and cell size of all known photosynthetic organisms. Like all phototrophs at temperate latitudes, it experiences predictable daily variation in available light energy which leads to temporal regulation and partitioning of key cellular processes. To better understand the tempo and choreography of this minimal phototroph, we studied the entire transcriptome of the cell over a simulated daily light-dark cycle, and placed it in the context of diagnostic physiological and cell cycle parameters. All cells in the culture progressed through their cell cycles in synchrony, thus ensuring that our measurements reflected the behavior of individual cells. Ninety percent of the annotated genes were expressed, and 80% had cyclic expression over the diel cycle. For most genes, expression peaked near sunrise or sunset, although more subtle phasing of gene expression was also evident. Periodicities of the transcripts of genes involved in physiological processes such as in cell cycle progression, photosynthesis, and phosphorus metabolism tracked the timing of these activities relative to the light-dark cycle. Furthermore, the transitions between photosynthesis during the day and catabolic consumption of energy reserves at night— metabolic processes that share some of the same enzymes — appear to be tightly choreographed at the level of RNA expression. In-depth investigation of these patterns identified potential regulatory proteins involved in balancing these opposing pathways. Finally, while this analysis has not helped resolve how a cell with so little regulatory capacity, and a ‘deficient’ circadian mechanism, aligns its cell cycle and metabolism so tightly to a light-dark cycle, it does provide us with a valuable framework upon which to build when the Prochlorococcus proteome and metabolome become available.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005135
PMCID: PMC2663038  PMID: 19352512
6.  Identification of Optimal Protocols for Sequencing Difficult Templates: Results of the 2008 ABRF DNA Sequencing Research Group Difficult Template Study 2008 
The 2008 ABRF DNA Sequencing Research Group (DSRG) difficult template sequencing study was designed to identify a general set of guidelines that would constitute the best approaches for sequencing difficult templates. This was a continuation of previous DSRG difficult template studies performed in 1996, 1997, and 2003. The distinguishing factors in the present study were the number of DNA templates used, the number of different types of difficult regions tested, and the inclusion of a follow-up phase of the study to identify optimal protocols for each type of difficult template. DNA templates with associated sequencing primers were distributed to participating laboratories and each laboratory returned their sequencing results along with descriptions of the experimental conditions used. The data were analyzed and the best protocols were identified for each difficult template. This information was subsequently distributed to the participating laboratories for a second round of sequencing to evaluate the general applicability of the optimized protocols. The average improvements in sequencing results were 11% overall, with a range of −25% to +43% using the optimized protocols. The full results from this study are presented here and they demonstrate that general experimental protocols and common additives can be used to improve the sequencing success for many difficult templates.
PMCID: PMC2685608  PMID: 19503623
difficult template; DNA sequencing; research group study
7.  Genome-Wide Analysis of Light Sensing in Prochlorococcus▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(22):7796-7806.
Prochlorococcus MED4 has, with a total of only 1,716 annotated protein-coding genes, the most compact genome of a free-living photoautotroph. Although light quality and quantity play an important role in regulating the growth rate of this organism in its natural habitat, the majority of known light-sensing proteins are absent from its genome. To explore the potential for light sensing in this phototroph, we measured its global gene expression pattern in response to different light qualities and quantities by using high-density Affymetrix microarrays. Though seven different conditions were tested, only blue light elicited a strong response. In addition, hierarchical clustering revealed that the responses to high white light and blue light were very similar and different from that of the lower-intensity white light, suggesting that the actual sensing of high light is mediated via a blue-light receptor. Bacterial cryptochromes seem to be good candidates for the blue-light sensors. The existence of a signaling pathway for the redox state of the photosynthetic electron transport chain was suggested by the presence of genes that responded similarly to red and blue light as well as genes that responded to the addition of DCMU [3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-N-N′-dimethylurea], a specific inhibitor of photosystem II-mediated electron transport.
doi:10.1128/JB.01097-06
PMCID: PMC1636322  PMID: 16980454
8.  Global gene expression of Prochlorococcus ecotypes in response to changes in nitrogen availability 
Nitrogen (N) often limits biological productivity in the oceanic gyres where Prochlorococcus is the most abundant photosynthetic organism. The Prochlorococcus community is composed of strains, such as MED4 and MIT9313, that have different N utilization capabilities and that belong to ecotypes with different depth distributions. An interstrain comparison of how Prochlorococcus responds to changes in ambient nitrogen is thus central to understanding its ecology. We quantified changes in MED4 and MIT9313 global mRNA expression, chlorophyll fluorescence, and photosystem II photochemical efficiency (Fv/Fm) along a time series of increasing N starvation. In addition, the global expression of both strains growing in ammonium-replete medium was compared to expression during growth on alternative N sources. There were interstrain similarities in N regulation such as the activation of a putative NtcA regulon during N stress. There were also important differences between the strains such as in the expression patterns of carbon metabolism genes, suggesting that the two strains integrate N and C metabolism in fundamentally different ways.
doi:10.1038/msb4100087
PMCID: PMC1682016  PMID: 17016519
cyanobacteria; interstrain; nitrogen; Prochlorococcus; transcription
9.  UV hyper-resistance in Prochlorococcus MED4 results from a single base pair deletion just upstream of an operon encoding nudix hydrolase and photolyase 
Environmental Microbiology  2010;12(7):1978-1988.
Exposure to solar radiation can cause mortality in natural communities of pico-phytoplankton, both at the surface and to a depth of at least 30 m. DNA damage is a significant cause of death, mainly due to cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer formation, which can be lethal if not repaired. While developing a UV mutagenesis protocol for the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus, we isolated a UV-hyper-resistant variant of high light-adapted strain MED4. The hyper-resistant strain was constitutively upregulated for expression of the mutT-phrB operon, encoding nudix hydrolase and photolyase, both of which are involved in repair of DNA damage that can be caused by UV light. Photolyase (PhrB) breaks pyrimidine dimers typically caused by UV exposure, using energy from visible light in the process known as photoreactivation. Nudix hydrolase (MutT) hydrolyses 8-oxo-dGTP, an aberrant form of GTP that results from oxidizing conditions, including UV radiation, thus impeding mispairing and mutagenesis by preventing incorporation of the aberrant form into DNA. These processes are error-free, in contrast to error-prone SOS dark repair systems that are widespread in bacteria. The UV-hyper-resistant strain contained only a single mutation: a 1 bp deletion in the intergenic region directly upstream of the mutT-phrB operon. Two subsequent enrichments for MED4 UV-hyper-resistant strains from MED4 wild-type cultures gave rise to strains containing this same 1 bp deletion, affirming its connection to the hyper-resistant phenotype. These results have implications for Prochlorococcus DNA repair mechanisms, genome stability and possibly lysogeny.
doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02203.x
PMCID: PMC2955971  PMID: 20345942
10.  Chlorosis 
British Medical Journal  1950;1(4659):962.
PMCID: PMC2037516
11.  Acute Throat 
British Medical Journal  1950;1(4657):843-844.
PMCID: PMC2037393
13.  An Unusual Case of Congenital Pyloric Stenosis 
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PMCID: PMC1975062  PMID: 21031799

Results 1-13 (13)