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1.  The Vertebrate Genome Annotation browser 10 years on 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(Database issue):D771-D779.
The Vertebrate Genome Annotation (VEGA) database (http://vega.sanger.ac.uk), initially designed as a community resource for browsing manual annotation of the human genome project, now contains five reference genomes (human, mouse, zebrafish, pig and rat). Its introduction pages have been redesigned to enable the user to easily navigate between whole genomes and smaller multi-species haplotypic regions of interest such as the major histocompatibility complex. The VEGA browser is unique in that annotation is updated via the Human And Vertebrate Analysis aNd Annotation (HAVANA) update track every 2 weeks, allowing single gene updates to be made publicly available to the research community quickly. The user can now access different haplotypic subregions more easily, such as those from the non-obese diabetic mouse, and display them in a more intuitive way using the comparative tools. We also highlight how the user can browse manually annotated updated patches from the Genome Reference Consortium (GRC).
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1241
PMCID: PMC3964964  PMID: 24316575
2.  Current status and new features of the Consensus Coding Sequence database  
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(Database issue):D865-D872.
The Consensus Coding Sequence (CCDS) project (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/CCDS/) is a collaborative effort to maintain a dataset of protein-coding regions that are identically annotated on the human and mouse reference genome assemblies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Ensembl genome annotation pipelines. Identical annotations that pass quality assurance tests are tracked with a stable identifier (CCDS ID). Members of the collaboration, who are from NCBI, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of California Santa Cruz, provide coordinated and continuous review of the dataset to ensure high-quality CCDS representations. We describe here the current status and recent growth in the CCDS dataset, as well as recent changes to the CCDS web and FTP sites. These changes include more explicit reporting about the NCBI and Ensembl annotation releases being compared, new search and display options, the addition of biologically descriptive information and our approach to representing genes for which support evidence is incomplete. We also present a summary of recent and future curation targets.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1059
PMCID: PMC3965069  PMID: 24217909
3.  Structural and functional annotation of the porcine immunome 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:332.
Background
The domestic pig is known as an excellent model for human immunology and the two species share many pathogens. Susceptibility to infectious disease is one of the major constraints on swine performance, yet the structure and function of genes comprising the pig immunome are not well-characterized. The completion of the pig genome provides the opportunity to annotate the pig immunome, and compare and contrast pig and human immune systems.
Results
The Immune Response Annotation Group (IRAG) used computational curation and manual annotation of the swine genome assembly 10.2 (Sscrofa10.2) to refine the currently available automated annotation of 1,369 immunity-related genes through sequence-based comparison to genes in other species. Within these genes, we annotated 3,472 transcripts. Annotation provided evidence for gene expansions in several immune response families, and identified artiodactyl-specific expansions in the cathelicidin and type 1 Interferon families. We found gene duplications for 18 genes, including 13 immune response genes and five non-immune response genes discovered in the annotation process. Manual annotation provided evidence for many new alternative splice variants and 8 gene duplications. Over 1,100 transcripts without porcine sequence evidence were detected using cross-species annotation. We used a functional approach to discover and accurately annotate porcine immune response genes. A co-expression clustering analysis of transcriptomic data from selected experimental infections or immune stimulations of blood, macrophages or lymph nodes identified a large cluster of genes that exhibited a correlated positive response upon infection across multiple pathogens or immune stimuli. Interestingly, this gene cluster (cluster 4) is enriched for known general human immune response genes, yet contains many un-annotated porcine genes. A phylogenetic analysis of the encoded proteins of cluster 4 genes showed that 15% exhibited an accelerated evolution as compared to 4.1% across the entire genome.
Conclusions
This extensive annotation dramatically extends the genome-based knowledge of the molecular genetics and structure of a major portion of the porcine immunome. Our complementary functional approach using co-expression during immune response has provided new putative immune response annotation for over 500 porcine genes. Our phylogenetic analysis of this core immunome cluster confirms rapid evolutionary change in this set of genes, and that, as in other species, such genes are important components of the pig’s adaptation to pathogen challenge over evolutionary time. These comprehensive and integrated analyses increase the value of the porcine genome sequence and provide important tools for global analyses and data-mining of the porcine immune response.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-332
PMCID: PMC3658956  PMID: 23676093
Immune response; Porcine; Genome annotation; Co-expression network; Phylogenetic analysis; Accelerated evolution
4.  Sequencing and comparative analysis of the gorilla MHC genomic sequence 
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes play a critical role in vertebrate immune response and because the MHC is linked to a significant number of auto-immune and other diseases it is of great medical interest. Here we describe the clone-based sequencing and subsequent annotation of the MHC region of the gorilla genome. Because the MHC is subject to extensive variation, both structural and sequence-wise, it is not readily amenable to study in whole genome shotgun sequence such as the recently published gorilla genome. The variation of the MHC also makes it of evolutionary interest and therefore we analyse the sequence in the context of human and chimpanzee. In our comparisons with human and re-annotated chimpanzee MHC sequence we find that gorilla has a trimodular RCCX cluster, versus the reference human bimodular cluster, and additional copies of Class I (pseudo)genes between Gogo-K and Gogo-A (the orthologues of HLA-K and -A). We also find that Gogo-H (and Patr-H) is coding versus the HLA-H pseudogene and, conversely, there is a Gogo-DQB2 pseudogene versus the HLA-DQB2 coding gene. Our analysis, which is freely available through the VEGA genome browser, provides the research community with a comprehensive dataset for comparative and evolutionary research of the MHC.
doi:10.1093/database/bat011
PMCID: PMC3626023  PMID: 23589541
5.  Sequencing and characterization of the FVB/NJ mouse genome 
Genome Biology  2012;13(8):R72.
Background
The FVB/NJ mouse strain has its origins in a colony of outbred Swiss mice established in 1935 at the National Institutes of Health. Mice derived from this source were selectively bred for sensitivity to histamine diphosphate and the B strain of Friend leukemia virus. This led to the establishment of the FVB/N inbred strain, which was subsequently imported to the Jackson Laboratory and designated FVB/NJ. The FVB/NJ mouse has several distinct characteristics, such as large pronuclear morphology, vigorous reproductive performance, and consistently large litters that make it highly desirable for transgenic strain production and general purpose use.
Results
Using next-generation sequencing technology, we have sequenced the genome of FVB/NJ to approximately 50-fold coverage, and have generated a comprehensive catalog of single nucleotide polymorphisms, small insertion/deletion polymorphisms, and structural variants, relative to the reference C57BL/6J genome. We have examined a previously identified quantitative trait locus for atherosclerosis susceptibility on chromosome 10 and identify several previously unknown candidate causal variants.
Conclusion
The sequencing of the FVB/NJ genome and generation of this catalog has increased the number of known variant sites in FVB/NJ by a factor of four, and will help accelerate the identification of the precise molecular variants that are responsible for phenotypes observed in this widely used strain.
doi:10.1186/gb-2012-13-8-r72
PMCID: PMC3491372  PMID: 22916792
6.  Tracking and coordinating an international curation effort for the CCDS Project 
The Consensus Coding Sequence (CCDS) collaboration involves curators at multiple centers with a goal of producing a conservative set of high quality, protein-coding region annotations for the human and mouse reference genome assemblies. The CCDS data set reflects a ‘gold standard’ definition of best supported protein annotations, and corresponding genes, which pass a standard series of quality assurance checks and are supported by manual curation. This data set supports use of genome annotation information by human and mouse researchers for effective experimental design, analysis and interpretation. The CCDS project consists of analysis of automated whole-genome annotation builds to identify identical CDS annotations, quality assurance testing and manual curation support. Identical CDS annotations are tracked with a CCDS identifier (ID) and any future change to the annotated CDS structure must be agreed upon by the collaborating members. CCDS curation guidelines were developed to address some aspects of curation in order to improve initial annotation consistency and to reduce time spent in discussing proposed annotation updates. Here, we present the current status of the CCDS database and details on our procedures to track and coordinate our efforts. We also present the relevant background and reasoning behind the curation standards that we have developed for CCDS database treatment of transcripts that are nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) candidates, for transcripts containing upstream open reading frames, for identifying the most likely translation start codons and for the annotation of readthrough transcripts. Examples are provided to illustrate the application of these guidelines.
Database URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/CCDS/CcdsBrowse.cgi
doi:10.1093/database/bas008
PMCID: PMC3308164  PMID: 22434842
7.  Meeting report: a workshop on Best Practices in Genome Annotation 
Efforts to annotate the genomes of a wide variety of model organisms are currently carried out by sequencing centers, model organism databases and academic/institutional laboratories around the world. Different annotation methods and tools have been developed over time to meet the needs of biologists faced with the task of annotating biological data. While standardized methods are essential for consistent curation within each annotation group, methods and tools can differ between groups, especially when the groups are curating different organisms. Biocurators from several institutes met at the Third International Biocuration Conference in Berlin, Germany, April 2009 and hosted the ‘Best Practices in Genome Annotation: Inference from Evidence’ workshop to share their strategies, pipelines, standards and tools. This article documents the material presented in the workshop.
doi:10.1093/database/baq001
PMCID: PMC2860899  PMID: 20428316
8.  Discovery of Candidate Disease Genes in ENU–Induced Mouse Mutants by Large-Scale Sequencing, Including a Splice-Site Mutation in Nucleoredoxin 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(12):e1000759.
An accurate and precisely annotated genome assembly is a fundamental requirement for functional genomic analysis. Here, the complete DNA sequence and gene annotation of mouse Chromosome 11 was used to test the efficacy of large-scale sequencing for mutation identification. We re-sequenced the 14,000 annotated exons and boundaries from over 900 genes in 41 recessive mutant mouse lines that were isolated in an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutation screen targeted to mouse Chromosome 11. Fifty-nine sequence variants were identified in 55 genes from 31 mutant lines. 39% of the lesions lie in coding sequences and create primarily missense mutations. The other 61% lie in noncoding regions, many of them in highly conserved sequences. A lesion in the perinatal lethal line l11Jus13 alters a consensus splice site of nucleoredoxin (Nxn), inserting 10 amino acids into the resulting protein. We conclude that point mutations can be accurately and sensitively recovered by large-scale sequencing, and that conserved noncoding regions should be included for disease mutation identification. Only seven of the candidate genes we report have been previously targeted by mutation in mice or rats, showing that despite ongoing efforts to functionally annotate genes in the mammalian genome, an enormous gap remains between phenotype and function. Our data show that the classical positional mapping approach of disease mutation identification can be extended to large target regions using high-throughput sequencing.
Author Summary
Here we show that tiny DNA lesions can be found in huge amounts of DNA sequence data, similar to finding a needle in a haystack. These lesions identify many new candidates for disease genes associated with birth defects, infertility, and growth. Further, our data suggest that we know very little about what mammalian genes do. Sequencing methods are becoming cheaper and faster. Therefore, our strategy, shown here for the first time, will become commonplace.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000759
PMCID: PMC2782131  PMID: 20011118
9.  The DNA sequence of the human X chromosome 
Ross, Mark T. | Grafham, Darren V. | Coffey, Alison J. | Scherer, Steven | McLay, Kirsten | Muzny, Donna | Platzer, Matthias | Howell, Gareth R. | Burrows, Christine | Bird, Christine P. | Frankish, Adam | Lovell, Frances L. | Howe, Kevin L. | Ashurst, Jennifer L. | Fulton, Robert S. | Sudbrak, Ralf | Wen, Gaiping | Jones, Matthew C. | Hurles, Matthew E. | Andrews, T. Daniel | Scott, Carol E. | Searle, Stephen | Ramser, Juliane | Whittaker, Adam | Deadman, Rebecca | Carter, Nigel P. | Hunt, Sarah E. | Chen, Rui | Cree, Andrew | Gunaratne, Preethi | Havlak, Paul | Hodgson, Anne | Metzker, Michael L. | Richards, Stephen | Scott, Graham | Steffen, David | Sodergren, Erica | Wheeler, David A. | Worley, Kim C. | Ainscough, Rachael | Ambrose, Kerrie D. | Ansari-Lari, M. Ali | Aradhya, Swaroop | Ashwell, Robert I. S. | Babbage, Anne K. | Bagguley, Claire L. | Ballabio, Andrea | Banerjee, Ruby | Barker, Gary E. | Barlow, Karen F. | Barrett, Ian P. | Bates, Karen N. | Beare, David M. | Beasley, Helen | Beasley, Oliver | Beck, Alfred | Bethel, Graeme | Blechschmidt, Karin | Brady, Nicola | Bray-Allen, Sarah | Bridgeman, Anne M. | Brown, Andrew J. | Brown, Mary J. | Bonnin, David | Bruford, Elspeth A. | Buhay, Christian | Burch, Paula | Burford, Deborah | Burgess, Joanne | Burrill, Wayne | Burton, John | Bye, Jackie M. | Carder, Carol | Carrel, Laura | Chako, Joseph | Chapman, Joanne C. | Chavez, Dean | Chen, Ellson | Chen, Guan | Chen, Yuan | Chen, Zhijian | Chinault, Craig | Ciccodicola, Alfredo | Clark, Sue Y. | Clarke, Graham | Clee, Chris M. | Clegg, Sheila | Clerc-Blankenburg, Kerstin | Clifford, Karen | Cobley, Vicky | Cole, Charlotte G. | Conquer, Jen S. | Corby, Nicole | Connor, Richard E. | David, Robert | Davies, Joy | Davis, Clay | Davis, John | Delgado, Oliver | DeShazo, Denise | Dhami, Pawandeep | Ding, Yan | Dinh, Huyen | Dodsworth, Steve | Draper, Heather | Dugan-Rocha, Shannon | Dunham, Andrew | Dunn, Matthew | Durbin, K. James | Dutta, Ireena | Eades, Tamsin | Ellwood, Matthew | Emery-Cohen, Alexandra | Errington, Helen | Evans, Kathryn L. | Faulkner, Louisa | Francis, Fiona | Frankland, John | Fraser, Audrey E. | Galgoczy, Petra | Gilbert, James | Gill, Rachel | Glöckner, Gernot | Gregory, Simon G. | Gribble, Susan | Griffiths, Coline | Grocock, Russell | Gu, Yanghong | Gwilliam, Rhian | Hamilton, Cerissa | Hart, Elizabeth A. | Hawes, Alicia | Heath, Paul D. | Heitmann, Katja | Hennig, Steffen | Hernandez, Judith | Hinzmann, Bernd | Ho, Sarah | Hoffs, Michael | Howden, Phillip J. | Huckle, Elizabeth J. | Hume, Jennifer | Hunt, Paul J. | Hunt, Adrienne R. | Isherwood, Judith | Jacob, Leni | Johnson, David | Jones, Sally | de Jong, Pieter J. | Joseph, Shirin S. | Keenan, Stephen | Kelly, Susan | Kershaw, Joanne K. | Khan, Ziad | Kioschis, Petra | Klages, Sven | Knights, Andrew J. | Kosiura, Anna | Kovar-Smith, Christie | Laird, Gavin K. | Langford, Cordelia | Lawlor, Stephanie | Leversha, Margaret | Lewis, Lora | Liu, Wen | Lloyd, Christine | Lloyd, David M. | Loulseged, Hermela | Loveland, Jane E. | Lovell, Jamieson D. | Lozado, Ryan | Lu, Jing | Lyne, Rachael | Ma, Jie | Maheshwari, Manjula | Matthews, Lucy H. | McDowall, Jennifer | McLaren, Stuart | McMurray, Amanda | Meidl, Patrick | Meitinger, Thomas | Milne, Sarah | Miner, George | Mistry, Shailesh L. | Morgan, Margaret | Morris, Sidney | Müller, Ines | Mullikin, James C. | Nguyen, Ngoc | Nordsiek, Gabriele | Nyakatura, Gerald | O’Dell, Christopher N. | Okwuonu, Geoffery | Palmer, Sophie | Pandian, Richard | Parker, David | Parrish, Julia | Pasternak, Shiran | Patel, Dina | Pearce, Alex V. | Pearson, Danita M. | Pelan, Sarah E. | Perez, Lesette | Porter, Keith M. | Ramsey, Yvonne | Reichwald, Kathrin | Rhodes, Susan | Ridler, Kerry A. | Schlessinger, David | Schueler, Mary G. | Sehra, Harminder K. | Shaw-Smith, Charles | Shen, Hua | Sheridan, Elizabeth M. | Shownkeen, Ratna | Skuce, Carl D. | Smith, Michelle L. | Sotheran, Elizabeth C. | Steingruber, Helen E. | Steward, Charles A. | Storey, Roy | Swann, R. Mark | Swarbreck, David | Tabor, Paul E. | Taudien, Stefan | Taylor, Tineace | Teague, Brian | Thomas, Karen | Thorpe, Andrea | Timms, Kirsten | Tracey, Alan | Trevanion, Steve | Tromans, Anthony C. | d’Urso, Michele | Verduzco, Daniel | Villasana, Donna | Waldron, Lenee | Wall, Melanie | Wang, Qiaoyan | Warren, James | Warry, Georgina L. | Wei, Xuehong | West, Anthony | Whitehead, Siobhan L. | Whiteley, Mathew N. | Wilkinson, Jane E. | Willey, David L. | Williams, Gabrielle | Williams, Leanne | Williamson, Angela | Williamson, Helen | Wilming, Laurens | Woodmansey, Rebecca L. | Wray, Paul W. | Yen, Jennifer | Zhang, Jingkun | Zhou, Jianling | Zoghbi, Huda | Zorilla, Sara | Buck, David | Reinhardt, Richard | Poustka, Annemarie | Rosenthal, André | Lehrach, Hans | Meindl, Alfons | Minx, Patrick J. | Hillier, LaDeana W. | Willard, Huntington F. | Wilson, Richard K. | Waterston, Robert H. | Rice, Catherine M. | Vaudin, Mark | Coulson, Alan | Nelson, David L. | Weinstock, George | Sulston, John E. | Durbin, Richard | Hubbard, Tim | Gibbs, Richard A. | Beck, Stephan | Rogers, Jane | Bentley, David R.
Nature  2005;434(7031):325-337.
The human X chromosome has a unique biology that was shaped by its evolution as the sex chromosome shared by males and females. We have determined 99.3% of the euchromatic sequence of the X chromosome. Our analysis illustrates the autosomal origin of the mammalian sex chromosomes, the stepwise process that led to the progressive loss of recombination between X and Y, and the extent of subsequent degradation of the Y chromosome. LINE1 repeat elements cover one-third of the X chromosome, with a distribution that is consistent with their proposed role as way stations in the process of X-chromosome inactivation. We found 1,098 genes in the sequence, of which 99 encode proteins expressed in testis and in various tumour types. A disproportionately high number of mendelian diseases are documented for the X chromosome. Of this number, 168 have been explained by mutations in 113 X-linked genes, which in many cases were characterized with the aid of the DNA sequence.
doi:10.1038/nature03440
PMCID: PMC2665286  PMID: 15772651
10.  DNA sequence of human chromosome 17 and analysis of rearrangement in the human lineage 
Zody, Michael C. | Garber, Manuel | Adams, David J. | Sharpe, Ted | Harrow, Jennifer | Lupski, James R. | Nicholson, Christine | Searle, Steven M. | Wilming, Laurens | Young, Sarah K. | Abouelleil, Amr | Allen, Nicole R. | Bi, Weimin | Bloom, Toby | Borowsky, Mark L. | Bugalter, Boris E. | Butler, Jonathan | Chang, Jean L. | Chen, Chao-Kung | Cook, April | Corum, Benjamin | Cuomo, Christina A. | de Jong, Pieter J. | DeCaprio, David | Dewar, Ken | FitzGerald, Michael | Gilbert, James | Gibson, Richard | Gnerre, Sante | Goldstein, Steven | Grafham, Darren V. | Grocock, Russell | Hafez, Nabil | Hagopian, Daniel S. | Hart, Elizabeth | Norman, Catherine Hosage | Humphray, Sean | Jaffe, David B. | Jones, Matt | Kamal, Michael | Khodiyar, Varsha K. | LaButti, Kurt | Laird, Gavin | Lehoczky, Jessica | Liu, Xiaohong | Lokyitsang, Tashi | Loveland, Jane | Lui, Annie | Macdonald, Pendexter | Major, John E. | Matthews, Lucy | Mauceli, Evan | McCarroll, Steven A. | Mihalev, Atanas H. | Mudge, Jonathan | Nguyen, Cindy | Nicol, Robert | O'Leary, Sinéad B. | Osoegawa, Kazutoyo | Schwartz, David C. | Shaw-Smith, Charles | Stankiewicz, Pawel | Steward, Charles | Swarbreck, David | Venkataraman, Vijay | Whittaker, Charles A. | Yang, Xiaoping | Zimmer, Andrew R. | Bradley, Allan | Hubbard, Tim | Birren, Bruce W. | Rogers, Jane | Lander, Eric S. | Nusbaum, Chad
Nature  2006;440(7087):1045-1049.
Chromosome 17 is unusual among the human chromosomes in many respects. It is the largest human autosome with orthology to only a single mouse chromosome1, mapping entirely to the distal half of mouse chromosome 11. Chromosome 17 is rich in protein-coding genes, having the second highest gene density in the genome2,3. It is also enriched in segmental duplications, ranking third in density among the autosomes4. Here we report a finished sequence for human chromosome 17, as well as a structural comparison with the finished sequence for mouse chromosome 11, the first finished mouse chromosome. Comparison of the orthologous regions reveals striking differences. In contrast to the typical pattern seen in mammalian evolution5,6, the human sequence has undergone extensive intrachromosomal rearrangement, whereas the mouse sequence has been remarkably stable. Moreover, although the human sequence has a high density of segmental duplication, the mouse sequence has a very low density. Notably, these segmental duplications correspond closely to the sites of structural rearrangement, demonstrating a link between duplication and rearrangement. Examination of the main classes of duplicated segments provides insight into the dynamics underlying expansion of chromosome-specific, low-copy repeats in the human genome.
doi:10.1038/nature04689
PMCID: PMC2610434  PMID: 16625196
11.  Dynamic instability of the major urinary protein gene family revealed by genomic and phenotypic comparisons between C57 and 129 strain mice 
Genome Biology  2008;9(5):R91.
Targeted sequencing, manual genome annotation, phylogenetic analysis and mass spectrometry were used to characterise major urinary proteins (MUPs) and the Mup clusters of two strains of inbred mice.
Background
The major urinary proteins (MUPs) of Mus musculus domesticus are deposited in urine in large quantities, where they bind and release pheromones and also provide an individual 'recognition signal' via their phenotypic polymorphism. Whilst important information about MUP functionality has been gained in recent years, the gene cluster is poorly studied in terms of structure, genic polymorphism and evolution.
Results
We combine targeted sequencing, manual genome annotation and phylogenetic analysis to compare the Mup clusters of C57BL/6J and 129 strains of mice. We describe organizational heterogeneity within both clusters: a central array of cassettes containing Mup genes highly similar at the protein level, flanked by regions containing Mup genes displaying significantly elevated divergence. Observed genomic rearrangements in all regions have likely been mediated by endogenous retroviral elements. Mup loci with coding sequences that differ between the strains are identified - including a gene/pseudogene pair - suggesting that these inbred lineages exhibit variation that exists in wild populations. We have characterized the distinct MUP profiles in the urine of both strains by mass spectrometry. The total MUP phenotype data is reconciled with our genomic sequence data, matching all proteins identified in urine to annotated genes.
Conclusion
Our observations indicate that the MUP phenotypic polymorphism observed in wild populations results from a combination of Mup gene turnover coupled with currently unidentified mechanisms regulating gene expression patterns. We propose that the structural heterogeneity described within the cluster reflects functional divergence within the Mup gene family.
doi:10.1186/gb-2008-9-5-r91
PMCID: PMC2441477  PMID: 18507838
12.  Variation analysis and gene annotation of eight MHC haplotypes: The MHC Haplotype Project 
Immunogenetics  2008;60(1):1-18.
The human major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is contained within about 4 Mb on the short arm of chromosome 6 and is recognised as the most variable region in the human genome. The primary aim of the MHC Haplotype Project was to provide a comprehensively annotated reference sequence of a single, human leukocyte antigen-homozygous MHC haplotype and to use it as a basis against which variations could be assessed from seven other similarly homozygous cell lines, representative of the most common MHC haplotypes in the European population. Comparison of the haplotype sequences, including four haplotypes not previously analysed, resulted in the identification of >44,000 variations, both substitutions and indels (insertions and deletions), which have been submitted to the dbSNP database. The gene annotation uncovered haplotype-specific differences and confirmed the presence of more than 300 loci, including over 160 protein-coding genes. Combined analysis of the variation and annotation datasets revealed 122 gene loci with coding substitutions of which 97 were non-synonymous. The haplotype (A3-B7-DR15; PGF cell line) designated as the new MHC reference sequence, has been incorporated into the human genome assembly (NCBI35 and subsequent builds), and constitutes the largest single-haplotype sequence of the human genome to date. The extensive variation and annotation data derived from the analysis of seven further haplotypes have been made publicly available and provide a framework and resource for future association studies of all MHC-associated diseases and transplant medicine.
doi:10.1007/s00251-007-0262-2
PMCID: PMC2206249  PMID: 18193213
Major histocompatibility complex; Haplotype; Polymorphism; Retroelement; Genetic predisposition to disease; Population genetics
13.  Pseudo–Messenger RNA: Phantoms of the Transcriptome 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(4):e23.
The mammalian transcriptome harbours shadowy entities that resist classification and analysis. In analogy with pseudogenes, we define pseudo–messenger RNA to be RNA molecules that resemble protein-coding mRNA, but cannot encode full-length proteins owing to disruptions of the reading frame. Using a rigorous computational pipeline, which rules out sequencing errors, we identify 10,679 pseudo–messenger RNAs (approximately half of which are transposon-associated) among the 102,801 FANTOM3 mouse cDNAs: just over 10% of the FANTOM3 transcriptome. These comprise not only transcribed pseudogenes, but also disrupted splice variants of otherwise protein-coding genes. Some may encode truncated proteins, only a minority of which appear subject to nonsense-mediated decay. The presence of an excess of transcripts whose only disruptions are opal stop codons suggests that there are more selenoproteins than currently estimated. We also describe compensatory frameshifts, where a segment of the gene has changed frame but remains translatable. In summary, we survey a large class of non-standard but potentially functional transcripts that are likely to encode genetic information and effect biological processes in novel ways. Many of these transcripts do not correspond cleanly to any identifiable object in the genome, implying fundamental limits to the goal of annotating all functional elements at the genome sequence level.
Synopsis
Our understanding of genetics has been dominated by the so-called central dogma: the theory that DNA is transcribed into RNA, which is translated via the genetic code to produce proteins. Thus, DNA is the inherited store of genetic information, proteins are the end products that carry out cellular functions, and RNA is a kind of passive intermediary, hence termed messenger RNA. However, evidence has been accumulating that RNA plays a much more dynamic role than this. This study provides an unprejudiced survey of “pathological” RNA molecules, which resemble protein-coding RNA except that they contain violations of the genetic code. These pseudo–messenger RNAs constitute a surprisingly large fraction of all transcripts, as much as 10%. These ghostly molecules have always been present in RNA surveys, but have stayed below the radar because they do not cleanly correspond to annotated elements in DNA, i.e., “genes”. Their prevalence demonstrates that RNA is a distinct continent that cannot be fully understood as a mirror of DNA or proteins.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020023
PMCID: PMC1449882  PMID: 16683022
14.  Genetic Analysis of Completely Sequenced Disease-Associated MHC Haplotypes Identifies Shuffling of Segments in Recent Human History 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(1):e9.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is recognised as one of the most important genetic regions in relation to common human disease. Advancement in identification of MHC genes that confer susceptibility to disease requires greater knowledge of sequence variation across the complex. Highly duplicated and polymorphic regions of the human genome such as the MHC are, however, somewhat refractory to some whole-genome analysis methods. To address this issue, we are employing a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) cloning strategy to sequence entire MHC haplotypes from consanguineous cell lines as part of the MHC Haplotype Project. Here we present 4.25 Mb of the human haplotype QBL (HLA-A26-B18-Cw5-DR3-DQ2) and compare it with the MHC reference haplotype and with a second haplotype, COX (HLA-A1-B8-Cw7-DR3-DQ2), that shares the same HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, and -DQB1 alleles. We have defined the complete gene, splice variant, and sequence variation contents of all three haplotypes, comprising over 259 annotated loci and over 20,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Certain coding sequences vary significantly between different haplotypes, making them candidates for functional and disease-association studies. Analysis of the two DR3 haplotypes allowed delineation of the shared sequence between two HLA class II–related haplotypes differing in disease associations and the identification of at least one of the sites that mediated the original recombination event. The levels of variation across the MHC were similar to those seen for other HLA-disparate haplotypes, except for a 158-kb segment that contained the HLA-DRB1, -DQA1, and -DQB1 genes and showed very limited polymorphism compatible with identity-by-descent and relatively recent common ancestry (<3,400 generations). These results indicate that the differential disease associations of these two DR3 haplotypes are due to sequence variation outside this central 158-kb segment, and that shuffling of ancestral blocks via recombination is a potential mechanism whereby certain DR–DQ allelic combinations, which presumably have favoured immunological functions, can spread across haplotypes and populations.
Synopsis
A group of genes involved in the human immune system are contained within a surprisingly short section of Chromosome 6 that has long been recognised as the most important genomic region in relation to disease susceptibility. Discerning the actual genes playing a role in disease has proved difficult mainly because the region contains numerous genes and is also the most genetically variable in the genome. Within this jungle of variation, the research reported here has identified and characterised a discrete segment shared by two individuals that is virtually devoid of variation—a polymorphism desert. The conservation of this segment amongst a background of extreme variation suggests both an ancient origin and genetic exchange in early human history. These observations are important in evolutionary terms as they reveal a potential mechanism whereby certain genetic segments associated with favourable immune functions have spread across human populations. Within medical terms this may also explain contrasting disease risks in people from different ethnic backgrounds. Public access to these data will help researchers find specific variants conferring disease susceptibility or resistance and, as in this report, rule out regions for conveying specificity to certain diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0020009
PMCID: PMC1331980  PMID: 16440057
15.  Integrative Annotation of 21,037 Human Genes Validated by Full-Length cDNA Clones 
Imanishi, Tadashi | Itoh, Takeshi | Suzuki, Yutaka | O'Donovan, Claire | Fukuchi, Satoshi | Koyanagi, Kanako O | Barrero, Roberto A | Tamura, Takuro | Yamaguchi-Kabata, Yumi | Tanino, Motohiko | Yura, Kei | Miyazaki, Satoru | Ikeo, Kazuho | Homma, Keiichi | Kasprzyk, Arek | Nishikawa, Tetsuo | Hirakawa, Mika | Thierry-Mieg, Jean | Thierry-Mieg, Danielle | Ashurst, Jennifer | Jia, Libin | Nakao, Mitsuteru | Thomas, Michael A | Mulder, Nicola | Karavidopoulou, Youla | Jin, Lihua | Kim, Sangsoo | Yasuda, Tomohiro | Lenhard, Boris | Eveno, Eric | Suzuki, Yoshiyuki | Yamasaki, Chisato | Takeda, Jun-ichi | Gough, Craig | Hilton, Phillip | Fujii, Yasuyuki | Sakai, Hiroaki | Tanaka, Susumu | Amid, Clara | Bellgard, Matthew | de Fatima Bonaldo, Maria | Bono, Hidemasa | Bromberg, Susan K | Brookes, Anthony J | Bruford, Elspeth | Carninci, Piero | Chelala, Claude | Couillault, Christine | de Souza, Sandro J. | Debily, Marie-Anne | Devignes, Marie-Dominique | Dubchak, Inna | Endo, Toshinori | Estreicher, Anne | Eyras, Eduardo | Fukami-Kobayashi, Kaoru | R. Gopinath, Gopal | Graudens, Esther | Hahn, Yoonsoo | Han, Michael | Han, Ze-Guang | Hanada, Kousuke | Hanaoka, Hideki | Harada, Erimi | Hashimoto, Katsuyuki | Hinz, Ursula | Hirai, Momoki | Hishiki, Teruyoshi | Hopkinson, Ian | Imbeaud, Sandrine | Inoko, Hidetoshi | Kanapin, Alexander | Kaneko, Yayoi | Kasukawa, Takeya | Kelso, Janet | Kersey, Paul | Kikuno, Reiko | Kimura, Kouichi | Korn, Bernhard | Kuryshev, Vladimir | Makalowska, Izabela | Makino, Takashi | Mano, Shuhei | Mariage-Samson, Regine | Mashima, Jun | Matsuda, Hideo | Mewes, Hans-Werner | Minoshima, Shinsei | Nagai, Keiichi | Nagasaki, Hideki | Nagata, Naoki | Nigam, Rajni | Ogasawara, Osamu | Ohara, Osamu | Ohtsubo, Masafumi | Okada, Norihiro | Okido, Toshihisa | Oota, Satoshi | Ota, Motonori | Ota, Toshio | Otsuki, Tetsuji | Piatier-Tonneau, Dominique | Poustka, Annemarie | Ren, Shuang-Xi | Saitou, Naruya | Sakai, Katsunaga | Sakamoto, Shigetaka | Sakate, Ryuichi | Schupp, Ingo | Servant, Florence | Sherry, Stephen | Shiba, Rie | Shimizu, Nobuyoshi | Shimoyama, Mary | Simpson, Andrew J | Soares, Bento | Steward, Charles | Suwa, Makiko | Suzuki, Mami | Takahashi, Aiko | Tamiya, Gen | Tanaka, Hiroshi | Taylor, Todd | Terwilliger, Joseph D | Unneberg, Per | Veeramachaneni, Vamsi | Watanabe, Shinya | Wilming, Laurens | Yasuda, Norikazu | Yoo, Hyang-Sook | Stodolsky, Marvin | Makalowski, Wojciech | Go, Mitiko | Nakai, Kenta | Takagi, Toshihisa | Kanehisa, Minoru | Sakaki, Yoshiyuki | Quackenbush, John | Okazaki, Yasushi | Hayashizaki, Yoshihide | Hide, Winston | Chakraborty, Ranajit | Nishikawa, Ken | Sugawara, Hideaki | Tateno, Yoshio | Chen, Zhu | Oishi, Michio | Tonellato, Peter | Apweiler, Rolf | Okubo, Kousaku | Wagner, Lukas | Wiemann, Stefan | Strausberg, Robert L | Isogai, Takao | Auffray, Charles | Nomura, Nobuo | Gojobori, Takashi | Sugano, Sumio
PLoS Biology  2004;2(6):e162.
The human genome sequence defines our inherent biological potential; the realization of the biology encoded therein requires knowledge of the function of each gene. Currently, our knowledge in this area is still limited. Several lines of investigation have been used to elucidate the structure and function of the genes in the human genome. Even so, gene prediction remains a difficult task, as the varieties of transcripts of a gene may vary to a great extent. We thus performed an exhaustive integrative characterization of 41,118 full-length cDNAs that capture the gene transcripts as complete functional cassettes, providing an unequivocal report of structural and functional diversity at the gene level. Our international collaboration has validated 21,037 human gene candidates by analysis of high-quality full-length cDNA clones through curation using unified criteria. This led to the identification of 5,155 new gene candidates. It also manifested the most reliable way to control the quality of the cDNA clones. We have developed a human gene database, called the H-Invitational Database (H-InvDB; http://www.h-invitational.jp/). It provides the following: integrative annotation of human genes, description of gene structures, details of novel alternative splicing isoforms, non-protein-coding RNAs, functional domains, subcellular localizations, metabolic pathways, predictions of protein three-dimensional structure, mapping of known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), identification of polymorphic microsatellite repeats within human genes, and comparative results with mouse full-length cDNAs. The H-InvDB analysis has shown that up to 4% of the human genome sequence (National Center for Biotechnology Information build 34 assembly) may contain misassembled or missing regions. We found that 6.5% of the human gene candidates (1,377 loci) did not have a good protein-coding open reading frame, of which 296 loci are strong candidates for non-protein-coding RNA genes. In addition, among 72,027 uniquely mapped SNPs and insertions/deletions localized within human genes, 13,215 nonsynonymous SNPs, 315 nonsense SNPs, and 452 indels occurred in coding regions. Together with 25 polymorphic microsatellite repeats present in coding regions, they may alter protein structure, causing phenotypic effects or resulting in disease. The H-InvDB platform represents a substantial contribution to resources needed for the exploration of human biology and pathology.
An international team has systematically validated and annotated just over 21,000 human genes using full-length cDNA, thereby providing a valuable new resource for the human genetics community
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020162
PMCID: PMC393292  PMID: 15103394

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