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1.  Comparison of library preparation methods reveals their impact on interpretation of metatranscriptomic data 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):912.
Metatranscriptomics is rapidly expanding our knowledge of gene expression patterns and pathway dynamics in natural microbial communities. However, to cope with the challenges of environmental sampling, various rRNA removal and cDNA synthesis methods have been applied in published microbial metatranscriptomic studies, making comparisons arduous. Whereas efficiency and biases introduced by rRNA removal methods have been relatively well explored, the impact of cDNA synthesis and library preparation on transcript abundance remains poorly characterized. The evaluation of potential biases introduced at this step is challenging for metatranscriptomic samples, where data analyses are complex, for example because of the lack of reference genomes.
Herein, we tested four cDNA synthesis and Illumina library preparation protocols on a simplified mixture of total RNA extracted from four bacterial species. In parallel, RNA from each microbe was tested individually. cDNA synthesis was performed on rRNA depleted samples using the TruSeq Stranded Total RNA Library Preparation, the SMARTer Stranded RNA-Seq, or the Ovation RNA-Seq V2 System. A fourth experiment was made directly from total RNA using the Encore Complete Prokaryotic RNA-Seq. The obtained sequencing data were analyzed for: library complexity and reproducibility; rRNA removal efficiency and bias; the number of genes detected; coverage uniformity; and the impact of protocols on expression biases. Significant variations, especially in organism representation and gene expression patterns, were observed among the four methods. TruSeq generally performed best, but is limited by its requirement of hundreds of nanograms of total RNA. The SMARTer method appears the best solution for smaller amounts of input RNA. For very low amounts of RNA, the Ovation System provides the only option; however, the observed biases emphasized its limitations for quantitative analyses.
cDNA and library preparation methods may affect the outcome and interpretation of metatranscriptomic data. The most appropriate method should be chosen based on the available quantity of input RNA and the quantitative or non-quantitative objectives of the study. When low amounts of RNA are available, as in most metatranscriptomic studies, the SMARTer method seems to be the best compromise to obtain reliable results. This study emphasized the difficulty in comparing metatranscriptomic studies performed using different methods.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-912) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4213505  PMID: 25331572
Metatranscriptomics; cDNA synthesis method; Gene expression
2.  Comparative genomics of emerging pathogens in the Candida glabrata clade 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:623.
Candida glabrata follows C. albicans as the second or third most prevalent cause of candidemia worldwide. These two pathogenic yeasts are distantly related, C. glabrata being part of the Nakaseomyces, a group more closely related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Although C. glabrata was thought to be the only pathogenic Nakaseomyces, two new pathogens have recently been described within this group: C. nivariensis and C. bracarensis. To gain insight into the genomic changes underlying the emergence of virulence, we sequenced the genomes of these two, and three other non-pathogenic Nakaseomyces, and compared them to other sequenced yeasts.
Our results indicate that the two new pathogens are more closely related to the non-pathogenic N. delphensis than to C. glabrata. We uncover duplications and accelerated evolution that specifically affected genes in the lineage preceding the group containing N. delphensis and the three pathogens, which may provide clues to the higher propensity of this group to infect humans. Finally, the number of Epa-like adhesins is specifically enriched in the pathogens, particularly in C. glabrata.
Remarkably, some features thought to be the result of adaptation of C. glabrata to a pathogenic lifestyle, are present throughout the Nakaseomyces, indicating these are rather ancient adaptations to other environments. Phylogeny suggests that human pathogenesis evolved several times, independently within the clade. The expansion of the EPA gene family in pathogens establishes an evolutionary link between adhesion and virulence phenotypes. Our analyses thus shed light onto the relationships between virulence and the recent genomic changes that occurred within the Nakaseomyces.
Sequence Accession Numbers
Nakaseomyces delphensis: CAPT01000001 to CAPT01000179
Candida bracarensis: CAPU01000001 to CAPU01000251
Candida nivariensis: CAPV01000001 to CAPV01000123
Candida castellii: CAPW01000001 to CAPW01000101
Nakaseomyces bacillisporus: CAPX01000001 to CAPX01000186
PMCID: PMC3847288  PMID: 24034898
Candida glabrata; Fungal pathogens; Nakaseomyces; Yeast genomes; Yeast evolution
3.  Sequencing platform and library preparation choices impact viral metagenomes 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:320.
Microbes drive the biogeochemistry that fuels the planet. Microbial viruses modulate their hosts directly through mortality and horizontal gene transfer, and indirectly by re-programming host metabolisms during infection. However, our ability to study these virus-host interactions is limited by methods that are low-throughput and heavily reliant upon the subset of organisms that are in culture. One way forward are culture-independent metagenomic approaches, but these novel methods are rarely rigorously tested, especially for studies of environmental viruses, air microbiomes, extreme environment microbiology and other areas with constrained sample amounts. Here we perform replicated experiments to evaluate Roche 454, Illumina HiSeq, and Ion Torrent PGM sequencing and library preparation protocols on virus metagenomes generated from as little as 10pg of DNA.
Using %G + C content to compare metagenomes, we find that (i) metagenomes are highly replicable, (ii) some treatment effects are minimal, e.g., sequencing technology choice has 6-fold less impact than varying input DNA amount, and (iii) when restricted to a limited DNA concentration (<1μg), changing the amount of amplification produces little variation. These trends were also observed when examining the metagenomes for gene function and assembly performance, although the latter more closely aligned to sequencing effort and read length than preparation steps tested. Among Illumina library preparation options, transposon-based libraries diverged from all others and adaptor ligation was a critical step for optimizing sequencing yields.
These data guide researchers in generating systematic, comparative datasets to understand complex ecosystems, and suggest that neither varied amplification nor sequencing platforms will deter such efforts.
PMCID: PMC3655917  PMID: 23663384
4.  Expression sequence tag library derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of the chlorocebus sabaeus 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:279.
African Green Monkeys (AGM) are amongst the most frequently used nonhuman primate models in clinical and biomedical research, nevertheless only few genomic resources exist for this species. Such information would be essential for the development of dedicated new generation technologies in fundamental and pre-clinical research using this model, and would deliver new insights into primate evolution.
We have exhaustively sequenced an Expression Sequence Tag (EST) library made from a pool of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from sixteen Chlorocebus sabaeus monkeys. Twelve of them were infected with the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus. The mononuclear cells were or not stimulated in vitro with Concanavalin A, with lipopolysacharrides, or through mixed lymphocyte reaction in order to generate a representative and broad library of expressed sequences in immune cells. We report here 37,787 sequences, which were assembled into 14,410 contigs representing an estimated 12% of the C. sabaeus transcriptome. Using data from primate genome databases, 9,029 assembled sequences from C. sabaeus could be annotated. Sequences have been systematically aligned with ten cDNA references of primate species including Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, and Macaca mulatta to identify ortholog transcripts. For 506 transcripts, sequences were quasi-complete. In addition, 6,576 transcript fragments are potentially specific to the C. sabaeus or corresponding to not yet described primate genes.
The EST library we provide here will prove useful in gene annotation efforts for future sequencing of the African Green Monkey genomes. Furthermore, this library, which particularly well represents immunological and hematological gene expression, will be an important resource for the comparative analysis of gene expression in clinically relevant nonhuman primate and human research.
PMCID: PMC3539953  PMID: 22726727
5.  Whole Genome Profiling provides a robust framework for physical mapping and sequencing in the highly complex and repetitive wheat genome 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:47.
Sequencing projects using a clone-by-clone approach require the availability of a robust physical map. The SNaPshot technology, based on pair-wise comparisons of restriction fragments sizes, has been used recently to build the first physical map of a wheat chromosome and to complete the maize physical map. However, restriction fragments sizes shared randomly between two non-overlapping BACs often lead to chimerical contigs and mis-assembled BACs in such large and repetitive genomes. Whole Genome Profiling (WGP™) was developed recently as a new sequence-based physical mapping technology and has the potential to limit this problem.
A subset of the wheat 3B chromosome BAC library covering 230 Mb was used to establish a WGP physical map and to compare it to a map obtained with the SNaPshot technology. We first adapted the WGP-based assembly methodology to cope with the complexity of the wheat genome. Then, the results showed that the WGP map covers the same length than the SNaPshot map but with 30% less contigs and, more importantly with 3.5 times less mis-assembled BACs. Finally, we evaluated the benefit of integrating WGP tags in different sequence assemblies obtained after Roche/454 sequencing of BAC pools. We showed that while WGP tag integration improves assemblies performed with unpaired reads and with paired-end reads at low coverage, it does not significantly improve sequence assemblies performed at high coverage (25x) with paired-end reads.
Our results demonstrate that, with a suitable assembly methodology, WGP builds more robust physical maps than the SNaPshot technology in wheat and that WGP can be adapted to any genome. Moreover, WGP tag integration in sequence assemblies improves low quality assembly. However, to achieve a high quality draft sequence assembly, a sequencing depth of 25x paired-end reads is required, at which point WGP tag integration does not provide additional scaffolding value. Finally, we suggest that WGP tags can support the efficient sequencing of BAC pools by enabling reliable assignment of sequence scaffolds to their BAC of origin, a feature that is of great interest when using BAC pooling strategies to reduce the cost of sequencing large genomes.
PMCID: PMC3311077  PMID: 22289472
6.  Analysis of BAC-end sequences in rainbow trout: Content characterization and assessment of synteny between trout and other fish genomes 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:314.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are cultivated worldwide for aquaculture production and are widely used as a model species to gain knowledge of many aspects of fish biology. The common ancestor of the salmonids experienced a whole genome duplication event, making extant salmonids such as the rainbow trout an excellent model for studying the evolution of tetraploidization and re-diploidization in vertebrates. However, the lack of a reference genome sequence hampers research progress for both academic and applied purposes. In order to enrich the genomic tools already available in this species and provide further insight on the complexity of its genome, we sequenced a large number of rainbow trout BAC-end sequences (BES) and characterized their contents.
A total of 176,485 high quality BES, were generated, representing approximately 4% of the trout genome. BES analyses identified 6,848 simple sequence repeats (SSRs), of which 3,854 had high quality flanking sequences for PCR primers design. The first rainbow trout repeat elements database (INRA RT rep1.0) containing 735 putative repeat elements was developed, and identified almost 59.5% of the BES database in base-pairs as repetitive sequence. Approximately 55% of the BES reads (97,846) had more than 100 base pairs of contiguous non-repetitive sequences. The fractions of the 97,846 non-repetitive trout BES reads that had significant BLASTN hits against the zebrafish, medaka and stickleback genome databases were 15%, 16.2% and 17.9%, respectively, while the fractions of the non-repetitive BES reads that had significant BLASTX hits against the zebrafish, medaka, and stickleback protein databases were 10.7%, 9.5% and 9.5%, respectively. Comparative genomics using paired BAC-ends revealed several regions of conserved synteny across all the fish species analyzed in this study.
The characterization of BES provided insights on the rainbow trout genome. The discovery of specific repeat elements will facilitate analyses of sequence content (e.g. for SNPs discovery and for transcriptome characterization) and future genome sequence assemblies. The numerous microsatellites will facilitate integration of the linkage and physical maps and serve as valuable resource for fine mapping QTL and positional cloning of genes affecting aquaculture production traits. Furthermore, comparative genomics through BES can be used for identifying positional candidate genes from QTL mapping studies, aid in future assembly of a reference genome sequence and elucidating sequence content and complexity in the rainbow trout genome.
PMCID: PMC3125269  PMID: 21672188
7.  Bioinformatic analysis of ESTs collected by Sanger and pyrosequencing methods for a keystone forest tree species: oak 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:650.
The Fagaceae family comprises about 1,000 woody species worldwide. About half belong to the Quercus family. These oaks are often a source of raw material for biomass wood and fiber. Pedunculate and sessile oaks, are among the most important deciduous forest tree species in Europe. Despite their ecological and economical importance, very few genomic resources have yet been generated for these species. Here, we describe the development of an EST catalogue that will support ecosystem genomics studies, where geneticists, ecophysiologists, molecular biologists and ecologists join their efforts for understanding, monitoring and predicting functional genetic diversity.
We generated 145,827 sequence reads from 20 cDNA libraries using the Sanger method. Unexploitable chromatograms and quality checking lead us to eliminate 19,941 sequences. Finally a total of 125,925 ESTs were retained from 111,361 cDNA clones. Pyrosequencing was also conducted for 14 libraries, generating 1,948,579 reads, from which 370,566 sequences (19.0%) were eliminated, resulting in 1,578,192 sequences. Following clustering and assembly using TGICL pipeline, 1,704,117 EST sequences collapsed into 69,154 tentative contigs and 153,517 singletons, providing 222,671 non-redundant sequences (including alternative transcripts). We also assembled the sequences using MIRA and PartiGene software and compared the three unigene sets. Gene ontology annotation was then assigned to 29,303 unigene elements. Blast search against the SWISS-PROT database revealed putative homologs for 32,810 (14.7%) unigene elements, but more extensive search with Pfam, Refseq_protein, Refseq_RNA and eight gene indices revealed homology for 67.4% of them. The EST catalogue was examined for putative homologs of candidate genes involved in bud phenology, cuticle formation, phenylpropanoids biosynthesis and cell wall formation. Our results suggest a good coverage of genes involved in these traits. Comparative orthologous sequences (COS) with other plant gene models were identified and allow to unravel the oak paleo-history. Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were searched, resulting in 52,834 SSRs and 36,411 SNPs. All of these are available through the Oak Contig Browser
This genomic resource provides a unique tool to discover genes of interest, study the oak transcriptome, and develop new markers to investigate functional diversity in natural populations.
PMCID: PMC3017864  PMID: 21092232
8.  Insights into metazoan evolution from alvinella pompejana cDNAs 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:634.
Alvinella pompejana is a representative of Annelids, a key phylum for evo-devo studies that is still poorly studied at the sequence level. A. pompejana inhabits deep-sea hydrothermal vents and is currently known as one of the most thermotolerant Eukaryotes in marine environments, withstanding the largest known chemical and thermal ranges (from 5 to 105°C). This tube-dwelling worm forms dense colonies on the surface of hydrothermal chimneys and can withstand long periods of hypo/anoxia and long phases of exposure to hydrogen sulphides. A. pompejana specifically inhabits chimney walls of hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise. To survive, Alvinella has developed numerous adaptations at the physiological and molecular levels, such as an increase in the thermostability of proteins and protein complexes. It represents an outstanding model organism for studying adaptation to harsh physicochemical conditions and for isolating stable macromolecules resistant to high temperatures.
We have constructed four full length enriched cDNA libraries to investigate the biology and evolution of this intriguing animal. Analysis of more than 75,000 high quality reads led to the identification of 15,858 transcripts and 9,221 putative protein sequences. Our annotation reveals a good coverage of most animal pathways and networks with a prevalence of transcripts involved in oxidative stress resistance, detoxification, anti-bacterial defence, and heat shock protection. Alvinella proteins seem to show a slow evolutionary rate and a higher similarity with proteins from Vertebrates compared to proteins from Arthropods or Nematodes. Their composition shows enrichment in positively charged amino acids that might contribute to their thermostability. The gene content of Alvinella reveals that an important pool of genes previously considered to be specific to Deuterostomes were in fact already present in the last common ancestor of the Bilaterian animals, but have been secondarily lost in model invertebrates. This pool is enriched in glycoproteins that play a key role in intercellular communication, hormonal regulation and immunity.
Our study starts to unravel the gene content and sequence evolution of a deep-sea annelid, revealing key features in eukaryote adaptation to extreme environmental conditions and highlighting the proximity of Annelids and Vertebrates.
PMCID: PMC3018142  PMID: 21080938
9.  Construction of a medicinal leech transcriptome database and its application to the identification of leech homologs of neural and innate immune genes 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:407.
The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, is an important model system for the study of nervous system structure, function, development, regeneration and repair. It is also a unique species in being presently approved for use in medical procedures, such as clearing of pooled blood following certain surgical procedures. It is a current, and potentially also future, source of medically useful molecular factors, such as anticoagulants and antibacterial peptides, which may have evolved as a result of its parasitizing large mammals, including humans. Despite the broad focus of research on this system, little has been done at the genomic or transcriptomic levels and there is a paucity of openly available sequence data. To begin to address this problem, we constructed whole embryo and adult central nervous system (CNS) EST libraries and created a clustered sequence database of the Hirudo transcriptome that is available to the scientific community.
A total of ~133,000 EST clones from two directionally-cloned cDNA libraries, one constructed from mRNA derived from whole embryos at several developmental stages and the other from adult CNS cords, were sequenced in one or both directions by three different groups: Genoscope (French National Sequencing Center), the University of Iowa Sequencing Facility and the DOE Joint Genome Institute. These were assembled using the phrap software package into 31,232 unique contigs and singletons, with an average length of 827 nt. The assembled transcripts were then translated in all six frames and compared to proteins in NCBI's non-redundant (NR) and to the Gene Ontology (GO) protein sequence databases, resulting in 15,565 matches to 11,236 proteins in NR and 13,935 matches to 8,073 proteins in GO. Searching the database for transcripts of genes homologous to those thought to be involved in the innate immune responses of vertebrates and other invertebrates yielded a set of nearly one hundred evolutionarily conserved sequences, representing all known pathways involved in these important functions.
The sequences obtained for Hirudo transcripts represent the first major database of genes expressed in this important model system. Comparison of translated open reading frames (ORFs) with the other openly available leech datasets, the genome and transcriptome of Helobdella robusta, shows an average identity at the amino acid level of 58% in matched sequences. Interestingly, comparison with other available Lophotrochozoans shows similar high levels of amino acid identity, where sequences match, for example, 64% with Capitella capitata (a polychaete) and 56% with Aplysia californica (a mollusk), as well as 58% with Schistosoma mansoni (a platyhelminth). Phylogenetic comparisons of putative Hirudo innate immune response genes present within the Hirudo transcriptome database herein described show a strong resemblance to the corresponding mammalian genes, indicating that this important physiological response may have older origins than what has been previously proposed.
PMCID: PMC2996935  PMID: 20579359
10.  Identification of transcriptional signals in Encephalitozoon cuniculi widespread among Microsporidia phylum: support for accurate structural genome annotation 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:607.
Microsporidia are obligate intracellular eukaryotic parasites with genomes ranging in size from 2.3 Mbp to more than 20 Mbp. The extremely small (2.9 Mbp) and highly compact (~1 gene/kb) genome of the human parasite Encephalitozoon cuniculi has been fully sequenced. The aim of this study was to characterize noncoding motifs that could be involved in regulation of gene expression in E. cuniculi and to show whether these motifs are conserved among the phylum Microsporidia.
To identify such signals, 5' and 3'RACE-PCR experiments were performed on different E. cuniculi mRNAs. This analysis confirmed that transcription overrun occurs in E. cuniculi and may result from stochastic recognition of the AAUAAA polyadenylation signal. Such experiments also showed highly reduced 5'UTR's (<7 nts). Most of the E. cuniculi genes presented a CCC-like motif immediately upstream from the coding start. To characterize other signals involved in differential transcriptional regulation, we then focused our attention on the gene family coding for ribosomal proteins. An AAATTT-like signal was identified upstream from the CCC-like motif. In rare cases the cytosine triplet was shown to be substituted by a GGG-like motif. Comparative genomic studies confirmed that these different signals are also located upstream from genes encoding ribosomal proteins in other microsporidian species including Antonospora locustae, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Anncaliia algerae (syn. Brachiola algerae) and Nosema ceranae. Based on these results a systematic analysis of the ~2000 E. cuniculi coding DNA sequences was then performed and brings to highlight that 364 translation initiation codons (18.29% of total CDSs) had been badly predicted.
We identified various signals involved in the maturation of E. cuniculi mRNAs. Presence of such signals, in phylogenetically distant microsporidian species, suggests that a common regulatory mechanism exists among the microsporidia. Furthermore, 5'UTRs being strongly reduced, these signals can be used to ensure the accurate prediction of translation initiation codons for microsporidian genes and to improve microsporidian genome annotation.
PMCID: PMC2803860  PMID: 20003517
11.  Generation and analysis of a 29,745 unique Expressed Sequence Tags from the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) assembled into a publicly accessible database: the GigasDatabase 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:341.
Although bivalves are among the most-studied marine organisms because of their ecological role and economic importance, very little information is available on the genome sequences of oyster species. This report documents three large-scale cDNA sequencing projects for the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas initiated to provide a large number of expressed sequence tags that were subsequently compiled in a publicly accessible database. This resource allowed for the identification of a large number of transcripts and provides valuable information for ongoing investigations of tissue-specific and stimulus-dependant gene expression patterns. These data are crucial for constructing comprehensive DNA microarrays, identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites in coding regions, and for identifying genes when the entire genome sequence of C. gigas becomes available.
In the present paper, we report the production of 40,845 high-quality ESTs that identify 29,745 unique transcribed sequences consisting of 7,940 contigs and 21,805 singletons. All of these new sequences, together with existing public sequence data, have been compiled into a publicly-available Website Approximately 43% of the unique ESTs had significant matches against the SwissProt database and 27% were annotated using Gene Ontology terms. In addition, we identified a total of 208 in silico microsatellites from the ESTs, with 173 having sufficient flanking sequence for primer design. We also identified a total of 7,530 putative in silico, single-nucleotide polymorphisms using existing and newly-generated EST resources for the Pacific oyster.
A publicly-available database has been populated with 29,745 unique sequences for the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. The database provides many tools to search cleaned and assembled ESTs. The user may input and submit several filters, such as protein or nucleotide hits, to select and download relevant elements. This database constitutes one of the most developed genomic resources accessible among Lophotrochozoans, an orphan clade of bilateral animals. These data will accelerate the development of both genomics and genetics in a commercially-important species with the highest annual, commercial production of any aquatic organism.
PMCID: PMC2907693  PMID: 19640306
12.  A Plasmodium falciparum FcB1-schizont-EST collection providing clues to schizont specific gene structure and polymorphism 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:235.
The Plasmodium falciparum genome (3D7 strain) published in 2002, revealed ~5,400 genes, mostly based on in silico predictions. Experimental data is therefore required for structural and functional assessments of P. falciparum genes and expression, and polymorphic data are further necessary to exploit genomic information to further qualify therapeutic target candidates. Here, we undertook a large scale analysis of a P. falciparum FcB1-schizont-EST library previously constructed by suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) to study genes expressed during merozoite morphogenesis, with the aim of: 1) obtaining an exhaustive collection of schizont specific ESTs, 2) experimentally validating or correcting P. falciparum gene models and 3) pinpointing genes displaying protein polymorphism between the FcB1 and 3D7 strains.
A total of 22,125 clones randomly picked from the SSH library were sequenced, yielding 21,805 usable ESTs that were then clustered on the P. falciparum genome. This allowed identification of 243 protein coding genes, including 121 previously annotated as hypothetical. Statistical analysis of GO terms, when available, indicated significant enrichment in genes involved in "entry into host-cells" and "actin cytoskeleton". Although most ESTs do not span full-length gene reading frames, detailed sequence comparison of FcB1-ESTs versus 3D7 genomic sequences allowed the confirmation of exon/intron boundaries in 29 genes, the detection of new boundaries in 14 genes and identification of protein polymorphism for 21 genes. In addition, a large number of non-protein coding ESTs were identified, mainly matching with the two A-type rRNA units (on chromosomes 5 and 7) and to a lower extent, two atypical rRNA loci (on chromosomes 1 and 8), TARE subtelomeric regions (several chromosomes) and the recently described telomerase RNA gene (chromosome 9).
This FcB1-schizont-EST analysis confirmed the actual expression of 243 protein coding genes, allowing the correction of structural annotations for a quarter of these sequences. In addition, this analysis demonstrated the actual transcription of several remarkable non-protein coding loci: 2 atypical rRNA, TARE region and telomerase RNA gene. Together with other collections of P. falciparum ESTs, usually generated from mixed parasite stages, this collection of FcB1-schizont-ESTs provides valuable data to gain further insight into the P. falciparum gene structure, polymorphism and expression.
PMCID: PMC2695484  PMID: 19454033
13.  High quality draft sequences for prokaryotic genomes using a mix of new sequencing technologies 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:603.
Massively parallel DNA sequencing instruments are enabling the decoding of whole genomes at significantly lower cost and higher throughput than classical Sanger technology. Each of these technologies have been estimated to yield assemblies with more problematic features than the standard method. These problems are of a different nature depending on the techniques used. So, an appropriate mix of technologies may help resolve most difficulties, and eventually provide assemblies of high quality without requiring any Sanger-based input.
We compared assemblies obtained using Sanger data with those from different inputs from New Sequencing Technologies. The assemblies were systematically compared with a reference finished sequence. We found that the 454 GSFLX can efficiently produce high continuity when used at high coverage. The potential to enhance continuity by scaffolding was tested using 454 sequences from circularized genomic fragments. Finally, we explore the use of Solexa-Illumina short reads to polish the genome draft by implementing a technique to correct 454 consensus errors.
High quality drafts can be produced for small genomes without any Sanger data input. We found that 454 GSFLX and Solexa/Illumina show great complementarity in producing large contigs and supercontigs with a low error rate.
PMCID: PMC2625371  PMID: 19087275
14.  Towards the understanding of the cocoa transcriptome: Production and analysis of an exhaustive dataset of ESTs of Theobroma cacao L. generated from various tissues and under various conditions 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:512.
Theobroma cacao L., is a tree originated from the tropical rainforest of South America. It is one of the major cash crops for many tropical countries. T. cacao is mainly produced on smallholdings, providing resources for 14 million farmers. Disease resistance and T. cacao quality improvement are two important challenges for all actors of cocoa and chocolate production. T. cacao is seriously affected by pests and fungal diseases, responsible for more than 40% yield losses and quality improvement, nutritional and organoleptic, is also important for consumers. An international collaboration was formed to develop an EST genomic resource database for cacao.
Fifty-six cDNA libraries were constructed from different organs, different genotypes and different environmental conditions. A total of 149,650 valid EST sequences were generated corresponding to 48,594 unigenes, 12,692 contigs and 35,902 singletons. A total of 29,849 unigenes shared significant homology with public sequences from other species.
Gene Ontology (GO) annotation was applied to distribute the ESTs among the main GO categories.
A specific information system (ESTtik) was constructed to process, store and manage this EST collection allowing the user to query a database.
To check the representativeness of our EST collection, we looked for the genes known to be involved in two different metabolic pathways extensively studied in other plant species and important for T. cacao qualities: the flavonoid and the terpene pathways. Most of the enzymes described in other crops for these two metabolic pathways were found in our EST collection.
A large collection of new genetic markers was provided by this ESTs collection.
This EST collection displays a good representation of the T. cacao transcriptome, suitable for analysis of biochemical pathways based on oligonucleotide microarrays derived from these ESTs. It will provide numerous genetic markers that will allow the construction of a high density gene map of T. cacao. This EST collection represents a unique and important molecular resource for T. cacao study and improvement, facilitating the discovery of candidate genes for important T. cacao trait variation.
PMCID: PMC2642826  PMID: 18973681
15.  A combination of LongSAGE with Solexa sequencing is well suited to explore the depth and the complexity of transcriptome 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:418.
"Open" transcriptome analysis methods allow to study gene expression without a priori knowledge of the transcript sequences. As of now, SAGE (Serial Analysis of Gene Expression), LongSAGE and MPSS (Massively Parallel Signature Sequencing) are the mostly used methods for "open" transcriptome analysis. Both LongSAGE and MPSS rely on the isolation of 21 pb tag sequences from each transcript. In contrast to LongSAGE, the high throughput sequencing method used in MPSS enables the rapid sequencing of very large libraries containing several millions of tags, allowing deep transcriptome analysis. However, a bias in the complexity of the transcriptome representation obtained by MPSS was recently uncovered.
In order to make a deep analysis of mouse hypothalamus transcriptome avoiding the limitation introduced by MPSS, we combined LongSAGE with the Solexa sequencing technology and obtained a library of more than 11 millions of tags. We then compared it to a LongSAGE library of mouse hypothalamus sequenced with the Sanger method.
We found that Solexa sequencing technology combined with LongSAGE is perfectly suited for deep transcriptome analysis. In contrast to MPSS, it gives a complex representation of transcriptome as reliable as a LongSAGE library sequenced by the Sanger method.
PMCID: PMC2562395  PMID: 18796152
16.  Transferability of the EST-SSRs developed on Nules clementine (Citrus clementina Hort ex Tan) to other Citrus species and their effectiveness for genetic mapping 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:287.
During the last decade, numerous microsatellite markers were developed for genotyping and to identify closely related plant genotypes. In citrus, previously developed microsatellite markers were arisen from genomic libraries and more often located in non coding DNA sequences. To optimize the use of these EST-SSRs as genetic markers in genome mapping programs and citrus systematic analysis, we have investigated their polymorphism related to the type (di or trinucleotide) or their position in the coding sequences.
Among 11000 unigenes from a Clementine EST library, we have found at least one microsatellite sequence (repeated units size ranged from 2 to 6 nucleotides) in 1500 unigenes (13.6%). More than 95% of these SSRs were di or trinucleotides. If trinucleotide microsatellites were encountered trough all part of EST sequences, dinucleotide microsatellites were preferentially (50%) concentrated in the 5' 100th nucleotides. We assessed the polymorphism of 41 EST-SSR, by PCR amplification droved with flanking primers among ten Citrus species plus 3 from other genera. More than 90% of EST-SSR markers were polymorphic. Furthermore, dinucleotide microsatellite markers were more polymorphic than trinucleotide ones, probably related to their distribution that was more often located in the 5' UnTranslated Region (UTR). We obtained a good agreement of diversity relationships between the citrus species and relatives assessed with EST-SSR markers with the established taxonomy and phylogeny. To end, the heterozygosity of each genotype and all dual combinations were studied to evaluate the percentage of mappable markers. Higher values (> 45%) were observed for putative Citrus inter-specific hybrids (lime lemon, or sour orange) than for Citrus basic true species (mandarin, pummelo and citron) (<30%). Most favorable combinations for genome mapping were observed in those involving interspecific hybrid genotypes. Those gave higher levels of mappable markers (>70%) with a significant proportion suitable for synteny analysis.
Fourty one new EST-SSR markers were produced and were available for citrus genetic studies. Whatever the position of the SSR in the ESTs the EST-SSR markers we developed are powerful to investigate genetic diversity and genome mapping in citrus.
PMCID: PMC2435559  PMID: 18558001
17.  AphanoDB: a genomic resource for Aphanomyces pathogens 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:471.
The Oomycete genus Aphanomyces comprises devastating plant and animal pathogens. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying pathogenicity of Aphanomyces species. In this study, we report on the development of a public database called AphanoDB which is dedicated to Aphanomyces genomic data. As a first step, a large collection of Expressed Sequence Tags was obtained from the legume pathogen A. euteiches, which was then processed and collected into AphanoDB.
Two cDNA libraries of A. euteiches were created: one from mycelium growing on synthetic medium and one from mycelium grown in contact to root tissues of the model legume Medicago truncatula. From these libraries, 18,684 expressed sequence tags were obtained and assembled into 7,977 unigenes which were compared to public databases for annotation. Queries on AphanoDB allow the users to retrieve information for each unigene including similarity to known protein sequences, protein domains and Gene Ontology classification. Statistical analysis of EST frequency from the two different growth conditions was also added to the database.
AphanoDB is a public database with a user-friendly web interface. The sequence report pages are the main web interface which provides all annotation details for each unigene. These interactive sequence report pages are easily available through text, BLAST, Gene Ontology and expression profile search utilities. AphanoDB is available from URL: .
PMCID: PMC2228315  PMID: 18096036
18.  Expressed sequences tags of the anther smut fungus, Microbotryum violaceum, identify mating and pathogenicity genes 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:272.
The basidiomycete fungus Microbotryum violaceum is responsible for the anther-smut disease in many plants of the Caryophyllaceae family and is a model in genetics and evolutionary biology. Infection is initiated by dikaryotic hyphae produced after the conjugation of two haploid sporidia of opposite mating type. This study describes M. violaceum ESTs corresponding to nuclear genes expressed during conjugation and early hyphal production.
A normalized cDNA library generated 24,128 sequences, which were assembled into 7,765 unique genes; 25.2% of them displayed significant similarity to annotated proteins from other organisms, 74.3% a weak similarity to the same set of known proteins, and 0.5% were orphans. We identified putative pheromone receptors and genes that in other fungi are involved in the mating process. We also identified many sequences similar to genes known to be involved in pathogenicity in other fungi. The M. violaceum EST database, MICROBASE, is available on the Web and provides access to the sequences, assembled contigs, annotations and programs to compare similarities against MICROBASE.
This study provides a basis for cloning the mating type locus, for further investigation of pathogenicity genes in the anther smut fungi, and for comparative genomics.
PMCID: PMC2020487  PMID: 17692127
19.  Exploring nervous system transcriptomes during embryogenesis and metamorphosis in Xenopus tropicalis using EST analysis 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:118.
The western African clawed frog Xenopus tropicalis is an anuran amphibian species now used as model in vertebrate comparative genomics. It provides the same advantages as Xenopus laevis but is diploid and has a smaller genome of 1.7 Gbp. Therefore X. tropicalis is more amenable to systematic transcriptome surveys. We initiated a large-scale partial cDNA sequencing project to provide a functional genomics resource on genes expressed in the nervous system during early embryogenesis and metamorphosis in X. tropicalis.
A gene index was defined and analysed after the collection of over 48,785 high quality sequences. These partial cDNA sequences were obtained from an embryonic head and retina library (30,272 sequences) and from a metamorphic brain and spinal cord library (27,602 sequences). These ESTs are estimated to represent 9,693 transcripts derived from an estimated 6,000 genes. Comparison of these cDNA sequences with protein databases indicates that 46% contain their start codon. Further annotation included Gene Ontology functional classification, InterPro domain analysis, alternative splicing and non-coding RNA identification. Gene expression profiles were derived from EST counts and used to define transcripts specific to metamorphic stages of development. Moreover, these ESTs allowed identification of a set of 225 polymorphic microsatellites that can be used as genetic markers.
These cDNA sequences permit in silico cloning of numerous genes and will facilitate studies aimed at deciphering the roles of cognate genes expressed in the nervous system during neural development and metamorphosis. The genomic resources developed to study X. tropicalis biology will accelerate exploration of amphibian physiology and genetics. In particular, the model will facilitate analysis of key questions related to anuran embryogenesis and metamorphosis and its associated regulatory processes.
PMCID: PMC1890556  PMID: 17506875
20.  Analysis of 13000 unique Citrus clusters associated with fruit quality, production and salinity tolerance 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:31.
Improvement of Citrus, the most economically important fruit crop in the world, is extremely slow and inherently costly because of the long-term nature of tree breeding and an unusual combination of reproductive characteristics. Aside from disease resistance, major commercial traits in Citrus are improved fruit quality, higher yield and tolerance to environmental stresses, especially salinity.
A normalized full length and 9 standard cDNA libraries were generated, representing particular treatments and tissues from selected varieties (Citrus clementina and C. sinensis) and rootstocks (C. reshni, and C. sinenis × Poncirus trifoliata) differing in fruit quality, resistance to abscission, and tolerance to salinity. The goal of this work was to provide a large expressed sequence tag (EST) collection enriched with transcripts related to these well appreciated agronomical traits. Towards this end, more than 54000 ESTs derived from these libraries were analyzed and annotated. Assembly of 52626 useful sequences generated 15664 putative transcription units distributed in 7120 contigs, and 8544 singletons. BLAST annotation produced significant hits for more than 80% of the hypothetical transcription units and suggested that 647 of these might be Citrus specific unigenes. The unigene set, composed of ~13000 putative different transcripts, including more than 5000 novel Citrus genes, was assigned with putative functions based on similarity, GO annotations and protein domains
Comparative genomics with Arabidopsis revealed the presence of putative conserved orthologs and single copy genes in Citrus and also the occurrence of both gene duplication events and increased number of genes for specific pathways. In addition, phylogenetic analysis performed on the ammonium transporter family and glycosyl transferase family 20 suggested the existence of Citrus paralogs. Analysis of the Citrus gene space showed that the most important metabolic pathways known to affect fruit quality were represented in the unigene set. Overall, the similarity analyses indicated that the sequences of the genes belonging to these varieties and rootstocks were essentially identical, suggesting that the differential behaviour of these species cannot be attributed to major sequence divergences. This Citrus EST assembly contributes both crucial information to discover genes of agronomical interest and tools for genetic and genomic analyses, such as the development of new markers and microarrays.
PMCID: PMC1796867  PMID: 17254327

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