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April 2015


Demonstration of CRISPR/Cas9/sgRNA-mediated targeted gene modification in Arabidopsis, tobacco, sorghum and rice
Jiang, WZ; Zhou, HB; Bi, HH; Fromm, M; Yang, B; Weeks, DP
Nucleic Acids Res. 2013, 41, e188
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The type II CRISPR/Cas system from Streptococcus pyogenes and its simplified derivative, the Cas9/single guide RNA (sgRNA) system, have emerged as potent new tools for targeted gene knockout in bacteria, yeast, fruit fly, zebrafish and human cells. Here, we describe adaptations of these systems leading to successful expression of the Cas9/sgRNA system in two dicot plant species, Arabidopsis and tobacco, and two monocot crop species, rice and sorghum. Agrobacterium tumefaciens was used for delivery of genes encoding Cas9, sgRNA and a non-fuctional, mutant green fluorescence protein (GFP) to Arabidopsis and tobacco. The mutant GFP gene contained target sites in its 5' coding regions that were successfully cleaved by a CAS9/sgRNA complex that, along with error-prone DNA repair, resulted in creation of functional GFP genes. DNA sequencing confirmed Cas9/sgRNA-mediated mutagenesis at the target site. Rice protoplast cells transformed with Cas9/sgRNA constructs targeting the promoter region of the bacterial blight susceptibility genes, OsSWEET14 and OsSWEET11, were confirmed by DNA sequencing to contain mutated DNA sequences at the target sites...

Evaluation of general 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR primers for classical and next-generation sequencing-based diversity studies
Klindworth, A; Pruesse, E; Schweer, T; Peplies, J; Quast, C; Horn, M; Glockner, FO
Nucleic Acids Res. 2013, 41, e1
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16S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) amplicon analysis remains the standard approach for the cultivation-independent investigation of microbial diversity. The accuracy of these analyses depends strongly on the choice of primers. The overall coverage and phylum spectrum of 175 primers and 512 primer pairs were evaluated in silico with respect to the SILVA 16S/18S rDNA non-redundant reference dataset (SSURef 108 NR). Based on this evaluation a selection of 'best available' primer pairs for Bacteria and Archaea for three amplicon size classes (100-400, 400-1000, epsilon 1000 bp) is provided. The most promising bacterial primer pair (S-D-Bact-0341-b-S-17/S-D-Bact-0785-a-A-21), with an amplicon size of 464 bp, was experimentally evaluated by comparing the taxonomic distribution of the 16S rDNA amplicons with 16S rDNA fragments from directly sequenced metagenomes. The results of this study may be used as a guideline for selecting primer pairs with the best overall coverage and phylum spectrum for specific applications, therefore reducing the bias in PCR-based microbial diversity studies.

Multiplex CRISPR/Cas9-based genome engineering from a single lentiviral vector
Kabadi, AM; Ousterout, DG; Hilton, IB; Gersbach, CA
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e147
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Engineered DNA-binding proteins that manipulate the human genome and transcriptome have enabled rapid advances in biomedical research. In particular, the RNA-guided CRISPR/Cas9 system has recently been engineered to create site-specific double-strand breaks for genome editing or to direct targeted transcriptional regulation. A unique capability of the CRISPR/Cas9 system is multiplex genome engineering by delivering a single Cas9 enzyme and two or more single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) targeted to distinct genomic sites. This approach can be used to simultaneously create multiple DNA breaks or to target multiple transcriptional activators to a single promoter for synergistic enhancement of gene induction. To address the need for uniform and sustained delivery of multiplex CRISPR/Cas9-based genome engineering tools, we developed a single lentiviral system to express a Cas9 variant, a reporter gene and up to four sgRNAs from independent RNA polymerase III promoters that are incorporated into the vector by a convenient Golden Gate cloning method. Each sgRNA is efficiently expressed and can mediate multiplex gene editing and sustained transcriptional activation in immortalized and primary human cells...

Efficient chromosomal gene modification with CRISPR/cas9 and PCR-based homologous recombination donors in cultured Drosophila cells
Bottcher, R; Hollmann, M; Merk, K; Nitschko, V; Obermaier, C; Philippou-Massier, J; Wieland, I; Gaul, U; Forstemann, K
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e89
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The ability to edit the genome is essential for many state-of-the-art experimental paradigms. Since DNA breaks stimulate repair, they can be exploited to target site-specific integration. The clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/cas9 system from Streptococcus pyogenes has been harnessed into an efficient and programmable nuclease for eukaryotic cells. We thus combined DNA cleavage by cas9, the generation of homologous recombination donors by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and transient depletion of the non-homologous end joining factor lig4. Using cultured Drosophila melanogaster S2-cells and the phosphoglycerate kinase gene as a model, we reached targeted integration frequencies of up to 50% in drug-selected cell populations. Homology arms as short as 29 nt appended to the PCR primer resulted in detectable integration, slightly longer extensions are beneficial. We confirmed established rules for S. pyogenes cas9 sgRNA design and demonstrate that the complementarity region allows length variation and 5'-extensions...

Computational analysis of bacterial RNA-Seq data
McClure, R; Balasubramanian, D; Sun, Y; Bobrovskyy, M; Sumby, P; Genco, CA; Vanderpool, CK; Tjaden, B
Nucleic Acids Res. 2013, 41, e140
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Recent advances in high-throughput RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) have enabled tremendous leaps forward in our understanding of bacterial transcriptomes. However, computational methods for analysis of bacterial transcriptome data have not kept pace with the large and growing data sets generated by RNA-seq technology. Here, we present new algorithms, specific to bacterial gene structures and transcriptomes, for analysis of RNA-seq data. The algorithms are implemented in an open source software system called Rockhopper that supports various stages of bacterial RNA-seq data analysis, including aligning sequencing reads to a genome, constructing transcriptome maps, quantifying transcript abundance, testing for differential gene expression, determining operon structures and visualizing results. We demonstrate the performance of Rockhopper using 2.1 billion sequenced reads from 75 RNA-seq experiments conducted with Escherichia coli, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Salmonella enterica, Streptococcus pyogenes and Xenorhabdus nematophila. We find that the transcriptome maps generated by our algorithms are highly accurate when compared with focused experimental data from E. coli and N. gonorrhoeae...

Easy quantitative assessment of genome editing by sequence trace decomposition
Brinkman, EK; Chen, T; Amendola, M; van Steensel, B
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e168
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The efficacy and the mutation spectrum of genome editingmethods can vary substantially depending on the targeted sequence. A simple, quick assay to accurately characterize and quantify the induced mutations is therefore needed. Here we present TIDE, a method for this purpose that requires only a pair of PCR reactions and two standard capillary sequencing runs. The sequence traces are then analyzed by a specially developed decomposition algorithm that identifies the major induced mutations in the projected editing site and accurately determines their frequency in a cell population. This method is cost-effective and quick, and it provides much more detailed information than current enzyme-based assays. An interactive web tool for automated decomposition of the sequence traces is available. TIDE greatly facilitates the testing and rational design of genome editing strategies.

Reconstructing mitochondrial genomes directly from genomic next-generation sequencing reads--a baiting and iterative mapping approach
Hahn, C; Bachmann, L; Chevreux, B
Nucleic Acids Res. 2013, 41, e129
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We present an in silico approach for the reconstruction of complete mitochondrial genomes of non-model organisms directly from next-generation sequencing (NGS) data-mitochondrial baiting and iterative mapping (MITObim). The method is straightforward even if only (i) distantly related mitochondrial genomes or (ii) mitochondrial barcode sequences are available as starting-reference sequences or seeds, respectively. We demonstrate the efficiency of the approach in case studies using real NGS data sets of the two monogenean ectoparasites species Gyrodactylus thymalli and Gyrodactylus derjavinoides including their respective teleost hosts European grayling (Thymallus thymallus) and Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). MITObim appeared superior to existing tools in terms of accuracy, runtime and memory requirements and fully automatically recovered mitochondrial genomes exceeding 99.5% accuracy from total genomic DNA derived NGS data sets in <24 h using a standard desktop computer. The approach overcomes the limitations of traditional strategies for obtaining mitochondrial genomes for species with little or no mitochondrial sequence information at hand...

svaseq: removing batch effects and other unwanted noise from sequencing data
Leek, JT
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e161
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It is now known that unwanted noise and unmodeled artifacts such as batch effects can dramatically reduce the accuracy of statistical inference in genomic experiments. These sources of noise must be modeled and removed to accurately measure biological variability and to obtain correct statistical inference when performing high-throughput genomic analysis. We introduced surrogate variable analysis (sva) for estimating these artifacts by (i) identifying the part of the genomic data only affected by artifacts and (ii) estimating the artifacts with principal components or singular vectors of the subset of the data matrix. The resulting estimates of artifacts can be used in subsequent analyses as adjustment factors to correct analyses. Here I describe a version of the sva approach specifically created for count data or FPKMs from sequencing experiments based on appropriate data transformation. I also describe the addition of supervised sva (ssva) for using control probes to identify the part of the genomic data only affected by artifacts. I present a comparison between these versions of sva and other methods for batch effect estimation on simulated data, real count-based data and FPKM-based data...

Comparison of TALE designer transcription factors and the CRISPR/dCas9 in regulation of gene expression by targeting enhancers
Gao, XF; Tsang, JCH; Gaba, F; Wu, DH; Lu, LM; Liu, PT
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e155
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The transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) and the RNA-guided clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) associated protein (Cas9) utlilize distinct molecular mechanisms in targeting site recognition. The two proteins can be modified to carry additional functional domains to regulate expression of genomic loci in mammalian cells. In this study, we have compared the two systems in activation and suppression of the Oct4 and Nanog loci by targeting their enhancers. Although both are able to efficiently activate the luciferase reporters, the CRISPR/dCas9 system is much less potent in activating the endogenous loci and in the application of reprogramming somatic cells to iPS cells. Nevertheless, repression by CRISPR/dCas9 is comparable to or even better than TALE repressors. We demonstrated that dCas9 protein binding results in significant physical interference to binding of native transcription factors at enhancer, less efficient active histone markers induction or recruitment of activating complexes in gene activation. This study thus highlighted the merits and drawbacks of transcription regulation by each system...

Impact of sequencing depth in ChIP-seq experiments
Jung, YL; Luquette, LJ; Ho, JWK; Ferrari, F; Tolstorukov, M; Minoda, A; Issner, R; Epstein, CB; Karpen, GH; Kuroda, MI; Park, PJ
Nucleic Acids Res. 2014, 42, e74
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In a chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) experiment, an important consideration in experimental design is the minimum number of sequenced reads required to obtain statistically significant results. We present an extensive evaluation of the impact of sequencing depth on identification of enriched regions for key histone modifications (H3K4me3, H3K36me3, H3K27me3 and H3K9me2/me3) using deep-sequenced datasets in human and fly. We propose to define sufficient sequencing depth as the number of reads at which detected enrichment regions increase < 1% for an additional million reads. Although the required depth depends on the nature of the mark and the state of the cell in each experiment, we observe that sufficient depth is often reached at < 20 million reads for fly. For human, there are no clear saturation points for the examined datasets, but our analysis suggests 40-50 million reads as a practical minimum for most marks. We also devise a mathematical model to estimate the sufficient depth and total genomic coverage of a mark. Lastly, we find that the five algorithms tested do not agree well for broad enrichment profiles...

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