Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 132 Views Mar 5, 2023

Malaria molecular surveillance has great potential to support national malaria control programs (NMCPs), informing policy for its control and elimination. Here, we present a new three-day workflow for targeted resequencing of markers in 13 resistance-associated genes, histidine rich protein 2 and 3 (hrp2&3), a country (Peru)-specific 28 SNP-barcode for population genetic analysis, and apical membrane antigen 1 (ama1), using Illumina short-read sequencing technology. The assay applies a multiplex PCR approach to amplify all genomic regions of interest in a rapid and easily standardizable procedure and allows simultaneous amplification of a high number of targets at once, therefore having great potential for implementation into routine surveillance practice by NMCPs. The assay can be performed on routinely collected filter paper blood spots and can be easily adapted to different regions to investigate either regional trends or in-country epidemiological changes.

1 Q&A 1591 Views May 5, 2022

DNA methylation is a conserved chemical modification, by which methyl groups are added to the cytosine of DNA molecules. Methylation can influence gene expression without changing the sequence of a particular gene. This epigenetic effect is an intriguing phenomenon that has puzzled biologists for years. By probing the temporal and spatial patterns of DNA methylation in genomes, it is possible to learn about the biological role of cytosine methylation, as well as its involvement in gene regulation and transposon silencing. Advances in whole-genome sequencing have led to the widespread adoption of methods that examine genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation. Achieving sufficient sequencing depth in these types of experiments is costly, particularly for pilot studies in organisms with large genome sizes, or incomplete reference genomes. To overcome this issue, assays to determine site-specific DNA methylation can be used. Although often used, these assays are rarely described in detail. Here, we describe a pipeline that applies traditional TA cloning, Sanger sequencing, and online tools to examine DNA methylation. We provide an example of how to use this protocol to examine the pattern of DNA methylation at a specific transposable element in maize.

0 Q&A 1782 Views Dec 20, 2021

The engineering of poxvirus genomes is fundamental to primary and applied virology research. Indeed, recombinant poxviruses form the basis for many novel vaccines and virotherapies but producing and purifying these viruses can be arduous. In recent years, CRISPR/Cas9 has become the favoured approach for genome manipulation due to its speed and high success rate. However, recent data suggests poxvirus genomes are not repaired well following Cas9 cleavage. As a result, CRISPR/Cas9 is inefficient as an editing tool, but very effective as a programmable selection agent. Here, we describe protocols for the generation and enrichment of recombinant vaccinia viruses using targeted Cas9 as a selection tool. This novel use of Cas9 is a simple addition to current homologous recombination-based methods that are widespread in the field, facilitating implementation in laboratories already working with poxviruses. This is also the first method that allows for isolation of new vaccinia viruses in less than a fortnight, without the need to incorporate a marker gene or manipulation of large poxvirus genomes in vitro and reactivation with helper viruses. Whilst this protocol describes applications for laboratory strains of vaccinia virus, it should be readily adaptable to other poxviruses.

Graphic abstract:

Pipeline for Cas9 selection of recombinant poxviruses.

0 Q&A 2638 Views Oct 20, 2020
Eukaryote nuclear genomes predominantly replicate through multiple replication origins. The number of replication origins activated per chromosome during the S-phase duration may vary according to many factors, but the predominant one is replication stress. Several studies have applied different approaches to estimate the number and map the positions of the replication origins in various organisms. However, without a parameter to restrict the minimum of necessary origins, less sensitive techniques may suggest conflicting results. The estimation of the minimum number of replication origins (MO) per chromosome is an innovative method that allows the establishment of a threshold, which serves as a parameter for genomic approaches that map origins. For this, the MO can be easily obtained through a formula that requires as parameters: chromosome size, S-phase duration, and replication rate. The chromosome size for any organism can be acquired in genomic databanks (such as NCBI), the S-phase duration can be estimated by monitoring DNA replication, and the replication rate is obtained through the DNA combing approach. The estimation of MO is a simple, quick, and easy method that provides a new methodological framework to assist studies of mapping replication origins in any organism.
0 Q&A 4348 Views Oct 20, 2019
Time to AIDS infection is longer with HIV-2, compared to HIV-1, but without antiretroviral therapy both infections will cause AIDS-related mortality. In HIV-2 infection, monitoring of antiretroviral treatment (ART) efficacy is challenging since a large proportion of HIV-2-infected individuals displays low or undetectable plasma RNA levels. Hence, quantification of cellular DNA load may constitute an alternative method for monitoring ART efficacy. Moreover, sensitive HIV-2 DNA quantification protocols are also important for the characterization of the HIV-2 reservoirs, and ultimately for the development of HIV-2 cure strategies. We have developed a sensitive and robust HIV-2 DNA quantification protocol based on whole blood as DNA source, including normalization of leukocyte cell numbers using parallel quantification of the single copy porphobilinogen deaminase gene. The specificity and sensitivity of the assay was 100%. The limit of detection was 1 copy and limit of quantification was 5 copies. When applying this protocol to HIV-2 infected, it was found that HIV-2 viral DNA was detectable in individuals in whom viral RNA was undetectable or under quantification level. Thus, this method provides a sensitive approach to HIV-2 DNA viral quantification from whole blood of HIV-2 infected patients.
0 Q&A 6009 Views Aug 5, 2019
Most bacterial genomes have biased nucleotide composition, and the asymmetry is considered to be caused by a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) deamination arising from the bacterial replication machinery. In order to evaluate the relationship experimentally, the position and frequency of ssDNA formed during replication must be verified clearly. Although many ssDNA detection technologies exist, almost all methods have been developed for eukaryotic genomes. To apply these to bacterial genomes, which harbor a smaller amount of DNA than those of eukaryotes, more efficient, new methods are required. Therefore, we developed a novel strand-specific ssDNA sequencing method, called 4S-seq, for the bacterial genome. The 4S-seq method enriches ssDNA in the extracted genomic DNA by a dsDNA-specific nuclease and implements a strand-specific library using a biotin label with a customized tag. As a result, the 4S-seq is able to calculate the ssDNA content in each strand (Watson/Crick) at each position of the genome efficiently.
0 Q&A 6564 Views Oct 5, 2018
Corynebacterium glutamicum is a versatile workhorse for industrial bioproduction of many kinds of chemicals and fuels, notably amino acids. Development of advanced genetic engineering tools is urgently demanded for systems metabolic engineering of C. glutamicum. Recently unveiled clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and their CRISPR-associated proteins (Cas) are now revolutionizing genome editing. The CRISPR/Cas9 system from Streptococcus pyogenes that utilizes NGG as protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) and has good targeting specificity can be developed into a powerful tool for efficient and precise genome editing of C. glutamicum. In this protocol, we described the general procedure for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated ssDNA recombineering in C. glutamicum. Small modifications can be introduced into the C. glutamicum chromosome with a high editing efficiency up to 90%.
0 Q&A 11346 Views Jun 20, 2018
Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for all living organisms. In cyanobacteria, a group of oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria, nitrogen homeostasis is maintained by an intricate regulatory network around the transcription factor NtcA. Although mechanisms controlling NtcA activity appear to be well understood, the sets of genes under its control (i.e., its regulon) remain poorly defined. In this protocol, we describe the procedure for chromatin immunoprecipitation using NtcA antibodies, followed by DNA sequencing analysis (ChIP-seq) during early acclimation to nitrogen starvation in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 (hereafter Synechocystis). This protocol can be extended to analyze any DNA-binding protein in cyanobacteria for which suitable antibodies exist.
1 Q&A 14700 Views Jan 5, 2018
This protocol describes a straightforward method to generate specific mutations in the genome of strictly lytic phages. Briefly, a targeting CRISPR-Cas9 system and a repair template suited for homologous recombination are provided inside a bacterial host, here the Gram-positive model Lactococcus lactis MG1363. The CRISPR-Cas9 system is programmed to cleave a specific region present on the genome of the invading phage, but absent from the recombination template. The system either triggers the recombination event or exerts the selective pressure required to isolate recombinant phages. With this methodology, we generated multiple gene knockouts, a point mutation and an insertion in the genome of the virulent lactococcal phage p2. Considering the broad host range of the plasmids used in this protocol, the latter can be extrapolated to other phage-host pairs.
0 Q&A 7173 Views Nov 20, 2017
The advent of single cell genomics and the continued use of metagenomic profiling in diverse environments has exponentially increased the known diversity of life. The recovered and assembled genomes predict physiology, consortium interactions and gene function, but experimental validation of metabolisms and molecular pathways requires more directed approaches. Gene function–and the correlation between phenotype and genotype is most obviously studied with genetics, and it is therefore critical to develop techniques permitting rapid and facile strain construction. Many new and candidate archaeal lineages have recently been discovered, but experimental, genetic access to archaeal genomes is currently limited to a few model organisms. The results obtained from manipulating the genomes of these genetically-accessible organisms have already had profound effects on our understanding of archaeal physiology and information processing systems, and these continued studies also help resolve phylogenetic reconstruction of the tree of life. The hyperthermophilic, planktonic, marine heterotrophic archaeon Thermococcus kodakarensis, has emerged as an ideal genetic system with a suite of techniques available to add or delete encoded activities, or modify expression of genes in vivo. We outline here techniques to rapidly and markerlessly delete a single, or repetitively delete several, continuous sequences from the T. kodakarensis genome. Our procedure includes details on the construction of the plasmid DNA necessary for transformation that directs, via homologous recombination, integration into the genome, identification of strains that have incorporated plasmid sequences (termed intermediate strains), and confirmation of plasmid excision, leading to deletion of the target gene in final strains. Near identical procedures can be employed to modify, rather than delete, a genomic locus.

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