- Short read Illumina data for the de novo assembly of a non-model snail species transcriptome (Radix balthica, Basommatophora, Pulmonata), and a comparison of assembler performance (2011)
- Background: Until recently, read lengths on the Solexa/Illumina system were too short to reliably assemble transcriptomes without a reference sequence, especially for non-model organisms. However, with read lengths up to 100 nucleotides available in the current version, an assembly without reference genome should be possible. For this study we created an EST data set for the common pond snail Radix balthica by Illumina sequencing of a normalized transcriptome. Performance of three different short read assemblers was compared with respect to: the number of contigs, their length, depth of coverage, their quality in various BLAST searches and the alignment to mitochondrial genes. Results: A single sequencing run of a normalized RNA pool resulted in 16,923,850 paired end reads with median read length of 61 bases. The assemblies generated by VELVET, OASES, and SeqMan NGEN differed in the total number of contigs, contig length, the number and quality of gene hits obtained by BLAST searches against various databases, and contig performance in the mt genome comparison. While VELVET produced the highest overall number of contigs, a large fraction of these were of small size (< 200bp), and gave redundant hits in BLAST searches and the mt genome alignment. The best overall contig performance resulted from the NGEN assembly. It produced the second largest number of contigs, which on average were comparable to the OASES contigs but gave the highest number of gene hits in two out of four BLAST searches against different reference databases. A subsequent meta-assembly of the four contig sets resulted in larger contigs, less redundancy and a higher number of BLAST hits. Conclusion: Our results document the first de novo transcriptome assembly of a non-model species using Illumina sequencing data. We show that de novo transcriptome assembly using this approach yields results useful for downstream applications, in particular if a meta-assembly of contig sets is used to increase contig quality. These results highlight the ongoing need for improvements in assembly methodology. Keywords: next generation sequencing; short read assembly; Mollusca
- The salt-responsive transcriptome of chickpea roots and nodules via deepSuperSAGE (2011)
- Background: The combination of high-throughput transcript profiling and next-generation sequencing technologies is a prerequisite for genome-wide comprehensive transcriptome analysis. Our recent innovation of deepSuperSAGE is based on an advanced SuperSAGE protocol and its combination with massively parallel pyrosequencing on Roche's 454 sequencing platform. As a demonstration of the power of this combination, we have chosen the salt stress transcriptomes of roots and nodules of the third most important legume crop chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). While our report is more technology-oriented, it nevertheless addresses a major world-wide problem for crops generally: high salinity. Together with low temperatures and water stress, high salinity is responsible for crop losses of millions of tons of various legume (and other) crops. Continuously deteriorating environmental conditions will combine with salinity stress to further compromise crop yields. As a good example for such stress-exposed crop plants, we started to characterize salt stress responses of chickpeas on the transcriptome level. Results: We used deepSuperSAGE to detect early global transcriptome changes in salt-stressed chickpea. The salt stress responses of 86,919 transcripts representing 17,918 unique 26bp deepSuperSAGE tags (UniTags) from roots of the salt-tolerant variety INRAT-93 two hours after treatment with 25 mM NaCl were characterized. Additionally, the expression of 57,281 transcripts representing 13,115 UniTags was monitored in nodules of the same plants. From a total of 144,200 analyzed 26bp tags in roots and nodules together, 21,401 unique transcripts were identified. Of these, only 363 and 106 specific transcripts, respectively, were commonly up- or down-regulated (>3.0-fold) under salt stress in both organs, witnessing a differential organ-specific response to stress. Profiting from recent pioneer works on massive cDNA sequencing in chickpea, more than 9,400 UniTags were able to be linked to UniProt entries. Additionally, gene ontology (GO) categories over-representation analysis enabled to filter out enriched biological processes among the differentially expressed UniTags. Subsequently, the gathered information was further cross-checked with stress-related pathways. From several filtered pathways, here we focus exemplarily on transcripts associated with the generation and scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as on transcripts involved in Na+ homeostasis. Although both processes are already very well characterized in other plants, the information generated in the present work is of high value. Information on expression profiles and sequence similarity for several hundreds of transcripts of potential interest is now available. Conclusions: This report demonstrates, that the combination of the high-throughput transcriptome profiling technology SuperSAGE with one of the next-generation sequencing platforms allows deep insights into the first molecular reactions of a plant exposed to salinity. Cross validation with recent reports enriched the information about the salt stress dynamics of more than 9,000 chickpea ESTs, and enlarged their pool of alternative transcripts isoforms. As an example for the high resolution of the employed technology that we coin deepSuperSAGE, we demonstrate that ROS-scavenging and -generating pathways undergo strong global transcriptome changes in chickpea roots and nodules already 2 hours after onset of moderate salt stress (25mM NaCl). Additionally, a set of more than 15 candidate transcripts are proposed to be potential components of the salt overly sensitive (SOS) pathway in chickpea. Newly identified transcript isoforms are potential targets for breeding novel cultivars with high salinity tolerance. We demonstrate that these targets can be integrated into breeding schemes by micro-arrays and RT-PCR assays downstream of the generation of 26bp tags by SuperSAGE.
- SuperSAGE : the drought stress-responsive transcriptome of chickpea roots (2008)
- Background Drought is the major constraint to increase yield in chickpea (Cicer arietinum). Improving drought tolerance is therefore of outmost importance for breeding. However, the complexity of the trait allowed only marginal progress. A solution to the current stagnation is expected from innovative molecular tools such as transcriptome analyses providing insight into stress-related gene activity, which combined with molecular markers and expression (e)QTL mapping, may accelerate knowledge-based breeding. SuperSAGE, an improved version of the serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) technique, generating genome-wide, high-quality transcription profiles from any eukaryote, has been employed in the present study. The method produces 26 bp long fragments (26 bp tags) from defined positions in cDNAs, providing sufficient sequence information to unambiguously characterize the mRNAs. Further, SuperSAGE tags may be immediately used to produce microarrays and probes for real-time-PCR, thereby overcoming the lack of genomic tools in non-model organisms. Results We applied SuperSAGE to the analysis of gene expression in chickpea roots in response to drought. To this end, we sequenced 80,238 26 bp tags representing 17,493 unique transcripts (UniTags) from drought-stressed and non-stressed control roots. A total of 7,532 (43%) UniTags were more than 2.7-fold differentially expressed, and 880 (5.0%) were regulated more than 8-fold upon stress. Their large size enabled the unambiguous annotation of 3,858 (22%) UniTags to genes or proteins in public data bases and thus to stress-response processes. We designed a microarray carrying 3,000 of these 26 bp tags. The chip data confirmed 79% of the tag-based results, whereas RT-PCR confirmed the SuperSAGE data in all cases. Conclusion This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of the drought-response transcriptome of chickpea available to date. It demonstrates that – inter alias – signal transduction, transcription regulation, osmolyte accumulation, and ROS scavenging undergo strong transcriptional remodelling in chickpea roots already 6 h after drought stress. Certain transcript isoforms characterizing these processes are potential targets for breeding for drought tolerance. We demonstrate that these can be easily accessed by micro-arrays and RT-PCR assays readily produced downstream of SuperSAGE. Our study proves that SuperSAGE owns potential for molecular breeding also in non-model crops.