Due to its amenability to manipulations, to live observation and its striking similarities to mammals, the chicken embryo has been one of the major animal models in biomedical research. Although it is technically possible to genome-edit the chicken, its long generation time (6 months to sexual maturity) makes it an impractical lab model and has prevented it widespread use in research. The Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) is an attractive alternative, very similar to the chicken, but with the decisive asset of a much shorter generation time (1.5 months). In recent years, transgenic quail lines have been described. Most of them were generated using replication-deficient lentiviruses, a technique that presents diverse limitations. Here, we introduce a novel technology to perform transgenesis in quail, based on the in vivo transfection of plasmids in circulating Primordial Germ Cells (PGCs). This technique is simple, efficient and allows using the infinite variety of genome engineering approaches developed in other models. Furthermore, we present a website centralizing quail genomic and technological information to facilitate the design of genome-editing strategies, showcase the past and future transgenic quail lines and foster collaborative work within the avian community.
All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files
- Christophe Marcelle
- Olivier Serralbo
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication
Animal experimentation: All procedures were approved by a Monash University Animal Ethics Committee (ERM ID 15002, ERM ID 18809) in accordance with the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (8th Edition, 2013).
- Marianne E Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
© 2020, Serralbo et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Sequencing of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is currently being used to detect cancer by searching both for mutational and non-mutational alterations. Recent work has shown that the length distribution of cfDNA fragments from a cancer patient can inform tumor load and type. Here, we propose non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) of fragment length distributions as a novel and completely unsupervised method for studying fragment length patterns in cfDNA. Using shallow whole-genome sequencing (sWGS) of cfDNA from a cohort of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), we demonstrate how NMF accurately infers the true tumor fragment length distribution as an NMF component - and that the sample weights of this component correlate with ctDNA levels (r=0.75). We further demonstrate how using several NMF components enables accurate cancer detection on data from various early stage cancers (AUC = 0.96). Finally, we show that NMF, when applied across genomic regions, can be used to discover fragment length signatures associated with open chromatin.
Antibiotic resistance in the important opportunistic human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae is on the rise. This is particularly problematic in the case of the β-lactam antibiotic amoxicillin, which is the first-line therapy. It is therefore crucial to uncover targets that would kill or resensitize amoxicillin-resistant pneumococci. To do so, we developed a genome-wide, single-cell based, gene silencing screen using CRISPR interference called sCRilecs-seq (subsets of CRISPR interference libraries extracted by fluorescence activated cell sorting coupled to next generation sequencing). Since amoxicillin affects growth and division, sCRilecs-seq was used to identify targets that are responsible for maintaining proper cell size. Our screen revealed that downregulation of the mevalonate pathway leads to extensive cell elongation. Further investigation into this phenotype indicates that it is caused by a reduced availability of cell wall precursors at the site of cell wall synthesis due to a limitation in the production of undecaprenyl phosphate (Und-P), the lipid carrier that is responsible for transporting these precursors across the cell membrane. The data suggest that, whereas peptidoglycan synthesis continues even with reduced Und-P levels, cell constriction is specifically halted. We successfully exploited this knowledge to create a combination treatment strategy where the FDA-approved drug clomiphene, an inhibitor of Und-P synthesis, is paired up with amoxicillin. Our results show that clomiphene potentiates the antimicrobial activity of amoxicillin and that combination therapy resensitizes amoxicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae. These findings could provide a starting point to develop a solution for the increasing amount of hard-to-treat amoxicillin-resistant pneumococcal infections.