Consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers for amplification of distantly related sequences.
ABSTRACT: We describe a new primer design strategy for PCR amplification of unknown targets that are related to multiply-aligned protein sequences. Each primer consists of a short 3' degenerate core region and a longer 5' consensus clamp region. Only 3-4 highly conserved amino acid residues are necessary for design of the core, which is stabilized by the clamp during annealing to template molecules. During later rounds of amplification, the non-degenerate clamp permits stable annealing to product molecules. We demonstrate the practical utility of this hybrid primer method by detection of diverse reverse transcriptase-like genes in a human genome, and by detection of C5DNA methyltransferase homologs in various plant DNAs. In each case, amplified products were sufficiently pure to be cloned without gel fractionation. This COnsensus-DEgenerate Hybrid Oligonucleotide Primer (CODEHOP) strategy has been implemented as a computer program that is accessible over the World Wide Web (http://blocks.fhcrc.org/codehop.html) and is directly linked from the BlockMaker multiple sequence alignment site for hybrid primer prediction beginning with a set of related protein sequences.
Project description:We have developed a new primer design strategy for PCR amplification of distantly related gene sequences based on consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers (CODEHOPs). An interactive program has been written to design CODEHOP PCR primers from conserved blocks of amino acids within multiply-aligned protein sequences. Each CODEHOP consists of a pool of related primers containing all possible nucleotide sequences encoding 3-4 highly conserved amino acids within a 3' degenerate core. A longer 5' non-degenerate clamp region contains the most probable nucleotide predicted for each flanking codon. CODEHOPs are used in PCR amplification to isolate distantly related sequences encoding the conserved amino acid sequence. The primer design software and the CODEHOP PCR strategy have been utilized for the identification and characterization of new gene orthologs and paralogs in different plant, animal and bacterial species. In addition, this approach has been successful in identifying new pathogen species. The CODEHOP designer (http://blocks.fhcrc.org/codehop.html) is linked to BlockMaker and the Multiple Alignment Processor within the Blocks Database World Wide Web (http://blocks.fhcrc.org).
Project description:A primer design strategy named CODEHOP (consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primer) for amplification of distantly related sequences was used to detect the priming glycosyltransferase (GT) gene in strains of the Lactobacillus casei group. Each hybrid primer consisted of a short 3' degenerate core based on four highly conserved amino acids and a longer 5' consensus clamp region based on six sequences of the priming GT gene products from exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing bacteria. The hybrid primers were used to detect the priming GT gene of 44 commercial isolates and reference strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, L. casei, Lactobacillus zeae, and Streptococcus thermophilus. The priming GT gene was detected in the genome of both non-EPS-producing (EPS(-)) and EPS-producing (EPS(+)) strains of L. rhamnosus. The sequences of the cloned PCR products were similar to those of the priming GT gene of various gram-negative and gram-positive EPS(+) bacteria. Specific primers designed from the L. rhamnosus RW-9595M GT gene were used to sequence the end of the priming GT gene in selected EPS(+) strains of L. rhamnosus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Lactobacillus spp. form a distinctive group apart from other lactic acid bacteria for which GT genes have been characterized to date. Moreover, the sequences show a divergence existing among strains of L. rhamnosus with respect to the terminal region of the priming GT gene. Thus, the PCR approach with consensus-degenerate hybrid primers designed with CODEHOP is a practical approach for the detection of similar genes containing conserved motifs in different bacterial genomes.
Project description:Consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers (CODEHOPs) have proven to be a powerful tool for the identification of novel genes. CODEHOPs are designed from highly-conserved regions of multiply-aligned protein sequences from members of a gene family and are used in PCR amplification to identify distantly-related genes. The CODEHOP approach has been used to identify novel pathogens by targeting amino acid motifs conserved in specific pathogen families. We initiated a program utilizing the CODEHOP approach to develop PCR-based assays targeting a variety of viral families that are pathogens in non-human primates. We have also developed and further improved a computer program and website to facilitate the design of CODEHOP PCR primers. Here, we detail the method for the development of pathogen-specific CODEHOP PCR assays using the papillomavirus family as a target. Papillomaviruses constitute a diverse virus family infecting a wide variety of mammalian species, including humans and non-human primates. We demonstrate that our pan-papillomavirus CODEHOP assay is broadly reactive with all major branches of the virus family and show its utility in identifying a novel non-human primate papillomavirus in cynomolgus macaques.
Project description:The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficiency of the gyrB gene derived from Burkholderia gladioli pv.Alliicola (Bga) on the identification of Bga from the B. cepacia complex (Bcc) based on the COnsensus-DEgenerate Hybrid Oligonucleotide Primer (CODEHOP) strategy. A set of primers used for the specific amplification of the gyrB gene in Bga were designed according to the CODEHOP principle. A total of 1,644 bp of the gyrB gene sequence of Bga were acquired by CODEHOP amplification. The sequence was blasted in GenBank and it revealed an average of 86% similarity with the gyrB gene of nine genomovars of Bcc. A phylogenetic tree was constructed using the gyrB gene sequences. The microarray method was adopted to discriminate Bga from Bcc based on the specific probes designed upon the gyrB gene, and five genomovars of Bcc demonstrated a good discrimination from Bga on the microarray chip. CODEHOP strategy succeeded in amplification of the gyrB gene of Bga, which made it possible for the identification of Bga from five genomovars of Bcc.
Project description:Consensus-Degenerate Hybrid Oligonucleotide Primer (CODEHOP) PCR primers derived from amino acid sequence motifs which are highly conserved between members of a protein family have proven to be highly effective in the identification and characterization of distantly related family members. Here, the use of the CODEHOP strategy to identify novel viruses and obtain sequence information for phylogenetic characterization, gene structure determination and genome analysis is reviewed. While this review describes techniques for the identification of members of the herpesvirus family of DNA viruses, the same methodology and approach is applicable to other virus families.
Project description:Deep sequencing of small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene amplicons continues to be the most common approach for characterization of complex microbial communities. PCR amplifications of conserved regions of SSU rRNA genes often employ degenerate pools of primers to enable targeting of a broad spectrum of organisms. One little noticed feature of such degenerate primer sets is the potential for a wide range of melting temperatures between the primer variants. The melting temperature variation of primers in a degenerate pool could lead to variable amplification efficiencies and PCR bias. Thus, we sought to adjust the melting temperature of each primer variant individually. Individual primer modifications were used to reduce theoretical melting temperature variation between primers, as well as to introduce inter-cluster nucleotide diversity during Illumina sequencing of primer regions. We demonstrate here the suitability of such primers for microbial community analysis. However, no substantial differences in microbial community structure were revealed when using primers with adjusted melting temperatures, though the optimal annealing temperature decreased.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In a high-throughput environment, to PCR amplify and sequence a large set of viral isolates from populations that are potentially heterogeneous and continuously evolving, the use of degenerate PCR primers is an important strategy. Degenerate primers allow for the PCR amplification of a wider range of viral isolates with only one set of pre-mixed primers, thus increasing amplification success rates and minimizing the necessity for genome finishing activities. To successfully select a large set of degenerate PCR primers necessary to tile across an entire viral genome and maximize their success, this process is best performed computationally. RESULTS:We have developed a fully automated degenerate PCR primer design system that plays a key role in the J. Craig Venter Institute's (JCVI) high-throughput viral sequencing pipeline. A consensus viral genome, or a set of consensus segment sequences in the case of a segmented virus, is specified using IUPAC ambiguity codes in the consensus template sequence to represent the allelic diversity of the target population. PCR primer pairs are then selected computationally to produce a minimal amplicon set capable of tiling across the full length of the specified target region. As part of the tiling process, primer pairs are computationally screened to meet the criteria for successful PCR with one of two described amplification protocols. The actual sequencing success rates for designed primers for measles virus, mumps virus, human parainfluenza virus 1 and 3, human respiratory syncytial virus A and B and human metapneumovirus are described, where >90% of designed primer pairs were able to consistently successfully amplify >75% of the isolates. CONCLUSIONS:Augmenting our previously developed and published JCVI Primer Design Pipeline, we achieved similarly high sequencing success rates with only minor software modifications. The recommended methodology for the construction of the consensus sequence that encapsulates the allelic variation of the targeted population and is a key step prior to designing degenerate primers is also formally described.
Project description:A modified pan-PV consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primer (CODEHOP) PCR was developed for generic and sensitive detection of a broad-spectrum of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) infecting the cutaneous epithelium. To test the analytical sensitivity of the assay we examined 149 eyebrow hair follicle specimens from immunocompetent male patients. HPV DNA was detected in 60?% (89/149) of analysed eyebrow samples with a total of 48 different HPV sequences, representing 21 previously described HPVs and 27 putative novel HPV types. Evidence for ten novel HPV subtypes and seven viral variants, clustering to three out of five genera containing cutaneous HPVs, was also obtained. Thus, we have shown that the modified pan-PV CODEHOP PCR assay is able to identify multiple HPV types, even from different genera, in the same clinical sample. Overall, these results demonstrate that the pan-PV CODEHOP PCR is an excellent tool for screening and identification of novel cutaneous HPVs, even in samples with low viral loads.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Human enteroviruses contain over 100 serotypes. We have routinely conducted enterovirus surveillance in northern Taiwan; but about 10% of isolates could not be serotyped using traditional assays. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool for genome sequencing. METHODS:In this study, we established an NGS platform to conduct genome sequencing for the serologically untypable enterovirus isolates. RESULTS:Among 130 serologically untypable isolates, 121 (93%) of them were classified into 29 serotypes using CODEHOP (COnsensus-DEgenerate Hybrid Oligonucleotide Primer)-based RT-PCR to amplify VP1 genes (VP1-CODEHOP). We further selected 52 samples for NGS and identified 59 genome sequences from 51 samples, including 8 samples containing two virus genomes. We also detected 23 genome variants (nucleotide identity <?90% compared with genome sequences in the public domain) which were potential genetic recombination, including 9 inter-serotype recombinants and 14 strains with unknown sources of recombination. CONCLUSIONS:We successfully integrated VP1-CODEHOP and NGS techniques to conduct genomic analysis of serologically untypable enteroviruses.
Project description:Video abstract A video abstract by the authors of this paper is available. video-abstract8870.mov The PCR-amplification of unknown homologous or paralogous genes generally relies on PCR primers predicted from multi sequence alignments. But increasing sequence divergence can induce the need to use degenerate primers which entails the problem of testing the characteristics, unwanted interactions and potential mispriming of degenerate primers. Here I introduce easyPAC, a new software for the prediction of degenerate primers from multi sequence alignments or single consensus sequences. As a major innovation, easyPAC allows to apply all customary primer test procedures to degenerate primer sequences including fast mapping to reference files. Thus, easyPAC simplifies and expedites the designing of specific degenerate primers enormously. Degenerate primers suggested by easyPAC were used in PCR amplification with subsequent de novo sequencing of TDRD1 exon 11 homologs from several representatives of the haplorrhine primate phylogeny. The results demonstrate the efficient performance of the suggested primers and therefore show that easyPAC can advance upcoming comparative genetic studies.