A novel method for the capture-based purification of whole viral native RNA genomes.
ABSTRACT: Current technologies for targeted characterization and manipulation of viral RNA primarily involve amplification or ultracentrifugation with isopycnic gradients of viral particles to decrease host RNA background. The former strategy is non-compatible for characterizing properties innate to RNA strands such as secondary structure, RNA-RNA interactions, and also for nanopore direct RNA sequencing involving the sequencing of native RNA strands. The latter strategy, ultracentrifugation, causes loss in genomic information due to its inability to retrieve unassembled viral RNA. To address this, we developed a novel application of current nucleic acid hybridization technologies for direct characterization of RNA. In particular, we modified a current enrichment protocol to capture whole viral native RNA genomes for downstream RNA assays to circumvent the abovementioned problems. This technique involves hybridization of biotinylated baits at 500 nucleotides (nt) intervals, stringent washes and release of free native RNA strands using DNase I treatment, with a turnaround time of about 6 h 15 min. RT-qPCR was used as the primary proof of concept that capture-based purification indeed removes host background. Subsequently, capture-based purification was applied to direct RNA sequencing as proof of concept that capture-based purification can be coupled with downstream RNA assays. We report that this protocol was able to successfully purify viral RNA by 561- to 791-fold. We also report that application of this protocol to direct RNA sequencing yielded a reduction in human host RNA background by 1580-fold, a 99.91% recovery of viral genome with at least 15×?coverage, and a mean coverage across the genome of 120×. This report is, to the best of our knowledge, the first description of a capture-based purification method for assays that involve direct manipulation or characterisation of native RNA. This report also describes a successful application of capture-based purification as a direct RNA sequencing strategy that addresses certain limitations of current strategies in sequencing RNA viral genomes.
Project description:Metagenomic analyses have been widely used in the last decade to describe viral communities in various environments or to identify the etiology of human, animal, and plant pathologies. Here, we present a simple and standardized protocol that allows for the purification and sequencing of RNA viromes from complex biological samples with an important reduction of host DNA and RNA contaminants, while preserving the infectivity of viral particles.We evaluated different viral purification steps, random reverse transcriptions and sequence-independent amplifications of a pool of representative RNA viruses. Viruses remained infectious after the purification process. We then validated the protocol by sequencing the RNA virome of human body lice engorged in vitro with artificially contaminated human blood. The full genomes of the most abundant viruses absorbed by the lice during the blood meal were successfully sequenced. Interestingly, random amplifications differed in the genome coverage of segmented RNA viruses. Moreover, the majority of reads were taxonomically identified, and only 7-15% of all reads were classified as "unknown", depending on the random amplification method.The protocol reported here could easily be applied to generate RNA viral metagenomes from complex biological samples of different origins. Our protocol allows further virological characterizations of the described viral communities because it preserves the infectivity of viral particles and allows for the isolation of viruses.
Project description:A platform for highly parallel direct sequencing of native RNA strands was recently described by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, but despite initial efforts it remains crucial to further investigate the technology for quantification of complex transcriptomes. Here we undertake native RNA sequencing of polyA?+?RNA from two human cell lines, analysing ~5.2 million aligned native RNA reads. To enable informative comparisons, we also perform relevant ONT direct cDNA- and Illumina-sequencing. We find that while native RNA sequencing does enable some of the anticipated advantages, key unexpected aspects currently hamper its performance, most notably the quite frequent inability to obtain full-length transcripts from single reads, as well as difficulties to unambiguously infer their true transcript of origin. While characterising issues that need to be addressed when investigating more complex transcriptomes, our study highlights that with some defined improvements, native RNA sequencing could be an important addition to the mammalian transcriptomics toolbox.
Project description:In the recent years, African swine fever has become the biggest animal health threat to the swine industry. To facilitate quick genetic analysis of its causative agent, the African swine fever virus (ASFV), we developed a simple and efficient method for next generation sequencing of the viral DNA. Execution of the protocol does not demand complicated virus purification steps, enrichment of the virus by ultracentrifugation or of the viral DNA by ASFV-specific PCRs, and minimizes the use of Sanger sequencing. Efficient DNA-se treatment, monitoring of sample preparation by qPCR, and whole genome amplification are the key elements of the method. Through detailed description of sequencing of the first Hungarian ASFV isolate (ASFV_HU_2018), we specify the sensitive steps and supply key reference numbers to assist reproducibility and to facilitate the successful use of the method for other ASFV researchers.
Project description:A microfluidic sample preparation multiplexer (SPM) and assay procedure is developed to improve amplification-free detection of Ebola virus RNA from blood. While a previous prototype successfully detected viral RNA following off-chip RNA extraction from infected cells, the new device and protocol can detect Ebola virus in raw blood with clinically relevant sensitivity. The Ebola RNA is hybridized with sequence specific capture and labeling DNA probes in solution and then the complex is pulled down onto capture beads for purification and concentration. After washing, the captured RNA target is released by irradiating the photocleavable DNA capture probe with ultraviolet (UV) light. The released, labeled, and purified RNA is detected by a sensitive and compact fluorometer. Exploiting these capabilities, a detection limit of 800 attomolar (aM) is achieved without target amplification. The new SPM can run up to 80 assays in parallel using a pneumatic multiplexing architecture. Importantly, our new protocol does not require time-consuming and problematic off-chip probe conjugation and washing. This improved SPM and labeling protocol is an important step toward a useful POC device and assay.
Project description:Viruses drive microbial diversity, function and evolution and influence important biogeochemical cycles in aquatic ecosystems. Despite their relevance, we currently lack an understanding of their potential impacts on stream biofilm structure and function. This is surprising given the critical role of biofilms for stream ecosystem processes. Currently, the study of viruses in stream biofilms is hindered by the lack of an optimized protocol for their extraction, concentration and purification. Here, we evaluate a range of methods to separate viral particles from stream biofilms, and to concentrate and purify them prior to DNA extraction and metagenome sequencing. Based on epifluorescence microscopy counts of viral-like particles (VLP) and DNA yields, we optimize a protocol including treatment with tetrasodium pyrophosphate and ultra-sonication to disintegrate biofilms, tangential-flow filtration to extract and concentrate VLP, followed by ultracentrifugation in a sucrose density gradient to isolate VLP from the biofilm slurry. Viromes derived from biofilms sampled from three different streams were dominated by Siphoviridae, Myoviridae and Podoviridae and provide first insights into the viral diversity of stream biofilms. Our protocol optimization provides an important step towards a better understanding of the ecological role of viruses in stream biofilms.
Project description:Recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (rAAV9) can specifically transduce muscle and neuronal tissues; thus, rAAV9 can potentially be used in gene therapy. However, rAAV9 is the most challenging rAAV serotype to purify. Traditionally, rAAV9 has been purified by ultracentrifugation, which is not scalable. We recently described a chromatographic purification protocol for rAAV1; this protocol can achieve scalable purifications. In this study, we attempted to optimize this protocol for purifying rAAV9 preparations, and we developed a novel, effective method for high-yield purification of rAAV9 using quaternary ammonium anion exchangers and size-exclusion chromatography. The final purified rAAV9 contained mainly three capsid proteins, as observed by SDS-PAGE. Furthermore, negative-stain electron microscopy demonstrated that 96.1% ± 1.1% of rAAV9 particles carried the viral genome containing the EGFP transgene, indicating that impurities and empty capsids can be eliminated with our purification protocol. The final rAAV9 titer obtained by our protocol totaled 2.5 ± 0.4 × 1015 viral genomes produced from ?3.2 × 109 HEK293EB cells. We confirmed that our protocol can also be applied to purify other varied AAV genome constructs. Our protocol can scale up production of pure rAAV9, in compliance with current good manufacturing practice, for clinical applications in human gene therapy.
Project description:Genome sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is increasingly important to monitor the transmission and adaptive evolution of the virus. The accessibility of high-throughput methods and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has facilitated a growing ecosystem of protocols. Two differing protocols are tiling multiplex PCR and bait capture enrichment. Each method has advantages and disadvantages but a direct comparison with different viral RNA concentrations has not been performed to assess the performance of these approaches. Here we compare Liverpool amplification, ARTIC amplification, and bait capture using clinical diagnostics samples. All libraries were sequenced using an Illumina MiniSeq with data analyzed using a standardized bioinformatics workflow (SARS-CoV-2 Illumina GeNome Assembly Line; SIGNAL). One sample showed poor SARS-CoV-2 genome coverage and consensus, reflective of low viral RNA concentration. In contrast, the second sample had a higher viral RNA concentration, which yielded good genome coverage and consensus. ARTIC amplification showed the highest depth of coverage results for both samples, suggesting this protocol is effective for low concentrations. Liverpool amplification provided a more even read coverage of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, but at a lower depth of coverage. Bait capture enrichment of SARS-CoV-2 cDNA provided results on par with amplification. While only two clinical samples were examined in this comparative analysis, both the Liverpool and ARTIC amplification methods showed differing efficacy for high and low concentration samples. In addition, amplification-free bait capture enriched sequencing of cDNA is a viable method for generating a SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence and for identification of amplification artifacts.
Project description:Small extracellular vesicles (EVs) are 50-200?nm sized mediators in intercellular communication that reflect both physiological and pathophysiological changes of their parental cells. Thus, EVs hold great potential for biomarker detection. However, reliable purification methods for the downstream screening of the microRNA (miRNA) cargo carried within urinary EVs by small RNA sequencing have yet to be established. To address this knowledge gap, RNA extracted from human urinary EVs obtained by five different urinary EV purification methods (spin column chromatography, immunoaffinity, membrane affinity, precipitation and ultracentrifugation combined with density gradient) was analyzed by small RNA sequencing. Urinary EVs were further characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis, Western blot analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Comprehensive EV characterization established significant method-dependent differences in size and concentration as well as variances in protein composition of isolated vesicles. Even though all purification methods captured enough total RNA to allow small RNA sequencing, method-dependent differences were also observed with respect to library sizes, mapping distributions, number of miRNA reads and diversity of transcripts. Whereas EVs obtained by immunoaffinity yielded the purest subset of small EVs, highly comparable with results attained by ultracentrifugation combined with density gradient, precipitation and membrane affinity, sample purification by spin column chromatography indicated a tendency to isolate different subtypes of small EVs, which might also carry a distinct subset of miRNAs. Based on our results, different EV purification methods seem to preferentially isolate different subtypes of EVs with varying efficiencies. As a consequence, sequencing experiments and resulting miRNA profiles were also affected. Hence, the selection of a specific EV isolation method has to satisfy the respective research question and should be well considered. In strict adherence with the MISEV (minimal information for studies of extracellular vesicles) guidelines, the importance of a combined evaluation of biophysical and proteomic EV characteristics alongside transcriptomic results was clearly demonstrated in this present study.
Project description:Due to the energetic frustration of RNA folding, tertiary structured RNA is typically characterized by a rugged folding free energy landscape where deep kinetic barriers separate numerous misfolded states from one or more native states. While most in vitro studies of RNA rely on (re)folding chemically and/or enzymatically synthesized RNA in its entirety, which frequently leads into kinetic traps, nature reduces the complexity of the RNA folding problem by segmental, co-transcriptional folding starting from the 5' end. We here have developed a simplified, general, nondenaturing purification protocol for RNA to ask whether avoiding denaturation of a co-transcriptionally folded RNA can reduce commonly observed in vitro folding heterogeneity. Our protocol bypasses the need for large-scale auxiliary protein purification and expensive chromatographic equipment and involves rapid affinity capture with magnetic beads and removal of chemical heterogeneity by cleavage of the target RNA from the beads using the ligand-induced glmS ribozyme. For two disparate model systems, the Varkud satellite (VS) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozymes, we achieve >95% conformational purity within one hour of enzymatic transcription, without the need for any folding chaperones. We further demonstrate that in vitro refolding introduces severe conformational heterogeneity into the natively-purified VS ribozyme but not into the compact, double-nested pseudoknot fold of the HDV ribozyme. We conclude that conformational heterogeneity in complex RNAs can be avoided by co-transcriptional folding followed by nondenaturing purification, providing rapid access to chemically and conformationally pure RNA for biologically relevant biochemical and biophysical studies.
Project description:Ultracentrifugation remains the gold standard for isolation of small extracellular vesicles (sEV), particularly for cancer applications. The objective of this study was to determine if a widely used ultracentrifugation protocol for isolation of serum sEV could be modified to reduce the number of ultracentrifugation cycles and increase efficiency, while maintaining equal or better sample purity and yield. Serum was obtained from two healthy subjects. sEVs were isolated from 1 mL aliquots using three different ultracentrifugation protocols. Co-isolation of RNA carrier protein was assessed by performing Western blots for ApoA-I, ApoB, and Ago2. Small RNA-sequencing was performed on the sEV isolates, and differential detection of small ncRNA was compared across isolation protocols. Reduction from three- to two-ultracentrifuge cycles with no sucrose cushion resulted in a much higher sEV yield but also had the highest levels of lipoprotein and Ago2 contamination. However, the two-ultracentrifugation cycle protocol that incorporated a 30% sucrose cushion into the first cycle resulted in slightly higher sEV yields with lower levels of protein contamination compared to the lengthier three-ultracentrifugation cycle approach, therefore presenting a more efficient alternative approach for isolation of serum sEVs. It was also notable that there were some differences in sEV ncRNA cargo according to protocol, although it was less than expected given the differences in co-isolated RNA carrier proteins. Our results suggest that use of the modified serum sEV isolation protocol with two ultracentrifugation cycles and incorporating a 30% sucrose cushion offers a more efficient approach in terms of efficiency and purity.