Advanced Services Unit

Cantanhede, Portugal

Advanced Services Unit

Cantanhede, Portugal
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Bettencourt R.,University of The Azores | Bettencourt R.,IMAR Institute of Marine Research | Pinheiro M.,Bioinformatics Unit | Egas C.,Advanced Services Unit | And 6 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2010

Background: Bathymodiolus azoricus is a deep-sea hydrothermal vent mussel found in association with large faunal communities living in chemosynthetic environments at the bottom of the sea floor near the Azores Islands. Investigation of the exceptional physiological reactions that vent mussels have adopted in their habitat, including responses to environmental microbes, remains a difficult challenge for deep-sea biologists. In an attempt to reveal genes potentially involved in the deep-sea mussel innate immunity we carried out a high-throughput sequence analysis of freshly collected B. azoricus transcriptome using gills tissues as the primary source of immune transcripts given its strategic role in filtering the surrounding waterborne potentially infectious microorganisms. Additionally, a substantial EST data set was produced and from which a comprehensive collection of genes coding for putative proteins was organized in a dedicated database, "DeepSeaVent" the first deep-sea vent animal transcriptome database based on the 454 pyrosequencing technology.Results: A normalized cDNA library from gills tissue was sequenced in a full 454 GS-FLX run, producing 778,996 sequencing reads. Assembly of the high quality reads resulted in 75,407 contigs of which 3,071 were singletons. A total of 39,425 transcripts were conceptually translated into amino-sequences of which 22,023 matched known proteins in the NCBI non-redundant protein database, 15,839 revealed conserved protein domains through InterPro functional classification and 9,584 were assigned with Gene Ontology terms. Queries conducted within the database enabled the identification of genes putatively involved in immune and inflammatory reactions which had not been previously evidenced in the vent mussel. Their physical counterpart was confirmed by semi-quantitative quantitative Reverse-Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reactions (RT-PCR) and their RNA transcription level by quantitative PCR (qPCR) experiments.Conclusions: We have established the first tissue transcriptional analysis of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent animal and generated a searchable catalog of genes that provides a direct method of identifying and retrieving vast numbers of novel coding sequences which can be applied in gene expression profiling experiments from a non-conventional model organism. This provides the most comprehensive sequence resource for identifying novel genes currently available for a deep-sea vent organism, in particular, genes putatively involved in immune and inflammatory reactions in vent mussels.The characterization of the B. azoricus transcriptome will facilitate research into biological processes underlying physiological adaptations to hydrothermal vent environments and will provide a basis for expanding our understanding of genes putatively involved in adaptations processes during post-capture long term acclimatization experiments, at "sea-level" conditions, using B. azoricus as a model organism. © 2010 Bettencourt et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Santos C.S.,Catholic University of Portugal | Pinheiro M.,Bioinformatics Unit | Silva A.I.,Catholic University of Portugal | Egas C.,Advanced Services Unit | Vasconcelos M.W.,Catholic University of Portugal
BMC Genomics | Year: 2012

Background: Pine wilt disease (PWD), caused by the pinewood nematode (PWN; Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), damages and kills pine trees and is causing serious economic damage worldwide. Although the ecological mechanism of infestation is well described, the plant's molecular response to the pathogen is not well known. This is due mainly to the lack of genomic information and the complexity of the disease. High throughput sequencing is now an efficient approach for detecting the expression of genes in non-model organisms, thus providing valuable information in spite of the lack of the genome sequence. In an attempt to unravel genes potentially involved in the pine defense against the pathogen, we hereby report the high throughput comparative sequence analysis of infested and non-infested stems of Pinus pinaster (very susceptible to PWN) and Pinus pinea (less susceptible to PWN).Results: Four cDNA libraries from infested and non-infested stems of P. pinaster and P. pinea were sequenced in a full 454 GS FLX run, producing a total of 2,083,698 reads. The putative amino acid sequences encoded by the assembled transcripts were annotated according to Gene Ontology, to assign Pinus contigs into Biological Processes, Cellular Components and Molecular Functions categories. Most of the annotated transcripts corresponded to Picea genes-25.4-39.7%, whereas a smaller percentage, matched Pinus genes, 1.8-12.8%, probably a consequence of more public genomic information available for Picea than for Pinus. The comparative transcriptome analysis showed that when P. pinaster was infested with PWN, the genes malate dehydrogenase, ABA, water deficit stress related genes and PAR1 were highly expressed, while in PWN-infested P. pinea, the highly expressed genes were ricin B-related lectin, and genes belonging to the SNARE and high mobility group families. Quantitative PCR experiments confirmed the differential gene expression between the two pine species.Conclusions: Defense-related genes triggered by nematode infestation were detected in both P. pinaster and P. pinea transcriptomes utilizing 454 pyrosequencing technology. P. pinaster showed higher abundance of genes related to transcriptional regulation, terpenoid secondary metabolism (including some with nematicidal activity) and pathogen attack. P. pinea showed higher abundance of genes related to oxidative stress and higher levels of expression in general of stress responsive genes. This study provides essential information about the molecular defense mechanisms utilized by P. pinaster and P. pinea against PWN infestation and contributes to a better understanding of PWD. © 2012 Santos et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Vaz-Moreira I.,Catholic University of Portugal | Vaz-Moreira I.,University of Porto | Egas C.,Advanced Services Unit | Egas C.,University of Coimbra | And 2 more authors.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology | Year: 2011

Compared with culture-independent approaches, traditionally used culture-dependent methods have a limited capacity to characterize water microbiota. Nevertheless, for almost a century the latter have been optimized to detect and quantify relevant bacteria. A pertinent question is if culture-independent diversity surveys give merely an extended perspective of the bacterial diversity or if, even with a higher coverage, focus on a different set of organisms. We compared the diversity and phylogeny of bacteria in a freshwater sample recovered by currently used culture-dependent and culture-independent methods (DGGE and 454 pyrosequencing). The culture-dependent diversity survey presented lower coverage than the other methods. However, it allowed bacterial identifications to the species level, in contrast with the other procedures that rarely produced identifications below the order. Although the predominant bacterial phyla detected by both approaches were the same (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes), sequence similarity analysis showed that, in general, different operational taxonomical units were targeted by each method. The observation that culture-dependent and independent approaches target different organisms has implications for the use of the latter for studies in which taxonomic identification has a predictive value. In comparison to DGGE, 454 pyrosequencing method had a higher capacity to explore the bacterial richness and to detect cultured organisms, being also less laborious. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Conceicao I.L.,University of Coimbra | Tzortzakakis E.A.,Plant Protection Institute | Gomes P.,Advanced Services Unit | Abrantes I.,University of Coimbra | da Cunha M.J.,CERNAS
European Journal of Plant Pathology | Year: 2012

Root-knot nematodes (RKN), Meloidogyne spp., are very significant in agriculture because they can be found almost everywhere and have a wide host range. In summer 2009, two soil samples from maize and kiwi crops, from the area of Kavalla in North Greece, were analyzed for the presence of nematodes. RKN were detected in both samples and identified as M. ethiopica on the basis of biochemical (esterases) and sequence data (18S rDNA). Meloidogyne ethiopica poses a significant threat to farmers in Greece and the establishment and spread of this species has to be controlled. This is the first report of M. ethiopica in Greece and the second report of this species for Europe. © 2012 KNPV.


Vaz-Moreira I.,University of Porto | Egas C.,Advanced Services Unit | Nunes O.C.,University of Porto | Manaia C.M.,University of Porto
FEMS Microbiology Ecology | Year: 2013

This study aimed to assess the influence of water treatment and distribution on the bacterial communities with particular emphasis on tap water. Samples from the water treatment plant, the bulk supply distribution system and household taps, supplied by the same drinking water treatment plant, were analyzed using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. Water treatment imposed alterations in the composition of the bacterial community, although this effect was more evident in the cultivable bacteria rather than among the total community assessed by 16S rRNA gene-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiling. Water disinfection, mainly chlorination, promoted a reduction on bacterial diversity and cultivability, with a shift in the pattern of cultivable bacteria from predominantly Gram-negative to predominately Gram-positive and acid-fast. Downstream of the chlorination stages, tap water, in comparison with raw water, presented higher diversity indices and cultivability percentages. From the source to the tap, members of the Alpha-, Beta- and Gammaproteobacteria were the predominant lineages identified using 16S rRNA gene-DGGE analysis. Although with a lower coverage, the DGGE-based lineage identifications were in agreement with those found using 454-pyrosequencing analysis. Despite the effectiveness of water treatment to eliminate or inactivate most of the bacteria, Proteobacteria such as Acinetobacter, Bosea and Sphingomonadaceae may successfully colonize tap water. © 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.


Pinto C.,Genomics Unit | Pinho D.,Genomics Unit | Sousa S.,Genomics Unit | Pinheiro M.,Advanced Services Unit | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Vitis vinifera is one of the most widely cultivated fruit crops with a great economic impact on the global industry. As a plant, it is naturally colonised by a wide variety of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms that interact with grapevine, having either beneficial or phytopathogenic effects, who play a major role in fruit yield, grape quality and, ultimately, in the evolution of grape fermentation and wine production. Therefore, the objective of this study was to extensively characterize the natural microbiome of grapevine. Considering that the majority of microorganisms are uncultivable, we have deeply studied the microflora of grapevine leaves using massive parallel rDNA sequencing, along its vegetative cycle. Among eukaryotic population the most abundant microorganisms belonged to the early diverging fungi lineages and Ascomycota phylum, whereas the Basidiomycota were the least abundant. Regarding prokaryotes, a high diversity of Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria was unveiled. Indeed, the microbial communities present in the vineyard during its vegetative cycle were shown to be highly structured and dynamic. In all cases, the major abundant microorganisms were the yeast-like fungus Aureobasidium and the prokaryotic Enterobacteriaceae. Herein, we report the first complete microbiome landscape of the vineyard, through a metagenomic approach, and highlight the analysis of the microbial interactions within the vineyard and its importance for the equilibrium of the microecosystem of grapevines. © 2014 Pinto et al.


Cruz A.,University of Aveiro | Rodrigues R.,University of Aveiro | Pinheiro M.,Advanced Services Unit | Pinheiro M.,University of St. Andrews | Mendo S.,University of Aveiro
Marine Environmental Research | Year: 2015

Aeromonas molluscorum Av27 cells were exposed to 0, 5 and 50 μM of TBT and the respective transcriptomes were obtained by pyrosequencing. Gene Ontology revealed that exposure to 5 μM TBT results in a higher number of repressed genes in contrast with 50 μM of TBT, where the number of over-expressed genes is greater. At both TBT concentrations, higher variations in gene expression were found in the functional categories associated with enzymatic activities, transport/binding and oxidation-reduction. A number of proteins are affected by TBT, such as the acriflavin resistance protein, several transcription-related proteins, several Hsps, ABC transporters, CorA and ZntB and other outer membrane efflux proteins, all of these involved in cellular metabolic processes, important to maintain overall cell viability.Using the STRING tool, several proteins with unknown function were related with others involved in degradation processes, such as the pyoverdine chromophore biosynthetic protein, that has been described as playing a role in the Sn-C cleavage of organotins.This approach has allowed a better understanding of the molecular effects of exposure of bacterial cells to TBT. Furthermore it contributes to the knowledge of the functional genomic aspects of bacteria exposed to this pollutant. Furthermore, the transcriptomic data gathered, and now publically available, constitute a valuable resource for comparative genome analysis. © 2015 The Authors.

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