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Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Oct;41(19):9033-48. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt654. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

High-resolution definition of the Vibrio cholerae essential gene set with hidden Markov model-based analyses of transposon-insertion sequencing data.

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Division of Infectious Disease, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA, Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA, Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA and Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The coupling of high-density transposon mutagenesis to high-throughput DNA sequencing (transposon-insertion sequencing) enables simultaneous and genome-wide assessment of the contributions of individual loci to bacterial growth and survival. We have refined analysis of transposon-insertion sequencing data by normalizing for the effect of DNA replication on sequencing output and using a hidden Markov model (HMM)-based filter to exploit heretofore unappreciated information inherent in all transposon-insertion sequencing data sets. The HMM can smooth variations in read abundance and thereby reduce the effects of read noise, as well as permit fine scale mapping that is independent of genomic annotation and enable classification of loci into several functional categories (e.g. essential, domain essential or 'sick'). We generated a high-resolution map of genomic loci (encompassing both intra- and intergenic sequences) that are required or beneficial for in vitro growth of the cholera pathogen, Vibrio cholerae. This work uncovered new metabolic and physiologic requirements for V. cholerae survival, and by combining transposon-insertion sequencing and transcriptomic data sets, we also identified several novel noncoding RNA species that contribute to V. cholerae growth. Our findings suggest that HMM-based approaches will enhance extraction of biological meaning from transposon-insertion sequencing genomic data.

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