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  • Bruno Vellutini 18:30 on 2011/11/29 Permalink
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    Design of oligonucleotide primers 

    Background and advice for designing primers, taken from the same book as the previous post.

    • Specificity is crucial; the longer, the higher specificity.
    • Probability: K = [g/2]^G+C x [(1-g)/2]^A+T — K is expected frequency, g is relative G+C content, GCAT number of each nucleotide.
    • 15 nucleotides would be unique within 3×10⁹ genome, but due to bias in codon usage, repetitive DNA sequences and gene families, they are not.
    • Good idea to scan DNA databases to see if only the wanted sequence is returned.

    Selecting primers

    • Analysis: free of homopolymeric tracts, no secundary structures, not self-complimentary, no significant homology with other sequences.
    • List possible forward/reverse primers with calculating the melting point.
    • Selection of well-matched primers: similar in G+C content, but no more than 3 consecutive nucleotides should be complementary.
    • Refine length and placement of oligonucleotides: 3′-terminal nucleotide is G or C.

    Primer design properties

    Base composition

    • G+C between 40-60%.
    • Even distributions of all four bases along the length of the primer.


    • Complementary region should be 18-25 nucleotides.
    • Primer pair should not differ by >3bp.

    Repeated and self complementary sequences

    • Inverted or self complementary should not be >3bp in length.
    • Tend to form hairpins and obstruct the annealing.

    Complementary between primer pair

    • 3′ terminal should not bind to any site of the other one.
    • Hybrids formation will compete with the expected amplification.

    Melting temperature

    • Temperature of primers (in pair) should not differ by >5°C.
    • Temperature of amplified product should not differ >10°C.
    • Ensures that denaturation occurs in each cycle.

    3′ termini

    • Crucially should end with G or C.
    • However, GC or CG are not recommended since it increases the probability of forming hairpins.

    Adding sequences to 5′ termini

    • Restriction sites, bacteriophage promoters, etc, commonly added to 5′ end.
    • Does not affect annealing.

    Placement of priming sites

    • Maybe constrained by the location of mutations, restriction sites ,coding sequences, microsatellites, cis-acting elements.
    • When for cDNA best to use sequences that bind to different exons, so that contaminating genomic DNA is easily distinguished.

    Primers for degenerate PCR

    • If short sequence aminoacid only, a pool of degenerate oligonucleotides containing all possible coding combinations can be used to amplify.
  • Bruno Vellutini 18:00 on 2011/11/29 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    PCR basics 

    This is a summary for the Polymerase Chain Reaction with some typical usage values. Taken from:

    Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual (Third Edition)
    By Joseph Sambrook, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Australia; David Russell, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
    2001 – 2,344 pp – ISBN 978-087969577-4

    Chapter 8 — In Vitro Amplification of DNA by Polymerase Chain Reaction


    Thermostable DNA polymerase

    • Taq polymerase — 0.5-2.5 units per standard 25-50µl reaction (efficiency of ~0.7).
    • Typical contains 2×10¹² to 10×10¹² enzyme molecules.

    Pair of synthetic oligonucleotides (primers)

    • Typical non limiting amount: 0.1-0.5µM (6×10¹² to 3×10¹³ molecules) — enough for 30 cycles of amplification of 1kb segment.

    Deoxynucleoside triphosphates (dNTPs)

    • Equimolar amounts of dATP, dTTP, dCTP, dGTP.
    • Concentration: 200-250 µM of each dNTP (with 1.5mM MgCl2) >> 6-6.5µg of DNA in a 50µl.
    • Higher concentrations >4mM are inhibitory, but could also be lower.
    • Should be stored at -20°C in small aliquots and discarded after second cycle of freezing/thawing.

    Divalent cations

    • dNTPs and oligonucleotides bind to Mg²⁺
    • Molar concentration of cation must exceed molar concentration of phosphate groups (dNTPs + primers).
    • Routinely 1.5 mM Mg²⁺ (>4.5 decreases priming).
    • Optimization by series of 0.5mM-5mM, in 0.5mM increments, and narrowing in 0.2mM.
    • Should not contain EDTA or negative íons.

    Buffer to pH

    • Tris-Cl, pH between 8.3-8.8 at room temp and concentration of 10mM.

    Monovalent cations

    • 50mM KCl for amplifying DNA >500bp.
    • 70-100mM improves for shorter sequences.

    Template DNA

    • Single or double stranded.
    • Closed circular DNA templates are slightly less efficient.
    • If more than 10kb restriction enzymes help (when they do not cleave at the target sequence).
    • Typical 1.0µg of DNA (3×10⁵ gene copies).



    • Partly determined by G+C ratio (higher proportion, higher temperatures).
    • Longer strands take longer times to denaturate.
    • Recommendation: 45 seconds at 94-95°C of DNA 55% or less G+C.

    Annealing of primers

    • Critical temperature!
    • If too high, poor annealing. If too low, nonspecific annealing will occur.
    • Usually 3-5°C lower than the calculated melting temperature for primer/template dissociation.
    • Trial with 2°C to 10°C degrees below melting temperature OR touchdown PCR.

    Extension of primers

    • Near optimal temperature of the polymerase enzyme, Taq is 72-78°C with ~2000 nucleotides/minute.
    • 1 minute for 1000bp.

    Number of cycles

    • Depends on the number of copies of template DNA.
    • 30 cycles with 10⁵ copies of target.


    • Contaminants of the template DNA are normally the culprits for problems in amplification.
    • Examples: proteinase-k, phenol, EDTA, ionic detergents, heparin, polyanions, hemoglobin, bromophenol blue, xylene cyanol.
    • Solution: cleanup by dialysis, ethanol precipitation, extraction with chloroform and/or chromatography.


    • Common problem with exogenous DNA.
    • Amplification product appearing in the negative controls (without template DNA).
    • Easier to discard all solutions, reagents and recipients and decontaminate instruments, than trying to find the source.
    • Keep traffic in the PCR lab area to a minimum.
    • Wear gloves and change them frequently; use face masks and head caps.
    • Different set of reagents for PCR.
    • Centrifuge microfuge tubes with reagents before opening in the flow hood.
    • Dilutions of DNA at the bench and take needed amounts to PCR.
    • Do not take tubes with amplified DNA to PCR area.

    For basic PCR protocol (and troubleshooting tips) see page 8.18.

    Reverse transcriptase-PCR

    • Amplify cDNA sequences from mRNA.
    • First enzimatic conversion of RNA to single-stranded cDNA by oligodeoxynucleotide (oligo(dT)) primer binding to poli-A mRNA tail and extended by reverse transcriptase DNA polymerase (which will be amplified by the PCR).
    • When possible primers should bind to different exons of the RNA.
    • Positive and negative controls should be done (eg, negative: without template, positive: standard synthetic RNA from a mutated DNA (trickier).

    Rapid amplification of 5′ cDNA ends

    • Sequence specific primer binds to RNA and leads to the first strand of cDNA.
    • RNA and first primers are removed and a homopolymeric tail is added to the 3′ end of the cDNA (with terminal transferase).
    • Use oligo(dT) to prime the second strand of cDNA (at poly-A tail).
    • Use a sequence specific and a oligo(dT) primer to amplify the double-strand cDNA.
    • Finish by cleaving the adaptors with restriction enzymes.

    Rapid amplification of 3′ cDNA ends

    • Oligo(dT) adaptor primer is annealed to mRNAs and first-strand synthesis is achieved with reverse transcriptase and dNTPs.
    • Sequence specific primer executes the second-strand synthesis.
    • Amplification continues with sequence specific primers and complementary primer to the adaptor sequence.

    Rapid characterization of cloned DNA in prokaryotic vectors

    • Transformed bacterial cells are picked from colonies and transferred to PCR mixtures with primers, but without Taq.
    • Reaction mixtures are boiled to liberate template DNA and inactivate nucleases and proteases.
    • Taq is then added and 30 cycles of standard PCR is run.
    • Successful amplification yields a DNA fragment whose size can be estimated with electrophoresis and identity confirmed by sequencing.
  • Bruno Vellutini 18:00 on 2011/11/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , , genbank, ncbi,   

    BLASTer script update 

    Updated the previous dirty script to add missing features. Now it also makes the reciprocal BLAST for fragments similar to candidate genes.

    1. BLAST each candidate gene against your local database of interest (eg, transcriptome of an organism).
    2. Best 3 loci hits for the gene are BLASTed against the reciprocal candidate genes database (eg, human protein).
    3. Each locus is printed showing the best 5 genes (by gene id) and their e-values from the reciprocal BLAST and a FASTA file with the loci sequences for further analysis.


    1. Install dependencies.
      • Python 2.7 (not Python 3)
      • Biopython 1.56
      • BLAST+ 2.2.25
    2. Copy the blaster.py to a new folder where it will run.
    3. Make sure you know where the local and reciprocal databases are (or copy them to the folder).


    1. Convert databases to be BLASTable (if needed).
      makeblastdb -in membranipora.fa -parse_seqids -dbtype nucl
      makeblastdb -in human_protein.fa -parse_seqids -dbtype prot
    2. Copy FASTA files with 1 gene sequence per file into the candidates folder.
    3. Run the BLASTer command (database could also be in another folder).
      python blaster.py -d membranipora.fa -b tblastn
    4. Results (loci) are printed to 2 files. results.txt shows each locus with reciprocal BLAST output and e-values. results.fa aggregates the loci and their sequences.


    -c, --candidates — Folder with “.fa” or “.gb” files of candidate genes.
    One gene per file.
    -d, --database — Local database with new data (eg, transcriptome).
    -b, -blast — BLAST command (blastn, blastp, blastx, tblastn, tblastx).


    Copy the code below and save it as a new file blaster.py OR download BLASTer.

    	<li>-*- coding: utf-8 -*-</li>
    '''BLASTing batch script.
    <li>Python 2.7.1</li>
    <li>Biopython 1.56</li>
    <li>BLAST+ 2.2.25</li>
    Configuration (Linux):
    <li>Regular packages for Python and Biopython.</li>
    <li>Add BLAST+ commands to path putting this code to .bashrc:</li>
    export PATH
    See README file for details or execute the command for usage and arguments:
    python blaster.py -h
    import getopt
    import logging
    import os
    import pickle
    import re
    import subprocess
    import sys
    from Bio import Entrez, SeqIO
    from Bio.Seq import Seq
    from Bio.SeqRecord import SeqRecord
    from Bio.Blast import NCBIWWW, NCBIXML
    from Bio.Blast.Applications import NcbiblastnCommandline, NcbiblastpCommandline, NcbiblastxCommandline, NcbitblastnCommandline, NcbitblastxCommandline
    class Sequence(object):
    '''Represents a known sequence.
    filepath: path to fasta file.
    ref: sequence reference number.
    description: long description.
    sequence: the sequence itself.
    gene_id: NCBI gene identification.
    gene_name: NCBI gene name.
    blast_output: path to .xml file.
    loci: list of loci with recurrency?.
    Entrez.email = 'your@email.com'
    EVALUE_THRESH = 0.001
    <li>Cache folder.</li>
    cache_folder = 'seqs'
    <li>Check if cache folder exists.</li>
    if not os.path.isdir(cache_folder):
    #TODO add __str__ to classes.
    def __init__(self, filepath=None, ref=None, database=None):
    #TODO Make limit a variable variable.
    self.limit = 3
    self.loci = {}
    self.gene_name = ''
    self.database = database
    if filepath:
    self.filepath = filepath
    cache_path = os.path.join(self.cache_folder, ref)
    cache_file = open(cache_path, 'rb')
    cached = pickle.load(cache_file)
    cache_file = open(cache_path, 'wb')
    pickle.dump(self, cache_file)
    def load_cache(self, cached):
    '''Load attributes saved in cache files.'''
    self.description = cached.description
    self.ref = cached.ref
    self.sequence = cached.sequence
    self.gene_name = cached.gene_name
    self.gene_id = cached.gene_id
    def parse_fasta(self, filepath):
    '''Parse data from FASTA file.'''
    record = SeqIO.read(filepath, 'fasta')
    <li>Define attributes.</li>
    self.description = record.description.split('|')[-1]
    #XXX Better parse ref!
    self.ref = record.id.split('|')[3]
    self.sequence = str(record.seq)
    self.gene_name = filepath.split('/')[-1][:-3]
    def set_gene_id(self):
    '''Get and set gene id from NCBI.'''
    #import pdb; pdb.set_trace()
    #FIXME Handle error when not returning id.
    handle = Entrez.esearch(db='gene', term=self.ref)
    record = Entrez.read(handle)
    if record['IdList']:
    self.gene_id = record['IdList'][0]
    self.gene_id = None
    def set_gene_name(self):
    '''Get and set gene name from filepath.'''
    filepath = os.path.basename(self.filepath)
    self.gene_name = os.path.splitext(filepath)[0]
    def fetch(self, ref):
    '''Fetch data from NCBI.'''
    handle = Entrez.efetch(db='protein', id=ref, rettype='gb')
    record = SeqIO.read(handle, 'genbank')
    #TODO maybe just save file locally...
    handle = Entrez.efetch(db='protein', id=ref, rettype='gb')
    handle_string = handle.read()
    <li>Define attributes.</li>
    #FIXME See if this is ok!
    self.description = record.description
    self.ref = record.id
    self.sequence = str(record.seq)
    <li>Find gene name by regular expression.</li>
    pattern = re.compile(r'gene="(.+)"')
    reobj = pattern.search(handle_string)
    self.gene_name = reobj.group(1)
    self.gene_name = 'Not found'
    <li>To extract gene description, name and other info from xml parsing.</li>
    #&gt;&gt;&gt; record['Bioseq-set_seq-set'][0]['Seq-entry_set']['Bioseq-set']['Bioseq-set_seq-set'][0]['Seq-entry_seq']['Bioseq']['Bioseq_annot'][0]['Seq-annot_data']['Seq-annot_data_ftable'][1]['Seq-feat_data']['SeqFeatData']['SeqFeatData_gene']['Gene-ref']
    #&gt;&gt;&gt; {u'Gene-ref_desc': 'DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box polypeptide 4', u'Gene-ref_syn': ['VASA'], u'Gene-ref_locus': 'DDX4'}
    def parse_blast(self):
    '''Parse BLAST output file.'''
    blast_records = NCBIXML.parse(open(self.blast_output))
    n = 0
    <li>Iterate over BLAST results from database.</li>
    for blast_record in blast_records:
    for alignment in blast_record.alignments:
    for hsp in alignment.hsps:
    if n &lt; self.limit:
    if hsp.expect &lt; self.EVALUE_THRESH:
    print 'Instantiating &gt;&gt; %s' % alignment.title
    locus_id = alignment.title.split()[0]
    <li>Save locus to dictionary if key does not exists.</li>
    #NOTE This means that only the first hsp found in the locus is added,
    <li>while the other ones are skipped</li>
    if not locus_id in self.loci.keys():
    self.loci[locus_id] = {
    'score': hsp.score,
    'evalue': hsp.expect
    n += 1
    class Locus(object):
    '''Represents a new sequence.
    candidate: instance of Candidate.
    description: long description.
    sequence: the sequence itself.
    score: from Candidate BLAST.
    evalue: from Candidate BLAST.
    reverse_blast_output: reverse BLAST to human protein db.
    EVALUE_THRESH = 0.001
    <li>Reverse BLAST folder.</li>
    reverse_folder = 'reverse'
    def __init__(self, id, candidate, database):
    <li>Linkback to candidates.</li>
    self.candidates = {}
    self.reciprocals = []
    self.reciprocal = False
    self.rank = 0
    self.id = id
    self.database = database
    <li>Create filename before the rest.</li>
    self.reverse_results_folder = os.path.join(self.reverse_folder, 'results')
    <li>Check if reverse folder exists.</li>
    if not os.path.isdir(self.reverse_folder):
    <li>Check if reverse results folder exists.</li>
    if not os.path.isdir(self.reverse_results_folder):
    def update_candidates(self, candidate):
    '''Update list of linked candidate genes.'''
    if not candidate.gene_name in self.candidates.keys():
    self.candidates[candidate.gene_name] = candidate
    def set_sequence(self):
    '''Get and set sequence from database.'''
    parsed = SeqIO.parse(self.database, 'fasta')
    for locus in parsed:
    if locus.id == self.id:
    self.sequence = str(locus.seq)
    if not self.sequence:
    print 'SEQUENCE NOT SET! Check the IDs.'
    def set_blast_output(self):
    '''Build filepath for reverse blast output.'''
    blast_output = os.path.join(self.reverse_results_folder, '%s.xml' % self.filename)
    self.reverse_blast_output = blast_output
    def set_filepath(self):
    '''Build filepath from folder and filename.'''
    locus_filepath = os.path.join(self.reverse_folder, '%s.fa' % self.filename)
    self.filepath = locus_filepath
    def set_filename(self):
    '''Extract filename from ID.'''
    filename = '_'.join(self.id.split('_')[:2])
    self.filename = filename
    def write_fasta(self):
    '''Write FASTA file to filepath.'''
    #TODO Insert line breaks for sequences.
    locus_file = open(self.filepath, 'w')
    locus_file.write('&gt;%s\n%s' % (self.id, self.sequence))
    def parse_blast(self):
    '''Parse reciprocal BLAST.'''
    print 'Parsing reciprocal BLAST: %s' % self.filename
    blast_records = NCBIXML.parse(open(self.reverse_blast_output))
    for blast_record in blast_records:
    for alignment in blast_record.alignments:
    for hsp in alignment.hsps:
    if hsp.expect &lt; self.EVALUE_THRESH:
    #XXX Better parse ref!
    ref = alignment.title.split('|')[3]
    #print 'Creating object: %s' % ref
    sequence = Sequence(ref=ref)
    sequence.evalue = hsp.expect
    sequence.score = hsp.score
    <li>Process results.</li>
    def process(self):
    '''Define if locus is reciprocal to the gene.
    True: if it matches the same gene_id and ref from the candidate gene.
    #TODO Handle when gene_id is None?
    rank = 0
    print '\nrank\tgene\tref\t\thit'
    for sequence in self.reciprocals:
    if sequence.gene_id == current_gene_id:
    current_gene_id = sequence.gene_id
    rank += 1
    #if sequence.gene_id == self.candidate.gene_id:
    <li>if sequence.ref == self.candidate.ref:</li>
    <li>print '%d\t%s\t%s\t%s' % (rank, sequence.gene_id, sequence.ref, '+')</li>
    <li>print '\nFound reciprocal! Gene: %s, Ref: %s\n' % (sequence.gene_id, sequence.ref)</li>
    <li>self.reciprocal = True</li>
    <li>self.rank = rank</li>
    print '%d\t%s\t%s\t%s' % (rank, sequence.gene_id, sequence.ref, '-')
    def blast(blast_type, arguments):
    '''Execute BLAST command.'''
    <li>Instantiate the BLAST command.</li>
    if blast_type == 'blastn':
    cline = NcbiblastnCommandline(**arguments)
    elif blast_type == 'blastp':
    cline = NcbiblastpCommandline(**arguments)
    elif blast_type == 'blastx':
    cline = NcbiblastxCommandline(**arguments)
    elif blast_type == 'tblastn':
    cline = NcbitblastnCommandline(**arguments)
    elif blast_type == 'tblastx':
    cline = NcbitblastnCommandline(**arguments)
    <li>Execute BLAST.</li>
    stdout, stderr = cline()
    print '%s BLASTed!' % arguments['query']
    def prepare(candidates, candidates_folder):
    '''Check candidate gene files (convert to FASTA, if needed).'''
    for gene in candidates:
    gene_filepath = os.path.join(candidates_folder, gene)
    if gene.endswith('.gb'):
    <li>Create record object.</li>
    record = SeqIO.read(gene_filepath, 'genbank')
    <li>Create FASTA file.</li>
    fasta_file = open(gene_filepath.split('.')[0] + '.fa', 'r')
    except IOError:
    fasta_file = open(gene_filepath.split('.')[0] + '.fa', 'w')
    elif gene.endswith('.fa'):
    logger.debug('File type not supported: %s', gene)
    def usage():
    '''Explanation for arguments.'''
    print 'USAGE: ./blaster.py -d Membranipora.fasta -b tblastn'
    print ' -c, --candidates \n\tFolder with `.fa` or `.gb` files of candidate genes. One gene per file.'
    print ' -d, --database \n\tLocal database with new data (eg, transcriptome).'
    print ' -b, --blast \n\tBLAST command (blastn, blastp, blastx, tblastn, tblastx).'
    #TODO Omit the candidates folder option? Should not be needed.
    #TODO Ability to specify limit for candidate blast results to be analysed.
    #TODO Choose evalue threshold.
    def main(argv):
    <li>Available BLASTs.</li>
    blast_types = ['blastn', 'blastp', 'blastx', 'tblastn', 'tblastx']
    <li>Database name.</li>
    database = None
    <li>BLAST command.</li>
    blast_type = None
    <li>Folder with candidate-genes.</li>
    candidates_folder = 'candidates'
    <li>Folder with candidate-genes BLASTs.</li>
    candidates_results_folder = os.path.join(candidates_folder, 'results')
    <li>Parse arguments.</li>
    opts, args = getopt.getopt(argv, 'hc:d:b:', [
    except getopt.GetoptError:
    logger.critical('Argument error: "%s". Aborting...',
    ' '.join(argv))
    <li>Argument handler.</li>
    for opt, arg in opts:
    if opt in ('-h', '--help'):
    elif opt in ('-c', '--candidates'):
    candidates_folder = arg
    elif opt in ('-d', '--database'):
    database = os.path.abspath(arg)
    elif opt in ('-b', '--blast'):
    blast_type = arg
    <li>Print summary of arguments.</li>
    logger.debug('Arguments: candidates=%s, database=%s, blast=%s', candidates_folder, database, blast_type)
    <li>Check if BLAST command was specified.</li>
    if not blast_type:
    logger.critical('BLAST command was not specified (use "-b"). Aborting...')
    if not blast_type in blast_types:
    logger.critical('Unknown BLAST command: %s', blast_type)
    logger.info('Available BLAST commands: %s', ', '.join(blast_types))
    <li>Get candidate genes.</li>
    candidates = os.listdir(candidates_folder)
    except OSError:
    logger.critical('Folder "%s" does not exist! Aborting...', candidates_folder)
    <li>Issue error if there are no candidate genes.</li>
    if not candidates:
    logger.critical('There are no candidate genes at %s folder! Aborting...',
    <li>Check if results exists.</li>
    if not os.path.isdir(candidates_results_folder):
    <li>Process candidate genes.</li>
    prepare(candidates, candidates_folder)
    <li>Get proper genes, now.</li>
    candidates = os.listdir(candidates_folder)
    <li>Only read FASTA files.</li>
    candidates = [file for file in candidates if file.endswith('.fa')]
    #TODO make it recognize more FASTA extensions.
    <li>Print info before starting.</li>
    logger.info('%d genes to be BLASTed against %s database!', len(candidates),
    <li>Main object to store genes and loci.</li>
    genes = {}
    loci = {}
    <li>BLAST each gene against local database.</li>
    for genefile in candidates:
    logger.info('BLASTing %s against %s...', genefile, database)
    <li>Instantiate Sequence.</li>
    gene_filepath = os.path.join(candidates_folder, genefile)
    candidate = Sequence(filepath=gene_filepath, database=database)
    <li>Define variables.</li>
    output_filepath = os.path.join(candidates_results_folder, '%s.xml' % candidate.gene_name)
    candidate.blast_output = output_filepath
    <li>Only BLAST if needed.</li>
    blastfile = open(candidate.blast_output)
    arguments = {
    'query': candidate.filepath,
    'db': database,
    'out': candidate.blast_output,
    'outfmt': 5, # Export in XML
    <li>Execute BLAST command.</li>
    blast(blast_type, arguments)
    logger.info('Parsing XML...')
    print '\nCandidate &gt;&gt; Gene: %s, ID:%s, Ref: %s, Description: %s' % (
    candidate.gene_name, candidate.gene_id,
    candidate.ref, candidate.description
    for locus_id in candidate.loci.keys():
    <li>If locus was already specified.</li>
    if locus_id in loci.keys():
    locus = loci[locus_id]
    <li>Instantiate Locus object.</li>
    locus = Locus(locus_id, candidate, database)
    <li>Reciprocal BLAST querying locus sequence against human database.</li>
    blastfile = open(locus.reverse_blast_output)
    #XXX Find a better way to overcome problem when path has a "|".
    reverse_args = {
    'query': locus.filepath.replace('|', '\|'),
    'db': '/home/nelas/Biologia/Doutorado/genomic_databases/human_protein.fa',
    'out': locus.reverse_blast_output.replace('|', '\|'),
    'outfmt': 5,
    if blast_type == 'tblastn':
    blast('blastx', reverse_args)
    elif blast_type == 'blastp':
    blast('blastp', reverse_args)
    <li>Parse reverse BLAST output.</li>
    <li>Add locus to main list.</li>
    loci[locus_id] = locus
    <li>Add to main dictionary.</li>
    genes[candidate.gene_name] = candidate
    <li>Print loci equivalent to candidate genes.</li>
    logger.info('Creating result files...')
    fasta_loci = []
    output_file = open('results.txt', 'w')
    #TODO Print date and variables used to results.txt.
    for locus_id, locus in loci.iteritems():
    fasta_loci.append(SeqRecord(Seq(locus.sequence), id=locus_id,
    description='related to: %s' % ', '.join(locus.candidates.keys())))
    print locus_id, locus.candidates.keys()
    output_file.write('%s\t\t(candidates: %s)\n\n' % (locus_id,
    ', '.join(locus.candidates.keys())))
    first = locus.reciprocals[0]
    print '\tNo reciprocals.'
    current_gene_id = first.gene_id
    n_genes = 0
    for sequence in locus.reciprocals:
    <li>Limits to 5 most similar genes.</li>
    if sequence.gene_id == current_gene_id or n_genes &lt; 5:
    print '\t%s, %s, %s, %s' % (
    sequence.gene_name, sequence.gene_id,
    sequence.ref, sequence.evalue
    output_file.write('\t%s\t\t%s\t\t%s\t\t%.2e' % (
    sequence.gene_name, sequence.gene_id,
    sequence.ref, sequence.evalue
    accession_numbers = [seq.ref for seq in locus.candidates.values()]
    if sequence.ref in accession_numbers:
    output_file.write(' &lt;&lt;')
    current_gene_id = sequence.gene_id
    n_genes += 1
    wrote_fasta = SeqIO.write(fasta_loci, 'results.fa', 'fasta')
    logger.info('%d records written to results.fa', wrote_fasta)
    logger.info('Done, bye!')
    if __name__ == '__main__':
    <li>Create logger.</li>
    logger = logging.getLogger('blaster')
    logger.propagate = False
    <li>Define message format.</li>
    formatter = logging.Formatter('[%(levelname)s] %(asctime)s @ %(module)s %(funcName)s (l%(lineno)d): %(message)s')
    <li>Create logger console handler.</li>
    console_handler = logging.StreamHandler()
    <li>Format console output.</li>
    <li>Add console to logger.</li>
    <li>Create logger file handler.</li>
    file_handler = logging.FileHandler('log_blaster.log')
    <li>Format file output.</li>
    <li>Add file to logger.</li>
    <li>Initiates main function.</li>
    logger.info('BLASTer is running...')
  • Bruno Vellutini 18:00 on 2011/11/25 Permalink
    Tags: , candidate genes, , , , , , ,   

    Selection of germline candidate genes 

    Larvae of bryozoans have blastemic cells that remain undifferentiated (or pluripotent? or else? check!) until metamorphosis when they are assigned and build the different adult tissues. Set-aside cells are quite common in organisms with biphasic life cycle and normally are reserved during larval development to differentiate into the larval body (see (10.1002/bies.950190713) for discussion).

    The question now is to check if the germ cell differentiation and stem cell maintenance in these blastemic tissues of bryozoan larvae are bound to common germ line genes and developmental context. Also, how this compare to other larvae (which ones? get some references).

    First step is to look for the presence and localization of expressed genes in bryozoans embryos. For this candidate genes related to germ line development were selected, mostly from Kerner et al. 2011 (10.1093/molbev/msr046) by searching PubMed gene database for human orthologs. Human sequences are better annotated and thus, good candidate genes (Joe S9, 2011). The selected genes are:

    It is a good idea to scan for different stem cell related genes, specially RNA-binding proteins.


  • Bruno Vellutini 07:01 on 2011/11/23 Permalink
    Tags: ,   

    BLAST+ programs 

    nucleotide blast: Search a nucleotide database using a nucleotide query [blastn, megablast, discontiguous megablast]
    protein blast: Search protein database using a protein query [blastp, psi-blast, phi-blast]
    blastx: Search protein database using a translated nucleotide query
    tblastn: Search translated nucleotide database using a protein query
    tblastx: Search translated nucleotide database using a translated nucleotide query

    Reference: http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi

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