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Open Access Research article

Experimental annotation of the human pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum transcribed regions using high-resolution tiling arrays

Mark Voorhies1, Catherine K Foo2 and Anita Sil13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94143, USA

2 Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94143, USA

3 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, 94143, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:216  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-216

Published: 29 September 2011

Abstract

Background

The fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum is thought to be the most common cause of fungal respiratory infections in immunocompetent humans, yet little is known about its biology. Here we provide the first genome-wide studies to experimentally validate its genome annotation. A functional interrogation of the Histoplasma genome provides critical support for continued investigation into the biology and pathogenesis of H. capsulatum and related fungi.

Results

We employed a three-pronged approach to provide a functional annotation for the H. capsulatum G217B strain. First, we probed high-density tiling arrays with labeled cDNAs from cells grown under diverse conditions. These data defined 6,172 transcriptionally active regions (TARs), providing validation of 6,008 gene predictions. Interestingly, 22% of these predictions showed evidence of anti-sense transcription. Additionally, we detected transcription of 264 novel genes not present in the original gene predictions. To further enrich our analysis, we incorporated expression data from whole-genome oligonucleotide microarrays. These expression data included profiling under growth conditions that were not represented in the tiling experiment, and validated an additional 2,249 gene predictions. Finally, we compared the G217B gene predictions to other available fungal genomes, and observed that an additional 254 gene predictions had an ortholog in a different fungal species, suggesting that they represent genuine coding sequences.

Conclusions

These analyses yielded a high confidence set of validated gene predictions for H. capsulatum. The transcript sets resulting from this study are a valuable resource for further experimental characterization of this ubiquitous fungal pathogen. The data is available for interactive exploration at http://histo.ucsf.edu webcite.