July 19, 2019  |  

The methylomes of six bacteria.

Six bacterial genomes, Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, Chromohalobacter salexigens, Vibrio breoganii 1C-10, Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni 81-176 and C. jejuni NCTC 11168, all of which had previously been sequenced using other platforms were re-sequenced using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing specifically to analyze their methylomes. In every case a number of new N(6)-methyladenine ((m6)A) and N(4)-methylcytosine ((m4)C) methylation patterns were discovered and the DNA methyltransferases (MTases) responsible for those methylation patterns were assigned. In 15 cases, it was possible to match MTase genes with MTase recognition sequences without further sub-cloning. Two Type I restriction systems required sub-cloning to differentiate their recognition sequences, while four MTase genes that were not expressed in the native organism were sub-cloned to test for viability and recognition sequences. Two of these proved active. No attempt was made to detect 5-methylcytosine ((m5)C) recognition motifs from the SMRT® sequencing data because this modification produces weaker signals using current methods. However, all predicted (m6)A and (m4)C MTases were detected unambiguously. This study shows that the addition of SMRT sequencing to traditional sequencing approaches gives a wealth of useful functional information about a genome showing not only which MTase genes are active but also revealing their recognition sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

Bacteriophage orphan DNA methyltransferases: insights from their bacterial origin, function, and occurrence.

Type II DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are enzymes found ubiquitously in the prokaryotic world, where they play important roles in several cellular processes, such as host protection and epigenetic regulation. Three classes of type II MTases have been identified thus far in bacteria which function in transferring a methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to a target nucleotide base, forming N-6-methyladenine (class I), N-4-methylcytosine (class II), or C-5-methylcytosine (class III). Often, these MTases are associated with a cognate restriction endonuclease (REase) to form a restriction-modification (R-M) system protecting bacterial cells from invasion by foreign DNA. When MTases exist alone, which are then termed orphan MTases, they are believed to be mainly involved in regulatory activities in the bacterial cell. Genomes of various lytic and lysogenic phages have been shown to encode multi- and mono-specific orphan MTases that have the ability to confer protection from restriction endonucleases of their bacterial host(s). The ability of a phage to overcome R-M and other phage-targeting resistance systems can be detrimental to particular biotechnological processes such as dairy fermentations. Conversely, as phages may also be beneficial in certain areas such as phage therapy, phages with additional resistance to host defenses may prolong the effectiveness of the therapy. This minireview will focus on bacteriophage-encoded MTases, their prevalence and diversity, as well as their potential origin and function.


July 19, 2019  |  

Reducing assembly complexity of microbial genomes with single-molecule sequencing.

The short reads output by first- and second-generation DNA sequencing instruments cannot completely reconstruct microbial chromosomes. Therefore, most genomes have been left unfinished due to the significant resources required to manually close gaps in draft assemblies. Third-generation, single-molecule sequencing addresses this problem by greatly increasing sequencing read length, which simplifies the assembly problem.To measure the benefit of single-molecule sequencing on microbial genome assembly, we sequenced and assembled the genomes of six bacteria and analyzed the repeat complexity of 2,267 complete bacteria and archaea. Our results indicate that the majority of known bacterial and archaeal genomes can be assembled without gaps, at finished-grade quality, using a single PacBio RS sequencing library. These single-library assemblies are also more accurate than typical short-read assemblies and hybrid assemblies of short and long reads.Automated assembly of long, single-molecule sequencing data reduces the cost of microbial finishing to $1,000 for most genomes, and future advances in this technology are expected to drive the cost lower. This is expected to increase the number of completed genomes, improve the quality of microbial genome databases, and enable high-fidelity, population-scale studies of pan-genomes and chromosomal organization.


July 19, 2019  |  

Whole genome complete resequencing of Bacillus subtilis natto by combining long reads with high-quality short reads.

De novo microbial genome sequencing reached a turning point with third-generation sequencing (TGS) platforms, and several microbial genomes have been improved by TGS long reads. Bacillus subtilis natto is closely related to the laboratory standard strain B. subtilis Marburg 168, and it has a function in the production of the traditional Japanese fermented food “natto.” The B. subtilis natto BEST195 genome was previously sequenced with short reads, but it included some incomplete regions. We resequenced the BEST195 genome using a PacBio RS sequencer, and we successfully obtained a complete genome sequence from one scaffold without any gaps, and we also applied Illumina MiSeq short reads to enhance quality. Compared with the previous BEST195 draft genome and Marburg 168 genome, we found that incomplete regions in the previous genome sequence were attributed to GC-bias and repetitive sequences, and we also identified some novel genes that are found only in the new genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

The extant World War 1 dysentery bacillus NCTC1: a genomic analysis.

Shigellosis (previously bacillary dysentery) was the primary diarrhoeal disease of World War 1, but outbreaks still occur in military operations, and shigellosis causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in developing nations. We aimed to generate a high-quality reference genome of the historical Shigella flexneri isolate NCTC1 and to examine the isolate for resistance to antimicrobials.In this genomic analysis, we sequenced the oldest extant Shigella flexneri serotype 2a isolate using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology. Isolated from a soldier with dysentery from the British forces fighting on the Western Front in World War 1, this bacterium, NCTC1, was the first isolate accessioned into the National Collection of Type Cultures. We created a reference sequence for NCTC1, investigated the isolate for antimicrobial resistance, and undertook comparative genetics with S flexneri reference strains isolated during the 100 years since World War 1.We discovered that NCTC1 belonged to a 2a lineage of S flexneri, with which it shares common characteristics and a large core genome. NCTC1 was resistant to penicillin and erythromycin, and contained a complement of chromosomal antimicrobial resistance genes similar to that of more recent isolates. Genomic islands gained in the S flexneri 2a lineage over time were predominately associated with additional antimicrobial resistances, virulence, and serotype conversion.This S flexneri 2a lineage is a well adapted pathogen that has continued to respond to selective pressures. We have created a valuable historical benchmark for shigellae in the form of a high-quality reference sequence for a publicly available isolate.The Wellcome Trust. Copyright © 2014 Baker et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

BREX is a novel phage resistance system widespread in microbial genomes.

The perpetual arms race between bacteria and phage has resulted in the evolution of efficient resistance systems that protect bacteria from phage infection. Such systems, which include the CRISPR-Cas and restriction-modification systems, have proven to be invaluable in the biotechnology and dairy industries. Here, we report on a six-gene cassette in Bacillus cereus which, when integrated into the Bacillus subtilis genome, confers resistance to a broad range of phages, including both virulent and temperate ones. This cassette includes a putative Lon-like protease, an alkaline phosphatase domain protein, a putative RNA-binding protein, a DNA methylase, an ATPase-domain protein, and a protein of unknown function. We denote this novel defense system BREX (Bacteriophage Exclusion) and show that it allows phage adsorption but blocks phage DNA replication. Furthermore, our results suggest that methylation on non-palindromic TAGGAG motifs in the bacterial genome guides self/non-self discrimination and is essential for the defensive function of the BREX system. However, unlike restriction-modification systems, phage DNA does not appear to be cleaved or degraded by BREX, suggesting a novel mechanism of defense. Pan genomic analysis revealed that BREX and BREX-like systems, including the distantly related Pgl system described in Streptomyces coelicolor, are widely distributed in ~10% of all sequenced microbial genomes and can be divided into six coherent subtypes in which the gene composition and order is conserved. Finally, we detected a phage family that evades the BREX defense, implying that anti-BREX mechanisms may have evolved in some phages as part of their arms race with bacteria.© 2014 The Authors.


July 19, 2019  |  

Continuous evolution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins overcomes insect resistance.

The Bacillus thuringiensis d-endotoxins (Bt toxins) are widely used insecticidal proteins in engineered crops that provide agricultural, economic, and environmental benefits. The development of insect resistance to Bt toxins endangers their long-term effectiveness. Here we have developed a phage-assisted continuous evolution selection that rapidly evolves high-affinity protein-protein interactions, and applied this system to evolve variants of the Bt toxin Cry1Ac that bind a cadherin-like receptor from the insect pest Trichoplusia ni (TnCAD) that is not natively bound by wild-type Cry1Ac. The resulting evolved Cry1Ac variants bind TnCAD with high affinity (dissociation constant Kd?=?11-41?nM), kill TnCAD-expressing insect cells that are not susceptible to wild-type Cry1Ac, and kill Cry1Ac-resistant T. ni insects up to 335-fold more potently than wild-type Cry1Ac. Our findings establish that the evolution of Bt toxins with novel insect cell receptor affinity can overcome insect Bt toxin resistance and confer lethality approaching that of the wild-type Bt toxin against non-resistant insects.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of undomesticated Bacillus subtilis strain NCIB 3610.

Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive bacterium that serves as an important experimental system. B. subtilis NCIB 3610 is an undomesticated strain that exhibits phenotypes lost from the more common domesticated laboratory strains. Here, we announce the complete genome sequence of DK1042, a genetically competent derivative of NCIB 3610. Copyright © 2017 Nye et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Nonribosomal peptide synthase gene clusters for lipopeptide biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis 916 and their phenotypic functions.

Bacillus cyclic lipopeptides (LPs) have been well studied for their phytopathogen-antagonistic activities. Recently, research has shown that these LPs also contribute to the phenotypic features of Bacillus strains, such as hemolytic activity, swarming motility, biofilm formation, and colony morphology. Bacillus subtilis 916 not only coproduces the three families of well-known LPs, i.e., surfactins, bacillomycin Ls (iturin family), and fengycins, but also produces a new family of LP called locillomycins. The genome of B. subtilis 916 contains four nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) gene clusters, srf, bmy, fen, and loc, which are responsible for the biosynthesis of surfactins, bacillomycin Ls, fengycins, and locillomycins, respectively. By studying B. subtilis 916 mutants lacking production of one, two, or three LPs, we attempted to unveil the connections between LPs and phenotypic features. We demonstrated that bacillomycin Ls and fengycins contribute mainly to antifungal activity. Although surfactins have weak antifungal activity in vitro, the strain mutated in srfAA had significantly decreased antifungal activity. This may be due to the impaired productions of fengycins and bacillomycin Ls. We also found that the disruption of any LP gene cluster other than fen resulted in a change in colony morphology. While surfactins and bacillomycin Ls play very important roles in hemolytic activity, swarming motility, and biofilm formation, the fengycins and locillomycins had little influence on these phenotypic features. In conclusion, B. subtilis 916 coproduces four families of LPs which contribute to the phenotypic features of B. subtilis 916 in an intricate way. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of BS49 and draft genome sequence of BS34A, Bacillus subtilis strains carrying Tn916.

Bacillus subtilis strains BS49 and BS34A, both derived from a common ancestor, carry one or more copies of Tn916, an extremely common mobile genetic element capable of transfer to and from a broad range of microorganisms. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of BS49 and the draft genome sequence of BS34A, which have repeatedly been used as donors to transfer Tn916, Tn916 derivatives or oriTTn916-containing plasmids to clinically important pathogens. © FEMS 2014. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain BH072, isolated from honey.

The genome of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain BH072, isolated from a honey sample and showing strong antimicrobial activity against plant pathogens, is 4.07 Mb and harbors 3,785 coding sequences (CDS). Several gene clusters for nonribosomal synthesis of antimicrobial peptides and a complete gene cluster for biosynthesis of mersacidin were detected. Copyright © 2015 Zhao et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomics of methylotrophy in gram-positive methylamine-utilizing bacteria

Gram-positive methylotrophic bacteria have been known for a long period of time, some serving as model organisms for characterizing the specific details of methylotrophy pathways/enzymes within this group. However, genome-based knowledge of methylotrophy within this group has been so far limited to a single species, Bacillus methanolicus (Firmicutes). The paucity of whole-genome data for Gram-positive methylotrophs limits our global understanding of methylotrophy within this group, including their roles in specific biogeochemical cycles, as well as their biotechnological potential. Here, we describe the isolation of seven novel strains of Gram-positive methylotrophs that include two strains of Bacillus and five representatives of Actinobacteria classified within two genera, Arthrobacter and Mycobacterium. We report whole-genome sequences for these isolates and present comparative analysis of the methylotrophy functional modules within these genomes. The genomic sequences of these seven novel organisms, all capable of growth on methylated amines, present an important reference dataset for understanding the genomic basis of methylotrophy in Gram-positive methylotrophic bacteria. This study is a major contribution to the field of methylotrophy, aimed at closing the gap in the genomic knowledge of methylotrophy within this diverse group of bacteria.


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