September 22, 2019  |  

Comparison of highly and weakly virulent Dickeya solani strains, with a view on the pangenome and panregulon of this species.

Bacteria belonging to the genera Dickeya and Pectobacterium are responsible for significant economic losses in a wide variety of crops and ornamentals. During last years, increasing losses in potato production have been attributed to the appearance of Dickeya solani. The D. solani strains investigated so far share genetic homogeneity, although different virulence levels were observed among strains of various origins. The purpose of this study was to investigate the genetic traits possibly related to the diverse virulence levels by means of comparative genomics. First, we developed a new genome assembly pipeline which allowed us to complete the D. solani genomes. Four de novo sequenced and ten publicly available genomes were used to identify the structure of the D. solani pangenome, in which 74.8 and 25.2% of genes were grouped into the core and dispensable genome, respectively. For D. solani panregulon analysis, we performed a binding site prediction for four transcription factors, namely CRP, KdgR, PecS and Fur, to detect the regulons of these virulence regulators. Most of the D. solani potential virulence factors were predicted to belong to the accessory regulons of CRP, KdgR, and PecS. Thus, some differences in gene expression could exist between D. solani strains. The comparison between a highly and a low virulent strain, IFB0099 and IFB0223, respectively, disclosed only small differences between their genomes but significant differences in the production of virulence factors like pectinases, cellulases and proteases, and in their mobility. The D. solani strains also diverge in the number and size of prophages present in their genomes. Another relevant difference is the disruption of the adhesin gene fhaB2 in the highly virulent strain. Strain IFB0223, which has a complete adhesin gene, is less mobile and less aggressive than IFB0099. This suggests that in this case, mobility rather than adherence is needed in order to trigger disease symptoms. This study highlights the utility of comparative genomics in predicting D. solani traits involved in the aggressiveness of this emerging plant pathogen.


September 22, 2019  |  

Production of glycine-derived ammonia as a low-cost and long-distance antibiotic strategy by Streptomyces

Soil-inhabiting streptomycetes are Natures medicine makers, producing over half of all known antibiotics and many other bioactive natural products. However, these bacteria also produce many volatile compounds, and research into these molecules and their role in soil ecology is rapidly gaining momentum. Here we show that streptomycetes have the ability to kill bacteria over long distances via air-borne antibiosis. Our research shows that streptomycetes do so by producing surprisingly high amounts of the low-cost volatile antimicrobial ammonia, which travels over long distances and antagonises both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Glycine is required as precursor to produce ammonia, and inactivation of the glycine cleavage system annihilated air-borne antibiosis. As a resistance strategy, E. coli cells acquired mutations resulting in reduced expression of the porin master regulator OmpR and its cognate kinase EnvZ, which was just enough to allow them to survive. We further show that ammonia enhances the activity of the more costly canonical antibiotics, suggesting that streptomycetes adopt a low-cost strategy to sensitize competitors for antibiosis over longer distances.


September 22, 2019  |  

Stress-induced formation of cell wall-deficient cells in filamentous actinomycetes.

The cell wall is a shape-defining structure that envelopes almost all bacteria and protects them from environmental stresses. Bacteria can be forced to grow without a cell wall under certain conditions that interfere with cell wall synthesis, but the relevance of these wall-less cells (known as L-forms) is unclear. Here, we show that several species of filamentous actinomycetes have a natural ability to generate wall-deficient cells in response to hyperosmotic stress, which we call S-cells. This wall-deficient state is transient, as S-cells are able to switch to the normal mycelial mode of growth. However, prolonged exposure of S-cells to hyperosmotic stress yields variants that are able to proliferate indefinitely without their cell wall, similarly to L-forms. We propose that formation of wall-deficient cells in actinomycetes may serve as an adaptation to osmotic stress.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the Clostridium difficile laboratory strain 630¿ erm reveals differences from strain 630, including translocation of the mobile element CTn 5.

Background Clostridium difficile strain 630¿erm is a spontaneous erythromycin sensitive derivative of the reference strain 630 obtained by serial passaging in antibiotic-free media. It is widely used as a defined and tractable C. difficile strain. Though largely similar to the ancestral strain, it demonstrates phenotypic differences that might be the result of underlying genetic changes. Here, we performed a de novo assembly based on single-molecule real-time sequencing and an analysis of major methylation patterns.ResultsIn addition to single nucleotide polymorphisms and various indels, we found that the mobile element CTn5 is present in the gene encoding the methyltransferase rumA rather than adhesin CD1844 where it is located in the reference strain.ConclusionsTogether, the genetic features identified in this study may help to explain at least part of the phenotypic differences. The annotated genome sequence of this lab strain, including the first analysis of major methylation patterns, will be a valuable resource for genetic research on C. difficile.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole-genome mapping as a novel high-resolution typing tool for Legionella pneumophila.

Legionella is the causative agent for Legionnaires’ disease (LD) and is responsible for several large outbreaks in the world. More than 90% of LD cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, and studies on the origin and transmission routes of this pathogen rely on adequate molecular characterization of isolates. Current typing of L. pneumophila mainly depends on sequence-based typing (SBT). However, studies have shown that in some outbreak situations, SBT does not have sufficient discriminatory power to distinguish between related and nonrelated L. pneumophila isolates. In this study, we used a novel high-resolution typing technique, called whole-genome mapping (WGM), to differentiate between epidemiologically related and nonrelated L. pneumophila isolates. Assessment of the method by various validation experiments showed highly reproducible results, and WGM was able to confirm two well-documented Dutch L. pneumophila outbreaks. Comparison of whole-genome maps of the two outbreaks together with WGMs of epidemiologically nonrelated L. pneumophila isolates showed major differences between the maps, and WGM yielded a higher discriminatory power than SBT. In conclusion, WGM can be a valuable alternative to perform outbreak investigations of L. pneumophila in real time since the turnaround time from culture to comparison of the L. pneumophila maps is less than 24 h. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome of the Saprophytic fungus Verticillium tricorpus reveals a complex effector repertoire resembling that of its pathogenic relatives.

Vascular wilts caused by Verticillium spp. are destructive plant diseases affecting hundreds of hosts. Only a few Verticillium spp. are causal agents of vascular wilt diseases, of which V. dahliae is the most notorious pathogen, and several V. dahliae genomes are available. In contrast, V. tricorpus is mainly known as a saprophyte and causal agent of opportunistic infections. Based on a hybrid approach that combines second and third generation sequencing, a near-gapless V. tricorpus genome assembly was obtained. With comparative genomics, we sought to identify genomic features in V. dahliae that confer the ability to cause vascular wilt disease. Unexpectedly, both species encode similar effector repertoires and share a genomic structure with genes encoding secreted proteins clustered in genomic islands. Intriguingly, V. tricorpus contains significantly fewer repetitive elements and an extended spectrum of secreted carbohydrate- active enzymes when compared with V. dahliae. In conclusion, we highlight the technical advances of a hybrid sequencing and assembly approach and show that the saprophyte V. tricorpus shares many hallmark features with the pathogen V. dahliae.


July 7, 2019  |  

Metabolomics-driven discovery of a prenylated isatin antibiotic produced by Streptomyces species MBT28.

Actinomycetes are a major source of antimicrobials, anticancer compounds, and other medically important products, and their genomes harbor extensive biosynthetic potential. Major challenges in the screening of these microorganisms are to activate the expression of cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters and the development of technologies for efficient dereplication of known molecules. Here we report the identification of a previously unidentified isatin-type antibiotic produced by Streptomyces sp. MBT28, following a strategy based on NMR-based metabolomics combined with the introduction of streptomycin resistance in the producer strain. NMR-guided isolation by tracking the target proton signal resulted in the characterization of 7-prenylisatin (1) with antimicrobial activity against Bacillus subtilis. The metabolite-guided genome mining of Streptomyces sp. MBT28 combined with proteomics identified a gene cluster with an indole prenyltransferase that catalyzes the conversion of tryptophan into 7-prenylisatin. This study underlines the applicability of NMR-based metabolomics in facilitating the discovery of novel antibiotics.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of Pseudomonas sp. strain P482, a tomato rhizosphere isolate with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity.

The tomato rhizosphere isolate Pseudomonas sp. strain P482 is a member of a diverse group of fluorescent pseudomonads. P482 produces a yet unidentified broad-spectrum antimicrobial compound(s), active inter alia (i.a.) against Dickeya spp. Here, we present a nearly complete genome of P482 obtained by a hybrid assembly of Illumina and PacBio sequencing data. Copyright © 2014 Krzyzanowska et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of Ensifer adhaerens OV14 provides insights into its ability as a novel vector for the genetic transformation of plant genomes.

Recently it has been shown that Ensifer adhaerens can be used as a plant transformation technology, transferring genes into several plant genomes when equipped with a Ti plasmid. For this study, we have sequenced the genome of Ensifer adhaerens OV14 (OV14) and compared it with those of Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 (C58) and Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021 (1021); the latter of which has also demonstrated a capacity to genetically transform crop genomes, albeit at significantly reduced frequencies.The 7.7 Mb OV14 genome comprises two chromosomes and two plasmids. All protein coding regions in the OV14 genome were functionally grouped based on an eggNOG database. No genes homologous to the A. tumefaciens Ti plasmid vir genes appeared to be present in the OV14 genome. Unexpectedly, OV14 and 1021 were found to possess homologs to chromosomal based genes cited as essential to A. tumefaciens T-DNA transfer. Of significance, genes that are non-essential but exert a positive influence on virulence and the ability to genetically transform host genomes were identified in OV14 but were absent from the 1021 genome.This study reveals the presence of homologs to chromosomally based Agrobacterium genes that support T-DNA transfer within the genome of OV14 and other alphaproteobacteria. The sequencing and analysis of the OV14 genome increases our understanding of T-DNA transfer by non-Agrobacterium species and creates a platform for the continued improvement of Ensifer-mediated transformation (EMT).


July 7, 2019  |  

SSPACE-LongRead: scaffolding bacterial draft genomes using long read sequence information.

The recent introduction of the Pacific Biosciences RS single molecule sequencing technology has opened new doors to scaffolding genome assemblies in a cost-effective manner. The long read sequence information is promised to enhance the quality of incomplete and inaccurate draft assemblies constructed from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data.Here we propose a novel hybrid assembly methodology that aims to scaffold pre-assembled contigs in an iterative manner using PacBio RS long read information as a backbone. On a test set comprising six bacterial draft genomes, assembled using either a single Illumina MiSeq or Roche 454 library, we show that even a 50× coverage of uncorrected PacBio RS long reads is sufficient to drastically reduce the number of contigs. Comparisons to the AHA scaffolder indicate our strategy is better capable of producing (nearly) complete bacterial genomes.The current work describes our SSPACE-LongRead software which is designed to upgrade incomplete draft genomes using single molecule sequences. We conclude that the recent advances of the PacBio sequencing technology and chemistry, in combination with the limited computational resources required to run our program, allow to scaffold genomes in a fast and reliable manner.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the sugar cane endophyte Pseudomonas aurantiaca PB-St2, a disease-suppressive bacterium with antifungal activity toward the plant pathogen Colletotrichum falcatum.

The endophytic bacterium Pseudomonas aurantiaca PB-St2 exhibits antifungal activity and represents a biocontrol agent to suppress red rot disease of sugar cane. Here, we report the completely sequenced 6.6-Mb genome of P. aurantiaca PB-St2. The sequence contains a repertoire of biosynthetic genes for secondary metabolites that putatively contribute to its antagonistic activity and its plant-microbe interactions.


July 7, 2019  |  

Detecting authorized and unauthorized genetically modified organisms containing vip3A by real-time PCR and next-generation sequencing.

The growing number of biotech crops with novel genetic elements increasingly complicates the detection of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and feed samples using conventional screening methods. Unauthorized GMOs (UGMOs) in food and feed are currently identified through combining GMO element screening with sequencing the DNA flanking these elements. In this study, a specific and sensitive qPCR assay was developed for vip3A element detection based on the vip3Aa20 coding sequences of the recently marketed MIR162 maize and COT102 cotton. Furthermore, SiteFinding-PCR in combination with Sanger, Illumina or Pacific BioSciences (PacBio) sequencing was performed targeting the flanking DNA of the vip3Aa20 element in MIR162. De novo assembly and Basic Local Alignment Search Tool searches were used to mimic UGMO identification. PacBio data resulted in relatively long contigs in the upstream (1,326 nucleotides (nt); 95 % identity) and downstream (1,135 nt; 92 % identity) regions, whereas Illumina data resulted in two smaller contigs of 858 and 1,038 nt with higher sequence identity (>99 % identity). Both approaches outperformed Sanger sequencing, underlining the potential for next-generation sequencing in UGMO identification.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome sequence of Streptomyces lividans 66 reveals a novel tRNA-dependent peptide biosynthetic system within a metal-related genomic island.

The complete genome sequence of the original isolate of the model actinomycete Streptomyces lividans 66, also referred to as 1326, was deciphered after a combination of next-generation sequencing platforms and a hybrid assembly pipeline. Comparative analysis of the genomes of S. lividans 66 and closely related strains, including S. coelicolor M145 and S. lividans TK24, was used to identify strain-specific genes. The genetic diversity identified included a large genomic island with a mosaic structure, present in S. lividans 66 but not in the strain TK24. Sequence analyses showed that this genomic island has an anomalous (G + C) content, suggesting recent acquisition and that it is rich in metal-related genes. Sequences previously linked to a mobile conjugative element, termed plasmid SLP3 and defined here as a 94 kb region, could also be identified within this locus. Transcriptional analysis of the response of S. lividans 66 to copper was used to corroborate a role of this large genomic island, including two SLP3-borne “cryptic” peptide biosynthetic gene clusters, in metal homeostasis. Notably, one of these predicted biosynthetic systems includes an unprecedented nonribosomal peptide synthetase–tRNA-dependent transferase biosynthetic hybrid organization. This observation implies the recruitment of members of the leucyl/phenylalanyl-tRNA-protein transferase family to catalyze peptide bond formation within the biosynthesis of natural products. Thus, the genome sequence of S. lividans 66 not only explains long-standing genetic and phenotypic differences but also opens the door for further in-depth comparative genomic analyses of model Streptomyces strains, as well as for the discovery of novel natural products following genome-mining approaches.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the filamentous actinomycete Kitasatospora viridifaciens.

The vast majority of antibiotics are produced by filamentous soil bacteria called actinomycetes. We report here the genome sequence of the tetracycline producer “Streptomyces viridifaciens” DSM 40239. Given that this species has the hallmark signatures characteristic of the Kitasatospora genus, we previously proposed to rename this organism Kitasatospora viridifaciens. Copyright © 2017 Ramijan et al.


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