April 21, 2020  |  

SMRT sequencing revealed the diversity and characteristics of defective interfering RNAs in influenza A (H7N9) virus infection.

Influenza defective interfering (DI) particles are replication-incompetent viruses carrying large internal deletion in the genome. The loss of essential genetic information causes abortive viral replication, which can be rescued by co-infection with a helper virus that possesses an intact genome. Despite reports of DI particles present in seasonal influenza A H1N1 infections, their existence in human infections by the avian influenza A viruses, such as H7N9, has not been studied. Here we report the ubiquitous presence of DI-RNAs in nasopharyngeal aspirates of H7N9-infected patients. Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing was first applied and long-read sequencing analysis showed that a variety of H7N9 DI-RNA species were present in the patient samples and human bronchial epithelial cells. In several abundantly expressed DI-RNA species, long overlapping sequences have been identified around at the breakpoint region and the other side of deleted region. Influenza DI-RNA is known as a defective viral RNA with single large internal deletion. Beneficial to the long-read property of SMRT sequencing, double and triple internal deletions were identified in half of the DI-RNA species. In addition, we examined the expression of DI-RNAs in mice infected with sublethal dose of H7N9 virus at different time points. Interestingly, DI-RNAs were abundantly expressed as early as day 2 post-infection. Taken together, we reveal the diversity and characteristics of DI-RNAs found in H7N9-infected patients, cells and animals. Further investigations on this overwhelming generation of DI-RNA may provide important insights into the understanding of H7N9 viral replication and pathogenesis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Advantages of genome sequencing by long-read sequencer using SMRT technology in medical area.

PacBio RS II is the first commercialized third-generation DNA sequencer able to sequence a single molecule DNA in real-time without amplification. PacBio RS II’s sequencing technology is novel and unique, enabling the direct observation of DNA synthesis by DNA polymerase. PacBio RS II confers four major advantages compared to other sequencing technologies: long read lengths, high consensus accuracy, a low degree of bias, and simultaneous capability of epigenetic characterization. These advantages surmount the obstacle of sequencing genomic regions such as high/low G+C, tandem repeat, and interspersed repeat regions. Moreover, PacBio RS II is ideal for whole genome sequencing, targeted sequencing, complex population analysis, RNA sequencing, and epigenetics characterization. With PacBio RS II, we have sequenced and analyzed the genomes of many species, from viruses to humans. Herein, we summarize and review some of our key genome sequencing projects, including full-length viral sequencing, complete bacterial genome and almost-complete plant genome assemblies, and long amplicon sequencing of a disease-associated gene region. We believe that PacBio RS II is not only an effective tool for use in the basic biological sciences but also in the medical/clinical setting.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bypassing the Restriction System To Improve Transformation of Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is the leading cause of infections on indwelling medical devices worldwide. Intrinsic antibiotic resistance and vigorous biofilm production have rendered these infections difficult to treat and, in some cases, require the removal of the offending medical prosthesis. With the exception of two widely passaged isolates, RP62A and 1457, the pathogenesis of infections caused by clinical S. epidermidis strains is poorly understood due to the strong genetic barrier that precludes the efficient transformation of foreign DNA into clinical isolates. The difficulty in transforming clinical S. epidermidis isolates is primarily due to the type I and IV restriction-modification systems, which act as genetic barriers. Here, we show that efficient plasmid transformation of clinical S. epidermidis isolates from clonal complexes 2, 10, and 89 can be realized by employing a plasmid artificial modification (PAM) in Escherichia coli DC10B containing a ?dcm mutation. This transformative technique should facilitate our ability to genetically modify clinical isolates of S. epidermidis and hence improve our understanding of their pathogenesis in human infections.IMPORTANCEStaphylococcus epidermidis is a source of considerable morbidity worldwide. The underlying mechanisms contributing to the commensal and pathogenic lifestyles of S. epidermidis are poorly understood. Genetic manipulations of clinically relevant strains of S. epidermidis are largely prohibited due to the presence of a strong restriction barrier. With the introductions of the tools presented here, genetic manipulation of clinically relevant S. epidermidis isolates has now become possible, thus improving our understanding of S. epidermidis as a pathogen. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Resistance to ceftazidime-avibactam in Klebsiella pneumoniae due to porin mutations and the increased expression of KPC-3.

We reported the first clinical case of a ceftazidime-avibactam resistant KPC-3-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (1), from a patient with no history of ceftazidime-avibactam therapy. We now present data documenting mechanisms of ceftazidime-avibactam resistance in this isolate. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on two isolates: KP1245 (ceftazidime-avibactam MIC, 4 µg/ml; from blood on hospital day 1; referred to as isolate 1 in our previous report [1]) and KP1244 (ceftazidime-avibactam MIC, 32 µg/ml; from blood on hospital day 2; referred to as isolate 2 in our previous report [2]), using MiSeq (Illumina, San Diego, CA) and PacBio RSII (Menlo Park, CA) systems (2). The in silico multilocus sequence type (ST) was ST258. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis revealed 17 SNPs between KP1245 and KP1244, indicating that the isolates were related but that significant diversity existed in this patient (2). Nonsynonymous mutations are shown in Table 1; the most striking of these is in the OmpK36 porin gene. KP1244 contained a missense mutation predicted to encode a T333N mutation. Both isolates also harbored a mutation predicted to encode R191L in OmpK36 and had a nonfunctional OmpK35, due to a frameshift mutation that truncated the protein at amino acid 42, common to K. pneumoniae ST258 (3). Association between mutations in ompK36 and elevated ceftazidime-avibactam MICs has been shown previously (4). However, T333N, found in one of the ß-sheet domains of the OmpK36 subunit, has not been described in K. pneumoniae; as such, further validation is required to confirm the role of the OmpK36 mutation in this isolate’s ceftazidime-avibactam resistance phenotype.


September 22, 2019  |  

Translating genomics into practice for real-time surveillance and response to carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae: evidence from a complex multi-institutional KPC outbreak.

Until recently, Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing Enterobacteriaceae were rarely identified in Australia. Following an increase in the number of incident cases across the state of Victoria, we undertook a real-time combined genomic and epidemiological investigation. The scope of this study included identifying risk factors and routes of transmission, and investigating the utility of genomics to enhance traditional field epidemiology for informing management of established widespread outbreaks.All KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates referred to the state reference laboratory from 2012 onwards were included. Whole-genome sequencing was performed in parallel with a detailed descriptive epidemiological investigation of each case, using Illumina sequencing on each isolate. This was complemented with PacBio long-read sequencing on selected isolates to establish high-quality reference sequences and interrogate characteristics of KPC-encoding plasmids.Initial investigations indicated that the outbreak was widespread, with 86 KPC-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolates (K. pneumoniae 92%) identified from 35 different locations across metropolitan and rural Victoria between 2012 and 2015. Initial combined analyses of the epidemiological and genomic data resolved the outbreak into distinct nosocomial transmission networks, and identified healthcare facilities at the epicentre of KPC transmission. New cases were assigned to transmission networks in real-time, allowing focussed infection control efforts. PacBio sequencing confirmed a secondary transmission network arising from inter-species plasmid transmission. Insights from Bayesian transmission inference and analyses of within-host diversity informed the development of state-wide public health and infection control guidelines, including interventions such as an intensive approach to screening contacts following new case detection to minimise unrecognised colonisation.A real-time combined epidemiological and genomic investigation proved critical to identifying and defining multiple transmission networks of KPC Enterobacteriaceae, while data from either investigation alone were inconclusive. The investigation was fundamental to informing infection control measures in real-time and the development of state-wide public health guidelines on carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae surveillance and management.


September 22, 2019  |  

Capnocytophaga endodontalis sp. nov., isolated from a human refractory periapical abscess.

A novel Gram-negative, capnophilic, fusiform bacterium, designated strain ChDC OS43T, was isolated from a human refractory periapical abscess in the left mandibular second molar and was characterized by polyphasic taxonomic analysis. The 16S rRNA gene sequence revealed that the strain belongs to the genus Capnocytophaga, as it showed sequence similarities to Capnocytophaga ochracea ATCC 27872T(96.30%) and C. sputigena ATCC 33612T(96.16%). The prevalent fatty acids of strain ChDC OS43Twere isoC15:0(57.54%), C16:0(5.93%), C16:03OH (5.72%), and C18:1cis 9 (4.41%). The complete genome of strain ChDC OS43Twas 3,412,686 bp, and the G+C content was 38.2 mol%. The average nucleotide identity (ANI) value between strain ChDC OS43Tand C. ochracea ATCC 27872Tor C. sputigena ATCC 33612Twas >92.01%. The genome-to-genome distance (GGD) value between strain ChDC OS43Tand C. ochracea ATCC 27872Tor C. sputigena ATCC 33612Twas 32.0 and 45.7%, respectively. Based on the results of phenotypic, chemotaxonomic, and phylogenetic analysis, strain ChDC OS43T(=?KCOM 1579T?=?KCTC 5562T?=?KCCM 42841T?=?JCM 32133T) should be classified as the type strain of a novel species of genus Capnocytophaga, for which the name Capnocytophaga endodontalis sp. nov. is proposed.


July 19, 2019  |  

New insights into dissemination and variation of the health care-associated pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii from genomic analysis.

Acinetobacter baumannii is a globally important nosocomial pathogen characterized by an increasing incidence of multidrug resistance. Routes of dissemination and gene flow among health care facilities are poorly resolved and are important for understanding the epidemiology of A. baumannii, minimizing disease transmission, and improving patient outcomes. We used whole-genome sequencing to assess diversity and genome dynamics in 49 isolates from one United States hospital system during one year from 2007 to 2008. Core single-nucleotide-variant-based phylogenetic analysis revealed multiple founder strains and multiple independent strains recovered from the same patient yet was insufficient to fully resolve strain relationships, where gene content and insertion sequence patterns added additional discriminatory power. Gene content comparisons illustrated extensive and redundant antibiotic resistance gene carriage and direct evidence of gene transfer, recombination, gene loss, and mutation. Evidence of barriers to gene flow among hospital components was not found, suggesting complex mixing of strains and a large reservoir of A. baumannii strains capable of colonizing patients.Genome sequencing was used to characterize multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii strains from one United States hospital system during a 1-year period to better understand how A. baumannii strains that cause infection are related to one another. Extensive variation in gene content was found, even among strains that were very closely related phylogenetically and epidemiologically. Several mechanisms contributed to this diversity, including transfer of mobile genetic elements, mobilization of insertion sequences, insertion sequence-mediated deletions, and genome-wide homologous recombination. Variation in gene content, however, lacked clear spatial or temporal patterns, suggesting a diverse pool of circulating strains with considerable interaction between strains and hospital locations. Widespread genetic variation among strains from the same hospital and even the same patient, particularly involving antibiotic resistance genes, reinforces the need for molecular diagnostic testing and genomic analysis to determine resistance profiles, rather than a reliance primarily on strain typing and antimicrobial resistance phenotypes for epidemiological studies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing and genome assembly of a clinical specimen of Loa loa, the causative agent of loiasis.

More than 20% of the world’s population is at risk for infection by filarial nematodes and >180 million people worldwide are already infected. Along with infection comes significant morbidity that has a socioeconomic impact. The eight filarial nematodes that infect humans are Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, Brugia timori, Onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa, Mansonella perstans, Mansonella streptocerca, and Mansonella ozzardi, of which three have published draft genome sequences. Since all have humans as the definitive host, standard avenues of research that rely on culturing and genetics have often not been possible. Therefore, genome sequencing provides an important window into understanding the biology of these parasites. The need for large amounts of high quality genomic DNA from homozygous, inbred lines; the availability of only short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing platforms at a reasonable expense; and the lack of random large insert libraries has limited our ability to generate high quality genome sequences for these parasites. However, the Pacific Biosciences single molecule, real-time sequencing platform holds great promise in reducing input amounts and generating sufficiently long sequences that bypass the need for large insert paired libraries.Here, we report on efforts to generate a more complete genome assembly for L. loa using genetically heterogeneous DNA isolated from a single clinical sample and sequenced on the Pacific Biosciences platform. To obtain the best assembly, numerous assemblers and sequencing datasets were analyzed, combined, and compared. Quiver-informed trimming of an assembly of only Pacific Biosciences reads by HGAP2 was selected as the final assembly of 96.4 Mbp in 2,250 contigs. This results in ~9% more of the genome in ~85% fewer contigs from ~80% less starting material at a fraction of the cost of previous Roche 454-based sequencing efforts.The result is the most complete filarial nematode assembly produced thus far and demonstrates the utility of single molecule sequencing on the Pacific Biosciences platform for genetically heterogeneous metazoan genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing to track plasmid diversity of hospital-associated carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

Public health officials have raised concerns that plasmid transfer between Enterobacteriaceae species may spread resistance to carbapenems, an antibiotic class of last resort, thereby rendering common health care-associated infections nearly impossible to treat. To determine the diversity of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids and assess their mobility among bacterial species, we performed comprehensive surveillance and genomic sequencing of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center patient population and hospital environment. We isolated a repertoire of carbapenemase-encoding Enterobacteriaceae, including multiple strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Citrobacter freundii, and Pantoea species. Long-read genome sequencing with full end-to-end assembly revealed that these organisms carry the carbapenem resistance genes on a wide array of plasmids. K. pneumoniae and E. cloacae isolated simultaneously from a single patient harbored two different carbapenemase-encoding plasmids, indicating that plasmid transfer between organisms was unlikely within this patient. We did, however, find evidence of horizontal transfer of carbapenemase-encoding plasmids between K. pneumoniae, E. cloacae, and C. freundii in the hospital environment. Our data, including full plasmid identification, challenge assumptions about horizontal gene transfer events within patients and identify possible connections between patients and the hospital environment. In addition, we identified a new carbapenemase-encoding plasmid of potentially high clinical impact carried by K. pneumoniae, E. coli, E. cloacae, and Pantoea species, in unrelated patients and in the hospital environment. Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.


July 19, 2019  |  

Analysis of the Campylobacter jejuni genome by SMRT DNA Sequencing identifies restriction-modification motifs.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis. The goal of this study was to analyze the C. jejuni F38011 strain, recovered from an individual with severe enteritis, at a genomic and proteomic level to gain insight into microbial processes. The C. jejuni F38011 genome is comprised of 1,691,939 bp, with a mol.% (G+C) content of 30.5%. PacBio sequencing coupled with REBASE analysis was used to predict C. jejuni F38011 genomic sites and enzymes that may be involved in DNA restriction-modification. A total of five putative methylation motifs were identified as well as the C. jejuni enzymes that could be responsible for the modifications. Peptides corresponding to the deduced amino acid sequence of the C. jejuni enzymes were identified using proteomics. This work sets the stage for studies to dissect the precise functions of the C. jejuni putative restriction-modification enzymes. Taken together, the data generated in this study contributes to our knowledge of the genomic content, methylation profile, and encoding capacity of C. jejuni.


July 19, 2019  |  

Molecular analysis of asymptomatic bacteriuria Escherichia coli strain VR50 reveals adaptation to the urinary tract by gene acquisition.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common infectious diseases of humans, with Escherichia coli responsible for >80% of all cases. One extreme of UTI is asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU), which occurs as an asymptomatic carrier state that resembles commensalism. To understand the evolution and molecular mechanisms that underpin ABU, the genome of the ABU E. coli strain VR50 was sequenced. Analysis of the complete genome indicated that it most resembles E. coli K-12, with the addition of a 94-kb genomic island (GI-VR50-pheV), eight prophages, and multiple plasmids. GI-VR50-pheV has a mosaic structure and contains genes encoding a number of UTI-associated virulence factors, namely, Afa (afimbrial adhesin), two autotransporter proteins (Ag43 and Sat), and aerobactin. We demonstrated that the presence of this island in VR50 confers its ability to colonize the murine bladder, as a VR50 mutant with GI-VR50-pheV deleted was attenuated in a mouse model of UTI in vivo. We established that Afa is the island-encoded factor responsible for this phenotype using two independent deletion (Afa operon and AfaE adhesin) mutants. E. coli VR50afa and VR50afaE displayed significantly decreased ability to adhere to human bladder epithelial cells. In the mouse model of UTI, VR50afa and VR50afaE displayed reduced bladder colonization compared to wild-type VR50, similar to the colonization level of the GI-VR50-pheV mutant. Our study suggests that E. coli VR50 is a commensal-like strain that has acquired fitness factors that facilitate colonization of the human bladder. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


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