August 19, 2021  |  Infectious disease research

Infographic: A brief history of microbiology

Our understanding of microbiology has evolved enormously over the last 150 years. Few institutions have witnessed our collective progress more closely than the National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC). In fact, the collection itself is a record of the many milestones microbiologists have crossed, building on the discoveries of those who came before. To date, 60% of NCTC’s historic collection now has a closed, finished reference genome, thanks to PacBio Single Molecule, Real- Time (SMRT) Sequencing. We are excited to be their partner in crossing this latest milestone on their quest to improve human and animal health by understanding the microscopic world.


August 19, 2021  |  

Case Study: Sequencing an historic bacterial collection for the future

The UK’s National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) is a unique collection of more than 5,000 expertly preserved and authenticated bacterial cultures, many of historical significance. Founded in 1920, NCTC is the longest established collection of its type anywhere in the world, with a history of its own that has reflected — and contributed to — the evolution of microbiology for more than 100 years.


June 1, 2021  |  

Automated, non-hybrid de novo genome assemblies and epigenomes of bacterial pathogens

Understanding the genetic basis of infectious diseases is critical to enacting effective treatments, and several large-scale sequencing initiatives are underway to collect this information. Sequencing bacterial samples is typically performed by mapping sequence reads against genomes of known reference strains. While such resequencing informs on the spectrum of single nucleotide differences relative to the chosen reference, it can miss numerous other forms of variation known to influence pathogenicity: structural variations (duplications, inversions), acquisition of mobile elements (phages, plasmids), homonucleotide length variation causing phase variation, and epigenetic marks (methylation, phosphorothioation) that influence gene expression to switch bacteria from non-pathogenic to pathogenic states. Therefore, sequencing methods which provide complete, de novo genome assemblies and epigenomes are necessary to fully characterize infectious disease agents in an unbiased, hypothesis-free manner. Hybrid assembly methods have been described that combine long sequence reads from SMRT DNA sequencing with short, high-accuracy reads (SMRT (circular consensus sequencing) CCS or second-generation reads) to generate long, highly accurate reads that are then used for assembly. We have developed a new paradigm for microbial de novo assemblies in which long SMRT sequencing reads (average readlengths >5,000 bases) are used exclusively to close the genome through a hierarchical genome assembly process, thereby obviating the need for a second sample preparation, sequencing run and data set. We have applied this method to achieve closed de novo genomes with accuracies exceeding QV50 (>99.999%) to numerous disease outbreak samples, including E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Neisseria, and H. pylori. The kinetic information from the same SMRT sequencing reads is utilized to determine epigenomes. Approximately 70% of all methyltransferase specificities we have determined to date represent previously unknown bacterial epigenetic signatures. The process has been automated and requires less than 1 day from an unknown DNA sample to its complete de novo genome and epigenome.


June 1, 2021  |  

Metagenomes of native and electrode-enriched microbial communities from the Soudan Iron Mine.

Despite apparent carbon limitation, anoxic deep subsurface brines at the Soudan Underground Iron Mine harbor active microbial communities. To characterize these assemblages, we performed shotgun metagenomics of native and enriched samples. Following enrichment on poised electrodes and long read sequencing, we recovered from the metagenome the closed, circular genome of a novel Desulfuromonas sp. with remarkable genomic features that were not fully resolved by short read assembly alone. This organism was essentially absent in unenriched Soudan communities, indicating that electrodes are highly selective for putative metal reducers. Native community metagenomes suggest that carbon cycling is driven by methyl-C1 metabolism, in particular methylotrophic methanogenesis. Our results highlight the promising potential for long reads in metagenomic surveys of low-diversity environments.


June 1, 2021  |  

Multiplexed complete microbial genomes on the Sequel System

Microbes play an important role in nearly every part of our world, as they affect human health, our environment, agriculture, and aid in waste management. Complete closed genome sequences, which have become the gold standard with PacBio long-read sequencing, can be key to understanding microbial functional characteristics. However, input requirements, consumables costs, and the labor required to prepare and sequence a microbial genome have in the past put PacBio sequencing out of reach for some larger projects. We have developed a multiplexed library prep approach that is simple, fast, and cost-effective, and can produce 4 to 16 closed bacterial genomes from one Sequel SMRT Cell. Additionally, we are introducing a streamlined analysis pipeline for processing multiplexed genome sequence data through de novo HGAP assembly, making the entire process easy for lab personnel to perform. Here we present the entire workflow from shearing through assembly, with times for each step. We show HGAP assembly results with single or very few contigs from bacteria from different size genomes, sequenced without or with size selection. These data illustrate the benefits and potential of the PacBio multiplexed library prep and the Sequel System for sequencing large numbers of microbial genomes.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Antarcticibacterium flavum JB01H24T from an Antarctic marine sediment

Antarcticibacterium flavum JB01H24T was isolated from a marine sediment of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Whole-genome sequencing of the strain Antarcticibacterium flavum JB01H24T was achieved using PacBio RS II platform. The resulting complete genome comprised of one closed, complete chromosome of 4,319,074 base pairs with a 40.87% G?+?C content, where genomic analyses demonstrated that it is constituted mostly by putative ORFs with unknown functions, representing a novel genetic feature. It is the first complete genome sequence of the Antarcticibacterium strain.


April 21, 2020  |  

Identification and characterization of chicken circovirus from commercial broiler chickens in China.

Circoviruses are found in many species, including mammals, birds, lower vertebrates and invertebrates. To date, there are no reports of circovirus-induced diseases in chickens. In this study, we identified a new strain of chicken circovirus (CCV) by PacBio third-generation sequencing samples from chickens with acute gastroenteritis in a Shandong commercial broiler farm in China. The complete genome of CCV was verified by inverse PCR. Genomic analysis revealed that CCV codes two inverse open reading frames (ORFs), and a potential stem-loop structure was present at the 5′ end with a structure typical of a circular virus. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that CCV formed an independent branch between mammalian and avian circovirus, and homology analysis indicated that the homology of CCV with 21 other known circoviruses was less than 40%. Thus, this CCV strain represents a new species in the genus Circovirus. The infection rate of CCV in 12 chickens with diarrhoea was 100%, but no CCV was found in healthy chickens, thereby indicating that the novel CCV strain is highly associated with acute infectious gastroenteritis in chickens. The emergence of a novel CCV in commercial broiler chickens is highly concerning for the broiler industry. © 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


April 21, 2020  |  

Analyses of the Complete Genome Sequence of the Strain Bacillus pumilus ZB201701 Isolated from Rhizosphere Soil of Maize under Drought and Salt Stress.

Bacillus pumilus ZB201701 is a rhizobacterium with the potential to promote plant growth and tolerance to drought and salinity stress. We herein present the complete genome sequence of the Gram-positive bacterium B. pumilus ZB201701, which consists of a linear chromosome with 3,640,542 base pairs, 3,608 protein-coding sequences, 24 ribosomal RNAs, and 80 transfer RNAs. Genome analyses using bioinformatics revealed some of the putative gene clusters involved in defense mechanisms. In addition, activity analyses of the strain under salt and simulated drought stress suggested its potential tolerance to abiotic stress. Plant growth-promoting bacteria-based experiments indicated that the strain promotes the salt tolerance of maize. The complete genome of B. pumilus ZB201701 provides valuable insights into rhizobacteria-mediated salt and drought tolerance and rhizobacteria-based solutions for abiotic stress in agriculture.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization of Extracellular Biosurfactants Expressed by a Pseudomonas putida Strain Isolated from the Interior of Healthy Roots from Sida hermaphrodita Grown in a Heavy Metal Contaminated Soil.

Pseudomonas putida E41 isolated from root interior of Sida hermaphrodita (grown on a field contaminated with heavy metals) showed high biosurfactant activity. In this paper, we describe data from mass spectrometry and genome analysis, to improve our understanding on the phenotypic properties of the strain. Supernatant derived from P. putida E41 liquid culture exhibited a strong decrease in the surface tension accompanied by the ability for emulsion stabilization. We identified extracellular lipopeptides, putisolvin I and II expression but did not detect rhamnolipids. Their presence was confirmed by matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization (MALDI) TOF/TOF technique. Moreover, ten phospholipids (mainly phosphatidylethanolamines PE 33:1 and PE 32:1) which were excreted by vesicles were also detected. In contrast the bacterial cell pellet was dominated by phosphatidylglycerols (PGs), which were almost absent in the supernatant. It seems that the composition of extracellular (secreted to the environment) and cellular lipids in this strain differs. Long-read sequencing and complete genome reconstruction allowed the identification of a complete putisolvin biosynthesis pathway. In the genome of P. putida E41 were also found all genes involved in glycerophospholipid biosynthesis, and they are likely responsible for the production of detected phospholipids. Overall this is the first report describing the expression of extracellular lipopeptides (identified as putisolvins) and phospholipids by a P. putida strain, which might be explained by the need to adapt to the highly contaminated environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of strain WHRI 3811, race 1 of Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, the Causal Agent of Black Rot of Cruciferous Vegetables.

Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) is an important bacterial pathogen that causes black rot and brings about enormous production loss for cruciferous vegetables worldwide. Currently, genome sequences for only a few Xcc isolates are available, most of which are draft ones. Based on the next-generation sequencing (NGS) and single-molecule sequencing in real time (SMRT) technologies, we present here the complete genome sequence of strain WHRI 3811, race 1 of Xcc, which is a type strain that has been extensively used. The genome data will contribute to our understanding of Xcc genomic features, and pave the way for research on Xcc-host interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of a Chlorobenzene Degrader, Pandoraea pnomenusa MCB032.

Chlorobenzenes are ubiquitously distributed, highly persistent, and toxic environmental contaminants. Pandoraea pnomenusa MCB032 was isolated as a new dominant chlorobenzene-utilizing strain from a functionally stable bioreactor during the treatment of chlorobenzenes when strain Burkholderia sp. JS150 disappeared. In study, we report the complete genome sequence of strain MCB032 which consists of a circular chromosome and three plasmids, which are?~?6 Mb in length with 5450 open reading frames-12 encoding rRNAs and 77 encoding tRNAs. We further identified 17 putative genes encoding the enzymes involved in the methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins in sensing chemical gradients during chemotaxis. The annotated complete genome sequence of this strain will provide genetic insights into the degradation of chlorinated aromatic compounds. The information will empower the elucidation of chlorobenzene affinity hierarchy and species succession in the bioreactor.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potent LpxC Inhibitors with In Vitro Activity Against Multi-Drug Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

New drugs with novel mechanisms of resistance are desperately needed to address both community and nosocomial infections due to Gram-negative bacteria. One such potential target is LpxC, an essential enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step of Lipid A biosynthesis. Achaogen conducted an extensive research campaign to discover novel LpxC inhibitors with activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa We report here the in vitro antibacterial activity and pharmacodynamics of ACHN-975, the only molecule from these efforts and the first ever LpxC inhibitor to be evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials. In addition, we describe the profile of three additional LpxC inhibitors that were identified as potential lead molecules. These efforts did not produce an additional development candidate with a sufficiently large therapeutic window and the program was subsequently terminated.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution of a 72-kb cointegrant, conjugative multiresistance plasmid from early community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates.

Horizontal transfer of plasmids encoding antimicrobial-resistance and virulence determinants has been instrumental in Staphylococcus aureus evolution, including the emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). In the early 1990s the first CA-MRSA isolated in Western Australia (WA), WA-5, encoded cadmium, tetracycline and penicillin-resistance genes on plasmid pWBG753 (~30 kb). WA-5 and pWBG753 appeared only briefly in WA, however, fusidic-acid-resistance plasmids related to pWBG753 were also present in the first European CA-MRSA at the time. Here we characterized a 72-kb conjugative plasmid pWBG731 present in multiresistant WA-5-like clones from the same period. pWBG731 was a cointegrant formed from pWBG753 and a pWBG749-family conjugative plasmid. pWBG731 carried mupirocin, trimethoprim, cadmium and penicillin-resistance genes. The stepwise evolution of pWBG731 likely occurred through the combined actions of IS257, IS257-dependent miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) and the BinL resolution system of the ß-lactamase transposon Tn552 An evolutionary intermediate ~42-kb non-conjugative plasmid pWBG715, possessed the same resistance genes as pWBG731 but retained an integrated copy of the small tetracycline-resistance plasmid pT181. IS257 likely facilitated replacement of pT181 with conjugation genes on pWBG731, thus enabling autonomous transfer. Like conjugative plasmid pWBG749, pWBG731 also mobilized non-conjugative plasmids carrying oriT mimics. It seems likely that pWBG731 represents the product of multiple recombination events between the WA-5 pWBG753 plasmid and other mobile genetic elements present in indigenous CA-MSSA. The molecular evolution of pWBG731 saliently illustrates how diverse mobile genetic elements can together facilitate rapid accrual and horizontal dissemination of multiresistance in S. aureus CA-MRSA.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Marinobacter sp. LQ44, a haloalkaliphilic phenol-degrading bacterium isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent

Marinobacter sp. strain LQ44, an alkaliphile and moderate halophile from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent on the East Pacific Rise, is a novel phenol-degrading bacterium that is capable of utilizing phenol as sole carbon and energy sources. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of strain LQ44, which consists of 4,435,564?bp with a circular chromosome, 4164 protein-coding genes, 3 rRNA operons and 50 tRNAs. Genome analysis revealed that strain LQ44 may degrade phenol via meta-cleavage pathway. The LQ44 genome contains multiple genes involved in pH adaptation and osmotic adjustment. Genes related to hydrocarbon degradation, aerobic denitrification and potential industrial important enzymes were also identified from the genome. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a genome sequence of a haloalkaliphilic phenol-degrading bacterium, which will provide insights into the survival of this bacterium under salt-alkali conditions and the potential for biotechnological applications.


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