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July 19, 2019  |  

Complete bypass of restriction systems for major Staphylococcus aureus lineages.

Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent global nosocomial and community-acquired bacterial pathogen. A strong restriction barrier presents a major hurdle for the introduction of recombinant DNA into clinical isolates of S. aureus. Here, we describe the construction and characterization of the IMXXB series of Escherichia coli strains that mimic the type I adenine methylation profiles of S. aureus clonal complexes 1, 8, 30, and ST93. The IMXXB strains enable direct, high-efficiency transformation and streamlined genetic manipulation of major S. aureus lineages.The genetic manipulation of clinical S. aureus isolates has been hampered due to the presence of restriction modification barriers that detect and subsequently degrade inappropriately methylated DNA. Current methods allow the introduction of plasmid DNA into a limited subset of S. aureus strains at high efficiency after passage of plasmid DNA through the restriction-negative, modification-proficient strain RN4220. Here, we have constructed and validated a suite of E. coli strains that mimic the adenine methylation profiles of different clonal complexes and show high-efficiency plasmid DNA transfer. The ability to bypass RN4220 will reduce the cost and time involved for plasmid transfer into S. aureus. The IMXXB series of E. coli strains should expedite the process of mutant construction in diverse genetic backgrounds and allow the application of new techniques to the genetic manipulation of S. aureus. Copyright © 2015 Monk et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Variable genetic architectures produce virtually identical molecules in bacterial symbionts of fungus-growing ants.

Small molecules produced by Actinobacteria have played a prominent role in both drug discovery and organic chemistry. As part of a larger study of the actinobacterial symbionts of fungus-growing ants, we discovered a small family of three previously unreported piperazic acid-containing cyclic depsipeptides, gerumycins A-C. The gerumycins are slightly smaller versions of dentigerumycin, a cyclic depsipeptide that selectively inhibits a common fungal pathogen, Escovopsis. We had previously identified this molecule from a Pseudonocardia associated with Apterostigma dentigerum, and now we report the molecule from an associate of the more highly derived ant Trachymyrmex cornetzi. The three previously unidentified compounds, gerumycins A-C, have essentially identical structures and were produced by two different symbiotic Pseudonocardia spp. from ants in the genus Apterostigma found in both Panama and Costa Rica. To understand the similarities and differences in the biosynthetic pathways that produced these closely related molecules, the genomes of the three producing Pseudonocardia were sequenced and the biosynthetic gene clusters identified. This analysis revealed that dramatically different biosynthetic architectures, including genomic islands, a plasmid, and the use of spatially separated genetic loci, can lead to molecules with virtually identical core structures. A plausible evolutionary model that unifies these disparate architectures is presented.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT Sequencing for parallel analysis of multiple targets and accurate SNP phasing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing generates much longer reads than other widely used next-generation (next-gen) sequencing methods, but its application to whole genome/exome analysis has been limited. Here, we describe the use of SMRT sequencing coupled with barcoding to simultaneously analyze one or a small number of genomic targets derived from multiple sources. In the budding yeast system, SMRT sequencing was used to analyze strand-exchange intermediates generated during mitotic recombination and to analyze genetic changes in a forward mutation assay. The general barcoding-SMRT approach was then extended to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma primary tumors and cell lines, where detected changes agreed with prior Illumina exome sequencing. A distinct advantage afforded by SMRT sequencing over other next-gen methods is that it immediately provides the linkage relationships between SNPs in the target segment sequenced. The strength of our approach for mutation/recombination studies (as well as linkage identification) derives from its inherent computational simplicity coupled with a lack of reliance on sophisticated statistical analyses. Copyright © 2015 Guo et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Increased risk of low birth weight in women with placental malaria associated with P. falciparum VAR2CSA clade.

Pregnancy associated malaria (PAM) causes adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes owing to Plasmodium falciparum accumulation in the placenta. Placental accumulation is mediated by P. falciparum protein VAR2CSA, a leading PAM-specific vaccine target. The extent of its antigen diversity and impact on clinical outcomes remain poorly understood. Through amplicon deep-sequencing placental malaria samples from women in Malawi and Benin, we assessed sequence diversity of VAR2CSA’s ID1-DBL2x region, containing putative vaccine targets and estimated associations of specific clades with adverse birth outcomes. Overall, var2csa diversity was high and haplotypes subdivided into five clades, the largest two defined by homology to parasites strains, 3D7 or FCR3. Across both cohorts, compared to women infected with only FCR3-like variants, women infected with only 3D7-like variants delivered infants with lower birthweight (difference: -267.99?g; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: -466.43?g,-69.55?g) and higher odds of low birthweight (<2500?g) (Odds Ratio [OR] 5.41; 95% CI:0.99,29.52) and small-for-gestational-age (OR: 3.65; 95% CI: 1.01,13.38). In two distinct malaria-endemic African settings, parasites harboring 3D7-like variants of VAR2CSA were associated with worse birth outcomes, supporting differential effects of infection with specific parasite strains. The immense diversity coupled with differential clinical effects of this diversity suggest that an effective VAR2CSA-based vaccine may require multivalent activity.


July 19, 2019  |  

Pacific Biosciences sequencing and IMGT/HighV-QUEST analysis of full-length single chain fragment variable from an in vivo selected phage-display combinatorial Library.

Phage-display selection of immunoglobulin (IG) or antibody single chain Fragment variable (scFv) from combinatorial libraries is widely used for identifying new antibodies for novel targets. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has recently emerged as a new method for the high throughput characterization of IG and T cell receptor (TR) immune repertoires bothin vivoandin vitro. However, challenges remain for the NGS sequencing of scFv from combinatorial libraries owing to the scFv length (>800?bp) and the presence of two variable domains [variable heavy (VH) and variable light (VL) for IG] associated by a peptide linker in a single chain. Here, we show that single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing with the Pacific Biosciences RS II platform allows for the generation of full-length scFv reads obtained from anin vivoselection of scFv-phages in an animal model of atherosclerosis. We first amplified the DNA of the phagemid inserts from scFv-phages eluted from an aortic section at the third round of thein vivoselection. From this amplified DNA, 450,558 reads were obtained from 15 SMRT cells. Highly accurate circular consensus sequences from these reads were generated, filtered by quality and then analyzed by IMGT/HighV-QUEST with the functionality for scFv. Full-length scFv were identified and characterized in 348,659 reads. Full-length scFv sequencing is an absolute requirement for analyzing the associated VH and VL domains enriched during thein vivopanning rounds. In order to further validate the ability of SMRT sequencing to provide high quality, full-length scFv sequences, we tracked the reads of an scFv-phage clone P3 previously identified by biological assays and Sanger sequencing. Sixty P3 reads showed 100% identity with the full-length scFv of 767?bp, 53 of them covering the whole insert of 977?bp, which encompassed the primer sequences. The remaining seven reads were identical over a shortened length of 939?bp that excludes the vicinity of primers at both ends. Interestingly these reads were obtained from each of the 15 SMRT cells. Thus, the SMRT sequencing method and the IMGT/HighV-QUEST functionality for scFv provides a straightforward protocol for characterization of full-length scFv from combinatorial phage libraries.


July 19, 2019  |  

RNAi is a critical determinant of centromere evolution in closely related fungi.

The centromere DNA locus on a eukaryotic chromosome facilitates faithful chromosome segregation. Despite performing such a conserved function, centromere DNA sequence as well as the organization of sequence elements is rapidly evolving in all forms of eukaryotes. The driving force that facilitates centromere evolution remains an enigma. Here, we studied the evolution of centromeres in closely related species in the fungal phylum of Basidiomycota. Using ChIP-seq analysis of conserved inner kinetochore proteins, we identified centromeres in three closely related Cryptococcus species: two of which are RNAi-proficient, while the other lost functional RNAi. We find that the centromeres in the RNAi-deficient species are significantly shorter than those of the two RNAi-proficient species. While centromeres are LTR retrotransposon-rich in all cases, the RNAi-deficient species lost all full-length retroelements from its centromeres. In addition, centromeres in RNAi-proficient species are associated with a significantly higher level of cytosine DNA modifications compared with those of RNAi-deficient species. Furthermore, when an RNAi-proficient Cryptococcus species and its RNAi-deficient mutants were passaged under similar conditions, the centromere length was found to be occasionally shortened in RNAi mutants. In silico analysis of predicted centromeres in a group of closely related Ustilago species, also belonging to the Basidiomycota, were found to have undergone a similar transition in the centromere length in an RNAi-dependent fashion. Based on the correlation found in two independent basidiomycetous species complexes, we present evidence suggesting that the loss of RNAi and cytosine DNA methylation triggered transposon attrition, which resulted in shortening of centromere length during evolution. Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.


July 19, 2019  |  

The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) T cell receptor loci exhibit V subgroup synteny and chain-specific evolution.

The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) has limited diversity in the immunoglobulin heavy chain. We therefore investigated the antigen receptor loci of the other arm of the adaptive immune system: the T cell receptor. Manatees are the first species from Afrotheria, a basal eutherian superorder, to have an in-depth characterization of all T cell receptor loci. By annotating the genome and expressed transcripts, we found that each chain has distinct features that correlates to their individual functions. The genomic organization also plays a role in modulating sequence conservation between species. There were extensive V subgroup synteny blocks in the TRA and TRB loci between T. m. latirostris and human. Increased genomic locus complexity correlated to increased locus synteny. We also identified evidence for a VHD pseudogene for the first time in a eutherian mammal. These findings emphasize the value of including species within this basal eutherian radiation in comparative studies. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


July 19, 2019  |  

HIV envelope glycoform heterogeneity and localized diversity govern the initiation and maturation of a V2 apex broadly neutralizing antibody lineage.

Understanding how broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) to HIV envelope (Env) develop during natural infection can help guide the rational design of an HIV vaccine. Here, we described a bnAb lineage targeting the Env V2 apex and the Ab-Env co-evolution that led to development of neutralization breadth. The lineage Abs bore an anionic heavy chain complementarity-determining region 3 (CDRH3) of 25 amino acids, among the shortest known for this class of Abs, and achieved breadth with only 10% nucleotide somatic hypermutation and no insertions or deletions. The data suggested a role for Env glycoform heterogeneity in the activation of the lineage germline B cell. Finally, we showed that localized diversity at key V2 epitope residues drove bnAb maturation toward breadth, mirroring the Env evolution pattern described for another donor who developed V2-apex targeting bnAbs. Overall, these findings suggest potential strategies for vaccine approaches based on germline-targeting and serial immunogen design. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses.

Ferns are the closest sister group to all seed plants, yet little is known about their genomes other than that they are generally colossal. Here, we report on the genomes of Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata (Salviniales) and present evidence for episodic whole-genome duplication in ferns-one at the base of ‘core leptosporangiates’ and one specific to Azolla. One fern-specific gene that we identified, recently shown to confer high insect resistance, seems to have been derived from bacteria through horizontal gene transfer. Azolla coexists in a unique symbiosis with N2-fixing cyanobacteria, and we demonstrate a clear pattern of cospeciation between the two partners. Furthermore, the Azolla genome lacks genes that are common to arbuscular mycorrhizal and root nodule symbioses, and we identify several putative transporter genes specific to Azolla-cyanobacterial symbiosis. These genomic resources will help in exploring the biotechnological potential of Azolla and address fundamental questions in the evolution of plant life.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CI5.

Escherichia coli represents the primary etiological agent responsible for urinary tract infections, one of the most common infections in humans. We report here the complete genome sequence of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CI5, a clinical pyelonephritis isolate used for studying pathogenesis. Copyright © 2015 Mehershahi et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of endophytic nitrogen-fixing Klebsiella variicola strain DX120E.

Klebsiella variicola strain DX120E (=CGMCC 1.14935) is an endophytic nitrogen-fixing bacterium isolated from sugarcane crops grown in Guangxi, China and promotes sugarcane growth. Here we summarize the features of the strain DX120E and describe its complete genome sequence. The genome contains one circular chromosome and two plasmids, and contains 5,718,434 nucleotides with 57.1% GC content, 5,172 protein-coding genes, 25 rRNA genes, 87 tRNA genes, 7 ncRNA genes, 25 pseudo genes, and 2 CRISPR repeats.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative analyses of clinical and environmental populations of Cryptococcus neoformans in Botswana.

Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (Cng) is the most common cause of fungal meningitis, and its prevalence is highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Patients become infected by inhaling airborne spores or desiccated yeast cells from the environment, where the fungus thrives in avian droppings, trees and soil. To investigate the prevalence and population structure of Cng in southern Africa, we analysed isolates from 77 environmental samples and 64 patients. We detected significant genetic diversity among isolates and strong evidence of geographic structure at the local level. High proportions of isolates with the rare MATa allele were observed in both clinical and environmental isolates; however, the mating-type alleles were unevenly distributed among different subpopulations. Nearly equal proportions of the MATa and MATa mating types were observed among all clinical isolates and in one environmental subpopulation from the eastern part of Botswana. As previously reported, there was evidence of both clonality and recombination in different geographic areas. These results provide a foundation for subsequent genomewide association studies to identify genes and genotypes linked to pathogenicity in humans. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Draft genome sequences of Burkholderia contaminans, a Burkholderia cepacia complex species that is increasingly recovered from cystic fibrosis patients.

Burkholderia contaminans belongs to the Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC), a group of bacteria that are ubiquitous in the environment and capable of infecting the immunocompromised and people with cystic fibrosis. We report here draft genome sequences for the B. contaminans type strain LMG 23361 and an Argentinian cystic fibrosis sputum isolate. Copyright © 2015 Bloodworth et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

A synteny-based draft genome sequence of the forage grass Lolium perenne.

Here we report the draft genome sequence of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), an economically important forage and turf grass species that is widely cultivated in temperate regions worldwide. It is classified along with wheat, barley, oats and Brachypodium distachyon in the Pooideae sub-family of the grass family (Poaceae). Transcriptome data was used to identify 28 455 gene models, and we utilized macro-co-linearity between perennial ryegrass and barley, and synteny within the grass family, to establish a synteny-based linear gene order. The gametophytic self-incompatibility mechanism enables the pistil of a plant to reject self-pollen and therefore promote out-crossing. We have used the sequence assembly to characterize transcriptional changes in the stigma during pollination with both compatible and incompatible pollen. Characterization of the pollen transcriptome identified homologs to pollen allergens from a range of species, many of which were expressed to very high levels in mature pollen grains, and are potentially involved in the self-incompatibility mechanism. The genome sequence provides a valuable resource for future breeding efforts based on genomic prediction, and will accelerate the development of new varieties for more productive grasslands.© 2015 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic identification of nitrogen-fixing Klebsiella variicola, K. pneumoniae and K. quasipneumoniae.

It was difficult to differentiate Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. quasipneumoniae and K. variicola by biochemical and phenotypic tests. Genomics increase the resolution and credibility of taxonomy for closely-related species. Here, we obtained the complete genome sequence of the K. variicola type strain DSM 15968(T) (=F2R9(T) ). The genome of the type strain is a circular chromosome of 5,521,203?bp with 57.56% GC content. From 540 Klebsiella strains whose genomes had been publicly available as at 3 March 2015, we identified 21 strains belonging to K. variicola and 8 strains belonging to K. quasipneumoniae based on the genome average nucleotide identities (ANI). All the K. variicola strains, one K. pneumoniae strain and five K. quasipneumoniae strains contained nitrogen-fixing genes. A phylogenomic analysis showed clear species demarcations for these nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In accordance with the key biochemical characteristics of K. variicola, the idnO gene encoding 5-keto-D-gluconate 5-reductase for utilization of 5-keto-D-gluconate and the sorCDFBAME operon for catabolism of L-sorbose were present whereas the rbtRDKT operon for catabolism of adonitol was absent in the genomes of K. variicola strains. Therefore, the genomic analyses supported the ANI-based species delineation; the genome sequence of the K. variicola type strain provides the reference genome for genomic identification of K. variicola, which is a nitrogen-fixing species. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


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