April 21, 2020  |  

Insight into the microbial world of Bemisia tabaci cryptic species complex and its relationships with its host.

The 37 currently recognized Bemisia tabaci cryptic species are economically important species and contain both primary and secondary endosymbionts, but their diversity has never been mapped systematically across the group. To achieve this, PacBio sequencing of full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons was carried out on 21 globally collected species in the B. tabaci complex, and two samples from B. afer were used here as outgroups. The microbial diversity was first explored across the major lineages of the whole group and 15 new putative bacterial sequences were observed. Extensive comparison of our results with previous endosymbiont diversity surveys which used PCR or multiplex 454 pyrosequencing platforms showed that the bacterial diversity was underestimated. To validate these new putative bacteria, one of them (Halomonas) was first confirmed to be present in MED B. tabaci using Hiseq2500 and FISH technologies. These results confirmed PacBio is a reliable and informative venue to reveal the bacterial diversity of insects. In addition, many new secondary endosymbiotic strains of Rickettsia and Arsenophonus were found, increasing the known diversity in these groups. For the previously described primary endosymbionts, one Portiera Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) was shared by all B. tabaci species. The congruence of the B. tabaci-host and Portiera phylogenetic trees provides strong support for the hypothesis that primary endosymbionts co-speciated with their hosts. Likewise, a comparison of bacterial alpha diversities, Principal Coordinate Analysis, indistinct endosymbiotic communities harbored by different species and the co-divergence analyses suggest a lack of association between overall microbial diversity with cryptic species, further indicate that the secondary endosymbiont-mediated speciation is unlikely to have occurred in the B. tabaci species group.

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  |  

The bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks influences pathogen susceptibility.

Ticks are of medical importance owing to their ability to transmit pathogens to humans and animals. The Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of a number of pathogens, including Anaplasma marginale, which is the most widespread tick-borne pathogen of livestock. Although ticks host pathogenic bacteria, they also harbor bacterial endosymbionts that have a role in tick physiology, survival, as well as pathogen acquisition and transmission. The goal of this study was to characterize the bacterial microbiome and examine the impact of microbiome disruption on pathogen susceptibility. The bacterial microbiome of two populations of D. andersoni with historically different susceptibilities to A. marginale was characterized. In this study, the microbiome was disrupted and then ticks were exposed to A. marginale or Francisella novicida to determine whether the microbiome correlated with pathogen susceptibility. Our study showed that an increase in proportion and quantity of Rickettsia bellii in the microbiome was negatively correlated to A. marginale levels in ticks. Furthermore, a decrease in Francisella endosymbionts was associated with lower F. novicida infection levels, demonstrating a positive pathogen-endosymbiont relationship. We demonstrate that endosymbionts and pathogens have varying interactions, and suggest that microbiome manipulation may provide a possible method for biocontrol by decreasing pathogen susceptibility of ticks.

September 22, 2019  |  

Laboratory colonization stabilizes the naturally dynamic microbiome composition of field collected Dermacentor andersoni ticks.

Nearly a quarter of emerging infectious diseases identified in the last century are arthropod-borne. Although ticks and insects can carry pathogenic microorganisms, non-pathogenic microbes make up the majority of their microbial communities. The majority of tick microbiome research has had a focus on discovery and description; very few studies have analyzed the ecological context and functional responses of the bacterial microbiome of ticks. The goal of this analysis was to characterize the stability of the bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks between generations and two populations within a species.The bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni midguts and salivary glands was analyzed from populations collected at two different ecologically distinct sites by comparing field (F1) and lab-reared populations (F1-F3) over three generations. The microbiome composition of pooled and individual samples was analyzed by sequencing nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene amplicons using a Pacific Biosciences CCS platform that allows identification of bacteria to the species level.In this study, we found that the D. andersoni microbiome was distinct in different geographic populations and was tissue specific, differing between the midgut and the salivary gland, over multiple generations. Additionally, our study showed that the microbiomes of laboratory-reared populations were not necessarily representative of their respective field populations. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the microbiome of a few individual ticks does not represent the microbiome composition at the population level.We demonstrated that the bacterial microbiome of D. andersoni was complex over three generations and specific to tick tissue (midgut vs. salivary glands) as well as geographic location (Burns, Oregon vs. Lake Como, Montana vs. laboratory setting). These results provide evidence that habitat of the tick population is a vital component of the complexity of the bacterial microbiome of ticks, and that the microbiome of lab colonies may not allow for comparative analyses with field populations. A broader understanding of microbiome variation will be required if we are to employ manipulation of the microbiome as a method for interfering with acquisition and transmission of tick-borne pathogens.

September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Endomicrobium proavitum, a free-living relative of the intracellular symbionts of termite gut flagellates (phylum Elusimicrobia).

We sequenced the complete genome of Endomicrobium proavitum strain Rsa215, the first isolate of the class Endomicrobia (phylum Elusimicrobia). It is the closest free-living relative of the endosymbionts of termite gut flagellates and thereby provides an excellent model for studying the evolutionary processes during the establishment of an intracellular symbiosis. Copyright © 2015 Zheng and Brune.

September 22, 2019  |  

The gut commensal microbiome of Drosophila melanogaster is modified by the endosymbiont Wolbachia.

Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria and the gut microbiome have independently been shown to affect several aspects of insect biology, including reproduction, development, life span, stem cell activity, and resistance to human pathogens, in insect vectors. This work shows that Wolbachia bacteria, which reside mainly in the fly germline, affect the microbial species present in the fly gut in a lab-reared strain. Drosophila melanogaster hosts two main genera of commensal bacteria-Acetobacter and Lactobacillus. Wolbachia-infected flies have significantly reduced titers of Acetobacter. Sampling of the microbiome of axenic flies fed with equal proportions of both bacteria shows that the presence of Wolbachia bacteria is a significant determinant of the composition of the microbiome throughout fly development. However, this effect is host genotype dependent. To investigate the mechanism of microbiome modulation, the effect of Wolbachia bacteria on Imd and reactive oxygen species pathways, the main regulators of immune response in the fly gut, was measured. The presence of Wolbachia bacteria does not induce significant changes in the expression of the genes for the effector molecules in either pathway. Furthermore, microbiome modulation is not due to direct interaction between Wolbachia bacteria and gut microbes. Confocal analysis shows that Wolbachia bacteria are absent from the gut lumen. These results indicate that the mechanistic basis of the modulation of composition of the microbiome by Wolbachia bacteria is more complex than a direct bacterial interaction or the effect of Wolbachia bacteria on fly immunity. The findings reported here highlight the importance of considering the composition of the gut microbiome and host genetic background during Wolbachia-induced phenotypic studies and when formulating microbe-based disease vector control strategies. IMPORTANCE Wolbachia bacteria are intracellular bacteria present in the microbiome of a large fraction of insects and parasitic nematodes. They can block mosquitos’ ability to transmit several infectious disease-causing pathogens, including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile viruses and malaria parasites. Certain extracellular bacteria present in the gut lumen of these insects can also block pathogen transmission. However, our understanding of interactions between Wolbachia and gut bacteria and how they influence each other is limited. Here we show that the presence of Wolbachia strain wMel changes the composition of gut commensal bacteria in the fruit fly. Our findings implicate interactions between bacterial species as a key factor in determining the overall composition of the microbiome and thus reveal new paradigms to consider in the development of disease control strategies.

September 22, 2019  |  

Gill bacteria enable a novel digestive strategy in a wood-feeding mollusk.

Bacteria play many important roles in animal digestive systems, including the provision of enzymes critical to digestion. Typically, complex communities of bacteria reside in the gut lumen in direct contact with the ingested materials they help to digest. Here, we demonstrate a previously undescribed digestive strategy in the wood-eating marine bivalve Bankia setacea, wherein digestive bacteria are housed in a location remote from the gut. These bivalves, commonly known as shipworms, lack a resident microbiota in the gut compartment where wood is digested but harbor endosymbiotic bacteria within specialized cells in their gills. We show that this comparatively simple bacterial community produces wood-degrading enzymes that are selectively translocated from gill to gut. These enzymes, which include just a small subset of the predicted wood-degrading enzymes encoded in the endosymbiont genomes, accumulate in the gut to the near exclusion of other endosymbiont-made proteins. This strategy of remote enzyme production provides the shipworm with a mechanism to capture liberated sugars from wood without competition from an endogenous gut microbiota. Because only those proteins required for wood digestion are translocated to the gut, this newly described system reveals which of many possible enzymes and enzyme combinations are minimally required for wood degradation. Thus, although it has historically had negative impacts on human welfare, the shipworm digestive process now has the potential to have a positive impact on industries that convert wood and other plant biomass to renewable fuels, fine chemicals, food, feeds, textiles, and paper products.

September 22, 2019  |  

In vitro culture of the insect endosymbiont Spiroplasma poulsonii highlights bacterial genes involved in host-symbiont interaction.

Endosymbiotic bacteria associated with eukaryotic hosts are omnipresent in nature, particularly in insects. Studying the bacterial side of host-symbiont interactions is, however, often limited by the unculturability and genetic intractability of the symbionts. Spiroplasma poulsonii is a maternally transmitted bacterial endosymbiont that is naturally associated with several Drosophila species. S. poulsonii strongly affects its host’s physiology, for example by causing male killing or by protecting it against various parasites. Despite intense work on this model since the 1950s, attempts to cultivate endosymbiotic Spiroplasma in vitro have failed so far. Here, we developed a method to sustain the in vitro culture of S. poulsonii by optimizing a commercially accessible medium. We also provide a complete genome assembly, including the first sequence of a natural plasmid of an endosymbiotic Spiroplasma species. Last, by comparing the transcriptome of the in vitro culture to the transcriptome of bacteria extracted from the host, we identified genes putatively involved in host-symbiont interactions. This work provides new opportunities to study the physiology of endosymbiotic Spiroplasma and paves the way to dissect insect-endosymbiont interactions with two genetically tractable partners.IMPORTANCE The discovery of insect bacterial endosymbionts (maternally transmitted bacteria) has revolutionized the study of insects, suggesting novel strategies for their control. Most endosymbionts are strongly dependent on their host to survive, making them uncultivable in artificial systems and genetically intractable. Spiroplasma poulsonii is an endosymbiont of Drosophila that affects host metabolism, reproduction, and defense against parasites. By providing the first reliable culture medium that allows a long-lasting in vitro culture of Spiroplasma and by elucidating its complete genome, this work lays the foundation for the development of genetic engineering tools to dissect endosymbiosis with two partners amenable to molecular study. Furthermore, the optimization method that we describe can be used on other yet uncultivable symbionts, opening new technical opportunities in the field of host-microbes interactions. Copyright © 2018 Masson et al.

September 22, 2019  |  

Density-dependent enhanced replication of a densovirus in Wolbachia-infected Aedes cells is associated with production of piRNAs and higher virus-derived siRNAs.

The endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia pipientis has been shown to restrict a range of RNA viruses in Drosophila melanogaster and transinfected dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Here, we show that Wolbachia infection enhances replication of Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV-1), a single stranded DNA virus, in Aedes cell lines in a density-dependent manner. Analysis of previously produced small RNAs of Aag2 cells showed that Wolbachia-infected cells produced greater absolute abundance of virus-derived short interfering RNAs compared to uninfected cells. Additionally, we found production of virus-derived PIWI-like RNAs (vpiRNA) produced in response to AalDNV-1 infection. Nuclear fractions of Aag2 cells produced a primary vpiRNA signature U1 bias whereas the typical “ping-pong” signature (U1 – A10) was evident in vpiRNAs from the cytoplasmic fractions. This is the first report of the density-dependent enhancement of DNA viruses by Wolbachia. Further, we report the generation of vpiRNAs in a DNA virus-host interaction for the first time. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis of Wolbachia strain wAu

BACKGROUND:Wolbachia intracellular bacteria can manipulate the reproduction of their arthropod hosts, including inducing sterility between populations known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). Certain strains have been identified that are unable to induce or rescue CI, including wAu from Drosophila. Genome sequencing and comparison with CI-inducing related strain wMel was undertaken in order to better understand the molecular basis of the phenotype.RESULTS:Although the genomes were broadly similar, several rearrangements were identified, particularly in the prophage regions. Many orthologous genes contained single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the two strains, but a subset containing major differences that would likely cause inactivation in wAu were identified, including the absence of the wMel ortholog of a gene recently identified as a CI candidate in a proteomic study. The comparative analyses also focused on a family of transcriptional regulator genes implicated in CI in previous work, and revealed numerous differences between the strains, including those that would have major effects on predicted function.CONCLUSIONS:The study provides support for existing candidates and novel genes that may be involved in CI, and provides a basis for further functional studies to examine the molecular basis of the phenotype.

July 19, 2019  |  

Heterogeneous composition of key metabolic gene clusters in a vent mussel symbiont population.

Chemosynthetic symbiosis is one of the successful systems for adapting to a wide range of habitats including extreme environments, and the metabolic capabilities of symbionts enable host organisms to expand their habitat ranges. However, our understanding of the adaptive strategies that enable symbiotic organisms to expand their habitats is still fragmentary. Here, we report that a single-ribotype endosymbiont population in an individual of the host vent mussel, Bathymodiolus septemdierum has heterogeneous genomes with regard to the composition of key metabolic gene clusters for hydrogen oxidation and nitrate reduction. The host individual harbours heterogeneous symbiont subpopulations that either possess or lack the gene clusters encoding hydrogenase or nitrate reductase. The proportions of the different symbiont subpopulations in a host appeared to vary with the environment or with the host’s development. Furthermore, the symbiont subpopulations were distributed in patches to form a mosaic pattern in the gill. Genomic heterogeneity in an endosymbiont population may enable differential utilization of diverse substrates and confer metabolic flexibility. Our findings open a new chapter in our understanding of how symbiotic organisms alter their metabolic capabilities and expand their range of habitats.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of Serratia nematodiphila DSM 21420T, a symbiotic bacterium from entomopathogenic nematode.

Serratia nematodiphila DSM 21420(T) (=CGMCC 1.6853(T), DZ0503SBS1(T)), isolated from the intestine of Heterorhabditidoides chongmingensis, has been known to have symbiotic-pathogenic life cycle, on the multilateral relationships with entomopathogenic nematode and insect pest. In order to better understanding of this rare feature in Serratia species, we present here the genome sequence of S. nematodiphila DSM 21420(T) with the significance of first genome sequence in this species. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the Drosophila melanogaster male-killing Spiroplasma strain MSRO endosymbiont.

Spiroplasmas are helical and motile members of a cell wall-less eubacterial group called Mollicutes. Although all spiroplasmas are associated with arthropods, they exhibit great diversity with respect to both their modes of transmission and their effects on their hosts; ranging from horizontally transmitted pathogens and commensals to endosymbionts that are transmitted transovarially (i.e., from mother to offspring). Here we provide the first genome sequence, along with proteomic validation, of an endosymbiotic inherited Spiroplasma bacterium, the Spiroplasma poulsonii MSRO strain harbored by Drosophila melanogaster. Comparison of the genome content of S. poulsonii with that of horizontally transmitted spiroplasmas indicates that S. poulsonii has lost many metabolic pathways and transporters, demonstrating a high level of interdependence with its insect host. Consistent with genome analysis, experimental studies showed that S. poulsonii metabolizes glucose but not trehalose. Notably, trehalose is more abundant than glucose in Drosophila hemolymph, and the inability to metabolize trehalose may prevent S. poulsonii from overproliferating. Our study identifies putative virulence genes, notably, those for a chitinase, the H2O2-producing glycerol-3-phosphate oxidase, and enzymes involved in the synthesis of the eukaryote-toxic lipid cardiolipin. S. poulsonii also expresses on the cell membrane one functional adhesion-related protein and two divergent spiralin proteins that have been implicated in insect cell invasion in other spiroplasmas. These lipoproteins may be involved in the colonization of the Drosophila germ line, ensuring S. poulsonii vertical transmission. The S. poulsonii genome is a valuable resource to explore the mechanisms of male killing and symbiont-mediated protection, two cardinal features of many facultative endosymbionts.Most insect species, including important disease vectors and crop pests, harbor vertically transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria. These endosymbionts play key roles in their hosts’ fitness, including protecting them against natural enemies and manipulating their reproduction in ways that increase the frequency of symbiont infection. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie these processes. Here, we provide the first genome draft of a vertically transmitted male-killing Spiroplasma bacterium, the S. poulsonii MSRO strain harbored by D. melanogaster. Analysis of the S. poulsonii genome was complemented by proteomics and ex vivo metabolic experiments. Our results indicate that S. poulsonii has reduced metabolic capabilities and expresses divergent membrane lipoproteins and potential virulence factors that likely participate in Spiroplasma-host interactions. This work fills a gap in our knowledge of insect endosymbionts and provides tools with which to decipher the interaction between Spiroplasma bacteria and their well-characterized host D. melanogaster, which is emerging as a model of endosymbiosis. Copyright © 2015 Paredes et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome expansion via lineage splitting and genome reduction in the cicada endosymbiont Hodgkinia.

Comparative genomics from mitochondria, plastids, and mutualistic endosymbiotic bacteria has shown that the stable establishment of a bacterium in a host cell results in genome reduction. Although many highly reduced genomes from endosymbiotic bacteria are stable in gene content and genome structure, organelle genomes are sometimes characterized by dramatic structural diversity. Previous results from Candidatus Hodgkinia cicadicola, an endosymbiont of cicadas, revealed that some lineages of this bacterium had split into two new cytologically distinct yet genetically interdependent species. It was hypothesized that the long life cycle of cicadas in part enabled this unusual lineage-splitting event. Here we test this hypothesis by investigating the structure of the Ca. Hodgkinia genome in one of the longest-lived cicadas, Magicicada tredecim. We show that the Ca. Hodgkinia genome from M. tredecim has fragmented into multiple new chromosomes or genomes, with at least some remaining partitioned into discrete cells. We also show that this lineage-splitting process has resulted in a complex of Ca. Hodgkinia genomes that are 1.1-Mb pairs in length when considered together, an almost 10-fold increase in size from the hypothetical single-genome ancestor. These results parallel some examples of genome fragmentation and expansion in organelles, although the mechanisms that give rise to these extreme genome instabilities are likely different.

July 7, 2019  |  

Whole-genome sequence of Serratia symbiotica strain CWBI-2.3T, a free-living symbiont of the black bean aphid Aphis fabae.

The gammaproteobacterium Serratia symbiotica is one of the major secondary symbionts found in aphids. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of S. symbiotica strain CWBI-2.3(T), previously isolated from the black bean aphid Aphis fabae. The 3.58-Mb genome sequence might provide new insights to understand the evolution of insect-microbe symbiosis. Copyright © 2014 Foray et al.

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