September 22, 2019  |  

Genomics and host specialization of honey bee and bumble bee gut symbionts.

Gilliamella apicola and Snodgrassella alvi are dominant members of the honey bee (Apis spp.) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) gut microbiota. We generated complete genomes of the type strains G. apicola wkB1(T) and S. alvi wkB2(T) (isolated from Apis), as well as draft genomes for four other strains from Bombus. G. apicola and S. alvi were found to occupy very different metabolic niches: The former is a saccharolytic fermenter, whereas the latter is an oxidizer of carboxylic acids. Together, they may form a syntrophic network for partitioning of metabolic resources. Both species possessed numerous genes [type 6 secretion systems, repeats in toxin (RTX) toxins, RHS proteins, adhesins, and type IV pili] that likely mediate cell-cell interactions and gut colonization. Variation in these genes could account for the host fidelity of strains observed in previous phylogenetic studies. Here, we also show the first experimental evidence, to our knowledge, for this specificity in vivo: Strains of S. alvi were able to colonize their native bee host but not bees of another genus. Consistent with specific, long-term host association, comparative genomic analysis revealed a deep divergence and little or no gene flow between Apis and Bombus gut symbionts. However, within a host type (Apis or Bombus), we detected signs of horizontal gene transfer between G. apicola and S. alvi, demonstrating the importance of the broader gut community in shaping the evolution of any one member. Our results show that host specificity is likely driven by multiple factors, including direct host-microbe interactions, microbe-microbe interactions, and social transmission.


July 7, 2019  |  

Gut symbionts from distinct hosts exhibit genotoxic activity via divergent colibactin biosynthetic pathways.

Secondary metabolites produced by nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) or polyketide synthase (PKS) pathways are chemical mediators of microbial interactions in diverse environments. However, little is known about their distribution, evolution, and functional roles in bacterial symbionts associated with animals. A prominent example is “colibactin”, a largely unknown family of secondary metabolites produced by Escherichia coli via a hybrid NRPS-PKS biosynthetic pathway, inflicting DNA damage upon eukaryotic cells and contributing to colorectal cancer and tumor formation in the mammalian gut. Thus far, homologs of this pathway have only been found in closely related Enterobacteriaceae, while a divergent variant of this gene cluster was recently discovered in a marine alphaproteobacterial Pseudovibrio strain. Herein, we sequenced the genome of Frischella perrara PEB0191, a bacterial gut symbiont of honey bees, and identified a homologous colibactin biosynthetic pathway related to those found in Enterobacteriaceae. We show that the colibactin genomic island (GI) has conserved gene synteny and biosynthetic module architecture across F. perrara, Enterobacteriaceae and the Pseudovibrio strain. Comparative metabolomics analyses of F. perrara and E. coli further reveal that these two bacteria produce related colibactin pathway-dependent metabolites. Finally, we demonstrate that F. perrara, like E. coli, causes DNA damage in eukaryotic cells in vitro in a colibactin pathway-dependent manner. Together, these results support that divergent variants of the colibactin biosynthetic pathway are widely distributed among bacterial symbionts, producing related secondary metabolites and likely endowing its producer with functional capabilities important for diverse symbiotic associations. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequencing and analysis of the first complete genome of Lactobacillus kunkeei strain MP2, an Apis mellifera gut isolate

Background. The honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the most important pollinator in agriculture worldwide. However, the number of honey bees has fallen significantly since 2006, becoming a huge ecological problem nowadays. The principal cause is CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder, characterized by the seemingly spontaneous abandonment of hives by their workers. One of the characteristics of CCD in honey bees is the alteration of the bacterial communities in their gastrointestinal tract, mainly due to the decrease of Firmicutes populations, such as the Lactobacilli. At this time, the causes of these alterations remain unknown. We recently isolated a strain of Lactobacillus kunkeei (L. kunkeei strain MP2) from the gut of Chilean honey bees. L. kunkeei, is one of the most commonly isolated bacterium from the honey bee gut and is highly versatile in different ecological niches. In this study, we aimed to elucidate in detail, the L. kunkeei genetic background and perform a comparative genome analysis with other Lactobacillus species. Methods. L. kunkeei MP2 was originally isolated from the guts of Chilean A. mellifera individuals. Genome sequencing was done using Pacific Biosciences single-molecule real-time sequencing technology. De novo assembly was performed using Celera assembler. The genome was annotated using Prokka, and functional information was added using the EggNOG 3.1 database. In addition, genomic islands were predicted using IslandViewer, and pro-phage sequences using PHAST. Comparisons between L. kunkeei MP2 with other L. kunkeei, and Lactobacillus strains were done using Roary. Results. The complete genome of L. kunkeei MP2 comprises one circular chromosome of 1,614,522 nt. with a GC content of 36,9%. Pangenome analysis with 16 L. kunkeei strains, identified 113 unique genes, most of them related to phage insertions. A large and unique region of L. kunkeei MP2 genome contains several genes that encode for phage structural protein and replication components. Comparative analysis of MP2 with other Lactobacillus species, identified several unique genes of L. kunkeei MP2 related with metabolism, biofilm generation, survival under stress conditions, and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Discussion. The presence of multiple mobile genetic elements, including phage sequences, suggest a high degree of genetic variability in L. kunkeei. Its versatility and ability to survive in different ecological niches (bee guts, flowers, fruits among others) could be given by its genetic capacity to change and adapt to different environments. L. kunkeei could be a new source of Lactobacillus with beneficial properties. Indeed, L. kunkeei MP2 could play an important role in honey bee nutrition through the synthesis of components as isoprenoids.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Melissococcus plutonius DAT561, a strain that shows an unusual growth profile, obtained by PacBio sequencing.

Melissococcus plutonius is the causative agent of European foulbrood, and its isolates were believed to be remarkably genetically homogeneous. However, recent epidemiological and pathogenic studies have shown this pathogen to be more heterogeneous than expected. Herein, we present the whole-genome sequence of M. plutonius DAT561, a representative atypical strain. Copyright © 2018 Okumura et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

New reference genome sequences for 17 bacterial strains of the honey bee gut microbiota.

We sequenced the genomes of 17 strains isolated from the gut of honey bees, including strains representing the genera Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Gilliamella, Snodgrassella, Frischella, and Commensalibacter. These genome sequences represent an important step forward in the development of a comprehensive reference database to aid future analysis of this emerging gut microbiota model.


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