September 22, 2019  |  

Evaluating the mobility potential of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes without metagenomics.

Antibiotic resistance genes are ubiquitous in the environment. However, only a fraction of them are mobile and able to spread to pathogenic bacteria. Until now, studying the mobility of antibiotic resistance genes in environmental resistomes has been challenging due to inadequate sensitivity and difficulties in contig assembly of metagenome based methods. We developed a new cost and labor efficient method based on Inverse PCR and long read sequencing for studying mobility potential of environmental resistance genes. We applied Inverse PCR on sediment samples and identified 79 different MGE clusters associated with the studied resistance genes, including novel mobile genetic elements, co-selected resistance genes and a new putative antibiotic resistance gene. The results show that the method can be used in antibiotic resistance early warning systems. In comparison to metagenomics, Inverse PCR was markedly more sensitive and provided more data on resistance gene mobility and co-selected resistances.

September 22, 2019  |  

Antagonism between Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes and its genomic basis.

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis live in close proximity on human skin, and both bacterial species can be isolated from normal and acne vulgaris-affected skin sites. The antagonistic interactions between the two species are poorly understood, as well as the potential significance of bacterial interferences for the skin microbiota. Here, we performed simultaneous antagonism assays to detect inhibitory activities between multiple isolates of the two species. Selected strains were sequenced to identify the genomic basis of their antimicrobial phenotypes.First, we screened 77 P. acnes strains isolated from healthy and acne-affected skin, and representing all known phylogenetic clades (I, II, and III), for their antimicrobial activities against 12?S. epidermidis isolates. One particular phylogroup (I-2) exhibited a higher antimicrobial activity than other P. acnes phylogroups. All genomes of type I-2 strains carry an island encoding the biosynthesis of a thiopeptide with possible antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis. Second, 20?S. epidermidis isolates were examined for inhibitory activity against 25 P. acnes strains. The majority of S. epidermidis strains were able to inhibit P. acnes. Genomes of S. epidermidis strains with strong, medium and no inhibitory activities against P. acnes were sequenced. Genome comparison underlined the diversity of S. epidermidis and detected multiple clade- or strain-specific mobile genetic elements encoding a variety of functions important in antibiotic and stress resistance, biofilm formation and interbacterial competition, including bacteriocins such as epidermin. One isolate with an extraordinary antimicrobial activity against P. acnes harbors a functional ESAT-6 secretion system that might be involved in the antimicrobial activity against P. acnes via the secretion of polymorphic toxins.Taken together, our study suggests that interspecies interactions could potentially jeopardize balances in the skin microbiota. In particular, S. epidermidis strains possess an arsenal of different mechanisms to inhibit P. acnes. However, if such interactions are relevant in skin disorders such as acne vulgaris remains questionable, since no difference in the antimicrobial activity against, or the sensitivity towards S. epidermidis could be detected between health- and acne-associated strains of P. acnes.

September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term changes of bacterial and viral compositions in the intestine of a recovered Clostridium difficile patient after fecal microbiota transplantation

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDIs). However, long-term effects on the patients’ gut microbiota and the role of viruses remain to be elucidated. Here, we characterized bacterial and viral microbiota in the feces of a cured RCDI patient at various time points until 4.5 yr post-FMT compared with the stool donor. Feces were subjected to DNA sequencing to characterize bacteria and double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses including phages. The patient’s microbial communities varied over time and showed little overall similarity to the donor until 7 mo post-FMT, indicating ongoing gut microbiota adaption in this time period. After 4.5 yr, the patient’s bacteria attained donor-like compositions at phylum, class, and order levels with similar bacterial diversity. Differences in the bacterial communities between donor and patient after 4.5 yr were seen at lower taxonomic levels. C. difficile remained undetectable throughout the entire timespan. This demonstrated sustainable donor feces engraftment and verified long-term therapeutic success of FMT on the molecular level. Full engraftment apparently required longer than previously acknowledged, suggesting the implementation of year-long patient follow-up periods into clinical practice. The identified dsDNA viruses were mainly Caudovirales phages. Unexpectedly, sequences related to giant algae–infecting Chlorella viruses were also detected. Our findings indicate that intestinal viruses may be implicated in the establishment of gut microbiota. Therefore, virome analyses should be included in gut microbiota studies to determine the roles of phages and other viruses—such as Chlorella viruses—in human health and disease, particularly during RCDI.

September 22, 2019  |  

Extensive horizontal gene transfer in cheese-associated bacteria.

Acquisition of genes through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) allows microbes to rapidly gain new capabilities and adapt to new or changing environments. Identifying widespread HGT regions within multispecies microbiomes can pinpoint the molecular mechanisms that play key roles in microbiome assembly. We sought to identify horizontally transferred genes within a model microbiome, the cheese rind. Comparing 31 newly sequenced and 134 previously sequenced bacterial isolates from cheese rinds, we identified over 200 putative horizontally transferred genomic regions containing 4733 protein coding genes. The largest of these regions are enriched for genes involved in siderophore acquisition, and are widely distributed in cheese rinds in both Europe and the US. These results suggest that HGT is prevalent in cheese rind microbiomes, and that identification of genes that are frequently transferred in a particular environment may provide insight into the selective forces shaping microbial communities.

September 22, 2019  |  

Diverse antibiotic resistance genes in dairy cow manure.

Application of manure from antibiotic-treated animals to crops facilitates the dissemination of antibiotic resistance determinants into the environment. However, our knowledge of the identity, diversity, and patterns of distribution of these antibiotic resistance determinants remains limited. We used a new combination of methods to examine the resistome of dairy cow manure, a common soil amendment. Metagenomic libraries constructed with DNA extracted from manure were screened for resistance to beta-lactams, phenicols, aminoglycosides, and tetracyclines. Functional screening of fosmid and small-insert libraries identified 80 different antibiotic resistance genes whose deduced protein sequences were on average 50 to 60% identical to sequences deposited in GenBank. The resistance genes were frequently found in clusters and originated from a taxonomically diverse set of species, suggesting that some microorganisms in manure harbor multiple resistance genes. Furthermore, amid the great genetic diversity in manure, we discovered a novel clade of chloramphenicol acetyltransferases. Our study combined functional metagenomics with third-generation PacBio sequencing to significantly extend the roster of functional antibiotic resistance genes found in animal gut bacteria, providing a particularly broad resource for understanding the origins and dispersal of antibiotic resistance genes in agriculture and clinical settings. IMPORTANCE The increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance among bacteria is one of the most intractable challenges in 21st-century public health. The origins of resistance are complex, and a better understanding of the impacts of antibiotics used on farms would produce a more robust platform for public policy. Microbiomes of farm animals are reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes, which may affect distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in human pathogens. Previous studies have focused on antibiotic resistance genes in manures of animals subjected to intensive antibiotic use, such as pigs and chickens. Cow manure has received less attention, although it is commonly used in crop production. Here, we report the discovery of novel and diverse antibiotic resistance genes in the cow microbiome, demonstrating that it is a significant reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes. The genomic resource presented here lays the groundwork for understanding the dispersal of antibiotic resistance from the agroecosystem to other settings.

September 21, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O145:H28 demonstrates a common evolutionary lineage with Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Although serotype O157:H7 is the predominant enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC that cause severe foodborne illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome have increased worldwide. In fact, non-O157 serotypes are now estimated to cause over half of all the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cases, and outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC infections are frequently associated with serotypes O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. Currently, there are no complete genomes for O145 in public databases.We determined the complete genome sequences of two O145 strains (EcO145), one linked to a US lettuce-associated outbreak (RM13514) and one to a Belgium ice-cream-associated outbreak (RM13516). Both strains contain one chromosome and two large plasmids, with genome sizes of 5,737,294 bp for RM13514 and 5,559,008 bp for RM13516. Comparative analysis of the two EcO145 genomes revealed a large core (5,173 genes) and a considerable amount of strain-specific genes. Additionally, the two EcO145 genomes display distinct chromosomal architecture, virulence gene profile, phylogenetic origin of Stx2a prophage, and methylation profile (methylome). Comparative analysis of EcO145 genomes to other completely sequenced STEC and other E. coli and Shigella genomes revealed that, unlike any other known non-O157 EHEC strain, EcO145 ascended from a common lineage with EcO157/EcO55. This evolutionary relationship was further supported by the pangenome analysis of the 10 EHEC str ains. Of the 4,192 EHEC core genes, EcO145 shares more genes with EcO157 than with the any other non-O157 EHEC strains.Our data provide evidence that EcO145 and EcO157 evolved from a common lineage, but ultimately each serotype evolves via a lineage-independent nature to EHEC by acquisition of the core set of EHEC virulence factors, including the genes encoding Shiga toxin and the large virulence plasmid. The large variation between the two EcO145 genomes suggests a distinctive evolutionary path between the two outbreak strains. The distinct methylome between the two EcO145 strains is likely due to the presence of a BsuBI/PstI methyltransferase gene cassette in the Stx2a prophage of the strain RM13514, suggesting a role of horizontal gene transfer-mediated epigenetic alteration in the evolution of individual EHEC strains.

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  |  

Bacteriophage orphan DNA methyltransferases: insights from their bacterial origin, function, and occurrence.

Type II DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are enzymes found ubiquitously in the prokaryotic world, where they play important roles in several cellular processes, such as host protection and epigenetic regulation. Three classes of type II MTases have been identified thus far in bacteria which function in transferring a methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to a target nucleotide base, forming N-6-methyladenine (class I), N-4-methylcytosine (class II), or C-5-methylcytosine (class III). Often, these MTases are associated with a cognate restriction endonuclease (REase) to form a restriction-modification (R-M) system protecting bacterial cells from invasion by foreign DNA. When MTases exist alone, which are then termed orphan MTases, they are believed to be mainly involved in regulatory activities in the bacterial cell. Genomes of various lytic and lysogenic phages have been shown to encode multi- and mono-specific orphan MTases that have the ability to confer protection from restriction endonucleases of their bacterial host(s). The ability of a phage to overcome R-M and other phage-targeting resistance systems can be detrimental to particular biotechnological processes such as dairy fermentations. Conversely, as phages may also be beneficial in certain areas such as phage therapy, phages with additional resistance to host defenses may prolong the effectiveness of the therapy. This minireview will focus on bacteriophage-encoded MTases, their prevalence and diversity, as well as their potential origin and function.

July 19, 2019  |  

Resistance determinants and mobile genetic elements of an NDM-1-encoding Klebsiella pneumoniae strain.

Multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are emerging as a serious infectious disease challenge. These strains can accumulate many antibiotic resistance genes though horizontal transfer of genetic elements, those for ß-lactamases being of particular concern. Some ß-lactamases are active on a broad spectrum of ß-lactams including the last-resort carbapenems. The gene for the broad-spectrum and carbapenem-active metallo-ß-lactamase NDM-1 is rapidly spreading. We present the complete genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC BAA-2146, the first U.S. isolate found to encode NDM-1, and describe its repertoire of antibiotic-resistance genes and mutations, including genes for eight ß-lactamases and 15 additional antibiotic-resistance enzymes. To elucidate the evolution of this rich repertoire, the mobile elements of the genome were characterized, including four plasmids with varying degrees of conservation and mosaicism and eleven chromosomal genomic islands. One island was identified by a novel phylogenomic approach, that further indicated the cps-lps polysaccharide synthesis locus, where operon translocation and fusion was noted. Unique plasmid segments and mosaic junctions were identified. Plasmid-borne blaCTX-M-15 was transposed recently to the chromosome by ISEcp1. None of the eleven full copies of IS26, the most frequent IS element in the genome, had the expected 8-bp direct repeat of the integration target sequence, suggesting that each copy underwent homologous recombination subsequent to its last transposition event. Comparative analysis likewise indicates IS26 as a frequent recombinational junction between plasmid ancestors, and also indicates a resolvase site. In one novel use of high-throughput sequencing, homologously recombinant subpopulations of the bacterial culture were detected. In a second novel use, circular transposition intermediates were detected for the novel insertion sequence ISKpn21 of the ISNCY family, suggesting that it uses the two-step transposition mechanism of IS3. Robust genome-based phylogeny showed that a unified Klebsiella cluster contains Enterobacter aerogenes and Raoultella, suggesting the latter genus should be abandoned.

July 19, 2019  |  

Shared signatures of parasitism and phylogenomics unite Cryptomycota and microsporidia.

Fungi grow within their food, externally digesting it and absorbing nutrients across a semirigid chitinous cell wall. Members of the new phylum Cryptomycota were proposed to represent intermediate fungal forms, lacking a chitinous cell wall during feeding and known almost exclusively from ubiquitous environmental ribosomal RNA sequences that cluster at the base of the fungal tree [1, 2]. Here, we sequence the first Cryptomycotan genome (the water mold endoparasite Rozella allomycis) and unite the Cryptomycota with another group of endoparasites, the microsporidia, based on phylogenomics and shared genomic traits. We propose that Cryptomycota and microsporidia share a common endoparasitic ancestor, with the clade unified by a chitinous cell wall used to develop turgor pressure in the infection process [3, 4]. Shared genomic elements include a nucleotide transporter that is used by microsporidia for stealing energy in the form of ATP from their hosts [5]. Rozella harbors a mitochondrion that contains a very rapidly evolving genome and lacks complex I of the respiratory chain. These degenerate features are offset by the presence of nuclear genes for alternative respiratory pathways. The Rozella proteome has not undergone major contraction like microsporidia; instead, several classes have undergone expansion, such as host-effector, signal-transduction, and folding proteins. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic analysis and virulence differences in closely related Salmonella enterica serotype Heidelberg isolates from humans, retail meats, and animals.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Heidelberg (S. Heidelberg) is one of the top serovars causing human salmonellosis. Recently, an antibiotic-resistant strain of this serovar was implicated in a large 2011 multistate outbreak resulting from consumption of contaminated ground turkey that involved 136 confirmed cases, with one death. In this study, we assessed the evolutionary diversity of 44 S. Heidelberg isolates using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) generated by the 454 GS FLX (Roche) platform. The isolates, including 30 with nearly indistinguishable (one band difference) Xbal pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns (JF6X01.0032, JF6X01.0058), were collected from various sources between 1982 and 2011 and included nine isolates associated with the 2011 outbreak. Additionally, we determined the complete sequence for the chromosome and three plasmids from a clinical isolate associated with the 2011 outbreak using the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) system. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses, we were able to distinguish highly clonal isolates, including strains isolated at different times in the same year. The isolates from the recent 2011 outbreak clustered together with a mean SNP variation of only 17 SNPs. The S. Heidelberg isolates carried a variety of phages, such as prophage P22, P4, lambda-like prophage Gifsy-2, and the P2-like phage which carries the sopE1 gene, virulence genes including 62 pathogenicity, and 13 fimbrial markers and resistance plasmids of the incompatibility (Inc)I1, IncA/C, and IncHI2 groups. Twenty-one strains contained an IncX plasmid carrying a type IV secretion system. On the basis of the recent and historical isolates used in this study, our results demonstrated that, in addition to providing detailed genetic information for the isolates, WGS can identify SNP targets that can be utilized for differentiating highly clonal S. Heidelberg isolates.

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  |  

The extant World War 1 dysentery bacillus NCTC1: a genomic analysis.

Shigellosis (previously bacillary dysentery) was the primary diarrhoeal disease of World War 1, but outbreaks still occur in military operations, and shigellosis causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in developing nations. We aimed to generate a high-quality reference genome of the historical Shigella flexneri isolate NCTC1 and to examine the isolate for resistance to antimicrobials.In this genomic analysis, we sequenced the oldest extant Shigella flexneri serotype 2a isolate using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology. Isolated from a soldier with dysentery from the British forces fighting on the Western Front in World War 1, this bacterium, NCTC1, was the first isolate accessioned into the National Collection of Type Cultures. We created a reference sequence for NCTC1, investigated the isolate for antimicrobial resistance, and undertook comparative genetics with S flexneri reference strains isolated during the 100 years since World War 1.We discovered that NCTC1 belonged to a 2a lineage of S flexneri, with which it shares common characteristics and a large core genome. NCTC1 was resistant to penicillin and erythromycin, and contained a complement of chromosomal antimicrobial resistance genes similar to that of more recent isolates. Genomic islands gained in the S flexneri 2a lineage over time were predominately associated with additional antimicrobial resistances, virulence, and serotype conversion.This S flexneri 2a lineage is a well adapted pathogen that has continued to respond to selective pressures. We have created a valuable historical benchmark for shigellae in the form of a high-quality reference sequence for a publicly available isolate.The Wellcome Trust. Copyright © 2014 Baker et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

July 19, 2019  |  

BREX is a novel phage resistance system widespread in microbial genomes.

The perpetual arms race between bacteria and phage has resulted in the evolution of efficient resistance systems that protect bacteria from phage infection. Such systems, which include the CRISPR-Cas and restriction-modification systems, have proven to be invaluable in the biotechnology and dairy industries. Here, we report on a six-gene cassette in Bacillus cereus which, when integrated into the Bacillus subtilis genome, confers resistance to a broad range of phages, including both virulent and temperate ones. This cassette includes a putative Lon-like protease, an alkaline phosphatase domain protein, a putative RNA-binding protein, a DNA methylase, an ATPase-domain protein, and a protein of unknown function. We denote this novel defense system BREX (Bacteriophage Exclusion) and show that it allows phage adsorption but blocks phage DNA replication. Furthermore, our results suggest that methylation on non-palindromic TAGGAG motifs in the bacterial genome guides self/non-self discrimination and is essential for the defensive function of the BREX system. However, unlike restriction-modification systems, phage DNA does not appear to be cleaved or degraded by BREX, suggesting a novel mechanism of defense. Pan genomic analysis revealed that BREX and BREX-like systems, including the distantly related Pgl system described in Streptomyces coelicolor, are widely distributed in ~10% of all sequenced microbial genomes and can be divided into six coherent subtypes in which the gene composition and order is conserved. Finally, we detected a phage family that evades the BREX defense, implying that anti-BREX mechanisms may have evolved in some phages as part of their arms race with bacteria.© 2014 The Authors.

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