September 22, 2019  |  

Gene activity in primary T cells infected with HIV89.6: intron retention and induction of genomic repeats.

HIV infection has been reported to alter cellular gene activity, but published studies have commonly assayed transformed cell lines and lab-adapted HIV strains, yielding inconsistent results. Here we carried out a deep RNA-Seq analysis of primary human T cells infected with the low passage HIV isolate HIV89.6.Seventeen percent of cellular genes showed altered activity 48 h after infection. In a meta-analysis including four other studies, our data differed from studies of HIV infection in cell lines but showed more parallels with infections of primary cells. We found a global trend toward retention of introns after infection, suggestive of a novel cellular response to infection. HIV89.6 infection was also associated with activation of several human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) and retrotransposons, of interest as possible novel antigens that could serve as vaccine targets. The most highly activated group of HERVs was a subset of the ERV-9. Analysis showed that activation was associated with a particular variant of ERV-9 long terminal repeats that contains an indel near the U3-R border. These data also allowed quantification of >70 splice forms of the HIV89.6 RNA and specified the main types of chimeric HIV89.6-host RNAs. Comparison to over 100,000 integration site sequences from the same infected cell populations allowed quantification of authentic versus artifactual chimeric reads, showing that 5′ read-in, splicing out of HIV89.6 from the D4 donor and 3′ read-through were the most common HIV89.6-host cell chimeric RNA forms.Analysis of RNA abundance after infection of primary T cells with the low passage HIV89.6 isolate disclosed multiple novel features of HIV-host interactions, notably intron retention and induction of transcription of retrotransposons and endogenous retroviruses.


September 22, 2019  |  

The microbiota of freshwater fish and freshwater niches contain omega-3 producing Shewanella species.

Approximately 30 years ago, it was discovered that free-living bacteria isolated from cold ocean depths could produce polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (20:5n-3) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (22:6n-3), two PUFA essential for human health. Numerous laboratories have also discovered that EPA- and/or DHA-producing bacteria, many of them members of the Shewanella genus, could be isolated from the intestinal tracts of omega-3 fatty acid-rich marine fish. If bacteria contribute omega-3 fatty acids to the host fish in general or if they assist some bacterial species in adaptation to cold, then cold freshwater fish or habitats should also harbor these producers. Thus, we undertook a study to see if these niches also contained omega-3 fatty acid producers. We were successful in isolating and characterizing unique EPA-producing strains of Shewanella from three strictly freshwater native fish species, i.e., lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), lean lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and walleye (Sander vitreus), and from two other freshwater nonnative fish, i.e., coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and seeforellen brown trout (Salmo trutta). We were also able to isolate four unique free-living strains of EPA-producing Shewanella from freshwater habitats. Phylogenetic and phenotypic analyses suggest that one producer is clearly a member of the Shewanella morhuae species and another is sister to members of the marine PUFA-producing Shewanella baltica species. However, the remaining isolates have more ambiguous relationships, sharing a common ancestor with non-PUFA-producing Shewanella putrefaciens isolates rather than marine S. baltica isolates despite having a phenotype more consistent with S. baltica strains. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Unlocking the mystery of the hard-to-sequence phage genome: PaP1 methylome and bacterial immunity.

Whole-genome sequencing is an important method to understand the genetic information, gene function, biological characteristics and survival mechanisms of organisms. Sequencing large genomes is very simple at present. However, we encountered a hard-to-sequence genome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa phage PaP1. Shotgun sequencing method failed to complete the sequence of this genome.After persevering for 10 years and going over three generations of sequencing techniques, we successfully completed the sequence of the PaP1 genome with a length of 91,715 bp. Single-molecule real-time sequencing results revealed that this genome contains 51?N-6-methyladenines and 152?N-4-methylcytosines. Three significant modified sequence motifs were predicted, but not all of the sites found in the genome were methylated in these motifs. Further investigations revealed a novel immune mechanism of bacteria, in which host bacteria can recognise and repel modified bases containing inserts in a large scale. This mechanism could be accounted for the failure of the shotgun method in PaP1 genome sequencing. This problem was resolved using the nfi- mutant of Escherichia coli DH5a as a host bacterium to construct a shotgun library.This work provided insights into the hard-to-sequence phage PaP1 genome and discovered a new mechanism of bacterial immunity. The methylome of phage PaP1 is responsible for the failure of shotgun sequencing and for bacterial immunity mediated by enzyme Endo V activity; this methylome also provides a valuable resource for future studies on PaP1 genome replication and modification, as well as on gene regulation and host interaction.


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.


July 19, 2019  |  

Intrahost dynamics of antiviral resistance in influenza a virus reflect complex patterns of segment linkage, reassortment, and natural selection.

Resistance following antiviral therapy is commonly observed in human influenza viruses. Although this evolutionary process is initiated within individual hosts, little is known about the pattern, dynamics, and drivers of antiviral resistance at this scale, including the role played by reassortment. In addition, the short duration of human influenza virus infections limits the available time window in which to examine intrahost evolution. Using single-molecule sequencing, we mapped, in detail, the mutational spectrum of an H3N2 influenza A virus population sampled from an immunocompromised patient who shed virus over a 21-month period. In this unique natural experiment, we were able to document the complex dynamics underlying the evolution of antiviral resistance. Individual resistance mutations appeared weeks before they became dominant, evolved independently on cocirculating lineages, led to a genome-wide reduction in genetic diversity through a selective sweep, and were placed into new combinations by reassortment. Notably, despite frequent reassortment, phylogenetic analysis also provided evidence for specific patterns of segment linkage, with a strong association between the hemagglutinin (HA)- and matrix (M)-encoding segments that matches that previously observed at the epidemiological scale. In sum, we were able to reveal, for the first time, the complex interaction between multiple evolutionary processes as they occur within an individual host.Understanding the evolutionary forces that shape the genetic diversity of influenza virus is crucial for predicting the emergence of drug-resistant strains but remains challenging because multiple processes occur concurrently. We characterized the evolution of antiviral resistance in a single persistent influenza virus infection, representing the first case in which reassortment and the complex patterns of drug resistance emergence and evolution have been determined within an individual host. Deep-sequence data from multiple time points revealed that the evolution of antiviral resistance reflects a combination of frequent mutation, natural selection, and a complex pattern of segment linkage and reassortment. In sum, these data show how immunocompromised hosts may help reveal the drivers of strain emergence. Copyright © 2015 Rogers et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule real-time sequencing of Xanthomonas oryzae genomes reveals a dynamic structure and complex TAL (transcription activator-like) effector gene relationships.

Pathogen-injected, direct transcriptional activators of host genes, TAL (transcription activator-like) effectors play determinative roles in plant diseases caused by Xanthomonas spp. A large domain of nearly identical, 33-35 aa repeats in each protein mediates DNA recognition. This modularity makes TAL effectors customizable and thus important also in biotechnology. However, the repeats render TAL effector (tal) genes nearly impossible to assemble using next-generation, short reads. Here, we demonstrate that long-read, single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing solves this problem. Taking an ensemble approach to first generate local, tal gene contigs, we correctly assembled de novo the genomes of two strains of the rice pathogen X. oryzae completed previously using the Sanger method and even identified errors in those references. Sequencing two more strains revealed a dynamic genome structure and a striking plasticity in tal gene content. Our results pave the way for population-level studies to inform resistance breeding, improve biotechnology and probe TAL effector evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

A method for near full-length amplification and sequencing for six hepatitis C virus genotypes.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a rapidly evolving RNA virus that has been classified into seven genotypes. All HCV genotypes cause chronic hepatitis, which ultimately leads to liver diseases such as cirrhosis. The genotypes are unevenly distributed across the globe, with genotypes 1 and 3 being the most prevalent. Until recently, molecular epidemiological studies of HCV evolution within the host and at the population level have been limited to the analyses of partial viral genome segments, as it has been technically challenging to amplify and sequence the full-length of the 9.6 kb HCV genome. Although recent improvements have been made in full genome sequencing methodologies, these protocols are still either limited to a specific genotype or cost-inefficient.In this study we describe a genotype-specific protocol for the amplification and sequencing of the near-full length genome of all six major HCV genotypes. We applied this protocol to 122 HCV positive clinical samples, and had a successful genome amplification rate of 90 %, when the viral load was greater than 15,000 IU/ml. The assay was shown to have a detection limit of 1-3 cDNA copies per reaction. The method was tested with both Illumina and PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing technologies. Illumina sequencing resulted in deep coverage and allowed detection of rare variants as well as HCV co-infection with multiple genotypes. The application of the method with PacBio RS resulted in sequence reads greater than 9 kb that covered the near full-length HCV amplicon in a single read and enabled analysis of the near full-length quasispecies.The protocol described herein can be utilised for rapid amplification and sequencing of the near-full length HCV genome in a cost efficient manner suitable for a wide range of applications.


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  |  

Complete genome sequence of Actinobacillus equuli subspecies equuli ATCC 19392(T).

Actinobacillus equuli subsp. equuli is a member of the family Pasteurellaceae that is a common resident of the oral cavity and alimentary tract of healthy horses. At the same time, it can also cause a fatal septicemia in foals, commonly known as sleepy foal disease or joint ill disease. In addition, A. equuli subsp. equuli has recently been reported to act as a primary pathogen in breeding sows and piglets. To better understand how A. equuli subsp. equuli can cause disease, the genome of the type strain of A. equuli subsp. equuli, ATCC 19392(T), was sequenced using the PacBio RS II sequencing system. Its genome is comprised of 2,431,533 bp and is predicted to encode 2,264 proteins and 82 RNAs.


July 7, 2019  |  

Sequence type 1 group B Streptococcus, an emerging cause of invasive disease in adults, evolves by small genetic changes.

The molecular mechanisms underlying pathogen emergence in humans is a critical but poorly understood area of microbiologic investigation. Serotype V group B Streptococcus (GBS) was first isolated from humans in 1975, and rates of invasive serotype V GBS disease significantly increased starting in the early 1990s. We found that 210 of 229 serotype V GBS strains (92%) isolated from the bloodstream of nonpregnant adults in the United States and Canada between 1992 and 2013 were multilocus sequence type (ST) 1. Elucidation of the complete genome of a 1992 ST-1 strain revealed that this strain had the highest homology with a GBS strain causing cow mastitis and that the 1992 ST-1 strain differed from serotype V strains isolated in the late 1970s by acquisition of cell surface proteins and antimicrobial resistance determinants. Whole-genome comparison of 202 invasive ST-1 strains detected significant recombination in only eight strains. The remaining 194 strains differed by an average of 97 SNPs. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a temporally dependent mode of genetic diversification consistent with the emergence in the 1990s of ST-1 GBS as major agents of human disease. Thirty-one loci were identified as being under positive selective pressure, and mutations at loci encoding polysaccharide capsule production proteins, regulators of pilus expression, and two-component gene regulatory systems were shown to affect the bacterial phenotype. These data reveal that phenotypic diversity among ST-1 GBS is mainly driven by small genetic changes rather than extensive recombination, thereby extending knowledge into how pathogens adapt to humans.


July 7, 2019  |  

Essential roles of methionine and S-adenosylmethionine in the autarkic lifestyle of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Multidrug resistance, strong side effects, and compliance problems in TB chemotherapy mandate new ways to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Here we show that deletion of the gene encoding homoserine transacetylase (metA) inactivates methionine and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) biosynthesis in Mtb and renders this pathogen exquisitely sensitive to killing in immunocompetent or immunocompromised mice, leading to rapid clearance from host tissues. Mtb ?metA is unable to proliferate in primary human macrophages, and in vitro starvation leads to extraordinarily rapid killing with no appearance of suppressor mutants. Cell death of Mtb ?metA is faster than that of other auxotrophic mutants (i.e., tryptophan, pantothenate, leucine, biotin), suggesting a particularly potent mechanism of killing. Time-course metabolomics showed complete depletion of intracellular methionine and SAM. SAM depletion was consistent with a significant decrease in methylation at the DNA level (measured by single-molecule real-time sequencing) and with the induction of several essential methyltransferases involved in biotin and menaquinone biosynthesis, both of which are vital biological processes and validated targets of antimycobacterial drugs. Mtb ?metA could be partially rescued by biotin supplementation, confirming a multitarget cell death mechanism. The work presented here uncovers a previously unidentified vulnerability of Mtb-the incapacity to scavenge intermediates of SAM and methionine biosynthesis from the host. This vulnerability unveils an entirely new drug target space with the promise of rapid killing of the tubercle bacillus by a new mechanism of action.


July 7, 2019  |  

Isolation and characterization of an interactive culture of two Paenibacillus species with moderately thermophilic desulfurization ability.

To isolate and characterize novel thermophilic bacteria capable of biodesulfurization of petroleum.A culture containing two Paenibacillus spp. (denoted “32O-W” and “32O-Y”) was isolated by repeated passage of a soil sample at up to 55 °C in medium containing dibenzothiophene (DBT) as sulfur source. Only 32O-Y metabolized DBT, apparently via the 4S pathway; maximum activity occurred from 40 to 45 °C, with some activity up to at least 50 °C. 32O-W enhanced DBT metabolism by 32O-Y (by 22-74 % at 40-50 °C). With sulfate as sulfur source, 32O-Y and 32O-W grew well up to 58 and 63 °C, respectively. Selection of a mixed culture of 32O-Y and 32O-W at 54 °C increased DBT metabolism 36-42 % from 40 to 45 °C. Genome sequencing identified desulfurization gene homologs in the strains consistent with their desulfurization properties.The 32O-Y/32O-W culture may be a useful starting point for development of an improved thermophilic petroleum biodesulfurization process.


July 7, 2019  |  

RelA mutant Enterococcus faecium with multiantibiotic tolerance arising in an immunocompromised host.

Serious bacterial infections in immunocompromised patients require highly effective antibacterial therapy for cure, and thus, this setting may reveal novel mechanisms by which bacteria circumvent antibiotics in the absence of immune pressure. Here, an infant with leukemia developed vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) bacteremia that persisted for 26 days despite appropriate antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 22 consecutive VRE isolates identified the emergence of a single missense mutation (L152F) in relA, which constitutively activated the stringent response, resulting in elevated baseline levels of the alarmone guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp). Although the mutant remained susceptible to both linezolid and daptomycin in clinical MIC testing and during planktonic growth, it demonstrated tolerance to high doses of both antibiotics when growing in a biofilm. This biofilm-specific gain in resistance was reflected in the broad shift in transcript levels caused by the mutation. Only an experimental biofilm-targeting ClpP-activating antibiotic was able to kill the mutant strain in an established biofilm. The relA mutation was associated with a fitness trade-off, forming smaller and less-well-populated biofilms on biological surfaces. We conclude that clinically relevant relA mutations can emerge during prolonged VRE infection, causing baseline activation of the stringent response, subsequent antibiotic tolerance, and delayed eradication in an immunocompromised state.The increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens is a major challenge currently facing the medical community. Such pathogens are of particular importance in immunocompromised patients as these individuals may favor emergence of novel resistance determinants due to lack of innate immune defenses and intensive antibiotic exposure. During the course of chemotherapy, a patient developed prolonged bacteremia with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium that failed to clear despite multiple front-line antibiotics. The consecutive bloodstream isolates were sequenced, and a single missense mutation identified in the relA gene, the mediator of the stringent response. Strains harboring the mutation had elevated baseline levels of the alarmone and displayed heightened resistance to the bactericidal activity of multiple antibiotics, particularly in a biofilm. Using a new class of compounds that modulate ClpP activity, the biofilms were successfully eradicated. These data represent the first clinical emergence of mutations in the stringent response in vancomycin-resistant entereococci. Copyright © 2017 Honsa et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Edwardsiella hoshinae ATCC 35051.

Edwardsiella hoshinae is a Gram-negative facultative anaerobe that has primarily been isolated from avians and reptiles. We report here the complete and annotated genome sequence of an isolate from a monitor lizard (Varanus sp.), which contains a chromosome of 3,811,650 bp and no plasmids. Copyright © 2017 Reichley et al.


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