June 1, 2021  |  

Comparative genomics of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O145:H28 strains associated with the 2007 Belgium and 2010 US outbreaks.

Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is an emerging pathogen. Recently there has been a global in the number of outbreaks caused by non-O157 STECs, typically involving six serogroups O26, O45, 0103, 0111, and 0145. STEC O145:H28 has been associated with severe human disease including hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), and is demonstrated by the 2007 Belgian ice-cream-associated outbreak and 2010 US lettuce-associated outbreak, with over 10% of patients developing HUS in each. The goal of this work was to do comparative genomics of strains, clinical and environmental, to investigate genome diversity and virulence evolution of this important foodborne pathogen.


June 1, 2021  |  

New discoveries from closing Salmonella genomes using Pacific Biosciences continuous long reads.

The newer hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) performs de novo assembly using data from a single PacBio long insert library. To assess the benefits of this method, DNA from several Salmonella enterica serovars was isolated from a pure culture. Genome sequencing was performed using Pacific Biosciences RS sequencing technology. The HGAP process enabled us to close sixteen Salmonella subsp. enterica genomes and their associated mobile elements: The ten serotypes include: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) S. Bareilly, S. Heidelberg, S. Cubana, S. Javiana and S. Typhimurium, S. Newport, S. Montevideo, S. Agona, and S. Tennessee. In addition, we were able to detect novel methyltransferases (MTases) by using the Pacific Biosciences kinetic score distributions showing that each serovar appears to have a novel methylation pattern. For example while all Salmonella serovars examined so far have methylase specific activity for 5’-GATC-3’/3’-CTAG-5’ and 5’-CAGAG-3’/3’-GTCTC-5’ (underlined base indicates a modification), S. Heidelberg is uniquely specific for 5’-ACCANCC-3’/3’-TGGTNGG-5’, while S. Typhimurium has uniquely methylase specific for 5′-GATCAG-3’/3′- CTAGTC-5′ sites, for the samples examined so far. We believe that this may be due to the unique environments and phages that these serotypes have been exposed to. Furthermore, our analysis identified and closed a variety of plasmids such as mobilization plasmids, antimicrobial resistance plasmids and IncX plasmids carrying a Type IV secretion system (T4SS). The VirB/D4 T4SS apparatus is important in that it assists with rapid dissemination of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Presently, only limited information exists regarding the genotypic characterization of drug resistance in S. Heidelberg isolates derived from various host species. Here, we characterize two S. Heidelberg outbreak isolates from two different outbreaks. Both isolates contain the IncX plasmid of approximately 35 kb, and carried the genes virB1, virB2, virB3/4, virB5, virB6, virB7, virB8, virB9, virB10, virB11, virD2, and virD4, that are associated with the T4SS. In addition, the outbreak isolate associated with ground turkey carries a 4,473 bp mobilization plasmid and an incompatibility group (Inc) I1 antimicrobial resistance plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), beta-lactam (bl2b_tem), streptomycin (aadAI) and tetracycline (tetA, tetR) while the outbreak isolate associated with chicken breast carries the IncI1 plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), streptomycin (aadAI) and sulfisoxazole (sul1). Using this new technology we explored the genetic elements present in resistant pathogens which will achieve a better understanding of the evolution of Salmonella.


April 21, 2020  |  

Reconstruction of the genomes of drug-resistant pathogens for outbreak investigation through metagenomic sequencing

Culture-independent methods that target genome fragments have shown promise in identifying certain pathogens, but the holy grail of comprehensive pathogen genome detection from microbiologically complex samples for subsequent forensic analyses remains a challenge. In the context of an investigation of a nosocomial outbreak, we used shotgun metagenomic sequencing of a human fecal sample and a neural network algorithm based on tetranucleotide frequency profiling to reconstruct microbial genomes and tested the same approach using rectal swabs from a second patient. The approach rapidly and readily detected the genome of Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing K. pneumoniae in the patient fecal specimen and in the rectal swab sample, achieving a level of strain resolution that was sufficient for confident transmission inference during a highly clonal outbreak. The analysis also detected previously unrecognized colonization of the patient by vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium, another multidrug-resistant bacterium.IMPORTANCE The study results reported here perfectly demonstrate the power and promise of clinical metagenomics to recover genome sequences of important drug-resistant bacteria and to rapidly provide rich data that inform outbreak investigations and treatment decisions, independently of the need to culture the organisms.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence and phylogenetic analysis of nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter nosocomialis strain NCTC 8102.

Acinetobacter has emerged recently as one of the most challenging nosocomial pathogens because of its increased rate of antimicrobial resistance. The genetic complexity and genome diversity, as well as the lack of adequate knowledge on the pathogenic determinants of Acinetobacter strains often hinder with pathogenesis studies for the development of better therapeutics to tackle this nosocomial pathogen.In this study, we comparatively analyzed the whole genome sequence of a virulent Acinetobacternosocomialis strain NCTC 8102.The genomic DNA of A. nosocomialis NCTC 8102 was isolated and sequenced using PacBio RS II platform. The sequenced genome was functionally annotated and gene prediction was carried out using the program, Glimmer 3. The phylogenetic analysis of the genome was performed using Mega 6 program and the comparative genome analysis was carried out by BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool).The complete genome analysis depicted that the genome consists of a circular chromosome with an average G?+?C content of 38.7%. The genome comprises 3700 protein-coding genes, 96 RNA genes (18 rRNA, 74 tRNA and 4 ncRNA genes), and 91 pseudogenes. In addition, 6 prophage regions comprising 2 intact, 1 incomplete and 3 questionable ones and 18 genomic islands were identified in the genome, suggesting the possible occurrence of horizontal gene transfer in this strain. Comparative genome analysis of A. nosocomialis NCTC 8102 genome with the already sequenced A. nosocomialis strain SSA3 showed an average nucleotide identity of 99.0%. In addition, the number of prophages and genomic islands were higher in the A. nosocomialis NCTC 8102 genome compared to that of the strain SSA3. 14 of the genomic islands were unique to A. nosocomialis NCTC 8102 compared to strain SSA3 and they harbored genes which are involved in virulence, multidrug resistance, biofilm formation and bacterial pathogenesis.We sequenced the whole genome of A. nosocomialis strain NCTC 8102 followed by comparatively genome analysis. The study provides valuable information on the genetic features of A. nosocomialis strain and the data from this study would assist in further studies for the development of control measures for this nosocomial pathogen.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptional adaptations during long-term persistence of Staphylococcus aureus in the airways of a cystic fibrosis patient.

The lungs of Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are often colonized and/or infected by Staphylococcus aureus for years, mostly by one predominant clone. For long-term survival in this environment, S. aureus needs to adapt during its interactions with host factors, antibiotics, and other pathogens. Here, we study long-term transcriptional as well as genomic adaptations of an isogenic pair of S. aureus isolates from a single patient using RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and whole genome sequencing (WGS). Mimicking in vivo conditions, we cultivated the S. aureus isolates using artificial sputum medium before harvesting RNA for subsequent analysis. We confirmed our RNA-Seq data using quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR and additionally investigated intermediate isolates from the same patient representing in total 13.2 years of persistence in the CF airways. Comparative RNA-Seq analysis of the first and the last (“late”) isolate revealed significant differences in the late isolate after 13.2 years of persistence. Of the 2545 genes expressed in both isolates that were cultivated aerobically, 256 genes were up- and 161 were down-regulated with a minimum 2-fold change (2f). Focusing on 25 highly (=8f) up- (n=9) or down- (n=16) regulated genes, we identified several genes encoding for virulence factors involved in immune evasion, bacterial spread or secretion (e.g. spa, sak, and esxA). Moreover, these genes displayed similar expression trends under aerobic, microaerophilic and anaerobic conditions. Further qRT-PCR-experiments of highly up- or down-regulated genes within intermediate S. aureus isolates resulted in different gene expression patterns over the years. Using sequencing analysis of the differently expressed genes and their upstream regions in the late S. aureus isolate resulted in only few genomic alterations. Comparative transcriptomic analysis revealed adaptive changes affecting mainly genes involved in host-pathogen interaction. Although the underlying mechanisms were not known, our results suggest adaptive processes beyond genomic mutations triggered by local factors rather than by activation of global regulators. Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

HIV-1 infection of primary CD4(+) T cells regulates the expression of specific HERV-K (HML-2) elements.

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) occupy extensive regions of the human genome. Although many of these retroviral elements have lost their ability to replicate, those whose insertion took place more recently, such as the HML-2 group of HERV-K elements, still retain intact open reading frames and the capacity to produce certain viral RNA and/or proteins. Transcription of these ERVs is, however, tightly regulated by dedicated epigenetic control mechanisms. Nonetheless, it has been reported that some pathologic states, such as viral infections and certain cancers, coincide with ERV expression suggesting transcriptional reawakening is possible. HML-2 elements are reportedly induced during HIV-1 infection, but the conserved nature of these elements has, until recently, rendered their expression profiling problematic.Here, we provide comprehensive HERV-K HML-2 expression profiles specific for productively HIV-1 infected primary human CD4(+) T cells. We combined enrichment of HIV-1 infected cells using a reporter virus expressing a surface reporter for gentle and efficient purification with long-read Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing. We show that three HML-2 proviruses, 6q25.1, 8q24.3, and 19q13.42 are up-regulated on average between 3- and 5-fold in HIV-1 infected CD4(+) T cells. One provirus, HML-2 12q24.33, in contrast, was repressed in the presence of active HIV replication.In conclusion, this report identifies the HERV-K HML-2 loci whose expression profiles differ upon HIV-1 infection in primary human CD4(+) T cells. These data will help pave the way for further studies on the influence of endogenous retroviruses on HIV-1 replication.Importance Endogenous retroviruses inhabit big portions of our genome. And although they are mainly inert some of the evolutionarily younger members maintain the ability to express both RNA as well as proteins. We have developed an approach using long-read SMRT sequencing that produces long reads, that provides us with ability to obtain detailed and accurate HERV-K HML-2 expression profiles. We have now applied this approach to study HERV-K expression in the presence and absence of productive HIV-1 infection of primary human CD4(+) T cells. In addition to using SMRT sequencing, our strategy also includes the magnetic selection of the infected cells so that levels of background expression due to uninfected cells are kept at a minimum. The results in this manuscript provide the blueprint for in-depth studies of the interactions of the authentic upregulated HERV-K HML-2 elements and HIV-1. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Global transcript structure resolution of high gene density genomes through multi-platform data integration.

Annotation of herpesvirus genomes has traditionally been undertaken through the detection of open reading frames and other genomic motifs, supplemented with sequencing of individual cDNAs. Second generation sequencing and high-density microarray studies have revealed vastly greater herpesvirus transcriptome complexity than is captured by existing annotation. The pervasive nature of overlapping transcription throughout herpesvirus genomes, however, poses substantial problems in resolving transcript structures using these methods alone. We present an approach that combines the unique attributes of Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq long-read, Illumina short-read and deepCAGE (Cap Analysis of Gene Expression) sequencing to globally resolve polyadenylated isoform structures in replicating Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Our method, Transcriptome Resolution through Integration of Multi-platform Data (TRIMD), identifies nearly 300 novel EBV transcripts, quadrupling the size of the annotated viral transcriptome. These findings illustrate an array of mechanisms through which EBV achieves functional diversity in its relatively small, compact genome including programmed alternative splicing (e.g. across the IR1 repeats), alternative promoter usage by LMP2 and other latency-associated transcripts, intergenic splicing at the BZLF2 locus, and antisense transcription and pervasive readthrough transcription throughout the genome.© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


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  |  

Survey of Ixodes pacificus ticks in California reveals a diversity of microorganisms and a novel and widespread Anaplasmataceae species.

Ixodes pacificus ticks can harbor a wide range of human and animal pathogens. To survey the prevalence of tick-borne known and putative pathogens, we tested 982 individual adult and nymphal I. pacificus ticks collected throughout California between 2007 and 2009 using a broad-range PCR and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) assay designed to detect a wide range of tick-borne microorganisms. Overall, 1.4% of the ticks were found to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, 2.0% were infected with Borrelia miyamotoi and 0.3% were infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum. In addition, 3.0% were infected with Babesia odocoilei. About 1.2% of the ticks were co-infected with more than one pathogen or putative pathogen. In addition, we identified a novel Anaplasmataceae species that we characterized by sequencing of its 16S rRNA, groEL, gltA, and rpoB genes. Sequence analysis indicated that this organism is phylogenetically distinct from known Anaplasma species with its closest genetic near neighbors coming from Asia. The prevalence of this novel Anaplasmataceae species was as high as 21% at one site, and it was detected in 4.9% of ticks tested statewide. Based upon this genetic characterization we propose that this organism be called ‘Candidatus Cryptoplasma californiense’. Knowledge of this novel microbe will provide awareness for the community about the breadth of the I. pacificus microbiome, the concept that this bacterium could be more widely spread; and an opportunity to explore whether this bacterium also contributes to human or animal disease burden.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus cohnii ssp. urealyticus strain SNUDS-2 isolated from farmed duck, Republic of Korea.

Staphylococcus cohnii has become increasingly recognized as a potential pathogen of clinically significant nosocomial and farm animal infections. This study was designed to determine the genome of a multidrug-resistant S. cohnii subsp. urealyticus strain SNUDS-2 isolated from a farmed duck in Korea.Genomic DNA was sequenced using the PacBio RS II system. The complete genome was annotated and the presence of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes were identified.The annotated 2,625,703 bp genome contained various antimicrobial resistance genes conferring resistance to ß-lactam, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, phenicols and trimethoprim. The virulence-associated three synergistic hemolysins have been identified in the strain.To the best of our knowledge, this is the first complete genome of S. cohnii, and will provide important insights into the biodiversity of CoNS and valuable information for the control of this emerging pathogen. Copyright © 2017 International Society for Chemotherapy of Infection and Cancer. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Reduction in fecal microbiota diversity and short-chain fatty acid producers in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infected individuals as revealed by PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause potentially lethal infections. Increasing evidence suggests that the gut microbiota is associated with human health. Yet, whether patients with MRSA infections carry specific signatures in their fecal microbiota composition has not been determined. Thus, this study aimed to compare the fecal microbiota profile of MRSA-positive patients (n=15) with individuals without MRSA infection (n=15) by using the PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing system and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mann-Whitney tests and unweighted UniFrac principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed that the profile of fecal microbiota was apparently different between the two populations. Both the community richness and diversity were reduced in the MRSA-positive group (p<0.050). The genera Acinetobacter and Enterococcus were highly enriched in the MRSA-positive group, whereas less short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria, including Butyricimonas, Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Megamonas and Phascolarctobacterium, were detected in the MRSA-positive group. At species level, the species Acinetobacter baumannii and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron were prevalent in the MRSA-positive group, whereas opposite trends were observed in 17 other species, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Lactobacillus rogosae, Megamonas rupellensis and Phascolarctobacterium faecium. Positive correlations were observed between Acinetobacter baumannii and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (R=0.554, p=0.001), as well as hypersensitive C reactive protein (hsCRP) (R=0.406, p=0.026). Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was negatively associated with ESR (R=-0.545, p=0.002), hsCRP (R=-0.401, p=0.028) and total bile acids (TBA) (R=-0.364, p=0.048). In conclusion, the fecal microbiota structure was different between MRSA-positive and -negative patients. The increase in potential pathogens with the reduction of beneficial populations, such as SCFA-producing bacteria, in MRSA-positive patients may affect prognosis.


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