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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

Evolution of hypervirulence by a MRSA clone through acquisition of a transposable element.

Staphylococcus aureus has evolved as a pathogen that causes a range of diseases in humans. There are two dominant modes of evolution thought to explain most of the virulence differences between strains. First, virulence genes may be acquired from other organisms. Second, mutations may cause changes in the regulation and expression of genes. Here we describe an evolutionary event in which transposition of an IS element has a direct impact on virulence gene regulation resulting in hypervirulence. Whole-genome analysis of a methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain USA500 revealed acquisition of a transposable element (IS256) that is absent from close relatives of this strain. Of the multiple copies of IS256 found in the USA500 genome, one was inserted in the promoter sequence of repressor of toxins (Rot), a master transcriptional regulator responsible for the expression of virulence factors in S. aureus. We show that insertion into the rot promoter by IS256 results in the derepression of cytotoxin expression and increased virulence. Taken together, this work provides new insight into evolutionary strategies by which S. aureus is able to modify its virulence properties and demonstrates a novel mechanism by which horizontal gene transfer directly impacts virulence through altering toxin regulation. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals the molecular basis of multidrug-resistance in ST772 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of hospital-associated infection, but there is growing awareness of the emergence of multidrug-resistant lineages in community settings around the world. One such lineage is ST772-MRSA-V, which has disseminated globally and is increasingly prevalent in India. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of DAR4145, a strain of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage from India, and investigate its genomic characteristics in regards to antibiotic resistance and virulence factors.Sequencing using single-molecule real-time technology resulted in the assembly of a single continuous chromosomal sequence, which was error-corrected, annotated and compared to nine draft genome assemblies of ST772-MRSA-V from Australia, Malaysia and India. We discovered numerous and redundant resistance genes associated with mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and known core genome mutations that explain the highly antibiotic resistant phenotype of DAR4145. Staphylococcal toxins and superantigens, including the leukotoxin Panton-Valentinin Leukocidin, were predominantly associated with genomic islands and the phage f-IND772PVL. Some of these mobile resistance and virulence factors were variably present in other strains of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage.The genomic characteristics presented here emphasize the contribution of MGEs to the emergence of multidrug-resistant and highly virulent strains of community-associated MRSA. Antibiotic resistance was further augmented by chromosomal mutations and redundancy of resistance genes. The complete genome of DAR4145 provides a valuable resource for future investigations into the global dissemination and phylogeography of ST772-MRSA-V.


July 19, 2019  |  

Insertion sequence IS26 reorganizes plasmids in clinically isolated multidrug-resistant bacteria by replicative transposition.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), which are resistant to most or all known antibiotics, constitute a global threat to public health. Transposable elements are often associated with antibiotic resistance determinants, suggesting a role in the emergence of resistance. One insertion sequence, IS26, is frequently associated with resistance determinants, but its role remains unclear. We have analyzed the genomic contexts of 70 IS26 copies in several clinical and surveillance CPE isolates from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. We used target site duplications and their patterns as guides and found that a large fraction of plasmid reorganizations result from IS26 replicative transpositions, including replicon fusions, DNA inversions, and deletions. Replicative transposition could also be inferred for transposon Tn4401, which harbors the carbapenemase blaKPC gene. Thus, replicative transposition is important in the ongoing reorganization of plasmids carrying multidrug-resistant determinants, an observation that carries substantial clinical and epidemiological implications for understanding how such extreme drug resistance phenotypes evolve.Although IS26 is frequently reported to reside in resistance plasmids of clinical isolates, the characteristic hallmark of transposition, target site duplication (TSD), is generally not observed, raising questions about the mode of transposition for IS26. The previous observation of cointegrate formation during transposition implies that IS26 transposes via a replicative mechanism. The other possible outcome of replicative transposition is DNA inversion or deletion, when transposition occurs intramolecularly, and this would also generate a specific TSD pattern that might also serve as supporting evidence for the transposition mechanism. The numerous examples we present here demonstrate that replicative transposition, used by many mobile elements (including IS26 and Tn4401), is prevalent in the plasmids of clinical isolates and results in significant plasmid reorganization. This study also provides a method to trace the evolution of resistance plasmids based on TSD patterns. Copyright © 2015 He 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  |  

Chromosomal integration of the Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase gene, blaKPC, in Klebsiella species is elusive but not rare.

Carbapenemase genes in Enterobacteriaceae are mostly described as being plasmid associated. However, the genetic context of carbapenemase genes is not always confirmed in epidemiological surveys, and the frequency of their chromosomal integration therefore is unknown. A previously sequenced collection of blaKPC-positive Enterobacteriaceae from a single U.S. institution (2007 to 2012; n = 281 isolates from 182 patients) was analyzed to identify chromosomal insertions of Tn4401, the transposon most frequently harboring blaKPC Using a combination of short- and long-read sequencing, we confirmed five independent chromosomal integration events from 6/182 (3%) patients, corresponding to 15/281 (5%) isolates. Three patients had isolates identified by perirectal screening, and three had infections which were all successfully treated. When a single copy of blaKPC was in the chromosome, one or both of the phenotypic carbapenemase tests were negative. All chromosomally integrated blaKPC genes were from Klebsiella spp., predominantly K. pneumoniae clonal group 258 (CG258), even though these represented only a small proportion of the isolates. Integration occurred via IS15-?I-mediated transposition of a larger, composite region encompassing Tn4401 at one locus of chromosomal integration, seen in the same strain (K. pneumoniae ST340) in two patients. In summary, we identified five independent chromosomal integrations of blaKPC in a large outbreak, demonstrating that this is not a rare event. blaKPC was more frequently integrated into the chromosome of epidemic CG258 K. pneumoniae lineages (ST11, ST258, and ST340) and was more difficult to detect by routine phenotypic methods in this context. The presence of chromosomally integrated blaKPC within successful, globally disseminated K. pneumoniae strains therefore is likely underestimated. Copyright © 2017 Mathers et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

The history of Bordetella pertussis genome evolution includes structural rearrangement.

Despite high pertussis vaccine coverage, reported cases of whooping cough (pertussis) have increased over the last decade in the United States and other developed countries. Although Bordetella pertussis is well known for its limited gene sequence variation, recent advances in long-read sequencing technology have begun to reveal genomic structural heterogeneity among otherwise indistinguishable isolates, even within geographically or temporally defined epidemics. We have compared rearrangements among complete genome assemblies from 257 B. pertussis isolates to examine the potential evolution of the chromosomal structure in a pathogen with minimal gene nucleotide sequence diversity. Discrete changes in gene order were identified that differentiated genomes from vaccine reference strains and clinical isolates of various genotypes, frequently along phylogenetic boundaries defined by single nucleotide polymorphisms. The observed rearrangements were primarily large inversions centered on the replication origin or terminus and flanked by IS481, a mobile genetic element with >240 copies per genome and previously suspected to mediate rearrangements and deletions by homologous recombination. These data illustrate that structural genome evolution in B. pertussis is not limited to reduction but also includes rearrangement. Therefore, although genomes of clinical isolates are structurally diverse, specific changes in gene order are conserved, perhaps due to positive selection, providing novel information for investigating disease resurgence and molecular epidemiology.IMPORTANCE Whooping cough, primarily caused by Bordetella pertussis, has resurged in the United States even though the coverage with pertussis-containing vaccines remains high. The rise in reported cases has included increased disease rates among all vaccinated age groups, provoking questions about the pathogen’s evolution. The chromosome of B. pertussis includes a large number of repetitive mobile genetic elements that obstruct genome analysis. However, these mobile elements facilitate large rearrangements that alter the order and orientation of essential protein-encoding genes, which otherwise exhibit little nucleotide sequence diversity. By comparing the complete genome assemblies from 257 isolates, we show that specific rearrangements have been conserved throughout recent evolutionary history, perhaps by eliciting changes in gene expression, which may also provide useful information for molecular epidemiology. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Resources for genetic and genomic analysis of emerging pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii.

Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative bacterial pathogen notorious for causing serious nosocomial infections that resist antibiotic therapy. Research to identify factors responsible for the pathogen’s success has been limited by the resources available for genome-scale experimental studies. This report describes the development of several such resources for A. baumannii strain AB5075, a recently characterized wound isolate that is multidrug resistant and displays robust virulence in animal models. We report the completion and annotation of the genome sequence, the construction of a comprehensive ordered transposon mutant library, the extension of high-coverage transposon mutant pool sequencing (Tn-seq) to the strain, and the identification of the genes essential for growth on nutrient-rich agar. These resources should facilitate large-scale genetic analysis of virulence, resistance, and other clinically relevant traits that make A. baumannii a formidable public health threat.Acinetobacter baumannii is one of six bacterial pathogens primarily responsible for antibiotic-resistant infections that have become the scourge of health care facilities worldwide. Eliminating such infections requires a deeper understanding of the factors that enable the pathogen to persist in hospital environments, establish infections, and resist antibiotics. We present a set of resources that should accelerate genome-scale genetic characterization of these traits for a reference isolate of A. baumannii that is highly virulent and representative of current outbreak strains. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of ER2796, a DNA methyltransferase-deficient strain of Escherichia coli K-12.

We report the complete sequence of ER2796, a laboratory strain of Escherichia coli K-12 that is completely defective in DNA methylation. Because of its lack of any native methylation, it is extremely useful as a host into which heterologous DNA methyltransferase genes can be cloned and the recognition sequences of their products deduced by Pacific Biosciences Single-Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing. The genome was itself sequenced from a long-insert library using the SMRT platform, resulting in a single closed contig devoid of methylated bases. Comparison with K-12 MG1655, the first E. coli K-12 strain to be sequenced, shows an essentially co-linear relationship with no major rearrangements despite many generations of laboratory manipulation. The comparison revealed a total of 41 insertions and deletions, and 228 single base pair substitutions. In addition, the long-read approach facilitated the surprising discovery of four gene conversion events, three involving rRNA operons and one between two cryptic prophages. Such events thus contribute both to genomic homogenization and to bacteriophage diversification. As one of relatively few laboratory strains of E. coli to be sequenced, the genome also reveals the sequence changes underlying a number of classical mutant alleles including those affecting the various native DNA methylation systems.


July 7, 2019  |  

Novel recA-independent horizontal gene transfer in Escherichia coli K-12.

In bacteria, mechanisms that incorporate DNA into a genome without strand-transfer proteins such as RecA play a major role in generating novelty by horizontal gene transfer. We describe a new illegitimate recombination event in Escherichia coli K-12: RecA-independent homologous replacements, with very large (megabase-length) donor patches replacing recipient DNA. A previously uncharacterized gene (yjiP) increases the frequency of RecA-independent replacement recombination. To show this, we used conjugal DNA transfer, combining a classical conjugation donor, HfrH, with modern genome engineering methods and whole genome sequencing analysis to enable interrogation of genetic dependence of integration mechanisms and characterization of recombination products. As in classical experiments, genomic DNA transfer begins at a unique position in the donor, entering the recipient via conjugation; antibiotic resistance markers are then used to select recombinant progeny. Different configurations of this system were used to compare known mechanisms for stable DNA incorporation, including homologous recombination, F’-plasmid formation, and genome duplication. A genome island of interest known as the immigration control region was specifically replaced in a minority of recombinants, at a frequency of 3 X 10-12 CFU/recipient per hour.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Acinetobacter baumannii strain B8342, a motility-positive clinical isolate.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an emerging Gram-negative pathogen responsible for health care-associated infections. In this study, we determined the genome of a motility-positive clinical strain, B8342, isolated from a hospital in southern India. The B8342 genome, which is 3.94 Mbp, was generated by de novo assembly of PacBio long-read sequencing data. Copyright © 2015 Vijaykumar et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights on virulence from the complete genome of Staphylococcus capitis.

Staphylococcus capitis is an opportunistic pathogen of the coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS). Functional genomic studies of S. capitis have thus far been limited by a lack of available complete genome sequences. Here, we determined the closed S. capitis genome and methylome using Single Molecule Real Time (SMRT) sequencing. The strain, AYP1020, harbors a single circular chromosome of 2.44 Mb encoding 2304 predicted proteins, which is the smallest of all complete staphylococcal genomes sequenced to date. AYP1020 harbors two large mobile genetic elements; a plasmid designated pAYP1020 (59.6 Kb) and a prophage, FAYP1020 (48.5 Kb). Methylome analysis identified significant adenine methylation across the genome involving two distinct methylation motifs (1972 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues identified). Putative adenine methyltransferases were also identified. Comparative analysis of AYP1020 and the closely related CoNS, S. epidermidis RP62a, revealed a host of virulence factors that likely contribute to S. capitis pathogenicity, most notably genes important for biofilm formation and a suite of phenol soluble modulins (PSMs); the expression/production of these factors were corroborated by functional assays. The complete S. capitis genome will aid future studies on the evolution and pathogenesis of the coagulase negative staphylococci.


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