July 7, 2019  |  

Bordetella pertussis evolution in the (functional) genomics era.

The incidence of whooping cough caused by Bordetella pertussis in many developed countries has risen dramatically in recent years. This has been linked to the use of an acellular pertussis vaccine. In addition, it is thought that B. pertussis is adapting under acellular vaccine mediated immune selection pressure, towards vaccine escape. Genomics-based approaches have revolutionized the ability to resolve the fine structure of the global B. pertussis population and its evolution during the era of vaccination. Here, we discuss the current picture of B. pertussis evolution and diversity in the light of the current resurgence, highlight import questions raised by recent studies in this area and discuss the role that functional genomics can play in addressing current knowledge gaps.© FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:

July 7, 2019  |  

vanG element insertions within a conserved chromosomal site conferring vancomycin resistance to Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus anginosus.

Three vancomycin-resistant streptococcal strains carrying vanG elements (two invasive Streptococcus agalactiae isolates [GBS-NY and GBS-NM, both serotype II and multilocus sequence type 22] and one Streptococcus anginosus [Sa]) were examined. The 45,585-bp elements found within Sa and GBS-NY were nearly identical (together designated vanG-1) and shared near-identity over an ~15-kb overlap with a previously described vanG element from Enterococcus faecalis. Unexpectedly, vanG-1 shared much less homology with the 49,321-bp vanG-2 element from GBS-NM, with widely different levels (50% to 99%) of sequence identity shared among 44 related open reading frames. Immediately adjacent to both vanG-1 and vanG-2 were 44,670-bp and 44,680-bp integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like sequences, designated ICE-r, that were nearly identical in the two group B streptococcal (GBS) strains. The dual vanG and ICE-r elements from both GBS strains were inserted at the same position, between bases 1328 and 1329, within the identical RNA methyltransferase (rumA) genes. A GenBank search revealed that although most GBS strains contained insertions within this specific site, only sequence type 22 (ST22) GBS strains contained highly related ICE-r derivatives. The vanG-1 element in Sa was also inserted within this position corresponding to its rumA homolog adjacent to an ICE-r derivative. vanG-1 insertions were previously reported within the same relative position in the E. faecalis rumA homolog. An ICE-r sequence perfectly conserved with respect to its counterpart in GBS-NY was apparent within the same site of the rumA homolog of a Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis strain. Additionally, homologous vanG-like elements within the conserved rumA target site were evident in Roseburia intestinalis. Importance: These three streptococcal strains represent the first known vancomycin-resistant strains of their species. The collective observations made from these strains reveal a specific hot spot for insertional elements that is conserved between streptococci and different Gram-positive species. The two GBS strains potentially represent a GBS lineage that is predisposed to insertion of vanG elements. Copyright © 2014 Srinivasan et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Pilon: an integrated tool for comprehensive microbial variant detection and genome assembly improvement.

Advances in modern sequencing technologies allow us to generate sufficient data to analyze hundreds of bacterial genomes from a single machine in a single day. This potential for sequencing massive numbers of genomes calls for fully automated methods to produce high-quality assemblies and variant calls. We introduce Pilon, a fully automated, all-in-one tool for correcting draft assemblies and calling sequence variants of multiple sizes, including very large insertions and deletions. Pilon works with many types of sequence data, but is particularly strong when supplied with paired end data from two Illumina libraries with small e.g., 180 bp and large e.g., 3-5 Kb inserts. Pilon significantly improves draft genome assemblies by correcting bases, fixing mis-assemblies and filling gaps. For both haploid and diploid genomes, Pilon produces more contiguous genomes with fewer errors, enabling identification of more biologically relevant genes. Furthermore, Pilon identifies small variants with high accuracy as compared to state-of-the-art tools and is unique in its ability to accurately identify large sequence variants including duplications and resolve large insertions. Pilon is being used to improve the assemblies of thousands of new genomes and to identify variants from thousands of clinically relevant bacterial strains. Pilon is freely available as open source software.

July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome determination and analysis of Acholeplasma oculi strain 19L, highlighting the loss of basic genetic features in the Acholeplasmataceae.

BACKGROUND: Acholeplasma oculi belongs to the Acholeplasmataceae family, comprising the genera Acholeplasma and ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma’. Acholeplasmas are ubiquitous saprophytic bacteria. Several isolates are derived from plants or animals, whereas phytoplasmas are characterised as intracellular parasitic pathogens of plant phloem and depend on insect vectors for their spread. The complete genome sequences for eight strains of this family have been resolved so far, all of which were determined depending on clone-based sequencing. RESULTS:The A. oculi strain 19L chromosome was sequenced using two independent approaches. The first approach comprised sequencing by synthesis (Illumina) in combination with Sanger sequencing, while single molecule real time sequencing (PacBio) was used in the second. The genome was determined to be 1,587,120bp in size. Sequencing by synthesis resulted in six large genome fragments, while the single molecule real time sequencing approach yielded one circular chromosome sequence. High-quality sequences were obtained by both strategies differing in six positions, which are interpreted as reliable variations present in the culture population. Our genome analysis revealed 1,471 protein-coding genes and highlighted the absence of the F1FO-type Na+ ATPase system and GroEL/ES chaperone. Comparison of the four available Acholeplasma sequences revealed a core-genome encoding 703 proteins and a pan-genome of 2,867 proteins. CONCLUSIONS:The application of two state-of-the-art sequencing technologies highlights the potential of single molecule real time sequencing for complete genome determination. Comparative genome analyses revealed that the process of losing particular basic genetic features during genome reduction occurs in both genera, as indicated for several phytoplasma strains and at least A. oculi. The loss of the F1FO-type Na+ ATPase system may separate Acholeplasmataceae from other Mollicutes, while the loss of those genes encoding the chaperone GroEL/ES is not a rare exception in this bacterial class.

July 7, 2019  |  

An in vitro deletion in ribE encoding lumazine synthase contributes to nitrofurantoin resistance in Escherichia coli.

Nitrofurantoin has been used for decades for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs), but clinically significant resistance in Escherichia coli is uncommon. Nitrofurantoin concentrations in the gastrointestinal tract tend to be low, which might facilitate selection of nitrofurantoin-resistant (NIT-R) strains in the gut flora. We subjected two nitrofurantoin-susceptible intestinal E. coli strains (ST540-p and ST2747-p) to increasing nitrofurantoin concentrations under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Whole-genome sequencing was performed for both susceptible isolates and selected mutants that exhibited the highest nitrofurantoin resistance levels aerobically (ST540-a and ST2747-a) and anaerobically (ST540-an and ST2747-an). ST540-a/ST540-an and ST2747-a (aerobic MICs of >64 µg/ml) harbored mutations in the known nitrofurantoin resistance determinants nfsA and/or nfsB, which encode oxygen-insensitive nitroreductases. ST2747-an showed reduced nitrofurantoin susceptibility (aerobic MIC of 32 µg/ml) and exhibited remarkable growth deficits but did not harbor nfsA/nfsB mutations. We identified a 12-nucleotide deletion in ribE, encoding lumazine synthase, an essential enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of flavin mononucleotide (FMN), which is an important cofactor for NfsA and NfsB. Complementing ST2747-an with a functional wild-type lumazine synthase restored nitrofurantoin susceptibility. Six NIT-R E. coli isolates (NRCI-1 to NRCI-6) from stools of UTI patients treated with nitrofurantoin, cefuroxime, or a fluoroquinolone harbored mutations in nfsA and/or nfsB but not ribE. Sequencing of the ribE gene in six intestinal and three urinary E. coli strains showing reduced nitrofurantoin susceptibility (MICs of 16 to 48 µg/ml) also did not identify any relevant mutations. NRCI-1, NRCI-2, and NRCI-5 exhibited up to 4-fold higher anaerobic MICs, compared to the mutants generated in vitro, presumably because of additional mutations in oxygen-sensitive nitroreductases. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

Assessment of insertion sequence mobilization as an adaptive response to oxidative stress in Acinetobacter baumannii using IS-Seq.

Insertion sequence (IS) elements are found throughout bacterial genomes and contribute to genome variation by interrupting genes or altering gene expression. Few of the more than thirty IS elements described in Acinetobacter baumannii have been characterized for transposition activity or expression effects. A targeted sequencing method, IS-seq, was developed to efficiently map the locations of new insertion events in A. baumannii genomes and was used to identify novel IS sites following growth in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Serial subculture in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of hydrogen peroxide led to rapid selection of cells carrying an ISAba1 element upstream of the catalase/peroxidase gene katG Several additional sites for the elements ISAba1, ISAba13, ISAba25, ISAba26, and ISAba125 were found at low abundance after serial subculture, indicating that each element is active and contributes to genetic variation that may be subject to selection. Following hydrogen peroxide exposure, rapid changes in gene expression were observed in genes related to iron homeostasis. The IS insertions adjacent to katG resulted in more than 20-fold overexpression of the gene and increased hydrogen peroxide tolerance.Importance Insertion sequences (IS) are contribute to genomic and phenotypic variation in many bacterial species, but little is known about how transposition rates vary among elements or how selective pressure influences this process. A new method, termed “IS-seq” for identifying new insertion locations that arise under experimental growth conditions in the genome was developed and tested with cells grown in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Gene expression changes in response to hydrogen peroxide exposure are similar to those observed in other species and include genes that control free iron concentrations. New IS insertions adjacent to a gene encoding a catalase enzyme confirm that IS elements can rapidly contribute to adaptive variation in the presence of selection. Copyright © 2017 Wright et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Multiple mechanisms responsible for strong Congo-red-binding variants of Escherichia coli O157:H7 strains.

High variability in the expression of csgD-dependent, biofilm-forming and adhesive properties is common among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli. Although many strains of serotype O157:H7 form little biofilm, conversion to stronger biofilm phenotypes has been observed. In this study, we screened different strains of serotype O157:H7 for the emergence of strong Congo-red (CR) affinity/biofilm-forming properties and investigated the underlying genetic mechanisms. Two major mechanisms which conferred stronger biofilm phenotypes were identified: mutations (insertion, deletion, single nucleotide change) in rcsB region and stx-prophage excision from the mlrA site. Restoration of the native mlrA gene (due to prophage excision) resulted in strong biofilm properties to all variants. Whereas RcsB mutants showed weaker CR affinity and biofilm properties, it provided more possibilities for phenotypic presentations through heterogenic sequence mutations. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

July 7, 2019  |  

Rapid evolution of citrate utilization by Escherichia coli by direct selection requires citT and dctA.

The isolation of aerobic citrate-utilizing Escherichia coli (Cit(+)) in long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) has been termed a rare, innovative, presumptive speciation event. We hypothesized that direct selection would rapidly yield the same class of E. coli Cit(+) mutants and follow the same genetic trajectory: potentiation, actualization, and refinement. This hypothesis was tested with wild-type E. coli strain B and with K-12 and three K-12 derivatives: an E. coli ?rpoS::kan mutant (impaired for stationary-phase survival), an E. coli ?citT::kan mutant (deleted for the anaerobic citrate/succinate antiporter), and an E. coli ?dctA::kan mutant (deleted for the aerobic succinate transporter). E. coli underwent adaptation to aerobic citrate metabolism that was readily and repeatedly achieved using minimal medium supplemented with citrate (M9C), M9C with 0.005% glycerol, or M9C with 0.0025% glucose. Forty-six independent E. coli Cit(+) mutants were isolated from all E. coli derivatives except the E. coli ?citT::kan mutant. Potentiation/actualization mutations occurred within as few as 12 generations, and refinement mutations occurred within 100 generations. Citrate utilization was confirmed using Simmons, Christensen, and LeMaster Richards citrate media and quantified by mass spectrometry. E. coli Cit(+) mutants grew in clumps and in long incompletely divided chains, a phenotype that was reversible in rich media. Genomic DNA sequencing of four E. coli Cit(+) mutants revealed the required sequence of mutational events leading to a refined Cit(+) mutant. These events showed amplified citT and dctA loci followed by DNA rearrangements consistent with promoter capture events for citT. These mutations were equivalent to the amplification and promoter capture CitT-activating mutations identified in the LTEE.IMPORTANCE E. coli cannot use citrate aerobically. Long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) performed by Blount et al. (Z. D. Blount, J. E. Barrick, C. J. Davidson, and R. E. Lenski, Nature 489:513-518, 2012, ) found a single aerobic, citrate-utilizing E. coli strain after 33,000 generations (15 years). This was interpreted as a speciation event. Here we show why it probably was not a speciation event. Using similar media, 46 independent citrate-utilizing mutants were isolated in as few as 12 to 100 generations. Genomic DNA sequencing revealed an amplification of the citT and dctA loci and DNA rearrangements to capture a promoter to express CitT, aerobically. These are members of the same class of mutations identified by the LTEE. We conclude that the rarity of the LTEE mutant was an artifact of the experimental conditions and not a unique evolutionary event. No new genetic information (novel gene function) evolved. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

July 7, 2019  |  

The genome analysis of Candidatus Burkholderia crenata reveals that secondary metabolism may be a key function of the Ardisia crenata leaf nodule symbiosis.

A majority of Ardisia species harbour Burkholderia sp. bacteria within specialized leaf nodules. The bacteria are transmitted hereditarily and have not yet been cultured outside of their host. Because the plants cannot develop beyond the seedling stage without their symbionts, the symbiosis is considered obligatory. We sequenced for the first time the genome of Candidatus Burkholderia crenata (Ca. B. crenata), the leaf nodule symbiont of Ardisia crenata. The genome of Ca. B. crenata is the smallest Burkholderia genome to date. It contains a large amount of insertion sequences and pseudogenes and displays features consistent with reductive genome evolution. The genome does not encode functions commonly associated with plant symbioses such as nitrogen fixation and plant hormone metabolism. However, we identified unique genes with a predicted role in secondary metabolism in the genome of Ca. B. crenata. Specifically, we provide evidence that the bacterial symbionts are responsible for the synthesis of compound FR900359, a cyclic depsipeptide with biomedical properties previously isolated from leaves of A.?crenata. © 2015 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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