October 23, 2019  |  

Transmission, evolution, and endogenization: Lessons learned from recent retroviral invasions.

Viruses of the subfamily Orthoretrovirinaeare defined by the ability to reverse transcribe an RNA genome into DNA that integrates into the host cell genome during the intracellular virus life cycle. Exogenous retroviruses (XRVs) are horizontally transmitted between host individuals, with disease outcome depending on interactions between the retrovirus and the host organism. When retroviruses infect germ line cells of the host, they may become endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), which are permanent elements in the host germ line that are subject to vertical transmission. These ERVs sometimes remain infectious and can themselves give rise to XRVs. This review integrates recent developments in the phylogenetic classification of retroviruses and the identification of retroviral receptors to elucidate the origins and evolution of XRVs and ERVs. We consider whether ERVs may recurrently pressure XRVs to shift receptor usage to sidestep ERV interference. We discuss how related retroviruses undergo alternative fates in different host lineages after endogenization, with koala retrovirus (KoRV) receiving notable interest as a recent invader of its host germ line. KoRV is heritable but also infectious, which provides insights into the early stages of germ line invasions as well as XRV generation from ERVs. The relationship of KoRV to primate and other retroviruses is placed in the context of host biogeography and the potential role of bats and rodents as vectors for interspecies viral transmission. Combining studies of extant XRVs and “fossil” endogenous retroviruses in koalas and other Australasian species has broadened our understanding of the evolution of retroviruses and host-retrovirus interactions. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transcriptome profiling using single-molecule direct RNA sequencing approach for in-depth understanding of genes in secondary metabolism pathways of Camellia sinensis.

Characteristic secondary metabolites, including flavonoids, theanine and caffeine, are important components of Camellia sinensis, and their biosynthesis has attracted widespread interest. Previous studies on the biosynthesis of these major secondary metabolites using next-generation sequencing technologies limited the accurately prediction of full-length (FL) splice isoforms. Herein, we applied single-molecule sequencing to pooled tea plant tissues, to provide a more complete transcriptome of C. sinensis. Moreover, we identified 94 FL transcripts and four alternative splicing events for enzyme-coding genes involved in the biosynthesis of flavonoids, theanine and caffeine. According to the comparison between long-read isoforms and assemble transcripts, we improved the quality and accuracy of genes sequenced by short-read next-generation sequencing technology. The resulting FL transcripts, together with the improved assembled transcripts and identified alternative splicing events, enhance our understanding of genes involved in the biosynthesis of characteristic secondary metabolites in C. sinensis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Single-cell (meta-)genomics of a dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii reveals genomic plasticity.

The genus Thiomargarita includes the world’s largest bacteria. But as uncultured organisms, their physiology, metabolism, and basis for their gigantism are not well understood. Thus, a genomics approach, applied to a single Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii cell was employed to explore the genetic potential of one of these enigmatic giant bacteria. The Thiomargarita cell was obtained from an assemblage of budding Ca. T. nelsonii attached to a provannid gastropod shell from Hydrate Ridge, a methane seep offshore of Oregon, USA. Here we present a manually curated genome of Bud S10 resulting from a hybrid assembly of long Pacific Biosciences and short Illumina sequencing reads. With respect to inorganic carbon fixation and sulfur oxidation pathways, the Ca. T. nelsonii Hydrate Ridge Bud S10 genome was similar to marine sister taxa within the family Beggiatoaceae. However, the Bud S10 genome contains genes suggestive of the genetic potential for lithotrophic growth on arsenite and perhaps hydrogen. The genome also revealed that Bud S10 likely respires nitrate via two pathways: a complete denitrification pathway and a dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia pathway. Both pathways have been predicted, but not previously fully elucidated, in the genomes of other large, vacuolated, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. Surprisingly, the genome also had a high number of unusual features for a bacterium to include the largest number of metacaspases and introns ever reported in a bacterium. Also present, are a large number of other mobile genetic elements, such as insertion sequence (IS) transposable elements and miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs). In some cases, mobile genetic elements disrupted key genes in metabolic pathways. For example, a MITE interrupts hupL, which encodes the large subunit of the hydrogenase in hydrogen oxidation. Moreover, we detected a group I intron in one of the most critical genes in the sulfur oxidation pathway, dsrA. The dsrA group I intron also carried a MITE sequence that, like the hupL MITE family, occurs broadly across the genome. The presence of a high degree of mobile elements in genes central to Thiomargarita’s core metabolism has not been previously reported in free-living bacteria and suggests a highly mutable genome.


September 22, 2019  |  

Role of clinicogenomics in infectious disease diagnostics and public health microbiology.

Clinicogenomics is the exploitation of genome sequence data for diagnostic, therapeutic, and public health purposes. Central to this field is the high-throughput DNA sequencing of genomes and metagenomes. The role of clinicogenomics in infectious disease diagnostics and public health microbiology was the topic of discussion during a recent symposium (session 161) presented at the 115th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology that was held in New Orleans, LA. What follows is a collection of the most salient and promising aspects from each presentation at the symposium. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into gene transfer agent particles is not random.

Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world’s oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a “headful” type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genome and phenotypic analysis of three Clostridioides difficile strains isolated from a single patient provide insight into multiple infection of C. difficile.

Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) have emerged over the past decade causing symptoms that range from mild, antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) to life-threatening toxic megacolon. In this study, we describe a multiple and isochronal (mixed) CDI caused by the isolates DSM 27638, DSM 27639 and DSM 27640 that already initially showed different morphotypes on solid media.The three isolates belonging to the ribotypes (RT) 012 (DSM 27639) and 027 (DSM 27638 and DSM 27640) were phenotypically characterized and high quality closed genome sequences were generated. The genomes were compared with seven reference strains including three strains of the RT 027, two of the RT 017, and one of the RT 078 as well as a multi-resistant RT 012 strain. The analysis of horizontal gene transfer events revealed gene acquisition incidents that sort the strains within the time line of the spread of their RTs within Germany. We could show as well that horizontal gene transfer between the members of different RTs occurred within this multiple infection. In addition, acquisition and exchange of virulence-related features including antibiotic resistance genes were observed. Analysis of the two genomes assigned to RT 027 revealed three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and apparently a regional genome modification within the flagellar switch that regulates the fli operon.Our findings show that (i) evolutionary events based on horizontal gene transfer occur within an ongoing CDI and contribute to the adaptation of the species by the introduction of new genes into the genomes, (ii) within a multiple infection of a single patient the exchange of genetic material was responsible for a much higher genome variation than the observed SNPs.


September 22, 2019  |  

The repeat structure of two paralogous genes, Yersinia ruckeri invasin (yrInv) and a “Y. ruckeri invasin-like molecule”, (yrIlm) sheds light on the evolution of adhesive capacities of a fish pathogen.

Inverse autotransporters comprise the recently identified type Ve secretion system and are exemplified by intimin from enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and invasin from enteropathogenic Yersiniae. These proteins share a common domain architecture and promote bacterial adhesion to host cells. Here, we identified and characterized two putative inverse autotransporter genes in the fish pathogen Yersinia ruckeri NVH_3758, namely yrInv (for Y. ruckeri invasin) and yrIlm (for Y. ruckeri invasin-like molecule). When trying to clone the highly repetitive genes for structural and functional studies, we experienced problems in obtaining PCR products. PCR failures and the highly repetitive nature of inverse autotransporters prompted us to sequence the genome of Y. ruckeri NVH_3758 using PacBio sequencing, which produces some of the longest average read lengths available in the industry at this moment. According to our sequencing data, YrIlm is composed of 2603 amino acids (7812bp) and has a molecular mass of 256.4kDa. Based on the new genome information, we performed PCR analysis on four non-sequenced Y. ruckeri strains as well as the sequenced. Y. ruckeri type strain. We found that the genes are variably present in the strains, and that the length of yrIlm, when present, also varies. In addition, the length of the gene product for all strains, including the type strain, was much longer than expected based on deposited sequences. The internal repeats of the yrInv gene product are highly diverged, but represent the same bacterial immunoglobulin-like domains as in yrIlm. Using qRT-PCR, we found that yrIlm and yrInv are differentially expressed under conditions relevant for pathogenesis. In addition, we compared the genomic context of both genes in the newly sequenced Y. ruckeri strain to all available PacBio-sequenced Y. ruckeri genomes, and found indications of recent events of horizontal gene transfer. Taken together, this study demonstrates and highlights the power of Single Molecule Real-Time technology for sequencing highly repetitive proteins, and sheds light on the genetic events that gave rise to these highly repetitive genes in a commercially important fish pathogen. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

A hybrid-hierarchical genome assembly strategy to sequence the invasive golden mussel Limnoperna fortunei.

For more than 25 years, the golden mussel Limnoperna fortunei has aggressively invaded South American freshwaters, having travelled more than 5,000 km upstream across five countries. Along the way, the golden mussel has outcompeted native species and economically harmed aquaculture, hydroelectric powers, and ship transit. We have sequenced the complete genome of the golden mussel to understand the molecular basis of its invasiveness and search for ways to control it.We assembled the 1.6 Gb genome into 20548 scaffolds with an N50 length of 312 Kb using a hybrid and hierarchical assembly strategy from short and long DNA reads and transcriptomes. A total of 60717 coding genes were inferred from a customized transcriptome-trained AUGUSTUS run. We also compared predicted protein sets with those of complete molluscan genomes, revealing an exacerbation of protein-binding domains in L. fortunei. Conclusions: We built one of the best bivalve genome assemblies available using a cost-effective approach using Illumina pair-end, mate pair, and PacBio long reads. We expect that the continuous and careful annotation of L. fortunei’s genome will contribute to the investigation of bivalve genetics, evolution, and invasiveness, as well as to the development of biotechnological tools for aquatic pest control.© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assembly and analysis of a qingke reference genome demonstrate its close genetic relation to modern cultivated barley.

Qingke, the local name of hulless barley in the Tibetan Plateau, is a staple food for Tibetans. The availability of its reference genome sequences could be useful for studies on breeding and molecular evolution. Taking advantage of the third-generation sequencer (PacBio), we de novo assembled a 4.84-Gb genome sequence of qingke, cv. Zangqing320 and anchored a 4.59-Gb sequence to seven chromosomes. Of the 46,787 annotated ‘high-confidence’ genes, 31 564 were validated by RNA-sequencing data of 39 wild and cultivated barley genotypes with wide genetic diversity, and the results were also confirmed by nonredundant protein database from NCBI. As some gaps in the reference genome of Morex were covered in the reference genome of Zangqing320 by PacBio reads, we believe that the Zangqing320 genome provides the useful supplements for the Morex genome. Using the qingke genome as a reference, we conducted a genome comparison, revealing a close genetic relationship between a hulled barley (cv. Morex) and a hulless barley (cv. Zangqing320), which is strongly supported by the low-diversity regions in the two genomes. Considering the origin of Morex from its breeding pedigree, we then demonstrated a close genomic relationship between modern cultivated barley and qingke. Given this genomic relationship and the large genetic diversity between qingke and modern cultivated barley, we propose that qingke could provide elite genes for barley improvement.© 2017 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Synchronous termination of replication of the two chromosomes is an evolutionary selected feature in Vibrionaceae.

Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the cholera disease, is commonly used as a model organism for the study of bacteria with multipartite genomes. Its two chromosomes of different sizes initiate their DNA replication at distinct time points in the cell cycle and terminate in synchrony. In this study, the time-delayed start of Chr2 was verified in a synchronized cell population. This replication pattern suggests two possible regulation mechanisms for other Vibrio species with different sized secondary chromosomes: Either all Chr2 start DNA replication with a fixed delay after Chr1 initiation, or the timepoint at which Chr2 initiates varies such that termination of chromosomal replication occurs in synchrony. We investigated these two models and revealed that the two chromosomes of various Vibrionaceae species terminate in synchrony while Chr2-initiation timing relative to Chr1 is variable. Moreover, the sequence and function of the Chr2-triggering crtS site recently discovered in V. cholerae were found to be conserved, explaining the observed timing mechanism. Our results suggest that it is beneficial for bacterial cells with multiple chromosomes to synchronize their replication termination, potentially to optimize chromosome related processes as dimer resolution or segregation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Two groups of cocirculating, epidemic Clostridiodes difficile strains microdiversify through different mechanisms.

Clostridiodes difficile strains from the NAPCR1/ST54 and NAP1/ST01 types have caused outbreaks despite of their notable differences in genome diversity. By comparing whole genome sequences of 32 NAPCR1/ST54 isolates and 17 NAP1/ST01 recovered from patients infected with C. difficile we assessed whether mutation, homologous recombination (r) or nonhomologous recombination (NHR) through lateral gene transfer (LGT) have differentially shaped the microdiversification of these strains. The average number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in coding sequences (NAPCR1/ST54?=?24; NAP1/ST01?=?19) and SNP densities (NAPCR1/ST54?=?0.54/kb; NAP1/ST01?=?0.46/kb) in the NAPCR1/ST54 and NAP1/ST01 isolates was comparable. However, the NAP1/ST01 isolates showed 3× higher average dN/dS rates (8.35) that the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (2.62). Regarding r, whereas 31 of the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates showed 1 recombination block (3,301-8,226?bp), the NAP1/ST01 isolates showed no bases in recombination. As to NHR, the pangenome of the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates was larger (4,802 gene clusters, 26% noncore genes) and more heterogeneous (644?±?33 gene content changes) than that of the NAP1/ST01 isolates (3,829 gene clusters, ca. 6% noncore genes, 129?±?37 gene content changes). Nearly 55% of the gene content changes seen among the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (355?±?31) were traced back to MGEs with putative genes for antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors that were only detected in single isolates or isolate clusters. Congruently, the LGT/SNP rate calculated for the NAPCR1/ST54 isolates (26.8?±?2.8) was 4× higher than the one obtained for the NAP1/ST1 isolates (6.8?±?2.0). We conclude that NHR-LGT has had a greater role in the microdiversification of the NAPCR1/ST54 strains, opposite to the NAP1/ST01 strains, where mutation is known to play a more prominent role.


September 22, 2019  |  

Virgibacillus phasianinus sp. nov., a halophilic bacterium isolated from faeces of a Swinhoe’s pheasant, Lophura swinhoii.

A rod-shaped, Gram-stain-positive, motile and aerobic bacterium, designated LM2416T, was isolated from faeces of Lophuras winhoii living in Seoul Grand Park, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences indicated that strain LM2416T belonged to the genus Virgibacillus, sharing high 16S rRNA gene sequence similarities to Virgibacillus necropolis LMG 19488T (99.0?%), Virgibacillus carmonensis LMG 20964T (98.4?%), Virgibacillus arcticus Hal 1T (98.3?%) and Virgibacillus flavescens S1-20T (97.9?%). The isolate grew at 10-30?°C, pH 6-7 and 0-20?% (w/v) NaCl. Optimal growth was observed at 30?°C, pH 6-7 and 10?% (w/v) NaCl. The major fatty acid was anteiso-C15?:?0. Polar lipids were composed of phosphatidylglycerol, diphosphatidylglycerol, three unknown phospholipids and two unknown aminophospholipids. The main menaquinone was MK-7. Strain LM2416T had alanine, lysine, glutamic acid, glycine and aspartic acid as cell-wall amino acids and ribose as a cell-wall sugar. The whole genome sequences of strain LM2416T and V. necropolis KCTC 3820T were sequenced by PacBio RS II sequencing. The genome sequence-based G+C?content of strain LM2416T was 39.5?mol%. The orthologous average nucleotide identity value, showing genetic relatedness between strain LM2416T and V. necropolis KCTC 3820T, was 78.3?%. Based on the phylogenetic, biochemical, chemotaxonomic and genotypic data presented in this study, strain LM2416T is considered to represent a novel species of the genus Virgibacillus, for which the name Virgibacillus phasianinus is proposed. The type strain is LM2416T (=KCTC 33927T=JCM 32144T).


September 22, 2019  |  

Mutant phenotypes for thousands of bacterial genes of unknown function.

One-third of all protein-coding genes from bacterial genomes cannot be annotated with a function. Here, to investigate the functions of these genes, we present genome-wide mutant fitness data from 32 diverse bacteria across dozens of growth conditions. We identified mutant phenotypes for 11,779 protein-coding genes that had not been annotated with a specific function. Many genes could be associated with a specific condition because the gene affected fitness only in that condition, or with another gene in the same bacterium because they had similar mutant phenotypes. Of the poorly annotated genes, 2,316 had associations that have high confidence because they are conserved in other bacteria. By combining these conserved associations with comparative genomics, we identified putative DNA repair proteins; in addition, we propose specific functions for poorly annotated enzymes and transporters and for uncharacterized protein families. Our study demonstrates the scalability of microbial genetics and its utility for improving gene annotations.


September 22, 2019  |  

Evolutionary history of bacteriophages in the genus Paraburkholderia.

The genus Paraburkholderia encompasses mostly environmental isolates with diverse predicted lifestyles. Genome analyses have shown that bacteriophages form a considerable portion of some Paraburkholderia genomes. Here, we analyzed the evolutionary history of prophages across all Paraburkholderia spp. Specifically, we investigated to what extent the presence of prophages and their distribution affect the diversity/diversification of Paraburkholderia spp., as well as to what extent phages coevolved with their respective hosts. Particular attention was given to the presence of CRISPR-Cas arrays as a reflection of past interactions with phages. We thus analyzed 36 genomes of Paraburkholderia spp., including those of 11 new strains, next to those of three Burkholderia species. Most genomes were found to contain at least one full prophage sequence. The highest number was found in Paraburkholderia sp. strain MF2-27; the nine prophages found amount to up to 4% of its genome. Among all prophages, potential moron genes (e.g., DNA adenine methylase) were found that might be advantageous for host cell fitness. Co-phylogenetic analyses indicated the existence of complex evolutionary scenarios between the different Paraburkholderia hosts and their prophages, including short-term co-speciation, duplication, host-switching and phage loss events. Analysis of the CRISPR-Cas systems showed a record of diverse, potentially recent, phage infections. We conclude that, overall, different phages have interacted in diverse ways with their Paraburkholderia hosts over evolutionary time.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like serine/threonine-protein kinase as a candidate gene for Rvi12 (Vb)-based apple scab resistance

Apple scab caused by Venturia inaequalis is the most important fungal disease of apples (Malus × domestica). Currently, the disease is controlled by up to 15 fungicide applications to the crop per year. Resistant apple cultivars will help promote the sustainable control of scab in commercial orchards. The breakdown of the Rvi6 (Vf) major-gene based resistance, the most used resistance gene in apple breeding, prompted the identification and characterization of new scab resistance genes. By using a large segregating population, the Rvi12 scab resistance gene was previously mapped to a genetic location flanked by molecular markers SNP_23.599 and SNP_24.482. Starting from these markers, utilizing chromosome walking of a Hansen’s baccata #2 (HB2) BAC-library; a single BAC clone spanning the Rvi12 interval was identified. Following Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) RS II sequencing and the use of the hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) assembly of the BAC clone sequence, the Rvi12 resistance locus was localized to a 62.3-kb genomic region. Gene prediction and in silico characterization identified a single candidate resistance gene. The gene, named here as Rvi12_Cd5, belongs to the LRR receptor-like serine/threonine-protein kinase family. In silico comparison of the resistance allele from HB2 and the susceptible allele from Golden Delicious (GD) identified the presence of an additional intron in the HB2 allele. Conserved domain analysis identified the presence of four additional LRR motifs in the susceptible allele compared to the resistance allele. The constitutive expression of Rvi12_Cd5 in HB2, together with its structural similarity to known resistance genes, makes it the most likely candidate for Rvi12 scab resistance in apple.


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