September 22, 2019  |  

Detecting epigenetic motifs in low coverage and metagenomics settings.

It has recently become possible to rapidly and accurately detect epigenetic signatures in bacterial genomes using third generation sequencing data. Monitoring the speed at which a single polymerase inserts a base in the read strand enables one to infer whether a modification is present at that specific site on the template strand. These sites can be challenging to detect in the absence of high coverage and reliable reference genomes.Here we provide a new method for detecting epigenetic motifs in bacteria on datasets with low-coverage, with incomplete references, and with mixed samples (i.e. metagenomic data). Our approach treats motif inference as a kmer comparison problem. First, genomes (or contigs) are deconstructed into kmers. Then, native genome-wide distributions of interpulse durations (IPDs) for kmers are compared with corresponding whole genome amplified (WGA, modification free) IPD distributions using log likelihood ratios. Finally, kmers are ranked and greedily selected by iteratively correcting for sequences within a particular kmer’s neighborhood.Our method can detect multiple types of modifications, even at very low-coverage and in the presence of mixed genomes. Additionally, we are able to predict modified motifs when genomes with “neighbor” modified motifs exist within the sample. Lastly, we show that these motifs can provide an alternative source of information by which to cluster metagenomics contigs and that iterative refinement on these clustered contigs can further improve both sensitivity and specificity of motif detection.https://github.com/alibashir/EMMCKmer.


September 22, 2019  |  

The methylome of the gut microbiome: disparate Dam methylation patterns in intestinal Bacteroides dorei

Despite the large interest in the human microbiome in recent years, there are no reports of bacterial DNA methylation in the microbiome. Here metagenomic sequencing using the Pacific Biosciences platform allowed for rapid identification of bacterial GATC methylation status of a bacterial species in human stool samples. For this work, two stool samples were chosen that were dominated by a single species, Bacteroides dorei. Based on 16S rRNA analysis, this species represented over 45% of the bacteria present in these two samples. The B. dorei genome sequence from these samples was determined and the GATC methylation sites mapped. The Bacteroides dorei genome from one subject lacked any GATC methylation and lacked the DNA adenine methyltransferase genes. In contrast, B. dorei from another subject contained 20,551 methylated GATC sites. Of the 4970 open reading frames identified in the GATC methylated B. dorei genome, 3184 genes were methylated as well as 1735 GATC methylations in intergenic regions. These results suggest that DNA methylation patterns are important to consider in multi-omic analyses of microbiome samples seeking to discover the diversity of bacterial functions and may differ between disease states.


September 22, 2019  |  

Integrated DNA methylome and transcriptome analysis reveals the ethylene-induced flowering pathway genes in pineapple.

Ethylene has long been used to promote flowering in pineapple production. Ethylene-induced flowering is dose dependent, with a critical threshold level of ethylene response factors needed to trigger flowering. The mechanism of ethylene-induced flowering is still unclear. Here, we integrated isoform sequencing (iso-seq), Illumina short-reads sequencing and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) to explore the early changes of transcriptomic and DNA methylation in pineapple following high-concentration ethylene (HE) and low-concentration ethylene (LE) treatment. Iso-seq produced 122,338 transcripts, including 26,893 alternative splicing isoforms, 8,090 novel transcripts and 12,536 candidate long non-coding RNAs. The WGBS results suggested a decrease in CG methylation and increase in CHH methylation following HE treatment. The LE and HE treatments induced drastic changes in transcriptome and DNA methylome, with LE inducing the initial response to flower induction and HE inducing the subsequent response. The dose-dependent induction of FLOWERING LOCUS T-like genes (FTLs) may have contributed to dose-dependent flowering induction in pineapple by ethylene. Alterations in DNA methylation, lncRNAs and multiple genes may be involved in the regulation of FTLs. Our data provided a landscape of the transcriptome and DNA methylome and revealed a candidate network that regulates flowering time in pineapple, which may promote further studies.


September 22, 2019  |  

Bypassing the Restriction System To Improve Transformation of Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is the leading cause of infections on indwelling medical devices worldwide. Intrinsic antibiotic resistance and vigorous biofilm production have rendered these infections difficult to treat and, in some cases, require the removal of the offending medical prosthesis. With the exception of two widely passaged isolates, RP62A and 1457, the pathogenesis of infections caused by clinical S. epidermidis strains is poorly understood due to the strong genetic barrier that precludes the efficient transformation of foreign DNA into clinical isolates. The difficulty in transforming clinical S. epidermidis isolates is primarily due to the type I and IV restriction-modification systems, which act as genetic barriers. Here, we show that efficient plasmid transformation of clinical S. epidermidis isolates from clonal complexes 2, 10, and 89 can be realized by employing a plasmid artificial modification (PAM) in Escherichia coli DC10B containing a ?dcm mutation. This transformative technique should facilitate our ability to genetically modify clinical isolates of S. epidermidis and hence improve our understanding of their pathogenesis in human infections.IMPORTANCEStaphylococcus epidermidis is a source of considerable morbidity worldwide. The underlying mechanisms contributing to the commensal and pathogenic lifestyles of S. epidermidis are poorly understood. Genetic manipulations of clinically relevant strains of S. epidermidis are largely prohibited due to the presence of a strong restriction barrier. With the introductions of the tools presented here, genetic manipulation of clinically relevant S. epidermidis isolates has now become possible, thus improving our understanding of S. epidermidis as a pathogen. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


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 methylome analysis reveals restriction/modification system diversity in the gut commensal Bifidobacterium breve.

Bifidobacterium breve represents one of the most abundant bifidobacterial species in the gastro-intestinal tract of breast-fed infants, where their presence is believed to exert beneficial effects. In the present study whole genome sequencing, employing the PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing platform, combined with comparative genome analysis allowed the most extensive genetic investigation of this taxon. Our findings demonstrate that genes encoding Restriction/Modification (R/M) systems constitute a substantial part of the B. breve variable gene content (or variome). Using the methylome data generated by SMRT sequencing, combined with targeted Illumina bisulfite sequencing (BS-seq) and comparative genome analysis, we were able to detect methylation recognition motifs and assign these to identified B. breve R/M systems, where in several cases such assignments were confirmed by restriction analysis. Furthermore, we show that R/M systems typically impose a very significant barrier to genetic accessibility of B. breve strains, and that cloning of a methyltransferase-encoding gene may overcome such a barrier, thus allowing future functional investigations of members of this species.


September 22, 2019  |  

The DNA methylome of the hyperthermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.

DNA methylation is the most common epigenetic modification observed in the genomic DNA (gDNA) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Methylated nucleobases, N6-methyl-adenine (m6A), N4-methyl-cytosine (m4C), and 5-methyl-cytosine (m5C), detected on gDNA represent the discrimination mark between self and non-self DNA when they are part of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea). In addition, m5C in Eukaryotes and m6A in Bacteria play an important role in the regulation of key cellular processes. Although archaeal genomes present modified bases as in the two other domains of life, the significance of DNA methylations as regulatory mechanisms remains largely uncharacterized in Archaea. Here, we began by investigating the DNA methylome of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. The strategy behind this initial study entailed the use of combined digestion assays, dot blots, and genome resequencing, which utilizes specific restriction enzymes, antibodies specifically raised against m6A and m5C and single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing, respectively, to identify DNA methylations occurring in exponentially growing cells. The previously identified restriction-modification system, specific of S. acidocaldarius, was confirmed by digestion assay and SMRT sequencing while, the presence of m6A was revealed by dot blot and identified on the characteristic Dam motif by SMRT sequencing. No m5C was detected by dot blot under the conditions tested. Furthermore, by comparing the distribution of both detected methylations along the genome and, by analyzing DNA methylation profiles in synchronized cells, we investigated in which cellular pathways, in particular the cell cycle, this m6A methylation could be a key player. The analysis of sequencing data rejected a role for m6A methylation in another defense system and also raised new questions about a potential involvement of this modification in the regulation of other biological functions in S. acidocaldarius.


September 22, 2019  |  

Assimilation of cyanide and cyano-derivatives by Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344: from omic approaches to biotechnological applications.

Mining, jewellery and metal-processing industries use cyanide for extracting gold and other valuable metals, generating large amounts of highly toxic wastewater. Biological treatments may be a clean alternative under the environmental point of view to the conventional physical or chemical processes used to remove cyanide and related compounds from these industrial effluents. Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344 can grow under alkaline conditions using cyanide, cyanate or different nitriles as the sole nitrogen source, and is able to remove up to 12 mM total cyanide from a jewellery industry wastewater that contains cyanide free and complexed to metals. Complete genome sequencing of this bacterium has allowed the application of transcriptomic and proteomic techniques, providing a holistic view of the cyanide biodegradation process. The complex response to cyanide by the cyanotrophic bacterium P. pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344 and the potential biotechnological applications of this model organism in the bioremediation of cyanide-containing industrial residues are reviewed.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains with diverse spatial isolation.

Cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains are currently one of the few known cocci-shaped spore-forming bacteria, yet we know very little about the genomics. The goal of this study is to utilize comparative genomics to investigate the diversity of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains that differ in their geographical isolation and show different nutritional requirements.For this study, we sequenced 28 genomes of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains isolated from 13 different locations around the world. We generated the first six complete genomes and methylomes utilizing PacBio sequencing, and an additional 22 draft genomes using Illumina sequencing. Genomic analysis revealed that cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains contained an average genome of 3.3 Mb comprised of 3222 CDS, 54 tRNAs and 6 rRNAs, while only two strains contained plasmids. The cocci-shaped Sporosarcina genome on average contained 2.3 prophages and 15.6 IS elements, while methylome analysis supported the diversity of these strains as only one of 31 methylation motifs were shared under identical growth conditions. Analysis with a 90% identity cut-off revealed 221 core genes or ~?7% of the genome, while a 30% identity cut-off generated a pan-genome of 8610 genes. The phylogenetic relationship of the cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains based on either core genes, accessory genes or spore-related genes consistently resulted in the 29 strains being divided into eight clades.This study begins to unravel the phylogenetic relationship of cocci-shaped Sporosarcina strains, and the comparative genomics of these strains supports identification of several new species.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of the DNA methyltransferases establishing the methylome of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803.

DNA methylation in bacteria is important for defense against foreign DNA, but is also involved in DNA repair, replication, chromosome partitioning, and regulatory processes. Thus, characterization of the underlying DNA methyltransferases in genetically tractable bacteria is of paramount importance. Here, we characterized the methylome and orphan methyltransferases in the model cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing revealed four DNA methylation recognition sequences in addition to the previously known motif m5CGATCG, which is recognized by M.Ssp6803I. For three of the new recognition sequences, we identified the responsible methyltransferases. M.Ssp6803II, encoded by the sll0729 gene, modifies GGm4CC, M.Ssp6803III, encoded by slr1803, represents the cyanobacterial dam-like methyltransferase modifying Gm6ATC, and M.Ssp6803V, encoded by slr6095 on plasmid pSYSX, transfers methyl groups to the bipartite motif GGm6AN7TTGG/CCAm6AN7TCC. The remaining methylation recognition sequence GAm6AGGC is probably recognized by methyltransferase M.Ssp6803IV encoded by slr6050. M.Ssp6803III and M.Ssp6803IV were essential for the viability of Synechocystis, while the strains lacking M.Ssp6803I and M.Ssp6803V showed growth similar to the wild type. In contrast, growth was strongly diminished of the ?sll0729 mutant lacking M.Ssp6803II. These data provide the basis for systematic studies on the molecular mechanisms impacted by these methyltransferases.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic and methylome analysis of non-virulent D74 and virulent Nagasaki Haemophilus parasuis isolates.

Haemophilus parasuis is a respiratory pathogen of swine and the etiological agent of Glässer’s disease. H. parasuis isolates can exhibit different virulence capabilities ranging from lethal systemic disease to subclinical carriage. To identify genomic differences between phenotypically distinct strains, we obtained the closed whole-genome sequence annotation and genome-wide methylation patterns for the highly virulent Nagasaki strain and for the non-virulent D74 strain. Evaluation of the virulence-associated genes contained within the genomes of D74 and Nagasaki led to the discovery of a large number of toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems within both genomes. Five predicted hemolysins were identified as unique to Nagasaki and seven putative contact-dependent growth inhibition toxin proteins were identified only in strain D74. Assessment of all potential vtaA genes revealed thirteen present in the Nagasaki genome and three in the D74 genome. Subsequent evaluation of the predicted protein structure revealed that none of the D74 VtaA proteins contain a collagen triple helix repeat domain. Additionally, the predicted protein sequence for two D74 VtaA proteins is substantially longer than any predicted Nagasaki VtaA proteins. Fifteen methylation sequence motifs were identified in D74 and fourteen methylation sequence motifs were identified in Nagasaki using SMRT sequencing analysis. Only one of the methylation sequence motifs was observed in both strains indicative of the diversity between D74 and Nagasaki. Subsequent analysis also revealed diversity in the restriction-modification systems harbored by D74 and Nagasaki. The collective information reported in this study will aid in the development of vaccines and intervention strategies to decrease the prevalence and disease burden caused by H. parasuis.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of DNA base modifications by means of Pacific Biosciences RS Sequencing technology.

Whole phage genomes can be sequenced readily using one or a combination of next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. One of the most recently developed NGS platforms, the so-called Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing approach provided by the PacBio RS platform, is particularly useful in providing complete (i.e., un-gapped) genome sequences, but differs from other technologies in that the platform also allows for downstream analysis to identify nucleotides that have been modified by DNA methylation. Here, we describe the methodological approach for the detection of genomic methylation motifs by means of SMRT sequencing.


September 21, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O145:H28 demonstrates a common evolutionary lineage with Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Although serotype O157:H7 is the predominant enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC), outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC that cause severe foodborne illness, including hemolytic uremic syndrome have increased worldwide. In fact, non-O157 serotypes are now estimated to cause over half of all the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) cases, and outbreaks of non-O157 EHEC infections are frequently associated with serotypes O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145. Currently, there are no complete genomes for O145 in public databases.We determined the complete genome sequences of two O145 strains (EcO145), one linked to a US lettuce-associated outbreak (RM13514) and one to a Belgium ice-cream-associated outbreak (RM13516). Both strains contain one chromosome and two large plasmids, with genome sizes of 5,737,294 bp for RM13514 and 5,559,008 bp for RM13516. Comparative analysis of the two EcO145 genomes revealed a large core (5,173 genes) and a considerable amount of strain-specific genes. Additionally, the two EcO145 genomes display distinct chromosomal architecture, virulence gene profile, phylogenetic origin of Stx2a prophage, and methylation profile (methylome). Comparative analysis of EcO145 genomes to other completely sequenced STEC and other E. coli and Shigella genomes revealed that, unlike any other known non-O157 EHEC strain, EcO145 ascended from a common lineage with EcO157/EcO55. This evolutionary relationship was further supported by the pangenome analysis of the 10 EHEC str ains. Of the 4,192 EHEC core genes, EcO145 shares more genes with EcO157 than with the any other non-O157 EHEC strains.Our data provide evidence that EcO145 and EcO157 evolved from a common lineage, but ultimately each serotype evolves via a lineage-independent nature to EHEC by acquisition of the core set of EHEC virulence factors, including the genes encoding Shiga toxin and the large virulence plasmid. The large variation between the two EcO145 genomes suggests a distinctive evolutionary path between the two outbreak strains. The distinct methylome between the two EcO145 strains is likely due to the presence of a BsuBI/PstI methyltransferase gene cassette in the Stx2a prophage of the strain RM13514, suggesting a role of horizontal gene transfer-mediated epigenetic alteration in the evolution of individual EHEC strains.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome-wide mapping of methylated adenine residues in pathogenic Escherichia coli using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing allows the systematic detection of chemical modifications such as methylation but has not previously been applied on a genome-wide scale. We used this approach to detect 49,311 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues and 1,407 putative 5-methylcytosine (m5C) residues in the genome of a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. We obtained strand-specific information for methylation sites and a quantitative assessment of the frequency of methylation at each modified position. We deduced the sequence motifs recognized by the methyltransferase enzymes present in this strain without prior knowledge of their specificity. Furthermore, we found that deletion of a phage-encoded methyltransferase-endonuclease (restriction-modification; RM) system induced global transcriptional changes and led to gene amplification, suggesting that the role of RM systems extends beyond protecting host genomes from foreign DNA.


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