July 19, 2019  |  

Precision methylome characterization of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) using PacBio single-molecule real-time (SMRT) technology.

Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the most common infectious diseases caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC). To panoramically analyze MTBC’s genomic methylation, we completed the genomes of 12 MTBC strains (Mycobacterium bovis; M. bovis BCG; M. microti; M. africanum; M. tuberculosis H37Rv; H37Ra; and 6 M. tuberculosis clinical isolates) belonging to different lineages and characterized their methylomes using single-molecule real-time (SMRT) technology. We identified three (m6)A sequence motifs and their corresponding methyltransferase (MTase) genes, including the reported mamA, hsdM and a newly discovered mamB. We also experimentally verified the methylated motifs and functions of HsdM and MamB. Our analysis indicated the MTase activities varied between 12 strains due to mutations/deletions. Furthermore, through measuring ‘the methylated-motif-site ratio’ and ‘the methylated-read ratio’, we explored the methylation status of each modified site and sequence-read to obtain the ‘precision methylome’ of the MTBC strains, which enabled intricate analysis of MTase activity at whole-genome scale. Most unmodified sites overlapped with transcription-factor binding-regions, which might protect these sites from methylation. Overall, our findings show enormous potential for the SMRT platform to investigate the precise character of methylome, and significantly enhance our understanding of the function of DNA MTase.© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT genome assembly corrects reference errors, resolving the genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been investigated through genome comparisons of virulent (H37Rv) and attenuated (H37Ra) sister strains. Such analysis, however, relies heavily on the accuracy of the sequences. While the H37Rv reference genome has had several corrections to date, that of H37Ra is unmodified since its original publication.Here, we report the assembly and finishing of the H37Ra genome from single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. Our assembly reveals that the number of H37Ra-specific variants is less than half of what the Sanger-based H37Ra reference sequence indicates, undermining and, in some cases, invalidating the conclusions of several studies. PE_PPE family genes, which are intractable to commonly-used sequencing platforms because of their repetitive and GC-rich nature, are overrepresented in the set of genes in which all reported H37Ra-specific variants are contradicted. Further, one of the sequencing errors in H37Ra masks a true variant in common with the clinical strain CDC1551 which, when considered in the context of previous work, corresponds to a sequencing error in the H37Rv reference genome.Our results constrain the set of genomic differences possibly affecting virulence by more than half, which focuses laboratory investigation on pertinent targets and demonstrates the power of SMRT sequencing for producing high-quality reference genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Methylation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is lineage specific with associated mutations present globally.

DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification of the genome involved in regulating crucial cellular processes, including transcription and chromosome stability. Advances in PacBio sequencing technologies can be used to robustly reveal methylation sites. The methylome of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex is poorly understood but may be involved in virulence, hypoxic survival and the emergence of drug resistance. In the most extensive study to date, we characterise the methylome across the 4 major lineages of M. tuberculosis and 2 lineages of M. africanum, the leading causes of tuberculosis disease in humans. We reveal lineage-specific methylated motifs and strain-specific mutations that are abundant globally and likely to explain loss of function in the respective methyltransferases. Our work provides a set of sixteen new complete reference genomes for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, including complete lineage 5 genomes. Insights into lineage-specific methylomes will further elucidate underlying biological mechanisms and other important phenotypes of the epi-genome.


July 19, 2019  |  

A high-throughput approach for identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria in drinking water reveals relationship between water age and Mycobacterium avium.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) frequently detected in drinking water (DW) include species associated with human infections, as well as species rarely linked to disease. Methods for improved the recovery of NTM DNA and high-throughput identification of NTM are needed for risk assessment of NTM infection through DW exposure. In this study, different methods of recovering bacterial DNA from DW were compared, revealing that a phenol-chloroform DNA extraction method yielded two to four times as much total DNA and eight times as much NTM DNA as two commercial DNA extraction kits. This method, combined with high-throughput, single-molecule real-time sequencing of NTMrpoBgenes, allowed the identification of NTM to the species, subspecies, and (in some cases) strain levels. This approach was applied to DW samples collected from 15 households serviced by a chloraminated distribution system, with homes located in areas representing short (<24 h) and long (>24 h) distribution system residence times. Multivariate statistical analysis revealed that greater water age (i.e., combined distribution system residence time and home plumbing stagnation time) was associated with a greater relative abundance ofMycobacterium aviumsubsp.avium, one of the most prevalent NTM causing infections in humans. DW from homes closer to the treatment plant (with a shorter water age) contained more diverse NTM species, includingMycobacterium abscessusandMycobacterium chelonaeOverall, our approach allows NTM identification to the species and subspecies levels and can be used in future studies to assess the risk of waterborne infection by providing insight into the similarity between environmental and infection-associated NTM.IMPORTANCEAn extraction method for improved recovery of DNA from nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), combined with single-molecule real-time sequencing (PacBio) of NTMrpoBgenes, was used for high-throughput characterization of NTM species and in some cases strains in drinking water (DW). The extraction procedure recovered, on average, eight times as much NTM DNA and three times as much total DNA from DW as two widely used commercial DNA extraction kits. The combined DNA extraction and sequencing approach allowed high-throughput screening of DW samples to identify NTM, revealing that the relative abundance ofMycobacterium aviumsubsp.aviumincreased with water age. Furthermore, the two-step barcoding approach developed as part of the PacBio sequencing method makes this procedure highly adaptable, allowing it to be used for other target genes and species. Copyright © 2018 Haig et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete annotated genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Zopf) Lehmann and Neumann (ATCC35812) (Kurono).

We report the completely annotated genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Zopf) Lehmann and Neumann (ATCC35812) (Kurono), which is a used for virulence and/or immunization studies. The complete genome sequence of M. tuberculosis Kurono was determined with a length of 4,415,078 bp and a G+C content of 65.60%. The chromosome was shown to contain a total of 4,340 protein-coding genes, 53 tRNA genes, one transfer messenger RNA for all amino acids, and 1 rrn operon. Lineage analysis based on large sequence polymorphisms indicated that M. tuberculosis Kurono belongs to the Euro-American lineage (lineage 4). Phylogenetic analysis using whole genome sequences of M. tuberculosis Kurono in addition to 22 M. tuberculosis complex strains indicated that H37Rv is the closest relative of Kurono based on the results of phylogenetic analysis. These findings provide a basis for research using M. tuberculosis Kurono, especially in animal models. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Prognostic significance of novel katG mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

By using whole genome sequencing (WGS), researchers are beginning to understand the genetic diversity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) and its consequences for the diagnosis of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR–TB) on a genomic scale. The Global Consortium for Drug-resistant TB Diagnostics (GCDD) conducted a genome scale variant analyses of 366 clinical MTB genomes (mostly MDR/XDR [extensively drug resistant]) from four countries in order to inform the development of rapid molecular diagnostics. This project has been extended by performing an evolutionary analysis of isoniazid (INH)-resistant isolates for prognostic purposes.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights on the emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the analysis of Mycobacterium kansasii.

By phylogenetic analysis, Mycobacterium kansasii is closely related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Yet, although both organisms cause pulmonary disease, M. tuberculosis is a global health menace, whereas M. kansasii is an opportunistic pathogen. To illuminate the differences between these organisms, we have sequenced the genome of M. kansasii ATCC 12478 and its plasmid (pMK12478) and conducted side-by-side in vitro and in vivo investigations of these two organisms. The M. kansasii genome is 6,432,277 bp, more than 2 Mb longer than that of M. tuberculosis H37Rv, and the plasmid contains 144,951 bp. Pairwise comparisons reveal conserved and discordant genes and genomic regions. A notable example of genomic conservation is the virulence locus ESX-1, which is intact and functional in the low-virulence M. kansasii, potentially mediating phagosomal disruption. Differences between these organisms include a decreased predicted metabolic capacity, an increased proportion of toxin-antitoxin genes, and the acquisition of M. tuberculosis-specific genes in the pathogen since their common ancestor. Consistent with their distinct epidemiologic profiles, following infection of C57BL/6 mice, M. kansasii counts increased by less than 10-fold over 6 weeks, whereas M. tuberculosis counts increased by over 10,000-fold in just 3 weeks. Together, these data suggest that M. kansasii can serve as an image of the environmental ancestor of M. tuberculosis before its emergence as a professional pathogen, and can be used as a model organism to study the switch from an environmental opportunistic pathogen to a professional host-restricted pathogen. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomics of methylotrophy in gram-positive methylamine-utilizing bacteria

Gram-positive methylotrophic bacteria have been known for a long period of time, some serving as model organisms for characterizing the specific details of methylotrophy pathways/enzymes within this group. However, genome-based knowledge of methylotrophy within this group has been so far limited to a single species, Bacillus methanolicus (Firmicutes). The paucity of whole-genome data for Gram-positive methylotrophs limits our global understanding of methylotrophy within this group, including their roles in specific biogeochemical cycles, as well as their biotechnological potential. Here, we describe the isolation of seven novel strains of Gram-positive methylotrophs that include two strains of Bacillus and five representatives of Actinobacteria classified within two genera, Arthrobacter and Mycobacterium. We report whole-genome sequences for these isolates and present comparative analysis of the methylotrophy functional modules within these genomes. The genomic sequences of these seven novel organisms, all capable of growth on methylated amines, present an important reference dataset for understanding the genomic basis of methylotrophy in Gram-positive methylotrophic bacteria. This study is a major contribution to the field of methylotrophy, aimed at closing the gap in the genomic knowledge of methylotrophy within this diverse group of bacteria.


July 7, 2019  |  

Whole-genome sequencing for comparative genomics and de novo genome assembly.

Next-generation sequencing technologies for whole-genome sequencing of mycobacteria are rapidly becoming an attractive alternative to more traditional sequencing methods. In particular this technology is proving useful for genome-wide identification of mutations in mycobacteria (comparative genomics) as well as for de novo assembly of whole genomes. Next-generation sequencing however generates a vast quantity of data that can only be transformed into a usable and comprehensible form using bioinformatics. Here we describe the methodology one would use to prepare libraries for whole-genome sequencing, and the basic bioinformatics to identify mutations in a genome following Illumina HiSeq or MiSeq sequencing, as well as de novo genome assembly following sequencing using Pacific Biosciences (PacBio).


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the clinical Beijing-like strain Mycobacterium tuberculosis 323 using the PacBio real-time sequencing platform.

We report here the whole-genome sequence of the multidrug-resistant Beijing-like strain Mycobacterium tuberculosis 323, isolated from a 15-year-old female patient who died shortly after the initiation of second-line drug treatment. This strain is representative of the Beijing-like isolates from Colombia, where this lineage is becoming a public health concern. Copyright © 2015 Rodríguez et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Essential roles of methionine and S-adenosylmethionine in the autarkic lifestyle of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Multidrug resistance, strong side effects, and compliance problems in TB chemotherapy mandate new ways to kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Here we show that deletion of the gene encoding homoserine transacetylase (metA) inactivates methionine and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) biosynthesis in Mtb and renders this pathogen exquisitely sensitive to killing in immunocompetent or immunocompromised mice, leading to rapid clearance from host tissues. Mtb ?metA is unable to proliferate in primary human macrophages, and in vitro starvation leads to extraordinarily rapid killing with no appearance of suppressor mutants. Cell death of Mtb ?metA is faster than that of other auxotrophic mutants (i.e., tryptophan, pantothenate, leucine, biotin), suggesting a particularly potent mechanism of killing. Time-course metabolomics showed complete depletion of intracellular methionine and SAM. SAM depletion was consistent with a significant decrease in methylation at the DNA level (measured by single-molecule real-time sequencing) and with the induction of several essential methyltransferases involved in biotin and menaquinone biosynthesis, both of which are vital biological processes and validated targets of antimycobacterial drugs. Mtb ?metA could be partially rescued by biotin supplementation, confirming a multitarget cell death mechanism. The work presented here uncovers a previously unidentified vulnerability of Mtb-the incapacity to scavenge intermediates of SAM and methionine biosynthesis from the host. This vulnerability unveils an entirely new drug target space with the promise of rapid killing of the tubercle bacillus by a new mechanism of action.


July 7, 2019  |  

The complete genome sequence of the emerging pathogen Mycobacterium haemophilum explains its unique culture requirements.

Mycobacterium haemophilum is an emerging pathogen associated with a variety of clinical syndromes, most commonly skin infections in immunocompromised individuals. M. haemophilum exhibits a unique requirement for iron supplementation to support its growth in culture, but the basis for this property and how it may shape pathogenesis is unclear. Using a combination of Illumina, PacBio, and Sanger sequencing, the complete genome sequence of M. haemophilum was determined. Guided by this sequence, experiments were performed to define the basis for the unique growth requirements of M. haemophilum. We found that M. haemophilum, unlike many other mycobacteria, is unable to synthesize iron-binding siderophores known as mycobactins or to utilize ferri-mycobactins to support growth. These differences correlate with the absence of genes associated with mycobactin synthesis, secretion, and uptake. In agreement with the ability of heme to promote growth, we identified genes encoding heme uptake machinery. Consistent with its propensity to infect the skin, we show at the whole-genome level the genetic closeness of M. haemophilum with Mycobacterium leprae, an organism which cannot be cultivated in vitro, and we identify genes uniquely shared by these organisms. Finally, we identify means to express foreign genes in M. haemophilum. These data explain the unique culture requirements for this important pathogen, provide a foundation upon which the genome sequence can be exploited to improve diagnostics and therapeutics, and suggest use of M. haemophilum as a tool to elucidate functions of genes shared with M. leprae.Mycobacterium haemophilum is an emerging pathogen with an unknown natural reservoir that exhibits unique requirements for iron supplementation to grow in vitro. Understanding the basis for this iron requirement is important because it is fundamental to isolation of the organism from clinical samples and environmental sources. Defining the molecular basis for M. haemophilium’s growth requirements will also shed new light on mycobacterial strategies to acquire iron and can be exploited to define how differences in such strategies influence pathogenesis. Here, through a combination of sequencing and experimental approaches, we explain the basis for the iron requirement. We further demonstrate the genetic closeness of M. haemophilum and Mycobacterium leprae, the causative agent of leprosy which cannot be cultured in vitro, and we demonstrate methods to genetically manipulate M. haemophilum. These findings pave the way for the use of M. haemophilum as a model to elucidate functions of genes shared with M. leprae. Copyright © 2015 Tufariello et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic reconnaissance of clinical isolates of emerging human pathogen Mycobacterium abscessus reveals high evolutionary potential.

Mycobacterium abscessus (Ma) is an emerging human pathogen that causes both soft tissue infections and systemic disease. We present the first comparative whole-genome study of Ma strains isolated from patients of wide geographical origin. We found a high proportion of accessory strain-specific genes indicating an open, non-conservative pan-genome structure, and clear evidence of rapid phage-mediated evolution. Although we found fewer virulence factors in Ma compared to M. tuberculosis, our data indicated that Ma evolves rapidly and therefore should be monitored closely for the acquisition of more pathogenic traits. This comparative study provides a better understanding of Ma and forms the basis for future functional work on this important pathogen.


July 7, 2019  |  

The Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis specific mptD gene is required for maintenance of the metabolic homeostasis necessary for full virulence in mouse infections.

Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne’s disease, a chronic granulomatous enteritis in ruminants. Furthermore, infections of humans with MAP have been reported and a possible association with Crohn’s disease and diabetes type I is currently discussed. MAP owns large sequence polymorphisms (LSPs) that were exclusively found in this mycobacteria species. The relevance of these LSPs in the pathobiology of MAP is still unclear. The mptD gene (MAP3733c) of MAP belongs to a small group of functionally uncharacterized genes, which are not present in any other sequenced mycobacteria species. mptD is part of a predicted operon (mptABCDEF), encoding a putative ATP binding cassette-transporter, located on the MAP-specific LSP14. In the present study, we generated an mptD knockout strain (MAP?mptD) by specialized transduction. In order to investigate the potential role of mptD in the host, we performed infection experiments with macrophages. By this, we observed a significantly reduced cell number of MAP?mptD early after infection, indicating that the mutant was hampered with respect to adaptation to the early macrophage environment. This important role of mptD was supported in mouse infection experiments where MAP?mptD was significantly attenuated after peritoneal challenge. Metabolic profiling was performed to determine the cause for the reduced virulence and identified profound metabolic disorders especially in the lipid metabolism of MAP?mptD. Overall our data revealed the mptD gene to be an important factor for the metabolic adaptation of MAP required for persistence in the host.


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