July 19, 2019  |  

The origin of the Haitian cholera outbreak strain.

Although cholera has been present in Latin America since 1991, it had not been epidemic in Haiti for at least 100 years. Recently, however, there has been a severe outbreak of cholera in Haiti.We used third-generation single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing to determine the genome sequences of 2 clinical Vibrio cholerae isolates from the current outbreak in Haiti, 1 strain that caused cholera in Latin America in 1991, and 2 strains isolated in South Asia in 2002 and 2008. Using primary sequence data, we compared the genomes of these 5 strains and a set of previously obtained partial genomic sequences of 23 diverse strains of V. cholerae to assess the likely origin of the cholera outbreak in Haiti.Both single-nucleotide variations and the presence and structure of hypervariable chromosomal elements indicate that there is a close relationship between the Haitian isolates and variant V. cholerae El Tor O1 strains isolated in Bangladesh in 2002 and 2008. In contrast, analysis of genomic variation of the Haitian isolates reveals a more distant relationship with circulating South American isolates.The Haitian epidemic is probably the result of the introduction, through human activity, of a V. cholerae strain from a distant geographic source. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.).


July 19, 2019  |  

Origins of the E. coli strain causing an outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome in Germany.

A large outbreak of diarrhea and the hemolytic-uremic syndrome caused by an unusual serotype of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (O104:H4) began in Germany in May 2011. As of July 22, a large number of cases of diarrhea caused by Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli have been reported–3167 without the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (16 deaths) and 908 with the hemolytic-uremic syndrome (34 deaths)–indicating that this strain is notably more virulent than most of the Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli strains. Preliminary genetic characterization of the outbreak strain suggested that, unlike most of these strains, it should be classified within the enteroaggregative pathotype of E. coli.We used third-generation, single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing to determine the complete genome sequence of the German outbreak strain, as well as the genome sequences of seven diarrhea-associated enteroaggregative E. coli serotype O104:H4 strains from Africa and four enteroaggregative E. coli reference strains belonging to other serotypes. Genomewide comparisons were performed with the use of these enteroaggregative E. coli genomes, as well as those of 40 previously sequenced E. coli isolates.The enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 strains are closely related and form a distinct clade among E. coli and enteroaggregative E. coli strains. However, the genome of the German outbreak strain can be distinguished from those of other O104:H4 strains because it contains a prophage encoding Shiga toxin 2 and a distinct set of additional virulence and antibiotic-resistance factors.Our findings suggest that horizontal genetic exchange allowed for the emergence of the highly virulent Shiga-toxin-producing enteroaggregative E. coli O104:H4 strain that caused the German outbreak. More broadly, these findings highlight the way in which the plasticity of bacterial genomes facilitates the emergence of new pathogens.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomic analysis and virulence differences in closely related Salmonella enterica serotype Heidelberg isolates from humans, retail meats, and animals.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Heidelberg (S. Heidelberg) is one of the top serovars causing human salmonellosis. Recently, an antibiotic-resistant strain of this serovar was implicated in a large 2011 multistate outbreak resulting from consumption of contaminated ground turkey that involved 136 confirmed cases, with one death. In this study, we assessed the evolutionary diversity of 44 S. Heidelberg isolates using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) generated by the 454 GS FLX (Roche) platform. The isolates, including 30 with nearly indistinguishable (one band difference) Xbal pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns (JF6X01.0032, JF6X01.0058), were collected from various sources between 1982 and 2011 and included nine isolates associated with the 2011 outbreak. Additionally, we determined the complete sequence for the chromosome and three plasmids from a clinical isolate associated with the 2011 outbreak using the Pacific Biosciences (PacBio) system. Using single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses, we were able to distinguish highly clonal isolates, including strains isolated at different times in the same year. The isolates from the recent 2011 outbreak clustered together with a mean SNP variation of only 17 SNPs. The S. Heidelberg isolates carried a variety of phages, such as prophage P22, P4, lambda-like prophage Gifsy-2, and the P2-like phage which carries the sopE1 gene, virulence genes including 62 pathogenicity, and 13 fimbrial markers and resistance plasmids of the incompatibility (Inc)I1, IncA/C, and IncHI2 groups. Twenty-one strains contained an IncX plasmid carrying a type IV secretion system. On the basis of the recent and historical isolates used in this study, our results demonstrated that, in addition to providing detailed genetic information for the isolates, WGS can identify SNP targets that can be utilized for differentiating highly clonal S. Heidelberg isolates.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genomic epidemiology of hypervirulent serogroup W, ST-11 Neisseria meningitidis

Neisseria meningitidis is a leading bacterial cause of sepsis and meningitis globally with dynamic strain distribution over time. Beginning with an epidemic among Hajj pilgrims in 2000, serogroup W (W) sequence type (ST) 11 emerged as a leading cause of epidemic meningitis in the African ‘meningitis belt’ and endemic cases in South America, Europe, Middle East and China. Previous genotyping studies were unable to reliably discriminate sporadic W ST-11 strains in circulation since 1970 from the Hajj outbreak strain (Hajj clone). It is also unclear what proportion of more recent W ST-11 disease clusters are caused by direct descendants of the Hajj clone. Whole genome sequences of 270 meningococcal strains isolated from patients with invasive meningococcal disease globally from 1970 to 2013 were compared using whole genome phylogenetic and major antigen-encoding gene sequence analyses. We found that all W ST-11 strains were descendants of an ancestral strain that had undergone unique capsular switching events. The Hajj clone and its descendants were distinct from other W ST-11 strains in that they shared a common antigen gene profile and had undergone recombination involving virulence genes encoding factor H binding protein, nitric oxide reductase, and nitrite reductase. These data demonstrate that recent acquisition of a distinct antigen-encoding gene profile and variations in meningococcal virulence genes was associated with the emergence of the Hajj clone. Importantly, W ST-11 strains unrelated to the Hajj outbreak contribute a significant proportion of W ST-11 cases globally. This study helps illuminate genomic factors associated with meningococcal strain emergence and evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

What caused the outbreak of ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae in a neonatal intensive care unit, Germany 2009 to 2012? Reconstructing transmission with epidemiological analysis and whole-genome sequencing.

We aimed to retrospectively reconstruct the timing of transmission events and pathways in order to understand why extensive preventive measures and investigations were not sufficient to prevent new cases.We extracted available information from patient charts to describe cases and to compare them to the normal population of the ward. We conducted a cohort study to identify risk factors for pathogen acquisition. We sequenced the available isolates to determine the phylogenetic relatedness of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates on the basis of their genome sequences.The investigation comprises 37 cases and the 10 cases with ESBL (extended-spectrum beta-lactamase)-producing K. pneumoniae bloodstream infection. Descriptive epidemiology indicated that a continuous transmission from person to person was most likely. Results from the cohort study showed that ‘frequent manipulation’ (a proxy for increased exposure to medical procedures) was significantly associated with being a case (RR 1.44, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.19). Genome sequences revealed that all 48 bacterial isolates available for sequencing from 31 cases were closely related (maximum genetic distance, 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms). Based on our calculation of evolutionary rate and sequence diversity, we estimate that the outbreak strain was endemic since 2008. Epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses consistently indicated that there were additional, undiscovered cases prior to the onset of microbiological screening and that the spread of the pathogen remained undetected over several years, driven predominantly by person-to-person transmission. Whole-genome sequencing provided valuable information on the onset, course and size of the outbreak, and on possible ways of transmission. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Agona 460004 2-1, associated with a multistate outbreak in the United States.

Within the last several years, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Agona has been among the 20 most frequently isolated serovars in clinical cases of salmonellosis. In this report, the complete genome sequence of S. Agona strain 460004 2-1 isolated from unsweetened puffed-rice cereal during a multistate outbreak in 2008 was sequenced using single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing. Copyright © 2015 Hoffmann et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Next-generation sequencing and comparative analysis of sequential outbreaks caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii at a large academic burn center.

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis has emerged as a promising molecular epidemiological method for investigating health care-associated outbreaks. Here, we used NGS to investigate a 3-year outbreak of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) at a large academic burn center. A reference genome from the index case was generated using de novo assembly of PacBio reads. Forty-six MDRAB isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and sequenced using an Illumina platform. After mapping to the index case reference genome, four samples were excluded due to low coverage, leaving 42 samples for further analysis. Multilocus sequence types (MLST) and the presence of acquired resistance genes were also determined from the sequencing data. A transmission network was inferred from genomic and epidemiological data using a Bayesian framework. Based on single-nucleotide variant (SNV) differences, this MDRAB outbreak represented three sequential outbreaks caused by distinct clones. The first and second outbreaks were caused by sequence type 2 (ST2), while the third outbreak was caused by ST79. For the second outbreak, the MLST and PFGE results were discordant. However, NGS-based SNV typing detected a recombination event and consequently enabled a more accurate phylogenetic analysis. The distribution of resistance genes varied among the three outbreaks. The first- and second-outbreak strains possessed a blaOXA-23-like group, while the third-outbreak strains harbored a blaOXA-40-like group. NGS-based analysis demonstrated the superior resolution of outbreak transmission networks for MDRAB and provided insight into the mechanisms of strain diversification between sequential outbreaks through recombination. Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg strains associated with a multistate food-borne illness investigation.

Next-generation sequencing is being evaluated for use with food-borne illness investigations, especially when the outbreak strains produce patterns that cannot be discriminated from non-outbreak strains using conventional procedures. Here we report complete genome assemblies of two Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg strains with a common pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern isolated during an outbreak investigation.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of two carbapenemase-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae ST258 isolates.

Klebsiella pneumoniae, an ESKAPE group (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) pathogen, has acquired multiple antibiotic resistance genes and is becoming a serious public health threat. Here, we report the genome sequences of two representative strains of K. pneumoniae from the emerging K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC) outbreak in northeast Ohio belonging to sequence type 258 (ST258) (isolates Kb140 and Kb677, which were isolated from blood and urine, respectively). Both isolates harbor a blaKPC gene, and strain Kb140 carries blaKPC-2, while Kb677 carries blaKPC-3. Copyright © 2014 Ramirez et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

A gapless, unambiguous genome sequence of the Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain EDL933.

Escherichia coli EDL933 is the prototypic strain for enterohemorrhagic E. coli serotype O157:H7, associated with deadly food-borne outbreaks. Because the publicly available sequence of the EDL933 genome has gaps and >6,000 ambiguous base calls, we here present an updated high-quality, unambiguous genome sequence with no assembly gaps. Copyright © 2014 Latif et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

First complete genome sequence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium strain ATCC 13311 (NCTC 74), a reference strain of multidrug resistance, as achieved by use of PacBio Single-Molecule Real-Time technology.

We report the first complete genomic sequence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium strain ATCC 13311, the leading food-borne pathogen and a reference strain used in drug resistance studies. De novo assembly with PacBio sequencing completed its chromosome and one plasmid. They will accelerate the investigation into multidrug resistance in Salmonella Typhimurium. Copyright © 2014 Terabayashi et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

First fully closed genome sequence of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Cubana associated with a food-borne outbreak.

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Cubana (Salmonella serovar Cubana) is associated with human and animal disease. Here, we used third-generation, single-molecule, real-time DNA sequencing to determine the first complete genome sequence of Salmonella serovar Cubana CFSAN002050, which was isolated from fresh alfalfa sprouts during a multistate outbreak in 2012. Copyright © 2014 Hoffmann et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

An evaluation of alternative methods for constructing phylogenies from whole genome sequence data: a case study with Salmonella.

Comparative genomics based on whole genome sequencing (WGS) is increasingly being applied to investigate questions within evolutionary and molecular biology, as well as questions concerning public health (e.g., pathogen outbreaks). Given the impact that conclusions derived from such analyses may have, we have evaluated the robustness of clustering individuals based on WGS data to three key factors: (1) next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform (HiSeq, MiSeq, IonTorrent, 454, and SOLiD), (2) algorithms used to construct a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) matrix (reference-based and reference-free), and (3) phylogenetic inference method (FastTreeMP, GARLI, and RAxML). We carried out these analyses on 194 whole genome sequences representing 107 unique Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica ser. Montevideo strains. Reference-based approaches for identifying SNPs produced trees that were significantly more similar to one another than those produced under the reference-free approach. Topologies inferred using a core matrix (i.e., no missing data) were significantly more discordant than those inferred using a non-core matrix that allows for some missing data. However, allowing for too much missing data likely results in a high false discovery rate of SNPs. When analyzing the same SNP matrix, we observed that the more thorough inference methods implemented in GARLI and RAxML produced more similar topologies than FastTreeMP. Our results also confirm that reproducibility varies among NGS platforms where the MiSeq had the lowest number of pairwise differences among replicate runs. Our investigation into the robustness of clustering patterns illustrates the importance of carefully considering how data from different platforms are combined and analyzed. We found clear differences in the topologies inferred, and certain methods performed significantly better than others for discriminating between the highly clonal organisms investigated here. The methods supported by our results represent a preliminary set of guidelines and a step towards developing validated standards for clustering based on whole genome sequence data.


July 7, 2019  |  

The Harvest suite for rapid core-genome alignment and visualization of thousands of intraspecific microbial genomes.

Whole-genome sequences are now available for many microbial species and clades, however, existing whole-genome alignment methods are limited in their ability to perform sequence comparisons of multiple sequences simultaneously. Here we present the Harvest suite of core-genome alignment and visualization tools for the rapid and simultaneous analysis of thousands of intraspecific microbial strains. Harvest includes Parsnp, a fast core-genome multi-aligner, and Gingr, a dynamic visual platform. Together they provide interactive core-genome alignments, variant calls, recombination detection, and phylogenetic trees. Using simulated and real data we demonstrate that our approach exhibits unrivaled speed while maintaining the accuracy of existing methods. The Harvest suite is open-source and freely available from: http://github.com/marbl/harvest.


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