April 21, 2020  |  

Genome-Wide Association Study of Growth and Body-Shape-Related Traits in Large Yellow Croaker (Larimichthys crocea) Using ddRAD Sequencing.

Large yellow croaker (Larimichthys crocea) is an economically important marine fish species of China. Due to overfishing and marine pollution, the wild stocks of this croaker have collapsed in the past decades. Meanwhile, the cultured croaker is facing the difficulties of reduced genetic diversity and low growth rate. To explore the molecular markers related to the growth traits of croaker and providing the related SNPs for the marker-assisted selection, we used double-digest restriction-site associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing to dissect the genetic bases of growth traits in a cultured population and identify the SNPs that associated with important growth traits by GWAS. A total of 220 individuals were genotyped by ddRAD sequencing. After quality control, 27,227 SNPs were identified in 220 samples and used for GWAS analysis. We identified 13 genome-wide significant associated SNPs of growth traits on 8 chromosomes, and the beta P of these SNPs ranged from 0.01 to 0.86. Through the definition of candidate regions and gene annotation, candidate genes related to growth were identified, including important regulators such as fgf18, fgf1, nr3c1, cyp8b1, fabp2, cyp2r1, ppara, and ccm2l. We also identified SNPs and candidate genes that significantly associated with body shape, including bmp7, col1a1, col11a2, and col18a1, which are also economically important traits for large yellow croaker aquaculture. The results provided insights into the genetic basis of growth and body shape in large yellow croaker population and would provide reliable genetic markers for molecular marker-assisted selection in the future. Meanwhile, the result established a basis for our subsequent fine mapping and related gene study.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence analysis of 91 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates from mice caught on poultry farms in the mid 1990s.

A total of 91 draft genome sequences were used to analyze isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis obtained from feral mice caught on poultry farms in Pennsylvania. One objective was to find mutations disrupting open reading frames (ORFs) and another was to determine if ORF-disruptive mutations were present in isolates obtained from other sources. A total of 83 mice were obtained between 1995-1998. Isolates separated into two genomic clades and 12 subgroups due to 742 mutations. Nineteen ORF-disruptive mutations were found, and in addition, bigA had exceptional heterogeneity requiring additional evaluation. The TRAMS algorithm detected only 6 ORF disruptions. The sefD mutation was the most frequently encountered mutation and it was prevalent in human, poultry, environmental and mouse isolates. These results confirm previous assessments of the mouse as a rich source of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis that varies in genotype and phenotype. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.


September 22, 2019  |  

Antagonism between Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes and its genomic basis.

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis live in close proximity on human skin, and both bacterial species can be isolated from normal and acne vulgaris-affected skin sites. The antagonistic interactions between the two species are poorly understood, as well as the potential significance of bacterial interferences for the skin microbiota. Here, we performed simultaneous antagonism assays to detect inhibitory activities between multiple isolates of the two species. Selected strains were sequenced to identify the genomic basis of their antimicrobial phenotypes.First, we screened 77 P. acnes strains isolated from healthy and acne-affected skin, and representing all known phylogenetic clades (I, II, and III), for their antimicrobial activities against 12?S. epidermidis isolates. One particular phylogroup (I-2) exhibited a higher antimicrobial activity than other P. acnes phylogroups. All genomes of type I-2 strains carry an island encoding the biosynthesis of a thiopeptide with possible antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis. Second, 20?S. epidermidis isolates were examined for inhibitory activity against 25 P. acnes strains. The majority of S. epidermidis strains were able to inhibit P. acnes. Genomes of S. epidermidis strains with strong, medium and no inhibitory activities against P. acnes were sequenced. Genome comparison underlined the diversity of S. epidermidis and detected multiple clade- or strain-specific mobile genetic elements encoding a variety of functions important in antibiotic and stress resistance, biofilm formation and interbacterial competition, including bacteriocins such as epidermin. One isolate with an extraordinary antimicrobial activity against P. acnes harbors a functional ESAT-6 secretion system that might be involved in the antimicrobial activity against P. acnes via the secretion of polymorphic toxins.Taken together, our study suggests that interspecies interactions could potentially jeopardize balances in the skin microbiota. In particular, S. epidermidis strains possess an arsenal of different mechanisms to inhibit P. acnes. However, if such interactions are relevant in skin disorders such as acne vulgaris remains questionable, since no difference in the antimicrobial activity against, or the sensitivity towards S. epidermidis could be detected between health- and acne-associated strains of P. acnes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Direct chromosome-length haplotyping by single-cell sequencing.

Haplotypes are fundamental to fully characterize the diploid genome of an individual, yet methods to directly chart the unique genetic makeup of each parental chromosome are lacking. Here we introduce single-cell DNA template strand sequencing (Strand-seq) as a novel approach to phasing diploid genomes along the entire length of all chromosomes. We demonstrate this by building a complete haplotype for a HapMap individual (NA12878) at high accuracy (concordance 99.3%), without using generational information or statistical inference. By use of this approach, we mapped all meiotic recombination events in a family trio with high resolution (median range ~14 kb) and phased larger structural variants like deletions, indels, and balanced rearrangements like inversions. Lastly, the single-cell resolution of Strand-seq allowed us to observe loss of heterozygosity regions in a small number of cells, a significant advantage for studies of heterogeneous cell populations, such as cancer cells. We conclude that Strand-seq is a unique and powerful approach to completely phase individual genomes and map inheritance patterns in families, while preserving haplotype differences between single cells.© 2016 Porubský et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


September 22, 2019  |  

Comparative heterochromatin profiling reveals conserved and unique epigenome signatures linked to adaptation and development of malaria parasites.

Heterochromatin-dependent gene silencing is central to the adaptation and survival of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, allowing clonally variant gene expression during blood infection in humans. By assessing genome-wide heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) occupancy, we present a comprehensive analysis of heterochromatin landscapes across different Plasmodium species, strains, and life cycle stages. Common targets of epigenetic silencing include fast-evolving multi-gene families encoding surface antigens and a small set of conserved HP1-associated genes with regulatory potential. Many P. falciparum heterochromatic genes are marked in a strain-specific manner, increasing the parasite’s adaptive capacity. Whereas heterochromatin is strictly maintained during mitotic proliferation of asexual blood stage parasites, substantial heterochromatin reorganization occurs in differentiating gametocytes and appears crucial for the activation of key gametocyte-specific genes and adaptation of erythrocyte remodeling machinery. Collectively, these findings provide a catalog of heterochromatic genes and reveal conserved and specialized features of epigenetic control across the genus Plasmodium. Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Multiple convergent supergene evolution events in mating-type chromosomes.

Convergent adaptation provides unique insights into the predictability of evolution and ultimately into processes of biological diversification. Supergenes (beneficial gene linkage) are striking examples of adaptation, but little is known about their prevalence or evolution. A recent study on anther-smut fungi documented supergene formation by rearrangements linking two key mating-type loci, controlling pre- and post-mating compatibility. Here further high-quality genome assemblies reveal four additional independent cases of chromosomal rearrangements leading to regions of suppressed recombination linking these mating-type loci in closely related species. Such convergent transitions in genomic architecture of mating-type determination indicate strong selection favoring linkage of mating-type loci into cosegregating supergenes. We find independent evolutionary strata (stepwise recombination suppression) in several species, with extensive rearrangements, gene losses, and transposable element accumulation. We thus show remarkable convergence in mating-type chromosome evolution, recurrent supergene formation, and repeated evolution of similar phenotypes through different genomic changes.


July 7, 2019  |  

Characterization of the effect of the histidine kinase CovS on response regulator phosphorylation in group A Streptococcus.

Two-component gene regulatory systems (TCSs) are a major mechanism by which bacteria respond to environmental stimuli and thus are critical to infectivity. For example, the control of virulence regulator/sensor kinase (CovRS) TCS is central to the virulence of the major human pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS). Here, we used a combination of quantitative in vivo phosphorylation assays, isoallelic strains that varied by only a single amino acid in CovS, and transcriptome analyses to characterize the impact of CovS on CovR phosphorylation and GAS global gene expression. We discovered that CovS primarily serves to phosphorylate CovR, thereby resulting in the repression of virulence factor-encoding genes. However, a GAS strain selectively deficient in CovS phosphatase activity had a distinct transcriptome relative to that of its parental strain, indicating that both CovS kinase and phosphatase activities influence the CovR phosphorylation status. Surprisingly, compared to a serotype M3 strain, serotype M1 GAS strains had high levels of phosphorylated CovR, low transcript levels of CovR-repressed genes, and strikingly different responses to environmental cues. Moreover, the inactivation of CovS in the serotype M1 background resulted in a greater decrease in phosphorylated CovR levels and a greater increase in the transcript levels of CovR-repressed genes than did CovS inactivation in a serotype M3 strain. These data clarify the influence of CovS on the CovR phosphorylation status and provide insight into why serotype M1 GAS strains have high rates of spontaneous mutations in covS during invasive GAS infection, thus providing a link between TCS molecular function and the epidemiology of deadly bacterial infections. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


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  |  

Genetic stability of pneumococcal isolates during 35 days of human experimental carriage.

Pneumococcal carriage is a reservoir for transmission and a precursor to pneumococcal disease. The experimental human pneumococcal carriage model provides a useful tool to aid vaccine licensure through the measurement of vaccine efficacy against carriage (VEcol). Documentation of the genetic stability of the experimental human pneumococcal carriage model is important to further strengthen confidence in its safety and conclusions, enabling it to further facilitate vaccine licensure through providing evidence of VEcol.229 isolates were sequenced from 10 volunteers in whom experimental human pneumococcal carriage was established, sampled over a period of 35 days. Multiple isolates from within a single volunteer at a single time provided a deep resolution for detecting variation. HiSeq data from the isolates were mapped against a PacBio reference of the inoculum to call variable sites.The observed variation between experimental carriage isolates was minimal with the maximum SNP distance between any isolate and the reference being 3 SNPs.The low-level variation described provides evidence for the stability of the experimental human pneumococcal carriage model over 35 days, which can be reliably and confidently used to measure VEcol and aid future progression of pneumococcal vaccination. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Sequence type 1 group B Streptococcus, an emerging cause of invasive disease in adults, evolves by small genetic changes.

The molecular mechanisms underlying pathogen emergence in humans is a critical but poorly understood area of microbiologic investigation. Serotype V group B Streptococcus (GBS) was first isolated from humans in 1975, and rates of invasive serotype V GBS disease significantly increased starting in the early 1990s. We found that 210 of 229 serotype V GBS strains (92%) isolated from the bloodstream of nonpregnant adults in the United States and Canada between 1992 and 2013 were multilocus sequence type (ST) 1. Elucidation of the complete genome of a 1992 ST-1 strain revealed that this strain had the highest homology with a GBS strain causing cow mastitis and that the 1992 ST-1 strain differed from serotype V strains isolated in the late 1970s by acquisition of cell surface proteins and antimicrobial resistance determinants. Whole-genome comparison of 202 invasive ST-1 strains detected significant recombination in only eight strains. The remaining 194 strains differed by an average of 97 SNPs. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a temporally dependent mode of genetic diversification consistent with the emergence in the 1990s of ST-1 GBS as major agents of human disease. Thirty-one loci were identified as being under positive selective pressure, and mutations at loci encoding polysaccharide capsule production proteins, regulators of pilus expression, and two-component gene regulatory systems were shown to affect the bacterial phenotype. These data reveal that phenotypic diversity among ST-1 GBS is mainly driven by small genetic changes rather than extensive recombination, thereby extending knowledge into how pathogens adapt to humans.


July 7, 2019  |  

Common cell shape evolution of two nasopharyngeal pathogens.

Respiratory infectious diseases are the third cause of worldwide death. The nasopharynx is the portal of entry and the ecological niche of many microorganisms, of which some are pathogenic to humans, such as Neisseria meningitidis and Moraxella catarrhalis. These microbes possess several surface structures that interact with the actors of the innate immune system. In our attempt to understand the past evolution of these bacteria and their adaption to the nasopharynx, we first studied differences in cell wall structure, one of the strongest immune-modulators. We were able to show that a modification of peptidoglycan (PG) composition (increased proportion of pentapeptides) and a cell shape change from rod to cocci had been selected for along the past evolution of N. meningitidis. Using genomic comparison across species, we correlated the emergence of the new cell shape (cocci) with the deletion, from the genome of N. meningitidis ancestor, of only one gene: yacF. Moreover, the reconstruction of this genetic deletion in a bacterium harboring the ancestral version of the locus together with the analysis of the PG structure, suggest that this gene is coordinating the transition from cell elongation to cell division. Accompanying the loss of yacF, the elongation machinery was also lost by several of the descendants leading to the change in the PG structure observed in N. meningitidis. Finally, the same evolution was observed for the ancestor of M. catarrhalis. This suggests a strong selection of these genetic events during the colonization of the nasopharynx. This selection may have been forced by the requirement of evolving permissive interaction with the immune system, the need to reduce the cellular surface exposed to immune attacks without reducing the intracellular storage capacity, or the necessity to better compete for adhesion to target cells.


July 7, 2019  |  

Emergence of Serotype IV group B Streptococcus adult invasive disease in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada, is driven by colonal sequence type 459 strains.

Serotype IV group B Streptococcus (GBS) is emerging in Canada and the United States with rates as high as 5% of the total burden of adult invasive GBS disease. To understand this emergence, we studied the population structure and assessed the antimicrobial susceptibility of serotype IV isolates causing adult invasive infection in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada, between 2010 and 2014. Whole-genome sequencing was used to determine multilocus sequence typing information and identify genes encoding antimicrobial resistance in 85 invasive serotype IV GBS strains. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by standard methods. Strain divergence was assessed using genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism analysis. Serotype IV strains were responsible for 16.9% of adult invasive GBS infections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan during the period. The majority of serotype IV isolates (89%) were clonally related, tetracycline-, erythromycin-, and clindamycin-resistant sequence type 459 (ST459) strains that possessed genes tetM and ermTR. Genome comparisons between ST459 and serotype V ST1 GBS identified several areas of recombination in an overall similar genomic background. Serotype IV ST459 GBS strains are expanding and causing a substantial percentage of adult invasive GBS disease. This emergence may be linked to the acquisition of resistance to tetracycline, macrolides, and lincosamides. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of three Neisseria gonorrhoeae laboratory reference Strains, determined using PacBio Single-Molecule Real-Time technology.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the etiological agent that causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, is a significant public health concern due to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. We report the complete genome sequences of three reference isolates with varied antimicrobial susceptibility that will aid in elucidating the genetic mechanisms that confer resistance. Copyright © 2015 Abrams et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Transfer of scarlet fever-associated elements into the group A Streptococcus M1T1 clone.

The group A Streptococcus (GAS) M1T1 clone emerged in the 1980s as a leading cause of epidemic invasive infections worldwide, including necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome. Horizontal transfer of mobile genetic elements has played a central role in the evolution of the M1T1 clone, with bacteriophage-encoded determinants DNase Sda1 and superantigen SpeA2 contributing to enhanced virulence and colonization respectively. Outbreaks of scarlet fever in Hong Kong and China in 2011, caused primarily by emm12 GAS, led to our investigation of the next most common cause of scarlet fever, emm1 GAS. Genomic analysis of 18 emm1 isolates from Hong Kong and 16 emm1 isolates from mainland China revealed the presence of mobile genetic elements associated with the expansion of emm12 scarlet fever clones in the M1T1 genomic background. These mobile genetic elements confer expression of superantigens SSA and SpeC, and resistance to tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin. Horizontal transfer of mobile DNA conferring multi-drug resistance and expression of a new superantigen repertoire in the M1T1 clone should trigger heightened public health awareness for the global dissemination of these genetic elements.


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.


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