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June 1, 2018

Supergene evolution triggered by the introgression of a chromosomal inversion.

Supergenes are groups of tightly linked loci whose variation is inherited as a single Mendelian locus and are a common genetic architecture for complex traits under balancing selection [1-8]. Supergene alleles are long-range haplotypes with numerous mutations underlying distinct adaptive strategies, often maintained in linkage disequilibrium through the suppression of recombination by chromosomal rearrangements [1, 5, 7-9]. However, the mechanism governing the formation of supergenes is not well understood and poses the paradox of establishing divergent functional haplotypes in the face of recombination. Here, we show that the formation of the supergene alleles encoding mimicry polymorphism in the butterfly Heliconius…

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May 1, 2018

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…

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April 14, 2018

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

Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE), the most commonly reported serovar of human salmonellosis, has been frequently associated with poultry farms, eggs and egg products. Mice are known vectors of SE contamination in these facilities. The objective of this study was to use whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to analyze SE from mice obtained at poultry farms in Pennsylvania. Documenting pathogen diversity can identify reliable biomarkers for rapid detection and speed up outbreak investigations. We sequenced 91 SE isolates from 83 mice (62 spleen isolates, 29 intestinal isolates) caught at 15 poultry farms between 1995-1998 using an Illumina NextSeq 500. We identified 742…

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March 1, 2018

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…

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October 1, 2017

ALUMINUM RESISTANCE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR 1 (ART1) contributes to natural variation in aluminum resistance in diverse genetic backgrounds of rice (O. sativa)

Abstract Transcription factors (TFs) regulate the expression of other genes to indirectly mediate stress resistance mechanisms. Therefore, when studying TF-mediated stress resistance, it is important to understand how TFs interact with genes in the genetic background. Here, we fine-mapped the aluminum (Al) resistance QTL Alt12.1 to a 44-kb region containing six genes. Among them is ART1, which encodes a C2H2-type zinc finger TF required for Al resistance in rice. The mapping parents, Al-resistant cv Azucena (tropical japonica) and Al-sensitive cv IR64 (indica), have extensive sequence polymorphism within the ART1 coding region, but similar ART1 expression levels. Using reciprocal near-isogenic lines…

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July 1, 2017

Development of new methods for the quantitative detection and typing of Lactobacillus parabuchneri in dairy products

Thirty-one isolates of Lactobacillus parabuchneri were obtained from cheese containing histamine; of these, 26 were found to possess the hdcA gene encoding histidine decarboxylase. By analysing the genome data of 13 isolates, specific targets for the development of PCR-based detection and typing systems for L. parabuchneri were identified. The real-time PCR for detection showed a linear quantification over a range of 7 logs and a detection limit of 10 gene equivalents per reaction. The strain typing method utilised the amplification of repeat sequences and showed discrimination comparable with a phylogenetic tree, based on genome comparisons. The method was suitable for detecting…

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May 26, 2017

Whole genome and core genome multilocus sequence typing and single nucleotide polymorphism analyses of Listeria monocytogenes associated with an outbreak linked to cheese, United States, 2013.

Epidemiological findings of a listeriosis outbreak in 2013 implicated Hispanic-style cheese produced by Company A, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole genome sequencing (WGS) were performed on clinical isolates and representative isolates collected from Company A cheese and environmental samples during the investigation. The results strengthened the evidence for cheese as the vehicle. Surveillance sampling and WGS three months later revealed that the equipment purchased by Company B from Company A yielded an environmental isolate highly similar to all outbreak isolates. The whole genome and core genome multilocus sequence typing and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses were compared to…

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May 23, 2017

Modulation of aneuploidy in Leishmania donovani during adaptation to different in vitro and in vivo environments and its impact on gene expression.

Aneuploidy is usually deleterious in multicellular organisms but appears to be tolerated and potentially beneficial in unicellular organisms, including pathogens. Leishmania, a major protozoan parasite, is emerging as a new model for aneuploidy, since in vitro-cultivated strains are highly aneuploid, with interstrain diversity and intrastrain mosaicism. The alternation of two life stages in different environments (extracellular promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes) offers a unique opportunity to study the impact of environment on aneuploidy and gene expression. We sequenced the whole genomes and transcriptomes of Leishmania donovani strains throughout their adaptation to in vivo conditions mimicking natural vertebrate and invertebrate host environments.…

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May 16, 2017

Population genomic analysis of 1,777 extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates, Houston, Texas: unexpected abundance of clonal group 307.

Klebsiella pneumoniae is a major human pathogen responsible for high morbidity and mortality rates. The emergence and spread of strains resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents and documented large nosocomial outbreaks are especially concerning. To develop new therapeutic strategies for K. pneumoniae, it is imperative to understand the population genomic structure of strains causing human infections. To address this knowledge gap, we sequenced the genomes of 1,777 extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing K. pneumoniae strains cultured from patients in the 2,000-bed Houston Methodist Hospital system between September 2011 and May 2015, representing a comprehensive, population-based strain sample. Strains of largely uncharacterized clonal group 307 (CG307) caused…

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April 10, 2017

Evidence for the evolutionary steps leading to mecA-mediated ß-lactam resistance in staphylococci.

The epidemiologically most important mechanism of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus is associated with mecA-an acquired gene encoding an extra penicillin-binding protein (PBP2a) with low affinity to virtually all ß-lactams. The introduction of mecA into the S. aureus chromosome has led to the emergence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) pandemics, responsible for high rates of mortality worldwide. Nonetheless, little is known regarding the origin and evolution of mecA. Different mecA homologues have been identified in species belonging to the Staphylococcus sciuri group representing the most primitive staphylococci. In this study we aimed to identify evolutionary steps linking these mecA precursors…

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March 7, 2017

Transcriptome Remodeling of Acinetobacter baumannii during Infection and Treatment.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an increasingly common multidrug-resistant pathogen in health care settings. Although the genetic basis of antibiotic resistance mechanisms has been extensively studied, much less is known about how genetic variation contributes to other aspects of successful infections. Genetic changes that occur during host infection and treatment have the potential to remodel gene expression patterns related to resistance and pathogenesis. Longitudinal sets of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii isolates from eight patients were analyzed by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to identify differentially expressed genes and link them to genetic changes contributing to transcriptional variation at both within-patient and population levels. The number of…

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January 20, 2017

Regulation of PI-2b pilus expression in hypervirulent Streptococcus agalactiae ST-17 BM110.

The widely spread Streptococcus agalactiae (also known as Group B Streptococcus, GBS) "hypervirulent" ST17 clone is strongly associated with neonatal meningitis. The PI-2b locus is mainly found in ST17 strains but is also present in a few non ST17 human isolates such as the ST-7 prototype strain A909. Here, we analysed the expression of the PI-2b pilus in the ST17 strain BM110 as compared to the non ST17 A909. Comparative genome analyses revealed the presence of a 43-base pair (bp) hairpin-like structure in the upstream region of PI-2b operon in all 26 ST17 genomes, which was absent in the 8…

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January 15, 2017

Simultaneous emergence of multidrug-resistant Candida auris on 3 continents confirmed by whole-genome sequencing and epidemiological analyses.

Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant yeast that causes invasive infections, was first described in 2009 in Japan and has since been reported from several countries.To understand the global emergence and epidemiology of C. auris, we obtained isolates from 54 patients with C. auris infection from Pakistan, India, South Africa, and Venezuela during 2012-2015 and the type specimen from Japan. Patient information was available for 41 of the isolates. We conducted antifungal susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing (WGS).Available clinical information revealed that 41% of patients had diabetes mellitus, 51% had undergone recent surgery, 73% had a central venous catheter, and 41% were…

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November 1, 2016

Persistence of a dominant bovine lineage of group B Streptococcus reveals genomic signatures of host adaptation.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a host-generalist species, most notably causing disease in humans and cattle. However, the differential adaptation of GBS to its two main hosts, and the risk of animal to human infection remain poorly understood. Despite improvements in control measures across Europe, GBS is still one of the main causative agents of bovine mastitis in Portugal. Here, by whole-genome analysis of 150 bovine GBS isolates we discovered that a single CC61 clone is spreading throughout Portuguese herds since at least the early 1990s, having virtually replaced the previous GBS population. Mutations within an iron/manganese transporter were independently…

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November 1, 2016

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…

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