September 22, 2019  |  

Emergence of XDR Escherichia coli carrying both blaNDM and mcr-1 genes in chickens at slaughter and the characterization of two novel blaNDM-bearing plasmids.

The emergence and spread of carbapenem-resistant isolates, especially New Delhi MBL (NDM)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, has become a global concern. Although NDM-producing Enterobacteriaceae have been mostly observed in clinical cases, they have also been identified in food-producing animals and wildlife. Recently, XDR bacteria harbouring both blaNDMand mcr-1 genes were observed in isolates from animals, posing a potential threat to public health. However, reports on the coexistence of blaNDMand mcr-1 in bacteria isolated from animals at slaughter remains sporadic. Here, we report two Escherichia coli strains, SD133 and SD138, co-producing NDM and MCR-1, isolated from chickens at slaughter in July 2015 in China.


September 22, 2019  |  

Identification of the KPC plasmid pCT-KPC334: New insights on the evolutionary pathway of epidemic plasmids harboring fosA3-blaKPC-2 genes.

A novel, non-conjugative plasmid pKP1034 isolated from a fosfomycin-resistant, carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumonia strain KP1034 was recently reported to carry fosA3, blaKPC-2, blaCTX-M-65, blaSHV-12 and rmtB genes, and was hypothesized to evolve from several recombination events of two closely related plasmids, pHN7A8 and pKPC-LK30 [1]. In this study, a plasmid pCT-KPC334 carrying fosA3, blaKPC-2, blaCTX-M-65, blaSHV-12, blaTEM-1, and rmtB genes was identified, providing evidence on the evolutionary pathway of plasmids harboring fosA3-blaKPC-2 genes.


July 19, 2019  |  

A benchmark study on error assessment and quality control of CCS reads derived from the PacBio RS.

PacBio RS, a newly emerging third-generation DNA sequencing platform, is based on a real-time, single-molecule, nano-nitch sequencing technology that can generate very long reads (up to 20-kb) in contrast to the shorter reads produced by the first and second generation sequencing technologies. As a new platform, it is important to assess the sequencing error rate, as well as the quality control (QC) parameters associated with the PacBio sequence data. In this study, a mixture of 10 prior known, closely related DNA amplicons were sequenced using the PacBio RS sequencing platform. After aligning Circular Consensus Sequence (CCS) reads derived from the above sequencing experiment to the known reference sequences, we found that the median error rate was 2.5% without read QC, and improved to 1.3% with an SVM based multi-parameter QC method. In addition, a De Novo assembly was used as a downstream application to evaluate the effects of different QC approaches. This benchmark study indicates that even though CCS reads are post error-corrected it is still necessary to perform appropriate QC on CCS reads in order to produce successful downstream bioinformatics analytical results.


July 19, 2019  |  

Vertical transmission of highly similar bla CTX-M-1-harboring IncI1 plasmids in Escherichia coli with different MLST types in the poultry production pyramid.

The purpose of this study was to characterize sets of extended-spectrum ß-lactamases (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae collected longitudinally from different flocks of broiler breeders, meconium of 1-day-old broilers from theses breeder flocks, as well as from these broiler flocks before slaughter.Five sets of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli were studied by multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), phylogenetic grouping, PCR-based replicon typing and resistance profiling. The bla CTX-M-1-harboring plasmids of one set (pHV295.1, pHV114.1, and pHV292.1) were fully sequenced and subjected to comparative analysis.Eleven different MLST sequence types (ST) were identified with ST1056 the predominant one, isolated in all five sets either on the broiler breeder or meconium level. Plasmid sequencing revealed that bla CTX-M-1 was carried by highly similar IncI1/ST3 plasmids that were 105 076 bp, 110 997 bp, and 117 269 bp in size, respectively.The fact that genetically similar IncI1/ST3 plasmids were found in ESBL-producing E. coli of different MLST types isolated at the different levels in the broiler production pyramid provides strong evidence for a vertical transmission of these plasmids from a common source (nucleus poultry flocks).


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete nucleotide sequences of bla(CTX-M)-harboring IncF plasmids from community-associated Escherichia coli strains in the United States.

Community-associated infections due to Escherichia coli producing CTX-M-type extended-spectrum ß-lactamases are increasingly recognized in the United States. The bla(CTX-M) genes are frequently carried on IncF group plasmids. In this study, bla(CTX-M-15)-harboring plasmids pCA14 (sequence type 131 [ST131]) and pCA28 (ST44) and bla(CTX-M-14)-harboring plasmid pCA08 (ST131) were sequenced and characterized. The three plasmids were closely related to other IncFII plasmids from continents outside the United States in the conserved backbone region and multiresistance regions (MRRs). Each of the bla(CTX-M-15)-carrying plasmids pCA14 and pCA28 belonged to F31:A4:B1 (FAB [FII, FIA, FIB] formula) and showed a high level of similarity (92% coverage of pCA14 and 99% to 100% nucleotide identity), suggesting a possible common origin. The blaC(TX-M-14)-carrying plasmid pCA08 belonged to F2:A2:B20 and was highly similar to pKF3-140 from China (88% coverage of pCA08 and 99% to 100% nucleotide identity). All three plasmids carried multiple antimicrobial resistance genes and modules associated with virulence and biochemical pathways, which likely confer selective advantages for their host strains. The bla(CTX-M)-carrying IncFII-IA-IB plasmids implicated in community-associated infections in the United States shared key structural features with those identified from other continents, underscoring the global nature of this plasmid epidemic. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Nested Russian doll-like genetic mobility drives rapid dissemination of the Carbapenem resistance gene blaKPC

The recent widespread emergence of carbapenem resistance in Enterobacteriaceae is a major public health concern, as carbapenems are a therapy of last resort against this family of common bacterial pathogens. Resistance genes can mobilize via various mechanisms, including conjugation and transposition; however, the importance of this mobility in short-term evolution, such as within nosocomial outbreaks, is unknown. Using a combination of short- and long-read whole-genome sequencing of 281 blaKPC-positive Enterobacteriaceae isolates from a single hospital over 5 years, we demonstrate rapid dissemination of this carbapenem resistance gene to multiple species, strains, and plasmids. Mobility of blaKPC occurs at multiple nested genetic levels, with transmission of blaKPC strains between individuals, frequent transfer of blaKPC plasmids between strains/species, and frequent transposition of blaKPC transposon Tn4401 between plasmids. We also identify a common insertion site for Tn4401 within various Tn2-like elements, suggesting that homologous recombination between Tn2-like elements has enhanced the spread of Tn4401 between different plasmid vectors. Furthermore, while short-read sequencing has known limitations for plasmid assembly, various studies have attempted to overcome this by the use of reference-based methods. We also demonstrate that, as a consequence of the genetic mobility observed in this study, plasmid structures can be extremely dynamic, and therefore these reference-based methods, as well as traditional partial typing methods, can produce very misleading conclusions. Overall, our findings demonstrate that nonclonal resistance gene dissemination can be extremely rapid, presenting significant challenges for public health surveillance and achieving effective control of antibiotic resistance. Copyright © 2016 Sheppard et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Continuous evolution of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins overcomes insect resistance.

The Bacillus thuringiensis d-endotoxins (Bt toxins) are widely used insecticidal proteins in engineered crops that provide agricultural, economic, and environmental benefits. The development of insect resistance to Bt toxins endangers their long-term effectiveness. Here we have developed a phage-assisted continuous evolution selection that rapidly evolves high-affinity protein-protein interactions, and applied this system to evolve variants of the Bt toxin Cry1Ac that bind a cadherin-like receptor from the insect pest Trichoplusia ni (TnCAD) that is not natively bound by wild-type Cry1Ac. The resulting evolved Cry1Ac variants bind TnCAD with high affinity (dissociation constant Kd?=?11-41?nM), kill TnCAD-expressing insect cells that are not susceptible to wild-type Cry1Ac, and kill Cry1Ac-resistant T. ni insects up to 335-fold more potently than wild-type Cry1Ac. Our findings establish that the evolution of Bt toxins with novel insect cell receptor affinity can overcome insect Bt toxin resistance and confer lethality approaching that of the wild-type Bt toxin against non-resistant insects.


July 19, 2019  |  

IncFIIk plasmid harbouring an amplification of 16S rRNA methyltransferase-encoding gene rmtH associated with mobile element ISCR2.

To investigate the resistance mechanisms and genetic support underlying the high resistance level of the Klebsiella pneumoniae strain CMUL78 to aminoglycoside and ß-lactam antibiotics.Antibiotic susceptibility was assessed by the disc diffusion method and MICs were determined by the microdilution method. Antibiotic resistance genes and their genetic environment were characterized by PCR and Sanger sequencing. Plasmid contents were analysed in the clinical strain and transconjugants obtained by mating-out assays. Complete plasmid sequencing was performed with PacBio and Illumina technology.Strain CMUL78 co-produced the 16S rRNA methyltransferase (RMTase) RmtH, carbapenemase OXA-48 and ESBL SHV-12. The rmtH- and blaSHV-12-encoding genes were harboured by a novel ~115 kb IncFIIk plasmid designated pRmtH, and blaOXA-48 by a ~62 kb IncL/M plasmid related to pOXA-48a. pRmtH plasmid possessed seven different stability modules, one of which is a novel hybrid toxin-antitoxin system. Interestingly, pRmtH plasmid harboured a 4-fold amplification of an rmtH-ISCR2 unit arranged in tandem and inserted within a novel IS26-based composite transposon designated Tn6329.This is the first known report of the 16S RMTase-encoding gene rmtH in a plasmid. The rmtH-ISCR2 unit was inserted in a composite transposon as a 4-fold tandem repeat, a scarcely reported organization.© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 19, 2019  |  

Exploiting members of the BAHD acyltransferase family to synthesize multiple hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates in yeast.

BAHD acyltransferases, named after the first four biochemically characterized enzymes of the group, are plant-specific enzymes that catalyze the transfer of coenzyme A-activated donors onto various acceptor molecules. They are responsible for the synthesis in plants of a myriad of secondary metabolites, some of which are beneficial for humans either as therapeutics or as specialty chemicals such as flavors and fragrances. The production of pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and commodity chemicals using engineered microbes is an alternative, green route to energy-intensive chemical syntheses that consume petroleum-based precursors. However, identification of appropriate enzymes and validation of their functional expression in heterologous hosts is a prerequisite for the design and implementation of metabolic pathways in microbes for the synthesis of such target chemicals.For the synthesis of valuable metabolites in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we selected BAHD acyltransferases based on their preferred donor and acceptor substrates. In particular, BAHDs that use hydroxycinnamoyl-CoAs and/or benzoyl-CoA as donors were targeted because a large number of molecules beneficial to humans belong to this family of hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates. The selected BAHD coding sequences were synthesized and cloned individually on a vector containing the Arabidopsis gene At4CL5, which encodes a promiscuous 4-coumarate:CoA ligase active on hydroxycinnamates and benzoates. The various S. cerevisiae strains obtained for co-expression of At4CL5 with the different BAHDs effectively produced a wide array of valuable hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates upon addition of adequate combinations of donors and acceptor molecules. In particular, we report here for the first time the production in yeast of rosmarinic acid and its derivatives, quinate hydroxycinnamate esters such as chlorogenic acid, and glycerol hydroxycinnamate esters. Similarly, we achieved for the first time the microbial production of polyamine hydroxycinnamate amides; monolignol, malate and fatty alcohol hydroxycinnamate esters; tropane alkaloids; and benzoate/caffeate alcohol esters. In some instances, the additional expression of Flavobacterium johnsoniae tyrosine ammonia-lyase (FjTAL) allowed the synthesis of p-coumarate conjugates and eliminated the need to supplement the culture media with 4-hydroxycinnamate.We demonstrate in this study the effectiveness of expressing members of the plant BAHD acyltransferase family in yeast for the synthesis of numerous valuable hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT Gate: A method for validation of synthetic constructs on Pacific Biosciences sequencing platforms.

Current DNA assembly methods are prone to sequence errors, requiring rigorous quality control (QC) to identify incorrect assemblies or synthesized constructs. Such errors can lead to misinterpretation of phenotypes. Because of this intrinsic problem, routine QC analysis is generally performed on three or more clones using a combination of restriction endonuclease assays, colony PCR, and Sanger sequencing. However, as new automation methods emerge that enable high-throughput assembly, QC using these techniques has become a major bottleneck. Here, we describe a quick and affordable methodology for the QC of synthetic constructs. Our method involves a one-pot digestion-ligation DNA assembly reaction, based on the Golden Gate assembly methodology, that is coupled with Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time (PacBio SMRT) sequencing technology.


July 19, 2019  |  

Highly sensitive detection of mutations in CHO cell recombinant DNA using multi-parallel single molecule real-time DNA sequencing.

High-fidelity replication of biologic-encoding recombinant DNA sequences by engineered mammalian cell cultures is an essential pre-requisite for the development of stable cell lines for the production of biotherapeutics. However, immortalized mammalian cells characteristically exhibit an increased point mutation frequency compared to mammalian cells in vivo, both across their genomes and at specific loci (hotspots). Thus unforeseen mutations in recombinant DNA sequences can arise and be maintained within producer cell populations. These may affect both the stability of recombinant gene expression and give rise to protein sequence variants with variable bioactivity and immunogenicity. Rigorous quantitative assessment of recombinant DNA integrity should therefore form part of the cell line development process and be an essential quality assurance metric for instances where synthetic/multi-component assemblies are utilized to engineer mammalian cells, such as the assessment of recombinant DNA fidelity or the mutability of single-site integration target loci. Based on Pacific Biosciences (Menlo Park, CA) single molecule real-time (SMRT™) circular consensus sequencing (CCS) technology we developed a rDNA sequence analysis tool to process the multi-parallel sequencing of ~40,000 single recombinant DNA molecules. After statistical filtering of raw sequencing data, we show that this analytical method is capable of detecting single point mutations in rDNA to a minimum single mutation frequency of 0.0042% (<1/24,000 bases). Using a stable CHO transfectant pool harboring a randomly integrated 5?kB plasmid construct encoding GFP we found that 28% of recombinant plasmid copies contained at least one low frequency (<0.3%) point mutation. These mutations were predominantly found in GC base pairs (85%) and that there was no positional bias in mutation across the plasmid sequence. There was no discernable difference between the mutation frequencies of coding and non-coding DNA. The putative ratio of non-synonymous and synonymous changes within the open reading frames (ORFs) in the plasmid sequence indicates that natural selection does not impact upon the prevalence of these mutations. Here we have demonstrated the abundance of mutations that fall outside of the reported range of detection of next generation sequencing (NGS) and second generation sequencing (SGS) platforms, providing a methodology capable of being utilized in cell line development platforms to identify the fidelity of recombinant genes throughout the production process.© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


July 7, 2019  |  

A novel Tn3-like composite transposon harboring blaVIM-1 in Klebsiella pneumoniae spp. pneumoniae isolated from river water.

We present a new plasmid (pOW16C2) with a novel Tn3-like transposon harboring blaVIM-1 from a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain isolated from river water in Switzerland.Complete nucleotide sequence of pOW16C2 was obtained using a Pacific Biosciences SMRT sequencing approach and coding sequences were predicted.The 59,228?bp sequence included a typical IncN-like backbone and a mosaic structure with blaVIM-1, aacA4, aphA15, aadA1, catB2, qnrS1, sul1, and dfrA14 conferring resistance to carbapenems and other ß-lactam antibiotics, aminoglycosides, chloramphenicol, quinolones, sulfonamides, and trimethoprim, respectively. Most of these resistance genes were inserted in a class 1 integron that was embedded in a novel Tn3-like composite transposon.IncN plasmids carrying carbapenemases are frequently isolated from K. pneumoniae strains in clinical settings. The dissemination of K. pneumoniae harboring blaVIM-1 in surface water is a cause for increased concern to public health.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete sequences of six IncA/C plasmids of multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype Newport.

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype Newport has been a long-standing public health concern in the United States. We present the complete sequences of six IncA/C plasmids from animal-derived MDR S. Newport ranging from 80.1 to 158.5 kb. They shared a genetic backbone with S. Newport IncA/C plasmids pSN254 and pAM04528. Copyright © 2015 Cao et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Active site and laminarin binding in glycoside hydrolase family 55.

The Carbohydrate Active Enzyme (CAZy) database indicates that glycoside hydrolase family 55 (GH55) contains both endo- and exo-ß-1,3-glucanases. The founding structure in the GH55 is PcLam55A from the white rot fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium (Ishida, T., Fushinobu, S., Kawai, R., Kitaoka, M., Igarashi, K., and Samejima, M. (2009) Crystal structure of glycoside hydrolase family 55 ß-1,3-glucanase from the basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium. J. Biol. Chem. 284, 10100-10109). Here, we present high resolution crystal structures of bacterial SacteLam55A from the highly cellulolytic Streptomyces sp. SirexAA-E with bound substrates and product. These structures, along with mutagenesis and kinetic studies, implicate Glu-502 as the catalytic acid (as proposed earlier for Glu-663 in PcLam55A) and a proton relay network of four residues in activating water as the nucleophile. Further, a set of conserved aromatic residues that define the active site apparently enforce an exo-glucanase reactivity as demonstrated by exhaustive hydrolysis reactions with purified laminarioligosaccharides. Two additional aromatic residues that line the substrate-binding channel show substrate-dependent conformational flexibility that may promote processive reactivity of the bound oligosaccharide in the bacterial enzymes. Gene synthesis carried out on ~30% of the GH55 family gave 34 active enzymes (19% functional coverage of the nonredundant members of GH55). These active enzymes reacted with only laminarin from a panel of 10 different soluble and insoluble polysaccharides and displayed a broad range of specific activities and optima for pH and temperature. Application of this experimental method provides a new, systematic way to annotate glycoside hydrolase phylogenetic space for functional properties.© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


July 7, 2019  |  

Human gene-centered transcription factor networks for enhancers and disease variants.

Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) comprising interactions between transcription factors (TFs) and regulatory loci control development and physiology. Numerous disease-associated mutations have been identified, the vast majority residing in non-coding regions of the genome. As current GRN mapping methods test one TF at a time and require the use of cells harboring the mutation(s) of interest, they are not suitable to identify TFs that bind to wild-type and mutant loci. Here, we use gene-centered yeast one-hybrid (eY1H) assays to interrogate binding of 1,086 human TFs to 246 enhancers, as well as to 109 non-coding disease mutations. We detect both loss and gain of TF interactions with mutant loci that are concordant with target gene expression changes. This work establishes eY1H assays as a powerful addition to the toolkit of mapping human GRNs and for the high-throughput characterization of genomic variants that are rapidly being identified by genome-wide association studies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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