July 19, 2019  |  

Genome-wide mapping of methylated adenine residues in pathogenic Escherichia coli using single-molecule real-time sequencing.

Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing allows the systematic detection of chemical modifications such as methylation but has not previously been applied on a genome-wide scale. We used this approach to detect 49,311 putative 6-methyladenine (m6A) residues and 1,407 putative 5-methylcytosine (m5C) residues in the genome of a pathogenic Escherichia coli strain. We obtained strand-specific information for methylation sites and a quantitative assessment of the frequency of methylation at each modified position. We deduced the sequence motifs recognized by the methyltransferase enzymes present in this strain without prior knowledge of their specificity. Furthermore, we found that deletion of a phage-encoded methyltransferase-endonuclease (restriction-modification; RM) system induced global transcriptional changes and led to gene amplification, suggesting that the role of RM systems extends beyond protecting host genomes from foreign DNA.


July 19, 2019  |  

The methylomes of six bacteria.

Six bacterial genomes, Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, Chromohalobacter salexigens, Vibrio breoganii 1C-10, Bacillus cereus ATCC 10987, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni 81-176 and C. jejuni NCTC 11168, all of which had previously been sequenced using other platforms were re-sequenced using single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing specifically to analyze their methylomes. In every case a number of new N(6)-methyladenine ((m6)A) and N(4)-methylcytosine ((m4)C) methylation patterns were discovered and the DNA methyltransferases (MTases) responsible for those methylation patterns were assigned. In 15 cases, it was possible to match MTase genes with MTase recognition sequences without further sub-cloning. Two Type I restriction systems required sub-cloning to differentiate their recognition sequences, while four MTase genes that were not expressed in the native organism were sub-cloned to test for viability and recognition sequences. Two of these proved active. No attempt was made to detect 5-methylcytosine ((m5)C) recognition motifs from the SMRT® sequencing data because this modification produces weaker signals using current methods. However, all predicted (m6)A and (m4)C MTases were detected unambiguously. This study shows that the addition of SMRT sequencing to traditional sequencing approaches gives a wealth of useful functional information about a genome showing not only which MTase genes are active but also revealing their recognition sequences.


July 19, 2019  |  

Bacteriophage orphan DNA methyltransferases: insights from their bacterial origin, function, and occurrence.

Type II DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are enzymes found ubiquitously in the prokaryotic world, where they play important roles in several cellular processes, such as host protection and epigenetic regulation. Three classes of type II MTases have been identified thus far in bacteria which function in transferring a methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to a target nucleotide base, forming N-6-methyladenine (class I), N-4-methylcytosine (class II), or C-5-methylcytosine (class III). Often, these MTases are associated with a cognate restriction endonuclease (REase) to form a restriction-modification (R-M) system protecting bacterial cells from invasion by foreign DNA. When MTases exist alone, which are then termed orphan MTases, they are believed to be mainly involved in regulatory activities in the bacterial cell. Genomes of various lytic and lysogenic phages have been shown to encode multi- and mono-specific orphan MTases that have the ability to confer protection from restriction endonucleases of their bacterial host(s). The ability of a phage to overcome R-M and other phage-targeting resistance systems can be detrimental to particular biotechnological processes such as dairy fermentations. Conversely, as phages may also be beneficial in certain areas such as phage therapy, phages with additional resistance to host defenses may prolong the effectiveness of the therapy. This minireview will focus on bacteriophage-encoded MTases, their prevalence and diversity, as well as their potential origin and function.


July 19, 2019  |  

Identification of restriction-modification systems of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494 by SMRT Sequencing and associated methylome analysis.

Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494 is a component of a commercialized fermented dairy product for which beneficial effects on health has been studied by clinical and preclinical trials. To date little is known about the molecular mechanisms that could explain the beneficial effects that bifidobacteria impart to the host. Restriction-modification (R-M) systems have been identified as key obstacles in the genetic accessibility of bifidobacteria, and circumventing these is a prerequisite to attaining a fundamental understanding of bifidobacterial attributes, including the genes that are responsible for health-promoting properties of this clinically and industrially important group of bacteria. The complete genome sequence of B. animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494 is predicted to harbour the genetic determinants for two type II R-M systems, designated BanLI and BanLII. In order to investigate the functionality and specificity of these two putative R-M systems in B. animalis subsp. lactis CNCM I-2494, we employed PacBio SMRT sequencing with associated methylome analysis. In addition, the contribution of the identified R-M systems to the genetic accessibility of this strain was assessed.


July 19, 2019  |  

REBASE–a database for DNA restriction and modification: enzymes, genes and genomes.

REBASE is a comprehensive and fully curated database of information about the components of restriction-modification (RM) systems. It contains fully referenced information about recognition and cleavage sites for both restriction enzymes and methyltransferases as well as commercial availability, methylation sensitivity, crystal and sequence data. All genomes that are completely sequenced are analyzed for RM system components, and with the advent of PacBio sequencing, the recognition sequences of DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are appearing rapidly. Thus, Type I and Type III systems can now be characterized in terms of recognition specificity merely by DNA sequencing. The contents of REBASE may be browsed from the web http://rebase.neb.com and selected compilations can be downloaded by FTP (ftp.neb.com). Monthly updates are also available via email. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

qDNAmod: a statistical model-based tool to reveal intercellular heterogeneity of DNA modification from SMRT sequencing data.

In an isogenic cell population, phenotypic heterogeneity among individual cells is common and critical for survival of the population under different environment conditions. DNA modification is an important epigenetic factor that can regulate phenotypic heterogeneity. The single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology provides a unique platform for detecting a wide range of DNA modifications, including N6-methyladenine (6-mA), N4-methylcytosine (4-mC) and 5-methylcytosine (5-mC). Here we present qDNAmod, a novel bioinformatic tool for genome-wide quantitative profiling of intercellular heterogeneity of DNA modification from SMRT sequencing data. It is capable of estimating proportion of isogenic haploid cells, in which the same loci of the genome are differentially modified. We tested the reliability of qDNAmod with the SMRT sequencing data of Streptococcus pneumoniae strain ST556. qDNAmod detected extensive intercellular heterogeneity of DNA methylation (6-mA) in a clonal population of ST556. Subsequent biochemical analyses revealed that the recognition sequences of two type I restriction–modification (R-M) systems are responsible for the intercellular heterogeneity of DNA methylation initially identified by qDNAmod. qDNAmod thus represents a valuable tool for studying intercellular phenotypic heterogeneity from genome-wide DNA modification.


July 19, 2019  |  

BREX is a novel phage resistance system widespread in microbial genomes.

The perpetual arms race between bacteria and phage has resulted in the evolution of efficient resistance systems that protect bacteria from phage infection. Such systems, which include the CRISPR-Cas and restriction-modification systems, have proven to be invaluable in the biotechnology and dairy industries. Here, we report on a six-gene cassette in Bacillus cereus which, when integrated into the Bacillus subtilis genome, confers resistance to a broad range of phages, including both virulent and temperate ones. This cassette includes a putative Lon-like protease, an alkaline phosphatase domain protein, a putative RNA-binding protein, a DNA methylase, an ATPase-domain protein, and a protein of unknown function. We denote this novel defense system BREX (Bacteriophage Exclusion) and show that it allows phage adsorption but blocks phage DNA replication. Furthermore, our results suggest that methylation on non-palindromic TAGGAG motifs in the bacterial genome guides self/non-self discrimination and is essential for the defensive function of the BREX system. However, unlike restriction-modification systems, phage DNA does not appear to be cleaved or degraded by BREX, suggesting a novel mechanism of defense. Pan genomic analysis revealed that BREX and BREX-like systems, including the distantly related Pgl system described in Streptomyces coelicolor, are widely distributed in ~10% of all sequenced microbial genomes and can be divided into six coherent subtypes in which the gene composition and order is conserved. Finally, we detected a phage family that evades the BREX defense, implying that anti-BREX mechanisms may have evolved in some phages as part of their arms race with bacteria.© 2014 The Authors.


July 19, 2019  |  

Going beyond five bases in DNA sequencing.

DNA sequencing has provided a wealth of information about biological systems, but thus far has focused on the four canonical bases, and 5-methylcytosine through comparison of the genomic DNA sequence to a transformed four-base sequence obtained after treatment with bisulfite. However, numerous other chemical modifications to the nucleotides are known to control fundamental life functions, influence virulence of pathogens, and are associated with many diseases. These modifications cannot be accessed with traditional sequencing methods. In this opinion, we highlight several emerging single-molecule sequencing techniques that have the potential to directly detect many types of DNA modifications as an integral part of the sequencing protocol. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Exploring bacterial epigenomics in the next-generation sequencing era: a new approach for an emerging frontier.

Epigenetics has an important role for the success of foodborne pathogen persistence in diverse host niches. Substantial challenges exist in determining DNA methylation to situation-specific phenotypic traits. DNA modification, mediated by restriction-modification systems, functions as an immune response against antagonistic external DNA, and bacteriophage-acquired methyltransferases (MTase) and orphan MTases – those lacking the cognate restriction endonuclease – facilitate evolution of new phenotypes via gene expression modulation via DNA and RNA modifications, including methylation and phosphorothioation. Recent establishment of large-scale genome sequencing projects will result in a significant increase in genome availability that will lead to new demands for data analysis including new predictive bioinformatics approaches that can be verified with traditional scientific rigor. Sequencing technologies that detect modification coupled with mass spectrometry to discover new adducts is a powerful tactic to study bacterial epigenetics, which is poised to make novel and far-reaching discoveries that link biological significance and the bacterial epigenome. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Analysis of the Campylobacter jejuni genome by SMRT DNA Sequencing identifies restriction-modification motifs.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of human gastroenteritis. The goal of this study was to analyze the C. jejuni F38011 strain, recovered from an individual with severe enteritis, at a genomic and proteomic level to gain insight into microbial processes. The C. jejuni F38011 genome is comprised of 1,691,939 bp, with a mol.% (G+C) content of 30.5%. PacBio sequencing coupled with REBASE analysis was used to predict C. jejuni F38011 genomic sites and enzymes that may be involved in DNA restriction-modification. A total of five putative methylation motifs were identified as well as the C. jejuni enzymes that could be responsible for the modifications. Peptides corresponding to the deduced amino acid sequence of the C. jejuni enzymes were identified using proteomics. This work sets the stage for studies to dissect the precise functions of the C. jejuni putative restriction-modification enzymes. Taken together, the data generated in this study contributes to our knowledge of the genomic content, methylation profile, and encoding capacity of C. jejuni.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of Haloferax volcanii H26 and identification of DNA methyltransferase related PD-(D/E)XK nuclease family protein HVO_A0006.

Restriction-modification (RM) systems have evolved to protect the cell from invading DNAs and are composed of two enzymes: a DNA methyltransferase and a restriction endonuclease. Although RM systems are present in both archaeal and bacterial genomes, DNA methylation in archaea has not been well defined. In order to characterize the function of RM systems in archaeal species, we have made use of the model haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii. A genomic DNA methylation analysis of H. volcanii strain H26 was performed using PacBio single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. This analysis was also performed on a strain of H. volcanii in which an annotated DNA methyltransferase gene HVO_A0006 was deleted from the genome. Sequence analysis of H26 revealed two motifs which are modified in the genome: C(m4)TAG and GCA(m6)BN6VTGC. Analysis of the ?HVO_A0006 strain indicated that it exhibited reduced adenine methylation compared to the parental strain and altered the detected adenine motif. However, protein domain architecture analysis and amino acid alignments revealed that HVO_A0006 is homologous only to the N-terminal endonuclease region of Type IIG RM proteins and contains a PD-(D/E)XK nuclease motif, suggesting that HVO_A0006 is a PD-(D/E)XK nuclease family protein. Further bioinformatic analysis of the HVO_A0006 gene demonstrated that the gene is rare among the Halobacteria. It is surrounded by two transposition genes suggesting that HVO_A0006 is a fragment of a Type IIG RM gene, which has likely been acquired through gene transfer, and affects restriction-modification activity by interacting with another RM system component(s). Here, we present the first genome-wide characterization of DNA methylation in an archaeal species and examine the function of a DNA methyltransferase related gene HVO_A0006.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome modification in Enterococcus faecalis OG1RF assessed by bisulfite sequencing and Single-Molecule Real-Time Sequencing.

Enterococcus faecalis is a Gram-positive bacterium that natively colonizes the human gastrointestinal tract and opportunistically causes life-threatening infections. Multidrug-resistant (MDR) E. faecalis strains have emerged, reducing treatment options for these infections. MDR E. faecalis strains have large genomes containing mobile genetic elements (MGEs) that harbor genes for antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Bacteria commonly possess genome defense mechanisms to block MGE acquisition, and we hypothesize that these mechanisms have been compromised in MDR E. faecalis. In restriction-modification (R-M) defense, the bacterial genome is methylated at cytosine (C) or adenine (A) residues by a methyltransferase (MTase), such that nonself DNA can be distinguished from self DNA. A cognate restriction endonuclease digests improperly modified nonself DNA. Little is known about R-M in E. faecalis. Here, we use genome resequencing to identify DNA modifications occurring in the oral isolate OG1RF. OG1RF has one of the smallest E. faecalis genomes sequenced to date and possesses few MGEs. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) and bisulfite sequencing revealed that OG1RF has global 5-methylcytosine (m5C) methylation at 5′-GCWGC-3′ motifs. A type II R-M system confers the m5C modification, and disruption of this system impacts OG1RF electrotransformability and conjugative transfer of an antibiotic resistance plasmid. A second DNA MTase was poorly expressed under laboratory conditions but conferred global N(4)-methylcytosine (m4C) methylation at 5′-CCGG-3′ motifs when expressed in Escherichia coli. Based on our results, we conclude that R-M can act as a barrier to MGE acquisition and likely influences antibiotic resistance gene dissemination in the E. faecalis species.The horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistance genes among bacteria is a critical public health concern. Enterococcus faecalis is an opportunistic pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in humans. Multidrug resistance acquired by horizontal gene transfer limits treatment options for these infections. In this study, we used innovative DNA sequencing methodologies to investigate how a model strain of E. faecalis discriminates its own DNA from foreign DNA, i.e., self versus nonself discrimination. We also assess the role of an E. faecalis genome modification system in modulating conjugative transfer of an antibiotic resistance plasmid. These results are significant because they demonstrate that differential genome modification impacts horizontal gene transfer frequencies in E. faecalis. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete bypass of restriction systems for major Staphylococcus aureus lineages.

Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent global nosocomial and community-acquired bacterial pathogen. A strong restriction barrier presents a major hurdle for the introduction of recombinant DNA into clinical isolates of S. aureus. Here, we describe the construction and characterization of the IMXXB series of Escherichia coli strains that mimic the type I adenine methylation profiles of S. aureus clonal complexes 1, 8, 30, and ST93. The IMXXB strains enable direct, high-efficiency transformation and streamlined genetic manipulation of major S. aureus lineages.The genetic manipulation of clinical S. aureus isolates has been hampered due to the presence of restriction modification barriers that detect and subsequently degrade inappropriately methylated DNA. Current methods allow the introduction of plasmid DNA into a limited subset of S. aureus strains at high efficiency after passage of plasmid DNA through the restriction-negative, modification-proficient strain RN4220. Here, we have constructed and validated a suite of E. coli strains that mimic the adenine methylation profiles of different clonal complexes and show high-efficiency plasmid DNA transfer. The ability to bypass RN4220 will reduce the cost and time involved for plasmid transfer into S. aureus. The IMXXB series of E. coli strains should expedite the process of mutant construction in diverse genetic backgrounds and allow the application of new techniques to the genetic manipulation of S. aureus. Copyright © 2015 Monk et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

The complete methylome of Helicobacter pylori UM032.

The genome of the human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori encodes a large number of DNA methyltransferases (MTases), some of which are shared among many strains, and others of which are unique to a given strain. The MTases have potential roles in the survival of the bacterium. In this study, we sequenced a Malaysian H. pylori clinical strain, designated UM032, by using a combination of PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) and Illumina MiSeq next generation sequencing platforms, and used the SMRT data to characterize the set of methylated bases (the methylome).The N4-methylcytosine and N6-methyladenine modifications detected at single-base resolution using SMRT technology revealed 17 methylated sequence motifs corresponding to one Type I and 16 Type II restriction-modification (R-M) systems. Previously unassigned methylation motifs were now assigned to their respective MTases-coding genes. Furthermore, one gene that appears to be inactive in the H. pylori UM032 genome during normal growth was characterized by cloning.Consistent with previously-studied H. pylori strains, we show that strain UM032 contains a relatively large number of R-M systems, including some MTase activities with novel specificities. Additional studies are underway to further elucidating the biological significance of the R-M systems in the physiology and pathogenesis of H. pylori.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single molecule-level detection and long read-based phasing of epigenetic variations in bacterial methylomes.

Beyond its role in host defense, bacterial DNA methylation also plays important roles in the regulation of gene expression, virulence and antibiotic resistance. Bacterial cells in a clonal population can generate epigenetic heterogeneity to increase population-level phenotypic plasticity. Single molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing enables the detection of N6-methyladenine and N4-methylcytosine, two major types of DNA modifications comprising the bacterial methylome. However, existing SMRT sequencing-based methods for studying bacterial methylomes rely on a population-level consensus that lacks the single-cell resolution required to observe epigenetic heterogeneity. Here, we present SMALR (single-molecule modification analysis of long reads), a novel framework for single molecule-level detection and phasing of DNA methylation. Using seven bacterial strains, we show that SMALR yields significantly improved resolution and reveals distinct types of epigenetic heterogeneity. SMALR is a powerful new tool that enables de novo detection of epigenetic heterogeneity and empowers investigation of its functions in bacterial populations.


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