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November 1, 2018

Thermosipho spp. immune system differences affect variation in genome size and geographical distributions.

Thermosipho species inhabit thermal environments such as marine hydrothermal vents, petroleum reservoirs, and terrestrial hot springs. A 16S rRNA phylogeny of available Thermosipho spp. sequences suggested habitat specialists adapted to living in hydrothermal vents only, and habitat generalists inhabiting oil reservoirs, hydrothermal vents, and hotsprings. Comparative genomics of 15 Thermosipho genomes separated them into three distinct species with different habitat distributions: The widely distributed T. africanus and the more specialized, T. melanesiensis and T. affectus. Moreover, the species can be differentiated on the basis of genome size (GS), genome content, and immune system composition. For instance, the T. africanus genomes…

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November 1, 2018

BREX system of Escherichia coli distinguishes self from non-self by methylation of a specific DNA site.

Prokaryotes evolved numerous systems that defend against predation by bacteriophages. In addition to well-known restriction-modification and CRISPR-Cas immunity systems, many poorly characterized systems exist. One class of such systems, named BREX, consists of a putative phosphatase, a methyltransferase and four other proteins. A Bacillus cereus BREX system provides resistance to several unrelated phages and leads to modification of specific motif in host DNA. Here, we study the action of BREX system from a natural Escherichia coli isolate. We show that while it makes cells resistant to phage ? infection, induction of ? prophage from cells carrying BREX leads to production…

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September 1, 2018

A model for the evolution of prokaryotic DNA restriction-modification systems based upon the structural malleability of Type I restriction-modification enzymes.

Restriction Modification (RM) systems prevent the invasion of foreign genetic material into bacterial cells by restriction and protect the host's genetic material by methylation. They are therefore important in maintaining the integrity of the host genome. RM systems are currently classified into four types (I to IV) on the basis of differences in composition, target recognition, cofactors and the manner in which they cleave DNA. Comparing the structures of the different types, similarities can be observed suggesting an evolutionary link between these different types. This work describes the 'deconstruction' of a large Type I RM enzyme into forms structurally similar…

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July 24, 2018

DNA methylation by restriction modification systems affects the global transcriptome profile in Borrelia burgdorferi

Prokaryote restriction modification (RM) systems serve to protect bacteria from potentially detrimental foreign DNA. Recent evidence suggests that DNA methylation by the methyltransferase (MTase) components of RM systems can also have effects on transcriptome profiles. The causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, encodes two RM systems with N6-Methyladenosine (m6A) MTase activity. The specific recognition and/or methylation sequences have not been identified for either B. burgdorferi MTase, and it is not currently known whether these RM systems influence transcriptome profiles. In the current study, Single Molecule Real Time sequencing was utilized to map genome-wide m6A sites, and to identify consensus…

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July 19, 2018

Comparison between complete genomes of an isolate of Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae from Japan and a New Zealand isolate of the pandemic.

The modern pandemic of the bacterial kiwifruit pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae (Psa) is caused by a particular Psa lineage. To better understand the genetic basis of the virulence of this lineage, we compare the completely assembled genome of a pandemic New Zealand strain with that of the Psa type strain first isolated in Japan in 1983. Aligning the two genomes shows numerous translocations, constrained so as to retain the appropriate orientation of the Architecture Imparting Sequences (AIMs). There are several large horizontally acquired regions, some of which include Type I, Type II or Type III restriction systems. The activity…

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May 1, 2018

The highly heterogeneous methylated genomes and diverse restriction-modification systems of bloom-forming Microcystis.

The occurrence of harmful Microcystis blooms is increasing in frequency in a myriad of freshwater ecosystems. Despite considerable research pertaining to the cause and nature of these blooms, the molecular mechanisms behind the cosmopolitan distribution and phenotypic diversity in Microcystis are still unclear. We compared the patterns and extent of DNA methylation in three strains of Microcystis, PCC 7806SL, NIES-2549 and FACHB-1757, using Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing technology. Intact restriction-modification (R-M) systems were identified from the genomes of these strains, and from two previously sequenced strains of Microcystis, NIES-843 and TAIHU98. A large number of methylation motifs and R-M…

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March 1, 2018

Occurrence, evolution, and functions of DNA phosphorothioate epigenetics in bacteria.

The chemical diversity of physiological DNA modifications has expanded with the identification of phosphorothioate (PT) modification in which the nonbridging oxygen in the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA is replaced by sulfur. Together with DndFGH as cognate restriction enzymes, DNA PT modification, which is catalyzed by the DndABCDE proteins, functions as a bacterial restriction-modification (R-M) system that protects cells against invading foreign DNA. However, the occurrence of dnd systems across a large number of bacterial genomes and their functions other than R-M are poorly understood. Here, a genomic survey revealed the prevalence of bacterial dnd systems: 1,349 bacterial dnd systems were…

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February 27, 2018

Characterizing the DNA methyltransferases of Haloferax volcanii via bioinformatics, gene deletion, and SMRT Sequencing.

DNA methyltransferases (MTases), which catalyze the methylation of adenine and cytosine bases in DNA, can occur in bacteria and archaea alongside cognate restriction endonucleases (REases) in restriction-modification (RM) systems or independently as orphan MTases. Although DNA methylation and MTases have been well-characterized in bacteria, research into archaeal MTases has been limited. A previous study examined the genomic DNA methylation patterns (methylome) of the halophilic archaeonHaloferax volcanii, a model archaeal system which can be easily manipulated in laboratory settings, via single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and deletion of a putative MTase gene (HVO_A0006). In this follow-up study, we deleted other putative MTase…

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February 1, 2018

Comparative genome and methylome analysis reveals restriction/modification system diversity in the gut commensal Bifidobacterium breve.

Bifidobacterium breve represents one of the most abundant bifidobacterial species in the gastro-intestinal tract of breast-fed infants, where their presence is believed to exert beneficial effects. In the present study whole genome sequencing, employing the PacBio Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing platform, combined with comparative genome analysis allowed the most extensive genetic investigation of this taxon. Our findings demonstrate that genes encoding Restriction/Modification (R/M) systems constitute a substantial part of the B. breve variable gene content (or variome). Using the methylome data generated by SMRT sequencing, combined with targeted Illumina bisulfite sequencing (BS-seq) and comparative genome analysis, we were able…

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November 25, 2017

Methods for genome-wide methylome profiling of Campylobacter jejuni.

Methylation has a profound role in the regulation of numerous biological processes in bacteria including virulence. The study of methylation in bacteria has greatly advanced thanks to next-generation sequencing technologies. These technologies have expedited the process of uncovering unique features of many bacterial methylomes such as characterizing previously uncharacterized methyltransferases, cataloging genome-wide DNA methylations in bacteria, identifying the frequency of methylation at particular genomic loci, and revealing regulatory roles of methylation in the biology of various bacterial species. For instance, methylation has been cited as a potential source for the pathogenicity differences observed in C. jejuni strains with syntenic genomes…

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September 10, 2017

Genomics of Helicobacter pylori

As Helicobacter pylori infects half the world's population and displays an extensive intraspecies diversity, genomics is a powerful tool to understand evolution and disease, to identify factors that confer higher risk of severe sequelae, and to find new approaches for therapy both among bacterial and host targets. In line with these objectives, this review article summarizes the major findings in Helicobacter genomics in papers published between April 2016 and March 2017.

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September 1, 2017

The third restriction-modification system from Thermus aquaticus YT-1: solving the riddle of two TaqII specificities.

Two restriction-modification systems have been previously discovered in Thermus aquaticus YT-1. TaqI is a 263-amino acid (aa) Type IIP restriction enzyme that recognizes and cleaves within the symmetric sequence 5'-TCGA-3'. TaqII, in contrast, is a 1105-aa Type IIC restriction-and-modification enzyme, one of a family of Thermus homologs. TaqII was originally reported to recognize two different asymmetric sequences: 5'-GACCGA-3' and 5'-CACCCA-3'. We previously cloned the taqIIRM gene, purified the recombinant protein from Escherichia coli, and showed that TaqII recognizes the 5'-GACCGA-3' sequence only. Here, we report the discovery, isolation, and characterization of TaqIII, the third R-M system from T. aquaticus YT-1.…

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July 17, 2017

Phase-variable methylation and epigenetic regulation by type I restriction-modification systems.

Epigenetic modifications in bacteria, such as DNA methylation, have been shown to affect gene regulation, thereby generating cells that are isogenic but with distinctly different phenotypes. Restriction-modification (RM) systems contain prototypic methylases that are responsible for much of bacterial DNA methylation. This review focuses on a distinctive group of type I RM loci that , through phase variation, can modify their methylation target specificity and can thereby switch bacteria between alternative patterns of DNA methylation. Phase variation occurs at the level of the target recognition domains of the hsdS (specificity) gene via reversible recombination processes acting upon multiple hsdS alleles.…

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June 9, 2017

Clostridium chauvoei, an evolutionary dead-end pathogen.

Full genome sequences of 20 strains of Clostridium chauvoei, the etiological agent of blackleg of cattle and sheep, isolated from four different continents over a period of 64 years (1951-2015) were determined and analyzed. The study reveals that the genome of the species C. chauvoei is highly homogeneous compared to the closely related species C. perfringens, a widespread pathogen that affects human and many animal species. Analysis of the CRISPR locus is sufficient to differentiate most C. chauvoei strains and is the most heterogenous region in the genome, containing in total 187 different spacer elements that are distributed as 30…

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