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May 2, 2016

Regulation of genetic flux between bacteria by restriction-modification systems.

Restriction-modification (R-M) systems are often regarded as bacteria's innate immune systems, protecting cells from infection by mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Their diversification has been recently associated with the emergence of particularly virulent lineages. However, we have previously found more R-M systems in genomes carrying more MGEs. Furthermore, it has been suggested that R-M systems might favor genetic transfer by producing recombinogenic double-stranded DNA ends. To test whether R-M systems favor or disfavor genetic exchanges, we analyzed their frequency with respect to the inferred events of homologous recombination and horizontal gene transfer within 79 bacterial species. Genetic exchanges were more frequent…

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April 15, 2016

Structure of Type IIL restriction-modification enzyme MmeI in complex with DNA has implications for engineering new specificities.

The creation of restriction enzymes with programmable DNA-binding and -cleavage specificities has long been a goal of modern biology. The recently discovered Type IIL MmeI family of restriction-and-modification (RM) enzymes that possess a shared target recognition domain provides a framework for engineering such new specificities. However, a lack of structural information on Type IIL enzymes has limited the repertoire that can be rationally engineered. We report here a crystal structure of MmeI in complex with its DNA substrate and an S-adenosylmethionine analog (Sinefungin). The structure uncovers for the first time the interactions that underlie MmeI-DNA recognition and methylation (5'-TCCRAC-3'; R…

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January 20, 2016

Dam and Dcm methylations prevent gene transfer into Clostridium pasteurianum NRRL B-598: development of methods for electrotransformation, conjugation, and sonoporation.

Butanol is currently one of the most discussed biofuels. Its use provides many benefits in comparison to bio-ethanol, but the price of its fermentative production is still high. Genetic improvements could help solve many problems associated with butanol production during ABE fermentation, such as its toxicity, low concentration achievable in the cultivation medium, the need for a relatively expensive substrate, and many more. Clostridium pasteurianum NRRL B-598 is non-type strain producing butanol, acetone, and a negligible amount of ethanol. Its main benefits are high oxygen tolerance, utilization of a wide range of carbon and nitrogen sources, and the availability of…

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January 8, 2016

The complete genome sequence of the murine pathobiont Helicobacter typhlonius.

Immuno-compromised mice infected with Helicobacter typhlonius are used to model microbially inducted inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The specific mechanism through which H. typhlonius induces and promotes IBD is not fully understood. Access to the genome sequence is essential to examine emergent properties of this organism, such as its pathogenicity. To this end, we present the complete genome sequence of H. typhlonius MIT 97-6810, obtained through single-molecule real-time sequencing.The genome was assembled into a single circularized contig measuring 1.92 Mbp with an average GC content of 38.8%. In total 2,117 protein-encoding genes and 43 RNA genes were identified. Numerous pathogenic features…

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December 21, 2015

SMRT sequencing of the Campylobacter coli BfR-CA-9557 genome sequence reveals unique methylation motifs.

Campylobacter species are the most prevalent bacterial pathogen causing acute enteritis worldwide. In contrast to Campylobacter jejuni, about 5 % of Campylobacter coli strains exhibit susceptibility to restriction endonuclease digestion by DpnI cutting specifically 5'-G(m)ATC-3' motifs. This indicates significant differences in DNA methylation between both microbial species. The goal of the study was to analyze the methylome of a C. coli strain susceptible to DpnI digestion, to identify its methylation motifs and restriction modification systems (RM-systems), and compare them to related organisms like C. jejuni and Helicobacter pylori. Using one SMRT cell and the PacBio RS sequencing technology followed by PacBio…

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December 21, 2015

Lifespan of restriction-modification systems critically affects avoidance of their recognition sites in host genomes.

Avoidance of palindromic recognition sites of Type II restriction-modification (R-M) systems was shown for many R-M systems in dozens of prokaryotic genomes. However the phenomenon has not been investigated systematically for all presently available genomes and annotated R-M systems. We have studied all known recognition sites in thousands of prokaryotic genomes and found factors that influence their avoidance.Only Type II R-M systems consisting of independently acting endonuclease and methyltransferase (called 'orthodox' here) cause avoidance of their sites, both palindromic and asymmetric, in corresponding prokaryotic genomes; the avoidance takes place for?~?50 % of 1774 studied cases. It is known that prokaryotes can…

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December 11, 2015

DNA methylation assessed by SMRT Sequencing is linked to mutations in Neisseria meningitidis isolates.

The Gram-negative bacterium Neisseria meningitidis features extensive genetic variability. To present, proposed virulence genotypes are also detected in isolates from asymptomatic carriers, indicating more complex mechanisms underlying variable colonization modes of N. meningitidis. We applied the Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) sequencing method from Pacific Biosciences to assess the genome-wide DNA modification profiles of two genetically related N. meningitidis strains, both of serogroup A. The resulting DNA methylomes revealed clear divergences, represented by the detection of shared and of strain-specific DNA methylation target motifs. The positional distribution of these methylated target sites within the genomic sequences displayed clear biases, which suggest…

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November 17, 2015

Lineage-specific methyltransferases define the methylome of the globally disseminated Escherichia coli ST131 clone.

Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) is a clone of uropathogenic E. coli that has emerged rapidly and disseminated globally in both clinical and community settings. Members of the ST131 lineage from across the globe have been comprehensively characterized in terms of antibiotic resistance, virulence potential, and pathogenicity, but to date nothing is known about the methylome of these important human pathogens. Here we used single-molecule real-time (SMRT) PacBio sequencing to determine the methylome of E. coli EC958, the most-well-characterized completely sequenced ST131 strain. Our analysis of 52,081 methylated adenines in the genome of EC958 discovered three (m6)A methylation motifs that have…

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October 21, 2015

Pangenome analysis of Bifidobacterium longum and site-directed mutagenesis through by-pass of restriction-modification systems.

Bifidobacterial genome analysis has provided insights as to how these gut commensals adapt to and persist in the human GIT, while also revealing genetic diversity among members of a given bifidobacterial (sub)species. Bifidobacteria are notoriously recalcitrant to genetic modification, which prevents exploration of their genomic functions, including those that convey (human) health benefits.PacBio SMRT sequencing was used to determine the whole genome seqeunces of two B. longum subsp. longum strains. The B. longum pan-genome was computed using PGAP v1.2 and the core B. longum phylogenetic tree was constructed using a maximum-likelihood based approach in PhyML v3.0. M.blmNCII was cloned in…

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October 1, 2015

Role of restriction-modification systems in prokaryotic evolution and ecology

Restriction–modification (R-M) systems are able to methylate or cleave DNA depending on methylation status of their recognition site. It allows them to protect bacterial cells from invasion by foreign DNA. Comparative analysis of a large number of available bacterial genomes and methylomes clearly demonstrates that the role of R-M systems in bacteria is wider than only defense. R-M systems maintain heterogeneity of a bacterial population and are involved in adaptation of bacteria to change in their environmental conditions. R-M systems can be essential for host colonization by pathogenic bacteria. Phase variation and intragenomic recombinations are sources of the fast evolution…

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June 16, 2015

Genetic stabilization of the drug-resistant PMEN1 Pneumococcus lineage by its distinctive DpnIII restriction-modification system.

The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) exhibits a high degree of genomic diversity and plasticity. Isolates with high genomic similarity are grouped into lineages that undergo homologous recombination at variable rates. PMEN1 is a pandemic, multidrug-resistant lineage. Heterologous gene exchange between PMEN1 and non-PMEN1 isolates is directional, with extensive gene transfer from PMEN1 strains and only modest transfer into PMEN1 strains. Restriction-modification (R-M) systems can restrict horizontal gene transfer, yet most pneumococcal strains code for either the DpnI or DpnII R-M system and neither limits homologous recombination. Our comparative genomic analysis revealed that PMEN1 isolates code for DpnIII, a third…

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June 15, 2015

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…

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June 2, 2015

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…

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