July 19, 2019  |  

Insertion sequence IS26 reorganizes plasmids in clinically isolated multidrug-resistant bacteria by replicative transposition.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE), which are resistant to most or all known antibiotics, constitute a global threat to public health. Transposable elements are often associated with antibiotic resistance determinants, suggesting a role in the emergence of resistance. One insertion sequence, IS26, is frequently associated with resistance determinants, but its role remains unclear. We have analyzed the genomic contexts of 70 IS26 copies in several clinical and surveillance CPE isolates from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. We used target site duplications and their patterns as guides and found that a large fraction of plasmid reorganizations result from IS26 replicative transpositions, including replicon fusions, DNA inversions, and deletions. Replicative transposition could also be inferred for transposon Tn4401, which harbors the carbapenemase blaKPC gene. Thus, replicative transposition is important in the ongoing reorganization of plasmids carrying multidrug-resistant determinants, an observation that carries substantial clinical and epidemiological implications for understanding how such extreme drug resistance phenotypes evolve.Although IS26 is frequently reported to reside in resistance plasmids of clinical isolates, the characteristic hallmark of transposition, target site duplication (TSD), is generally not observed, raising questions about the mode of transposition for IS26. The previous observation of cointegrate formation during transposition implies that IS26 transposes via a replicative mechanism. The other possible outcome of replicative transposition is DNA inversion or deletion, when transposition occurs intramolecularly, and this would also generate a specific TSD pattern that might also serve as supporting evidence for the transposition mechanism. The numerous examples we present here demonstrate that replicative transposition, used by many mobile elements (including IS26 and Tn4401), is prevalent in the plasmids of clinical isolates and results in significant plasmid reorganization. This study also provides a method to trace the evolution of resistance plasmids based on TSD patterns. Copyright © 2015 He et al.

July 19, 2019  |  

Mechanisms of evolution in high-consequence drug resistance plasmids.

The dissemination of resistance among bacteria has been facilitated by the fact that resistance genes are usually located on a diverse and evolving set of transmissible plasmids. However, the mechanisms generating diversity and enabling adaptation within highly successful resistance plasmids have remained obscure, despite their profound clinical significance. To understand these mechanisms, we have performed a detailed analysis of the mobilome (the entire mobile genetic element content) of a set of previously sequenced carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. This analysis revealed that plasmid reorganizations occurring in the natural context of colonization of human hosts were overwhelmingly driven by genetic rearrangements carried out by replicative transposons working in concert with the process of homologous recombination. A more complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary forces driving rearrangements in resistance plasmids may lead to fundamentally new strategies to address the problem of antibiotic resistance.The spread of antibiotic resistance among Gram-negative bacteria is a serious public health threat, as it can critically limit the types of drugs that can be used to treat infected patients. In particular, carbapenem-resistant members of the Enterobacteriaceae family are responsible for a significant and growing burden of morbidity and mortality. Here, we report on the mechanisms underlying the evolution of several plasmids carried by previously sequenced clinical Enterobacteriaceae isolates from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (NIH CC). Our ability to track genetic rearrangements that occurred within resistance plasmids was dependent on accurate annotation of the mobile genetic elements within the plasmids, which was greatly aided by access to long-read DNA sequencing data and knowledge of their mechanisms. Mobile genetic elements such as transposons and integrons have been strongly associated with the rapid spread of genes responsible for antibiotic resistance. Understanding the consequences of their actions allowed us to establish unambiguous evolutionary relationships between plasmids in the analysis set. Copyright © 2016 He et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Chromosomal rearrangements as barriers to genetic homogenization between archaic and modern humans.

Chromosomal rearrangements, which shuffle DNA throughout the genome, are an important source of divergence across taxa. Using a paired-end read approach with Illumina sequence data for archaic humans, I identify changes in genome structure that occurred recently in human evolution. Hundreds of rearrangements indicate genomic trafficking between the sex chromosomes and autosomes, raising the possibility of sex-specific changes. Additionally, genes adjacent to genome structure changes in Neanderthals are associated with testis-specific expression, consistent with evolutionary theory that new genes commonly form with expression in the testes. I identify one case of new-gene creation through transposition from the Y chromosome to chromosome 10 that combines the 5′-end of the testis-specific gene Fank1 with previously untranscribed sequence. This new transcript experienced copy number expansion in archaic genomes, indicating rapid genomic change. Among rearrangements identified in Neanderthals, 13% are transposition of selfish genetic elements, whereas 32% appear to be ectopic exchange between repeats. In Denisovan, the pattern is similar but numbers are significantly higher with 18% of rearrangements reflecting transposition and 40% ectopic exchange between distantly related repeats. There is an excess of divergent rearrangements relative to polymorphism in Denisovan, which might result from nonuniform rates of mutation, possibly reflecting a burst of transposable element activity in the lineage that led to Denisovan. Finally, loci containing genome structure changes show diminished rates of introgression from Neanderthals into modern humans, consistent with the hypothesis that rearrangements serve as barriers to gene flow during hybridization. Together, these results suggest that this previously unidentified source of genomic variation has important biological consequences in human evolution. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

July 7, 2019  |  

Assessment of insertion sequence mobilization as an adaptive response to oxidative stress in Acinetobacter baumannii using IS-Seq.

Insertion sequence (IS) elements are found throughout bacterial genomes and contribute to genome variation by interrupting genes or altering gene expression. Few of the more than thirty IS elements described in Acinetobacter baumannii have been characterized for transposition activity or expression effects. A targeted sequencing method, IS-seq, was developed to efficiently map the locations of new insertion events in A. baumannii genomes and was used to identify novel IS sites following growth in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Serial subculture in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of hydrogen peroxide led to rapid selection of cells carrying an ISAba1 element upstream of the catalase/peroxidase gene katG Several additional sites for the elements ISAba1, ISAba13, ISAba25, ISAba26, and ISAba125 were found at low abundance after serial subculture, indicating that each element is active and contributes to genetic variation that may be subject to selection. Following hydrogen peroxide exposure, rapid changes in gene expression were observed in genes related to iron homeostasis. The IS insertions adjacent to katG resulted in more than 20-fold overexpression of the gene and increased hydrogen peroxide tolerance.Importance Insertion sequences (IS) are contribute to genomic and phenotypic variation in many bacterial species, but little is known about how transposition rates vary among elements or how selective pressure influences this process. A new method, termed “IS-seq” for identifying new insertion locations that arise under experimental growth conditions in the genome was developed and tested with cells grown in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, which causes oxidative stress. Gene expression changes in response to hydrogen peroxide exposure are similar to those observed in other species and include genes that control free iron concentrations. New IS insertions adjacent to a gene encoding a catalase enzyme confirm that IS elements can rapidly contribute to adaptive variation in the presence of selection. Copyright © 2017 Wright et al.

July 7, 2019  |  

Genome stability in engineered strains of the extremely thermophilic lignocellulose-degrading bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii.

Caldicellulosiruptor bescii is the most thermophilic cellulose degrader known and is of great interest because of its ability to degrade nonpretreated plant biomass. For biotechnological applications, an efficient genetic system is required to engineer it to convert plant biomass into desired products. To date, two different genetically tractable lineages of C. bescii strains have been generated. The first (JWCB005) is based on a random deletion within the pyrimidine biosynthesis genes pyrFA, and the second (MACB1018) is based on the targeted deletion of pyrE, making use of a kanamycin resistance marker. Importantly, an active insertion element, ISCbe4, was discovered in C. bescii when it disrupted the gene for lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) in strain JWCB018, constructed in the JWCB005 background. Additional instances of ISCbe4 movement in other strains of this lineage are presented herein. These observations raise concerns about the genetic stability of such strains and their use as metabolic engineering platforms. In order to investigate genome stability in engineered strains of C. bescii from the two lineages, genome sequencing and Southern blot analyses were performed. The evidence presented shows a dramatic increase in the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, and ISCbe4 elements within the genome of JWCB005, leading to massive genome rearrangements in its daughter strain, JWCB018. Such dramatic effects were not evident in the newer MACB1018 lineage, indicating that JWCB005 and its daughter strains are not suitable for metabolic engineering purposes in C. bescii Furthermore, a facile approach for assessing genomic stability in C. bescii has been established. IMPORTANCE Caldicellulosiruptor bescii is a cellulolytic extremely thermophilic bacterium of great interest for metabolic engineering efforts geared toward lignocellulosic biofuel and bio-based chemical production. Genetic technology in C. bescii has led to the development of two uracil auxotrophic genetic background strains for metabolic engineering. We show that strains derived from the genetic background containing a random deletion in uracil biosynthesis genes (pyrFA) have a dramatic increase in the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, and ISCbe4 insertion elements in their genomes compared to the wild type. At least one daughter strain of this lineage also contains large-scale genome rearrangements that are flanked by these ISCbe4 elements. In contrast, strains developed from the second background strain developed using a targeted deletion strategy of the uracil biosynthetic gene pyrE have a stable genome structure, making them preferable for future metabolic engineering studies. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

July 7, 2019  |  

Mobile genetic elements: in silico, in vitro, in vivo.

Mobile genetic elements (MGEs), also called transposable elements (TEs), represent universal components of most genomes and are intimately involved in nearly all aspects of genome organization, function and evolution. However, there is currently a gap between the fast pace of TE discovery in silico, driven by the exponential growth of comparative genomic studies, and a limited number of experimental models amenable to more traditional in vitro and in vivo studies of structural, mechanistic and regulatory properties of diverse MGEs. Experimental and computational scientists came together to bridge this gap at a recent conference, ‘Mobile Genetic Elements: in silico, in vitro, in vivo’, held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, USA.© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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