April 21, 2020  |  

Multidrug resistance and multivirulence plasmids in enterotoxigenic and hybrid Shiga toxin-producing/enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli isolated from diarrheic pigs in Switzerland.

Enterovirulent Escherichia coli infections cause significant losses in the pig industry. However, information about the structures of the virulence and multidrug resistance (MDR) plasmids harboured by these strains is sparse. In this study, we used whole-genome sequencing with PacBio and Illumina platforms to analyse the molecular features of the multidrug-resistant enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) strain 14OD0056 and the multidrug-resistant hybrid Shiga toxin-producing/enterotoxigenic E. coli (STEC/ETEC) strain 15OD0495 isolated from diarrheic pigs in Switzerland. Strain 14OD0056 possessed three virulence plasmids similar to others previously found in ETEC strains, while 15OD0495 harboured a 119-kb multivirulence IncFII/IncX1 hybrid STEC/ETEC plasmid (p15ODTXV) that co-carried virulence genes of both ETEC and STEC pathotypes, confirming the key role of plasmids in the emergence of hybrid pathotypes. All resistance genes of 14OD0056 that conferred resistance to ampicillin (blaTEM-1b), gentamicin (aac(3)-IIa), kanamycin (aph(3′)-Ia), sulfonamide (sul1 and sul2), streptomycin (aph(3?)-Ib, aph(6)-Id), tetracycline (tet(B)) and trimethoprim (dfrA1) were identified on a single 207-kb conjugative MDR plasmid of incompatibility group (Inc) IncHI1/IncFIA (p14ODMR). Strain 15OD0495 carried two antimicrobial resistance plasmids (p15ODAR and p15ODMR). The 99-kb IncI1 plasmid p15ODAR harboured only aminoglycoside resistance genes (aac(3)-IIa, aph(3?)-Ib, aph(6)-Id, aph(4)-Ia), whilst the 49-kb IncN MDR plasmid p15ODMR carried genes conferring resistance to ampicillin (blaTEM-1b), sulfonamide (sul2), streptomycin (aph(6)-Id), tetracycline (tet(A)) and trimethoprim (dfrA14). Filter mating assays showed that p14ODMR, p15ODMR and p15ODAR were conjugative at room temperature and 37°C. The co-localization of multiple resistance genes on MDR conjugative plasmids such as p14ODMR and p15ODMR poses the risk of simultaneous selection of several resistance traits during empirical treatment. Thus, preventive strategies and targeted therapy following antibiotic susceptibility testing should be encouraged to avoid further dissemination of such plasmids. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genomics and host specialization of honey bee and bumble bee gut symbionts.

Gilliamella apicola and Snodgrassella alvi are dominant members of the honey bee (Apis spp.) and bumble bee (Bombus spp.) gut microbiota. We generated complete genomes of the type strains G. apicola wkB1(T) and S. alvi wkB2(T) (isolated from Apis), as well as draft genomes for four other strains from Bombus. G. apicola and S. alvi were found to occupy very different metabolic niches: The former is a saccharolytic fermenter, whereas the latter is an oxidizer of carboxylic acids. Together, they may form a syntrophic network for partitioning of metabolic resources. Both species possessed numerous genes [type 6 secretion systems, repeats in toxin (RTX) toxins, RHS proteins, adhesins, and type IV pili] that likely mediate cell-cell interactions and gut colonization. Variation in these genes could account for the host fidelity of strains observed in previous phylogenetic studies. Here, we also show the first experimental evidence, to our knowledge, for this specificity in vivo: Strains of S. alvi were able to colonize their native bee host but not bees of another genus. Consistent with specific, long-term host association, comparative genomic analysis revealed a deep divergence and little or no gene flow between Apis and Bombus gut symbionts. However, within a host type (Apis or Bombus), we detected signs of horizontal gene transfer between G. apicola and S. alvi, demonstrating the importance of the broader gut community in shaping the evolution of any one member. Our results show that host specificity is likely driven by multiple factors, including direct host-microbe interactions, microbe-microbe interactions, and social transmission.


September 22, 2019  |  

First draft genome of an iconic clownfish species (Amphiprion frenatus).

Clownfishes (or anemonefishes) form an iconic group of coral reef fishes, principally known for their mutualistic interaction with sea anemones. They are characterized by particular life history traits, such as a complex social structure and mating system involving sequential hermaphroditism, coupled with an exceptionally long lifespan. Additionally, clownfishes are considered to be one of the rare groups to have experienced an adaptive radiation in the marine environment. Here, we assembled and annotated the first genome of a clownfish species, the tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus). We obtained 17,801 assembled scaffolds, containing a total of 26,917 genes. The completeness of the assembly and annotation was satisfying, with 96.5% of the Actinopterygii Benchmarking Universal Single-Copy Orthologs (BUSCOs) being retrieved in A. frenatus assembly. The quality of the resulting assembly is comparable to other bony fish assemblies. This resource is valuable for advancing studies of the particular life history traits of clownfishes, as well as being useful for population genetic studies and the development of new phylogenetic markers. It will also open the way to comparative genomics. Indeed, future genomic comparison among closely related fishes may provide means to identify genes related to the unique adaptations to different sea anemone hosts, as well as better characterize the genomic signatures of an adaptive radiation.© 2018 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Resources Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

Transposon-associated lincosamide resistance lnu(C) gene identified in Brachyspira hyodysenteriae ST83.

Treatment of Swine Dysentery (SD) caused by Brachyspira hyodysenteriae (B. hyodysenteriae) is carried out using antimicrobials such as macrolides, lincosamides and pleuromutilins leading to the selection of resistant strains. Whole genome sequencing of a multidrug-resistant B. hyodysenteriae strain called BH718 belonging to sequence type (ST) 83 revealed the presence of the lincosamide resistance gene lnu(C) on the small 1724-bp transposon MTnSag1. The strain also contains an A to T substitution at position 2058 (A2058T) in the 23S rRNA gene which is known to be associated with macrolide and lincosamide resistance in B. hyodysenteriae. Testing of additional strains showed that those containing lnu(C) exhibited a higher minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of lincomycin (MIC?=?64?mg/L) compared to strains lacking lnu(C), even if they also harbor the A2058T mutation. Resistance to pleuromutilins could not be explained by the presence of already reported mutations in the 23S rRNA gene and in the ribosomal protein L3. This study shows that B. hyodysenteriae has the ability to acquire mobile genetic elements conferring resistance to antibiotics. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Blood CXCR3+CD4 T cells are enriched in inducible replication competent HIV in aviremic antiretroviral therapy-treated individuals.

We recently demonstrated that lymph nodes (LNs) PD-1+/T follicular helper (Tfh) cells from antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated HIV-infected individuals were enriched in cells containing replication competent virus. However, the distribution of cells containing inducible replication competent virus has been only partially elucidated in blood memory CD4 T-cell populations including the Tfh cell counterpart circulating in blood (cTfh). In this context, we have investigated the distribution of (1) total HIV-infected cells and (2) cells containing replication competent and infectious virus within various blood and LN memory CD4 T-cell populations of conventional antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated HIV-infected individuals. In the present study, we show that blood CXCR3-expressing memory CD4 T cells are enriched in cells containing inducible replication competent virus and contributed the most to the total pool of cells containing replication competent and infectious virus in blood. Interestingly, subsequent proviral sequence analysis did not indicate virus compartmentalization between blood and LN CD4 T-cell populations, suggesting dynamic interchanges between the two compartments. We then investigated whether the composition of blood HIV reservoir may reflect the polarization of LN CD4 T cells at the time of reservoir seeding and showed that LN PD-1+CD4 T cells of viremic untreated HIV-infected individuals expressed significantly higher levels of CXCR3 as compared to CCR4 and/or CCR6, suggesting that blood CXCR3-expressing CD4 T cells may originate from LN PD-1+CD4 T cells. Taken together, these results indicate that blood CXCR3-expressing CD4 T cells represent the major blood compartment containing inducible replication competent virus in treated aviremic HIV-infected individuals.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genetic separation of Listeria monocytogenes causing central nervous system infections in animals.

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes abortion, septicemia, gastroenteritis and central nervous system (CNS) infections in ruminants and humans. L. monocytogenes strains mainly belong to two distinct phylogenetic groups, named lineages I and II. In general, clinical cases in humans and animals, in particular CNS infections, are caused by lineage I strains, while most of the environmental and food strains belong to lineage II. Little is known about why lineage I is more virulent than lineage II, even though various molecular factors and mechanisms associated with pathogenesis are known. In this study, we have used a variety of whole genome sequence analyses and comparative genomic tools in order to find characteristics that distinguish lineage I from lineage II strains and CNS infection strains from non-CNS strains. We analyzed 225 strains and identified single nucleotide variants between lineages I and II, as well as differences in the gene content. Using a novel approach based on Reads Per Kilobase per Million Mapped (RPKM), we identified 167 genes predominantly absent in lineage II but present in lineage I. These genes are mostly encoding for membrane-associated proteins. Additionally, we found 77 genes that are largely absent in the non-CNS associated strains, while 39 genes are especially lacking in our defined “non-clinical” group. Based on the RPKM analysis and the metadata linked to the L. monocytogenes strains, we identified 6 genes potentially associated with CNS cases, which include a transcriptional regulator, an ABC transporter and a non-coding RNA. Although there is not a clear separation between pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains based on phylogenetic lineages, the presence of the genes identified in our study reveals potential pathogenesis traits in ruminant L. monocytogenes strains. Ultimately, the differences that we have found in our study will help steer future studies in understanding the virulence mechanisms of the most pathogenic L. monocytogenes strains.


September 22, 2019  |  

Autologous cell therapy approach for Duchenne muscular dystrophy using PiggyBac transposons and mesoangioblasts.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal muscle-wasting disease currently without cure. We investigated the use of the PiggyBac transposon for full-length dystrophin expression in murine mesoangioblast (MABs) progenitor cells. DMD murine MABs were transfected with transposable expression vectors for full-length dystrophin and transplanted intramuscularly or intra-arterially into mdx/SCID mice. Intra-arterial delivery indicated that the MABs could migrate to regenerating muscles to mediate dystrophin expression. Intramuscular transplantation yielded dystrophin expression in 11%-44% of myofibers in murine muscles, which remained stable for the assessed period of 5 months. The satellite cells isolated from transplanted muscles comprised a fraction of MAB-derived cells, indicating that the transfected MABs may colonize the satellite stem cell niche. Transposon integration site mapping by whole-genome sequencing indicated that 70% of the integrations were intergenic, while none was observed in an exon. Muscle resistance assessment by atomic force microscopy indicated that 80% of fibers showed elasticity properties restored to those of wild-type muscles. As measured in vivo, transplanted muscles became more resistant to fatigue. This study thus provides a proof-of-principle that PiggyBac transposon vectors may mediate full-length dystrophin expression as well as functional amelioration of the dystrophic muscles within a potential autologous cell-based therapeutic approach of DMD. Copyright © 2018 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Size and content of the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome in dioecious Mercurialis annua, a plant with homomorphic sex chromosomes.

Dioecious plants vary in whether their sex chromosomes are heteromorphic or homomorphic, but even homomorphic sex chromosomes may show divergence between homologues in the non-recombining, sex-determining region (SDR). Very little is known about the SDR of these species, which might represent particularly early stages of sex-chromosome evolution. Here, we assess the size and content of the SDR of the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua, a species with homomorphic sex chromosomes and mild Y-chromosome degeneration. We used RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify new Y-linked markers for M. annua. Twelve of 24 transcripts showing male-specific expression in a previous experiment could be amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) only from males, and are thus likely to be Y-linked. Analysis of genome-capture data from multiple populations of M. annua pointed to an additional six male-limited (and thus Y-linked) sequences. We used these markers to identify and sequence 17 sex-linked bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), which form 11 groups of non-overlapping sequences, covering a total sequence length of about 1.5 Mb. Content analysis of this region suggests that it is enriched for repeats, has low gene density, and contains few candidate sex-determining genes. The BACs map to a subset of the sex-linked region of the genetic map, which we estimate to be at least 14.5 Mb. This is substantially larger than estimates for other dioecious plants with homomorphic sex chromosomes, both in absolute terms and relative to their genome sizes. Our data provide a rare, high-resolution view of the homomorphic Y chromosome of a dioecious plant.


July 19, 2019  |  

Global methylation state at base-pair resolution of the Caulobacter genome throughout the cell cycle.

The Caulobacter DNA methyltransferase CcrM is one of five master cell-cycle regulators. CcrM is transiently present near the end of DNA replication when it rapidly methylates the adenine in hemimethylated GANTC sequences. The timing of transcription of two master regulator genes and two cell division genes is controlled by the methylation state of GANTC sites in their promoters. To explore the global extent of this regulatory mechanism, we determined the methylation state of the entire chromosome at every base pair at five time points in the cell cycle using single-molecule, real-time sequencing. The methylation state of 4,515 GANTC sites, preferentially positioned in intergenic regions, changed progressively from full to hemimethylation as the replication forks advanced. However, 27 GANTC sites remained unmethylated throughout the cell cycle, suggesting that these protected sites could participate in epigenetic regulatory functions. An analysis of the time of activation of every cell-cycle regulatory transcription start site, coupled to both the position of a GANTC site in their promoter regions and the time in the cell cycle when the GANTC site transitions from full to hemimethylation, allowed the identification of 59 genes as candidates for epigenetic regulation. In addition, we identified two previously unidentified N(6)-methyladenine motifs and showed that they maintained a constant methylation state throughout the cell cycle. The cognate methyltransferase was identified for one of these motifs as well as for one of two 5-methylcytosine motifs.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative genomics of two sequential Candida glabrata clinical isolates.

Candida glabrata is an important fungal pathogen which develops rapid antifungal resistance in treated patients. It is known that azole treatments lead to antifungal resistance in this fungal species and that multidrug efflux transporters are involved in this process. Specific mutations in the transcriptional regulator PDR1 result in upregulation of the transporters. In addition, we showed that the PDR1 mutations can contribute to enhance virulence in animal models. In this study, we were interested to compare genomes of two specific C. glabrata-related isolates, one of which was azole susceptible (DSY562) while the other was azole resistant (DSY565). DSY565 contained a PDR1 mutation (L280F) and was isolated after a time-lapse of 50 d of azole therapy. We expected that genome comparisons between both isolates could reveal additional mutations reflecting host adaptation or even additional resistance mechanisms. The PacBio technology used here yielded 14 major contigs (sizes 0.18-1.6 Mb) and mitochondrial genomes from both DSY562 and DSY565 isolates that were highly similar to each other. Comparisons of the clinical genomes with the published CBS138 genome indicated important genome rearrangements, but not between the clinical strains. Among the unique features, several retrotransposons were identified in the genomes of the investigated clinical isolates. DSY562 and DSY565 each contained a large set of adhesin-like genes (101 and 107, respectively), which exceed by far the number of reported adhesins (63) in the CBS138 genome. Comparison between DSY562 and DSY565 yielded 17 nonsynonymous SNPs (among which the was the expected PDR1 mutation) as well as small size indels in coding regions (11) but mainly in adhesin-like genes. The genomes contained a DNA mismatch repair allele of MSH2 known to be involved in the so-called hyper-mutator phenotype of this yeast species and the number of accumulated mutations between both clinical isolates is consistent with the presence of a MSH2 defect. In conclusion, this study is the first to compare genomes of C. glabrata sequential clinical isolates using the PacBio technology as an approach. The genomes of these isolates taken in the same patient at two different time points exhibited limited variations, even if submitted to the host pressure. Copyright © 2017 Vale-Silva et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Male-killing toxin in a bacterial symbiont of Drosophila.

Several lineages of symbiotic bacteria in insects selfishly manipulate host reproduction to spread in a population 1 , often by distorting host sex ratios. Spiroplasma poulsonii2,3 is a helical and motile, Gram-positive symbiotic bacterium that resides in a wide range of Drosophila species 4 . A notable feature of S. poulsonii is male killing, whereby the sons of infected female hosts are selectively killed during development1,2. Although male killing caused by S. poulsonii has been studied since the 1950s, its underlying mechanism is unknown. Here we identify an S. poulsonii protein, designated Spaid, whose expression induces male killing. Overexpression of Spaid in D. melanogaster kills males but not females, and induces massive apoptosis and neural defects, recapitulating the pathology observed in S. poulsonii-infected male embryos5-11. Our data suggest that Spaid targets the dosage compensation machinery on the male X chromosome to mediate its effects. Spaid contains ankyrin repeats and a deubiquitinase domain, which are required for its subcellular localization and activity. Moreover, we found a laboratory mutant strain of S. poulsonii with reduced male-killing ability and a large deletion in the spaid locus. Our study has uncovered a bacterial protein that affects host cellular machinery in a sex-specific way, which is likely to be the long-searched-for factor responsible for S. poulsonii-induced male killing.


July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative genome analysis of Pseudomonas knackmussii B13, the first bacterium known to degrade chloroaromatic compounds.

Pseudomonas knackmussii B13 was the first strain to be isolated in 1974 that could degrade chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. This discovery was the prologue for subsequent characterization of numerous bacterial metabolic pathways, for genetic and biochemical studies, and which spurred ideas for pollutant bioremediation. In this study, we determined the complete genome sequence of B13 using next generation sequencing technologies and optical mapping. Genome annotation indicated that B13 has a variety of metabolic pathways for degrading monoaromatic hydrocarbons including chlorobenzoate, aminophenol, anthranilate and hydroxyquinol, but not polyaromatic compounds. Comparative genome analysis revealed that B13 is closest to Pseudomonas denitrificans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The B13 genome contains at least eight genomic islands [prophages and integrative conjugative elements (ICEs)], which were absent in closely related pseudomonads. We confirm that two ICEs are identical copies of the 103?kb self-transmissible element ICEclc that carries the genes for chlorocatechol metabolism. Comparison of ICEclc showed that it is composed of a variable and a ‘core’ region, which is very conserved among proteobacterial genomes, suggesting a widely distributed family of so far uncharacterized ICE. Resequencing of two spontaneous B13 mutants revealed a number of single nucleotide substitutions, as well as excision of a large 220?kb region and a prophage that drastically change the host metabolic capacity and survivability. © 2014 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Gut symbionts from distinct hosts exhibit genotoxic activity via divergent colibactin biosynthetic pathways.

Secondary metabolites produced by nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) or polyketide synthase (PKS) pathways are chemical mediators of microbial interactions in diverse environments. However, little is known about their distribution, evolution, and functional roles in bacterial symbionts associated with animals. A prominent example is “colibactin”, a largely unknown family of secondary metabolites produced by Escherichia coli via a hybrid NRPS-PKS biosynthetic pathway, inflicting DNA damage upon eukaryotic cells and contributing to colorectal cancer and tumor formation in the mammalian gut. Thus far, homologs of this pathway have only been found in closely related Enterobacteriaceae, while a divergent variant of this gene cluster was recently discovered in a marine alphaproteobacterial Pseudovibrio strain. Herein, we sequenced the genome of Frischella perrara PEB0191, a bacterial gut symbiont of honey bees, and identified a homologous colibactin biosynthetic pathway related to those found in Enterobacteriaceae. We show that the colibactin genomic island (GI) has conserved gene synteny and biosynthetic module architecture across F. perrara, Enterobacteriaceae and the Pseudovibrio strain. Comparative metabolomics analyses of F. perrara and E. coli further reveal that these two bacteria produce related colibactin pathway-dependent metabolites. Finally, we demonstrate that F. perrara, like E. coli, causes DNA damage in eukaryotic cells in vitro in a colibactin pathway-dependent manner. Together, these results support that divergent variants of the colibactin biosynthetic pathway are widely distributed among bacterial symbionts, producing related secondary metabolites and likely endowing its producer with functional capabilities important for diverse symbiotic associations. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the Drosophila melanogaster male-killing Spiroplasma strain MSRO endosymbiont.

Spiroplasmas are helical and motile members of a cell wall-less eubacterial group called Mollicutes. Although all spiroplasmas are associated with arthropods, they exhibit great diversity with respect to both their modes of transmission and their effects on their hosts; ranging from horizontally transmitted pathogens and commensals to endosymbionts that are transmitted transovarially (i.e., from mother to offspring). Here we provide the first genome sequence, along with proteomic validation, of an endosymbiotic inherited Spiroplasma bacterium, the Spiroplasma poulsonii MSRO strain harbored by Drosophila melanogaster. Comparison of the genome content of S. poulsonii with that of horizontally transmitted spiroplasmas indicates that S. poulsonii has lost many metabolic pathways and transporters, demonstrating a high level of interdependence with its insect host. Consistent with genome analysis, experimental studies showed that S. poulsonii metabolizes glucose but not trehalose. Notably, trehalose is more abundant than glucose in Drosophila hemolymph, and the inability to metabolize trehalose may prevent S. poulsonii from overproliferating. Our study identifies putative virulence genes, notably, those for a chitinase, the H2O2-producing glycerol-3-phosphate oxidase, and enzymes involved in the synthesis of the eukaryote-toxic lipid cardiolipin. S. poulsonii also expresses on the cell membrane one functional adhesion-related protein and two divergent spiralin proteins that have been implicated in insect cell invasion in other spiroplasmas. These lipoproteins may be involved in the colonization of the Drosophila germ line, ensuring S. poulsonii vertical transmission. The S. poulsonii genome is a valuable resource to explore the mechanisms of male killing and symbiont-mediated protection, two cardinal features of many facultative endosymbionts.Most insect species, including important disease vectors and crop pests, harbor vertically transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria. These endosymbionts play key roles in their hosts’ fitness, including protecting them against natural enemies and manipulating their reproduction in ways that increase the frequency of symbiont infection. Little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie these processes. Here, we provide the first genome draft of a vertically transmitted male-killing Spiroplasma bacterium, the S. poulsonii MSRO strain harbored by D. melanogaster. Analysis of the S. poulsonii genome was complemented by proteomics and ex vivo metabolic experiments. Our results indicate that S. poulsonii has reduced metabolic capabilities and expresses divergent membrane lipoproteins and potential virulence factors that likely participate in Spiroplasma-host interactions. This work fills a gap in our knowledge of insect endosymbionts and provides tools with which to decipher the interaction between Spiroplasma bacteria and their well-characterized host D. melanogaster, which is emerging as a model of endosymbiosis. Copyright © 2015 Paredes et al.


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