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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genetically diverse uropathogenic Escherichia coli adopt a common transcriptional program in patients with urinary tract infections

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) is the major causative agent of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). A common virulence genotype of UPEC strains responsible for UTIs is yet to be defined, due to the large variation of virulence factors observed in UPEC strains. We hypothesized that studying UPEC functional responses in patients might reveal universal UPEC features that enable pathogenesis. Here we identify a transcriptional program shared by genetically diverse UPEC strains isolated from 14 patients during uncomplicated UTIs. Strikingly, this in vivo gene expression program is marked by upregulation of translational machinery, providing a mechanism for the rapid growth within…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Disruption of the kringle 1 domain of prothrombin leads to late onset mortality in zebrafish

The ability to prevent blood loss in response to injury is a critical, evolutionarily conserved function of all vertebrates. Prothrombin (F2) contributes to both primary and secondary hemostasis through the activation of platelets and the conversion of soluble fibrinogen to insoluble fibrin, respectively. Complete prothrombin deficiency has never been observed in humans and is incompatible with life in mice, limiting the ability to understand the entirety of prothrombin’s in vivo functions. We have previously demonstrated the ability of zebrafish to tolerate loss of both pro- and anticoagulant factors that are embryonic lethal in mammals, making them an ideal model for…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

DNA methylation from a Type I restriction modification system influences gene expression and virulence in Streptococcus pyogenes.

DNA methylation is pervasive across all domains of life. In bacteria, the presence of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) has been detected among diverse species, yet the contribution of m6A to the regulation of gene expression is unclear in many organisms. Here we investigated the impact of DNA methylation on gene expression and virulence within the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Streptococcus. Single Molecule Real-Time sequencing and subsequent methylation analysis identified 412 putative m6A sites throughout the 1.8 Mb genome. Deletion of the Restriction, Specificity, and Methylation gene subunits (?RSM strain) of a putative Type I restriction modification system lost all…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The bacteriocin from the prophylactic candidate Streptococcus suis 90-1330 is widely distributed across S. suis isolates and appears encoded in an integrative and conjugative element.

The Gram-positive a-hemolytic Streptococcus suis is a major pathogen in the swine industry and an emerging zoonotic agent that can cause several systemic issues in both pigs and humans. A total of 35 S. suis serotypes (SS) have been identified and genotyped into > 700 sequence types (ST) by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Eurasian ST1 isolates are the most virulent of all S. suis SS2 strains while North American ST25 and ST28 strains display moderate to low/no virulence phenotypes, respectively. Notably, S. suis 90-1330 is an avirulent Canadian SS2-ST28 isolate producing a lantibiotic bacteriocin with potential prophylactic applications. To investigate…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genome-wide de novo L1 Retrotransposition Connects Endonuclease Activity with Replication.

L1 retrotransposon-derived sequences comprise approximately 17% of the human genome. Darwinian selective pressures alter L1 genomic distributions during evolution, confounding the ability to determine initial L1 integration preferences. Here, we generated high-confidence datasets of greater than 88,000 engineered L1 insertions in human cell lines that act as proxies for cells that accommodate retrotransposition in vivo. Comparing these insertions to a null model, in which L1 endonuclease activity is the sole determinant dictating L1 integration preferences, demonstrated that L1 insertions are not significantly enriched in genes, transcribed regions, or open chromatin. By comparison, we provide compelling evidence that the L1 endonuclease disproportionately cleaves…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Impacts of experimentally accelerated forest succession on belowground plant and fungal communities

Understanding how soil processes, belowground plant and fungal species composition, and nutrient cycles are altered by disturbances is essential for understanding the role forests play in mitigating global climate change. Here we ask: How are root and fungal communities altered in a mid-successional forest during shifts in dominant tree species composition? This study utilizes the Forest Accelerated Succession ExperimenT (FASET) at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) as a platform for addressing this question. FASET consists of a 39-ha treatment in which all mature early successional aspen (Populus spp.) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera) were killed by stem-girdling in…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microbial communities are shaped by plant-driven changes in resource availability during secondary succession.

Although we understand the ecological processes eliciting changes in plant community composition during secondary succession, we do not understand whether co-occurring changes in plant detritus shape saprotrophic microbial communities in soil. In this study, we investigated soil microbial composition and function across an old-field chronosequence ranging from 16 to 86 years following agricultural abandonment, as well as three forests representing potential late-successional ecosystems. Fungal and bacterial community composition was quantified from ribosomal DNA, and insight into the functional potential of the microbial community to decay plant litter was gained from shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Accumulation of soil organic…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Identification of putative coffee rust mycoparasites using single molecule DNA sequencing of infected pustules.

The interaction of crop pests with their natural enemies is a fundament to their control. Natural enemies of fungal pathogens of crops are poorly known relative to those of insect pests despite the diversity of fungal pathogens and their economic importance. Currently, many regions across Latin America are experiencing unprecedented epidemics of coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix). Identification of natural enemies of coffee rust could aid in developing management strategies or in pinpointing species that could be used for biocontrol. Here we characterize fungal communities associated with coffee rust lesions by single molecule DNA sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA barcodes from…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Anthropogenic N deposition alters the composition of expressed class II fungal peroxidases.

Here, we present evidence that ca. 20 years of experimental N deposition altered the composition of lignin-decaying class II peroxidases expressed by forest floor fungi, a response which has occurred concurrently with reductions in plant litter decomposition and a rapid accumulation of soil organic matter. This finding suggests that anthropogenic N deposition has induced changes in the biological mediation of lignin decay, the rate limiting step in plant litter decomposition. Thus, an altered composition of transcripts for a critical gene that is associated with terrestrial C cycling may explain the increased soil C storage under long-term increases in anthropogenic N…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Atmospheric N deposition increases bacterial laccase-like multicopper oxidases: implications for organic matter decay.

Anthropogenic release of biologically available nitrogen (N) has increased dramatically over the last 150 years, which can alter the processes controlling carbon (C) storage in terrestrial ecosystems. In a northern hardwood forest ecosystem located in Michigan in the United States, nearly 20 years of experimentally increased atmospheric N deposition has reduced forest floor decay and increased soil C storage. This change occurred concomitantly with compositional changes in Basidiomycete fungi and in Actinobacteria, as well as the downregulation of fungal lignocelluloytic genes. Recently, laccase-like multicopper oxidases (LMCOs) have been discovered among bacteria which can oxidize ß-O-4 linkages in phenolic compounds (e.g.,…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Active microorganisms in forest soils differ from the total community yet are shaped by the same environmental factors: the influence of pH and soil moisture.

Predicting the impact of environmental change on soil microbial functions requires an understanding of how environmental factors shape microbial composition. Here, we investigated the influence of environmental factors on bacterial and fungal communities across an expanse of northern hardwood forest in Michigan, USA, which spans a 500-km regional climate gradient. We quantified soil microbial community composition using high-throughput DNA sequencing on coextracted rDNA (i.e. total community) and rRNA (i.e. active community). Within both bacteria and fungi, total and active communities were compositionally distinct from one another across the regional gradient (bacteria P = 0.01; fungi P < 0.01). Taxonomically, the…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil bacterial communities are shaped by temporal and environmental filtering: evidence from a long-term chronosequence.

Soil microbial communities are abundant, hyper-diverse and mediate global biogeochemical cycles, but we do not yet understand the processes mediating their assembly. Current hypothetical frameworks suggest temporal (e.g. dispersal limitation) and environmental (e.g. soil pH) filters shape microbial community composition; however, there is limited empirical evidence supporting this framework in the hyper-diverse soil environment, particularly at large spatial (i.e. regional to continental) and temporal (i.e. 100 to 1000 years) scales. Here, we present evidence from a long-term chronosequence (4000 years) that temporal and environmental filters do indeed shape soil bacterial community composition. Furthermore, nearly 20 years of environmental monitoring allowed…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microbial communities and elk foraging intensity: implications for soil biogeochemical cycling in the sagebrush steppe.

Foraging intensity of large herbivores may exert an indirect top-down ecological force on soil microbial communities via changes in plant litter inputs. We investigated the responses of the soil microbial community to elk (Cervus elaphus) winter range occupancy across a long-term foraging exclusion experiment in the sagebrush steppe of the North American Rocky Mountains, combining phylogenetic analysis of fungi and bacteria with shotgun metagenomics and extracellular enzyme assays. Winter foraging intensity was associated with reduced bacterial richness and increasingly distinct bacterial communities. Although fungal communities did not respond linearly to foraging intensity, a greater ß-diversity response to winter foraging exclusion…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Complete genome sequences of two human oral microbiome commensals, Streptococcus salivarius ATCC 25975 and S. salivarius ATCC 27945.

Streptococcus salivarius strains are significant contributors to the human oral microbiome. Some possess unique fimbriae that give them the ability to coaggregate and colonize particular oral structures. We present here the complete genomes of Streptococcus salivarius Lancefield K(-)/K(+) strains ATCC 25975 and ATCC 27945, which can and cannot, respectively, produce fimbriae. Copyright © 2017 Butler et al.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Citrobacter freundii fitness during bloodstream infection.

Sepsis resulting from microbial colonization of the bloodstream is a serious health concern associated with high mortality rates. The objective of this study was to define the physiologic requirements of Citrobacter freundii in the bloodstream as a model for bacteremia caused by opportunistic Gram-negative pathogens. A genetic screen in a murine host identified 177 genes that contributed significantly to fitness, the majority of which were broadly classified as having metabolic or cellular maintenance functions. Among the pathways examined, the Tat protein secretion system conferred the single largest fitness contribution during competition infections and a putative Tat-secreted protein, SufI, was also…

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