April 21, 2020  |  

An ADAMTS3 missense variant is associated with Norwich Terrier upper airway syndrome.

In flat-faced dog breeds, air resistance caused by skull conformation is believed to be a major determinant of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). The clinical presentation of BOAS is heterogeneous, suggesting determinants independent of skull conformation contribute to airway disease. Norwich Terriers, a mesocephalic breed, are predisposed to Upper Airway Syndrome (UAS), a disease whose pathological features overlap with BOAS. Our health screening clinic examined and scored the airways of 401 Norwich terriers by laryngoscopy. Genome-wide association analyses of UAS-related pathologies revealed a genetic association on canine chromosome 13 (rs9043975, p = 7.79×10-16). Whole genome resequencing was used to identify causal variant(s) within a 414 kb critical interval. This approach highlighted an error in the CanFam3.1 dog assembly, which when resolved, led to the discovery of a c.2786G>A missense variant in exon 20 of the positional candidate gene, ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif 3 (ADAMTS3). In addition to segregating with UAS amongst Norwich Terriers, the ADAMTS3 c.2786G>A risk allele frequency was enriched among the BOAS-susceptible French and (English) Bulldogs. Previous studies indicate that ADAMTS3 loss of function results in lymphoedema. Our results suggest a new paradigm in the understanding of canine upper airway disease aetiology: airway oedema caused by disruption of ADAMTS3 predisposes dogs to respiratory obstruction. These findings will enhance breeding practices and could refine the prognostics of surgical interventions that are often used to treat airway obstruction.


October 23, 2019  |  

Galactofuranose in Mycoplasma mycoides is important for membrane integrity and conceals adhesins but does not contribute to serum resistance.

Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) and subsp. mycoides (Mmm) are important ruminant pathogens worldwide causing diseases such as pleuropneumonia, mastitis and septicaemia. They express galactofuranose residues on their surface, but their role in pathogenesis has not yet been determined. The M.?mycoides genomes contain up to several copies of the glf gene, which encodes an enzyme catalysing the last step in the synthesis of galactofuranose. We generated a deletion of the glf gene in a strain of Mmc using genome transplantation and tandem repeat endonuclease coupled cleavage (TREC) with yeast as an intermediary host for the genome editing. As expected, the resulting YCp1.1-?glf strain did not produce the galactofuranose-containing glycans as shown by immunoblots and immuno-electronmicroscopy employing a galactofuranose specific monoclonal antibody. The mutant lacking galactofuranose exhibited a decreased growth rate and a significantly enhanced adhesion to small ruminant cells. The mutant was also ‘leaking’ as revealed by a ß-galactosidase-based assay employing a membrane impermeable substrate. These findings indicate that galactofuranose-containing polysaccharides conceal adhesins and are important for membrane integrity. Unexpectedly, the mutant strain showed increased serum resistance. © 2015 The Authors. Molecular Microbiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

The bacterial microbiome of Dermacentor andersoni ticks influences pathogen susceptibility.

Ticks are of medical importance owing to their ability to transmit pathogens to humans and animals. The Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, is a vector of a number of pathogens, including Anaplasma marginale, which is the most widespread tick-borne pathogen of livestock. Although ticks host pathogenic bacteria, they also harbor bacterial endosymbionts that have a role in tick physiology, survival, as well as pathogen acquisition and transmission. The goal of this study was to characterize the bacterial microbiome and examine the impact of microbiome disruption on pathogen susceptibility. The bacterial microbiome of two populations of D. andersoni with historically different susceptibilities to A. marginale was characterized. In this study, the microbiome was disrupted and then ticks were exposed to A. marginale or Francisella novicida to determine whether the microbiome correlated with pathogen susceptibility. Our study showed that an increase in proportion and quantity of Rickettsia bellii in the microbiome was negatively correlated to A. marginale levels in ticks. Furthermore, a decrease in Francisella endosymbionts was associated with lower F. novicida infection levels, demonstrating a positive pathogen-endosymbiont relationship. We demonstrate that endosymbionts and pathogens have varying interactions, and suggest that microbiome manipulation may provide a possible method for biocontrol by decreasing pathogen susceptibility of ticks.


September 22, 2019  |  

Normalized long read RNA sequencing in chicken reveals transcriptome complexity similar to human.

Despite the significance of chicken as a model organism, our understanding of the chicken transcriptome is limited compared to human. This issue is common to all non-human vertebrate annotations due to the difficulty in transcript identification from short read RNAseq data. While previous studies have used single molecule long read sequencing for transcript discovery, they did not perform RNA normalization and 5′-cap selection which may have resulted in lower transcriptome coverage and truncated transcript sequences.We sequenced normalised chicken brain and embryo RNA libraries with Pacific Bioscience Iso-Seq. 5′ cap selection was performed on the embryo library to provide methodological comparison. From these Iso-Seq sequencing projects, we have identified 60 k transcripts and 29 k genes within the chicken transcriptome. Of these, more than 20 k are novel lncRNA transcripts with ~3 k classified as sense exonic overlapping lncRNA, which is a class that is underrepresented in many vertebrate annotations. The relative proportion of alternative transcription events revealed striking similarities between the chicken and human transcriptomes while also providing explanations for previously observed genomic differences.Our results indicate that the chicken transcriptome is similar in complexity compared to human, and provide insights into other vertebrate biology. Our methodology demonstrates the potential of Iso-Seq sequencing to rapidly expand our knowledge of transcriptomics.


September 22, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of two genotype A2 small ruminant lentiviruses isolated from infected U.S. sheep.

Two distinct subgroups of genotype A2 small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLVs) have been identified in the United States that infect sheep with specific host transmembrane protein 154 (TMEM154) diplotypes. Here, we report the first two complete genome sequences of SRLV strains infecting U.S. sheep belonging to genotype A2, subgroups 1 and 2. Copyright © 2017 Workman et al.


September 22, 2019  |  

The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) immunoglobulin heavy chain suggests the importance of clan III variable segments in repertoire diversity.

Manatees are a vulnerable, charismatic sentinel species from the evolutionarily divergent Afrotheria. Manatee health and resistance to infectious disease is of great concern to conservation groups, but little is known about their immune system. To develop manatee-specific tools for monitoring health, we first must have a general knowledge of how the immunoglobulin heavy (IgH) chain locus is organized and transcriptionally expressed. Using the genomic scaffolds of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), we characterized the potential IgH segmental diversity and constant region isotypic diversity and performed the first Afrotherian repertoire analysis. The Florida manatee has low V(D)J combinatorial diversity (3744 potential combinations) and few constant region isotypes. They also lack clan III V segments, which may have caused reduced VH segment numbers. However, we found productive somatic hypermutation concentrated in the complementarity determining regions. In conclusion, manatees have limited IGHV clan and combinatorial diversity. This suggests that clan III V segments are essential for maintaining IgH locus diversity. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  |  

Genomic diversity of Taylorella equigenitalis introduced into the United States from 1978 to 2012.

Contagious equine metritis is a disease of worldwide concern in equids. The United States is considered to be free of the disease although sporadic outbreaks have occurred over the last few decades that were thought to be associated with the importation of horses. The objective of this study was to create finished, reference quality genomes that characterize the diversity of Taylorella equigenitalis isolates introduced into the USA, and identify their differences. Five isolates of T. equigenitalis associated with introductions into the USA from unique sources were sequenced using both short and long read chemistries allowing for complete assembly and annotation. These sequences were compared to previously published genomes as well as the short read sequences of the 200 isolates in the National Veterinary Services Laboratories’ diagnostic repository to identify unique regions and genes, potential virulence factors, and characterize diversity. The 5 genomes varied in size by up to 100,000 base pairs, but averaged 1.68 megabases. The majority of that diversity in size can be explained by repeat regions and 4 main regions of difference, which ranged in size from 15,000 to 45,000 base pairs. The first region of difference contained mostly hypothetical proteins, the second contained the CRISPR, the third contained primarily hemagglutinin proteins, and the fourth contained primarily segments of a type IV secretion system. As expected and previously reported, little evidence of recombination was found within these genomes. Several additional areas of interest were also observed including a mechanism for streptomycin resistance and other virulence factors. A SNP distance comparison of the T. equigenitalis isolates and Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) showed that relatively, T. equigenitalis was a more diverse species than the entirety of MTBC.


September 22, 2019  |  

Hepacivirus A infection in horses defines distinct envelope hypervariable regions and elucidates potential roles of viral strain and adaptive immune status in determining envelope diversity and infection outcome.

Hepacivirus A (also known as nonprimate hepacivirus and equine hepacivirus) is a hepatotropic virus that can cause both transient and persistent infections in horses. The evolution of intrahost viral populations (quasispecies) has not been studied in detail for hepacivirus A, and its roles in immune evasion and persistence are unknown. To address these knowledge gaps, we first evaluated the envelope gene (E1 and E2) diversity of two different hepacivirus A strains (WSU and CU) in longitudinal blood samples from experimentally infected adult horses, juvenile horses (foals), and foals with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). Persistent infection with the WSU strain was associated with significantly greater quasispecies diversity than that observed in horses who spontaneously cleared infection (P = 0.0002) or in SCID foals (P < 0.0001). In contrast, the CU strain was able to persist despite significantly lower (P < 0.0001) and relatively static envelope diversity. These findings indicate that envelope diversity is a poor predictor of hepacivirus A infection outcomes and could be dependent on strain-specific factors. Next, entropy analysis was performed on all E1/E2 genes entered into GenBank. This analysis defined three novel hypervariable regions (HVRs) in E2, at residues 391 to 402 (HVR1), 450 to 461 (HVR2), and 550 to 562 (HVR3). For the experimentally infected horses, entropy analysis focusing on the HVRs demonstrated that these regions were under increased selective pressure during persistent infection. Increased diversity in the HVRs was also temporally associated with seroconversion in some horses, suggesting that these regions may be targets of neutralizing antibody and may play a role in immune evasion.IMPORTANCE Hepacivirus C (hepatitis C virus) is estimated to infect 150 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In contrast, its closest relative, hepacivirus A, causes relatively mild disease in horses and is frequently cleared. The relationship between quasispecies evolution and infection outcome has not been explored for hepacivirus A. To address this knowledge gap, we examined envelope gene diversity in horses with resolving and persistent infections. Interestingly, two strain-specific patterns of quasispecies diversity emerged. Persistence of the WSU strain was associated with increased quasispecies diversity and the accumulation of amino acid changes within three novel hypervariable regions following seroconversion. These findings provided evidence that envelope gene mutation is influenced by adaptive immune pressure and may contribute to hepacivirus persistence. However, the CU strain persisted despite relative evolutionary stasis, suggesting that some hepacivirus strains may use alternative mechanisms to persist in the host. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


July 19, 2019  |  

A comparative analysis of methylome profiles of Campylobacter jejuni sheep abortion isolate and gastroenteric strains using PacBio data.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of human gastrointestinal disease and small ruminant abortions in the United States. The recent emergence of a highly virulent, tetracycline-resistant C. jejuni subsp. jejuni sheep abortion clone (clone SA) in the United States, and that strain’s association with human disease, has resulted in a heightened awareness of the zoonotic potential of this organism. Pacific Biosciences’ Single Molecule, Real-Time sequencing technology was used to explore the variation in the genome-wide methylation patterns of the abortifacient clone SA (IA3902) and phenotypically distinct gastrointestinal-specific C. jejuni strains (NCTC 11168 and 81-176). Several notable differences were discovered that distinguished the methylome of IA3902 from that of 11168 and 81-176: identification of motifs novel to IA3902, genome-specific hypo- and hypermethylated regions, strain level variability in genes methylated, and differences in the types of methylation motifs present in each strain. These observations suggest a possible role of methylation in the contrasting disease presentations of these three C. jejuni strains. In addition, the methylation profiles between IA3902 and a luxS mutant were explored to determine if variations in methylation patterns could be identified that might explain the role of LuxS-dependent methyl recycling in IA3902 abortifacient potential.


July 19, 2019  |  

Identification of a common risk haplotype for canine idiopathic epilepsy in the ADAM23 gene.

Idiopathic epilepsy is a common neurological disease in human and domestic dogs but relatively few risk genes have been identified to date. The seizure characteristics, including focal and generalised seizures, are similar between the two species, with gene discovery facilitated by the reduced genetic heterogeneity of purebred dogs. We have recently identified a risk locus for idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd breed on a 4.4 megabase region on CFA37.We have expanded a previous study replicating the association with a combined analysis of 157 cases and 179 controls in three additional breeds: Schipperke, Finnish Spitz and Beagle (pc?=?2.9e-07, pGWAS?=?1.74E-02). A targeted resequencing of the 4.4 megabase region in twelve Belgian Shepherd cases and twelve controls with opposite haplotypes identified 37 case-specific variants within the ADAM23 gene. Twenty-seven variants were validated in 285 cases and 355 controls from four breeds, resulting in a strong replication of the ADAM23 locus (praw?=?2.76e-15) and the identification of a common 28 kb-risk haplotype in all four breeds. Risk haplotype was present in frequencies of 0.49-0.7 in the breeds, suggesting that ADAM23 is a low penetrance risk gene for canine epilepsy.These results implicate ADAM23 in common canine idiopathic epilepsy, although the causative variant remains yet to be identified. ADAM23 plays a role in synaptic transmission and interacts with known epilepsy genes, LGI1 and LGI2, and should be considered as a candidate gene for human epilepsies.


July 19, 2019  |  

Large deletions at the SHOX locus in the pseudoautosomal region are associated with skeletal atavism in Shetland ponies.

Skeletal atavism in Shetland ponies is a heritable disorder characterized by abnormal growth of the ulna and fibula that extend the carpal and tarsal joints, respectively. This causes abnormal skeletal structure, impaired movements, and affected foals are usually euthanized. In order to identify the causal mutation we subjected six confirmed Swedish cases and a DNA pool consisting of 21 control individuals to whole genome resequencing. We screened for polymorphisms where the cases and the control pool were fixed for opposite alleles and observed this signature for only 25 SNPs, most of which were scattered on genome assembly unassigned scaffolds. Read depth analysis at these loci revealed homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for two partially overlapping large deletions in the pseudoautosomal region (PAR) of chromosome X/Y in cases but not in the control pool. One of these deletions removes the entire coding region of the SHOX gene and both deletions remove parts of the CRLF2 gene located downstream of SHOX. The horse reference assembly of the PAR is highly fragmented, and in order to characterize this region we sequenced bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology. This considerably improved the assembly and enabled size estimations of the two deletions to 160-180 kb and 60-80 kb, respectively. Complete association between the presence of these deletions and disease status was verified in eight other affected horses. The result of the present study is consistent with previous studies in humans showing crucial importance of SHOX for normal skeletal development. Copyright © 2016 Author et al.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comparative analysis of extended-spectrum-ß-lactamase CTX-M-65-producing Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis isolates from humans, food animals, and retail chickens in the United States.

We sequenced the genomes of ten Salmonella enterica serovar Infantis containing blaCTX-M-65 isolated from chicken, cattle, and human sources collected between 2012 and 2015 in the United States through routine NARMS surveillance and product sampling programs. We also completely assembled the plasmids from four of the isolates. All isolates had a D87Y mutation in the gyrA gene and harbored between 7 and 10 resistance genes (aph (4)-Ia, aac (3)-IVa, aph(3′ )-Ic, blaCTX-M-65, fosA3, floR, dfrA14, sul1, tetA, aadA1) located in two distinct sites of a megaplasmid (~316-323kb) similar to that described in a blaCTX-M-65-positive S. Infantis isolated from a patient in Italy. High-quality single nucleotide polymorphism (hqSNP) analysis revealed that all U.S. isolates were closely related, separated by only 1 to 38 pairwise high quality SNPs, indicating a high likelihood that strains from humans, chicken, and cattle recently evolved from a common ancestor. The U.S. isolates were genetically similar to the blaCTX-M-65-positive S. Infantis isolate from Italy, with a separation of 34 to 47 SNPs. This is the first report of the blaCTX-M-65 gene and the pESI-like megaplasmid from S. Infantis in the United States, and illustrates the importance of applying a global One Health, human and animal perspective to combat antimicrobial resistance. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 19, 2019  |  

The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) T cell receptor loci exhibit V subgroup synteny and chain-specific evolution.

The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) has limited diversity in the immunoglobulin heavy chain. We therefore investigated the antigen receptor loci of the other arm of the adaptive immune system: the T cell receptor. Manatees are the first species from Afrotheria, a basal eutherian superorder, to have an in-depth characterization of all T cell receptor loci. By annotating the genome and expressed transcripts, we found that each chain has distinct features that correlates to their individual functions. The genomic organization also plays a role in modulating sequence conservation between species. There were extensive V subgroup synteny blocks in the TRA and TRB loci between T. m. latirostris and human. Increased genomic locus complexity correlated to increased locus synteny. We also identified evidence for a VHD pseudogene for the first time in a eutherian mammal. These findings emphasize the value of including species within this basal eutherian radiation in comparative studies. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

Molecular characterization of plasmid pMoma1of Moraxella macacae, a newly described bacterial pathogen of macaques.

We report the complete nucleotide sequence and characterization of a small cryptic plasmid of Moraxella macacae 0408225, a newly described bacterial species within the family Moraxellaceae and a causative agent of epistaxis in macaques. The complete nucleotide sequence of the plasmid pMoma1 was determined and found to be 5,375 bp in size with a GC content of 37.4 %. Computer analysis of the sequence data revealed five open reading frames encoding putative proteins of 54.4 kDa (ORF1), 17.6 kDa (ORF2), 13.3 kDa (ORF3), 51.6 kDa (ORF4), and 25.0 kDa (ORF5). ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3 encode putative proteins with high identity (72, 42, and 55 %, respectively) to mobilization proteins of plasmids found in other Moraxella species. ORF3 encodes a putative protein with similarity (about 40 %) to several plasmid replicase (RepA) proteins. The fifth open reading frames (ORF) was most similar to hypothetical proteins with unknown functions, although domain analysis of this sequence suggests it belongs to the Abi-like protein family. Upstream of the repA gene, a 470-bp intergenic region, was identified that contained an AT-rich section and two sets of tandem direct and indirect repeats, consistent with a putative origin of replication site. In contrast to other plasmids of Moraxella, the occurrence of pMoma1 in M. macacae isolates appears to be common as PCR testing of 14 clinical isolates from two different research institutions all contained the plasmid.


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