July 19, 2019  |  

AnnoTALE: bioinformatics tools for identification, annotation, and nomenclature of TALEs from Xanthomonas genomic sequences.

Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) are virulence factors, produced by the bacterial plant-pathogen Xanthomonas, that function as gene activators inside plant cells. Although the contribution of individual TALEs to infectivity has been shown, the specific roles of most TALEs, and the overall TALE diversity in Xanthomonas spp. is not known. TALEs possess a highly repetitive DNA-binding domain, which is notoriously difficult to sequence. Here, we describe an improved method for characterizing TALE genes by the use of PacBio sequencing. We present ‘AnnoTALE’, a suite of applications for the analysis and annotation of TALE genes from Xanthomonas genomes, and for grouping similar TALEs into classes. Based on these classes, we propose a unified nomenclature for Xanthomonas TALEs that reveals similarities pointing to related functionalities. This new classification enables us to compare related TALEs and to identify base substitutions responsible for the evolution of TALE specificities.


July 19, 2019  |  

Phase variation of a Type IIG restriction-modification enzyme alters site-specific methylation patterns and gene expression in Campylobacter jejuni strain NCTC11168.

Phase-variable restriction-modification systems are a feature of a diverse range of bacterial species. Stochastic, reversible switches in expression of the methyltransferase produces variation in methylation of specific sequences. Phase-variable methylation by both Type I and Type III methyltransferases is associated with altered gene expression and phenotypic variation. One phase-variable gene of Campylobacter jejuni encodes a homologue of an unusual Type IIG restriction-modification system in which the endonuclease and methyltransferase are encoded by a single gene. Using both inhibition of restriction and PacBio-derived methylome analyses of mutants and phase-variants, the cj0031c allele in C. jejuni strain NCTC11168 was demonstrated to specifically methylate adenine in 5’CCCGA and 5’CCTGA sequences. Alterations in the levels of specific transcripts were detected using RNA-Seq in phase-variants and mutants of cj0031c but these changes did not correlate with observed differences in phenotypic behaviour. Alterations in restriction of phage growth were also associated with phase variation (PV) of cj0031c and correlated with presence of sites in the genomes of these phages. We conclude that PV of a Type IIG restriction-modification system causes changes in site-specific methylation patterns and gene expression patterns that may indirectly change adaptive traits.© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


July 19, 2019  |  

Large genomic differences between Moraxella bovoculi isolates acquired from the eyes of cattle with infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis versus the deep nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle.

Moraxella bovoculi is a recently described bacterium that is associated with infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK) or “pinkeye” in cattle. In this study, closed circularized genomes were generated for seven M. bovoculi isolates: three that originated from the eyes of clinical IBK bovine cases and four from the deep nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle. Isolates that originated from the eyes of IBK cases profoundly differed from those that originated from the nasopharynx of asymptomatic cattle in genome structure, gene content and polymorphism diversity and consequently placed into two distinct phylogenetic groups. These results suggest that there are genetically distinct strains of M. bovoculi that may not associate with IBK.


July 19, 2019  |  

Comprehensive mutagenesis of the fimS promoter regulatory switch reveals novel regulation of type 1 pili in uropathogenic Escherichia coli.

Type 1 pili (T1P) are major virulence factors for uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), which cause both acute and recurrent urinary tract infections. T1P expression therefore is of direct relevance for disease. T1P are phase variable (both piliated and nonpiliated bacteria exist in a clonal population) and are controlled by an invertible DNA switch (fimS), which contains the promoter for the fim operon encoding T1P. Inversion of fimS is stochastic but may be biased by environmental conditions and other signals that ultimately converge at fimS itself. Previous studies of fimS sequences important for T1P phase variation have focused on laboratory-adapted E. coli strains and have been limited in the number of mutations or by alteration of the fimS genomic context. We surmounted these limitations by using saturating genomic mutagenesis of fimS coupled with accurate sequencing to detect both mutations and phase status simultaneously. In addition to the sequences known to be important for biasing fimS inversion, our method also identifies a previously unknown pair of 5′ UTR inverted repeats that act by altering the relative fimA levels to control phase variation. Thus we have uncovered an additional layer of T1P regulation potentially impacting virulence and the coordinate expression of multiple pilus systems.


July 19, 2019  |  

Genome structural diversity among 31 Bordetella pertussis isolates from two recent U.S. whooping cough statewide epidemics

During 2010 and 2012, California and Vermont, respectively, experienced statewide epidemics of pertussis with differences seen in the demographic affected, case clinical presentation, and molecular epidemiology of the circulating strains. To overcome limitations of the current molecular typing methods for pertussis, we utilized whole-genome sequencing to gain a broader understanding of how current circulating strains are causing large epidemics. Through the use of combined next-generation sequencing technologies, this study compared de novo, single-contig genome assemblies from 31 out of 33 Bordetella pertussis isolates collected during two separate pertussis statewide epidemics and 2 resequenced vaccine strains. Final genome architecture assemblies were verified with whole-genome optical mapping. Sixteen distinct genome rearrangement profiles were observed in epidemic isolate genomes, all of which were distinct from the genome structures of the two resequenced vaccine strains. These rearrangements appear to be mediated by repetitive sequence elements, such as high-copy-number mobile genetic elements and rRNA operons. Additionally, novel and previously identified single nucleotide polymorphisms were detected in 10 virulence-related genes in the epidemic isolates. Whole-genome variation analysis identified state-specific variants, and coding regions bearing nonsynonymous mutations were classified into functional annotated orthologous groups. Comprehensive studies on whole genomes are needed to understand the resurgence of pertussis and develop novel tools to better characterize the molecular epidemiology of evolving B.~pertussis populations.IMPORTANCE Pertussis, or whooping cough, is the most poorly controlled vaccine-preventable bacterial disease in the United States, which has experienced a resurgence for more than a decade. Once viewed as a monomorphic pathogen, B.~pertussis strains circulating during epidemics exhibit diversity visible on a genome structural level, previously undetectable by traditional sequence analysis using short-read technologies. For the first time, we combine short- and long-read sequencing platforms with restriction optical mapping for single-contig, de novo assembly of 31 isolates to investigate two geographically and temporally independent U.S. pertussis epidemics. These complete genomes reshape our understanding of B.~pertussis evolution and strengthen molecular epidemiology toward one day understanding the resurgence of pertussis.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete telomere-to-telomere de novo assembly of the Plasmodium falciparum genome through long-read (>11?kb), single molecule, real-time sequencing.

The application of next-generation sequencing to estimate genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum, the most lethal malaria parasite, has proved challenging due to the skewed AT-richness [~80.6% (A?+?T)] of its genome and the lack of technology to assemble highly polymorphic subtelomeric regions that contain clonally variant, multigene virulence families (Ex: var and rifin). To address this, we performed amplification-free, single molecule, real-time sequencing of P. falciparum genomic DNA and generated reads of average length 12?kb, with 50% of the reads between 15.5 and 50?kb in length. Next, using the Hierarchical Genome Assembly Process, we assembled the P. falciparum genome de novo and successfully compiled all 14 nuclear chromosomes telomere-to-telomere. We also accurately resolved centromeres [~90-99% (A?+?T)] and subtelomeric regions and identified large insertions and duplications that add extra var and rifin genes to the genome, along with smaller structural variants such as homopolymer tract expansions. Overall, we show that amplification-free, long-read sequencing combined with de novo assembly overcomes major challenges inherent to studying the P. falciparum genome. Indeed, this technology may not only identify the polymorphic and repetitive subtelomeric sequences of parasite populations from endemic areas but may also evaluate structural variation linked to virulence, drug resistance and disease transmission. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Kazusa DNA Research Institute.


July 19, 2019  |  

Condition-dependent co-regulation of genomic clusters of virulence factors in the grapevine trunk pathogen Neofusicoccum parvum.

The ascomycete Neofusicoccum parvum, one of the causal agents of Botryosphaeria dieback, is a destructive wood-infecting fungus and a serious threat to grape production worldwide. The capability to colonize woody tissue, combined with the secretion of phytotoxic compounds, is thought to underlie its pathogenicity and virulence. Here, we describe the repertoire of virulence factors and their transcriptional dynamics as the fungus feeds on different substrates and colonizes the woody stem. We assembled and annotated a highly contiguous genome using single-molecule real-time DNA sequencing. Transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing determined the genome-wide patterns of expression of virulence factors both in vitro (potato dextrose agar or medium amended with grape wood as substrate) and in planta. Pairwise statistical testing of differential expression, followed by co-expression network analysis, revealed that physically clustered genes coding for putative virulence functions were induced depending on the substrate or stage of plant infection. Co-expressed gene clusters were significantly enriched not only in genes associated with secondary metabolism, but also in those associated with cell wall degradation, suggesting that dynamic co-regulation of transcriptional networks contributes to multiple aspects of N. parvum virulence. In most of the co-expressed clusters, all genes shared at least a common motif in their promoter region, indicative of co-regulation by the same transcription factor. Co-expression analysis also identified chromatin regulators with correlated expression with inducible clusters of virulence factors, suggesting a complex, multi-layered regulation of the virulence repertoire of N. parvum.© 2016 BSPP AND JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing (PacBio) of the Staphylococcus capitis NRCS-A clone reveals the basis of multidrug resistance and adaptation to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit environment.

The multi-resistant Staphylococcus capitis clone NRCS-A has recently been described as a major pathogen causing nosocomial, late-onset sepsis (LOS) in preterm neonates worldwide. NRCS-A representatives exhibit an atypical antibiotic resistance profile. Here, the complete closed genome (chromosomal and plasmid sequences) of NRCS-A prototype strain CR01 and the draft genomes of three other clinical NRCS-A strains from Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom are annotated and compared to available non-NRCS-A S. capitis genomes. Our goal was to delineate the uniqueness of the NRCS-A clone with respect to antibiotic resistance, virulence factors and mobile genetic elements. We identified 6 antimicrobial resistance genes, all carried by mobile genetic elements. Previously described virulence genes present in the NRCS-A genomes are shared with the six non-NRCS-A S. capitis genomes. Overall, 63 genes are specific to the NRCS-A lineage, including 28 genes located in the methicillin-resistance cassette SCCmec. Among the 35 remaining genes, 25 are of unknown function, and 9 correspond to an additional type I restriction modification system (n = 3), a cytosine methylation operon (n = 2), and a cluster of genes related to the biosynthesis of teichoic acids (n = 4). Interestingly, a tenth gene corresponds to a resistance determinant for nisin (nsr gene), a bacteriocin secreted by potential NRCS-A strain niche competitors in the gut microbiota. The genomic characteristics presented here emphasize the contribution of mobile genetic elements to the emergence of multidrug resistance in the S. capitis NRCS-A clone. No NRCS-A-specific known virulence determinant was detected, which does not support a role for virulence as a driving force of NRCS-A emergence in NICUs worldwide. However, the presence of a nisin resistance determinant on the NRCS-A chromosome, but not in other S. capitis strains and most coagulase-negative representatives, might confer a competitive advantage to NRCS-A strains during the early steps of gut colonization in neonates. This suggests that the striking adaptation of NRCS-A to the NICU environment might be related to its specific antimicrobial resistance and also to a possible enhanced ability to challenge competing bacteria in its ecological niche.


July 19, 2019  |  

SMRT genome assembly corrects reference errors, resolving the genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

The genetic basis of virulence in Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been investigated through genome comparisons of virulent (H37Rv) and attenuated (H37Ra) sister strains. Such analysis, however, relies heavily on the accuracy of the sequences. While the H37Rv reference genome has had several corrections to date, that of H37Ra is unmodified since its original publication.Here, we report the assembly and finishing of the H37Ra genome from single-molecule, real-time (SMRT) sequencing. Our assembly reveals that the number of H37Ra-specific variants is less than half of what the Sanger-based H37Ra reference sequence indicates, undermining and, in some cases, invalidating the conclusions of several studies. PE_PPE family genes, which are intractable to commonly-used sequencing platforms because of their repetitive and GC-rich nature, are overrepresented in the set of genes in which all reported H37Ra-specific variants are contradicted. Further, one of the sequencing errors in H37Ra masks a true variant in common with the clinical strain CDC1551 which, when considered in the context of previous work, corresponds to a sequencing error in the H37Rv reference genome.Our results constrain the set of genomic differences possibly affecting virulence by more than half, which focuses laboratory investigation on pertinent targets and demonstrates the power of SMRT sequencing for producing high-quality reference genomes.


July 19, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Vibrio campbellii strain 20130629003S01 isolated from shrimp with acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease.

Vibrio campbellii is widely distributed in the marine environment and is an important pathogen of aquatic organisms such as shrimp, fish, and mollusks. An isolate of V. campbellii carrying the pirAB(vp) gene, causing acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND), has been reported. There are no previous reports about the complete genome of V. campbellii causing AHPND (VCAHPND). To extend our understanding of the pathogenesis of VCAHPND at the genomic level, the genome of V. campbellii 20130629003S01 isolated from a shrimp with AHPND was sequenced and analysed.The complete genome sequence of V. campbellii 20130629003S01 was generated using the PacBio RSII platform with single molecule, real-time sequencing. The 20130629003S01 strain consists of two circular chromosomes (3,621,712 bp in chromosome 1 and 2,245,751 bp in chromosome 2) and four plasmids of 70,066, 204,531, 143,140, and 86,121 bp. The genome contains a total of 5855 protein coding genes, 134 tRNA genes and 37 rRNA genes. The average nucleotide identity value of 20130629003S01 and other reference V. campbellii strains was 97.46%, suggesting that they are closely related.The genome sequence of V. campbellii 20130629003S01 and its comparative analysis with other V. campbellii strains that we present here are important for a better understanding of the genomic characteristics of VCAHPND.


July 19, 2019  |  

Characterization of a large antibiotic resistance plasmid found in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli strain B171 and its relatedness to plasmids of diverse E. coli and Shigella.

Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) is a leading cause of severe infantile diarrhea in developing countries. Previous research has focused on the diversity of the EPEC virulence plasmid, whereas less is known regarding the genetic content and distribution of antibiotic resistance plasmids carried by EPEC. A previous study demonstrated that in addition to the virulence plasmid, reference EPEC strain B171 harbors a second, larger plasmid that confers antibiotic resistance. To further understand the genetic diversity and dissemination of antibiotic resistance plasmids among EPEC strains, we describe the complete sequence of an antibiotic resistance plasmid from EPEC strain B171. The resistance plasmid, pB171_90, has a completed sequence length of 90,229 bp, a GC content of 54.55%, and carries protein-encoding genes involved in conjugative transfer, resistance to tetracycline (tetA), sulfonamides (sulI), and mercury, as well as several virulence-associated genes, including the transcriptional regulator hha and the putative calcium sequestration inhibitor (csi). In silico detection of the pB171_90 genes among 4,798 publicly available E. coli genome assemblies indicates that the unique genes of pB171_90 (csi and traI) are primarily restricted to genomes identified as EPEC or enterotoxigenic E. coli However, conserved regions of the pB171_90 plasmid containing genes involved in replication, stability, and antibiotic resistance were identified among diverse E. coli pathotypes. Interestingly, pB171_90 also exhibited significant similarity with a sequenced plasmid from Shigella dysenteriae type I. Our findings demonstrate the mosaic nature of EPEC antibiotic resistance plasmids and highlight the need for additional sequence-based characterization of antibiotic resistance plasmids harbored by pathogenic E. coli. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 19, 2019  |  

Monitoring microevolution of OXA-48-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST147 in a hospital setting by SMRT sequencing.

Carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae pose an increasing risk for healthcare facilities worldwide. A continuous monitoring of ST distribution and its association with resistance and virulence genes is required for early detection of successful K. pneumoniae lineages. In this study, we used WGS to characterize MDR blaOXA-48-positive K. pneumoniae isolated from inpatients at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Germany, between March 2013 and August 2014.Closed genomes for 16 isolates of carbapenemase-producing K. pneumoniae were generated by single molecule real-time technology using the PacBio RSII platform.Eight of the 16 isolates showed identical XbaI macrorestriction patterns and shared the same MLST, ST147. The eight ST147 isolates differed by only 1-25 SNPs of their core genome, indicating a clonal origin. Most of the eight ST147 isolates carried four plasmids with sizes of 246.8, 96.1, 63.6 and 61.0?kb and a novel linear plasmid prophage, named pKO2, of 54.6?kb. The blaOXA-48 gene was located on a 63.6?kb IncL plasmid and is part of composite transposon Tn1999.2. The ST147 isolates expressed the yersinabactin system as a major virulence factor. The comparative whole-genome analysis revealed several rearrangements of mobile genetic elements and losses of chromosomal and plasmidic regions in the ST147 isolates.Single molecule real-time sequencing allowed monitoring of the genetic and epigenetic microevolution of MDR OXA-48-producing K. pneumoniae and revealed in addition to SNPs, complex rearrangements of genetic elements.© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 7, 2019  |  

Emergence of scarlet fever Streptococcus pyogenes emm12 clones in Hong Kong is associated with toxin acquisition and multidrug resistance.

A scarlet fever outbreak began in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2011 (refs. 1-6). Macrolide- and tetracycline-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes emm12 isolates represent the majority of clinical cases. Recently, we identified two mobile genetic elements that were closely associated with emm12 outbreak isolates: the integrative and conjugative element ICE-emm12, encoding genes for tetracycline and macrolide resistance, and prophage FHKU.vir, encoding the superantigens SSA and SpeC, as well as the DNase Spd1 (ref. 4). Here we sequenced the genomes of 141 emm12 isolates, including 132 isolated in Hong Kong between 2005 and 2011. We found that the introduction of several ICE-emm12 variants, FHKU.vir and a new prophage, FHKU.ssa, occurred in three distinct emm12 lineages late in the twentieth century. Acquisition of ssa and transposable elements encoding multidrug resistance genes triggered the expansion of scarlet fever-associated emm12 lineages in Hong Kong. The occurrence of multidrug-resistant ssa-harboring scarlet fever strains should prompt heightened surveillance within China and abroad for the dissemination of these mobile genetic elements.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete annotated genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Zopf) Lehmann and Neumann (ATCC35812) (Kurono).

We report the completely annotated genome sequence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Zopf) Lehmann and Neumann (ATCC35812) (Kurono), which is a used for virulence and/or immunization studies. The complete genome sequence of M. tuberculosis Kurono was determined with a length of 4,415,078 bp and a G+C content of 65.60%. The chromosome was shown to contain a total of 4,340 protein-coding genes, 53 tRNA genes, one transfer messenger RNA for all amino acids, and 1 rrn operon. Lineage analysis based on large sequence polymorphisms indicated that M. tuberculosis Kurono belongs to the Euro-American lineage (lineage 4). Phylogenetic analysis using whole genome sequences of M. tuberculosis Kurono in addition to 22 M. tuberculosis complex strains indicated that H37Rv is the closest relative of Kurono based on the results of phylogenetic analysis. These findings provide a basis for research using M. tuberculosis Kurono, especially in animal models. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Prevalence of subtilase cytotoxin-encoding subAB variants among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli strains isolated from wild ruminants and sheep differs from that of cattle and pigs and is predominated by the new allelic variant subAB2-2.

Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) is an AB5 toxin produced by Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) strains usually lacking the eae gene product intimin. Three allelic variants of SubAB encoding genes have been described: subAB1, located on a plasmid, subAB2-1, located on the pathogenicity island SE-PAI and subAB2-2 located in an outer membrane efflux protein (OEP) region. SubAB is becoming increasingly recognized as a toxin potentially involved in human pathogenesis. Ruminants and cattle have been identified as reservoirs of subAB-positive STEC. The presence of the three subAB allelic variants was investigated by PCR for 152 STEC strains originating from chamois, ibex, red deer, roe deer, cattle, sheep and pigs. Overall, subAB genes were detected in 45.5% of the strains. Prevalence was highest for STEC originating from ibex (100%), chamois (92%) and sheep (65%). None of the STEC of bovine or of porcine origin tested positive for subAB. None of the strains tested positive for subAB1. The allelic variant subAB2-2 was detected the most commonly, with 51.4% possessing subAb2-1 together with subAB2-2. STEC of ovine origin, serotypes O91:H- and O128:H2, the saa gene, which encodes for the autoagglutinating adhesin and stx2b were significantly associated with subAB-positive STEC. Our results suggest that subAB2-1 and subAB2-2 is widespread among STEC from wild ruminants and sheep and may be important as virulence markers in STEC pathogenic to humans. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


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