April 21, 2020  |  

Dynamic virulence-related regions of the plant pathogenic fungus Verticillium dahliae display enhanced sequence conservation.

Plant pathogens continuously evolve to evade host immune responses. During host colonization, many fungal pathogens secrete effectors to perturb such responses, but these in turn may become recognized by host immune receptors. To facilitate the evolution of effector repertoires, such as the elimination of recognized effectors, effector genes often reside in genomic regions that display increased plasticity, a phenomenon that is captured in the two-speed genome hypothesis. The genome of the vascular wilt fungus Verticillium dahliae displays regions with extensive presence/absence polymorphisms, so-called lineage-specific regions, that are enriched in in planta-induced putative effector genes. As expected, comparative genomics reveals differential degrees of sequence divergence between lineage-specific regions and the core genome. Unanticipated, lineage-specific regions display markedly higher sequence conservation in coding as well as noncoding regions than the core genome. We provide evidence that disqualifies horizontal transfer to explain the observed sequence conservation and conclude that sequence divergence occurs at a slower pace in lineage-specific regions of the V. dahliae genome. We hypothesize that differences in chromatin organisation may explain lower nucleotide substitution rates in the plastic, lineage-specific regions of V. dahliae. © 2019 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


September 22, 2019  |  

PCR and omics based techniques to study the diversity, ecology and biology of anaerobic fungi: Insights, challenges andopportunities.

Anaerobic fungi (phylum Neocallimastigomycota) are common inhabitants of the digestive tract of mammalian herbivores, and in the rumen, can account for up to 20% of the microbial biomass. Anaerobic fungi play a primary role in the degradation of lignocellulosic plant material. They also have a syntrophic interaction with methanogenic archaea, which increases their fiber degradation activity. To date, nine anaerobic fungal genera have been described, with further novel taxonomic groupings known to exist based on culture-independent molecular surveys. However, the true extent of their diversity may be even more extensively underestimated as anaerobic fungi continue being discovered in yet unexplored gut and non-gut environments. Additionally many studies are now known to have used primers that provide incomplete coverage of the Neocallimastigomycota. For ecological studies the internal transcribed spacer 1 region (ITS1) has been the taxonomic marker of choice, but due to various limitations the large subunit rRNA (LSU) is now being increasingly used. How the continued expansion of our knowledge regarding anaerobic fungal diversity will impact on our understanding of their biology and ecological role remains unclear; particularly as it is becoming apparent that anaerobic fungi display niche differentiation. As a consequence, there is a need to move beyond the broad generalization of anaerobic fungi as fiber-degraders, and explore the fundamental differences that underpin their ability to exist in distinct ecological niches. Application of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics to their study in pure/mixed cultures and environmental samples will be invaluable in this process. To date the genomes and transcriptomes of several characterized anaerobic fungal isolates have been successfully generated. In contrast, the application of proteomics and metabolomics to anaerobic fungal analysis is still in its infancy. A central problem for all analyses, however, is the limited functional annotation of anaerobic fungal sequence data. There is therefore an urgent need to expand information held within publicly available reference databases. Once this challenge is overcome, along with improved sample collection and extraction, the application of these techniques will be key in furthering our understanding of the ecological role and impact of anaerobic fungi in the wide range of environments they inhabit.


September 22, 2019  |  

Genotype assembly, biological activity and adaptation of spatially separated isolates of Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus.

The cotton leafworm Spodoptera litura is a polyphagous insect. It has recently made a comeback as a primary insect pest of cotton in Pakistan due to reductions in pesticide use on the advent of genetically modified cotton, resistant to Helicoverpa armigera. Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpltNPV) infects S. litura and is recognized as a potential candidate to control this insect. Twenty-two NPV isolates were collected from S. litura from different agro-ecological zones (with collection sites up to 600?km apart) and cropping systems in Pakistan to see whether there is spatial dispersal and adaptation of the virus and/or adaptation to crops. Therefore, the genetic make-up and biological activity of these isolates was measured. Among the SpltNPV isolates tested for speed of kill in 3rd instar larvae of S. litura, TAX1, SFD1, SFD2 and GRW1 were significantly faster killing isolates than other Pakistani isolates. Restriction fragment length analysis of the DNA showed that the Pakistan SpltNPV isolates are all variants of a single SpltNPV biotype. The isolates could be grouped into three genogroups (A-C). The speed of kill of genogroup A viruses was higher than in group C according to a Cox’ proportional hazards analysis. Sequence analysis showed that the Pakistan SpltNPV isolates are more closely related to each other than to the SpltNPV type species G2 (Pang et al., 2001). This suggests a single introduction of SpltNPV into Pakistan. The SpltNPV-PAK isolates are distinct from Spodoptera littoralis nucleopolyhedrovirus. There was a strong correlation between geographic spread and the genetic variation of SpltNPV, and a marginally significant correlation between the latter and the cropping system. The faster killing isolates may be good candidates for biological control of S. litura in Pakistan. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


September 22, 2019  |  

Investigating the central metabolism of Clostridium thermosuccinogenes.

Clostridium thermosuccinogenes is a thermophilic anaerobic bacterium able to convert various carbohydrates to succinate and acetate as main fermentation products. Genomes of the four publicly available strains have been sequenced, and the genome of the type strain has been closed. The annotated genomes were used to reconstruct the central metabolism, and enzyme assays were used to validate annotations and to determine cofactor specificity. The genes were identified for the pathways to all fermentation products, as well as for the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway and the pentose phosphate pathway. Notably, a candidate transaldolase was lacking, and transcriptomics during growth on glucose versus that on xylose did not provide any leads to potential transaldolase genes or alternative pathways connecting the C5 with the C3/C6 metabolism. Enzyme assays showed xylulokinase to prefer GTP over ATP, which could be of importance for engineering xylose utilization in related thermophilic species of industrial relevance. Furthermore, the gene responsible for malate dehydrogenase was identified via heterologous expression in Escherichia coli and subsequent assays with the cell extract, which has proven to be a simple and powerful method for the basal characterization of thermophilic enzymes.IMPORTANCE Running industrial fermentation processes at elevated temperatures has several advantages, including reduced cooling requirements, increased reaction rates and solubilities, and a possibility to perform simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of a pretreated biomass. Most studies with thermophiles so far have focused on bioethanol production. Clostridium thermosuccinogenes seems an attractive production organism for organic acids, succinic acid in particular, from lignocellulosic biomass-derived sugars. This study provides valuable insights into its central metabolism and GTP and PPi cofactor utilization. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


September 22, 2019  |  

Correcting palindromes in long reads after whole-genome amplification.

Next-generation sequencing requires sufficient DNA to be available. If limited, whole-genome amplification is applied to generate additional amounts of DNA. Such amplification often results in many chimeric DNA fragments, in particular artificial palindromic sequences, which limit the usefulness of long sequencing reads.Here, we present Pacasus, a tool for correcting such errors. Two datasets show that it markedly improves read mapping and de novo assembly, yielding results similar to these that would be obtained with non-amplified DNA.With Pacasus long-read technologies become available for sequencing targets with very small amounts of DNA, such as single cells or even single chromosomes.


September 22, 2019  |  

Novel energy conservation strategies and behaviour of Pelotomaculum schinkii driving syntrophic propionate catabolism.

Under methanogenic conditions, short-chain fatty acids are common byproducts from degradation of organic compounds and conversion of these acids is an important component of the global carbon cycle. Due to the thermodynamic difficulty of propionate degradation, this process requires syntrophic interaction between a bacterium and partner methanogen; however, the metabolic strategies and behaviour involved are not fully understood. In this study, the first genome analysis of obligately syntrophic propionate degraders (Pelotomaculum schinkii HH and P. propionicicum MGP) and comparison with other syntrophic propionate degrader genomes elucidated novel components of energy metabolism behind Pelotomaculum propionate oxidation. Combined with transcriptomic examination of P. schinkii behaviour in co-culture with Methanospirillum hungatei, we found that formate may be the preferred electron carrier for P. schinkii syntrophy. Propionate-derived menaquinol may be primarily re-oxidized to formate, and energy was conserved during formate generation through newly proposed proton-pumping formate extrusion. P. schinkii did not overexpress conventional energy metabolism associated with a model syntrophic propionate degrader Syntrophobacter fumaroxidans MPOB (i.e., CoA transferase, Fix and Rnf). We also found that P. schinkii and the partner methanogen may also interact through flagellar contact and amino acid and fructose exchange. These findings provide new understanding of syntrophic energy acquisition and interactions.© 2018 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 7, 2019  |  

The genome of the Saprophytic fungus Verticillium tricorpus reveals a complex effector repertoire resembling that of its pathogenic relatives.

Vascular wilts caused by Verticillium spp. are destructive plant diseases affecting hundreds of hosts. Only a few Verticillium spp. are causal agents of vascular wilt diseases, of which V. dahliae is the most notorious pathogen, and several V. dahliae genomes are available. In contrast, V. tricorpus is mainly known as a saprophyte and causal agent of opportunistic infections. Based on a hybrid approach that combines second and third generation sequencing, a near-gapless V. tricorpus genome assembly was obtained. With comparative genomics, we sought to identify genomic features in V. dahliae that confer the ability to cause vascular wilt disease. Unexpectedly, both species encode similar effector repertoires and share a genomic structure with genes encoding secreted proteins clustered in genomic islands. Intriguingly, V. tricorpus contains significantly fewer repetitive elements and an extended spectrum of secreted carbohydrate- active enzymes when compared with V. dahliae. In conclusion, we highlight the technical advances of a hybrid sequencing and assembly approach and show that the saprophyte V. tricorpus shares many hallmark features with the pathogen V. dahliae.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Akkermansia glycaniphila strain PytT, a mucin-degrading specialist of the reticulated python gut.

Akkermansia glycaniphila is a novel Akkermansia species that was isolated from the intestine of the reticulated python and shares the capacity to degrade mucin with the human strain Akkermansia muciniphila Muc(T) Here, we report the complete genome sequence of strain Pyt(T) of 3,074,121 bp. The genomic analysis reveals genes for mucin degradation and aerobic respiration. Copyright © 2017 Ouwerkerk et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Hybrid sequencing and map finding (HySeMaFi): optional strategies for extensively deciphering gene splicing and expression in organisms without reference genome.

Using second-generation sequencing (SGS) RNA-Seq strategies, extensive alterative splicing prediction is impractical and high variability of isoforms expression quantification is inevitable in organisms without true reference dataset. we report the development of a novel analysis method, termed hybrid sequencing and map finding (HySeMaFi) which combines the specific strengths of third-generation sequencing (TGS) (PacBio SMRT sequencing) and SGS (Illumina Hi-Seq/MiSeq sequencing) to effectively decipher gene splicing and to reliably estimate the isoforms abundance. Error-corrected long reads from TGS are capable of capturing full length transcripts or as large partial transcript fragments. Both true and false isoforms, from a particular gene, as well as that containing all possible exons, could be generated by employing different assembly methods in SGS. We first develop an effective method which can establish the mapping relationship between the error-corrected long reads and the longest assembled contig in every corresponding gene. According to the mapping data, the true splicing pattern of the genes was reliably detected, and quantification of the isoforms was also effectively determined. HySeMaFi is also the optimal strategy by which to decipher the full exon expression of a specific gene when the longest mapped contigs were chosen as the reference set.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of Cyberlindnera fabianii 65, Pichia kudriavzevii 129, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 131 isolated from fermented masau fruits in Zimbabwe.

Cyberlindnera fabianii 65, Pichia kudriavzevii 129, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 131 have been isolated from the microbiota of fermented masau fruits. C. fabianii and P. kudriavzevii especially harbor promising features for biotechnology and food applications. Here, we present the draft annotated genome sequences of these isolates. Copyright © 2017 van Rijswijck et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Eubacterium hallii strain L2-7.

The complete genome sequence of Eubacterium hallii strain L2-7 is reported here. This intestinal strain produces butyrate from glucose as well as lactate when acetate is provided in the growth medium. In addition, strain L2-7 has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in db/db mice, indicating its application potential. Copyright © 2017 Shetty et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Streptococcus salivarius HSISS4, a human commensal bacterium highly prevalent in the digestive tract.

The human commensal bacterium Streptococcus salivarius plays a major role in the equilibrium of microbial communities of the digestive tract. Here, we report the first complete genome sequence of a Streptococcus salivarius strain isolated from the small intestine, namely, HSISS4. Its circular chromosome comprises 1,903 coding sequences and 2,100,988 nucleotides. Copyright © 2016 Mignolet et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Campylobacter fetus subspecies contain conserved type IV secretion systems on multiple genomic islands and plasmids.

The features contributing to differences in pathogenicity of the Campylobacter fetus subspecies are unknown. Putative factors involved in pathogenesis are located in genomic islands that encode a type IV secretion system (T4SS) and fic domain (filamentation induced by cyclic AMP) proteins, which may disrupt host cell processes. In the genomes of 27 C. fetus strains, three phylogenetically-different T4SS-encoding regions (T4SSs) were identified: one was located in both the chromosome and in extra-chromosomal plasmids; one was located exclusively in the chromosome; and one exclusively in extra-chromosomal plasmids. We observed that C. fetus strains can contain multiple T4SSs and that homologous T4SSs can be present both in chromosomal genomic islands (GI) and on plasmids in the C. fetus strains. The GIs of the chromosomally located T4SS differed mainly by the presence of fic genes, insertion sequence elements and phage-related or hypothetical proteins. Comparative analysis showed that T4SS sequences, inserted in the same locations, were conserved in the studied C. fetus genomes. Using phylogenetic analysis of the T4SSs, it was shown that C. fetus may have acquired the T4SS regions from other Campylobacter species by horizontal gene transfer. The identified T4SSs and fic genes were found in Cff and Cfv strains, although the presence of T4SSs and fic genes were significantly associated with Cfv strains. The T4SSs and fic genes could not be associated with S-layer serotypes or geographical origin of the strains.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Enterococcus faecium commensal isolate E1002.

The emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) has been associated with an increase in multidrug-resistant nosocomial infections. Here, we report the 2.614-Mb genome sequence of the Enterococcus faecium commensal isolate E1002, which will be instrumental in further understanding the determinants of the commensal and pathogenic lifestyle of E. faecium. Copyright © 2016 Tytgat et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

A detailed analysis of the recombination landscape of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus var. bisporus.

The button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is one of the world’s most cultivated mushroom species, but in spite of its economic importance generation of new cultivars by outbreeding is exceptional. Previous genetic analyses of the white bisporus variety, including all cultivars and most wild isolates revealed that crossing over frequencies are low, which might explain the lack of introducing novel traits into existing cultivars. By generating two high quality whole genome sequence assemblies (one de novo and the other by improving the existing reference genome) of the first commercial white hybrid Horst U1, a detailed study of the crossover (CO) landscape was initiated. Using a set of 626 SNPs in a haploid offspring of 139 single spore isolates and whole genome sequencing on a limited number of homo- and heterokaryotic single spore isolates, we precisely mapped all COs showing that they are almost exclusively restricted to regions of about 100kb at the chromosome ends. Most basidia of A. bisporus var. bisporus produce two spores and pair preferentially via non-sister nuclei. Combined with the COs restricted to the chromosome ends, these spores retain most of the heterozygosity of the parent thus explaining how present-day white cultivars are genetically so close to the first hybrid marketed in 1980. To our knowledge this is the first example of an organism which displays such specific CO landscape. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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