June 1, 2021  |  

SMRT Sequencing and assembly of the human microbiome project Mock Community sample – a feasibility project.

While the utility of Single Molecule, Real-Time (SMRT) Sequencing for de novo assembly and finishing of bacterial isolates is well established, this technology has not yet been widely applied to shotgun sequencing of microbial communities. In order to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, we sequenced genomic DNA from the Microbial Mock Community B of the Human Microbiome Project


June 1, 2021  |  

Minimization of chimera formation and substitution errors in full-length 16S PCR amplification

The constituents and intra-communal interactions of microbial populations have garnered increasing interest in areas such as water remediation, agriculture and human health. One popular, efficient method of profiling communities is to amplify and sequence the evolutionarily conserved 16S rRNA sequence. Currently, most targeted amplification focuses on short, hypervariable regions of the 16S sequence. Distinguishing information not spanned by the targeted region is lost and species-level classification is often not possible. SMRT Sequencing easily spans the entire 1.5 kb 16S gene, and in combination with highly-accurate single-molecule sequences, can improve the identification of individual species in a metapopulation. However, when amplifying a mixture of sequences with close similarities, the products may contain chimeras, or recombinant molecules, at rates as high as 20-30%. These PCR artifacts make it difficult to identify novel species, and reduce the amount of productive sequences. We investigated multiple factors that have been hypothesized to contribute to chimera formation, such as template damage, denaturing time before and during cycling, polymerase extension time, and reaction volume. Of the factors tested, we found two major related contributors to chimera formation: the amount of input template into the PCR reaction and the number of PCR cycles. Sequence errors generated during amplification and sequencing can also confound the analysis of complex populations. Circular Consensus Sequencing (CCS) can generate single-molecule reads with >99% accuracy, and the SMRT Analysis software provides filtering of these reads to >99.99% accuracies. Remaining substitution errors in these highly-filtered reads are likely dominated by mis-incorporations during amplification. Therefore, we compared the impact of several commercially-available high-fidelity PCR kits with full-length 16S amplification. We show results of our experiments and describe an optimized protocol for full-length 16S amplification for SMRT Sequencing. These optimizations have broader implications for other applications that use PCR amplification to phase variations across targeted regions and to generate highly accurate reference sequences.


June 1, 2021  |  

Minimization of chimera formation and substitution errors in full-length 16S PCR amplification

The constituents and intra-communal interactions of microbial populations have garnered increasing interest in areas such as water remediation, agriculture and human health. Amplification and sequencing of the evolutionarily conserved 16S rRNA gene is an efficient method of profiling communities. Currently, most targeted amplification focuses on short, hypervariable regions of the 16S sequence. Distinguishing information not spanned by the targeted region is lost, and species-level classification is often not possible. PacBio SMRT Sequencing easily spans the entire 1.5 kb 16S gene in a single read, producing highly accurate single-molecule sequences that can improve the identification of individual species in a metapopulation.However, this process still relies upon PCR amplification from a mixture of similar sequences, which may result in chimeras, or recombinant molecules, at rates upwards of 20%. These PCR artifacts make it difficult to identify novel species, and reduce the amount of informative sequences. We investigated multiple factors that may contribute to chimera formation, such as template damage, denaturation time before and during thermocycling, polymerase extension time, and reaction volume. We found two related factors that contribute to chimera formation: the amount of input template into the PCR reaction, and the number of PCR cycles.A second problem that can confound analysis is sequence errors generated during amplification and sequencing. With the updated algorithm for circular consensus sequencing (CCS2), single-molecule reads can be filtered to 99.99% predicted accuracy. Substitution errors in these highly filtered reads may be dominated by mis-incorporations during amplification. Sequence differences in full-length 16S amplicons from several commercial high-fidelity PCR kits were compared.We show results of our experiments and describe our optimized protocol for full-length 16S amplification for SMRT Sequencing. These optimizations have broader implications for other applications that use PCR amplification to phase variations across targeted regions and generate highly accurate reference sequences.


June 1, 2021  |  

Unbiased characterization of metagenome composition and function using HiFi sequencing on the PacBio Sequel II System

Recent work comparing metagenomic sequencing methods indicates that a comprehensive picture of the taxonomic and functional diversity of complex communities will be difficult to achieve with short-read technology alone. While the lower cost of short reads has enabled greater sequencing depth, the greater contiguity of long-read assemblies and lack of GC bias in SMRT Sequencing has enabled better gene finding. However, since long-read assembly requires high coverage for error correction, the benefits of unbiased coverage have in the past been lost for low abundance species. SMRT Sequencing performance improvements and the introduction of the Sequel II System has enabled a new, high throughput data type uniquely suited to metagenome characterization: HiFi reads. HiFi reads combine high accuracy with read lengths up to 15 kb, eliminating the need for assembly for most microbiome applications, including functional profiling, gene discovery, and metabolic pathway reconstruction. Here we present the application of the HiFi data type to enable a new method of analyzing metagenomes that does not require assembly.


June 1, 2021  |  

Unbiased characterization of metagenome composition and function using HiFi sequencing on the PacBio Sequel II System

Recent work comparing metagenomic sequencing methods indicates that a comprehensive picture of the taxonomic and functional diversity of complex communities will be difficult to achieve with one sequencing technology alone. While the lower cost of short reads has enabled greater sequencing depth, the greater contiguity of long-read assemblies and lack of GC bias in SMRT Sequencing has enabled better gene finding. However, since long-read assembly typically requires high coverage for error correction, these benefits have in the past been lost for low-abundance species. The introduction of the Sequel II System has enabled a new, higher throughput, assembly-optional data type that addresses these challenges: HiFi reads. HiFi reads combine QV20 accuracy with long read lengths, eliminating the need for assembly for most metagenome applications, including gene discovery and metabolic pathway reconstruction. In fact, the read lengths and accuracy of HiFi data match or outperform the quality metrics of most metagenome assemblies, enabling cost-effective recovery of intact genes and operons while omitting the resource intensive and data-inefficient assembly step. Here we present the application of HiFi sequencing to both mock and human fecal samples using full-length 16S and shotgun methods. This proof-of-concept work demonstrates the unique strengths of the HiFi method. First, the high correspondence between the expected community composition,16S and shotgun profiling data reflects low context bias. In addition, every HiFi read yields ~5-8 predicted genes, without assembly, using standard tools. If assembly is desired, excellent results can be achieved with Canu and contig binning tools. In summary, HiFi sequencing is a new, cost-effective option for high-resolution functional profiling of metagenomes which complements existing short read workflows.


April 21, 2020  |  

Plasmid-encoded tet(X) genes that confer high-level tigecycline resistance in Escherichia coli.

Tigecycline is one of the last-resort antibiotics to treat complicated infections caused by both multidrug-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria1. Tigecycline resistance has sporadically occurred in recent years, primarily due to chromosome-encoding mechanisms, such as overexpression of efflux pumps and ribosome protection2,3. Here, we report the emergence of the plasmid-mediated mobile tigecycline resistance mechanism Tet(X4) in Escherichia coli isolates from China, which is capable of degrading all tetracyclines, including tigecycline and the US FDA newly approved eravacycline. The tet(X4)-harbouring IncQ1 plasmid is highly transferable, and can be successfully mobilized and stabilized in recipient clinical and laboratory strains of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria. It is noteworthy that tet(X4)-positive E.?coli strains, including isolates co-harbouring mcr-1, have been widely detected in pigs, chickens, soil and dust samples in China. In vivo murine models demonstrated that the presence of Tet(X4) led to tigecycline treatment failure. Consequently, the emergence of plasmid-mediated Tet(X4) challenges the clinical efficacy of the entire family of tetracycline antibiotics. Importantly, our study raises concern that the plasmid-mediated tigecycline resistance may further spread into various ecological niches and into clinical high-risk pathogens. Collective efforts are in urgent need to preserve the potency of these essential antibiotics.


April 21, 2020  |  

Antibiotic susceptibility of plant-derived lactic acid bacteria conferring health benefits to human.

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) confer health benefits to human when administered orally. We have recently isolated several species of LAB strains from plant sources, such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and medicinal plants. Since antibiotics used to treat bacterial infection diseases induce the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria in intestinal microflora, it is important to evaluate the susceptibility of LAB strains to antibiotics to ensure the safety and security of processed foods. The aim of the present study is to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotics against several plant-derived LAB strains. When aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as streptomycin (SM), kanamycin (KM), and gentamicin (GM), were evaluated using LAB susceptibility test medium (LSM), the MIC was higher than when using Mueller-Hinton (MH) medium. Etest, which is an antibiotic susceptibility assay method consisting of a predefined gradient of antibiotic concentrations on a plastic strip, is used to determine the MIC of antibiotics world-wide. In the present study, we demonstrated that Etest was particularly valuable while testing LAB strains. We also show that the low susceptibility of the plant-derived LAB strains against each antibiotic tested is due to intrinsic resistance and not acquired resistance. This finding is based on the whole-genome sequence information reflecting the horizontal spread of the drug-resistance genes in the LAB strains.


April 21, 2020  |  

Emergence of plasmid-mediated high-level tigecycline resistance genes in animals and humans.

Tigecycline is a last-resort antibiotic that is used to treat severe infections caused by extensively drug-resistant bacteria. tet(X) has been shown to encode a flavin-dependent monooxygenase that modifies tigecycline1,2. Here, we report two unique mobile tigecycline-resistance genes, tet(X3) and tet(X4), in numerous Enterobacteriaceae and Acinetobacter that were isolated from animals, meat for consumption and humans. Tet(X3) and Tet(X4) inactivate all tetracyclines, including tigecycline and the newly FDA-approved eravacycline and omadacycline. Both tet(X3) and tet(X4) increase (by 64-128-fold) the tigecycline minimal inhibitory concentration values for Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii. In addition, both Tet(X3) (A. baumannii) and Tet(X4) (E. coli) significantly compromise tigecycline in in vivo infection models. Both tet(X3) and tet(X4) are adjacent to insertion sequence ISVsa3 on their respective conjugative plasmids and confer a mild fitness cost (relative fitness of >0.704). Database mining and retrospective screening analyses confirm that tet(X3) and tet(X4) are globally present in clinical bacteria-even in the same bacteria as blaNDM-1, resulting in resistance to both tigecycline and carbapenems. Our findings suggest that both the surveillance of tet(X) variants in clinical and animal sectors and the use of tetracyclines in food production require urgent global attention.


April 21, 2020  |  

Efficacy of Newly Isolated and Highly Potent Bacteriophages in a Mouse Model of XDRAB Bacteremia.

Bacteremia can be caused by Acinetobacter baumannii with clinical manifestations ranging from transient bacteremia to septic shock. Extensively drug-resistant A. baumannii (XDRAB) strains producing the New Delhi metallo-ß-lactamase, which confers resistance to all ß-lactams including carbapenems, have emerged and infected patients suffer increased mortality, morbidity and length of hospitalization. The lack of new antimicrobials led to a renewed interest into phage therapy, the so-called forgotten cure. Accordingly, we tested new lytic bacteriophages in a Galleria mellonella and a mouse model of XDRAB-induced bacteremia.Galleria mellonella were challenged with 5.105 CFU of the XDRAB strain FER. Phages vB_AbaM_3054 and vB_AbaM_3090 were administrated alone or in combination 30?min. after bacterial challenge. Saline and imipenem were injected as controls. Mice were challenged i.p. with 6.107 CFU of A. baumannii FER. vB_AbaM_3054 and vB_AbaM_3090 were administrated i.p. alone or in combination 2?h after bacterial challenge. Saline and imipenem were injected as controls. Larvae and mice survival were followed for 7 days and compared with Log-Rank (Mantel-Cox) and Gehan-Breslow-Wilcoxon tests.Phage-based treatments showed high efficacy in larvae (ca. 100% survival at 80?h) and mice (ca. 100% survival at day 7) compared to the untreated control (0% survival at 48?h and 24?h in larvae and mice, respectively).The present data reporting efficacy of phage therapy in a mouse model of bacteremia support the development of phage-based drugs to manage infection due to multi-drug resistant A. baumannii and particularly XDRAB.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Increased prevalence of Escherichia coli strains from food carrying blaNDM and mcr-1-bearing plasmids that structurally resemble those of clinical strains, China, 2015 to 2017.

Introduction: Emergence of resistance determinants of blaNDM and mcr-1 has undermined the antimicrobial effectiveness of the last line drugs carbapenems and colistin. Aim: This work aimed to assess the prevalence of blaNDM and mcr-1 in E. coli strains collected from food in Shenzhen, China, during the period 2015 to 2017. Methods: Multidrug-resistant E. coli strains were isolated from food samples. Plasmids encoding mcr-1 or blaNDM genes were characterised and compared with plasmids found in clinical isolates.ResultsAmong 1,166 non-repeated cephalosporin-resistant E. coli strains isolated from 2,147 food samples, 390 and 42, respectively, were resistant to colistin and meropenem, with five strains being resistant to both agents. The rate of resistance to colistin increased significantly (p?


April 21, 2020  |  

Dual Role of gnaA in Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an important Gram-negative pathogen in hospital-related infections. However, treatment options for A. baumannii infections have become limited due to multidrug resistance. Bacterial virulence is often associated with capsule genes found in the K locus, many of which are essential for biosynthesis of the bacterial envelope. However, the roles of other genes in the K locus remain largely unknown. From an in vitro evolution experiment, we obtained an isolate of the virulent and multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strain MDR-ZJ06, called MDR-ZJ06M, which has an insertion by the ISAba16 transposon in gnaA (encoding UDP-N-acetylglucosamine C-6 dehydrogenase), a gene found in the K locus. The isolate showed an increased resistance toward tigecycline, whereas the MIC decreased in the case of carbapenems, cephalosporins, colistin, and minocycline. By using knockout and complementation experiments, we demonstrated that gnaA is important for the synthesis of lipooligosaccharide and capsular polysaccharide and that disruption of the gene affects the morphology, drug susceptibility, and virulence of the pathogen.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Nucleotide Sequences of mcr-4.3-Carrying Plasmids in Acinetobacter baumannii Sequence Type 345 of Human and Food Origin from the Czech Republic, the First Case in Europe.

Here, we describe two plasmids carrying mcr-4.3 in two Acinetobacter baumannii strains isolated from imported food and a clinical sample. The comparative analysis of these plasmids, with two other plasmids reported in the NCBI database, highlighted the common origin of the plasmidic structure carrying mcr-4.3 This is the first case of the mcr-4.3 gene in a A. baumannii strain isolated from a clinical case in Europe. We hypothesize that food import is initiating the spread in Czech Republic.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Intercellular Transfer of Chromosomal Antimicrobial Resistance Genes between Acinetobacter baumannii Strains Mediated by Prophages.

The spread of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) among Gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter baumannii, is primarily mediated by transferable plasmids; however, ARGs are frequently integrated into its chromosome. How ARG gets horizontally incorporated into the chromosome of A. baumannii, and whether it functions as a cause for further spread of ARG, remains unknown. Here, we demonstrated intercellular prophage-mediated transfer of chromosomal ARGs without direct cell-cell interaction in A. baumannii We prepared ARG-harboring extracellular DNA (eDNA) components from the culture supernatant of a multidrug-resistant (MDR) A. baumannii NU-60 strain and exposed an antimicrobial-susceptible (AS) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 strain to the eDNA components. The antimicrobial-resistant (AR) A. baumannii ATCC 17978 derivatives appeared to acquire various ARGs, originating from dispersed loci of the MDR A. baumannii chromosome, along with their surrounding regions, by homologous recombination, with the ARGs including armA (aminoglycoside resistance), blaTEM-1 (ß-lactam resistance), tet(B) (tetracycline resistance), and gyrA-81L (nalidixic acid resistance) genes. Notably, the eDNAs conferring antimicrobial resistance were enveloped in specific capsid proteins consisting of phage particles, thereby protecting the eDNAs from detergent and DNase treatments. The phages containing ARGs were likely released into the extracellular space from MDR A. baumannii, thereby transducing ARGs into AS A. baumannii, resulting in the acquisition of AR properties by the recipient. We concluded that the generalized transduction, in which phages were capable of carrying random pieces of A. baumannii genomic DNAs, enabled efficacious intercellular transfer of chromosomal ARGs between A. baumannii strains without direct cell-cell interaction. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


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