June 1, 2021  |  

Complete microbial genomes, epigenomes, and transcriptomes using long-read PacBio Sequencing.

For comprehensive metabolic reconstructions and a resulting understanding of the pathways leading to natural products, it is desirable to obtain complete information about the genetic blueprint of the organisms used. Traditional Sanger and next-generation, short-read sequencing technologies have shortcomings with respect to read lengths and DNA-sequence context bias, leading to fragmented and incomplete genome information. The development of long-read, single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing from Pacific Biosciences, with >10,000 bp average read lengths and a lack of sequence context bias, now allows for the generation of complete genomes in a fully automated workflow. In addition to the genome sequence, DNA methylation is characterized in the process of sequencing. PacBio® sequencing has also been applied to microbial transcriptomes. Long reads enable sequencing of full-length cDNAs allowing for identification of complete gene and operon sequences without the need for transcript assembly. We will highlight several examples where these capabilities have been leveraged in the areas of industrial microbiology, including biocommodities, biofuels, bioremediation, new bacteria with potential commercial applications, antibiotic discovery, and livestock/plant microbiome interactions.


April 21, 2020  |  

The ADEP Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 Reveals an Accessory clpP Gene as a Novel Antibiotic Resistance Factor.

The increasing threat posed by multiresistant bacterial pathogens necessitates the discovery of novel antibacterials with unprecedented modes of action. ADEP1, a natural compound produced by Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, is the prototype for a new class of acyldepsipeptide (ADEP) antibiotics. ADEP antibiotics deregulate the proteolytic core ClpP of the bacterial caseinolytic protease, thereby exhibiting potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including multiresistant pathogens. ADEP1 and derivatives, here collectively called ADEP, have been previously investigated for their antibiotic potency against different species, structure-activity relationship, and mechanism of action; however, knowledge on the biosynthesis of the natural compound and producer self-resistance have remained elusive. In this study, we identified and analyzed the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in S. hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, which comprises two NRPSs, genes necessary for the biosynthesis of (4S,2R)-4-methylproline, and a type II polyketide synthase (PKS) for the assembly of highly reduced polyenes. While no resistance factor could be identified within the gene cluster itself, we discovered an additional clpP homologous gene (named clpPADEP) located further downstream of the biosynthetic genes, separated from the biosynthetic gene cluster by several transposable elements. Heterologous expression of ClpPADEP in three ADEP-sensitive Streptomyces species proved its role in conferring ADEP resistance, thereby revealing a novel type of antibiotic resistance determinant.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) represent a promising new class of potent antibiotics and, at the same time, are valuable tools to study the molecular functioning of their target, ClpP, the proteolytic core of the bacterial caseinolytic protease. Here, we present a straightforward purification procedure for ADEP1 that yields substantial amounts of the pure compound in a time- and cost-efficient manner, which is a prerequisite to conveniently study the antimicrobial effects of ADEP and the operating mode of bacterial ClpP machineries in diverse bacteria. Identification and characterization of the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 enables future bioinformatics screenings for similar gene clusters and/or subclusters to find novel natural compounds with specific substructures. Most strikingly, we identified a cluster-associated clpP homolog (named clpPADEP) as an ADEP resistance gene. ClpPADEP constitutes a novel bacterial resistance factor that alone is necessary and sufficient to confer high-level ADEP resistance to Streptomyces across species.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Streptomyces spongiicola HNM0071T, a marine sponge-associated actinomycete producing staurosporine and echinomycin

Streptomyes spongiicola HNM0071T is a novel marine sponge-associated actinomycete with potential to produce antitumor agents including staurosporine and echinomycin. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of S. spongiicola HNM0071, which consists of a linear chromosome of 7,180,417?bp, 5669 protein coding genes, 18 rRNA genes, and 66 tRNA genes. Twenty-seven putative secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters were found in the genome. Among them, the staurosporine and echinomycin gene clusters have been described completely. The complete genome information presented here will enable us to investigate the biosynthetic mechanism of two well-known antitumor antibiotics and to discover novel secondary metabolites with potential antitumor activities.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome Features and Secondary Metabolites Biosynthetic Potential of the Class Ktedonobacteria.

The prevalence of antibiotic resistance and the decrease in novel antibiotic discovery in recent years necessitates the identification of potentially novel microbial resources to produce natural products. Ktedonobacteria, a class of deeply branched bacterial lineage in the ancient phylum Chloroflexi, are ubiquitous in terrestrial environments and characterized by their large genome size and complex life cycle. These characteristics indicate Ktedonobacteria as a potential active producer of bioactive compounds. In this study, we observed the existence of a putative “megaplasmid,” multiple copies of ribosomal RNA operons, and high ratio of hypothetical proteins with unknown functions in the class Ktedonobacteria. Furthermore, a total of 104 antiSMASH-predicted putative biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) for secondary metabolites with high novelty and diversity were identified in nine Ktedonobacteria genomes. Our investigation of domain composition and organization of the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase BGCs further supports the concept that class Ktedonobacteria may produce compounds structurally different from known natural products. Furthermore, screening of bioactive compounds from representative Ktedonobacteria strains resulted in the identification of broad antimicrobial activities against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative tested bacterial strains. Based on these findings, we propose the ancient, ubiquitous, and spore-forming Ktedonobacteria as a versatile and promising microbial resource for natural product discovery.


September 22, 2019  |  

Interpreting microbial biosynthesis in the genomic age: Biological and practical considerations.

Genome mining has become an increasingly powerful, scalable, and economically accessible tool for the study of natural product biosynthesis and drug discovery. However, there remain important biological and practical problems that can complicate or obscure biosynthetic analysis in genomic and metagenomic sequencing projects. Here, we focus on limitations of available technology as well as computational and experimental strategies to overcome them. We review the unique challenges and approaches in the study of symbiotic and uncultured systems, as well as those associated with biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) assembly and product prediction. Finally, to explore sequencing parameters that affect the recovery and contiguity of large and repetitive BGCs assembled de novo, we simulate Illumina and PacBio sequencing of the Salinispora tropica genome focusing on assembly of the salinilactam (slm) BGC.


September 22, 2019  |  

Co-culture of soil biofilm isolates enables the discovery of novel antibiotics

Bacterial natural products (NPs) are considered to be a promising source of drug discovery. However, the biosynthesis gene clusters (BGCs) of NP are not often expressed, making it difficult to identify them. Recently, the study of biofilm community showed bacteria may gain competitive advantages by the secretion of antibiotics, implying a possible way to screen antibiotic by evaluating the social behavior of bacteria. In this study, we have described an efficient workflow for novel antibiotic discovery by employing the bacterial social interaction strategy with biofilm cultivation, co-culture, transcriptomic and genomic methods. We showed that a biofilm dominant species, i.e. Pseudomonas sp. G7, which was isolated from cultivated soil biofilm community, was highly competitive in four-species biofilm communities, as the synergistic combinations preferred to exclude this strain while the antagonistic combinations did not. Through the analysis of transcriptomic changes in four-species co-culture and the complete genome of Pseudomonas sp. G7, we finally discovered two novel non-ribosomal polypeptide synthetic (NRPS) BGCs, whose products were predicted to have seven and six amino acid components, respectively. Furthermore, we provide evidence showing that only when Pseudomonas sp. G7 was co-cultivated with at least two or three other bacterial species can these BGC genes be induced, suggesting that the co-culture of the soil biofilm isolates is critical to the discovery of novel antibiotics. As a conclusion, we set a model of applying microbial interaction to the discovery of new antibiotics.


September 22, 2019  |  

Amycomicin is a potent and specific antibiotic discovered with a targeted interaction screen.

The rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria has accelerated the search for new antibiotics. Many clinically used antibacterials were discovered through culturing a single microbial species under nutrient-rich conditions, but in the environment, bacteria constantly encounter poor nutrient conditions and interact with neighboring microbial species. In an effort to recapitulate this environment, we generated a nine-strain actinomycete community and used 16S rDNA sequencing to deconvolute the stochastic production of antimicrobial activity that was not observed from any of the axenic cultures. We subsequently simplified the community to just two strains and identified Amycolatopsis sp. AA4 as the producing strain and Streptomyces coelicolor M145 as an inducing strain. Bioassay-guided isolation identified amycomicin (AMY), a highly modified fatty acid containing an epoxide isonitrile warhead as a potent and specific inhibitor of Staphylococcus aureus Amycomicin targets an essential enzyme (FabH) in fatty acid biosynthesis and reduces S. aureus infection in a mouse skin-infection model. The discovery of AMY demonstrates the utility of screening complex communities against specific targets to discover small-molecule antibiotics.


September 22, 2019  |  

2,3-Butanediol production by the non-pathogenic bacterium Paenibacillus brasilensis.

2,3-Butanediol (2,3-BDO) is of considerable importance in the chemical, plastic, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries. The main bacterial species producing this compound are considered pathogenic, hindering large-scale productivity. The species Paenibacillus brasilensis is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and is phylogenetically similar to P. polymyxa, a species widely used for 2,3-BDO production. Here, we demonstrate, for the first time, that P. brasilensis strains produce 2,3-BDO. Total 2,3-BDO concentrations for 15 P. brasilensis strains varied from 5.5 to 7.6 g/l after 8 h incubation at 32 °C in modified YEPD medium containing 20 g/l glucose. Strain PB24 produced 8.2 g/l of 2,3-BDO within a 12-h growth period, representing a yield of 0.43 g/g and a productivity of 0.68 g/l/h. An increase in 2,3-BDO production by strain PB24 was observed using higher concentrations of glucose, reaching 27 g/l of total 2,3-BDO in YEPD containing about 80 g/l glucose within a 72-h growth period. We sequenced the genome of P. brasilensis PB24 and uncovered at least six genes related to the 2,3-BDO pathway at four distinct loci. We also compared gene sequences related to the 2,3-BDO pathway in P. brasilensis PB24 with those of other spore-forming bacteria, and found strong similarity to P. polymyxa, P. terrae, and P. peoriae 2,3-BDO-related genes. Regulatory regions upstream of these genes indicated that they are probably co-regulated. Finally, we propose a production pathway from glucose to 2,3-BDO in P. brasilensis PB24. Although the gene encoding S-2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase (butA) was found in the genome of P. brasilensis PB24, only R,R-2,3- and meso-2,3-butanediol were detected by gas chromatography under the growth conditions tested here. Our findings can serve as a basis for further improvements to the metabolic capabilities of this little-studied Paenibacillus species in relation to production of the high-value chemical 2,3-butanediol.


September 22, 2019  |  

Chemical Synergy between Ionophore PBT2 and Zinc Reverses Antibiotic Resistance.

The World Health Organization reports that antibiotic-resistant pathogens represent an imminent global health disaster for the 21st century. Gram-positive superbugs threaten to breach last-line antibiotic treatment, and the pharmaceutical industry antibiotic development pipeline is waning. Here we report the synergy between ionophore-induced physiological stress in Gram-positive bacteria and antibiotic treatment. PBT2 is a safe-for-human-use zinc ionophore that has progressed to phase 2 clinical trials for Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease treatment. In combination with zinc, PBT2 exhibits antibacterial activity and disrupts cellular homeostasis in erythromycin-resistant group A Streptococcus (GAS), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). We were unable to select for mutants resistant to PBT2-zinc treatment. While ineffective alone against resistant bacteria, several clinically relevant antibiotics act synergistically with PBT2-zinc to enhance killing of these Gram-positive pathogens. These data represent a new paradigm whereby disruption of bacterial metal homeostasis reverses antibiotic-resistant phenotypes in a number of priority human bacterial pathogens.IMPORTANCE The rise of bacterial antibiotic resistance coupled with a reduction in new antibiotic development has placed significant burdens on global health care. Resistant bacterial pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus are leading causes of community- and hospital-acquired infection and present a significant clinical challenge. These pathogens have acquired resistance to broad classes of antimicrobials. Furthermore, Streptococcus pyogenes, a significant disease agent among Indigenous Australians, has now acquired resistance to several antibiotic classes. With a rise in antibiotic resistance and reduction in new antibiotic discovery, it is imperative to investigate alternative therapeutic regimens that complement the use of current antibiotic treatment strategies. As stated by the WHO Director-General, “On current trends, common diseases may become untreatable. Doctors facing patients will have to say, Sorry, there is nothing I can do for you.” Copyright © 2018 Bohlmann et al.


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