June 1, 2021  |  

Using whole exome sequencing and bacterial pathogen sequencing to investigate the genetic basis of pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections.

Pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacterial (PNTM) infections occur in patients with chronic lung disease, but also in a distinct group of elderly women without lung defects who share a common body morphology: tall and lean with scoliosis, pectus excavatum, and mitral valve prolapse. In order to characterize the human host susceptibility to PNTM, we performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of 44 individuals in extended families of patients with active PNTM as well as 55 additional unrelated individuals with PNTM. This unique collection of familial cohorts in PNTM represents an important opportunity for a high yield search for genes that regulate mucosal immunity. An average of 58 million 100bp paired-end Illumina reads per exome were generated and mapped to the hg19 reference genome. Following variant detection and classification, we identified 58,422 potentially high-impact SNPs, 97.3% of which were missense mutations. Segregating variants using the family pedigrees as well as comparisons to the unrelated individuals identified multiple potential variants associated with PNTM. Validations of these candidate variants in a larger PNTM cohort are underway. In addition to WES, we sequenced the genomes of 52 mycobacterial isolates, including 9 from these PNTM patients, to integrate host PNTM susceptibility with mycobacterial genotypes and gain insights into the key factors involved in this devastating disease. These genomes were sequenced using a combination of 454, Illumina, and PacBio platforms and assembled using multiple genome assemblers. The resulting genome sequences were used to identify mycobacterial genotypes associated with virulence, invasion, and drug resistance.


June 1, 2021  |  

New discoveries from closing Salmonella genomes using Pacific Biosciences continuous long reads.

The newer hierarchical genome assembly process (HGAP) performs de novo assembly using data from a single PacBio long insert library. To assess the benefits of this method, DNA from several Salmonella enterica serovars was isolated from a pure culture. Genome sequencing was performed using Pacific Biosciences RS sequencing technology. The HGAP process enabled us to close sixteen Salmonella subsp. enterica genomes and their associated mobile elements: The ten serotypes include: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) S. Bareilly, S. Heidelberg, S. Cubana, S. Javiana and S. Typhimurium, S. Newport, S. Montevideo, S. Agona, and S. Tennessee. In addition, we were able to detect novel methyltransferases (MTases) by using the Pacific Biosciences kinetic score distributions showing that each serovar appears to have a novel methylation pattern. For example while all Salmonella serovars examined so far have methylase specific activity for 5’-GATC-3’/3’-CTAG-5’ and 5’-CAGAG-3’/3’-GTCTC-5’ (underlined base indicates a modification), S. Heidelberg is uniquely specific for 5’-ACCANCC-3’/3’-TGGTNGG-5’, while S. Typhimurium has uniquely methylase specific for 5′-GATCAG-3’/3′- CTAGTC-5′ sites, for the samples examined so far. We believe that this may be due to the unique environments and phages that these serotypes have been exposed to. Furthermore, our analysis identified and closed a variety of plasmids such as mobilization plasmids, antimicrobial resistance plasmids and IncX plasmids carrying a Type IV secretion system (T4SS). The VirB/D4 T4SS apparatus is important in that it assists with rapid dissemination of antibiotic resistance and virulence determinants. Presently, only limited information exists regarding the genotypic characterization of drug resistance in S. Heidelberg isolates derived from various host species. Here, we characterize two S. Heidelberg outbreak isolates from two different outbreaks. Both isolates contain the IncX plasmid of approximately 35 kb, and carried the genes virB1, virB2, virB3/4, virB5, virB6, virB7, virB8, virB9, virB10, virB11, virD2, and virD4, that are associated with the T4SS. In addition, the outbreak isolate associated with ground turkey carries a 4,473 bp mobilization plasmid and an incompatibility group (Inc) I1 antimicrobial resistance plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), beta-lactam (bl2b_tem), streptomycin (aadAI) and tetracycline (tetA, tetR) while the outbreak isolate associated with chicken breast carries the IncI1 plasmid encoding resistance to gentamicin (aacC2), streptomycin (aadAI) and sulfisoxazole (sul1). Using this new technology we explored the genetic elements present in resistant pathogens which will achieve a better understanding of the evolution of Salmonella.


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 complete genome sequence and comparative genome analysis of the multi-drug resistant food-borne pathogen Bacillus cereus.

Bacillus cereus is an opportunistic human pathogen causing food-borne gastrointestinal infections and non-gastrointestinal infections worldwide. The strain B. cereus FORC_013 was isolated from fried eel. Its genome was completely sequenced by PacBio technology, analyzed and compared with other complete genome sequences of Bacillus to elucidate the distinct pathogenic features of the strain isolated in South Korea. Genomic analysis revealed pathogenesis and host immune evasion-associated genes encoding tissue-destructive exoenzymes, and pore-forming toxins. In particular, tissue-destructive (hemolysin BL, nonhaemolytic enterotoxins) and cytolytic proteins (cytolysin) were observed in the genome, which damage the plasma membrane of the epithelial cells of the small intestine causing diarrhea in humans. Capsule biosynthesis gene found in both chromosome and plasmid, which might be responsible for protecting the pathogen from the host cell immune defense system after host cell invasion. Additionally, multidrug resistance operon and efflux pumps were identified in the genome, which play a prominent role in multi-antibiotic resistance. Comparative phylogenetic tree analysis of the strain FORC_013 and other B. cereus strains revealed that the closest strains are ATCC 14579 and B4264. This genome data can be used to identify virulence factors that can be applied for the development of novel biomarkers for the rapid detection of this pathogen in foods.Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.


April 21, 2020  |  

Tracking short-term changes in the genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance of OXA-232-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST14 in clinical settings.

To track stepwise changes in genetic diversity and antimicrobial resistance in rapidly evolving OXA-232-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae ST14, an emerging carbapenem-resistant high-risk clone, in clinical settings.Twenty-six K. pneumoniae ST14 isolates were collected by the Korean Nationwide Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance system over the course of 1 year. Isolates were subjected to whole-genome sequencing and MIC determinations using 33 antibiotics from 14 classes.Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing identified 72 unique SNP sites spanning the chromosomes of the isolates, dividing them into three clusters (I, II and III). The initial isolate possessed two plasmids with 18 antibiotic-resistance genes, including blaOXA-232, and exhibited resistance to 11 antibiotic classes. Four other plasmids containing 12 different resistance genes, including blaCTX-M-15 and strA/B, were introduced over time, providing additional resistance to aztreonam and streptomycin. Moreover, chromosomal integration of insertion sequence Ecp1-blaCTX-M-15 mediated the inactivation of mgrB responsible for colistin resistance in four isolates from cluster III. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first description of K. pneumoniae ST14 resistant to both carbapenem and colistin in South Korea. Furthermore, although some acquired genes were lost over time, the retention of 12 resistance genes and inactivation of mgrB provided resistance to 13 classes of antibiotics.We describe stepwise changes in OXA-232-producing K. pneumoniae ST14 in vivo over time in terms of antimicrobial resistance. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the evolution of emerging high-risk K. pneumoniae clones and provide reference data for future outbreaks.Copyright © 2019 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Resistome and a Novel blaNDM-1-Harboring Plasmid of an Acinetobacter haemolyticus Strain from a Children’s Hospital in Puebla, Mexico.

Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-baumannii complex isolates have been frequently associated with hospital and community infections, with A. baumannii being the most common. Other Acinetobacter spp. not belonging to this complex also cause infections in hospital settings, and the incidence has increased over the past few years. Some species of the Acinetobacter genus possess a great diversity of antibiotic resistance mechanisms, such as efflux pumps, porins, and resistance genes that can be acquired and disseminated by mobilizable genetic elements. By means of whole-genome sequencing, we describe in the clinical Acinetobacter haemolyticus strain AN54 different mechanisms of resistance that involve blaOXA-265, blaNDM-1, aphA6, aac(6′)-Ig, and a resistance-nodulation-cell division-type efflux pump. This strain carries six plasmids, of which the plasmid pAhaeAN54e contains blaNDM-1 in a Tn125-like transposon that is truncated at the 3′ end. This strain also has an insertion sequence IS91 and seven genes encoding hypothetical proteins. The pAhaeAN54e plasmid is nontypable and different from other plasmids carrying blaNDM-1 that have been reported in Mexico and other countries. The presence of these kinds of plasmids in an opportunistic pathogen such as A. haemolyticus highlights the role that these plasmids play in the dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes, especially against carbapenems, in Mexican hospitals.


April 21, 2020  |  

ASA3P: An automatic and scalable pipeline for the assembly, annotation and higher level analysis of closely related bacterial isolates

Whole genome sequencing of bacteria has become daily routine in many fields. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and continuously dropping costs have resulted in a tremendous increase in the amounts of available sequence data. However, comprehensive in-depth analysis of the resulting data remains an arduous and time consuming task. In order to keep pace with these promising but challenging developments and to transform raw data into valuable information, standardized analyses and scalable software tools are needed. Here, we introduce ASA3P, a fully automatic, locally executable and scalable assembly, annotation and analysis pipeline for bacterial genomes. The pipeline automatically executes necessary data processing steps, i.e. quality clipping and assembly of raw sequencing reads, scaffolding of contigs and annotation of the resulting genome sequences. Furthermore, ASA3P conducts comprehensive genome characterizations and analyses, e.g. taxonomic classification, detection of antibiotic resistance genes and identification of virulence factors. All results are presented via an HTML5 user interface providing aggregated information, interactive visualizations and access to intermediate results in standard bioinformatics file formats. We distribute ASA3P in two versions: a locally executable Docker container for small-to-medium-scale projects and an OpenStack based cloud computing version able to automatically create and manage self-scaling compute clusters. Thus, automatic and standardized analysis of hundreds of bacterial genomes becomes feasible within hours. The software and further information is available at: http://asap.computational.bio.


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  |  

Integrating multiple genomic technologies to investigate an outbreak of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacter hormaechei

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) represent one of the most urgent threats to human health posed by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Enterobacter hormaechei and other members of the Enterobacter cloacae complex are the most commonly encountered Enterobacter spp. within clinical settings, responsible for numerous outbreaks and ultimately poorer patient outcomes. Here we applied three complementary whole genome sequencing (WGS) technologies to characterise a hospital cluster of blaIMP-4 carbapenemase-producing E. hormaechei.In response to a suspected CRE outbreak in 2015 within an Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Burns Unit in a Brisbane tertiary referral hospital we used Illumina sequencing to determine that all outbreak isolates were sequence type (ST)90 and near-identical at the core genome level. Comparison to publicly available data unequivocally linked all 10 isolates to a 2013 isolate from the same ward, confirming the hospital environment as the most likely original source of infection in the 2015 cases. No clonal relationship was found to IMP-4-producing isolates identified from other local hospitals. However, using Pacific Biosciences long-read sequencing we were able to resolve the complete context of the blaIMP-4 gene, which was found to be on a large IncHI2 plasmid carried by all IMP-4-producing isolates. Continued surveillance of the hospital environment was carried out using Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing, which was able to rapidly resolve the true relationship of subsequent isolates to the initial outbreak. Shotgun metagenomic sequencing of environmental samples also found evidence of ST90 E. hormaechei and the IncHI2 plasmid within the hospital plumbing.Overall, our strategic application of three WGS technologies provided an in-depth analysis of the outbreak, including the transmission dynamics of a carbapenemase-producing E. hormaechei cluster, identification of possible hospital reservoirs and the full context of blaIMP-4 on a multidrug resistant IncHI2 plasmid that appears to be widely distributed in Australia.


April 21, 2020  |  

Detection of transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants in Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.

The aim of this study was to detect the transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants (cfr, optrA and poxtA) in E. faecalis and E. faecium of swine origin in Sichuan Province, China.A total of 158 enterococci strains (93 E. faecalis and 65 E. faecium) isolated from 25 large-scale swine farms were screened for the presence of cfr, optrA and poxtA by PCR. The genetic environments of cfr, optrA and poxtA were characterized by whole genome sequencing. Transfer of oxazolidinone resistance determinants was determined by conjugation or electrotransformation experiments.The transferable oxazolidinone resistance determinants, cfr, optrA and poxtA, were detected in zero, six, and one enterococci strains, respectively. The poxtA in one E. faecalis strain was located on a 37,990 bp plasmid, which co-harbored fexB, cat, tet(L) and tet(M), and could be conjugated to E. faecalis JH2-2. One E. faecalis strain harbored two different OptrA variants, including one variant with a single substitution, Q219H, which has not been reported previously. Two optrA-carrying plasmids, pC25-1, with a size of 45,581 bp, and pC54, with a size of 64,500 bp, shared a 40,494 bp identical region that contained genetic context IS1216E-fexA-optrA-erm(A)-IS1216E, which could be electrotransformed into Staphylococcus aureus. Four different chromosomal optrA gene clusters were found in five strains, in which optrA was associated with Tn554 or Tn558 that were inserted into the radC gene.Our study highlights the fact that mobile genetic elements, such as plasmids, IS1216E, Tn554 and Tn558, may facilitate the horizontal transmission of optrA or poxtA.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

The use of Online Tools for Antimicrobial Resistance Prediction by Whole Genome Sequencing in MRSA and VRE.

The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis represents a serious threat to public health and has resulted in concentrated efforts to accelerate development of rapid molecular diagnostics for AMR. In combination with publicly-available web-based AMR databases, whole genome sequencing (WGS) offers the capacity for rapid detection of antibiotic resistance genes. Here we studied the concordance between WGS-based resistance prediction and phenotypic susceptibility testing results for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) clinical isolates using publicly-available tools and databases.Clinical isolates prospectively collected at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between December 2016 and December 2017 underwent WGS. Antibiotic resistance gene content was assessed from assembled genomes by BLASTn search of online databases. Concordance between WGS-predicted resistance profile and phenotypic susceptibility as well as sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values (NPV, PPV) were calculated for each antibiotic/organism combination, using the phenotypic results as the gold standard.Phenotypic susceptibility testing and WGS results were available for 1242 isolate/antibiotic combinations. Overall concordance was 99.3% with a sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV of 98.7% (95% CI, 97.2-99.5%), 99.6% (95 % CI, 98.8-99.9%), 99.3% (95% CI, 98.0-99.8%), 99.2% (95% CI, 98.3-99.7%), respectively. Additional identification of point mutations in housekeeping genes increased the concordance to 99.4% and the sensitivity to 99.3% (95% CI, 98.2-99.8%) and NPV to 99.4% (95% CI, 98.4-99.8%).WGS can be used as a reliable predicator of phenotypic resistance for both MRSA and VRE using readily-available online tools.Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

A comprehensive evaluation of long read error correction methods

Motivation: Third-generation sequencing technologies can sequence long reads, which is advancing the frontiers of genomics research. However, their high error rates prohibit accurate and efficient downstream analysis. This difficulty has motivated the development of many long read error correction tools, which tackle this problem through sampling redundancy and/or leveraging accurate short reads of the same biological samples. Existing studies to asses these tools use simulated data sets, and are not sufficiently comprehensive in the range of software covered or diversity of evaluation measures used. Results: In this paper, we present a categorization and review of long read error correction methods, and provide a comprehensive evaluation of the corresponding long read error correction tools. Leveraging recent real sequencing data, we establish benchmark data sets and set up evaluation criteria for a comparative assessment which includes quality of error correction as well as run-time and memory usage. We study how trimming and long read sequencing depth affect error correction in terms of length distribution and genome coverage post-correction, and the impact of error correction performance on an important application of long reads, genome assembly. We provide guidelines for practitioners for choosing among the available error correction tools and identify directions for future research.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence analysis of 91 Salmonella Enteritidis isolates from mice caught on poultry farms in the mid 1990s.

A total of 91 draft genome sequences were used to analyze isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis obtained from feral mice caught on poultry farms in Pennsylvania. One objective was to find mutations disrupting open reading frames (ORFs) and another was to determine if ORF-disruptive mutations were present in isolates obtained from other sources. A total of 83 mice were obtained between 1995-1998. Isolates separated into two genomic clades and 12 subgroups due to 742 mutations. Nineteen ORF-disruptive mutations were found, and in addition, bigA had exceptional heterogeneity requiring additional evaluation. The TRAMS algorithm detected only 6 ORF disruptions. The sefD mutation was the most frequently encountered mutation and it was prevalent in human, poultry, environmental and mouse isolates. These results confirm previous assessments of the mouse as a rich source of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis that varies in genotype and phenotype. Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.


April 21, 2020  |  

Evolution and global transmission of a multidrug-resistant, community-associated MRSA lineage from the Indian subcontinent

The evolution and global transmission of antimicrobial resistance has been well documented in Gram-negative bacteria and healthcare-associated epidemic pathogens, often emerging from regions with heavy antimicrobial use. However, the degree to which similar processes occur with Gram-positive bacteria in the community setting is less well understood. Here, we trace the recent origins and global spread of a multidrug resistant, community-associated Staphylococcus aureus lineage from the Indian subcontinent, the Bengal Bay clone (ST772). We generated whole genome sequence data of 340 isolates from 14 countries, including the first isolates from Bangladesh and India, to reconstruct the evolutionary history and genomic epidemiology of the lineage. Our data shows that the clone emerged on the Indian subcontinent in the early 1970s and disseminated rapidly in the 1990s. Short-term outbreaks in community and healthcare settings occurred following intercontinental transmission, typically associated with travel and family contacts on the subcontinent, but ongoing endemic transmission was uncommon. Acquisition of a multidrug resistance integrated plasmid was instrumental in the divergence of a single dominant and globally disseminated clade in the early 1990s. Phenotypic data on biofilm, growth and toxicity point to antimicrobial resistance as the driving force in the evolution of ST772. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the multidrug resistance of traditional healthcare-associated clones with the epidemiological transmission of community-associated MRSA. Our study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for tracking the evolution of emerging and resistant pathogens. It provides a critical framework for ongoing surveillance of the clone on the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.Importance The Bengal Bay clone (ST772) is a community-acquired and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage first isolated from Bangladesh and India in 2004. In this study, we show that the Bengal Bay clone emerged from a virulent progenitor circulating on the Indian subcontinent. Its subsequent global transmission was associated with travel or family contact in the region. ST772 progressively acquired specific resistance elements at limited cost to its fitness and continues to be exported globally resulting in small-scale community and healthcare outbreaks. The Bengal Bay clone therefore combines the virulence potential and epidemiology of community-associated clones with the multidrug-resistance of healthcare-associated S. aureus lineages. This study demonstrates the importance of whole genome sequencing for the surveillance of highly antibiotic resistant pathogens, which may emerge in the community setting of regions with poor antibiotic stewardship and rapidly spread into hospitals and communities across the world.


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