April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Paracoccus sp. Arc7-R13, a silver nanoparticles synthesizing bacterium isolated from Arctic Ocean sediments

Paracoccus sp. Arc7-R13, a silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) synthesizing bacterium, was isolated from Arctic Ocean sediment. Here we describe the complete genome of Paracoccus sp. Arc7-R13. The complete genome contains 4,040,012?bp with 66.66?mol%?G?+?C content, including one circular chromosome of 3,231,929?bp (67.45?mol%?G?+?C content), and eight plasmids with length ranging from 24,536?bp to 199,685?bp. The genome contains 3835 protein-coding genes (CDSs), 49 tRNA genes, as well as 3 rRNA operons as 16S-23S-5S rRNA. Based on the gene annotation and Swiss-Prot analysis, a total of 15 genes belonging to 11 kinds, including silver exporting P-type ATPase (SilP), alkaline phosphatase, nitroreductase, thioredoxin reductase, NADPH dehydrogenase and glutathione peroxidase, might be related to the synthesis of AgNPs. Meanwhile, many additional genes associated with synthesis of AgNPs such as protein-disulfide isomerase, c-type cytochrome, glutathione synthase and dehydrogenase reductase were also identified.


April 21, 2020  |  

Heterologous Expression of Ilicicolin H Biosynthetic Gene Cluster and Production of a New Potent Antifungal Reagent, Ilicicolin J.

Ilicicolin H is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent targeting mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 reductase. Unfortunately, ilicicolin H shows reduced activities in vivo. Here, we report our effort on the identification of ilicicolin H biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) by genomic sequencing a producing strain, Neonectria sp. DH2, and its heterologous production in Aspergillus nidulans. In addition, a shunt product with similar antifungal activities, ilicicolin J, was uncovered. This effort would provide a base for future combinatorial biosynthesis of ilicicolin H analogues. Bioinformatics analysis suggests that the backbone of ilicicolin H is assembled by a polyketide-nonribosomal peptide synthethase (IliA), and then offloaded with a tetramic acid moiety. Similar to tenellin biosynthesis, the tetramic acid is then converted to pyridone by a putative P450, IliC. The decalin portion is most possibly constructed by a S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM)-dependent Diels-Alderase (IliD).


April 21, 2020  |  

Harnessing long-read amplicon sequencing to uncover NRPS and Type I PKS gene sequence diversity in polar desert soils.

The severity of environmental conditions at Earth’s frigid zones present attractive opportunities for microbial biomining due to their heightened potential as reservoirs for novel secondary metabolites. Arid soil microbiomes within the Antarctic and Arctic circles are remarkably rich in Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria, bacterial phyla known to be prolific producers of natural products. Yet the diversity of secondary metabolite genes within these cold, extreme environments remain largely unknown. Here, we employed amplicon sequencing using PacBio RS II, a third generation long-read platform, to survey over 200 soils spanning twelve east Antarctic and high Arctic sites for natural product-encoding genes, specifically targeting non-ribosomal peptides (NRPS) and Type I polyketides (PKS). NRPS-encoding genes were more widespread across the Antarctic, whereas PKS genes were only recoverable from a handful of sites. Many recovered sequences were deemed novel due to their low amino acid sequence similarity to known protein sequences, particularly throughout the east Antarctic sites. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that a high proportion were most similar to antifungal and biosurfactant-type clusters. Multivariate analysis showed that soil fertility factors of carbon, nitrogen and moisture displayed significant negative relationships with natural product gene richness. Our combined results suggest that secondary metabolite production is likely to play an important physiological component of survival for microorganisms inhabiting arid, nutrient-starved soils. © FEMS 2019.


April 21, 2020  |  

Intercellular communication is required for trap formation in the nematode-trapping fungus Duddingtonia flagrans.

Nematode-trapping fungi (NTF) are a large and diverse group of fungi, which may switch from a saprotrophic to a predatory lifestyle if nematodes are present. Different fungi have developed different trapping devices, ranging from adhesive cells to constricting rings. After trapping, fungal hyphae penetrate the worm, secrete lytic enzymes and form a hyphal network inside the body. We sequenced the genome of Duddingtonia flagrans, a biotechnologically important NTF used to control nematode populations in fields. The 36.64 Mb genome encodes 9,927 putative proteins, among which are more than 638 predicted secreted proteins. Most secreted proteins are lytic enzymes, but more than 200 were classified as small secreted proteins (< 300 amino acids). 117 putative effector proteins were predicted, suggesting interkingdom communication during the colonization. As a first step to analyze the function of such proteins or other phenomena at the molecular level, we developed a transformation system, established the fluorescent proteins GFP and mCherry, adapted an assay to monitor protein secretion, and established gene-deletion protocols using homologous recombination or CRISPR/Cas9. One putative virulence effector protein, PefB, was transcriptionally induced during the interaction. We show that the mature protein is able to be imported into nuclei in Caenorhabditis elegans cells. In addition, we studied trap formation and show that cell-to-cell communication is required for ring closure. The availability of the genome sequence and the establishment of many molecular tools will open new avenues to studying this biotechnologically relevant nematode-trapping fungus.


April 21, 2020  |  

Multi-omics characterization of the necrotrophic mycoparasite Saccharomycopsis schoenii.

Pathogenic yeasts and fungi are an increasing global healthcare burden, but discovery of novel antifungal agents is slow. The mycoparasitic yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii was recently demonstrated to be able to kill the emerging multi-drug resistant yeast pathogen Candida auris. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the predatory activity of S. schoenii have not been explored. To this end, we de novo sequenced, assembled and annotated a draft genome of S. schoenii. Using proteomics, we confirmed that Saccharomycopsis yeasts have reassigned the CTG codon and translate CTG into serine instead of leucine. Further, we confirmed an absence of all genes from the sulfate assimilation pathway in the genome of S. schoenii, and detected the expansion of several gene families, including aspartic proteases. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model prey cell, we honed in on the timing and nutritional conditions under which S. schoenii kills prey cells. We found that a general nutrition limitation, not a specific methionine deficiency, triggered predatory activity. Nevertheless, by means of genome-wide transcriptome analysis we observed dramatic responses to methionine deprivation, which were alleviated when S. cerevisiae was available as prey, and therefore postulate that S. schoenii acquired methionine from its prey cells. During predation, both proteomic and transcriptomic analyses revealed that S. schoenii highly upregulated and translated aspartic protease genes, probably used to break down prey cell walls. With these fundamental insights into the predatory behavior of S. schoenii, we open up for further exploitation of this yeast as a biocontrol yeast and/or source for novel antifungal agents.


April 21, 2020  |  

Finding the needle in a haystack: Mapping antifungal drug resistance in fungal pathogen by genomic approaches.

Fungi are ubiquitous on earth and are essential for the maintenance of the global ecological equilibrium. Despite providing benefits to living organisms, they can also target specific hosts and inflict damage. These fungal pathogens are known to affect, for example, plants and mam- mals and thus reduce crop production necessary to sustain food supply and cause mortality in humans and animals. Designing defenses against these fungi is essential for the control of food resources and human health. As far as fungal pathogens are concerned, the principal option has been the use of antifungal agents, also called fungicides when they are used in the environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

A whole genome scan of SNP data suggests a lack of abundant hard selective sweeps in the genome of the broad host range plant pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

The pathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum infects over 600 species of plant. It is present in numerous environments throughout the world and causes significant damage to many agricultural crops. Fragmentation and lack of gene flow between populations may lead to population sub-structure. Within discrete recombining populations, positive selection may lead to a ‘selective sweep’. This is characterised by an increase in frequency of a favourable allele leading to reduction in genotypic diversity in a localised genomic region due to the phenomenon of genetic hitchhiking. We aimed to assess whether isolates of S. sclerotiorum from around the world formed genotypic clusters associated with geographical origin and to determine whether signatures of population-specific positive selection could be detected. To do this, we sequenced the genomes of 25 isolates of S. sclerotiorum collected from four different continents-Australia, Africa (north and south), Europe and North America (Canada and the northen United States) and conducted SNP based analyses of population structure and selective sweeps. Among the 25 isolates, there was evidence for two major population clusters. One of these consisted of 11 isolates from Canada, the USA and France (population 1), and the other consisted of nine isolates from Australia and one from Morocco (population 2). The rest of the isolates were genotypic outliers. We found that there was evidence of outcrossing in these two populations based on linkage disequilibrium decay. However, only a single candidate selective sweep was observed, and it was present in population 2. This sweep was close to a Major Facilitator Superfamily transporter gene, and we speculate that this gene may have a role in nutrient uptake from the host. The low abundance of selective sweeps in the S. sclerotiorum genome contrasts the numerous examples in the genomes of other fungal pathogens. This may be a result of its slow rate of evolution and low effective recombination rate due to self-fertilisation and vegetative reproduction.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome mining identifies cepacin as a plant-protective metabolite of the biopesticidal bacterium Burkholderia ambifaria.

Beneficial microorganisms are widely used in agriculture for control of plant pathogens, but a lack of efficacy and safety information has limited the exploitation of multiple promising biopesticides. We applied phylogeny-led genome mining, metabolite analyses and biological control assays to define the efficacy of Burkholderia ambifaria, a naturally beneficial bacterium with proven biocontrol properties but potential pathogenic risk. A panel of 64 B.?ambifaria strains demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity against priority plant pathogens. Genome sequencing, specialized metabolite biosynthetic gene cluster mining and metabolite analysis revealed an armoury of known and unknown pathways within B.?ambifaria. The biosynthetic gene cluster responsible for the production of the metabolite cepacin was identified and directly shown to mediate protection of germinating crops against Pythium damping-off disease. B.?ambifaria maintained biopesticidal protection and overall fitness in the soil after deletion of its third replicon, a non-essential plasmid associated with virulence in Burkholderia?cepacia complex bacteria. Removal of the third replicon reduced B.?ambifaria persistence in a murine respiratory infection model. Here, we show that by using interdisciplinary phylogenomic, metabolomic and functional approaches, the mode of action of natural biological control agents related to pathogens can be systematically established to facilitate their future exploitation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Characterization and Complete Genome Analysis of the Carbazomycin B-Producing Strain Streptomyces luteoverticillatus SZJ61.

Members of marine Actinobacteria have been highly regarded as potentially important sources of antimicrobial compounds. Here, we isolated a strain of Actinobacteria, SZJ61, and showed that it inhibits the in vitro growth of fungi pathogenic to plants. This new isolate was identified as Streptomyces luteoverticillatus by morphological, biochemical and genetic analyses. Antifungal compounds were isolated from S. luteoverticillatus strain SZJ61 and characterized as carbazomycin B by nuclear magnetic resonance spectra. We then sequenced the genome of the S. luteoverticillatus SZJ61 strain, which consists of only one 7,367,863 bp linear chromosome that has a G+C content of 72.05%. Thirty-five putative biosynthetic gene clusters for secondary metabolites, including a variety of bioactive products, were found. Mining of the genome sequence information revealed the putative biosynthetic gene cluster of carbazomycin B. This genomic information is valuable for interpreting the biosynthetic mechanisms of diverse bioactive compounds that have potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and Functional Characterization of the Endophytic Bacillus subtilis 7PJ-16 Strain, a Potential Biocontrol Agent of Mulberry Fruit Sclerotiniose.

Bacillus sp. 7PJ-16, an endophytic bacterium isolated from a healthy mulberry stem and previously identified as Bacillus tequilensis 7PJ-16, exhibits strong antifungal activity and has the capacity to promote plant growth. This strain was studied for its effectiveness as a biocontrol agent to reduce mulberry fruit sclerotiniose in the field and as a growth-promoting agent for mulberry in the greenhouse. In field studies, the cell suspension and supernatant of strain 7PJ-16 exhibited biocontrol efficacy and the lowest disease incidence was reduced down to only 0.80%. In greenhouse experiments, the cell suspension (1.0?×?106 and 1.0?×?105 CFU/mL) and the cell-free supernatant (100-fold and 1000-fold dilution) stimulated mulberry seed germination and promoted mulberry seedling growth. In addition, to accurately identify the 7PJ-16 strain and further explore the mechanisms of its antifungal and growth-promoting properties, the complete genome of this strain was sequenced and annotated. The 7PJ-16 genome is comprised of two circular plasmids and a 4,209,045-bp circular chromosome, containing 4492 protein-coding genes and 116 RNA genes. This strain was ultimately designed as Bacillus subtilis based on core genome sequence analyses using a phylogenomic approach. In this genome, we identified a series of gene clusters that function in the synthesis of non-ribosomal peptides (surfactin, fengycin, bacillibactin, and bacilysin) as well as the ribosome-dependent synthesis of tasA and bacteriocins (subtilin, subtilosin A), which are responsible for the biosynthesis of numerous antimicrobial metabolites. Additionally, several genes with function that promote plant growth, such as indole-3-acetic acid biosynthesis, the production of volatile substances, and siderophores synthesis, were also identified. The information described in this study has established a good foundation for understanding the beneficial interactions between endophytes and host plants, and facilitates the further application of B. subtilis 7PJ-16 as an agricultural biofertilizer and biocontrol agent.


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  |  

Genomic analysis provides insights into the transmission and pathogenicity of Talaromyces marneffei.

Talaromyces marneffei (T. marneffei) is a medically important opportunistic dimorphic fungus that infects both humans and bamboo rats. However, the mechanisms of transmission and pathogenicity of T. marneffei are poorly understood. In our study, we combined Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies to sequence and assemble a complete genome of T. marneffei. To elucidate the transmission route and source, we sequenced three additional T. marneffei isolates using Illumina sequencing technology. Variations among isolates were used to develop a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) system comprising five housekeeping genes that can be used to discriminate between isolates derived from different sources. Our analysis revealed that human and bamboo rat share identical genotypes in these five loci. Thus, we hypothesized that T. marneffei is transmitted to humans through inhalation of spores in the surrounding environment into the lungs and that the bamboo rat can serve as an important natural reservoir for pathogens. Furthermore, we also identified temperature-dependent polyketide synthases, non-ribosomal peptide synthetases and secreted proteins as putative pathogenicity-related factors. In addition, we identified antifungal drug targets that can be investigated in future studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying drug resistance. In summary, our study presents the basic features of the T. marneffei genome and provides insights into the transmission and pathogenicity of T. marneffei, which warrant fundamental experimental research.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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