June 1, 2021  |  

Automated, non-hybrid de novo genome assemblies and epigenomes of bacterial pathogens.

Understanding the genetic basis of infectious diseases is critical to enacting effective treatments, and several large-scale sequencing initiatives are underway to collect this information. Sequencing bacterial samples is typically performed by mapping sequence reads against genomes of known reference strains. While such resequencing informs on the spectrum of single-nucleotide differences relative to the chosen reference, it can miss numerous other forms of variation known to influence pathogenicity: structural variations (duplications, inversions), acquisition of mobile elements (phages, plasmids), homonucleotide length variation causing phase variation, and epigenetic marks (methylation, phosphorothioation) that influence gene expression to switch bacteria from non- pathogenic to pathogenic states. Therefore, sequencing methods which provide complete, de novo genome assemblies and epigenomes are necessary to fully characterize infectious disease agents in an unbiased, hypothesis-free manner. Hybrid assembly methods have been described that combine long sequence reads from SMRT DNA Sequencing with short reads (SMRT CCS (circular consensus) or second-generation reads), wherein the short reads are used to error-correct the long reads which are then used for assembly. We have developed a new paradigm for microbial de novo assemblies in which SMRT sequencing reads from a single long insert library are used exclusively to close the genome through a hierarchical genome assembly process, thereby obviating the need for a second sample preparation, sequencing run, and data set. We have applied this method to achieve closed de novo genomes with accuracies exceeding QV50 (>99.999%) for numerous disease outbreak samples, including E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Neisseria, and H. pylori. The kinetic information from the same SMRT Sequencing reads is utilized to determine epigenomes. Approximately 70% of all methyltransferase specificities we have determined to date represent previously unknown bacterial epigenetic signatures. With relatively short sequencing run times and automated analysis pipelines, it is possible to go from an unknown DNA sample to its complete de novo genome and epigenome in about a day.


April 21, 2020  |  

Biochemical characterization of a novel cold-adapted agarotetraose-producing a-agarase, AgaWS5, from Catenovulum sediminis WS1-A.

Although many ß-agarases that hydrolyze the ß-1,4 linkages of agarose have been biochemically characterized, only three a-agarases that hydrolyze the a-1,3 linkages are reported to date. In this study, a new a-agarase, AgaWS5, from Catenovulum sediminis WS1-A, a new agar-degrading marine bacterium, was biochemically characterized. AgaWS5 belongs to the glycoside hydrolase (GH) 96 family. AgaWS5 consists of 1295 amino acids (140 kDa) and has the 65% identity to an a-agarase, AgaA33, obtained from an agar-degrading bacterium Thalassomonas agarivorans JAMB-A33. AgaWS5 showed the maximum activity at a pH and temperature of 8 and 40 °C, respectively. AgaWS5 showed a cold-tolerance, and it retained more than 40% of its maximum enzymatic activity at 10 °C. AgaWS5 is predicted to have several calcium-binding sites. Thus, its activity was slightly enhanced in the presence of Ca2+, and was strongly inhibited by EDTA. The Km and Vmax of AgaWS5 for agarose were 10.6 mg/mL and 714.3 U/mg, respectively. Agarose-liquefication, thin layer chromatography, and mass and NMR spectroscopic analyses demonstrated that AgaWS5 is an endo-type a-agarase that degrades agarose and mainly produces agarotetraose. Thus, in this study, a novel cold-adapted GH96 agarotetraose-producing a-agarase was identified.


April 21, 2020  |  

Generating amplicon reads for microbial community assessment with next-generation sequencing.

Marker gene amplicon sequencing is often preferred over whole genome sequencing for microbial community characterization, due to its lower cost while still enabling assessment of uncultivable organisms. This technique involves many experimental steps, each of which can be a source of errors and bias. We present an up-to-date overview of the whole experimental pipeline, from sampling to sequencing reads, and give information allowing for informed choices at each step of both planning and execution of a microbial community assessment study. When applicable, we also suggest ways of avoiding inherent pitfalls in amplicon sequencing. © 2019 The Society for Applied Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Microbial diversity in the tick Argas japonicus (Acari: Argasidae) with a focus on Rickettsia pathogens.

The soft tick Argas japonicus mainly infests birds and can cause human dermatitis; however, no pathogen has been identified from this tick species in China. In the present study, the microbiota in A. japonicus collected from an epidemic community was explored, and some putative Rickettsia pathogens were further characterized. The results obtained indicated that bacteria in A. japonicus were mainly ascribed to the phyla Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria. At the genus level, the male A. japonicus harboured more diverse bacteria than the females and nymphs. The bacteria Alcaligenes, Pseudomonas, Rickettsia and Staphylococcus were common in nymphs and adults. The abundance of bacteria belonging to the Rickettsia genus in females and males was 7.27% and 10.42%, respectively. Furthermore, the 16S rRNA gene of Rickettsia was amplified and sequenced, and phylogenetic analysis revealed that 13 sequences were clustered with the spotted fever group rickettsiae (Rickettsia heilongjiangensis and Rickettsia japonica) and three were clustered with Rickettsia limoniae, which suggested that the characterized Rickettsia in A. japonicus were novel putative pathogens and also that the residents were at considerable risk for infection by tick-borne pathogens. © 2019 The Royal Entomological Society.


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  |  

Aquella oligotrophica gen. nov. sp. nov.: A new member of the family Neisseriaceae isolated from laboratory tap water.

A bacterial strain designated as P08T was isolated from laboratory tap water during a water quality assessment in University of Malaya, Malaysia. The strain was a Gram-negative, rod-shaped, nonmotile, and aerobic bacterium. Complete genome of P08T comprised of a 2,820,660 bp chromosome with a G + C content of 36.43%. Both 16S rRNA phylogeny and phylogenetic tree inferred from the core gene matrix demonstrated that P08T formed a hitherto unknown subline within the family Neisseriaceae. Ortho average nucleotide identity (OrthoANI) values and the percentage of conserved proteins (POCP) calculated from complete genome sequence indicated low relatedness between P08T and its phylogenetic neighbors. Respiratory quinone analysis revealed Q-8 as the only detectable quinone. The predominant cellular fatty acids were identified as C14:0 , iso-C15:0 , and summed feature 3 (C16:1 ?7c/C16:1 ?6c). The polar lipids consisted of uncharacterized aminolipid, phosphatidylglycerol, and phosphatidylethanolamine. All aspects of phenotypic and phylogenetic data suggested that strain P08T represents a novel genus within family Neisseriaceae, for which the name Aquella gen. nov. is proposed. The type species of the genus is Aquella oligotrophica sp. nov., and the type strain is P08T (=LMG 29629T =DSM 100970T ). © 2019 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic insights into the survival of the subaerial cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme in arid and exposed habitats.

The cyanobacterium Nostoc flagelliforme is an extremophile that thrives under extraordinary desiccation and ultraviolet (UV) radiation conditions. To investigate its survival strategies, we performed whole-genome sequencing of N. flagelliforme CCNUN1 and transcriptional profiling of its field populations upon rehydration in BG11 medium. The genome of N. flagelliforme is 10.23 Mb in size and contains 10 825 predicted protein-encoding genes, making it one of the largest complete genomes of cyanobacteria reported to date. Comparative genomics analysis among 20 cyanobacterial strains revealed that genes related to DNA replication, recombination and repair had disproportionately high contributions to the genome expansion. The ability of N. flagelliforme to thrive under extreme abiotic stresses is supported by the acquisition of genes involved in the protection of photosynthetic apparatus, the formation of monounsaturated fatty acids, responses to UV radiation, and a peculiar role of ornithine metabolism. Transcriptome analysis revealed a distinct acclimation strategy to rehydration, including the strong constitutive expression of genes encoding photosystem I assembly factors and the involvement of post-transcriptional control mechanisms of photosynthetic resuscitation. Our results provide insights into the adaptive mechanisms of subaerial cyanobacteria in their harsh habitats and have important implications to understand the evolutionary transition of cyanobacteria from aquatic environments to terrestrial ecosystems. © 2019 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

FadR1, a pathway-specific activator of fidaxomicin biosynthesis in Actinoplanes deccanensis Yp-1.

Fidaxomicin, an 18-membered macrolide antibiotic, is highly active against Clostridium difficile, the most common cause of diarrhea in hospitalized patients. Though the biosynthetic mechanism of fidaxomicin has been well studied, little is known about its regulatory mechanism. Here, we reported that FadR1, a LAL family transcriptional regulator in the fidaxomicin cluster of Actinoplanes deccanensis Yp-1, acts as an activator for fidaxomicin biosynthesis. The disruption of fadR1 abolished the ability to synthesize fidaxomicin, and production could be restored by reintegrating a single copy of fadR1. Overexpression of fadR1 resulted in an approximately 400 % improvement in fidaxomicin production. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays indicated that fidaxomicin biosynthesis is under the control of FadR1 through its binding to the promoter regions of fadM, fadA1-fadP2, fadS2-fadC, and fadE-fadF, respectively. And the conserved binding sites of FadR1 within the four promoter regions were determined by footprinting experiment. All results indicated that fadR1 encodes a pathway-specific positive regulator of fidaxomicin biosynthesis and upregulates the transcription levels of most of genes by binding to the four above intergenic regions. In summary, we not only clearly elucidate the regulatory mechanism of FadR1 but also provide strategies for the construction of industrial high-yield strain of fidaxomicin.


April 21, 2020  |  

Potential KPC-2 carbapenemase reservoir of environmental Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae isolates from the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant in Japan.

Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas caviae adapt to saline water environments and are the most predominant Aeromonas species isolated from estuaries. Here, we isolated antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) Aeromonas strains (A. hydrophila GSH8-2 and A. caviae GSH8M-1) carrying the carabapenemase blaKPC-2 gene from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent in Tokyo Bay (Japan) and determined their complete genome sequences. GSH8-2 and GSH8M-1 were classified as newly assigned sequence types ST558 and ST13, suggesting no supportive evidence of clonal dissemination. The strains appear to have acquired blaKPC-2 -positive IncP-6-relative plasmids (pGSH8-2 and pGSH8M-1-2) that share a common backbone with plasmids in Aeromonas sp. ASNIH3 isolated from hospital wastewater in the United States, A. hydrophila WCHAH045096 isolated from sewage in China, other clinical isolates (Klebsiella, Enterobacter and Escherichia coli), and wastewater isolates (Citrobacter, Pseudomonas and other Aeromonas spp.). In addition to blaKPC-2 , pGSH8M-1-2 carries an IS26-mediated composite transposon including a macrolide resistance gene, mph(A). Although Aeromonas species are opportunistic pathogens, they could serve as potential environmental reservoir bacteria for carbapenemase and AMR genes. AMR monitoring from WWTP effluents will contribute to the detection of ongoing AMR dissemination in the environment and might provide an early warning of potential dissemination in clinical settings and communities. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Newly designed 16S rRNA metabarcoding primers amplify diverse and novel archaeal taxa from the environment.

High-throughput studies of microbial communities suggest that Archaea are a widespread component of microbial diversity in various ecosystems. However, proper quantification of archaeal diversity and community ecology remains limited, as sequence coverage of Archaea is usually low owing to the inability of available prokaryotic primers to efficiently amplify archaeal compared to bacterial rRNA genes. To improve identification and quantification of Archaea, we designed and validated the utility of several primer pairs to efficiently amplify archaeal 16S rRNA genes based on up-to-date reference genes. We demonstrate that several of these primer pairs amplify phylogenetically diverse Archaea with high sequencing coverage, outperforming commonly used primers. Based on comparing the resulting long 16S rRNA gene fragments with public databases from all habitats, we found several novel family- to phylum-level archaeal taxa from topsoil and surface water. Our results suggest that archaeal diversity has been largely overlooked due to the limitations of available primers, and that improved primer pairs enable to estimate archaeal diversity more accurately. © 2018 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology Reports published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


April 21, 2020  |  

Physiological properties and genetic analysis related to exopolysaccharide (EPS) production in the fresh-water unicellular cyanobacterium Aphanothece sacrum (Suizenji Nori).

The clonal strains, phycoerythrin(PE)-rich- and PE-poor strains, of the unicellular, fresh water cyanobacterium Aphanothece sacrum (Suringar) Okada (Suizenji Nori, in Japanese) were isolated from traditional open-air aquafarms in Japan. A. sacrum appeared to be oligotrophic on the basis of its growth characteristics. The optimum temperature for growth was around 20°C. Maximum growth and biomass increase at 20°C was obtained under light intensities between 40 to 80 µmol m-2 s-1 (fluorescent lamps, 12 h light/12 h dark cycles) and between 40 to 120 µmol m-2 s-1 for PE-rich and PE-poor strains, respectively, of A. sacrum . Purified exopolysaccharide (EPS) of A. sacrum has a molecular weight of ca. 104 kDa with five major monosaccharides (glucose, xylose, rhamnose, galactose and mannose; =85 mol%). We also deciphered the whole genome sequence of the two strains of A. sacrum. The putative genes involved in the polymerization, chain length control, and export of EPS would contribute to understand the biosynthetic process of their extremely high molecular weight EPS. The putative genes encoding Wzx-Wzy-Wzz- and Wza-Wzb-Wzc were conserved in the A. sacrum strains FPU1 and FPU3. This result suggests that the Wzy-dependent pathway participates in the EPS production of A. sacrum.


April 21, 2020  |  

Nodule bacteria from the cultured legume Phaseolus dumosus (belonging to the Phaseolus vulgaris cross-inoculation group) with common tropici phenotypic characteristics and symbiovar but distinctive phylogenomic position and chromid.

Phaseolus dumosus is an endemic species from mountain tops in Mexico that was found in traditional agriculture areas in Veracruz, Mexico. P. dumosus plants were identified by ITS sequences and their nodules were collected from agricultural fields or from trap plant experiments in the laboratory. Bacteria from P. dumosus nodules were identified as belonging to the phaseoli-etli-leguminosarum (PEL) or to the tropici group by 16S rRNA gene sequences. We obtained complete closed genomes from two P. dumosus isolates CCGE531 and CCGE532 that were phylogenetically placed within the tropici group but with a distinctive phylogenomic position and low average nucleotide identity (ANI). CCGE531 and CCGE532 had common phenotypic characteristics with tropici type B rhizobial symbionts. Genome synteny analysis and ANI showed that P. dumosus isolates had different chromids and our analysis suggests that chromids have independently evolved in different lineages of the Rhizobium genus. Finally, we considered that P. dumosus and Phaseolus vulgaris plants belong to the same cross-inoculation group since they have conserved symbiotic affinites for rhizobia.Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Marinitoga lauensis sp. nov., a novel deep-sea hydrothermal vent thermophilic anaerobic heterotroph with a prophage.

A novel moderately thermophilic, heterotrophic anaerobe, designated strain LG1T, was isolated from the Mariner deep-sea hydrothermal vent field along the Eastern Lau Spreading Center and Valu Fa Ridge. Cells of strain LG1T were motile rods, occurring singly or in pairs, 0.6µm in width and 1.2µm in length. The strain LG1T grew between 40 and 70°C (optimum 50-55°C), at a pH between 5 and 8 (optimum pH 6.5) and with 7.5-50gL-1 NaCl (optimum 30gL-1). Sulfur, cystine and thiosulfate were reduced to sulfide, and cell yield was improved in the presence of cystine. Strain LG1T was an organotroph able to use a variety of organic compounds. Phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparisons indicated that strain LG1T was affiliated to the genus Marinitoga within the order Petrotogales. It shared 95.34-96.31% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with strains of other Marinitoga species, and is most closely related to Marinitoga okinawensis. Genome analysis revealed the presence of a prophage sharing high sequence homology with the viruses MPV1, MCV1 and MCV2 hosted by Marinitoga strains. Based on the data from the phylogenetic analyses and the physiological properties of the novel isolate, we propose that strain LG1T is a representative of a novel species, for which the name Marinitoga lauensis sp. nov. is proposed; the type strain is LG1T (=DSM 106824=JCM 32613).Copyright © 2019 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Oenococcus sicerae sp. nov., isolated from French cider.

Two Gram-stain-positive, small ellipsoidal cocci, non-motile, oxidase- and catalase-negative, and facultative anaerobic strains (UCMA15228T and UCMA17102) were isolated in France, from fermented apple juices (ciders). The 16S rRNA gene sequence was identical between the two isolates and showed 97 % similarity with respect to the closest related species Oenococcus oeni and O. kitaharae. Therefore, the two isolates were classified within the genus Oenococcus. The phylogeny based on the pheS gene sequences also confirmed the position of the new taxon. DNA-DNA hybridizations based on in silico genome-to-genome comparisons (GGDC) and Average Nucleotide Identity (ANI) values, as well as species-specific PCR, validated the novelty of the taxon. Various phenotypic characteristics such as the optimum temperature and pH for growth, the ability to metabolise sugars, the aptitude to perform the malolactic fermentation, and the resistance to ethanol and NaCl, revealed that the two strains are distinguishable from the other members of the Oenococcus genus. The combined genotypic and phenotypic data support the classification of strains UCMA15228T and UCMA17102 into a novel species of Oenococcus, for which the name O. sicerae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is UCMA15228T (=DSM107163T=CIRM-BIA2288T).Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


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