April 21, 2020  |  

RNA sequencing: the teenage years.

Over the past decade, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has become an indispensable tool for transcriptome-wide analysis of differential gene expression and differential splicing of mRNAs. However, as next-generation sequencing technologies have developed, so too has RNA-seq. Now, RNA-seq methods are available for studying many different aspects of RNA biology, including single-cell gene expression, translation (the translatome) and RNA structure (the structurome). Exciting new applications are being explored, such as spatial transcriptomics (spatialomics). Together with new long-read and direct RNA-seq technologies and better computational tools for data analysis, innovations in RNA-seq are contributing to a fuller understanding of RNA biology, from questions such as when and where transcription occurs to the folding and intermolecular interactions that govern RNA function.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Novel Bacteriophage Exclusion (BREX) System Encoded by the pglX Gene in Lactobacillus casei Zhang.

The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a novel prokaryotic defense system against bacteriophages. To our knowledge, no study has systematically characterized the function of the BREX system in lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic bacterium originating from koumiss. By using single-molecule real-time sequencing, we previously identified N6-methyladenine (m6A) signatures in the genome of L. casei Zhang and a putative methyltransferase (MTase), namely, pglX This work further analyzed the genomic locus near the pglX gene and identified it as a component of the BREX system. To decipher the biological role of pglX, an L. casei Zhang pglX mutant (?pglX) was constructed. Interestingly, m6A methylation of the 5′-ACRCAG-3′ motif was eliminated in the ?pglX mutant. The wild-type and mutant strains exhibited no significant difference in morphology or growth performance in de Man-Rogosa-Sharpe (MRS) medium. A significantly higher plasmid acquisition capacity was observed for the ?pglX mutant than for the wild type if the transformed plasmids contained pglX recognition sites (i.e., 5′-ACRCAG-3′). In contrast, no significant difference was observed in plasmid transformation efficiency between the two strains when plasmids lacking pglX recognition sites were tested. Moreover, the ?pglX mutant had a lower capacity to retain the plasmids than the wild type, suggesting a decrease in genetic stability. Since the Rebase database predicted that the L. casei PglX protein was bifunctional, as both an MTase and a restriction endonuclease, the PglX protein was heterologously expressed and purified but failed to show restriction endonuclease activity. Taken together, the results show that the L. casei Zhang pglX gene is a functional adenine MTase that belongs to the BREX system.IMPORTANCELactobacillus casei Zhang is a probiotic that confers beneficial effects on the host, and it is thus increasingly used in the dairy industry. The possession of an effective bacterial immune system that can defend against invasion of phages and exogenous DNA is a desirable feature for industrial bacterial strains. The bacteriophage exclusion (BREX) system is a recently described phage resistance system in prokaryotes. This work confirmed the function of the BREX system in L. casei and that the methyltransferase (pglX) is an indispensable part of the system. Overall, our study characterizes a BREX system component gene in lactic acid bacteria. Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Nine Novel Phages from a Plateau Lake in Southwest China: Insights into Aeromonas Phage Diversity.

Aeromonas species are common pathogens of fish and some of them can opportunistically cause infectious diseases in humans. The overuse of antibiotics has led to the emergence of bacterial drug-resistance. To date, only 51 complete genome sequences of Aeromonas phages are available in GenBank. Here, we report the isolation of nine Aeromonas phages from a plateau lake in China. The protein cluster, dot plot and ANI analyses were performed on all 60 currently sequenced Aeromonas phage genomes and classified into nine clusters and thirteen singletons. Among the nine isolated phages, the DNA-packaging strategy of cluster 2L372D (including 2L372D, 2L372X, 4L372D, 4L372XY) is unknown, while the other five phages use the headful (P22/Sf6) DNA-packaging strategy. Notably, the isolated phages with larger genomes conservatively encode auxiliary metabolism genes, DNA replication and metabolism genes, while in smaller phage genomes, recombination-related genes were conserved. Finally, we propose a new classification scheme for Aeromonas phages.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genomic and transcriptomic characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa small colony variants derived from a chronic infection model.

Phenotypic change is a hallmark of bacterial adaptation during chronic infection. In the case of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in patients with cystic fibrosis, well-characterized phenotypic variants include mucoid and small colony variants (SCVs). It has previously been shown that SCVs can be reproducibly isolated from the murine lung following the establishment of chronic infection with mucoid P. aeruginosa strain NH57388A. Using a combination of single-molecule real-time (PacBio) and Illumina sequencing we identify a large genomic inversion in the SCV through recombination between homologous regions of two rRNA operons and an associated truncation of one of the 16S rRNA genes and suggest this may be the genetic switch for conversion to the SCV phenotype. This phenotypic conversion is associated with large-scale transcriptional changes distributed throughout the genome. This global rewiring of the cellular transcriptomic output results in changes to normally differentially regulated genes that modulate resistance to oxidative stress, central metabolism and virulence. These changes are of clinical relevance because the appearance of SCVs during chronic infection is associated with declining lung function.


April 21, 2020  |  

Design and Preclinical Development of a Phage Product for the Treatment of Antibiotic-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections.

Bacteriophages, viruses that only kill specific bacteria, are receiving substantial attention as nontraditional antibacterial agents that may help alleviate the growing antibiotic resistance problem in medicine. We describe the design and preclinical development of AB-SA01, a fixed-composition bacteriophage product intended to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections. AB-SA01 contains three naturally occurring, obligately lytic myoviruses related to Staphylococcus phage K. AB-SA01 component phages have been sequenced and contain no identifiable bacterial virulence or antibiotic resistance genes. In vitro, AB-SA01 killed 94.5% of 401 clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates, including methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-intermediate ones for a total of 95% of the 205 known multidrug-resistant isolates. The spontaneous frequency of resistance to AB-SA01 was =3 × 10-9, and resistance emerging to one component phage could be complemented by the activity of another component phage. In both neutropenic and immunocompetent mouse models of acute pneumonia, AB-SA01 reduced lung S. aureus populations equivalently to vancomycin. Overall, the inherent characteristics of AB-SA01 component phages meet regulatory and generally accepted criteria for human use, and the preclinical data presented here have supported production under good manufacturing practices and phase 1 clinical studies with AB-SA01.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative genomic analysis of eight novel haloalkaliphilic bacteriophages from Lake Elmenteita, Kenya.

We report complete genome sequences of eight bacteriophages isolated from Haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita found on the floor of Kenyan Rift Valley. The bacteriophages were sequenced, annotated and a comparative genomic analysis using various Bioinformatics tools carried out to determine relatedness of the bacteriophages to each other, and to those in public databases. Basic genome properties like genome size, percentage coding density, number of open reading frames, percentage GC content and gene organizations revealed the bacteriophages had no relationship to each other. Comparison to other nucleotide sequences in GenBank database showed no significant similarities hence novel. At the amino acid level, phages of our study revealed mosaicism to genes with conserved domains to already described phages. Phylogenetic analyses of large terminase gene responsible for DNA packaging and DNA polymerase gene for replication further showed diversity among the bacteriophages. Our results give insight into diversity of bacteriophages in Lake Elmenteita and provide information on their evolution. By providing primary sequence information, this study not only provides novel sequences for biotechnological exploitation, but also sets stage for future studies aimed at better understanding of virus diversity and genomes from haloalkaline lakes in the Rift Valley.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris 3107, Host for the Model Lactococcal P335 Bacteriophage TP901-1.

The complete genome sequence of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris 3107, a dairy starter strain and a host for the model lactococcal P335 bacteriophage TP901-1, is reported here. The circular chromosome of L. lactis subsp. cremoris 3107 is among the smallest genomes of currently sequenced lactococcal strains. L. lactis subsp. cremoris 3107 harbors a complement of six plasmids, which appears to be a reflection of its adaptation to the nutrient-rich dairy environment.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of a novel bacteriophage, PBKP05, infecting Klebsiella pneumoniae.

An increasing number of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates have been found to be multi-drug resistant. A novel bacteriophage, PBKP05, which infects K. pneumoniae, was isolated and characterized. It has a linear double-stranded DNA genome of 30,240 base pairs in length. Its G+C content is 53%, and 47 putative open reading frames are functionally annotated. This phage can be a candidate material for phage therapy.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete Genome Sequence of the Wolbachia wAlbB Endosymbiont of Aedes albopictus.

Wolbachia, an alpha-proteobacterium closely related to Rickettsia, is a maternally transmitted, intracellular symbiont of arthropods and nematodes. Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are naturally infected with Wolbachia strains wAlbA and wAlbB. Cell line Aa23 established from Ae. albopictus embryos retains only wAlbB and is a key model to study host-endosymbiont interactions. We have assembled the complete circular genome of wAlbB from the Aa23 cell line using long-read PacBio sequencing at 500× median coverage. The assembled circular chromosome is 1.48 megabases in size, an increase of more than 300 kb over the published draft wAlbB genome. The annotation of the genome identified 1,205 protein coding genes, 34 tRNA, 3 rRNA, 1 tmRNA, and 3 other ncRNA loci. The long reads enabled sequencing over complex repeat regions which are difficult to resolve with short-read sequencing. Thirteen percent of the genome comprised insertion sequence elements distributed throughout the genome, some of which cause pseudogenization. Prophage WO genes encoding some essential components of phage particle assembly are missing, while the remainder are found in five prophage regions/WO-like islands or scattered around the genome. Orthology analysis identified a core proteome of 535 orthogroups across all completed Wolbachia genomes. The majority of proteins could be annotated using Pfam and eggNOG analyses, including ankyrins and components of the Type IV secretion system. KEGG analysis revealed the absence of five genes in wAlbB which are present in other Wolbachia. The availability of a complete circular chromosome from wAlbB will enable further biochemical, molecular, and genetic analyses on this strain and related Wolbachia. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Isolation and Characterization of Kronos, a Novel Caulobacter Rhizosphere Phage that is Similar to Lambdoid Phages.

Despite their ubiquity, relatively few bacteriophages have been characterized. Here, we set out to explore Caulobacter bacteriophages (caulophages) in the rhizosphere and characterized Kronos, the first caulophage isolated from the rhizosphere. Kronos is a member of the Siphoviridae family since it has a long flexible tail. In addition, an analysis of the Kronos genome indicated that many of the predicted proteins were distantly related to those of bacteriophages in the lambdoid family. Consistent with this observation, we were able to demonstrate the presence of cos sites that are similar to those found at the ends of lambdoid phage genomes. Moreover, Kronos displayed a relatively rare head and tail morphology compared to other caulophages but was similar to that of the lambdoid phages. Taken together, these data indicate that Kronos is distantly related to lambdoid phages and may represent a new Siphoviridae genus.


April 21, 2020  |  

Transmission of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli between broilers and humans on broiler farms.

ESBL and AmpC ß-lactamases are an increasing concern for public health. Studies suggest that ESBL/pAmpC-producing Escherichia coli and their plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes can spread from broilers to humans working or living on broiler farms. These studies used traditional typing methods, which may not have provided sufficient resolution to reliably assess the relatedness of these isolates.Eleven suspected transmission events among broilers and humans living/working on eight broiler farms were investigated using whole-genome short-read (Illumina) and long-read sequencing (PacBio). Core genome MLST (cgMLST) was performed to investigate the occurrence of strain transmission. Horizontal plasmid and gene transfer were analysed using BLAST.Of eight suspected strain transmission events, six were confirmed. The isolate pairs had identical ESBL/AmpC genes and fewer than eight allelic differences according to the cgMLST, and five had an almost identical plasmid composition. On one of the farms, cgMLST revealed that the isolate pairs belonging to ST10 from a broiler and a household member of the farmer had 475 different alleles, but that the plasmids were identical, indicating horizontal transfer of mobile elements rather than strain transfer. Of three suspected horizontal plasmid transmission events, one was confirmed. In addition, gene transfer between plasmids was found.The present study confirms transmission of strains as well as horizontal plasmid and gene transfer between broilers and farmers and household members on the same farm. WGS is an important tool to confirm suspected zoonotic strain and resistance gene transmission. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.


April 21, 2020  |  

Efficiency of PacBio long read correction by 2nd generation Illumina sequencing.

Long sequencing reads offer unprecedented opportunities in analysis and reconstruction of complex genomic regions. However, the gain in sequence length is often traded for quality. Therefore, recently several approaches have been proposed (e.g. higher sequencing coverage, hybrid assembly or sequence correction) to enhance the quality of long sequencing reads. A simple and cost-effective approach includes use of the high quality 2nd generation sequencing data to improve the quality of long reads. We designed a dedicated testing procedure and selected universal programs for long read correction, which provide as the output sequences that can be used in further genomic and transcriptomic studies. Our results show that HALC is the best choice for correction of long PacBio reads, when both, read size and quality, are the main focus of the analysis. However, the tested tools show some unexpected behaviors, including read trimming and fragmentation.Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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