September 22, 2019  |  

Enhancing the adaptability of the deep-sea bacterium Shewanella piezotolerans WP3 to high pressure and low temperature by experimental evolution under H2O2 stress.

Oxidative stresses commonly exist in natural environments, and microbes have developed a variety of defensive systems to counteract such events. Although increasing evidence has shown that high hydrostatic pressure (HHP) and low temperature (LT) induce antioxidant defense responses in cells, there is no direct evidence to prove the connection between antioxidant defense mechanisms and the adaptation of bacteria to HHP and LT. In this study, using the wild-type (WT) strain of a deep-sea bacterium, Shewanella piezotolerans WP3, as an ancestor, we obtained a mutant, OE100, with an enhanced antioxidant defense capacity by experimental evolution under H2O2 stress. Notably, OE100 exhibited better tolerance not only to H2O2 stress but also to HHP and LT (20 MPa and 4°C, respectively). Whole-genome sequencing identified a deletion mutation in the oxyR gene, which encodes the transcription factor that controls the oxidative stress response. Comparative transcriptome analysis showed that the genes associated with oxidative stress defense, anaerobic respiration, DNA repair, and the synthesis of flagella and bacteriophage were differentially expressed in OE100 compared with the WT at 20 MPa and 4°C. Genetic analysis of oxyR and ccpA2 indicated that the OxyR-regulated cytochrome c peroxidase CcpA2 significantly contributed to the adaptation of WP3 to HHP and LT. Taken together, these results confirmed the inherent relationship between antioxidant defense mechanisms and the adaptation of a benthic microorganism to HHP and LT.IMPORTANCE Oxidative stress exists in various niches, including the deep-sea ecosystem, which is an extreme environment with conditions of HHP and predominantly LT. Although previous studies have shown that HHP and LT induce antioxidant defense responses in cells, direct evidence to prove the connection between antioxidant defense mechanisms and the adaptation of bacteria to HHP and LT is lacking. In this work, using the deep-sea bacterium Shewanella piezotolerans WP3 as a model, we proved that enhancement of the adaptability of WP3 to HHP and LT can benefit from its antioxidant defense mechanism, which provided useful insight into the ecological roles of antioxidant genes in a benthic microorganism and contributed to an improved understanding of microbial adaptation strategies in deep-sea environments.


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 21, 2019  |  

Recent advances in bioinformatics for fish genomics

In the past few years, we have contributed efforts to ~1/5 of the reported fish genomes. Based on our related experience, here we outline recent advances in bioinformatics for fish genomics, with an emphasis on development of software for genome assembly, genome annotation and evolutionary analysis. This review will be helpful for the new players of genome analysis on both animals and plants. In the past decade, whole genome sequences of approximately 50 fish species have been reported [1]. We have been involved in ~1/5 of these international works from 2014 to 2017, such as mudskippers (2014) [2], Chinese large yellow croaker [3], Chinese barbel fishes [4], Asian arowana [5,6], Channel catfish [7], seahorses [8], Japanese flounder [9], Chinese clearhead icefish [10] and Northern snakehead [11]. We are also in charge of the China Auqatic 10-100-1,000 Genomics Program [12], in which ~100 fish genomes are sequencing targets for the next 3~5 years. Based on our previous experience on fish genomic studies, here we outline recent advances in related bioinformatics for fish genomics to share with public readers. Since the basic informatics includes genome assembly, genome annotation and evolutionary analysis, we discuss them one by one in this order.


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