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  |  

The replication-competent HIV-1 latent reservoir is primarily established near the time of therapy initiation.

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is highly effective at suppressing HIV-1 replication, the virus persists as a latent reservoir in resting CD4+ T cells during therapy. This reservoir forms even when ART is initiated early after infection, but the dynamics of its formation are largely unknown. The viral reservoirs of individuals who initiate ART during chronic infection are generally larger and genetically more diverse than those of individuals who initiate therapy during acute infection, consistent with the hypothesis that the reservoir is formed continuously throughout untreated infection. To determine when viruses enter the latent reservoir, we compared sequences of replication-competent viruses from resting peripheral CD4+ T cells from nine HIV-positive women on therapy to viral sequences circulating in blood collected longitudinally before therapy. We found that, on average, 71% of the unique viruses induced from the post-therapy latent reservoir were most genetically similar to viruses replicating just before ART initiation. This proportion is far greater than would be expected if the reservoir formed continuously and was always long lived. We conclude that ART alters the host environment in a way that allows the formation or stabilization of most of the long-lived latent HIV-1 reservoir, which points to new strategies targeted at limiting the formation of the reservoir around the time of therapy initiation.Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

The ADEP Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 Reveals an Accessory clpP Gene as a Novel Antibiotic Resistance Factor.

The increasing threat posed by multiresistant bacterial pathogens necessitates the discovery of novel antibacterials with unprecedented modes of action. ADEP1, a natural compound produced by Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, is the prototype for a new class of acyldepsipeptide (ADEP) antibiotics. ADEP antibiotics deregulate the proteolytic core ClpP of the bacterial caseinolytic protease, thereby exhibiting potent antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria, including multiresistant pathogens. ADEP1 and derivatives, here collectively called ADEP, have been previously investigated for their antibiotic potency against different species, structure-activity relationship, and mechanism of action; however, knowledge on the biosynthesis of the natural compound and producer self-resistance have remained elusive. In this study, we identified and analyzed the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in S. hawaiiensis NRRL 15010, which comprises two NRPSs, genes necessary for the biosynthesis of (4S,2R)-4-methylproline, and a type II polyketide synthase (PKS) for the assembly of highly reduced polyenes. While no resistance factor could be identified within the gene cluster itself, we discovered an additional clpP homologous gene (named clpPADEP) located further downstream of the biosynthetic genes, separated from the biosynthetic gene cluster by several transposable elements. Heterologous expression of ClpPADEP in three ADEP-sensitive Streptomyces species proved its role in conferring ADEP resistance, thereby revealing a novel type of antibiotic resistance determinant.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic acyldepsipeptides (ADEPs) represent a promising new class of potent antibiotics and, at the same time, are valuable tools to study the molecular functioning of their target, ClpP, the proteolytic core of the bacterial caseinolytic protease. Here, we present a straightforward purification procedure for ADEP1 that yields substantial amounts of the pure compound in a time- and cost-efficient manner, which is a prerequisite to conveniently study the antimicrobial effects of ADEP and the operating mode of bacterial ClpP machineries in diverse bacteria. Identification and characterization of the ADEP biosynthetic gene cluster in Streptomyces hawaiiensis NRRL 15010 enables future bioinformatics screenings for similar gene clusters and/or subclusters to find novel natural compounds with specific substructures. Most strikingly, we identified a cluster-associated clpP homolog (named clpPADEP) as an ADEP resistance gene. ClpPADEP constitutes a novel bacterial resistance factor that alone is necessary and sufficient to confer high-level ADEP resistance to Streptomyces across species.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Dual Role of gnaA in Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence in Acinetobacter baumannii.

Acinetobacter baumannii is an important Gram-negative pathogen in hospital-related infections. However, treatment options for A. baumannii infections have become limited due to multidrug resistance. Bacterial virulence is often associated with capsule genes found in the K locus, many of which are essential for biosynthesis of the bacterial envelope. However, the roles of other genes in the K locus remain largely unknown. From an in vitro evolution experiment, we obtained an isolate of the virulent and multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strain MDR-ZJ06, called MDR-ZJ06M, which has an insertion by the ISAba16 transposon in gnaA (encoding UDP-N-acetylglucosamine C-6 dehydrogenase), a gene found in the K locus. The isolate showed an increased resistance toward tigecycline, whereas the MIC decreased in the case of carbapenems, cephalosporins, colistin, and minocycline. By using knockout and complementation experiments, we demonstrated that gnaA is important for the synthesis of lipooligosaccharide and capsular polysaccharide and that disruption of the gene affects the morphology, drug susceptibility, and virulence of the pathogen.Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.


April 21, 2020  |  

Chromosomal-level assembly of the blolsod clam, Scapharca (Anadara) broughtonii, using long sequence reads and Hi-C.

The blood clam, Scapharca (Anadara) broughtonii, is an economically and ecologically important marine bivalve of the family Arcidae. Efforts to study their population genetics, breeding, cultivation, and stock enrichment have been somewhat hindered by the lack of a reference genome. Herein, we report the complete genome sequence of S. broughtonii, a first reference genome of the family Arcidae.A total of 75.79 Gb clean data were generated with the Pacific Biosciences and Oxford Nanopore platforms, which represented approximately 86× coverage of the S. broughtonii genome. De novo assembly of these long reads resulted in an 884.5-Mb genome, with a contig N50 of 1.80 Mb and scaffold N50 of 45.00 Mb. Genome Hi-C scaffolding resulted in 19 chromosomes containing 99.35% of bases in the assembled genome. Genome annotation revealed that nearly half of the genome (46.1%) is composed of repeated sequences, while 24,045 protein-coding genes were predicted and 84.7% of them were annotated.We report here a chromosomal-level assembly of the S. broughtonii genome based on long-read sequencing and Hi-C scaffolding. The genomic data can serve as a reference for the family Arcidae and will provide a valuable resource for the scientific community and aquaculture sector. © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Nitratireductor sp. strain OM-1: A lipid-producing bacterium with potential use in wastewater treatment.

Reducing CO2 emissions is necessary to alleviate rising global temperature. Renewable sources of energy are becoming an increasingly important substitute for fossil fuels. An important step in this direction is the isolation of novel, technologically relevant microorganisms. Nitratireductor sp. strain OM-1 can convert volatile short-chain fatty acids in wastewater into 2-butenoic acid and its ester and can accumulate intracellularly esterified compounds up to 50% of its dried cell weight under nitrogen-depleted conditions. It is believed that a novel fatty acid biosynthesis pathway including an esterifying enzyme is encoded in its genome. In this study, we report the whole-genome sequence (4.8 Mb) of OM-1, which comprises a chromosome (3,977,827 bp) and a megaplasmid (857,937 bp). This sequence information provides insight into the genome organization and biochemical pathways of OM-1. In addition, we identified lipid biosynthesis pathways in OM-1, paving the way to a better understanding of its biochemical characterization.


April 21, 2020  |  

Biphasic cellular adaptations and ecological implications of Alteromonas macleodii degrading a mixture of algal polysaccharides.

Algal polysaccharides are an important bacterial nutrient source and central component of marine food webs. However, cellular and ecological aspects concerning the bacterial degradation of polysaccharide mixtures, as presumably abundant in natural habitats, are poorly understood. Here, we contextualize marine polysaccharide mixtures and their bacterial utilization in several ways using the model bacterium Alteromonas macleodii 83-1, which can degrade multiple algal polysaccharides and contributes to polysaccharide degradation in the oceans. Transcriptomic, proteomic and exometabolomic profiling revealed cellular adaptations of A. macleodii 83-1 when degrading a mix of laminarin, alginate and pectin. Strain 83-1 exhibited substrate prioritization driven by catabolite repression, with initial laminarin utilization followed by simultaneous alginate/pectin utilization. This biphasic phenotype coincided with pronounced shifts in gene expression, protein abundance and metabolite secretion, mainly involving CAZymes/polysaccharide utilization loci but also other functional traits. Distinct temporal changes in exometabolome composition, including the alginate/pectin-specific secretion of pyrroloquinoline quinone, suggest that substrate-dependent adaptations influence chemical interactions within the community. The ecological relevance of cellular adaptations was underlined by molecular evidence that common marine macroalgae, in particular Saccharina and Fucus, release mixtures of alginate and pectin-like rhamnogalacturonan. Moreover, CAZyme microdiversity and the genomic predisposition towards polysaccharide mixtures among Alteromonas spp. suggest polysaccharide-related traits as an ecophysiological factor, potentially relating to distinct ‘carbohydrate utilization types’ with different ecological strategies. Considering the substantial primary productivity of algae on global scales, these insights contribute to the understanding of bacteria-algae interactions and the remineralization of chemically diverse polysaccharide pools, a key step in marine carbon cycling.


April 21, 2020  |  

Polysaccharide utilization loci of North Sea Flavobacteriia as basis for using SusC/D-protein expression for predicting major phytoplankton glycans.

Marine algae convert a substantial fraction of fixed carbon dioxide into various polysaccharides. Flavobacteriia that are specialized on algal polysaccharide degradation feature genomic clusters termed polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs). As knowledge on extant PUL diversity is sparse, we sequenced the genomes of 53 North Sea Flavobacteriia and obtained 400 PULs. Bioinformatic PUL annotations suggest usage of a large array of polysaccharides, including laminarin, a-glucans, and alginate as well as mannose-, fucose-, and xylose-rich substrates. Many of the PULs exhibit new genetic architectures and suggest substrates rarely described for marine environments. The isolates’ PUL repertoires often differed considerably within genera, corroborating ecological niche-associated glycan partitioning. Polysaccharide uptake in Flavobacteriia is mediated by SusCD-like transporter complexes. Respective protein trees revealed clustering according to polysaccharide specificities predicted by PUL annotations. Using the trees, we analyzed expression of SusC/D homologs in multiyear phytoplankton bloom-associated metaproteomes and found indications for profound changes in microbial utilization of laminarin, a-glucans, ß-mannan, and sulfated xylan. We hence suggest the suitability of SusC/D-like transporter protein expression within heterotrophic bacteria as a proxy for the temporal utilization of discrete polysaccharides.


April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of the novel agarolytic Catenovulum-like strain CCB-QB4

Members of the genus Catenovulum are recognized for their ability to degrade algal biomass. Here we report the complete genome of Cantenovulum–like strain CCB-QB4, an agarolytic bacterium isolated from the coastal area of Penang, Malaysia. The sequenced genome is composed of a 5,663,044?bp circular chromosome and a 208,085?bp circular plasmid. It contained 4409 protein coding and 83 RNA genes, including 62 tRNAs and 21 rRNAs. The genome of CCB-QB4 contains many agarases, which correlate with the high capacity of the strain to degrade agar. Genome sequencing of CCB-QB4 reveals gene candidates of potential interest in enzymatic industries or applications in the field of polysaccharides degradation.


April 21, 2020  |  

Penicillium purpurogenum Produces a Set of Endoxylanases: Identification, Heterologous Expression, and Characterization of a Fourth Xylanase, XynD, a Novel Enzyme Belonging to Glycoside Hydrolase Family 10.

The fungus Penicillium purpurogenum grows on a variety of natural carbon sources and secretes a large number of enzymes which degrade the polysaccharides present in lignocellulose. In this work, the gene coding for a novel endoxylanase has been identified in the genome of the fungus. This gene (xynd) possesses four introns. The cDNA has been expressed in Pichia pastoris and characterized. The enzyme, XynD, belongs to family 10 of the glycoside hydrolases. Mature XynD has a calculated molecular weight of 40,997. It consists of 387 amino acid residues with an N-terminal catalytic module, a linker rich in ser and thr residues, and a C-terminal family 1 carbohydrate-binding module. XynD shows the highest identity (97%) to a putative endoxylanase from Penicillium subrubescens but its highest identity to a biochemically characterized xylanase (XYND from Penicillium funiculosum) is only 68%. The enzyme has a temperature optimum of 60 °C, and it is highly stable in its pH optimum range of 6.5-8.5. XynD is the fourth biochemically characterized endoxylanase from P. purpurogenum, confirming the rich potential of this fungus for lignocellulose biodegradation. XynD, due to its wide pH optimum and stability, may be a useful enzyme in biotechnological procedures related to this biodegradation process.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genetic and biochemical characterization of FRI-3, a novel variant of the Ambler class A carbapenemase FRI-1.

To characterize a new variant of the FRI class A carbapenemase isolated from an MDR clinical Enterobacter cloacae isolate.A carbapenem-resistant E. cloacae was isolated from a rectal swab from a patient in an ICU in Southern Germany. Various phenotypic tests confirmed production of a putative class A carbapenemase. The new bla gene variant, blaFRI-3, and its genetic environment were characterized by WGS. Biochemical characterization was performed by heterologous expression in Escherichia coli TOP10 and by purification of the enzyme with subsequent determination of its kinetic parameters.PCR and sequencing carried out for different class A carbapenemase genes confirmed the presence of a novel variant of blaFRI-1. The novel variant was named FRI-3 and exhibited 91%, 96% and 92% amino acid identity to FRI-1, FRI-2 and FRI-4, respectively. E. coli TOP10 expressing blaFRI-3 showed increased resistance to almost all ß-lactams. Comparing the catalytic behaviour of FRI-3 and FRI-1, it was shown that FRI-3 had the same substrate spectrum, but basically hydrolysed ß-lactams less efficiently than FRI-1. WGS data revealed that blaFRI-3 was located on a 111?kb plasmid.The biochemical characterization of FRI-3 illustrates that even a few differences in the amino acid sequence can lead to altered catalytic activities of ß-lactamases belonging to the same family. © 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  |  

Mutation of a bHLH transcription factor allowed almond domestication.

Wild almond species accumulate the bitter and toxic cyanogenic diglucoside amygdalin. Almond domestication was enabled by the selection of genotypes harboring sweet kernels. We report the completion of the almond reference genome. Map-based cloning using an F1 population segregating for kernel taste led to the identification of a 46-kilobase gene cluster encoding five basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, bHLH1 to bHLH5. Functional characterization demonstrated that bHLH2 controls transcription of the P450 monooxygenase-encoding genes PdCYP79D16 and PdCYP71AN24, which are involved in the amygdalin biosynthetic pathway. A nonsynonymous point mutation (Leu to Phe) in the dimerization domain of bHLH2 prevents transcription of the two cytochrome P450 genes, resulting in the sweet kernel trait. Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing and beyond

The development of clustered regularly interspaced short-palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas systems for genome editing has transformed the way life science research is conducted and holds enormous potential for the treatment of disease as well as for many aspects of biotech- nology. Here, I provide a personal perspective on the development of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing within the broader context of the field and discuss our work to discover novel Cas effectors and develop them into additional molecular tools. The initial demonstra- tion of Cas9-mediated genome editing launched the development of many other technologies, enabled new lines of biological inquiry, and motivated a deeper examination of natural CRISPR-Cas systems, including the discovery of new types of CRISPR-Cas systems. These new discoveries in turn spurred further technological developments. I review these exciting discoveries and technologies as well as provide an overview of the broad array of applications of these technologies in basic research and in the improvement of human health. It is clear that we are only just beginning to unravel the potential within microbial diversity, and it is quite likely that we will continue to discover other exciting phenomena, some of which it may be possible to repurpose as molecular technologies. The transformation of mysterious natural phenomena to powerful tools, however, takes a collective effort to discover, characterize, and engineer them, and it has been a privilege to join the numerous researchers who have contributed to this transformation of CRISPR-Cas systems.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome sequence and transcriptomic profiles of a marine bacterium, Pseudoalteromonas agarivorans Hao 2018.

Members of the marine genus Pseudoalteromonas have attracted great interest because of their ability to produce a large number of biologically active substances. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of Pseudoalteromonas agarivorans Hao 2018, a strain isolated from an abalone breeding environment, using second-generation Illumina and third-generation PacBio sequencing technologies. Illumina sequencing offers high quality and short reads, while PacBio technology generates long reads. The scaffolds of the two platforms were assembled to yield a complete genome sequence that included two circular chromosomes and one circular plasmid. Transcriptomic data for Pseudoalteromonas were not available. We therefore collected comprehensive RNA-seq data using Illumina sequencing technology from a fermentation culture of P. agarivorans Hao 2018. Researchers studying the evolution, environmental adaptations and biotechnological applications of Pseudoalteromonas may benefit from our genomic and transcriptomic data to analyze the function and expression of genes of interest.


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