April 21, 2020  |  

Complete genome sequence of Bacillus velezensis JT3-1, a microbial germicide isolated from yak feces

Bacillus velezensis JT3-1 is a probiotic strain isolated from feces of the domestic yak (Bos grunniens) in the Gansu province of China. It has strong antagonistic activity against Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Mannheimia haemolytica, Staphylococcus hominis, Clostridium perfringens, and Mycoplasma bovis. These properties have made the JT3-1 strain the focus of commercial interest. In this study, we describe the complete genome sequence of JT3-1, with a genome size of 3,929,799 bp, 3761 encoded genes and an average GC content of 46.50%. Whole genome sequencing of Bacillus velezensis JT3-1 will lay a good foundation for elucidation of the mechanisms of its antimicrobial activity, and for its future application.


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  |  

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  |  

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  |  

Antimicrobial, plant growth-promoting and genomic properties of the peanut endophyte Bacillus velezensis LDO2.

Peanut suffer from a number of fungal and bacterial pathogens, while plant endophytes were considered excellent candidates as biocontrol agents. In this study, the peanut endophytic bacterium LDO2 was evaluated for the potential of peanut pathogens inhibition and growth-promotion, and the genetic mechanisms were explored by genome mining. Strain LDO2 significantly inhibited the growth of peanut pathogenic fungi and pathogenic bacteria, and specifically, it showed pronounced inhibition on mycelia growth of Aspergillus flavus mycelia and caused mycelial deformity. Gene clusters responsible for antifungal metabolites (fengycin, surfactin, bacilysin) and antibacterial metabolites (butirosin, bacillaene, difficidin, macrolactin, surfactin, bacilysin) were identified. Strain LDO2 also exhibited several growth-promoting related features including phosphate solubilization, siderophore production and growth promotion of peanut root. Genes associated with plant growth promotion were also identified and analyzed, as well as genes related to secreted proteins. These findings suggested that this peanut endophyte could be a potential biocontrol agent in peanut production and a source of antimicrobial compounds for further exploitation. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Function and Distribution of a Lantipeptide in Strawberry Fusarium Wilt Disease-Suppressive Soils.

Streptomyces griseus S4-7 is representative of strains responsible for the specific soil suppressiveness of Fusarium wilt of strawberry caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae. Members of the genus Streptomyces secrete diverse secondary metabolites including lantipeptides, heat-stable lanthionine-containing compounds that can exhibit antibiotic activity. In this study, a class II lantipeptide provisionally named grisin, of previously unknown biological function, was shown to inhibit F. oxysporum. The inhibitory activity of grisin distinguishes it from other class II lantipeptides from Streptomyces spp. Results of quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction with lanM-specific primers showed that the density of grisin-producing Streptomyces spp. in the rhizosphere of strawberry was positively correlated with the number of years of monoculture and a minimum of seven years was required for development of specific soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt disease. We suggest that lanM can be used as a diagnostic marker of whether a soil is conducive or suppressive to the disease.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Newly Isolated Bacillus subtilis Strain Named WS-1 Inhibited Diarrhea and Death Caused by Pathogenic Escherichia coli in Newborn Piglets.

Bacillus subtilis is recognized as a safe and reliable human and animal probiotic and is associated with bioactivities such as production of vitamin and immune stimulation. Additionally, it has great potential to be used as an alternative to antimicrobial drugs, which is significant in the context of antibiotic abuse in food animal production. In this study, we isolated one strain of B. subtilis, named WS-1, from apparently healthy pigs growing with sick cohorts on one Escherichia coli endemic commercial pig farm in Guangdong, China. WS-1 can strongly inhibit the growth of pathogenic E. coli in vitro. The B. subtilis strain WS-1 showed typical Bacillus characteristics by endospore staining, biochemical test, enzyme activity analysis, and 16S rRNA sequence analysis. Genomic analysis showed that the B. subtilis strain WS-1 shares 100% genomic synteny with B. subtilis with a size of 4,088,167 bp. Importantly, inoculation of newborn piglets with 1.5 × 1010 CFU of B. subtilis strain WS-1 by oral feeding was able to clearly inhibit diarrhea (p < 0.05) and death (p < 0.05) caused by pathogenic E. coli in piglets. Furthermore, histopathological results showed that the WS-1 strain could protect small intestine from lesions caused by E. coli infection. Collectively, these findings suggest that the probiotic B. subtilis strain WS-1 acts as a potential biocontrol agent protecting pigs from pathogenic E. coli infection. Importance: In this work, one B. subtilis strain (WS-1) was successfully isolated from apparently healthy pigs growing with sick cohorts on one E. coli endemic commercial pig farm in Guangdong, China. The B. subtilis strain WS-1 was identified to inhibit the growth of pathogenic E. coli both in vitro and in vivo, indicating its potential application in protecting newborn piglets from diarrhea caused by E. coli infections. The isolation and characterization will help better understand this bacterium, and the strain WS-1 can be further explored as an alternative to antimicrobial drugs to protect human and animal health.


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