April 21, 2020  |  

Rapid transcriptional responses to serum exposure are associated with sensitivity and resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing in invasive Salmonella Typhimurium ST313

Background: Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 exhibits signatures of adaptation to invasive human infection, including higher resistance to humoral immune responses than gastrointestinal isolates. Full resistance to antibody-mediated complement killing (serum resistance) among nontyphoidal Salmonellae is uncommon, but selection of highly resistant strains could compromise vaccine-induced antibody immunity. Here, we address the hypothesis that serum resistance is due to a distinct genotype or transcriptome response in S. Typhimurium ST313.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative Genomics Approaches to Understanding Virulence and Antimicrobial Resistance of Salmonella Typhimurium ST1539 Isolated from a Poultry Slaughterhouse in Korea.

Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) is one of the most frequent causes of bacterial foodborne illnesses. Considering that the main reservoir of NTS is the intestinal tract of livestock, foods of animal origin are regarded as the main vehicles of Salmonella infection. In particular, poultry colonized with Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), a dominant serotype responsible for human infections, do not exhibit overt signs and symptoms, thereby posing a potential health risk to humans. In this study, comparative genomics approaches were applied to two S. Typhimurium strains, ST1539 and ST1120, isolated from a duck slaughterhouse and a pig farm, respectively, to characterize their virulence and antimicrobial resistance-associated genomic determinants. ST1539 containing a chromosome (4,905,039 bp; 4,403 CDSs) and a plasmid (93,876 bp; 96 CDSs) was phylogenetically distinct from other S. Typhimurium strains such as ST1120 and LT2. Compared to the ST1120 genome (previously deposited in GenBank; CP021909.1 and CP021910.1), ST1539 possesses more virulence determinants, including ST64B prophage, plasmid spv operon encoding virulence factors, genes encoding SseJ effector, Rck invasin, and biofilm-forming factors (bcf operon and pefAB). In accordance with the in silico prediction, ST1539 exhibited higher cytotoxicity against epithelial cells, better survival inside macrophage cells, and faster mice-killing activity than ST1120. However, ST1539 showed less resistance against antibiotics than ST1120, which may be attributed to the multiple resistanceassociated genes in the ST1120 chromosome. The accumulation of comparative genomics data on S. Typhimurium isolates from livestock would enrich our understanding of strategies Salmonella employs to adapt to diverse host animals.


April 21, 2020  |  

The conservation of polyol transporter proteins and their involvement in lichenized Ascomycota.

In lichen symbiosis, polyol transfer from green algae is important for acquiring the fungal carbon source. However, the existence of polyol transporter genes and their correlation with lichenization remain unclear. Here, we report candidate polyol transporter genes selected from the genome of the lichen-forming fungus (LFF) Ramalina conduplicans. A phylogenetic analysis using characterized polyol and monosaccharide transporter proteins and hypothetical polyol transporter proteins of R. conduplicans and various ascomycetous fungi suggested that the characterized yeast’ polyol transporters form multiple clades with the polyol transporter-like proteins selected from the diverse ascomycetous taxa. Thus, polyol transporter genes are widely conserved among Ascomycota, regardless of lichen-forming status. In addition, the phylogenetic clusters suggested that LFFs belonging to Lecanoromycetes have duplicated proteins in each cluster. Consequently, the number of sequences similar to characterized yeast’ polyol transporters were evaluated using the genomes of 472 species or strains of Ascomycota. Among these, LFFs belonging to Lecanoromycetes had greater numbers of deduced polyol transporter proteins. Thus, various polyol transporters are conserved in Ascomycota and polyol transporter genes appear to have expanded during the evolution of Lecanoromycetes. Copyright © 2019 British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Molecular Epidemiology of Candida auris in Colombia Reveals a Highly Related, Countrywide Colonization With Regional Patterns in Amphotericin B Resistance.

Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant yeast associated with hospital outbreaks worldwide. During 2015-2016, multiple outbreaks were reported in Colombia. We aimed to understand the extent of contamination in healthcare settings and to characterize the molecular epidemiology of C. auris in Colombia.We sampled patients, patient contacts, healthcare workers, and the environment in 4 hospitals with recent C. auris outbreaks. Using standardized protocols, people were swabbed at different body sites. Patient and procedure rooms were sectioned into 4 zones and surfaces were swabbed. We performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and antifungal susceptibility testing (AFST) on all isolates.Seven of the 17 (41%) people swabbed were found to be colonized. Candida auris was isolated from 37 of 322 (11%) environmental samples. These were collected from a variety of items in all 4 zones. WGS and AFST revealed that although isolates were similar throughout the country, isolates from the northern region were genetically distinct and more resistant to amphotericin B (AmB) than the isolates from central Colombia. Four novel nonsynonymous mutations were found to be significantly associated with AmB resistance.Our results show that extensive C. auris contamination can occur and highlight the importance of adherence to appropriate infection control practices and disinfection strategies. Observed genetic diversity supports healthcare transmission and a recent expansion of C. auris within Colombia with divergent AmB susceptibility.


April 21, 2020  |  

An African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 sublineage with extensive drug-resistance and signatures of host adaptation.

Bloodstream infections by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium constitute a major health burden in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These invasive non-typhoidal (iNTS) infections are dominated by isolates of the antibiotic resistance-associated sequence type (ST) 313. Here, we report emergence of ST313 sublineage II.1 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Sublineage II.1 exhibits extensive drug resistance, involving a combination of multidrug resistance, extended spectrum ß-lactamase production and azithromycin resistance. ST313 lineage II.1 isolates harbour an IncHI2 plasmid we name pSTm-ST313-II.1, with one isolate also exhibiting decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Whole genome sequencing reveals that ST313 II.1 isolates have accumulated genetic signatures potentially associated with altered pathogenicity and host adaptation, related to changes observed in biofilm formation and metabolic capacity. Sublineage II.1 emerged at the beginning of the 21st century and is involved in on-going outbreaks. Our data provide evidence of further evolution within the ST313 clade associated with iNTS in SSA.


September 22, 2019  |  

Subaerial biofilms on granitic historic buildings: microbial diversity and development of phototrophic multi-species cultures.

Microbial communities of natural subaerial biofilms developed on granitic historic buildings of a World Heritage Site (Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain) were characterized and cultured in liquid BG11 medium. Environmental barcoding through next-generation sequencing (Pacific Biosciences) revealed that the biofilms were mainly composed of species of Chlorophyta (green algae) and Ascomycota (fungi) commonly associated with rock substrata. Richness and diversity were higher for the fungal than for the algal assemblages and fungi showed higher heterogeneity among samples. Cultures derived from natural biofilms showed the establishment of stable microbial communities mainly composed of Chlorophyta and Cyanobacteria. Although most taxa found in these cultures were not common in the original biofilms, they are likely common pioneer colonizers of building stone surfaces, including granite. Stable phototrophic multi-species cultures of known microbial diversity were thus obtained and their reliability to emulate natural colonization on granite should be confirmed in further experiments.


September 22, 2019  |  

Molecular characterization of eukaryotic algal communities in the tropical phyllosphere based on real-time sequencing of the 18S rDNA gene.

Foliicolous algae are a common occurrence in tropical forests. They are referable to a few simple morphotypes (unicellular, sarcinoid-like or filamentous), which makes their morphology of limited usefulness for taxonomic studies and species diversity assessments. The relationship between algal community and their host phyllosphere was not clear. In order to obtain a more accurate assessment, we used single molecule real-time sequencing of the 18S rDNA gene to characterize the eukaryotic algal community in an area of South-western China.We annotated 2922 OTUs belonging to five classes, Ulvophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyceae, Dinophyceae and Eustigmatophyceae. Novel clades formed by large numbers sequences of green algae were detected in the order Trentepohliales (Ulvophyceae) and the Watanabea clade (Trebouxiophyceae), suggesting that these foliicolous communities may be substantially more diverse than so far appreciated and require further research. Species in Trentepohliales, Watanabea clade and Apatococcus clade were detected as the core members in the phyllosphere community studied. Communities from different host trees and sampling sites were not significantly different in terms of OTUs composition. However, the communities of Musa and Ravenala differed from other host plants significantly at the genus level, since they were dominated by Trebouxiophycean epiphytes.The cryptic diversity of eukaryotic algae especially Chlorophytes in tropical phyllosphere is very high. The community structure at species-level has no significant relationship either with host phyllosphere or locations. The core algal community in tropical phyllopshere is consisted of members from Trentepohliales, Watanabea clade and Apatococcus clade. Our study provided a large amount of novel 18S rDNA sequences that will be useful to unravel the cryptic diversity of phyllosphere eukaryotic algae and for comparisons with similar future studies on this type of communities.


September 22, 2019  |  

Antagonism between Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes and its genomic basis.

Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis live in close proximity on human skin, and both bacterial species can be isolated from normal and acne vulgaris-affected skin sites. The antagonistic interactions between the two species are poorly understood, as well as the potential significance of bacterial interferences for the skin microbiota. Here, we performed simultaneous antagonism assays to detect inhibitory activities between multiple isolates of the two species. Selected strains were sequenced to identify the genomic basis of their antimicrobial phenotypes.First, we screened 77 P. acnes strains isolated from healthy and acne-affected skin, and representing all known phylogenetic clades (I, II, and III), for their antimicrobial activities against 12?S. epidermidis isolates. One particular phylogroup (I-2) exhibited a higher antimicrobial activity than other P. acnes phylogroups. All genomes of type I-2 strains carry an island encoding the biosynthesis of a thiopeptide with possible antimicrobial activity against S. epidermidis. Second, 20?S. epidermidis isolates were examined for inhibitory activity against 25 P. acnes strains. The majority of S. epidermidis strains were able to inhibit P. acnes. Genomes of S. epidermidis strains with strong, medium and no inhibitory activities against P. acnes were sequenced. Genome comparison underlined the diversity of S. epidermidis and detected multiple clade- or strain-specific mobile genetic elements encoding a variety of functions important in antibiotic and stress resistance, biofilm formation and interbacterial competition, including bacteriocins such as epidermin. One isolate with an extraordinary antimicrobial activity against P. acnes harbors a functional ESAT-6 secretion system that might be involved in the antimicrobial activity against P. acnes via the secretion of polymorphic toxins.Taken together, our study suggests that interspecies interactions could potentially jeopardize balances in the skin microbiota. In particular, S. epidermidis strains possess an arsenal of different mechanisms to inhibit P. acnes. However, if such interactions are relevant in skin disorders such as acne vulgaris remains questionable, since no difference in the antimicrobial activity against, or the sensitivity towards S. epidermidis could be detected between health- and acne-associated strains of P. acnes.


September 22, 2019  |  

The putative functions of lysogeny in mediating the survivorship of Escherichia coli in seawater and marine sediment.

Escherichia coli colonizes various body parts of animal hosts as a commensal and a pathogen. It can also persist in the external environment in the absence of fecal pollution. It remains unclear how this species has evolved to adapt to such contrasting habitats. Lysogeny plays pivotal roles in the diversification of the phenotypic and ecologic characters of E. coli as a symbiont. We hypothesized that lysogeny could also confer fitness to survival in the external environment. To test this hypothesis, we used the induced phages of an E. coli strain originating from marine sediment to infect a fecal E. coli strain to obtain an isogenic lysogen of the latter. The three strains were tested for survivorship in microcosms of seawater, marine sediment and sediment interstitial water as well as swimming motility, glycogen accumulation, biofilm formation, substrate utilization and stress resistance. The results indicate that lysogenic infection led to tractable changes in many of the ecophysiological attributes tested. Particularly, the lysogen had better survivorship in the microcosms and had a substrate utilization profile resembling the sediment strain more than the wild type fecal strain. Our findings provide new insights into the understanding of how E. coli survives in the natural environment.© FEMS 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


September 22, 2019  |  

Whole-genome analysis of three yeast strains used for production of sherry-like wines revealed genetic traits specific to Flor yeasts.

Flor yeast strains represent a specialized group of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeasts used for biological wine aging. We have sequenced the genomes of three flor strains originated from different geographic regions and used for production of sherry-like wines in Russia. According to the obtained phylogeny of 118 yeast strains, flor strains form very tight cluster adjacent to the main wine clade. SNP analysis versus available genomes of wine and flor strains revealed 2,270 genetic variants in 1,337 loci specific to flor strains. Gene ontology analysis in combination with gene content evaluation revealed a complex landscape of possibly adaptive genetic changes in flor yeast, related to genes associated with cell morphology, mitotic cell cycle, ion homeostasis, DNA repair, carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism, and cell wall biogenesis. Pangenomic analysis discovered the presence of several well-known “non-reference” loci of potential industrial importance. Events of gene loss included deletions of asparaginase genes, maltose utilization locus, and FRE-FIT locus involved in iron transport. The latter in combination with a flor-yeast-specific mutation in the Aft1 transcription factor gene is likely to be responsible for the discovered phenotype of increased iron sensitivity and improved iron uptake of analyzed strains. Expansion of the coding region of the FLO11 flocullin gene and alteration of the balance between members of the FLO gene family are likely to positively affect the well-known propensity of flor strains for velum formation. Our study provides new insights in the nature of genetic variation in flor yeast strains and demonstrates that different adaptive properties of flor yeast strains could have evolved through different mechanisms of genetic variation.


September 22, 2019  |  

A comprehensive understanding of the biocontrol potential of Bacillus velezensis LM2303 against Fusarium head blight.

Fusarium head blight (FHB) mainly caused by F. graminearum, always brings serious damage to wheat production worldwide. In this study, we found that strain LM2303 had strong antagonist activity against F. graminearum and significantly reduced disease severity of FHB with the control efficiency of 72.3% under field conditions. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the biocontrol potential of strain LM2303 against FHB, an integrated approach of genome mining and chemical analysis was employed. The whole genome of strain LM2303 was obtained and analyzed, showing the largest number of genes/gene clusters associated with biocontrol functions as compared with the known biocontrol strains (FZB42, M75, CAU B946). And strain LM2303 was accurately determined as a member of the B. velezensis clade using the phylogenomic analysis of single-copy core genes. Through genome mining, 13 biosynthetic gene clusters(BGCs) encoding secondary metabolites with biocontrol functions were identified, which were further confirmed through chemical analyses such as UHPLC-ESI-MS, including three antifungal metabolites (fengycin B, iturin A, and surfactin A), eight antibacterial metabolites (surfactin A, butirosin, plantazolicin and hydrolyzed plantazolicin, kijanimicin, bacilysin, difficidin, bacillaene A and bacillaene B, 7-o-malonyl macrolactin A and 7-o-succinyl macrolactin A), the siderophore bacillibactin, molybdenum cofactor and teichuronic acid. In addition, genes/gene clusters involved in plant colonization, plant growth promotion and induced systemic resistance were also found and analyzed, along with the corresponding metabolites. Finally, four different mechanisms of strain LM2303 involved in the biocontrol of FHB were putatively obtained. This work provides better insights into a mechanistic understanding of strain LM2303 in control of FHB, reinforcing the higher potential of this strain as a powerful biocontrol strain agent (BCA) for FHB control. The results also provide scientific reference and comparison for other biocontrol strains.


September 22, 2019  |  

Adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to phage PaP1 predation via O-antigen polymerase mutation.

Adaptation of bacteria to phage predation poses a major obstacle for phage therapy. Bacteria adopt multiple mechanisms, such as inhibition of phage adsorption and CRISPR/Cas systems, to resist phage infection. Here, a phage-resistant mutant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA1 under the infection of lytic phage PaP1 was selected for further study. The PaP1-resistant variant, termed PA1RG, showed decreased adsorption to PaP1 and was devoid of long chain O-antigen on its cell envelope. Whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis revealed a single nucleotide mutation in the gene PA1S_08510, which encodes the O-antigen polymerase Wzy that is involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis. PA1_Wzy was classified into the O6 serotype based on sequence homology analysis and adopts a transmembrane topology similar to that seem with P. aeruginosa strain PAO1. Complementation of gene wzy in trans enabled the mutant PA1RG to produce the normal LPS pattern with long chain O-antigen and restored the susceptibility of PA1RG to phage PaP1 infection. While wzy mutation did not affect bacterial growth, mutant PA1RG exhibited decreased biofilm production, suggesting a fitness cost of PA1 associated with resistance of phage PaP1 predation. This study uncovered the mechanism responsible for PA1RG resistance to phage PaP1 via wzy mutation and revealed the role of phages in regulating bacterial behavior.


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 22, 2019  |  

The complete methylome of an entomopathogenic bacterium reveals the existence of loci with unmethylated adenines.

DNA methylation can serve to control diverse phenomena in eukaryotes and prokaryotes, including gene regulation leading to cell differentiation. In bacteria, DNA methylomes (i.e., methylation state of each base of the whole genome) have been described for several species, but methylome profile variation during the lifecycle has rarely been studied, and only in a few model organisms. Moreover, major phenotypic changes have been reported in several bacterial strains with a deregulated methyltransferase, but the corresponding methylome has rarely been described. Here we report the first methylome description of an entomopathogenic bacterium, Photorhabdus luminescens. Eight motifs displaying a high rate of methylation (>94%) were identified. The methylome was strikingly stable over course of growth, but also in a subpopulation responsible for a critical step in the bacterium’s lifecycle: successful survival and proliferation in insects. The rare unmethylated GATC motifs were preferentially located in putative promoter regions, and most of them were methylated after Dam methyltransferase overexpression, suggesting that DNA methylation is involved in gene regulation. Our findings bring key insight into bacterial methylomes and encourage further research to decipher the role of loci protected from DNA methylation in gene regulation.


September 22, 2019  |  

Long-term colonization dynamics of Enterococcus faecalis in implanted devices in research macaques.

Enterococcus faecalis is a common opportunistic pathogen that colonizes cephalic recording chambers (CRCs) of macaques used in cognitive neuroscience research. We previously characterized 15 E. faecalis strains isolated from macaques at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2011. The goal of this study was to examine how a 2014 protocol change prohibiting the use of antimicrobials within CRCs affected colonizing E. faecalis strains. We collected 20 E. faecalis isolates from 10 macaques between 2013 and 2017 for comparison to 4 isolates previously characterized in 2011 with respect to the sequence type (ST) distribution, antimicrobial resistance, biofilm formation, and changes in genes that might confer a survival advantage. ST4 and ST55 were predominant among the isolates characterized in 2011, whereas the less antimicrobial-resistant lineage ST48 emerged to dominance after 2013. Two macaques remained colonized by ST4 and ST55 strains for 5 and 4 years, respectively. While the antimicrobial resistance and virulence factors identified in these ST4 and ST55 strains remained relatively stable, we detected an increase in biofilm formation ability over time in both isolates. We also found that ST48 strains were typically robust biofilm formers, which could explain why this ST increased in prevalence. Finally, we identified mutations in the DNA mismatch repair genes mutS and mutL in separate ST55 and ST4 strains and confirmed that strains bearing these mutations displayed a hypermutator phenotype. The presence of a hypermutator phenotype may complicate future antimicrobial treatment for clinically relevant E. faecalis infections in macaques.IMPORTANCEEnterococcus faecalis is a common cause of health care-associated infections in humans, largely due to its ability to persist in the hospital environment, colonize patients, acquire antimicrobial resistance, and form biofilms. Understanding how enterococci evolve in health care settings provides insight into factors affecting enterococcal survival and persistence. Macaques used in neuroscience research have long-term cranial implants that, despite best practices, often become colonized by E. faecalis This provides a unique opportunity to noninvasively examine the evolution of enterococci on a long-term indwelling device. We collected E. faecalis strains from cephalic implants over a 7-year period and characterized the sequence type, antimicrobial resistance, virulence factors, biofilm production, and hypermutator phenotypes. Improved antimicrobial stewardship allowed a less-antimicrobial-resistant E. faecalis strain to predominate at the implant interface, potentially improving antimicrobial treatment outcomes if future clinical infections occur. Biofilm formation appears to play an important role in the persistence of the E. faecalis strains associated with these implants. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.


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